Cabinet posts for two Jewish Home MKs, Ayelet Shaked and Naftali Bennett, are causing serious concern in and outside Israel. The Supreme Court has not shone as an upholder of equal and human rights, but it has overruled some of the Knesset’s more nationalistic acts. With her new power as Justice minister, Shaked plans to change the law so that the Knesset can overturn Supreme Court judgments. That will leave Israel with no checks and balances.
The Supreme Court ruling that Israel’s anti-boycott law applied to the oPt, not just those living in Israel proper has, effectively obliterated the Green Line demarcating Palestinian land. As such BDS supporters will have no reason to confine their efforts to Israeli products from the oPt. Plus Gideon Levy assails the failure of Israel’s courts to uphold human rights and the rule of law.
Or, as Bedouin spokesperson Oudeh Basharat says, the Jewish state ‘is poised to wipe us out’. The Bedouin are Israeli citizens.The Bedouin are also Arabs with legal claims to the land they live on. The Israeli state has spent much time in working out how to invalidate these claims and move the Bedouin to a bantustan, e.g. the bedouin-only township of Hura. The ‘free market’ Israeli state is using its state ownership of land to get rid of the Bedouin from land Israel wants
Israeli courts are falling into confusion in their rulings on freedom of speech. Uri Avnery lost his appeal against a law forbidding Israelis to talk of boycott. The High Court has ruled it is a right (freedom of expression) for a rabidly right-wing religious crowd to parade through a Muslim Arab area of the old city waving their flags. Perhaps they will have enough sense not to shout their usual chant: death to Arabs.
Ironically, the more Israel becomes a place of belligerent, anti-Arab, anti-Muslim nationalism the less attractive it becomes for all but the most fanatical Jews abroad. By voting in such large numbers for a man who despises Palestinians and is sworn to prevent a Palestinian state, Israeli Jews demonstrate that this ethno-nationalism is now dominant in Israel. Michael Young fears for the consequences.
The re-election of Netanyahu with his promise never to allow a Palestinian state has galvanised more bodies to take steps to recognise an independent Palestine. The latest is the Vatican which has informally regarded Palestine as a state since 2013 but not before signed a treaty with the PA or publicly recognised the state which will involve diplomatic exchanges.
The EU has failed to find a way to hold Israel to account for breaches of international law. Instead, it has hidden behind US leadership [sic] in an ‘unedifying’ manner. Worse, EU aid only entrenches the status quo. In contrast with Syria and Iraq the EU has clear and long-standing policies on the wrongness of the Israeli occupation. So what’s the excuse for the inaction?
Again, a senior officer in the IDF, Major-General Sami Turgeman of Southern Command, ignores the political rhetoric about the evil of Hamas to assert that Hamas, like Israel, wants calm, growth, prosperity – and that it’s better for Hamas to govern Gaza than either the IDF or ISIL.
In winter they are freezing, in summer sweltering – life in a shipping container is never easy, but when whole families have to squeeze into them, enduring temperatures that range from 8º to 30º C, life for the homeless in Gaza becomes insufferable. As families leave their relatives’ overcrowded homes and schools return to educational use, a metal box may be the only thing left.
Contrary to the popular conspiratorial view of an all-powerful Israel lobby and contrary to the view of David Rothkopf (post below) Moshe Machover argues that, while the US’s massive support for Israel may be thought to go against its national interest, the reality is that the military-industrial tie that binds the two countries is embedded in the interests of those two national power groups.
It is an odd conceit of Americans that the Brits have never got over their loss of imperial power. In fact, apart from the anachronistic foray into Iraq, most of the non-UKIP majority do not yearn to be a military world power. And as Israel’s relationship to the US is one of dependence the best most Israelis hope for is a continuation of US largesse. This article from Foreign Policy demonstrates how hard it is for the powerful to read the minds of economically weaker beings.
In a tour round Gaza, Matthew Duss observes the mass of rubble still uncleared and probes why Fatah and Hamas cannot reach a stable and functioning agreement. Short answer – Fatah, like the US and Israel, want the complete capitulation of Hamas. Hamas argues that the Fatah non-violent approach has brought them nothing.
Once Netanyahu was secure in his new government, dependent on the belligerently pro-settler Jewish Home, it was a matter of time before new settlements were announced. First up is a large chunk of Palestinian E. Jerusalem, from which the Israeli right is desperate to expel all Palestinians. Of course, both EU foreign ministers and the US have been quick to condemn it. But their patient acceptance of Israeli illegality and provocation seems unlimited.
In both Israel and Palestine the male soldier epitomises the heroic defence of homeland against annihilation. He is the most revered figure – at the expense of the lives, aspiration and needs of women and girls. UNSRC resolution 1325 (2000) acknowledges the disproportionate and unique impact of armed conflict on them. It calls for the adoption of a gender perspective to consider the special needs of women and girls during conflict, repatriation and resettlement, rehabilitation, reintegration and post-conflict reconstruction. The group 1325 Israel exists to make this a reality – though there are tremendous obstacles against them realising this ambition.
… who are Israeli settlers in the West Bank, and another law for the landless workers, who are Palestinian. An analytic report from ACRI (Association for Civil Rights in Israel) examines one of the most disturbing characteristics of the Israeli military rule in the West Bank – the creation and development of a regime of two separate legal systems, on an ethnic-national basis.
Taking Jeff Halper’s phrase, the matrix of control, Mark Levine crisply describes how everything, from airspace to underground aquifers is controlled by the Israeli state. Taking from quantum mechanics, he then describes how the Israeli state can change geography, for instance, according to the status of who is moving through it. and time by controlling who remembers what.
Israel’s state comptroller has delivered a harsh verdict on the ability of state offices to deliver the services which they exist to deliver. He hasn’t given an overall reason for this failure but describes lacklustre planning, co-ordination and performance in most areas. This chimes with the critique that the dominance of ‘security’ leaves the provision of social goods in hapless condition.
The notion that Israel’s High Court upholds laws protecting human rights and freedom of expression is essential to Israel’s self-presentation as the only country in the Middle East with a government that acts under the rule of law. No, says Amjad Iraqi of Adalah. The record shows that it usually backs up anti-left and anti-Palestinians laws. It only diverges from its pro-government position when it needs to rescue Israel from international shame.
Despite his large victory in the election, Netanyahu has found it hard to scramble together a new coalition. The deals he has had to make with Jewish Home consolidate its right-wing nature but bring new conflicts into government which, say some commentators, make it unstable and likely to fracture. A ‘peace process’ is ‘not even on the agenda’.
It’s not unusual for Palestinian villages to be eradicated when Israelis want their land. The Palestinian village of Susya, which has been fighting off settlers for years, is unusual because it has been vigorously supported by Rabbis for Human Rights and because Israel’s High Court has refused to hear the village’s petition before it is wiped out of existence. Rule of law?