The Week in Brief, 18-24 January – a summary of recent postings

January 24, 2010
Richard Kuper

jfjfpA mixed bag of a week with little good news…

Postings include a number on the increasingly repressive and reactionary atmosphere in Israel and among the settlers. For instance, Daniel Estrin reports on the fundamentalists of Yitzhar and the unwillingness of more mainstream religious bodies to condemn their out-and-out racism. The Sheikh Jarrar protests in east Jerusalem are attracting large number of Israelis – but the police continue their illegal arrest of demonstrators. Jared Malsin of Maan News Agency was deported, as feared. NGOs operating in the occupied territories are finding it increasingly difficult to get work permits for foreign workers.

And Joel Beinen writes about the longest continuous nonviolent mobilization in Palestinian history (uniting villagers from all political factions, along with Israeli and international activists), against the encroachments of Israel’s separation barrier – and the repression it is subjected to.

A new report on the status of higher education staff in Israel and Palestine has appeared – in the same week as Barak moved to recognise the settler college at Ariel as a fully-fledged university within the Israeli Higher Education system.

Seth Freedman and others draw attention to Israel’s double standards over Haiti: “for all that Israel’s sterling work overseas deserves to be praised, it highlights the lack of compassion shown by the country’s leaders to those suffering on its own doorstep.”

Some of the big questions are tackled: by Diane Mason/Lawrence of Cyberia who questions the role of the Wall in stopping suicide bombings; by Tony Klug who asks if Israeli policies are entrenching anti-Semitism worldwide (and in an associated paper looks at the folly of attacking Iran); by Meron Bevenisti, a former deputy mayor of Jerusalem, who looks again at what he calls ‘the inevitable bi-national regime’; and by Jerome Slater who puts Moshe Halbertal’s widely-cited critique of the Goldstone Report under the microscope.

Plus: Rabbi Brian’s report of two visits to Hebron; Uri Avnery on the corrosion of Israeli politics; Mike Marqusee’s “If I am Not for Myself: Journey of an Anti-Zionist Jew” now out in paperback; and two reports highlighting the health effects of the Gaza blockade…

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