The week in brief


January 3, 2010
Richard Kuper

jfjfpGaza still dominated the news this week, as indeed it should have. This time Egypt drew most of the flack, failing to live up to its promise to allow the Gaza Freedom Marchers and the Viva Palestina convoy in to take their supplies and support to the people trapped in Gaza. In the end some marchers were allowed in, some goods reached their destination. Uri Avnery’s article “The Iron Wall” is the best account of the pressures on Egypt. His conclusion: “As an Israeli, I protest against the Israeli blockade. If I were an Egyptian, I would protest against the Egyptian blockade. As a citizen of this planet, I protest against both.”

A sober, biting piece on the anniversary of the war on Gaza by Israeli lawyer activist Michael Sfard  is introduced by the Magnes Zionist in similar vein. Larry Derner too, was cutting about Israel, in the pages of the Jerusalem Post: “The question we have to ask ourselves is this: If anybody treated us like we’re treating the people in Gaza, what would we do? We don’t want to go there, do we?” The Hebrew University and Haifa University both banned meetings to commemorate one year after the war (the former describing the proposed meeting as ‘incitement against Israel’).

Among other topics dealt with this week, Akiva Eldar writes of settlements ‘experiencing a building boom’; Mohamed Altawil gives a moving account of growing up in Gaza and working as a trauma therapist; Alexander Yacobson refloats the idea of  settlers who are interested in staying in “Judea and Samaria” being allowed to do so, as citizens of Palestine; and senior Israeli voices in the military are suddenly taking the possibility of prosecution before the International Criminal Court seriously.

Financial appeal of the moment is for the Refuseniks – not just the new Shministim (high school leaver refuseniks)  but also Combatants for Peace, New Profile, Yesh Gvul, and Courage to Refuse – who all need financial help.

And Sociologist Keith Kahn-Harris writes in the pages of the Jewish Chronicle: “Rather than constantly seeking to present a united front that does not exist, the Board [of Deputies of British Jews] should transform itself into a space within which the full range of opinions about Israel can be heard and properly debated, rather than quashed…”

These and more in the selection of articles below…

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