Posts Tagged ‘Palestinian’


In another piece I’ll be publishing later today, I take some time to discuss how the Israeli daily Ha’aretz has been marginalized in

Salech al-Aruri

Salech al-Aruri

Israel and no longer represents a “vibrant debate” as it once did. Now I must also take a moment to reflect on what is only the latest example of how their journalistic standards have fallen as well.

Ha’aretz today reports, uncritically, on the widespread story about leading Hamas activist Salach al-Aruri purportedly claiming that Hamas was, in fact, behind the kidnapping and murder of the three young Israelis earlier this year. That incident, you will recall, was the catalyst for a massive Israeli crackdown in the West Bank and eventually led to the horrors in Gaza these past weeks, which are ongoing. The problem is that this is a non-story, wherein al-Aruri said nothing we didn’t already know. Nothing he said should change anything about how we perceive this crime.

There has always been debate over whether the kidnappings were planned by Hamas or done by a rogue unit. The debate hasn’t really been a sensible one; speak to people with knowledge of the politics in Palestine and, in particular, the various armed factions as well as different familial groupings within the political system and resistance movements and you will realize quickly which side of the debate is correct. But such is the state of our media that such people are rarely spoken to, so we live in ignorance. (more…)

Read Full Post »


This article originally appeared at LobeLog.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte receives Israeli President Shimon Peres on September 29, 2013

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte receives Israeli President Shimon Peres on September 29, 2013

In recent weeks, Israel and especially advocates for its right-wing in the United States have been scrambling to lash back at a boycott resolution passed by the American Studies Association (ASA). This was an initiative of an academic group in the United States directed at all of Israel in support of the Palestinian civil society call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel. But all of this activity against the ASA has overlooked a much more important act of economic pressure against Israel — this one from Europe.

The ASA boycott has divided peace activists, some of whom support economic actions against settlements and the occupation but not against Israel as a whole. Others have been reluctant to support the ASA action because they support certain actions against Israel but not an academic boycott. While there has been a good deal of support for the ASA action from the broader BDS movement, these questions have left the ASA action more open to attack from those who oppose any sort of action that might compel Israel to change its policies. (more…)

Read Full Post »


Tal Schneider is an Israeli journalist and blogger. At her blog, she recently published this excellent piece by Afif Abu-Much, who lives in the community of Baqa Baqa al-Gharbiyye in Israel. Afif’s village is one of those that would be handed over to the Palestinian Authority in the sorts of land swaps that Avigdor Lieberman champions and all too many other Israelis support. The legitimacy and morality of such an action is often debated, but actually hearing from an Israeli citizen who would be directly affected by such a move is sadly rare. I am very grateful that Tal has permitted me to reprint this piece here, in full, as she and Sol Salbe translated it from Hebrew.  (more…)

Read Full Post »


Al Jazeera unloaded a bombshell on the US-brokered Israel-Palestine diplomacy today when they released the first wave of what they are calling “The Palestine Papers.”

These papers consist of some 1,600 internal documents (e-mails, minutes of classified meetings, maps and strategy papers) from negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis from 1999-2010. The revelations are staggering, largely in that they confirm what most serious analysts have been saying for the past decade: that these negotiations have been futile from the beginning owing to the severe imbalance of power between Israel and the Palestinians and the US’ failure to act as an honest broker.

Lead PLO Negotiator, Saeb Erekat

The revelations in the initial release include these:

  • The Palestinian Authority (PA) was willing to give over to Israel all the existing territory on which Israel has established settlements in East Jerusalem except for Har Homa (Jabal Abu Ghneim). This was something Yasir Arafat had specifically refused to do in 2000
  • The PA was also willing to settle for only a token number of refugees returning to Israel and would agree to a 1:1 land swap of 1.9% of West Bank Territory in exchange for an equal quantity of Israeli territory
  • That Israel rejected these offers out of hand, while insisting that it was the Palestinians who were being intransigent
  • That the US told the Palestinians that they must cede the areas of the settlements of Ariel and Ma’ale Adumim or the Palestinians “won’t have a state,” fully adopting the Israeli position

The US, frequently said to have acted as Israel’s lawyer, simply was not even trying to balance the power scales in these negotiations, but only adding the weight of the world’s only superpower behind that of the regional power, Israel.

Israel, for its part, is convincingly revealed as not being interested in reaching a deal with the Palestinians without a complete Palestinian surrender; there was no hint here of compromise, even with the allegedly more moderate Kadima government. Tzipi Livni, indeed, seems assured that the Palestinians would eventually have to agree with her, since the alternative would be dealing with Benjamin Netanyahu.

Let’s look at what these, and many other, revelations mean for each of the parties and for the peace process more broadly. (more…)

Read Full Post »


While taking apart an argument made by Danny Ayalon may seem like shooting fish in a barrel, his op-ed in today’s LA Times contains so many inaccuracies or outright falsehoods, and there are enough people, both in the US and Israel, who will take this piece seriously, that it seems worth the time. Ayalon offered up a fine brew of classic myths and his own, odd version of reality, so let’s dig into it and see what the facts are.

Since the Oslo peace accords were signed in 1993, the Israeli position on the peace process has

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon

constantly progressed and evolved. That has been best enunciated by the generous offers made by Prime Ministers Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert in 2000 and 2008, respectively. Meeting nearly all of the Palestinian demands, these offers were rejected without further discussion or counteroffer.

Ayalon starts out with a classic. The so-called “generous offer” that Barak made was a take-it-or-leave-it offer that fell well short of minimal Palestinian demands and, while that particular story has been debunked many times, it still persists.

Olmert’s offer of 2008 seemed to improve on Barak’s, but it also seems not to have addressed the holy sites of Jerusalem or refugees, and whether it was a proposal to advance talks or, like Barak’s also a take-it-or-leave-it offer is unclear. The proposed borders maintained the essential problem that has dogged maps of two states for years—the Israeli insistence on keeping some far-flung settlements like Ma’ale Adumim and Ariel seriously compromises the territorial contiguity of the proposed state of Palestine.

The present Israeli government has accepted the principle of a two-states-for-two peoples solution. Israel has contributed to the improvement of the lives of Palestinian to the point where the West Bank’s economic growth is greater than almost anywhere in the world; it has removed more than two-thirds of all security checkpoints and initiated a unilateral moratorium on construction in the settlements. (more…)

Read Full Post »


Now that the United States has officially abandoned its attempt to convince Israel to stop building settlements for just a little while, please?, everyone is waiting for Plan B. Those who still hope for a peaceful resolution to the Middle East conflict are hoping that the Plan B will include an American assertion of its positions, at least on the matter of borders.

Well, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was supposed to present Plan B on December 10 at the Saban Center of the Brookings Institute in Washington. But while her speech was more even-handed than what we’ve gotten used to, it

Ehud Barak and Hillary Rodham Clinton

was too short on specifics to be said to really mark a new direction. She reinforced the US commitment to Israeli security and the two-state solution and claims that, through renewed shuttle diplomacy, the US would facilitate continued negotiations that are purported to tackle all of the core issues.

The familiarity of her statements cannot but breed contempt, but there were a few hopeful signs. The first one was the Israelis in attendance. Defense Minister Ehud Barak and opposition leader Tzipi Livni, the two most prominent leaders vying for Benjamin Netanyahu’s job, represented Israel. That can easily be interpreted as a public American recognition that the current Israeli government, and its leader, is not interested in peace, which is, of course, true. There was also the clearest endorsement yet for the Arab Peace Initiative, and for the most part, Clinton put more than the usual onus on Israel.

Still, the Obama administration continues to repeat the mantra: “…negotiations between the parties is the only path that will succeed in securing their respective aspirations.”

It is, of course, true that there are details that must be worked out between Israelis and Palestinians, but if there is one myth that the Obama administration has shown the emptiness of, it is this holy grail of bilateral negotiations. It is time we examine the assumptions that underlie that axiom. (more…)

Read Full Post »


One thing Eli Yishai cannot be said to have lied about is his dedication to the settlements. In June of 2009, he said “I promise to use my ministry, all the resources at my disposal and the ministry’s impact on local authorities for the good of expanding settlements.”

Neglecting his other responsibilities, Yishai has worked doggedly to expand settlements, to fund them and to ensure

Interior Minister Eli Yishai

they will grow throughout the West Bank, especially in East Jerusalem (which, we need to remember, is part of the West Bank).

Many Israelis, of all political views, are angry at Yishai now that his negligence, which can legitimately be considered of a criminal nature, has led to Israel’s near-total helplessness in the face of what has come to be known as the Carmel Fire. Yishai’s own pathetic and insulting attempt to claim that this is anti-Mizrachi (Jews of Middle Eastern descent) racism has found him little sympathy.

There is indeed no excuse for this. Israel is a wealthy country. In 2009, the World Bank ranked Israel 25th out of 162 countries. Yet Israeli officials knew very well that their ability to cope with a major fire was virtually non-existent. Instead, Israel turned to the rest of the world for help.

Despite the constant Israeli harping about the whole world hating them, being out to get them, being anti-Semitic, the help flooded in. Long before help came from the United States, lo and behold, there were the Turks, the Egyptians and even the Palestinians, pitching in to help. European countries, like Spain, Italy and the UK, those awful de-legitimizers, also pitched in. As Norway’s ambassador to Israel pointed out, the only thing anyone is trying to delegitimize is the occupation and its accompanying settlement program. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,292 other followers

%d bloggers like this: