Israel-Palestine News Compiler

Gideon Levy: A marginal matter

Posted in Government, Internal Israeli Affairs, Opinion Pieces by beyondtheborder on April 18, 2009

The 18th Knesset is different from all its predecessors. It is the first that does not have a Jewish MK whose guiding principle is the struggle against the occupation.

Since the 7th Knesset, the first to be elected after the Six-Day War, we have not had a parliament like this one, devoid of Jewish anti-occupation activists. As such, the new Knesset precisely reflects the popular zeitgeist, in which the occupation is completely missing from the national agenda, and there is no reason to disturb our legislators with the issue.

For full article, visit http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1078598.html

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Robert Fisk: How can you trust the cowardly BBC?

Posted in Opinion Pieces by beyondtheborder on April 17, 2009

Even when the International Court in The Hague stated that the Israeli wall was illegal – the BBC, at this point, was calling it a “fence”! – Israel simply claimed that the court was wrong.

UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 called upon Israel to withdraw its forces from territories that it occupied in the 1967 war – and it refused to do so. The Americans stated for more than 30 years that Israel’s actions were illegal – until the gutless George Bush accepted Israel had the right to keep these illegally held territories. Thus the BBC Trust – how cruel that word “trust” now becomes – has gone along with the Bush definition of Israel’s new boundaries (inside Arab land, of course).

For full article, visit http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-how-can-you-trust-the-cowardly-bbc-1669281.html

Ziyaad Lunat: The rhetoric of “peace”

Posted in Opinion Pieces by beyondtheborder on April 16, 2009

Netanyahu’s “economic peace” proposal should not only be seen in this context but crucially too as the beginning of a new stage of colonization. Israel has been successful in dividing the Palestinians into different groups, separated politically and geographically. Israel has also been successful in creating a collaborating political class. Israel failed however to squash their desire for freedom and their right to resist aggression. In other words, Israel was successful in the physical colonization of the land, de facto controlling the whole of historic Palestine, but failed to colonize Palestinian minds, for the most part, at least. This new stage will target the latter.

A sample of what is to come can already be seen within the Palestinian Collaborationist Authority’s bureaucracy. Employing roughly 300,000, it is the biggest employer in the occupied territories. These employees and their families are dependent on the bureaucracy to sustain their livelihoods, raising incentives for compliance and creating costs for dissent, namely loss of income and political reprisals. Netanyahu’s “economic peace” will mean that further to the existing political stratification of the Palestinian society, a capitalist class will be co-opted to subordinate the Palestinian working class to the requirements of the market. It is expected that the Palestinians will become too comfortable with the newly bestowed economic freedoms and relegate political rights to a secondary concern. The plan strives for the creation of a homo economicus, an individualist, self-interested man, a slave to the capitalist structures of inequality. Dependence on this neo-liberal structure-in-formation is aimed at removing individual and collective agency. The resulting false consciousness — under the framework of hegemonic capitalism — betrays the true relation of forces between the occupier and the occupied.

For full article, visit http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10466.shtml

Nimer Sultany: Should Palestinian citizens vote in Israel’s parliamentary elections?

Posted in Government, Internal Israeli Affairs, Israeli Arabs, Opinion Pieces by beyondtheborder on April 15, 2009

The recent Israeli elections witnessed a revival of the debate among the Palestinian citizens of Israel concerning the meaning of their participation, or the lack thereof, in the electoral process. The disqualification of Arab parties by the Knesset’s Central Elections Committee and the subsequent reversal of the decision by Israel’s high court led to two paradoxical results: on the one hand, it strengthened the doubts of some Palestinians vis-a-vis the fairness and effectiveness of the parliamentary presence of Palestinian representatives; on the other hand, it seems that these events mobilized more Palestinians to vote in order to defend their representation. Nevertheless, the steady decline of the Palestinian turnout in the national elections in recent years maintained its momentum: only 53 percent of the eligible Palestinian voters voted in the February elections. On the backdrop of the falling percentage of turnout and the rise of the Zionist far right wing, explicating and assessing the main positions in this debate — in particular the voices calling for a Palestinian boycott of the Israeli elections — becomes vital.

For full article, visit http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article10461.shtml

Johann Hari: Israel’s Voice of Reason? An Exclusive Interview With Amos Oz

Posted in Interviews, Opinion Pieces by beyondtheborder on April 14, 2009

Oz is sitting in the coffee shop of Joseph’s bookstore in Golder’s Green, north London, looking older and more fragile than his vigorous black-and-white author’s picture. He is 70 now, his hair wispier and whiter. He greets me with a gravelly voice, and we order black coffees. It seems far away and long ago, but Oz once dreamed of bombing this city. He was once a child of what he calls “the Jewish intifada” – the stone-throwing, death-defying Jewish rebellion against British occupation. He believed the state that would emerge from the rubble would be a model of justice and idealism for all mankind. If you were a child in Gaza now, Mr Oz, would you be dreaming the same dreams against Israel? “I don’t even have to imagine the answer to this question – I know it,” he says. “Because I was a kid in Jerusalem in ’48 when the city was besieged, shelled, starved, [and] the water supply [was] cut off. And I know the horror, and I know the despair, and I know the hopelessness, and I know the anger, and I know the frustration.” He says he was “not so much a child as a bundle of self-righteous arguments, a brainwashed little fanatic, a stone-throwing chauvinist. The first words I ever learnt to say in English were ‘British, go home!'”

For full article, visit http://www.huffingtonpost.com/johann-hari/israels-voice-of-reason-a_b_176724.html

Johann Hari: Israel’s Troops Confirm It: They Were Ordered To Commit Atrocities

Posted in News Excerpts, Operation Cast Lead, Opinion Pieces by beyondtheborder on April 14, 2009

None of this had to happen. On the eve of the attack, Ephraim Halevy, the former head of Mossad, said that the way to stop rocket attacks on Israel was to draw Hamas, the elected Palestinian government, into negotiation and compromise – but “Israel, for reasons of its own, did not want to turn the ceasefire into the start of a diplomatic process with Hamas.”

Gideon Levy: The dark religious side of Israel

Posted in Internal Israeli Affairs, Opinion Pieces by beyondtheborder on April 12, 2009

We must admit that this society has rather dark religious aspects. Foreigners landing in Israel might ask themselves what country they’re in: Iran, Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia? In any case, it’s not the liberal, secular and enlightened society it purports to be. Thieves’ hands do not have to be hacked off or women’s faces covered to be a religious country. Just as an occupying state, which controls 3.5 million people lacking basic civil rights, cannot call itself “the only democracy in the Middle East,” so a country that has no bread for a week because of its religion cannot call itself secular and liberal. Actually, there has been increased openness in recent years. More entertainment venues and supermarkets are open on Saturday in some of our cities than ever before, like before the Heichal movie theater riots in Petah Tikva. The dead can finally be buried in a civil ceremony in exchange for a fistful of shekels. But that’s not enough to be able to call ourselves a secular society. We must not delude ourselves: From the cradle to the grave, from marriage to divorce, almost everything is still religious.

For full article, visit http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1077908.html

Israel is profiting from Egypt-Hezbollah quarrel

Posted in Egypt and Palestine, Israel and Egypt, Opinion Pieces by beyondtheborder on April 12, 2009

Israel, which can regard the events with some satisfaction, is keeping a low profile. Hezbollah’s penetration into Egypt, now facing a close race for Mubarak’s successor, leaves no doubt as to Iran’s intentions. This may result in increased security coordination between Israel and Egypt against arms smuggling into the Strip, and will apparently also dictate Cairo’s continued cool stance toward Gaza.

For full article, visit http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1077896.html

Rattling the Cage: The threat from within

Posted in Government, Internal Israeli Affairs, Opinion Pieces by beyondtheborder on April 9, 2009

The truth about our foreign minister – and this is no scoop, it’s old news everywhere, but a lot of people have conveniently forgotten it – is that he used to belong to Kach. He is a one-time member of a murderous anti-Arab movement, one whose ideology is summed up in the chant “death to the Arabs,” one that was banned here and is listed by the US and EU as a terrorist organization.

That was back in 1979, when Lieberman was studying at Hebrew University. “I made out his membership card,” said former Kach general manager Yossi Dayan. “I stapled his photo to a card that said ‘Kach’ and had our symbol on it.”

For full article, visit http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1238562940005&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Amos Harel: What North Korea’s missile means for Israel and Iran

Posted in Internal Israeli Affairs, Israel and Iran, Opinion Pieces by beyondtheborder on April 6, 2009

Obama has already committed to this dialogue, regardless of developments with North Korea. But if he is soft with Pyongyang – if the Iranians get the impression that the new president is not hard enough or experienced enough as a negotiator – Tehran could reach troubling conclusions.

For full article, visit http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1076815.html