There are hundreds of thousands of apps available for smartphones and tablets, but none let me play lead peace negotiator for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. None let me play with border configurations, settler and refugee moves, housing, water distribution rights or police and military placements. I can’t even play with who gets to administer and guard Jerusalem holy sites. All I can download are a few anodyne Palestinian or Israeli apps primarily geared toward a boorish target demographic.
Why not a Gaza blockade app? There’s got to be a market to play something like Brick Breaker with the smuggling tunnels, now that the Egyptian” and Turkish Flotilla “springs” have sprung a leakier blockade. Why not build off of the bestselling iPhone Pocket God game to create different winning (and supremely enforceable) Palestinian and Israeli peace scenarios?
Continue reading “Gaming Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations” »
I decided to go to the protest in Tel Aviv two weekends ago. The sheer number of people blew me away; it was literally a sea of people. Some were blowing horns, some were dancing, some were banging on drums, and they all had one thing in common – exhaustion from the high cost of living and deteriorating social infrastructure. Under the banner “the people want social justice”, Israelis from the north to the south are demanding a speedy remedy to the high price of living. Yet, not once at the protests, or the tents on Rothschild Boulevard, from where the social protests began, or in the mainstream media have I heard someone make the fundamental connection between the high costs associated with the occupation and the worsening plight of Israeli citizens.
According to some, leaving the occupation out of the equation is intentional; it is derived
in large part from a fear of discrediting the protestors’ demands. In other words, for this movement to have broad appeal, it must not be taken hostage by the left-right divide. And no better way to show the Netanyahu government that this protest is more than just a few left-wingers than to have Yesha Council Chairman Danny Dayan visit the tents on Rothschild Blvd to show his support. Dayan’s (surprise) visit prompted one of the protest leaders to comment that
“this is a struggle of all the people of Israel; the price of living here is something that affects all of use, regardless of our political standing”.
Continue reading “The Occupation: The Elephant in the Room” »
Joseph Glatzer, Aslan Media - It has been a long time coming, but the moment the “international community” has been dreading is finally upon us. The era of peace in the Middle East is about to come to an end. By peace I mean the “peace process.”
Negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians have been going on for more than 20 years and there is still no Palestinian state. This is despite the fact that the State of Palestine was supposed to be established by 1998 according to the Oslo Accords, which both parties signed in 1993.
Negotiations last broke down in September of 2010, when Israel refused to halt settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority (whose term has long expired), has refused to re-enter talks with Israel ever since. In the scorching heat of the Arab Spring and with no realistic path to statehood in sight, the P.A. has launched a media/diplomatic blitz to announce it is taking its case for unilateral statehood directly to the UN.
Continue reading “The End of "Peace" in the Middle East” »
Karina Piser - I am consistently flabbergasted by the U.S.’s unprecedented ability to befriend the world’s most anti-democratic leaders while touting its identity as the ultimate democratic state.
It becomes increasingly difficult to take democracy seriously when the House of Representatives supports President Obama’s use of his diplomatic capital to block the Palestinian bid for statehood at the U.N., in favor of the U.S.’s longstanding relationship with Israel–”the only democracy in the Middle East”–whose boycott law, along with last week’s proposed bill to institutionalize second-class status for Arab citizens, makes me question its democratic character.
The recently proposed Knesset bill is not the first example of Israel’s institutionalized discrimination against its Arab citizens. The last decade has seen a slew of laws promoting inequality, like a 2011 bill that allowed community segregation and another from 2003 that was extended in 2008, blocking a Palestinian’s ability to gain Israeli citizenship through marriage.
Continue reading “Does the Mideast’s ‘only democracy’ see ‘democratic’ values as a threat?” »