All posts in Israel

Inside Israel’s Green Line: Neither Free Nor Fair

A Bedouin Woman in the Faria Valley / Ian W Scott, Flickr

Patrick Strickland - Last week, thousands of Palestinian Israelis marched across the country to commemorate the tragic events of October 2000. At the onset of the Second Intifada, as initially peaceful demonstrations swept Arab cities and villages across Israel, police shot and killed 13 unarmed young men. Until this day, no one has been found guilty let alone tried in a court of law, as Israel has long since refused to charge any of the officers.

Even among many “pro-Palestinian” figures, particularly proponents of the moribund two-state solution, there is a curious consensus that within the Green Line, Israel is a genuinely democratic state that ensures equality among all of its citizens. The state’s failure to secure justice for the families of the October 2000 victims is one of many examples that illustrate how this notion is both unfounded and inaccurate.

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Beinart’s Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Proposal Leaves Out Palestinian Refugees

A young boy in the Palestinian refugee camp of Talbieh in Jordan

A young boy in the Palestinian refugee camp of Talbieh in Jordan / Omar Chatriwala, Flickr

Writing in the New York Times, author Peter Beinart writes in support of a boycott and divestment campaign against illegal settlements in the West Bank.  His proposal is to boycott the products of settlements but to strongly support Israel proper and to oppose efforts to boycott Israel within the green line.

Beinart sees Israel’s expansion into the West Bank as creating “an entity of dubious democratic legitimacy, given that millions of West Bank Palestinians are barred from citizenship and the right to vote in the state that controls their lives.”  He proposes calling the occupied territories “non-democratic” Israel, in distinction to the “democratic” Israel inside the Green Line.  Thus, he favors boycott and divestment against settlements, but not against what he terms “democratic” Israel.  Beinart is right that it is time for pressure on the non-democratic elements of Israel.  But Beinart doesn’t go far enough in recognizing what those non-democratic elements are.

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Does an Israeli war with Iran mean another war with Hezbollah?

Hezbollah graffiti in Beirut

Hezbollah graffiti in Beirut / Omar Chatriwala, Flickr

Nathan Patin - Tensions between Iran and Israel over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program may soon erupt into armed conflict. That is if we are to believe key officials in both the American and Israeli governments who have recently made statements to the effect that a preemptive Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, if it is to happen, will come sooner rather than later.

If the big question this spring whether or not Israel is going to attack Iran, the runner-up has to be how Iran would respond. Opinions are varied, ranging from Iran doing nothing to sparking a regional war. While much is still unknown of Iran’s ballistic missile capabilities, there does seem to be general agreement among experts, and certainly also among Israeli leaders, that casualties would be relatively low and thus not enough of a deterrent for an Israeli strike. But ballistic missiles aren’t the only means by which Iran can retaliate. Israel must also consider a possible barrage of missile attacks from Iranian proxies in Lebanon and Gaza.

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Wake Up and Smell The (Decades Old) Coffee

Writing in the newspaper Ha’aretz earlier last month, columnist Gideon Levy describes the double standard of the Israeli reaction to an attack by Israeli settlers on an Israeli Defense Force base.  How could the rock that scratched the Israeli commander’s forehead have had such a greater impact, he asks, on Israeli public opinion than the teargas canister that killed Palestinian activist Mustafa Tamimi four days earlier?

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Getting beyond Gilad Shalit, and learning from suffering

After Over Five Years: Gilad Shalit Reunites With His Father

The return of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit after 5 years in captivity is a cause for celebration.  Shalit’s capture and captivity were terribly painful for his family, Israelis in general, and the larger world Jewish community.  The Israeli ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, eloquently articulated the pain suffered by Israelis during Shalit’s captivity.  Oren also talked about the risks that Israelis face daily, and the impact of the conflict on Israel.  He described the personal distress felt at the loss of a very close family member, an all too common occurrence for Israelis, and Oren described having a son who was shot.  No family should have to suffer the pain of such violence.

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