September 6, 2011
Julia Bacha spoke on an important topic at TED:
In 2003, the Palestinian village of Budrus mounted a 10-month-long nonviolent protest to stop a barrier being built across their olive groves. Did you hear about it? Didn’t think so. Brazilian filmmaker Julia Bacha asks why we only pay attention to violence in the Israel-Palestine conflict — and not to the nonviolent leaders who may one day bring peace.
June 6, 2011
It is nothing less than throwing gasoline on a fire when Israel kills 22 unarmed, non-violent Palestinian protesters.
May 28, 2011
Drink your morning coffee, sit back, do your Saturday cleaning, and enjoy Bibi’s pep talk to the U.S. Congress (which gave him 27 standing ovations compared to Obama’s 25 before him. When was the last time this happened and it was labeled anything else but unpatriotic and inciting treason?)
Also, when it’s done, check out this map and see how difficult it would be to establish a two-state solution between Israel and Palestine.
May 27, 2011
“You take away the money from Israel? No. That’s something we can’t do. Do I like foreign aid? Sometimes, but not every time. Don’t like giving money to our enemies, but I love giving money to Israel. And so there’s a picture there that people realize that, we stop helping Israel, we lose God’s hand and we’re in big time trouble,” – Congressman Dan Webster (R-FL).
Mind you, we give $2.4 billion per year to Israel. Some necessary background info for the newly informed:
Webster’s religious argument for assisting Israel echos the belief of Christian Zioniststhat Israel will play a central role in the apocalyptic end-times. One interpretation of the Bible, held by a large portion of Christian evangelicals, is that the return of Jesusrequires that Jews control the “Holy Land.” Over the last two decades, both Israeli lobbyists and right-wing Christians have harnessed this growing belief to build support for Israeli government actions and for unchecked taxpayer assistance to the Israeli military.
May 26, 2011
They are mentioned over and over in the media cycle. We might as brush up on the details:
In the end, Obama’s mentioning of returning to 1967 borders shouldn’t be such a bloody surprise. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and Benjamin Netanyahu issued a joint statement last year agreeing on this:
The Prime Minister and the Secretary agreed on the importance of continuing direct negotiations to achieve our goals. The Secretary reiterated that “the United States believes that through good-faith negotiations, the parties can mutually agree on an outcome which ends the conflict and reconciles the Palestinian goal of an independent and viable state, based on the 1967 lines, with agreed swaps, and the Israeli goal of a Jewish state with secure and recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments and meet Israeli security requirements.” Those requirements will be fully taken into account in any future peace agreement.
In the end, it is questionable if Bibi even wants peace. His refusal to move and thus drag his feet angers Palestinians, thus creating reason for him not to move.
May 24, 2011
“The reality, Mr. President, is that change – thanks to which you were elected, and in which you believe – is the thing that Israel in general and Netanyahu in particular fear most. The reality is that the State of Israel has become accustomed to the present situation and does not recognize itself without it. Israel has existed longer with the occupation than without it; it has existed for most of its years with no border and is deathly afraid of change,” - Merav Michaeli.
Hitting the nail on the head.
May 24, 2011
“Obama has adopted in these speeches what might be termed the Mafia Gambit: the implied threat to Israel that either it accepts the ’1967 Auschwitz borders’ or runs the gauntlet of UN recognition and further western delegitimisation… The fact is that, for all his ludicrous protestations of friendship towards Israel, Obama believes the Palestinians have a legitimate grievance over the absence of their state. He thus believes their propaganda of historical falsehoods and murderous blood libels. He therefore believes it is a just solution to reward murderous aggression. And that makes Obama a threat not just to Israel but to free societies everywhere,” - Melanie Phillips.
H/T: The Dish
May 24, 2011
So says the AIPAC chair. Wow:
“In a world which is demonstrably on the side of the Palestinians and Arabs – where Israel stands virtually alone – the United States has a special role to play,” said the AIPAC director. “When the United States is even-handed, Israel is automatically at a disadvantage, tilting the diplomatic playing field overwhelmingly toward the Palestinians and Arabs.”
May 23, 2011
Senator Marco Rubio writes the love letter.
In Rubio’s letter, he sees it as America’s duty to make decisions every time with Israel’s safety first (and by default everyone else’s safety as secondary). Next, he does not mention land grabs as acts of injustice towards Palestinians but gladly highlights Hamas’s terrorist behavior. Why is one form of violence and unfairness essentially better than another form? Taking peoples land is not terrorism but isn’t just. Why is the former always blindly justified?
May 23, 2011
Peter Kirsanow asks another good slew of questions in related to this discussion.
May 23, 2011
Many will say that there is little rational reason for dealing with Hamas. They are a terrorist group that cannot be reasoned with when it comes to a two-state solution for Palestine/Israel. The question I have is this: how much of American/Israeli behavior or ideology has polarized this issue and turned many to extremist stances? In a way, Benjamin Netayanhu needs Hamas to continue to act like lunatics to prop up his stance that there is no need for a two state solution. Land grabs by Israel do much to anger, frustrate, and radicalize Palestinians:
Of course Hamas is a problem, and I have no sympathy either for its terror tactics or for the rabid anti-Semitism and primitive, fundamentalist language of its charter. But research shows that peace can never be achieved by leaving out a major player. Whether we like it or not, Hamas is an integral part of Palestinian society.
The smart way to deal with Hamas is to force it to change its position by strengthening Fatah’s moderate line. Hamas is already under great pressure because of the ongoing changes in the Arab world: they may soon be bereft of any power-base outside the Palestinian territories, hence their hurry for reconciliation with Fatah.
International recognition of Palestine will be credited to Fatah; and if Israel dramatically expands the areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority, this will further convince Palestinians, that Hamas’ hard-line policies are opposed to their interests.
The problem is that Netanyahu has no motivation to maneuver Hamas into moderation, because an extremist Hamas is really Netanyahu’s best friend. A Hamas that moderates its stance and takes the way of the IRA from a terror organization to a legitimate party in a peace process is an existential threat to Netanyahu’s political future. Without a hard-line Hamas, he would be left with no case against a Palestinian state, and he would have to face open conflict with the hard-line right-wingers in his own party and in his coalition in actual moves towards peace.
Expect Netanyahu to do everything to torpedo recognition of Palestine; expect him to try to weaken Fatah, Abu Mazen and Fayyad, and thus to strengthen Hamas’ extremist wing. As a result, Israel’s legitimacy will indeed come under ever more fire. But let’s face it: this is good for Netanyahu. No right-wing politician ever stayed in power if he didn’t succeed in frightening his electorate to death.
May 23, 2011
With Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech coming up in front of the U.S. Congress, one wonders what he will say and mean (and even how boisterous a standing ovation he will receive in comparison to other foreign leaders or even our own POTUS):
Netanyahu’s real positions are basically analogous the three Arab “No” in the infamous 1967 Khartoum declaration: He says no to a viable Palestinian state; he doesn’t want an agreement with them; and, ultimately, he doesn’t really want negotiations with them. The whole rest, from the Bar-Ilan speech to his latest statement is make-believe to keep international pressure at bay and claim that he really wants a peace agreement.
But Netanyahu’s international credibility is at a total low. Foreign diplomats, politicians or journalists I speak to do not believe a word of Netanyahu’s rhetoric about the Palestinians as peace-refuseniks. By bogging down peace negotiations with his endless bickering about settlement construction, he was just trying to buy time. This, together with keeping Lieberman in the foreign ministry, has totally eroded his international trustworthiness.
Netanyahu will try to mobilize his last allies, AIPAC and the Republicans in Congress, to put pressure on Obama to torpedo recognition of Palestine. He will give his usual spiel about Israel’s being in existential danger; he will talk about the nature of worldwide terror. Most of all he will warn that Israel’s existential legitimacy is under threat.
May 23, 2011
Glenn Greenwald has a long piece on Obama’s stance towards Israel/Palestine that is worth a full read. Money quote:
I don’t believe Obama is guided in these efforts by any principled concern or moral empathy for the plight of Palestinians or the injustice of the 45-year-old occupation; it seems clear that he isn’t ever driven by considerations of that sort. But what he is, at least compared to the prior President, is a competent technocrat, a more calculating imperial manager, able to rationally assess costs and benefits with a ruthless analytical stoicism. And Obama has been surrounded by top advisers — such as Gen. James Jones and David Petraeus – who clearly recognize, and have publicly said, that the festering Israeli/Palestinian conflict, and the (obviously accurate) perception in the Muslim world that the U.S. enables Israel, is harmful in numerous ways to U.S. interests in the region. Especially with largely anti-Israel Arab public opinion starting to supplant easily manipulated, U.S.-serving Arab tyrants, it is vital — for what the U.S. government perceives to be its interests in the region — that Israel reach a peace agreement, and that in turn requires that the U.S. use its leverage to pressure Israel to do things it plainly does not want to do.
Regardless of Obama’s intentions here — and that remains unclear — a prerequisite to any meaningful change in U.S./Israel policy is the defeat of those who want to suppress the debate entirely. Those are the people now wildly demonizing the President for his tepid Middle East speech, and it’s why it is incumbent upon anyone who desires real change in this area to defend him from those attacks. At the very least, the notion that defying the Israeli Government is some sort of supreme evil — and, conversely, that loyalty to that government is a solemn duty — needs to be demolished.
May 22, 2011
Are we in the inside only to leave?
Leaving is just for the masks,
for pulpits and conventions.
Leaving is just
for the siege-that-comes-from-within,
the siege that comes from the Bedouin’s loins,
the siege of the brethren
tarnished by the taste of the blade
and the stink of crows.
We will not leave!
Outside they’re blocking the exits
and offering their blessings to the impostor,
Almighty God for our deaths.
” by Taha Muhammad Ali. Photo of the Qalandia checkpoint between Ramallah and Jerusalem on May 13, 2011 by Flickr user Omar Robert Hamilton
May 21, 2011
Here is his speech that has all of the Zionists / Israel lovers / Arab haters mad. More commentary to come.
October 25, 2010
WE ALL GOOD PEOPLE pt. 1 (ISRAEL/PALESTINE) from Grant Slater on Vimeo.
*This song reminds me of two middle school students I had a few weeks back. One was a boy from Palestine and the other was a girl from Israel. That sat next to each other and seemed to get a long just fine. The boy came up to me at the end of class and showed me a Palestinian coin.
June 11, 2010
Below is a slew of commentaries on the current state of affairs with Israel.
Richard Cohen starts out:
The greatest mistake Israel could make at the moment is to forget that Israel itself is a mistake. It is an honest mistake, a well-intentioned mistake, a mistake for which no one is culpable, but the idea of creating a nation of European Jews in an area of Arab Muslims (and some Christians) has produced a century of warfare and terrorism of the sort we are seeing now. Israel fights Hezbollah in the north and Hamas in the south, but its most formidable enemy is history itself.
Sullivan gives a bit of commentary:
“When the lives and homes of hundreds of thousands are permanently and suddenly altered without their permission and against their religious beliefs, they will react. When families are still turfed out of their homes to make way for strangers of a different religious background, rage is a perfectly defensible, and rational, response. History matters…”
June 9, 2010
Two from the Philadelphia Inquirerer:
I was amused by the knee-jerk, anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian outrage at the killing of nine peace activists who were in the process of beating to death Israeli soldiers armed with paintball guns (“Outcry, crisis after deadly raid by Israel,” June 1).
You would think that this group would at least wait a couple of hours so that it could become acquainted with the actual facts. The simple truth is that the facts don’t matter. What does matter is that Israel’s opponents have been provided an opportunity to once again slander, debase, and attack Israel.
Although the death of anyone is upsetting, these terrorists – I mean peace activists – were really agents of a group known as IHH, a Turkish charity that has direct ties to al-Queda and has been implicated in the plot to bomb Los Angeles International Airport in 2006. IHH leaders state openly that the real purpose of this flotilla was to provoke a confrontation with Israel in order to damage its image in the world. Tony Auth couldn’t resist the bait (cartoon, Wednesday).
And the 2nd:
A letter Thursday (“Israel has right to inspect cargo”) suggests that nonlethal cargo will be swiftly sent to Gaza after inspection by Israel. Problem: Cement is needed to rebuild homes smashed during the Israeli offensive into Gaza in 2008. Are Israelis allowing cement to be imported? No; cement might be used by Hamas to build fortifications, so homes that were wrecked years ago sit unrepaired today.
It would be nice to think that food was getting through in sufficient quantities, but a United Nations fact-finding mission reported that 60 percent of the households were short on food, 75 percent were reliant upon food aid, and 60 percent do not have daily access to water. They also lack access to health care and education for their children.
Gaza is a land that is under siege by a nation that does not want Palestinians to live healthy lives; that wants to “put the Palestinians on a diet.” Dov Weisglass, an adviser to Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, said that earlier this year.
I don’t know enough about this dense topic to take a side.