Operation Cast Lead (winter 2008-9) is emblematic of everything that is wrong with Israel’s approach to Gaza. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a political conflict to which there is no military solution. Yet Israel persists in shunning diplomacy and relying on brute military force – and not as a last resort but as a first resort.
Operation Cast Lead, the first of several incursions by Israel, killed 1,417 Palestinians and just 13 Israelis. Chillingly, the generals call their repeated bombardments ‘mowing the lawn’
Every day that Netanyahu chooses Trump and fundamentalism over the pro-democracy, pro-equality, pro-pluralism views of diaspora Jews, is a great day for the Palestinian cause.
No Israeli prime minister, no Israeli government and no consortium of allies has done nearly as much – inadvertently, to be sure – to bring the cause and the grievances of the Palestinians front and center.
Angela Davis, activist and scholar, was set to receive the prestigious Fred Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award next month from the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. After the event was abruptly cancelled and the award rescinded, it came to light that the “Jewish community” had been the primary impetus for the change, pressuring the BCRI board to reverse their decision because of Davis’ advocacy for Palestine and Palestinians.
Davis remains firmly on the side of justice in spite of her disappointment, and calls for an honest, robust dialogue instead of this shutdown.
Author Amira Hass, a Jewish Israeli, pressed the Israeli government for an explanation for the sharp increase in refusals to allow Palestinians access to their land that was cut off by the Separation Wall. The response appears to be little more than a runaround; official reasons given for denial of permits have often been dismissive: the plot of land in question is “too small to cultivate” or the request was “fraudulent.”
Why would 2019 be any different from 2018? Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes goes on unabated, as though it were a completely legal occurrence. In fact, 2018 saw a 21% increase over 2017.
Mizrahi academics and activists demand Israel’s High Court strike down the Jewish Nation-State Law, saying it erases their cultural legacy and perpetuates injustices against both them and Palestinian citizens of Israel. As of 2005, 61% of Israeli Jews were of full or partial Mizrahi ancestry.
Israel is already on legal shaky ground when it comes to its prison system, with 5,500 Palestinian prisoners currently incarcerated, a 99% conviction rate for Palestinian brought to court, and sentences up to 20 years for throwing stones.
The Israeli security minister has unveiled new plans to make the prison experience even more problematic, such as limiting water supplies and cutting number of family visits.
Past experience should suggest to Israel that more vigorous oppression only makes Palestinians more determined and shines a brighter light on the illegal occupation – but as usual, the option of greater cruelty is too attractive to resist.
Razan Al-Najjar’s death by sniper last June was briefly newsworthy; she was briefly demonized by Israel, then the world forgot about her.
But the NYT chose to investigate, examining 1,000 photos and videos, interviewing experts and over 30 eyewitnesses, and piecing the event together using Israeli 3-D software.
The conclusion: the shooting should never have taken place – no one was endangering Israeli soldiers or the border, and medics were in plain view – and Israel has done little to decrease the frequency of these incidents.
Her death is at best reckless, at worst a war crime.
Palestinians will be pushing the envelope in January as they apply for full membership in the United Nations. The body has shown sympathy and support for the Palestinian plight, but the US has, through its Security Council veto, thwarted every effort to do anything constructive for the people.
In 2018, the government advanced thousands of housing units, including most which can be found in isolated settlements deep inside the West Bank, outside Israel’s pre-1967 borders. These are settlements that, in any two-state solution, Israel will have to evacuate. According to Peace Now, those who build these places have no intention of achieving peace and a two-state solution.
The latest announcement, which as an aside was cynically passed on Christmas while most Western governments are on holiday, shows that Netanyahu is willing to sacrifice Israeli interests in favor of an election gift to the settlers in an attempt to attract a few more votes from his right-wing flank.
The International Middle East Media Center reports on the ongoing acts of Israeli injustice and violence that most other media don’t bother with. Not a day goes by – including holidays – without abductions, settler brutality, shootings, and often even deaths.
For the 11th year, Gaza’s Christian minority celebrates Christmas under Israeli siege, unable to join family in West Bank. Travel requests are mostly denied or ignored from an occupying country that claims to promote freedom of religion and worship.
Why do many Hasidic Jews abstain from studying the Torah at Christmas? The mythology is that back in the day, Christians liked to persecute Jews during the holiday But according to an authority on the subject, the practice was originally based on a superstition that on Christmas, Jesus had to spend the day “wander[ing] in all pits of excrement or latrines throughout the world” – and studying Torah gave him respite from this torture.
As Israel criticizes Palestinians for their legal resistance against an illegal occupation, illegal Israeli settlers attack Palestinians on a daily basis – often with protection from the Israeli military – and go unpunished. Sometimes they destroy crops, sometimes vehicles; sometimes it’s graffiti; this week a member of the Israeli parliament called for open violence, and settlers obeyed.
A former Birthright trip coordinator and leader’s bold opinion: young Jews on Birthright trips are aware of world events, and shouldn’t have to feel like they’re engaging with a sanitized and whitewashed version of Israel. When tour organizers don’t show them realities like the occupation, they are painting an incomplete and dishonest picture of what’s happening on the ground. Showing and telling the truth will make birthrighters more likely to engage and take action.
Before the birth of modern Israel, Zionist groups – newly arrived in Palestine – engaged in armed struggle against the British military, whom they labelled as “occupiers.” But now that the tables have turned (and the UN has enshrined the right of armed struggle as a vehicle of indigenous liberation) the Israeli occupation refuses to recognize the Palestinian resistance as legitimate.
Israeli military lives lost, while tragic, are sacrifices made willingly by the occupier who is fully aware that the resistance is ongoing.
Palestinians’ struggle for self-determination is a difficult, costly march; yet history teaches there is simply no other choice. Silence is surrender. To be silent is to betray all those who have come before and all those yet to follow.