Posts tagged ‘Israel-Palestine’

2011/03/02

Israel Allowing Gazans To Sell Tomatoes – Issues Worldwide Press Release


Israel today issued a press release to announce it was “answering Western demands” when it “further eased its blockade” of the people of Gaza today by permitting “a truckload of cherry tomatoes destined for Europe.”

The press release provided details of the truck’s route through a main crossing as well as an Israeli Defense Ministry statement explaining how the shipment would go with other the produce to Europe.

Since 2007, 184 truckloads of strawberries, carnations and peppers have been exported via Israel to Europe, the Israeli press release said.

Human rights groups say the embargo has worsened economic conditions for the 1.5 million Palestinians living in Gaza. The United Nations World Food Program estimates 80% of Gaza’s people live in poverty.

Israeli settler groups expressed outrage at the tomato truck, describing it as Israeli “economic aid to the Gaza Strip.”

2011/02/23

The Palestinian Cage House


The al-Ghirayib family lives in one of the stranger manifestations of Israel’s 43-year occupation of the West Bank: a Palestinian house inside a metal cage inside an Israeli settlement.

The family’s 10 members, four of them children, can only reach the house via a 40-yard passageway connecting them to the Arab village of Beit Ijza farther down a hill. The passageway passes over a road used by Israeli army jeeps and is lined on both sides with a 24-foot-high heavy-duty metal fence.

The same fence rings the simple one-story house, separating it from the surrounding settlement houses. Some of those dwellings are so close that the family can hear the insults shouted by a nearby Jewish neighbor.

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2011/02/22

Some Israelis See The Danger In US Veto

Thank You, Obama, For Showing The Israeli Left Your True Colors by Akiva Eldar (for Ha’aretz)

The decision by 2010 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Barack Obama, to veto a resolution urging Israel to refrain from activities deemed subversive to peace efforts represents a victory of domestic politics over foreign policy in the world’s leading superpower. The lame excuse that denunciation of construction in the settlements would harm “the peace process” constitutes a victory of opportunism over morality.

Just two weeks ago, during the demonstration in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared that the United States honors “the universal right of all persons to live in freedom.” Even Israel’s former prime minister, Ehud Olmert, a graduate of the “nationalist camp,” argues in his book that settlements violate human rights, the quality of life and freedom of movement of the Palestinians.

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2011/02/18

US Vetoes UN Resolution On Settlements

The Obama administration on Friday cast its first ever veto in the UN Security Council, blocking a Palestinian-backed draft resolution that denounced Israel’s settlement policy as an illegal obstacle to peace efforts in the Middle East.

The US vote killed a resolution that enjoyed the backing of the 14 other members of the UN Security Council and isolated the United States on a crucial Middle East matter at a time of political upheaval in the region.

The US action also ended an urgent last-minute diplomatic campaign, involving conversations between President Obama and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, to convince the Palestinians to drop their resolution in favor of a milder statement rebuking Israel for constructing new settlements in seized Arab lands.

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2011/02/18

Obama’s Choice For Palestine


Obama’s Choice by Henry Siegman, President of the U.S./Middle East Project. This article is based on a study he prepared for the Norwegian Peacebuilding Centre (Noref) in Oslo.

Virtually overnight, the Arab Middle East has been irrevocably transformed. The implications for America’s vital interests in the region and for Israel-Palestine peacemaking will be far-reaching. Most observers seem to agree that Israeli fears of the growing political influence of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and of a resurgence of Hamas in the West Bank end what little prospect for an Israeli-Palestinian accord might have survived the latest deadlock in the US-brokered peace talks. But in reality there was never the slightest possibility of the parties reaching agreement. Benjamin Netanyahu and his government were convinced they had bested Obama in their confrontation over continued settlement construction, and could now continue gobbling up the West Bank with impunity, disregarding not only American interests but international law and all previous agreements committing Israel to halting the construction of settlements and dismantling all its illegal outposts. (Despite repeated promises, not only were the illegal outposts not removed, many were converted into full-blown settlements.) The long-planned goal of Israel’s colonial enterprise – establishing irreversible control over Palestine through its settlements – was clearly in sight, if not already an accomplished fact.

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2011/02/18

US To Support UN Anti-Settlement Vote


Ed. Note: Feb. 19, 2011: Foreign Policy Magazine sucks.

Foreign Policy magazine is reporting that the US has informed Arab governments that it will support a UN Security Council statement reaffirming that the 15-nation body “does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity,” a move aimed at avoiding the prospect of having to veto a stronger Palestinian resolution calling the settlements illegal.

The US position signaled a willingness to break with Israel and join others in the council in sending a strong message to its key ally to stop its construction of new settlements.

In the US-backed draft statement, the Security Council “expresses its strong opposition to any unilateral actions by any party, which cannot prejudge the outcome of negotiations and will not be recognized by the international community, and reaffirms that it does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity, which is a serious obstacle to the peace process.” The statement also condemns “all forms of violence, including rocket fire from Gaza, and stresses the need for calm and security for both peoples.”

Complete article via Foreign Policy

2011/02/15

Will Israel Permit Palestinians To Protest?

As Egyptian protesters overwhelmed the streets with celebration at their ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, Israel can no longer afford to ignore or stifle the nonviolent, popular resistance movements of the Palestinian people. These groups carry a remarkable message of healing for a region wracked with instability and division – but their ranks are losing hope. And the alternatives for such a deeply frustrated people are not peaceful protests.

Israel should be less concerned with the presence of Palestinian nonviolent demonstration movements than with what it would mean for them to fail.

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2011/02/14

Why Can’t Israel Support People In Egypt?


[Ed. Note: Looking at the world as it once was, as it is today and how it could be tomorrow, one of the most vexing questions I have is “How can Israel be so blind to what it has become?”

I will forever remember a television interview many years ago in which Shimon Peres retold how the Oslo negotiations with Yasser Arafat started off poorly. Peres and Yitzhak Rabin were frustrated by Palestinians disinterest in details of various Israeli proposals.

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2011/02/14

Abu Mazen To Cabinet: Get Out!


Reuters is reporting that the Palestinian cabinet will tender resignations today after which Prime Minister Salam Fayyad will select new ministers at the request of President Mahmoud Abbas.

The shake-up was long demanded by Fayyad and some in Abbas’s Fatah faction, according to the Reuters report.

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2011/02/11

A Free Egypt Can Be Good for Israel

While Israel has legitimate concerns regarding its future alongside an Egypt that will be reflecting the will of its people, democratization could also be to Israel’s benefit. But attention needs to be paid to the opportunity of creating a true peace between two peoples rather than between two governments.

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2011/02/11

HRW 2011: Israel & Palestinian Territories

The human rights crisis in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) continued in 2010, despite marginal improvements. After Israeli commandos enforcing the naval blockade of Gaza killed nine civilians on a flotilla attempting to run the blockade, Israel announced it would ease the severe import restrictions on the territory. Still, Israel continued to block exports, having a devastating impact on the Gaza economy.

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2011/02/08

Rethinking Egypt, Israel Relations

Egypt, Israel And A Strategic Reconsideration
By George Friedman

The events in Egypt have sent shock waves through Israel. The 1978 Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel have been the bedrock of Israeli national security. In three of the four wars Israel fought before the accords, a catastrophic outcome for Israel was conceivable. In 1948, 1967 and 1973, credible scenarios existed in which the Israelis were defeated and the state of Israel ceased to exist. In 1973, it appeared for several days that one of those scenarios was unfolding.

The survival of Israel was no longer at stake after 1978. In the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, the various Palestinian intifadas and the wars with Hezbollah in 2006 and Hamas in Gaza in 2008, Israeli interests were involved, but not survival. There is a huge difference between the two. Israel had achieved a geopolitical ideal after 1978 in which it had divided and effectively made peace with two of the four Arab states that bordered it, and neutralized one of those states. The treaty with Egypt removed the threat to the Negev and the southern coastal approaches to Tel Aviv.

The agreement with Jordan in 1994, which formalized a long-standing relationship, secured the longest and most vulnerable border along the Jordan River. The situation in Lebanon was such that whatever threat emerged from there was limited. Only Syria remained hostile but, by itself, it could not threaten Israel. Damascus was far more focused on Lebanon anyway. As for the Palestinians, they posed a problem for Israel, but without the foreign military forces along the frontiers, the Palestinians could trouble but not destroy Israel. Israel’s existence was not at stake, nor was it an issue for 33 years.

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2011/02/08

Queen Isabella: No Regrets

During a visit to the Israeli-occupied West Bank city of Hebron, Spain’s Foreign Minister Trinidad Jiménez came under verbal attack by members of a settler group that had requested to meet with her. Settlers shouted “anti-Semite,” “Israel-hater” and “Get out of here!” as Jiménez left.

The settler group had hoped to persuade Jiménez to help stop the Spanish government’s support for construction of Palestinian apartments in Hebron, near the Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba.

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2011/02/05

Who Is Gideon Levy?

Gideon Levy, son of Holocaust survivors and former aide to Shimon Peres, has been a columnist for Israel’s oldest daily newspaper, Ha’aretz, for nearly 30 years.

An interview with Levy conducted by Robert Hirschfield for In These Times is available here.

An extensive (and very valuable) video interview conducted by author and Columbia University professor Mahmood Mamdani at an event held at Columbia University in which Levy talks about his coverage of the Israeli occupation of Gaza over the past two decades is available on the Book-TV website here.

2011/02/05

One For You, Fifty For Me, One For You…


Ed. Note: The actual headline read: Netanyahu Commits To Promoting Arab Construction in East Jerusalem. Unfortunately, successive Israeli governments have always made progress in the press. Progress on the ground? That died with the murder of Rabin by Israel’s own terrorist son, Yigal Amir.

My gut tells me this is, like virtually every other “humanitarian” announcement from the Israeli government, all about publicity and not at all about reality. Like the press conference announcing that the children of Gaza can have chocolate –  but two-plus years later they’re still waiting for a handful of M&M’s. Yeah, chocolate can be used in explosives.

Here’s the story anyway, from Ha’aretz of all places, which loyally reported it:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the international community’s Middle East envoy, Tony Blair, announced Friday a series of gestures that Israel will make to the Palestinians, including a promise to support Arab construction in East Jerusalem.

“In respect of East Jerusalem, the Government of Israel has agreed to encourage the implementation of all projects that abide by municipal regulations that will improve infrastructure there for Palestinians, including in particular housing, starting with two projects in East Jerusalem,” Blair announced.

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2011/02/04

The War to Begin All Wars

If you can’t read the books, read the reviews…

Gershom Gorenberg’s extraordinarily valuable review and critique of the very noteworthy 1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War by Benny Morris, Making Israel edited by Benny Morris, and A History of Palestine: From the Ottoman Conquest to the Founding of the State of Israel by Gudrun Krämer.

The War to Begin All Wars
By Gershom Gorenberg

In 1963 the young Israeli writer A.B. Yehoshua published Facing the Forests, a novella destined to become a classic of Hebrew literature. It is a nightmarish story, the kind of dread-filled dream from which you awake shuddering, about a student who takes a job as a watchman in one of Israel’s newly planted forests. His task is to watch day and night for fire; his only company is an old Arab whose tongue was cut out in “the war”—meaning Israel’s war of independence in 1948—and the Arab’s young daughter. The forest, as the watchman learns, hides the ruins of an Arab village, the remains of an erased past: once other people lived here, members of a different nation. Their departure has to do with vague, unrecorded violence.

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2011/02/03

Will Democracy Become Islam’s Best Friend?


Millions of people in the Middle East want freedom, just as Eastern Europeans once did. Twenty years ago, the West was a role model, but it betrays its own values. In doing so, it is also strengthening its enemy: militant Islamism.

“Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe – because, in the long run, stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty.”

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2011/02/03

Jimmy Carter Sued By Supporters of Israel

Five readers of Jimmy Carter’s book, “Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid,” have filed a $5 million dollar federal lawsuit against the former US president for “falsely marketing as true and accurate a book that is neither” and “violating consumer protection laws by knowingly publishing inaccurate information while promoting a book as factual.”

Segments of Carter’s book described harsh conditions under which Palestinians have lived during the 44-year Israeli occupation.

Two of the five claimants hold dual-citizenship in Israel and the US.

via Jerusalem Post

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