Showing posts with label Israel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Israel. Show all posts

Monday, September 01, 2014

London Has Denounced It. So Has Washington. Why the Complicit Silence from Canada?

Israel has just taken another massive bite out of the Palestinian West Bank homeland.  Britain has condemned the land grab, so has Washington.

As for Canada, "what land grab?"  As Harper reminds us, we don't practice sociology.  It took Mulcair and Trudeau to demonstrate that we don't do integrity either, not when we're suckholing for votes.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

The Shooting May Have Stopped But, For Civilians, Gaza's Suffering Deepens.

For good and obvious reasons, destruction of essential civilian infrastructure such as water supply and sewage systems is prohibited by the laws of war.  Attacking such targets is a war crime.

For Israel, it's not just a war crime.  It's a strategy and it's called Dahiyeh. It's the deliberate targeting of civilians; their homes, schools and hospitals; and the water plants and sewage systems essential for public health and safety.

When Israel began waging Dahiyeh against Gaza Palestinians in July, it sent warplanes in to take down the water station and sewage plants.  Now a group of 30-humanitarian agencies banded together under the name EWASH (Emergency Water Sanitation and Health) warns that two-thirds of the Gazan population is running out of water and the besieged territory is at risk of outbreaks of water-borne diseases.

Israeli destruction of Gaza's sewage infrastructure has led to broken mains and open sewage flooding.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Israel & Palestine - It's All a Game of Who Controls the Narrative

And it's a game in which Israel and its collaborators abroad consistently win.  The side with the loudest, most professional voice - Israel, of course - gets the all important advantage of fixing the beginning of the conflict.  Israel decides what started it and exactly when.  What happened before that carefully selected start point is conveniently omitted by people like Harper & Co, and his associates, J. Trudeau and T. Mulcair.  Le Monde captures this reality:

...inspiring pity is not an effective political weapon; it is better to control the account of what has happened. For decades, we have been told that Israel is “responding” or “retaliating”. The story is always that of a peaceful little state, poorly protected, without a single powerful ally, which manages to win through, sometimes without a scratch. And the confrontation always starts at the precise moment when Israel appears as the victim, shocked by misfortune — an abduction, an attack, an act of aggression, an assassination. A commentator will express indignation that rockets are being fired at civilians; then another will argue that the Israeli “response” was much more murderous. Score, one all, ball still in play.

And everything else, everything that matters, is forgotten: the military occupation of the West Bank, the economic blockade of Gaza, the colonisation of the land (1). News channels never take the time to go into details... 

Israel's "cut and paste" reality is instrumental to its control of the narrative that, in turn, allows its overseas sops to support its butchery as the mere exercise of the right of self-defence.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Is the U.S. Working to Sabotage Its Nuke Deal with Iran?

According to Asia Times, the U.S. is adopting an Israeli policy platform that could scuttle the prospects of a nuke deal with Iran.

The Barack Obama administration's insistence that Iran discuss its ballistic missile program in the negotiations for a comprehensive nuclear agreement brings its position into line with that of Israel and senators who introduced legislation drafted by the pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC aimed at torpedoing the negotiations.

White House spokesman Jay Carney highlighted the new US demand in a statement Wednesday that the Iranians "have to deal with matters related to their ballistic missile program".

Carney cited United Nations Security Council resolution 1929, approved in 2010, which prohibited any activity related to ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including missile launches. "So that's completely agreed by Iran in the Joint Plan of Action," he added.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif not only explicitly contradicted Carney's claim that Iran had agreed to discuss ballistic missiles but warned that a US demand for discussion of its missile program would violate a red line for Iran.

"Nothing except Iran's nuclear activities will be discussed in the talks with the [six powers known as the P5+1], and we have agreed on it," he said, according to Iran's IRNA.

The pushback by Zarif implies that the US position would seriously risk the breakdown of the negotiations if the Obama administration were to persist in making the demand.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

America Inks Nuke Deal with Iran. Israel & House of Saud Outraged.

They've been itching to bomb Tehran,  just looking for any plausible excuse.   Israel has even been set to go it alone, with Saudi backing of course.  Now they're both fuming that Washington may have deflated their preferred pretext - Iran's nuclear bomb project.

The Geneva agreement between Iran and the United States, China, Russia, Britain, Germany, France and the E.U. is really a package of confidence building steps to pave the way for a comprehensive deal to keep nuclear weapons out of Iran.

Both Israel and Saudi Arabia have benefitted from America's decades-old Cold War with Iran.  It has worked out extremely well for both in everything from military aid to a superpower willing to look the other way at persecution and human rights abuses.   The notion of America possibly normalizing relations with Iran is almost too much to bear.

Israel, looking uncomfortably isolated, has made its position clear, with Binyamin Netanyahu condemning the agreement as a "historic mistake". But the reality is that Israel's ability to attack Iranian nuclear facilities – without overt or covert US help – now looks like a hollow threat, for political reasons as well as the limited capabilities of even its formidable air force. It will also fear renewed pressure to come clean about its own nuclear arsenal – still a regional monopoly.

Elsewhere, the discomfort is most obvious in Saudi Arabia and the smaller Gulf states, which have long seen Iran as a greater threat and strategic rival than Israel. Pejorative talk of a "Zionist-Wahhabi" alliance reflects that. King Abdullah, as revealed by WikiLeaks, famously urged Barack Obama to "cut off the head of the [Iranian] snake". Instead, the US president has done a deal with it. The silence in Riyadh on Sunday morning was thunderously eloquent.

Canada wasted no time following Israel's lead with ForMin Baird proclaiming our country to be "deeply skeptical" of the deal.  Windows were shuttered, blinds were drawn and lights were doused across Washington at the pronouncement.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Four Pictures Worth Many Thousand Words

A Vancouver group is targeting the public conscience with an ad campaign to show what has happened to the Palestinian homeland.

Unless you're a Zionist, it's a pretty disturbing but accurate depiction of how the Palestinians are being erased from their homeland.  The point is, it's not over yet.  The aquifer beneath Gaza has been "inadvertently" drained and the U.N. believes that enclave could be unlivable by 2020.  Presumably those Palestinians would have to be relocated to the fractured ghettos inland to the north.

The ads are running on Vancouver's transit system and they're expected to appear on Calgary and Toronto transit vehicles this Fall.  Jewish groups have denounced the images as "derogatory."  Turning logic straight on its head they claim this is a campaign to "wipe Israel off the map."

Stephen Schachter, the co-chair for the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, argued that if advertisements targeted non-Jewish groups, the situation would be taken more seriously.

“I can think of all sorts of other kinds of advertising by other communities, whether it’s sexist, homophobic, anti-immigrant, anti-other-ethnic or religious groups that would be” prohibited, he said.

Yeah, right Steve.  It says a great deal that none of those criticizing these ads take exception to their accuracy.   They can't, they're very accurate.   And they can't take exception to the text.  There is none.  They just don't want people to see the plain truth that these maps so clearly depict.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Israel on Notice - Remove Settlements or Face Justice

The United Nations Human Rights Council has told Israel to remove all settlements from the occupied West Bank or else be prepared to be prosecuted before the International Criminal Court for violations of the Geneva Conventions.

In other words, get out or stand as an outlaw country, a criminal state.  True to form, Israel responded dismissively, calling the demands "counterproductive and unfortunate."

All settlement activity in occupied territory must cease "without preconditions" and Israel "must immediately initiate a process of withdrawal of all settlers", said the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). Israel, it said, was in violation of article 49 of the fourth Geneva convention, which forbids the transfer of civilian populations to occupied territory.

The settlements were "leading to a creeping annexation that prevents the establishment of a contiguous and viable Palestinian state and undermines the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination," it said.

Israel has brazenly flouted international law for decades, ignoring the laws that very much bind it.   It has succeeded only due to the patronage of the west, particularly Canada and the United States.

Dragging Israel before the International Criminal Court is a measure that is long overdue.  We're bound by the same Geneva Conventions that bind Israel.   Maybe we should expect them to be enforced or else admit that we're complicit, that we have a hand in this.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Of African Jews, Birth Control and Israel

With Israel under a spotlight, the director of its Ministry of Health has issued an order that gynaecologists should not inject women with the contraceptive Depo-Provera without their knowledge or consent.

Of course no woman should be given IV contraceptives, or any other drug, without her knowledge or consent but, in the case of Depo-Provera, most of the drug (57%) was being given to Ethopian (yes, black) Jews whose group make up just 2% of the Israeli population.

“We believe it is a method of reducing the number of births in a community that is black and mostly poor,” Hedva Eyal, the author of the report, told IRIN. “It is indeed the first time that the state actually acknowledged that this procedure of injecting immigrant women with this drug, when they do not know the side effects and are given no other choice, is wrong.”

The directive was issued less than two weeks after a group of organizations representing the Jewish Ethiopian community, along with the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), sent a letter to Gamzo asking that this practice be stopped immediately and that an investigation be started into it both in Israel and in the transit camps in Ethiopia. 

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

40-Years of Peace Tossed in the Garbage

Apparently forty years of peace has been too much of a good thing for Benjamin Netanyahu.  Israel has enjoyed peace with its Arab neighbours since 1973.

Don’t blame yourself if you didn’t realize that the Middle East has enjoyed four decades of peace. But that is precisely what has transpired between Israel and Arab states since the Yom Kippur War of 1973. In its first twenty-five years of independence, Israel was characterized by multi-state war with intermittent bouts of unsuccessful diplomacy. Six Arab armies invaded Israel in 1948; Israel fought four Arab armies in June 1967; twelve Arab armies participated in the 1973 war. In the forty years since, Israel has fought no wars against an Arab state, and its history has been characterized by frequently successful diplomacy with intermittent bouts of terrorism and asymmetric war against non-state actors.

Conditions on the ground in the M.E. are in transition.   American hegemony is in decline.   China is poised to fill the vacuum.  Beijing is far more interested in Arab oil than in Jaffa oranges. It is also looking for opportunities to push back against America's new military pivot into China's backyard.

France is ready to open diplomatic relations with Palestine.  Netanyahu's bully boy tactics and arrogance may just get other nations to follow suit.  What then?   Nations with diplomatic relations can just as easily enter into all sorts of treaties including mutual defence and military assistance pacts.

What does Israel do if a mixed Chinese-Russian naval fleet begins escorting flotillas of ships into Gaza?   Is Netanyahu mad enough to fire on Chinese and Russian warships?

It might not be a bad idea for Palestine, the West Bank and Gaza, to be turned into an occupied territory only, this time, with benevolent occupiers.   A multi-national occupation to restore Palestine to its pre-1967 borders and maintaining a suitable demilitarized zone alone the Palestine-Israel border. 

As Israeli civilians are in Palestine unlawfully, they wouldn't be expelled but, instead, relocated to pre-1967 Israel along with all the Israeli troops who have been positioned inside Palestine to protect them.  Jerusalem would again be partitioned until the parties were ready to consider making it an open city.

Yes, Palestine needs to remain occupied for Israel's sake and for its own.  That may mean a foreign presence for a full generation or more to allow the bad blood between Israeli and Palestinian to drain out.   Anyone nearing retirement age knows that generational change can do amazing things.   It's why we old geezers are always griping and moaning about how things were so much better "in our day."

Wouldn't this sort of neutral but muscular foreign occupation be infinitely better, for Israeli and Palestinian alike, than the scourge-tactics of the Israeli occupiers or, worse, the prospect of another succession of Arab-Israeli wars?

Monday, December 03, 2012

"All Options Are On the Table" Making Israel Pay

Decades of experience shows that Western rebukes of Israel are like so much water on a duck's back.   Israel simply ignores them, mutters the usual garbage about self-defence, and continues to do as it damn well pleases.   The West goes on with its business, Israel goes on with its business and nothing changes except to get worse.

Israel's groundless and brutal retaliation against the Palestinians to punish them for the U.N. General Assembly's vote giving Palestine nominal recognition may finally have crossed the line.   The patience of Israel's traditional allies may have run out.

This time it won’t just be a condemnation, there will be real action taken against Israel,” a senior European diplomat said.

Sky News confirmed that the British government was considering severe actions over the matter, quoting sources in the Foreign Office on Monday as saying: "All options are on the table," adding that there was an "appetite for action" within the bureau, and that officials may consider "revisiting" or even suspending EU trade agreements with Israel, based on human rights clauses. ...

[Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s decision Friday to move ahead on planning in E1 and to build 3,000 housing units in the settlement blocs and in East Jerusalem, has apparently shocked the foreign ministries and the leaders in London and Paris. Not only do Britain and France view construction in E1 as a “red line,” they are reportedly angry because they view Israel as having responded ungratefully to the support the two countries gave it during the recent Gaza operation.

If Israel wants to act outside international law, it deserves to be treated as an outlaw state.   Just because we have treated it as an ally doesn't mean it deserves our indulgence at any cost.

Germany Shines a Light on the Harp of Darkness

When it came right down to it, Germany balked at voting "no" on Palestinian recognition in the UN General Assembly and, instead, merely abstained.   Netanyahu was not amused.

What transpired between Angie Merkel and Benny Netanyahu may shed some useful light on how Israel interacts with allies, like Canada, expecting them to do its bidding.

It was one of the most unpleasant conversations that Christoph Heusgen had ever been required to have with Jaakov Amidror. On Wednesday evening, German Chancellor Angela Merkel's foreign policy adviser told his Israeli counterpart that Germany would abstain in the following day's vote at the United Nations General Assembly on whether to grant the Palestinians the status of a "non-member observer state." Merkel's government had just decided, he said. 

Amidror made it clear what he thought about the Germans' decision. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government had been expecting Berlin to show its customary support for Israel by voting "no." The Israelis viewed [the German] announcement as an affront

Germany's stance on this issue shows just how deeply frustrated its government is with the Netanyahu government's policies. The UN vote was a defeat for Israel. In the end, 138 of the 193 UN member states supported the Palestinians' petition, including France and 13 other European Union member states. Germany's abstention weighed particularly heavy because it meant that Canada and the United States were the only major Western nations to vote on Israeli's side.

 ...In mid-November, Merkel was still of the opinion in internal deliberations that the Palestinians should be prevented from taking unilateral steps. Indeed, this was the reason her government cited when justifying its vote against the Palestinians' bid to become a full member of UNESCO, the United Nations' cultural organization, in late October 2011.

But in the end, the Israeli government's tactical maneuvering prompted Merkel to back away from this hard line. When it became apparent that a series of EU member states would support the Palestinians' bid for observer-state status, the Israelis asked Germany to push all of its fellow EU states to abstain. Up until that point, Netanyahu had pressured Merkel's government to gather as many "no" votes as possible within the EU.

[As the vote neared] the question was how the Germans should act. From the Israeli perspective, the answer was clear: Berlin would simply vote "no." But German officials had a different take on things. Merkel was upset that the Israelis were treating Germany's vote like a bargaining chip.

The chancellor was particularly annoyed because Netanyahu had shown himself completely unwilling to make concessions. On several occasions, Merkel had urged him to at least make a gesture on the issue of settlement construction in order to send out a signal to the Palestinians. Doing so would have made it easier for Merkel to campaign for the Israeli position. But Netanyahu stubbornly ignored her wish.

So Angie Merkel, unlike Stevie Harper, wasn't willing to be Benny Netanyahu's bitch.

World Outrage at Israel's Destruction of Palestinian Homeland. Harper, Naturally, Mute.

Two Rotten Peas in a Pod

Even the United States is condemning Israeli perfidy in retaliating against the Palestinians by stealing more of their land, enough to sever the West Bank and end Palestinian hopes for their homeland, and now seizing $120-million of Palestinian funds.

The Americans, the Brits, the French, the Germans, pretty much you name it, have been quick to protest the Israeli outrages.  Britain may recall its ambassador over this.   Others may follow suit.  Israel is both a rogue and an apartheid state that flouts international law at will on the strength of nothing more than religious fairy tales.

The Brits weren't pulling any punches.   A Foreign Office statement denounced Israel's aggression.

"We deplore the recent Israeli government decision to build 3,000 new housing units and unfreeze development in the E1 block. This threatens the viability of the two state solution."

Apparently, however, in Harperland, those things are just fine.  Harper understands retaliation.  It fits perfectly with his punishment fetish.  From Ottawa, no reaction whatsoever to Netanyahu's plans to steal more Palestinian lands and carve up the Palestinian homeland in two.   No angry words about Israel simply seizing Palestinian funds.

Of course Harper runs the risk of showing himself to have been duped by Netanyahu.  Did Ottawa not seek some reassurances from the Israelis about how it would react to the inevitable vote?  Sort of don't ask/don't tell.   Did we simply give our support to Netanyahu carte blanche? Were we misled by our supposed ally, duped?  Or, worst of all, did we vote knowing that the Israelis were going to stomp the chances of statehood out of the Palestinians for all time?

Did Steve get a big Rapture boner out of this?  Did he show it to Baird?  It's curious that Baird got all hissy over the U.N. recognition vote, claiming it would undermine chances for a comprehensive, lasting and just settlement for both sides.  Actually he seems just fine with that outcome, so long as it's coming from Israel.

Friday, November 30, 2012

And This Is Our "Ally"?

The U.N. acts to overwhelmingly upgrade the status of the Palestinian state.   Israel retaliates by stealing more Palestinian lands in the West Bank, enough to sever the West Bank itself.   This is what we call our "ally"?

 "Israel has authorised the construction of 3,000 more housing units in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank, according to Israeli officials.

"It is also speeding up the processing of 1,000 planning permissions.

"The Palestinian Authority has said it will not return to peace talks without a freeze in settlement building.

"The decision comes a day after a vote at the UN General Assembly upgraded the Palestinians' status at the UN to that of non-member observer state.

"According to the Israeli Haaretz newspaper, some of the new units will be between Jerusalem and the settlement of Maale Adumim.
Plans to build settlements in the area, known as E1, are strongly opposed by Palestinians, who say the development will cut the West Bank in two, preventing the creation of a contiguous Palestinian state."

If this is Canada's ally, we've got a real scumbag for an ally.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

UN Demands Israel Stop Ripping Off Palestinian Resources

The U.N. General Assembly, by a vote of 156-5, called on Israel to immediately stop its decades-old practices of exploiting, damaging, depleting and endangering the natural resources of the Occupied Territories.   Canada joined the U.S., Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Israel in opposing the motion.   For what it's worth, Israel's raping of the Palestinian lands is a flagrant and never-ending violation of international law.

Netanyahu Steps In His Own Mess

Benjamin Netanyahu, with a looming date with Israeli voters, is doing his best to portray himself as the victor in Israel's 8-day, Operation Pillar of Defence but, in the minds of many Israelis, he's actually the loser.  Der Spiegel reports that a good many people, inside Israel and elsewhere, see the winners as Hamas and Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi.

"...the Israeli press is not joining Netanyahu in praising Netanyahu. To be sure, most analysts agree that the current ceasefire bringing the Israeli Gaza operation "Pillar of Defense" to a halt is a positive development due to the return of calm to southern Israel. But in the Israeli press, Netanyahu's name was not among the victors listed on Thursday morning. Rather, leading commentators in the country agree that the primary beneficiaries from the week-long clash are the Hamas leadership and Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, who negotiated the truce.

"A member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi's summertime election had led to significant distrust in the West. Now, writes Anshel Pfeffer in the influential Israeli daily Haaretz, the crisis has propelled Mursi into the role of an important regional statesman. The proof: As the ceasefire was being finalized this week, US President Barack Obama telephoned with Morsi multiple times.
"Pfeffer emphasized that even Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman saw it necessary to thank Morsi for his role in bringing about a truce. Given Lieberman's hard-line stance, such a move counts as a mini-sensation in Israel. After all, the Israeli foreign minister is hardly a fan of Egypt or Hamas, having in the past called for the bombardment of the Aswan Dam and demanded that the Gaza Strip be treated as the Russians do Chechnya.

"Hamas too has managed to extract minor victories from the conflict, according to analysts. For one, the Islamist leaders of the Gaza Strip inserted a clause in the ceasefire agreement which calls for at least a partial lifting of the blockade Israel imposed on the Palestinian area after Hamas came to power in 2006. Furthermore, the fact that the Hamas leadership didn't collapse in the face of heavy bombardment, along with the fact that their rockets continued to rain down on Israel throughout the conflict, has been interpreted as a success.

"But even more important for the Islamists, according to Haaretz, is that their rockets were able to hit both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. And they were able to position themselves as a negotiating partner for the Israeli leadership, guaranteeing them a role as an actor in the Middle East for at least the immediate future.

"...Simon Shiffer, the veteran writer for Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, writes that Hamas has now become the most influential Palestinian power because Netanyahu has undertaken negotiations with them while ignoring the Palestinian Authority and its President Mahmoud Abbas."

All of which raises the question of how much damage Netanyahu has done to his and Israel's influence in Washington.   After all, Bibi did everything but stuff ballot boxes for Mitt Romney and yet utterly failed to deliver the American Jewish vote to the Republicans.  Now his second act was a complete blunder in Gaza.  Anyone think America is keen to support Netanyahu attacking Iran?

Thursday, November 08, 2012

How Israel Misread America

In today's Haaretz, Rabbi Eric Yoffie considers how Israel got everything so wrong and what its leaders must do to make peace with the White House.

Americans are resolutely centrist. Israel’s politics may be veering right, but America’s are not. Despite difficult economic conditions and high unemployment, America reelected a centrist president who speaks the language of moderation, compromise, and social justice.
...The hysterical, Obama-hating Jewish conservatives were wrong about everything. They said that Jews could be convinced to shift their votes to Republicans; they couldn’t. They said that Obama was an Israel-hating radical; he isn’t. They said that a Jewish alignment with the Republican Party was the only way to protect Jewish interests; it’s not.

Note to these conservatives: The Democratic Party has won four of the last six presidential elections, and has won the popular vote in five out of six.
...Conservative, white Evangelicals are less important than they once were. Americans voters showed little interest in opposition to gay marriage and abortion—the social issues that largely define these Evangelicals. In fact, the voters approved of gay marriage in several states and punished candidates who expressed radical views on abortion.

...Foreign policy remains far down on the priority list for American voters, despite claims to the contrary by neo-conservative leaders. Foreign policy was virtually absent from voter consciousness for most of the campaign. Bill Kristol and Charles Krauthammer have argued that it would have been a huge advantage for Romney if he had been more aggressive in raising the Libya/Benghazi issue, but there is no evidence to support this assertion. The simple fact is that when it comes to foreign policy right now, Americans don’t much care. 

...the bad news is that personal relationships matter as well, and it is hardly a secret to anyone that the Obama-Netanyahu relationship lacks the respect, openness and affection that previous presidents have had with Israel’s leaders. With an Iranian bomb looming, for this situation to continue is nothing less than a disaster for Israel.

And the key is for the Israel’s prime minister to take the initiative in repairing the relationship. This is not a question, as some commentators have suggested, of Obama and Netanyahu “learning to live with each other.” The election is over. The newly-elected president of the world’s most powerful country is the senior partner; Israel’s prime minister is the junior partner. Mr. Netanyahu needs to act accordingly and do what is necessary to build personal trust with the president of the Jewish state’s most important ally. And he needs to do so now.

It's hard to recall a small country so dependent on a large benefactor getting something like this so wrong.   Netanyahu, who did everything but stuff ballot boxes for Romney, has shown himself to be an inept bully who played his hand recklessly and came away with empty pockets.  Bibi may pay dearly if he doesn't go, cap in hand, to seek forgiveness from the president he so thoroughly disrespected.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Whither Israel?

Benjamin Netanyahu did everything shy of stuffing ballot boxes for Mitch Romney.  He gambled, and lost.  Now Benny will have to wait to see what his odious efforts have earned him.

Israel awoke to the news it faced what many see as a political and diplomatic relationship in need of rehabilitation.

The close relationship of the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, with US casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, who devoted millions to Mr Romney, was noted by the Obama administration, Eytan Gilboa of the Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies said.

''This is not a good development … to see Democrat perceptions that the Israeli Prime Minister is actively intervening in the US election,'' Professor Gilboa said.

Criticisms of Mr Netanyahu were quick to emerge. ''The Prime Minister hurt Israel with his arrogant and incomprehensible involvement on the side of Mitt Romney,'' Shlomo Molla, an MP for the opposition Kadima party, told the Jerusalem Post.

The Palestinian peace negotiator Saeb Erekat said Palestinians hoped Mr Obama would work to end Israel's occupation and realise the establishment of a Palestinian state on 1967 borders ''living side-by-side in peace with the State of Israel''.

Payback's a completely deserved bitch, Benny.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Will Israelis Shut the Church of the Holy Sepulcher?

The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate says it might have to close Jerusalem's Christian shrine, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, because an Israeli water company is breaking its deal with the church.

The church says it's had a deal going back to 1969 under which water was supplied at no charge.   The Israeli water company, it claims, breached that agreement in 2004 and has since seized the church bank accounts claiming a $2.3-million outstanding water bill.

Something not mentioned in the news accounts is where the water comes from that the Israeli utility has provided to the church "going back to 1969."   I wouldn't be surprised that it turns out to be water pumped out of an aquifer, Palestinian water, taken by Israelis after the Occupation. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Who Says Israel is an Apartheid State? Why, a Majority of Israelis, That's Who.

Two-thirds of Israeli Jews want Palestinians denied the vote if their country annexes the West Bank.

Three out of four are in favour of segregated roads for Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank, and 58% believe Israel already practises apartheid against Palestinians, the poll found.

A third want Arab citizens within Israel to be banned from voting in elections to the country's parliament. Almost six out of 10 say Jews should be given preference to Arabs in government jobs, 49% say Jewish citizens should be treated better than Arabs, 42% would not want to live in the same building as Arabs and the same number do not want their children going to school with Arabs.

A commentary by Gideon Levy, which accompanied the results of the poll, described the findings as disturbing.  "Israelis themselves ...are openly, shamelessly, and guiltlessly defining themselves as nationalistic racists," he wrote.

"It's good to live in this country, most Israelis say, not despite its racism, but perhaps because of it. If such a survey were released about the attitude to Jews in a European state, Israel would have raised hell. When it comes to us, the rules don't apply."

There is nothing particularly shocking in these results, perhaps except for the open expression of a reality rational people always understood existed.

Israel is not "of us."  It is not a Western state nor does it embrace our values. It is a quintessential Middle Eastern, theocratic state only it's Jewish, not Muslim.   Israel faces an intractable problem, its Arab residents.   Some are Israeli citizens, others are Palestinians under occupation.   Israel has no intention of returning the West Bank to the Palestinians.   It sits atop a strategic aquifer that Israel deems critical to its survival.    That land and that aquifer are not going to be restored to Palestinian control.   Netanyahu has said as much.

We in the West have built a relationship with Israel founded on illusions.   We need a new relationship, one based on reality.

Monday, October 22, 2012

How Petty Can Israel Get

Last week ambitious students around the world took the SAT, or scholastic aptitude test, their ticket to a chance at a good education and a bright future.

Students around the world except for Palestinian students that is.  It seems the Israelis received the exams for the Palestinian kids and withheld them.   From the Harvard Crimson.

The Israeli authorities held the exams sent by the College Board for weeks, not releasing the tests to AMIDEAST’s office in Ramallah.

AMIDEAST is the only testing agency in the West Bank, serving over three hundred thousand Palestinian students. Yet Israel controls the flow of goods and people in and out of the ever-shrinking Occupied Palestinian Territories. The Israeli occupation impacts nearly every aspect of Palestinian life. In particular, the military occupation, illegal under international law, violates the basic right to education for Palestinian youth.

This SAT cancellation has been devastating for high school seniors across the West Bank who were planning to apply to college in the United States—including those from the Ramallah Friends School.