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The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil,    but because of the people who don't do anything about it    

The Fifth Question: Sacred soil and ethical statecraftMira Sucharov--Vaster exploration of religious Zionism may certainly have its value, but to what extent can responsible governance be wrapped up in the scrolls of ancient texts? dn31/3/2013
Exodus—Fall of the Jews in EgyptAlastair Beach--From its peak in the aftermath of the Second World War, when the Jews in Egypt numbered around 80,000, the community collapsed. Today there are no more than a few dozen remaining.dn31/3/2013
Presidency Resembles Settlements to Mines WAFA--RAMALLAH, March 30, 2013 (WAFA) – Ongoing Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank along with the Apartheid Wall and settler terrorism are mines that threaten the entire region, according to a statement issued Saturday on the occasion of Land Day. dn31/3/2013
Video: Ramzy Baroud on the Legacy of Rachel Corrie --25 minutesRamzy Baroud, originally from Gaza, is a Palestinian-American journalist and author, former producer for al-Jazeera, and Editor in Chief of The Palestine Chronicle, shared at the Rachel Corrie – 10 Years: The Person and the Continuing Struggle. dn31/3/2013
Jerusalem`s long Good Friday: tears, prayers and rented crossesHarriet Sherwood in Jerusalem--Easter means brisk business on the Via Dolorosa for a Palestinian Muslim with unusual goods for hire. dn31/3/2013
From Brazil to Tunisia, Palestinians call for their revolution Salena Tramel--As more than 50,000 activists from around the world bear down on Tunis for the twelfth annual World Social Forum, one group of delegates - the Palestinians - already has a head start in framing their agenda and message to civil society.dn31/3/2013
Next year in Jerusalem - and the Diaspora, tooYoav Schaefer and Brian Schaefer--We all came out of Egypt. We just happened to end up in different places. But the future of Israel depends on engaging the attention and commitment of Jews around the world, and not pushing away a younger and more critical generation.dn30/3/2013
Oslo is dead, what next?Avraham Burg--The time has come to replace a process that has led to violence and despair with a new framework based on restorative justice.dn30/3/2013
Mada: 238 Violations Of Media Freedoms In 2012Ammar Owaineh - IMEMC News - Hanania then explained that reporting Israeli violations does not mean the absence of Palestinian violations: “Although we always confirmed that the Israeli violations are the most dangerous and threatening to the lives of Palestinian journalists and the most frequent, but the Palestinian violations are still high in numbers, although they have decreased compared to 2011, where the Fatah Hamas division still constitutes a fertile ground for violations to arise in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip”.-rh 28/3/2013
Peace in exchange for warAri Shavit - Haaretz - First, some step in regard to Palestine. Then a decision must be made over Iran. And finally, the process of dividing the land and creating a recognized border for Zionism. [The "Palestine-Iran-Palestine redux" of the well-informed Haaretz and Channel-1 commentator-bz]26/3/2013
The Smiling Face of Betrayal - Obama, Israel, and the Politics of CatharsisNorman Pollack - CounterPunch - "We see in this visit, all the stops pulled out, a politics of catharsis: say the right things, blow away the repression practiced on the Other, and then go back to turning the same screws. Obama’s performance in Israel mirrors his domestic performance: promises meant to be broken, talk of peace while engaging in war, and when the accumulated deceit is about to burst open, provide the purgative with more words of unctious platitudes"25/3/2013
Obama`s visit to end all visitsAlon Pinkas - Haaretz - It was the most pro-Israel speech made by a U.S. president ever [but] both the Israeli left and right will soon be disappointed. (...) The United States is gradually disengaging from the Middle East. It is a slow, but steady process underlined by U.S. energy independence that includes almost zero imports of Mid-East oil. He said all the right things but essentially declared: I support you and you have done some great things, but you need to get your act together, or you`ll be left behind. bz23/3/2013
West Bank reacts to Obama visit with a shrugGregg Carlstrom - Al Jazeera "Even officials from the Palestinian Authority, normally reluctant to criticise the United States, waved off Obama`s visit. One senior official said that the visit was focused purely on regional issues, namely the perceived threat from Iran`s nuclear programme, and on rehabilitating Obama`s image with the Israeli public.If there was a message to the Palestinians, the official said, it was to "say goodbye" – an obligatory visit to the region by a president who has clearly decided not to waste any political capital on trying to broker a solution to a decades-old conflict." ca 22/3/2013
Yair Lapid brought us an extreme right, settler-dominated governmentGush Shalom press release - Lapid`s supposedly “left of center” party won many more votes than Naftali Bennett’s extreme-right formation, but the alliance of these two parties worked entirely in favor of Bennett and his settlers. Bennett had taken sober, well calculated steps, focusing on gaining the commanding positions in order to strengthen and bolster the West Bank settlement enterprise. Lapid wasted the incredibly strong position which fell into his hands in the aftermath of the elections, using it to advance marginal and insignificant objectives19/3/2013
Obama`s Oratory vs. the Reality of Israel and PalestineBy Michael Cohen, Michael Cohen - Reader Supported News - Obama said things that Israelis need to hear from a US president. But nothing that happened on Thursday in Jerusalem will do much to make a two-state solution more likely to be realized. More than ever, both Israelis and Palestinians need not words, but actions from a US president. It remains to be seen whether those will be forthcoming.-rh 28/3/2013
Israel: Bits, Bytes and BombsTHOMAS L. FRIEDMAN - The New York Times - the crazy dream Israel is keeping alive is that it can permanently occupy the West Bank, with its 2.5 million Palestinians, to satisfy biblically inspired settlers, who now hold major cabinet positions, like the housing portfolio, in Israel’s new government.-rh28/3/2013
What Was Wrong With Obama’s Speech In JerusalemRichard Falk - Countercurrents - Obama made no mention of the wave of recent Palestinian hunger strikes or the degree to which Palestinians have shifted their tactics of resistance away from a reliance on armed struggle. It is perverse to heap praise on the oppressive occupier, ignore nonviolent tactics of Palestinian resistance and the surge of global solidarity with the Palestinian struggle, and then hypocritically call on both peoples to move forward toward peace by building relations of trust with one another.-rh 28/3/2013
Empty WordsStephen M. Walt - Foreign Policy - He did not say that a Palestinian state would have to be fully sovereign (i.e., entitled to have its defense forces). He did not give any indication of where he thought the borders of such a state might lie, or whether illegal settlements like Ariel (whose presence cuts the West Bank in two) would have to be abandoned. He did not say that future American support for Israel would be conditional on its taking concrete steps to end the occupation and allow for the creation of a viable state (i.e. not just a bunch of vulnerable Bantustans). On the contrary, his every move and phrase made it clear that Israelis could count on the United States providing generous and unconditional support to the vastly stronger of the two parties.-rh 28/3/2013
The racism epidemicSami Michael - Ynet - "I cannot comprehend how victims of racism can themselves be racist; how the remaining two-thirds of the fatal epidemic of racism could establish a state in which racism holds a chilling grip," - id27/3/2013
Let my people go!Adam Keller - Crazy Country - "Already for forty-six year all these things have been read out and sung and chanted also by settlers in the Occupied Territories." - id27/3/2013
President`s visit marks the end to Israeli insularityAluf Benn - Haaretz - "But visit will not bring about the end of the occupation, the dismantling of settlements, the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the West Bank, or even the destruction of the Iranian nuclear program." - id 20/3/2013
The less Obama does on this visit, the better Larry Derfner = +972 - "Today, reviving the peace process, Obama-style, would mean coercing Mahmoud Abbas to enter negotiations with Netanyahu in return for nothing, or next to nothing, such as a token prisoner release, some musical chairs with a few checkpoints and a vague statement of good intentions." - id20/3/2013
A government with a civil agendaAdam Keller - Crazy Country - "And what about the occupation? The Palestinians are supposed to wait for another government. And if they don’t wait?" - id 20/3/2013
Separate buses just a symptomMaskit Bendel - Ynet - The uproar caused by the decision to introduce separate bus lines for Jews and Palestinians in the West Bank created the momentary illusion that racism, racial segregation and exclusion from the public sphere were not the norm. But these phenomena are present and intertwined as an integral part of the system known as occupation. [The author is an attorney in the Territories Department of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel] bz 16/3/2013
Same Old Stuff from AIPAC Phil Giraldi--The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) has just completed its annual gala in Washington. A reported thirteen thousand AIPAC supporters reportedly cheered the latest efforts to make Israel America’s most favored nation.dn16/3/2013
To the Victor, the SpoilsUri Avnery - Gush Shalom - "Not for nothing did he call his party There Is a Future. Well, the Future has arrived, and it looks suspiciously like the Past. Indeed, the New Politics look very much like the Old Politics"18/3/2013
Israel, Obama, and other people`s oilNadia Hijab - AlJazeera - If the US stops Genie Energy from going ahead with oil contract, it invites the wrath of myriad pro-Israel groups18/3/2013
Red Rag: new Intifada? - Arafat Jaradat - Mississippi in Israel - PollardGideon Spiro - Why was Jaradat examined five times in the five days of his interrogation? Because that is the modus operandi of the ISA. The prisoner is tortured and after a torture session he is taken to a doctor who examines the prisoner and informs the interrogators that the prisoner is fit to undergo another round of torture.17/3/2013
Settler leader calls new Israeli government `a wet dream`Noam Sheizaf--With the Housing and Industry ministries in their hand, and political ally Moshe Ya’alon as the new defense minister, the settlers are very pleased by the new Netanyahu government.dn17/3/2013
Government of the villa in the jungle Kobi Niv --Our new loves, the people we just voted into office after such careful consideration, are now building us a new home. But what kind of home will it be? Who will live on the top floor and who on the ground floor? Who will live separately, in the servants` quarters? And who will be confined in the basement? Who will live outside in the yard, under the open sky? And who will live beyond the fence? And how impervious will that fence be? Will the neighbors be allowed to visit or only to peek in from behind the plants? dn17/3/2013
When Obama speaks (and says nothing) Gideon Levy--There`s no other way to understand what Obama said in his interview with Channel 2 on the eve of his visit here. dn17/3/2013
I Was Wrong: Israeli-Palestinian Peace Is on the President`s Trip Agenda James Zogby--A few weeks ago, I assumed that the main emphasis of President Barack Obama`s upcoming visit to the Middle East would not be the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Taking my cues from Secretary of State John Kerry`s recently completed trip and the way the White House had been "low-balling" expectations about making any progress in restarting Israeli-Palestinian talks, I thought that the president would focus his visit largely on the challenge posed by Iran`s nuclear program and the humanitarian and political crises resulting from the ever-worsening conflict in Syria. dn17/3/2013
You`re not a tourist, Obama. Go to Israel with a messageJonathan Freedland--As Netanyahu unveils his new government, the US president should echo Israel`s former security chiefs: the occupation must end. dn17/3/2013
Israel`s small, right-wing governmentHaaretz Editorial--As much as the new Netanyahu government might long for change domestically, its foreign policy is a concern. dn17/3/2013
Netanyahu Sets Scene Clovis Maksoud - AlMonitor "Netanyahu’s arrogance is leading him to underestimate the intelligence of his supporters and adversaries as well as a belief that he can preempt serious questions regarding his policies." ca 15/3/2013
Moshe Ya`alon Will Bring Balance Ben Caspit - AlMonitor "Ya’alon is considered one of the most moderate voices in the cabinet and the Octet in all matters pertaining to Iran. He is one of the ministers who consistently opposed any Israeli military adventurism (as did former minister Ze`ev Binyamin Begin, Minister of Atomic Energy and Intelligence Dan Meridor and former interior minister Eli Yishai). Ya’alon believes an Israeli attack to be both feasible and necessary, but only when the time is ripe and Israel is positioned to win. During the last term, he was not convinced that we had reached that point." ca 15/3/2013
Israeli claims of West Bank ‘terror cell’s fly from Jerusalem to D.C. and back againAnnie Robbins - Mondoweiss "Two major terror attacks in less than two months thwarted by Israel, allegedly. One partly revealed by "questioning" that you have to wonder if it didn`t involve torture. Another by intercepting a hand written document at the scene of a crime (and then passing the evidence along to the Israel lobby in Washington).The cycle continues: Israel, which claims it is trying to prevent an uprising, launched arrest raids across West Bank last night, and has been killing Palestinian activists with deadly ammunition. Is Israel preventing attacks, or provoking an uprising? You be the judge."15/3/2013
New Faces, Same Agenda: Incoming Israeli government will intensify push to colonize the West BankAdam Horowitz - Mondoweiss "Hanan Ashrawi: This government does not bode well for the chances of peace. It continues to be a right-wing hardline government, including Naftali Bennett, advancing a policy of settlement expansion. Its strategies deal with social issues rather than developing a workable strategy for peace. Unfortunately, once again the Palestinians do not have a peace partner in Israel. Once again, there is a government that will continue the previous policies of destroying the two-state solution and the chances of peace.” ca15/3/2013
Speak out against silencing Haaretz Editorial - "A new report published by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel deals with the widespread use of libel suits and legal threats, including against ordinary citizens who protest or voice criticism. It describes a disturbing reality in which a growing number of people are afraid to participate in the public discourse due to fear of being sued and becoming embroiled in lengthy, expensive legal proceedings. This is a serious blow to the already fragile fabric of democratic life in Israel. " ca 15/3/2013
Mr. Obama Goes to IsraelThomas L. Friedman - The New York Times - While there may be fewer reasons for the U.S. to take risks to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there is still a powerful reason for Israel to do so. The status quo today may be tolerable for Israel, but it is not healthy. And more status quo means continued Israeli settlements in, and tacit annexation of, the West Bank.-rh 13/3/2013
A night of apartheidRaphael Ahren - The Times of Israel - A succession of speakers at a three-hour conference in Jerusalem broadly agree that the ‘A word’ describes the status quo; the one dissenting panelist gets seven minutes.-rh13/3/2013
Israel’s Lawyers at WorkScott McConnell - The American Conservative - " Will the president seek to lay a foundation for a return to meaningful negotiations, or will he conclude simply that US has no real influence over what Israel does and quietly resign himself to a long and wrenching process of American disengagement from what will be soon be viewed a simply an apartheid state? " - id13/3/2013
Size does matterSima Kadmon - Ynet - "What`s clear is that whatever happens during the coalition negotiations until the next government is sworn, it will not be enough to compensate the offended Likud members who believed they deserved to become ministers." - id 13/3/2013
Israel going for one million Jews in the West BankAluf Benn - Haaretz - The radical right wing is strengthened and united; Netanyahu [will] need the settlers` support and do everything in order to bribe them and make them happy. (...) Lapid will be bought with trifles like the Sharing of the Civic Burden Law so that billions of shekels will continue to flow into the settlements, and Livni is too weak to have much influence. bz12/3/2013
“Ich bin ein Bil’iner!”Uri Avnery - THIS DOES not happen every day: a Minister of Culture publicly rejoices because a film from her country has NOT been awarded an Oscar. And not just one film, but two. 10/3/2013
On questioning the Jewish stateJoseph Levine - New York Times - Any state that “belongs” to one ethnic group within it violates the core democratic principle of equality, and the self-determination rights of the non-members of that group.10/3/2013
Their blood has been letBambi Sheleg - Ynet - We have witnessed a series of incidents in which young Jews brutally assaulted Arabs in a manner that is characteristic of societies in the process of dissolution. bz9/3/2013
Rethinking South Africa Mazin Qumsiyeh - Countercurrents - Arafat Jaradat died being tortured by the Israeli Apartheid regime last week and he was 30 years old. Steve Biko died while being tortured by the Souh African Apartheid regime in 1977 and he was 31 years old. The two struggles are intertwined. The perceptive words of Steve Biko ring true today in Palestine, in South Africa, and around the world: “The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.”-rh7/3/2013
Inquiring Into International Commissions of InquiryLori Allen - MERIP - The next investigative commission, and surely there will be one, whether into Jaradat’s death or some other rights violation, must be used to ask US citizens who foot the $3 billion annual bill of Israel’s military aid to take responsibility for what their tax dollars are funding.-rh 7/3/2013
Why we must resist Netanyahu and the hawks` reckless push for war on IranGlenn Greenwald - The Guardian - This past Sunday, Prime Minister Netanyahu declared his belief that ongoing nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 nations were futile and represented merely an effort by Iran to "buy time" to develop a nuclear weapon. Coming from an individual with nearly 20 years of public statements consistently citing the purported imminence of such a weapon, this is a questionable statement to say the least.-rh7/3/2013
When the Spirit of Holy War Takes Over - What’s God Got to Do With It?Andrew Levine - CounterPunch - "When sectarian politics flares up on the wrong side of the class struggle or when it operates to sustain systems of domination, it makes bad situations worse and solutions to problems more intractable. The theocrat wannabes who gravitate towards the Tea Party and the (oxymornonic) `national religious` settler movement in Israel provide conspicuous examples"4/3/2013
The Third Intifada?Uri Avnery - Gush Shalom - "Is this the third intifada? This question was raised this week by a number of Israeli security experts. And not only by them – their Palestinian colleagues were almost as perplexed"4/3/2013
The unequal right to water in unrecognized Bedouin villages Sawsan Zaher--By ruling that Bedouin citizens of Israel have only the right to ‘minimum access’ to water rather than ‘equal access,’ the Israeli Supreme Court established that the rule of law does not apply to Bedouin citizens. The resulting situation is intolerable for a country that claims to be a democracy, but is fitting for a country that defines itself only as a ‘Jewish state.’ dn3/3/2013
Palestinian film maker doesn`t win Oscar, but he`s still dancing on rooftopsBenny Ziffer--A photo my daughter sent me from Facebook on Tuesday shows Emad Burnat, who directed (with Guy Davidi) and appeared in the film "5 Broken Cameras," standing on the red carpet in a tuxedo on his way into the Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday. Next to him stands his son, who also stars in the film, and his wife, who is wearing a splendid Palestinian embroidered dress. As we now know, the film did not win an Oscar but it was impossible not to marvel at the rocky road the filmmaker from Bil`in - which after all is only a small Palestinian village in Samaria in the West Bank - has traveled to the Oscar ceremony. dn3/3/2013
What killed Arafat Jaradat?Gideon Levy and Alex Levac--Attorney Sabbagh explains that a suspect coming into the Shin Bet interrogation rooms is like someone who comes to the doctor with a broken pinky and is immediately given a comprehensive examination of his entire body. dn2/3/2013
Best of both worldsAviad Kleinberg - Ynet - "The prime minister is not really shocked by the "boycott of an entire public." For years Netanyahu and his associates have been boycotting the Arab public, and no one says a thing." - id 6/3/2013
Why the emerging Israeli coalition makes me hopeful Noam Sheizaf - +972 - " This would be a terrible government, which won’t be willing nor able to pursue any meaningful action on the Palestinian issue, let alone end the occupation, meaning that the world will need to apply a lot of pressure to allow any improvements vis-a-vis the status quo." - id6/3/2013
A carnival parade, a funeral and the revolving door of media interest.Adam Keller - Crazy Country - "And after three days, headlines reported "security experts" as stating their opinion that "the riots are fading out" and that evidently it was not yet the Third Intifada. And with an audible sigh of relief, the media rushed to push the Palestinians back to the godforsaken back pages." - id6/3/2013
`To Achieve Mideast Peace, Suspend Disbelief`Noam Sheizaf - +972 - Dennis Ross had a full page op-ed in The New York Times this weekend, in which he presents a 14-step program that is supposed to establish a framework for renewing the diplomatic process. The piece includes a lot of talk about peace, but the action items are lifted from Netanyahu’s policy book. bz 5/3/2013
Strange days indeedMati Tuchfeld - Israel Hayom - Habayit Hayehudi, the Right-most party in the right-wing bloc, may turn out to be the very party that ends up signing the bloc`s death certificate, now that they have decided to push out the haredi parties, which have so far been an integral part of the bloc (certainly in recent years). [Published in the pro-Netanyahu free paper, this seems an authentic expression of the panic felt in the ruling party-bz]5/3/2013
Israel needs a new map : An outmoded Zionism has become an obstacle to Jewish welfare and security.Ian S. Lustick - Los Angeles Times - In a 2003 European Union-sponsored poll, Israel was seen as more dangerous to world peace than any other country. In 2006, an Israeli government poll conducted in 35 countries found Israel had the worst public image in every category it tested. In 2012, the BBC reported that 50% of 24,090 people polled worldwide thought Israel had a "mostly negative" impact on the world, tied with North Korea and exceeded only by Pakistan and Iran.-rh 21/3/2013
Lapid Lost, Obama DistractsGershom Gorenberg - The Daily Beast - Barack Obama has completely distracted attention from the startlingly right-wing government that Bibi installed on Monday. The only person who must be happier about this distraction is Yair Lapid: The centrist electoral phenom of January is the neophyte negotiator who signed the give-away coalition deal of March. Many houses will be built in West Bank settlements, and many social services will be cut inside Israel, in honor of Lapid.-rh 21/3/2013
Obama Should Press Mideast Leaders on Abuses : Settlements, Detainees, Asylum Seekers Should Top AgendaHuman Rights Watch - “Resolving human rights problems should not await a comprehensive settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “President Obama should use this visit to demonstrate that his administration is serious about promoting human rights and will press hard for accountability for abuses.”-rh 21/3/2013
Giving the occupation an expiration date Noam Sheizaf and Dahlia Scheindlin - +972 - Without diminishing the many facets, layers and problems in the conflict (refugees, land, control over resources, holy sites, sovereignty and national self-determination), one issue is the most urgent and pressing for the region, and it is also the most obvious: ending the military occupation. We envision two possible mechanisms to achieve that. Either the two sides devote the next round of negotiations to reaching an agreement on how to end it, or the international community must demand and impose an end of the occupation. bz19/3/2013
The One-State Plan according to Israel`s top settlement councilJoel Braunold--Though it is the establishment opinion that two-states will happen, those opposing it literally are executing on a plan to kill it.dn24/3/2013
The `no-strategy` strategy: The Gatekeepers and soldier testimonies.Oded Na’aman--Do not be misled by the paranoid helplessness of the six powerful men in Dror Moreh’s film – the end goal of Israel’s military rule is the complete demise of the dream of Palestinian independence.dn24/3/2013
Palestinian politics do matterKhaled Elgindyv--With President Obama`s visit to Israel and the occupied territories now behind us, attention is likely to turn to how we might restart the peace process. But if the past is any indication, one crucial element will be largely ignored in the discussion: Palestinian politics.dn24/3/2013
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