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Commentary

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In Christmas address, Pope says only two-state solution will bring Mideast peaceCATHERINE MARCIANO and TOI STAFF - Times of Israel - Pope Francis on Monday called for peace in Jerusalem in his traditional Christmas address, saying that only a two-state solution could lead to peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The pope also highlighted the plight of children scarred by conflict around the globe, after urging the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics not to ignore migrants.-rh 27/12/2017
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Year in Review: Will 2018 Usher in a New Palestinian Strategy?Ramzy Baroud - CounterPunch - "2017 will be remembered as the year that the so-called ‘peace process’, at least in its American formulation, has ended. And with its demise, a political framework that has served as the foundation for US foreign policy in the Middle East has also collapsed. The Palestinian leadership and its Arab and international allies will now embark on a new year with the difficult task of drumming up a whole new political formula that does not include the United States." - id 27/12/2017
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You are here What were the top BDS victories of 2017?Nora Barrows-Friedman - Electronic Intifada "Early on in the year, key Israel lobby groups admitted in a secret report – obtained and published in full by The Electronic Intifada – that they had failed to counter the Palestine solidarity movement, despite vastly increasing their spending. The report outlined Israel’s failure to stem the “impressive growth” and “significant successes” of the BDS movement and set out strategies, endorsed by the Israeli government, aimed at reversing the deterioration in Israel’s position...in March, Israel’s top anti-BDS strategist conceded that the boycott Israel movement is winning – despite the Israeli government’s allocation of tens of millions of dollars and the formation of an entire governmental ministry whose sole focus is to combat BDS." ca 30/12/2017
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The Voice of the Next Palestinian Generation Gideon Levy - Haaretz "It was a confrontation between the realpolitik of the previous generation and the revolutionary spirit of its heirs. Between modernity and the electronic struggle and diplomatic messages and the world of old. Between a compromise with Israel (never achieved) and an unwillingness to compromise on anything and to conduct a determined struggle that is unlikely to achieve anything in the near term, but at least exudes a new spirit...Israelis should listen to the new voices. They will get louder. Abunimah is not a terrorist, nor is Safieh..." ca30/12/2017
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Doctors urge mental health group not to meet in IsraelMiddle East Monitor - "A letter addressed to the IARPP, signed by renown Palestinian psychiatrist Samah Jabr and a number of American therapists, calls on the body to consider: the grave crisis posed by the Israeli occupation and its currently escalating attacks on the Palestinian people – attacks reflective of an overarching policy of ethnic cleansing and consequent seizure of land, restriction of freedom of movement, and control over natural resources." ca29/12/2017
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Rights groups slam Israel Supreme Court for giving ‘green light’ to tortureBen White - MIDDLE EAST MONITOR - As Israeli legal affairs analyst Yonah Jeremy Bob noted recently, Israel’s Supreme Court was “unique” in having established “a category of ‘moderate physical pressure’ that could legally be used on [prisoners]”. He added: “No democratic country in the present era has defended the legality of such methods or established normative legal principles relating to them quite like Israel.” Now, this latest High Court decision leaves Palestinian prisoners even more vulnerable to abuse. According to PCATI, the ruling “permits de facto use of torture methods”, including even those forbidden in the High Court’s 1999 judgement, and also “blocks the way for victims who have suffered from physical and psychological trauma to seek redress”.-rh27/12/2017
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Home demolitions in the Negev and Tel Aviv show the real face of government corruptionOrly Noy - +972 - "Corruption does not begin with Netanyahu’s cigars or pink champagne. It begins with an ideological system that sees entire segments of the population as undesirable and unnecessary, and as temporary residents in their own homes." - id 27/12/2017
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Trump’s Jerusalem proclamation backfiresGhassan Michel Rubeiz - The Arab Daily News - "Trump’s unilateral decision on Jerusalem, Pence’s faith-based rationalization of the status of Jerusalem, and Haley’s concept of foreign aid-conditional-to-compliance have significantly lowered the standards of US diplomacy. The US can no longer follow two independent diplomatic tracks, one for peace mediation and the other for unconditional support of Israel." - id 27/12/2017
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Cry, Beloved Country Uri Avnery - Gush Shalom - "This is not the Israel I helped to found and fought for. My Israel would return the bodies to the fathers and mothers. Even if it means giving up some trading chips. Isn`t losing a son punishment enough? What has become of our common human decency?" - id 27/12/2017
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Nabi Saleh is where I lost my ZionismLisa Goldman - +972 - My radicalization was not only a consequence of witnessing brutal violence perpetrated right in front of my eyes, by soldiers of the army that was supposed to protect me. It was also a result of my seeing the Tamimi family endure that violence week after week, seeing their relatives injured, arrested and killed, and still not coming to the conclusion that the price of resistance is too high. They simply refuse to submit. [bz] 26/12/2017
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Top 10 reasons to celebrate the UN vote on JerusalemHamid Dabashi - Al Jazeera - The vote is a compelling indication that the US, particularly under the Trump administration, is a bully-state and a toothless tiger that roars much louder than it can bite. (...) The vote exposed that the Palestinian cause is a towering global concern not limited to Arab and Muslim countries. (...) The humiliation of Trump administration at the UN puts it blatantly at odds with the rising tide of pro-Palestinian consciousness in the US itself. This administration, more than any other before it, shows the pernicious power of the Israeli Lobby in the US to force its political elite to go against the will of American people and embarrass them in front of the world community. [bz]26/12/2017
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Jordan welcomes UN vote, calls for joint action to resolve conflict Anonymous - Jordan Times "On behalf of the Arab coalition at the UN General Assembly, Yemen’s Ambassador to the UN Khaled Al Yamani praised Jordan’s efforts under the leadership of His Majesty King Abdullah, the Custodian of the Holy Sites in occupied Jerusalem, and his endeavours in dealing with Israeli measures.He condemned the Israeli policies, practices and plans aimed at annexing occupied East Jerusalem, changing its Arab character and its demographic structure, and attempts to change the historical and legal status of the Islamic and Christian sites, including Al Aqsa Mosque/Al Haram Al Sharif." ca 22/12/2017
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Attorney general opposes death penalty for terroristsTovah Tzimuki - Ynetnews - Mandelblit to submit updated opinion on death penalty for terrorists bill proposed by Defense Minister Lieberman this week, expected to oppose it; judiciary officials say Western countries tend to abolish penalty rather than add to it, fearing irreversibility of punishment; only two men executed in country`s history: one falsely convicted by military tribunal, while the other was Nazi criminal Eichmann.-rh20/12/2017
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The angry Arab: Covering Donald Trump`s Jerusalem moveMariam Barghouti - Al-Jazeera - ""Illegal Jewish-only settlements are called neighbourhoods. Palestinian protests and demonstrations are called riots. Attacking protesters is called dispersing crowds by Israel, and the media has adopted this. And you see these subtleties become in the reports and the language being adopted as the norm. It`s the same language that Israel uses and unfortunately, it has dominated the narrative."" - id20/12/2017
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Israelis, Palestinians need European mediationAkiva Eldar - Al Monitor - "So far, Pence has only contributed to the flames ignited by his boss and the poisonous Christmas gifts sent from America; senior officials in the Trump administration said Dec. 15 that the Western Wall would forever remain under Israeli sovereignty. More so, Pence has decided to visit the holy site himself." - id20/12/2017
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Christian Fundamentalists and Evangelicals in the White House Eileen Fleming - The Arab Daily News - "Today’s fundamentalist Christian evangelical community’s passion to see Jerusalem as being irrevocably in Israeli hands is based on religious beliefs and NOT rational, practical political concerns, or God’s desire to see all people the way Jesus did: as equals!" - id 19/12/2017
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Trump decides: One stateYacov Ben Efrat - Challenge - "The thread connecting Trump’s decision on Jerusalem and his support for Roy Moore is his determination to appease his constituents on the evangelical right." - id19/12/2017
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Children of Stones Uri Avnery - Gush Shalom - "So is there no choice? Of course there is. There always is. The choice is between the Two State solution and No Solution. Eternal war." - id 19/12/2017
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The Arab political leadership’s absence from the anti-government-corruption protests and its disengaging from the Zionist LeftDoron Matza - +972 - The Arab leadership’s interest is to maintain the potential for implementing the hard-wrung economic development program, which has already borne fruit in the shape of newly-allocated funds from government agencies over the past year. Central players in Arab politics now have an interest in Israeli political stability. Despite the intense anti-Arab rhetoric by the government, and in light of comments about Arabs that are no less harsh emanating from the Zionist Left, the Arab leadership in Israel has opted to see the glass have full when it comes to government policies. [bz]18/12/2017
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Israel’s Sunni-Shia Divide and Conquer Strategy Richard Silverstein — Tikun Olam "Earlier this week, Israel’s intelligence minister, Israel Katz, who has already announced his intention run for Likud Party leadership should Bibi Netanyahu be forced to step down due to corruption investigations against him, published an interview on a mysterious Saudi website often used by the Saudis and Israelis to float trial balloons they fear might be controversial in the Arab world." ca16/12/2017
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Was Trump`s Jerusalem declaration a honey trap?Akiva Eldar - AThe presentation of a serious US blueprint for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations on a permanent status arrangement is the only hope of saving the peace process." - id 13/12/2017
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Say no to the tyranny of the majoritySami Michael - Ynet - "All over the world, we Jews are obsessed with interpreting democracy as a shield and wall for minorities, crying out whenever we suffer as a religious minority; in Israel, however, we seem to have forsaken a decent interpretation of democracy." - id 13/12/2017
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Time for One StateRichard Silverstein - Tikun Olam - "There is no reason in the long run two, in this case, can’t become one.  There are, of course, a thousand reasons Israelis can come up with against it.  But in terms of democracy, equality, economics and common interest, Israelis and Palestinians have much more to gain from union than to lose. " - id13/12/2017
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President Trump’s Audacity for ActionAbdennour Toumi - The Arab Daily News "President Trump’s decision killed the two-state solution and the MENA doctrine (Realpolitik) of the former Presidents H.W Bush and Bill Clinton." - id13/12/2017
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From Barak to Trump Uri Avnery - Gush Shalom - "Palestinians, and Arabs at large, do have deep feelings and convictions. They are a proud people... To be treated like dirt by the US president and his Jewish entourage hurts them deeply, and may lead to a disturbance in our region that no Arab prince, hired by the USA, will be able to control." - id 13/12/2017
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Trump`s snowball rolls from Jerusalem to the Gaza border Eric Yellin - Other Voice in the South - Forty-eight hours after Trump made a reckless statement in Washington, a "Color Red" alert was heard in my town Sderot on the Gaza border. A few blocks away from my home a rocket fired from Gaza hit between houses, causing trauma to several people nearby and damage to property. On the following morning we heard there were four Palestinians dead. The recklessness of Trump has triggered a snowball effect whose size or intensity we cannot yet estimate - but damage has already happened and it is already costing lives.[ak]12/12/2017
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Palestinian Rage Over Trump’s Jerusalem Move Won’t Turn Into a Third Intifada Muhammad Shehada - Haaretz  "Despite Palestinian despair as deep as before the first intifada, there won`t be a popular uprising or widespread officially- sanctioned violence. It`s not in the interests of the PA or Hamas - and they`ve bought the obedience of the activists who would have led the charge." ca 9/12/2017
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Israelis Will Pay for Trump`s Jerusalem GambitNoah Feldman - Bloomberg View "Although recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital doesn’t necessarily entail formal recognition of Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem, it certainly suggests that the Trump administration is willing to come very close -- far closer than any prior U.S. administration. That carries meaning for the Palestinian and Israeli negotiators alike...The basis for the secret threat to Netanyahu will have to be that, as the most nakedly pro-Israel president ever, Trump has the clout to blame Netanyahu if he is truly responsible for the breakdown of the deal...The Israelis have gotten the recognition they wanted. Now they will have to pay for it, one way or another." ca9/12/2017
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Netanyahu left without any cards to playAkiva Eldar - Al-Monitor "Every rookie cadet in the foreign service knows that in diplomacy, as in business, there are no free lunches. When a seasoned businessman like President Donald Trump grants Israel the coveted US recognition of Jerusalem as its capital, he expects a quid pro quo. That is why Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered members of his government to lie low and, to the extent possible, abstain from crowing over the expected news from the White House...The diatribe Netanyahu directed at Sharon in 2005 is all the more apt now: “The Likud and the state need a leader who will stop the corruption and work to heal the rift among the people.” ca 8/12/2017
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Photos: ‘Day of Rage’ rocks Jabalya refugee camp in Gaza after Trump’s Jerusalem announcementMahmoud Abu Salama - Mondoweiss "No text, only captions under the photos." ca8/12/2017
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We should listen to the wisdom of King Abdullah — Mogherini Reuters - Jordan Times "Jordan has a very special role, when it comes to the holy places, His Majesty, the King of Jordan, is the custodian of the holy places and he is a very wise man. He deserves and needs all our support in this difficult time and I believe we should all listen to him very carefully,” Mogherini said at a press conference in Brussels, commenting on the US decision to recognise the holy city as Israel’s capital and move embassy there...The European Union will engage even more with the parties and with our regional and international partners. We will keep working with the Middle East Quartet, possibly in an enlarged format,” said Mogherini, citing Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, as well as Norway. “We remain convinced that the role of the United States ... is crucial,” she said." ca8/12/2017
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Bulldozing the Peace Process David Shulman - New York Review of Books - While President Trump was announcing his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel`s capital, several Palestinian communities on the occupied West Bank and in the Jordan Valley were awaiting the army bulldozers coming to destroy their villages. There is an intimate and sinister link between these two concurrent events. For many years, house demolitions have been routine. In the last few weeks, we have seen a dramatic deterioration at a local level. What is now happening is not a series of isolated demolitions, but an effort to eradicate entire communities. Simply put: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his ministers think they can now get away with a campaign of slow ethnic cleansing. [bz] 12/12/2017
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Trump`s pragmatic move Yossi Beilin - Israel Hayom - You don`t have to be a billionaire to understand that when the time comes to make a deal, both sides will need to make concessions. Trump could seemingly have kept the recognition of Jerusalem as an Israeli achievement to be had in return for concessions, but he may have decided instead to initiate a move that gives Israel an early achievement in order for him to be able to demand something in return when he presents both sides with a diplomatic plan. [bz]12/12/2017
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No Palestinian state and no capital in Jerusalem, the new American-Israeli consensusMenachem Klein - +972 - Trump has exempt Israel from all commitments to international law and UN Security Council resolutions, which established that annexing Jerusalem and the settlements are both illegitimate and unlawful. Abbas’ inevitable conclusion is clear: the U.S. has moved from acting as mediator to blind, open support for the Israeli Right. The peace process as we knew it, since it began ceremoniously on the White House lawn in September 1993, has come to an end. We must find a new way. [bz] 12/12/2017
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Europe, wake up and smell the coffeeHagai El-Ad - +972 - Netanyahu’s Israel openly mocks the values that Europe claims to hold dear. When will European leaders stand up and reject the unacceptable reality of the past 50 years? [ry]11/12/2017
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Jared Kushner is wreaking havoc in the Middle EastMoustafa Bayoumi - The Guardian - In his role as the president’s special advisor, Kushner seems to have decided he can remake the entire Middle East. The results could be devastating [ry]11/12/2017
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Dangerous bend ahead MultiMedia - Al-Ahram Weekly "Countries and organisations that have warned against the move include, as well as Egypt and Al-Azhar, Jordan, France, Germany, Turkey, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Iraq, Palestine, Morocco and the Arab League. Ahmed Abul-Gheit, the Arab League secretary- general, said it would “fuel extremism and recourse to violence”." ca8/12/2017
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King and Emperor Uri Avnery - Gush Shalom - "Netanyahu would like to be, like Queen Victoria, "king and emperor" - King of Israel and Emperor of the Jews. Well, he ain`t." - id 6/12/2017
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Old headaches for new reconciliation dealOmar Karmi - Electronic Intifada "angry civil servants hired by Hamas to oversee the administration of the Gaza Strip on Tuesday confronted employees of the West Bank Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas as they tried to reassume their old jobs after 10 years. The latter had been ordered to take up their previous posts from Ramallah, which is keen to be seen to have taken back control of Gaza.But this came without agreement with Hamas and without resolution as to what to do with the people – somewhere between 40,000 and 50,000 – who had been employed in the intervening decade." ca 3/12/2017
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Flynn Plea Shows Collusion With... Israel? VIDEO- AARON MATÉ - The Real News Network "What it does show is that the Israeli government, through Jared Kushner, pressured Michael Flynn to approach the Russian government through Sergey Kislyak, who was the Russian Ambassador to the US at the time to use its position on the U.N. Security Council to stop a resolution condemning Israeli Settlement activity, which the Obama administration was going to abstain on, something the US government hasn`t done before." ca2/12/2017
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