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Commentary

TitleDescriptionDate
Israel’s threats against Iran will expose Biden’s readiness to slap it downYossi Melman - Middle East Eye - After a year-long pause due the Covid-19 pandemic, Israel has renewed its threats against Iran. It was Lieutenant General Aviv Kochavi, Israel’s chief of staff, who brought Iran’s nuclear programme back to the front of Israeli discourse. Or, at least, that`s what he`s trying to do. Kochavi hopes to capture the attention of a public whose priorities and main concerns are still only one: how to beat the virus and bring the country back to normalcy. By echoing the prime minister’s fears that once Iran has the bomb it may use it, the chief of staff allied himself completely with Netanyahu. Such a frightening scenario has never been heard from Israeli security and military experts. It’s not known whether Kochavi had coordinated his speech with the prime minister, but clearly its content is in line with Netanyahu’s thinking and desires. [bz]28/1/2021
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Generals make concrete preparations for war with IranUdi Shaham - The Jerusalem Post - Lt.-Gen Aviv Kochavi had expressed a complete rejection of a renewed nuclear deal with Iran, and said this would be "an operational and strategic mistake for the world". Kochavi’s critics regard his remarks as extending PM Netanyahu’s effort to undermine American policy on Iran and said that it’s not IDF commander’s place to lecture our closest ally, which annually gives the IDF $3.8 billion for defense purposes. Conversely, former Air Defense Corps commander Brig.-Col. (ret.) Zvika Haimovich said that Kocahvi`s remarks should be taken seriously as a concrete preparation for an imminent war with Iran, making use of plans already prepared for a decade. Discussion should be focused on concrete goals: “thinking that an attack will completely destroy the Iranian nuclear plan is too ambitious, since the Iranian nuclear program is spread over several sites, some of them well defended underground. It would not be a single attack but several, aiming to delay as long as possible Iran’s ability to get a nuclear weapon. Preparations for such a war should include also preparing for the inevitable Iranian retaliation and how it would impact the Israeli home front". Haimovich did not refer to the possibility of the Biden Administration objecting to a unilateral Israeli decision to attack Iran, using arms supplied by the US. [ak] 28/1/2021
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Fearing the Palestinian Narrative: Why Israel Banned ‘Jenin Jenin’Ramzy Baroud - CounterPunch - "[...] the case of ’Jenin Jenin’ is not that of routine censorship. It is a statement, a message, against those who dare give voice to oppressed Palestinians, allowing them the opportunity to speak directly to the world. These Palestinians, in the eyes of Israel, are certainly the most dangerous, as they demolish the layered, elaborate, yet fallacious official Israeli discourse” [ry] 25/1/2021
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Blinken’s declared approach to the Palestinian issue already failed more than once Avi Gil - The Jerusalem Post - In his Senate confirmation, Secretray of State Blinken stated that before trying any concrete move, the US would give priority to "building trust between Israelis and Palestinians", and "slowly build some confidence on both sides to create an environment in which we might once again be able to help advance a solution....”. This approach echoes a dangerous illusion. After all, we’ve seen this movie more than once, and we know it doesn’t end happily: the status quo is not maintained, Israel tends to use its superior power to establish facts on the ground, the two sides move further away from a two-state solution, trust erodes, and the weakening Palestinian camp becomes less of a “partner” than ever. The collapse of past peace initiatives does not justify diplomatic inaction. [ak] 28/1/2021
---An Important Civics Lesson---
Haifa school defying education minister`s ban on B`Tselem
Haaretz Editorial - The ministry director-general called the principal of the Reali High School in Haifa, Mendi Rabinowitz, on the carpet along with the director-general of the school’s ownership, Yossi Ben-Dov, after their refusal to cancel an invitation to the director of the B’Tselem human rights NGO, Hagai El-Ad, to speak at the school. On Sunday the minister ordered his director-general to bar the school from hosting organizations that “operate in a manner that mocks IDF soldiers and labels Israel an apartheid state.” The Reali School did not hasten to obey; they asked the ministry for the legal basis for the minister’s decision to censor those who don’t fall in line politically with the ruling party. When that information wasn’t forthcoming, they went ahead with the planned lecture the following day. The heads of the Reali School acted as they should have in light of the illegal government bullying and gave their pupils an important civics lesson. [bz] 21/1/2021
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A post-Trump PalestineAhmed Abu Artema - Al Jazeera - Palestinians should stop hoping for change of policy in Washington and move forward with their struggle for freedom [ry] 18/1/2021
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Holding on to power Gush Shalom - Netanyahu uses every machination and trick to cancel his trial. What will he be capable of when he would be at the end of tricks? [bz]14/1/2021
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Lapid is the alternative to NetanyahuDan Perry - Times of Israel blog - The prevailing narrative says the upcoming Israeli election is a contest between nationalists, with the alternative to incumbent Benjamin Netanyahu being some combination of Likud retiree Gideon Saar and Naftali Bennet, religious extremist and West Bank settlement enthusiast. This is a distortion created by Israel’s media, whose right-wing bias is strangely enabled by its anachronistic left-wing reputation. There is no reason why the alternative cannot be a center-left candidate, assuming that there will be some obvious party mergers before the February 4 deadline. [bz]14/1/2021
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A regime of Jewish supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea: This is apartheidB`tselem - More than 14 million people, roughly half of them Jews and the other half Palestinians, live between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea under a single rule. The common perception in public, political, legal and media discourse is that two separate regimes operate side by side in this area, separated by the Green Line. One regime, inside the borders of the sovereign State of Israel, is a permanent democracy with a population of about nine million, all Israeli citizens. The other regime, in the territories Israel took over in 1967, whose final status is supposed to be determined in future negotiations, is a temporary military occupation imposed on some five million Palestinian subjects. Over time, the distinction between the two regimes has grown divorced from reality. This state of affairs has existed for more than 50 years – twice as long as the State of Israel existed without it. Hundreds of thousands of Jewish settlers now reside in permanent settlements east of the Green Line, living as though they were west of it. East Jerusalem has been officially annexed to Israel’s sovereign territory, and the West Bank has been annexed in practice. Most importantly, the distinction obfuscates the fact that the entire area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River is organized under a single principle: advancing and cementing the supremacy of one group – Jews – over another – Palestinians. All this leads to the conclusion that these are not two parallel regimes that simply happen to uphold the same principle. There is one regime governing the entire area and the people living in it, based on a single organizing principle. [ak] 14/1/2021
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2021: Palestine’s Chance of Fighting BackRamzy Baroud - CounterPunch - “2020 will go down in history as the year that terminated the American-sponsored ‘peace process’. […] the new year presents Palestinians with the opportunity to think outside the American box” [ry] 11/1/2021
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The Israeli-Palestinian Union: The “1–2–7 States Vision of the Future" Lev Grinberg - Journal of Palestine Studies - Imagination is a necessary but insufficient precondition for political change.Equally crucial are the political capacity to negotiate and compromise, a relatively even balance of power, and the authority (and popular support) to implement agreements. In addition to a lack of any shared vision, all these elements were absent in the Israeli- Palestinian “peace process” of 1993–2000. Two charismatic leaders allegedly committed to the two-state solution, Yitzhak Rabin and Yasir Arafat, failed to agree on borders, postponed negotiations, and neglected to take steps to start decolonization. Their failure, compounded by subsequent developments on the ground, critically jeopardized the two-state solution’s future chances of success. The one-state scenario on the other hand has not even reached the table. In light of the obstacles in the way of these two most commonly mentioned solutions, this essay suggests an alternative vision of how to contain the conflict in the absence of reaching a “solution.” [ak] 7/1/2021
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The army is too busy (Gush Shalom) 5/1/2021
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