Author Archives: Jonathan Cook

About Jonathan Cook

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His new website is jonathan-cook.net.

Distracted by the peace process: What really happened during the talks

Both the US and Israel have come to rely on the endless theatrics of the two-decade peace process. Settlement freezes, prisoner releases, rows about Palestinian Authority funding and, of course, intermittent negotiations have served as useful distractions from the main developments on the ground.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, Occupation, US Policy in the Middle East | 29 Comments

US desperate to keep futile peace process going a little longer

Obama seems committed to keeping the peace process show on the road for a while longer, however aware he is of the ultimate futility of the exercise. For the first time since the US launched the Middle East peace talks last summer, the Palestinian leadership may be sensing it has a tiny bit of leverage.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | 60 Comments

Time for world leaders to stop inflating Israel’s bubble of denial

Israelis have grown content living in a large bubble of denial. Netanyahu and his ministers are making every effort to reinforce that bubble, just as they have tried to shield Israelis from the fact that they live in the Middle East, not Europe, by building walls on every side – both physical and bureaucratic – to exclude Palestinians, Arab neighbours, foreign workers and asylum seekers.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, Occupation | 9 Comments

Israeli government implosion over peace process opens door to international isolation

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rarely been so politically embattled. His travails indicate the Israeli right’s inability to respond to a shifting political landscape, both in the region and globally. U.S.-led negotiations may not lead to an agreement, but they will mark a historic turning-point nonetheless. The delegitimisation of Israel is truly under way, and the party doing most of the damage is the Israeli leadership itself.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, Occupation, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | 15 Comments

Cracks in the alliance: Is there finally daylight between Israel and the US?

The Israeli government is hurling insults at U.S. officials and working visibly to thwart a peace process on which the Obama administration had staked its credibility. The recent diplomatic fracas over Moshe Ya’alon’s comments have added to the bad blood built up between these two allies during Netanyahu’s term. The feud is not only over Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians but on the related matter of US handling of what Israel considers its strategic environment in the wake of the Arab Spring.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Middle East, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | 47 Comments

Eric Alterman continues to justify lack of Palestinian voices at ‘The Nation’

Liberals can sound pretty pathetic when their back is to the wall, and liberal Zionists even more so. A case in point is Eric Alterman.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Media, US Politics | 78 Comments

Incitement against Palestine: Israel not ready to give up ‘villa in the jungle’

Successive Israeli governments have carefully engineered the structure of Israeli society to ensure that Jewish and Palestinian citizens, the latter comprising a fifth of the population, are kept in separate linguistic, cultural, educational and emotional worlds. The reasoning is not hard to discern. The last thing Israeli leaders want is for Jewish and Palestinian citizens to develop shared interests, forge friendships and act in solidarity. That would start to erode the rationale for a Jewish state, especially one premised on the supposed need of the Jews to defend themselves from a hostile world – “the villa in the jungle”, as former prime minister Ehud Barak once characterised Israel.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | 12 Comments

Israel aims to silence growing international criticism with Texas A&M deal in Nazareth

Two months ago officials from Israel and Texas made an unexpected announcement, unveiling an ambitious plan to build in Israel the first branch of an American university, at a probable cost of $100 million. Jonathan Cook reports from Nazareth that Israel hopes to accomplish several things from the venture: silence international criticism over the country’s high level of inequality; drive a wedge further between Palestinian Christians and Muslims; stymie efforts by Palestinians in Israel to win educational autonomy; and strike a powerful blow against mounting pressure from the movement for an academic and cultural boycott.

Posted in Israel Lobby, Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, US Politics | Tagged | 40 Comments

John Kerry’s framework proposal sets the stage for the ‘Gazafication’ of the West Bank

In recent days, US and European diplomats have been engaged in a frenzy of activity on the Israeli-Palestinian front. In a last desperate effort to break the logjam in negotiations, Washington plans to unveil its so-called “framework proposal” for the creation of a Palestinian state next month. The outlines of the US vision of an agreement are coming into focus, and as many expected the picture looks bleak for the Palestinians.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Occupation, One state/Two states, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | 65 Comments

Judaisation vs Justice: Israel’s war on the Bedouin proves 1948 settled nothing

As United States envoys shuttle back and forth in search of a peace formula to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a matter supposedly settled decades ago is smouldering back into life. In what was billed as a “day of rage” last month, thousands of Palestinians took to the streets to protest against a plan to uproot tens of thousands of Bedouin from their ancestral lands inside Israel, in the Negev (Naqab). The stakes are high, not least because Israel views this battle as a continuation of the 1948 war that established a Jewish state on the ruins of Palestine.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, On the ground reports | 11 Comments

On the death of Nelson Mandela: a dissenting opinion

It is important to recognize Mandela’s huge achievement in helping to bring down South African apartheid. But it’s also important to acknowledge that Mandela was rehabilitated into an “elder statesman” in return for South Africa being rapidly transformed into an outpost of neoliberalism, prioritising the kind of economic apartheid most of us in the west are getting a strong dose of now.

Posted in Israel/Palestine | 23 Comments

The false analogy of Syria and Palestine

Jonathan Cook responds to critics about his opposition to launching yet another “humanitarian intervention” in Syria.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, syria | 67 Comments

Why Israel wanted Arafat dead

It seems there are still plenty of parties who would prefer that Arafat’s death continues to be treated as a mystery rather than as an assassination. It is hard, however, to avoid drawing the logical conclusion from the finding last week by Swiss scientists that the Palestinian leader’s body contained high levels of a radioactive isotope, polonium-210. It is time to state the obvious: Arafat was killed. And suspicion falls squarely on Israel. Israel alone had the means, track record, stated intention and motive. Without Israel’s fingerprints on the murder weapon, it may not be quite enough to secure a conviction in a court of law, but it should be evidence enough to convict Israel in the court of world opinion.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, Occupation | Tagged | 85 Comments

Whatever happened to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process?

The ongoing Israeli-Palestinian peace process is easy to forget about: there’s been barely a peep about it since the revival of talks was greeted with great fanfare back in July. But last week, it flitted briefly back on to the radar when the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, met Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Rome. Whatever Netanyahu told Kerry in private, few believe the Israeli prime minister is really ready to seek peace. Earlier this month he set out in public his hardline vision for the talks: no peace until the Palestinians recognize the “Jewish state” and give up on the right of return.

Posted in Israel/Palestine | Tagged | 45 Comments

Why does Uri Avnery know so little about Palestinian citizens of Israel?

Uri Avnery has achieved many great things as a journalist and a peace activist. Nonetheless, it is important to challenge the many fallacious claims Avnery makes to bolster the arguments in his latest article, dismissing the growing comparisons being made between Israel and apartheid South Africa.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, One state/Two states | 64 Comments

Even the World Bank understands: Palestine is being disappeared

A recent World Bank report highlights how Israel is gradually whittling away the foundations on which the Palestinians can build an independent economic life and a viable state. The report’s focus is on the nearly two-thirds of the West Bank, known as Area C, that is exclusively under Israeli control–and which contains almost all the resources a Palestinian state will need to exploit.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, On the ground reports | Tagged | 89 Comments

Gaza: Crushed between Israel and Egypt

The furor over the recent chemical weapons attack in Syria has overshadowed disturbing events to the south, as Egypt’s generals wage a quiet war of attrition against the Hamas leadership in Gaza. And, as ever, Israel is far from an innocent bystander. Above, an empty tunnel connecting Egypt and Gaza.

Posted in Egypt, Gaza, Israel/Palestine, Occupation | 113 Comments

Red Lines and Green Lights: Israel still angling for attack on Syria and Iran

President Obama may have drawn his seemingly regretted “red line” around Syria’s chemical weapons, but it was neither he nor the international community that turned the spotlight on their use. That task fell to Israel. Israel still desperately wants its chief foe, Iran, crushed. And if it can find a way to lever the US into doing its dirty work, it will exploit the opening – regardless of whether such action ramps up the suffering in Syria.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, syria, US Policy in the Middle East | Tagged | 32 Comments

A look at Israel’s ‘ethnic cleansing’ zones

In recent weeks Israel has been intensifying a campaign to summarily evict Palestinian farming communities from their ancestral lands to replace them with Jewish newcomers. Israeli human rights lawyers, tired of the international community’s formulaic criticisms, say it is time to be more forthright. They call these “ethnic cleansing” zones – intended to drive off Palestinians irrespective of the provisions of international law and whether or not the Palestinians in question hold Israeli citizenship.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, Occupation | Tagged | 13 Comments

How Israeli apartheid is coming unstuck

One incident of racism, though small in relation to the decades of massive, institutionalised discrimination exercised by Israel against its Palestinian Arab citizens, has triggered an uncharacteristic bout of Israeli soul-searching. When Superland, a large amusement park near Tel Aviv, refused to accept a booking from an Arab school the story went viral on social media and Israel government ministers led an outpouring of revulsion. But while Netanyahu and his allies on the far right were castigating Superland for its racism, they were busy backing a grossly discriminatory piece of legislation the Haaretz newspaper called “one of the most dangerous” measures ever to come before the parliament.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government | Tagged | 125 Comments

Israel stirs the pot in Syria

Has Israel been sending out contradictory signals about its position on Syria to sow confusion, or is it simply confused itself? The answer can be deduced in the unappealing outcomes before Israel whoever emerges triumphant. Israel stands to lose strategically if either Assad or the opposition wins decisively.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, Middle East, syria | 15 Comments

Kerry’s plan: Palestinians to be cast as fall guys – again

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Benjamin Netanyahu, has paid grudging lip service over the past four years to the goal of Palestinian statehood. But his real agenda was always transparent: not statehood, but what he termed “economic peace”. After 20 years of pursuing Palestinian statehood implied in the Oslo Accords, the US indicated last week it was switching horses and adopting Netanyahu’s plan. So far the PA has been quietly dismissive of the Kerry plan, but the real danger for the Palestinians, as they remember only too well from the 2000 Camp David talks, is that they are being set up as the fall guy. Should they refuse to sign up to the latest version of economic peace, Israel and the US will be only too ready to blame them for their intransigence.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, US Policy in the Middle East | 25 Comments

The Samson complex: Israel again rebuffs peace with the Arab world

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Faced with a diplomatic impasse between Israel and the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas, John Kerry extracted from the Arab League an agreement to dust off a decade-old regional plan, the Arab Peace Initiative. The new Arab overture, like its antecedent, barely raised a flicker of interest from Israel. This response serves as a rejoinder to one of the conflict’s most enduring myths. Even before 1967, Israel presented itself as eager for acceptance from the Arab states. This fiction, which continues to shape western perceptions.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | Tagged | 38 Comments

Ignore the hype around Obama’s Israel trip — It’s four more years of settlement growth

Israeli and Palestinian officials have been in Washington laying the ground for President Barack Obama’s visit to Israel and the West Bank next month. Obama apparently intends to start his second term with an effort to engage with Israel and the Palestinians that is almost as certain to prove an exercise in futility.

Posted in Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, Occupation, Settlers/Colonists, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics | 24 Comments

How 20 tents rocked Israel: Palestinians take the fight to their occupiers in Bab al-Shams

By establishing Bab al-Shams, activists visibly demonstrated the apartheid nature of Israel’s rule in the occupied territories. Following Saturday’s Israeli raid on the village, organizer Mohammed Khatib said, “In establishing Bab al-Shams, we declare that we have had enough of demanding our rights from the occupier — from now on we shall seize them ourselves.” That, of course, is Benjamin Netanyahu’s great fear.

Posted in Activism, Israel/Palestine, Israeli Government, Occupation, Settlers/Colonists | Tagged | 16 Comments