There were demonstrations across Palestine today over Trump’s inauguration and plans to move the US embassy to Jerusalem. Six protesters were arrested after they set up a tent on the outskirts of the illegal Jerusalem settlement of Ma’ale Adumim, which many in Israel’s government want to annex.
Donald Trump is set to become the 45th president of the United States of America. The world waits.
Since the end of World War 2, the United States has attempted to overthrow more than 50 foreign governments, most of them democratically-elected. And other sharp observations from a great wit of the left, William Blum.
Yesterday, Israeli police forces demolished homes and structures at Umm Al-Hiran, a Bedouin village in the southern Negev desert. Umm Al-Hiran is one of 39 ‘unrecognised’ Bedouin villages in Israel’s southern Negev and has faced state repression since the founding of Israel in 1948. Therefore it is best to understand yesterday’s violence and the case of Umm Al-Hiran as part of an overarching policy of ethnic cleansing.
“I prefer a painful truth over any blissful fantasy,” Chelsea Manning said, and President Obama has commuted her sentence in one of his last acts as president
A peaceful march broke out into clashes on Sunday, after Palestinians gathered in the occupied southern West Bank city of Bethlehem to demand Israeli authorities release the remains of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces to their families for burial. Samir al-Khadour, the husband of slain Majd al-Khadour, said, “To see all these people here gives me hope that I will get my wife’s body back one day.”
Al Jazeera’s four-part series on the Israel lobby’s actions in Britain shows the primary function of the Labour Friends of Israel and other groups with the Israeli embassy is to smear Palestinians and their supporters with charges of anti Semitism, and thereby control the limits of public opinion about the Jewish state.
There is ample evidence that Louis Brandeis converted to Zionism at 56, after a life removed from Jewish concerns, so as to get on to the Supreme Court, which President Wilson had made clear was impossible unless he was a “representative Jew.” Brandeis’s hagiographers, including Jeffrey Rosen, CEO of the Constitution Center, in his new biography from Yale Books, erase this history lest it would throw a shadow on a Zionist hero.
“We will soon be the majority!” says a huge billboard in the heart of Tel-Aviv. Written in Arabic and showing Palestinians with Palestinian flags it is meant to frighten Jewish Israelis into supporting a two-state solution. The Israeli press is reporting that many Israelis “erroneously thought this to be a hostile takeover of the media by Palestinian terror organizations,” but the campaign is actually the work of a ‘liberal’ organization from the center of Israeli politics.
A central question of the Middle East Peace Process remains: can the two-state solution be saved? On Sunday, a conference in Paris will try to relaunch the moribund peace process and the French Initiative has been warmly received by the Palestinian leadership as a final chance to save the two-state-solution: “Two states today is possible. Tomorrow, it might be too late” warned Muhammad Shtayyeh, Fatah Central Committee Member, who nevertheless remains optimistic. “The reality on the ground, the demography on the ground, the geography on the ground, shows that a two-state solution is still possible today”. However, Palestinian public opinion no longer reflects this official position. A recent poll shows that 65% of Palestinians no longer believe the two-state solution is viable due to ongoing settlement expansion. “The more people think the two-state solution is no longer viable, the more likely they it is that they will shift and support a one-state solution” explains Dr. Khalil Shikaki, Director of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research.
Majed Abusalama writes, “I am not sorry for the language. I am very tired of Israel and I proudly say, again and again: Fuck the Occupation. I also know that since Hamas came to power by being democratically elected in 2006, the international community rejected democracy and refused to deal with them. Then some Fatah leaders, these so-called ‘socialists’ and ‘seculars’, used this opportunity to limit Hamas’ power which created greater tension in our country, resulting in Hamas’ military factions expelling the PA/Fateh from Gaza. And that’s the short version. I love the people of Gaza. I love them more than Hamas and Fateh love them. No human deserves to live like the people of Gaza.”
A new Pew Research Center poll from January 4-9 of American views on foreign policy shows that Democratic Party sympathies for Israel are crashing, down ten points in the last 9 months, from 43 percent to 33 percent. That’s a 23 percent crash. If this was the stock market, Israel would be considered a tanking stock.
“Now who I do talk Hebrew to? Palestinians.” An American activist who grew up in the Orthodox Jewish community describes her long road from Zionism and a belief in Israel’s goodness to a dedication to human rights and anti-Zionism.
The two generators of Gaza’s sole power plant stopped operating Jan. 6 due to a severe fuel shortage. For most residents, that means most areas are receiving power for a mere three hours in between 12-hour blackouts. Who and what is to blame is a subject of many dark jokes and frustration—sometimes breaking into protests and arrests. Most residents in Gaza, however, place a large share of the blame on feuding political leaders.
Antony Loewenstein reviews “Palestine Ltd: Neoliberalism and Nationalism in the Occupied Territory” by Toufic Haddad: “Palestine Ltd paints a grim picture of Palestinian hopes for statehood. Haddad shows how it was killed at birth.”
Donald Trump has now named his son-in-law Jared Kushner as a senior adviser, notably on Middle East and Israel issues. Ten years ago, Kushner fired Philip Weiss from the New York Observer after Weiss started reporting on the Israeli occupation. Weiss reflects on his experience with Kushner and what it could mean for his upcoming White House role.
“We in Jerusalem have just experienced an unprovoked terrorist attack, a murderous attack that claimed the lives of four young Israelis and wounded others”, said Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu in a statement right after the car ramming attack in East Jerusalem two days ago. But is an attack on military personnel in occupied territory a terror attack? Jonathan Ofir writes, “By such rhetoric, Netanyahu blurs the distinction between military and civilian targets, a principle which is very important in the distinctions concerning terror. When we sum up the whole of the setting, what we actually have is a Palestinian under occupation, targeting a gathering which is rather exclusively manned by soldiers, military representatives of the army that is occupying him. All this falls, prima facie, within the distinctions regarding legitimate resistance to occupation. It does not matter how ugly it looks, we cannot without critical appraisal of the context just call it ‘terror.'”
Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to Netanyahu three or four times as often as to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, according to former State Dep’t aide David Makovsky
Emad Abu Shamsiyah first started receiving death threats in March, after a video he filmed for Israeli rights group B’Tselem, which captured Israeli soldier Elor Azaria shooting dead Abed al-Fattah al-Sharif, 21, was released to the public. Now, the manslaughter ruling against Azaria has translated into anger among Israeli settlers and Shamsiyah cannot walk the streets of his neighborhood without fearing for his life. “It was already bad before, but after the court ruling, all these threats started to come in through my Facebook, telling me I will die and that people want to murder me,” Shamsiyah tells Mondoweiss.
The Israeli government is waging “a brazen, covert influence campaign” in Britain, investigation by Al Jazeera alleges. An Israeli diplomat schemed to “take down” British Foreign Secretary because he was critical of settlements, an undercover tape reveals.
David Lloyd, a founding member of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, reflects on the failure of the Modern Language Association to endorse a boycott of Israeli academic institutions: “What was all too clear was that the right to academic freedom does not really extend beyond the boundaries of a quite narrowly defined Western academy, of which Israel’s academy is an honorary member.”
Jews opposed the UN Resolution against settlements by 47-42 percent, according to a Politico/Morning Consult poll. But other members of the Democratic Party coalition were for it by large margins, African Americans, Hispanics, and Religious nones. And Republicans are also against the resolution.
The Israeli military court ruling which found Sgt. Elor Azaria guilty of manslaughter in the killing of Abed al-Fattah al-Sharif has revealed long-simmering fissures in Israeli society that, according to experts, point to a growing anti-democratic trend in the country and reinforce the lack of accountability for Palestinians within the Israeli justice system.
Norman Finkelstein says the UN resolution against settlements was very strong, making them a war crime, and Obama allowed it to pass, in a major shift from his previous stance, because he wanted a legacy on Israel/Palestine and wanted to turn the tables on Netanyahu. Now the question is what Palestinians will do to enforce the latest in a long line of historical documents damming the settlements.
Hatim Kanaaneh’s village in the Galilee has become known in the Israeli press as a “medical mecca” for the large number of doctors and medical professionals that call it home. Although some want to credit Israel for this, Kanaaneh says it has been accomplished through “resilience, often verging on plasticity,” in the face of institutional and societal discrimination in the Jewish state.