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12 pretty good signs you’re vacationing in an apartheid country

Philip Weiss on
Cyclamen, in the Territories

Three soldiers come up to the minibus holding rifles out before them, and a boy of 10 sitting next to you who you’ve never met before jams himself into your side and clutches your arm, saying “I scared.” The soldiers examine all the papers and wave you on. You wonder what this boy has seen that he was so terrified.

No time to mourn

Alice Rothchild on
Yasser Abu Jamei of Gaza Community Mental Health Programme

I first saw the spanking new administrative buildings for the Gaza Community Mental Health Program in 2005; ten years later there is a rusty shabbiness to the exterior but the people working inside are energetic and spectacular. The property fronts a road and then a glorious sandy beach and the crashing grey blue waves of […]

Thousands in Ramallah mourn Ali Mahmoud Safi, 20, killed by Israeli soldiers while protesting

Kate on
Ali Mahmoud Safi's funeral in Ramallah.

Ma’an reports: (Ma‘an) 26 Mar — Thousands of Palestinians on Thursday marched in the funeral of a young man who succumbed to his wounds the day before after being shot by Israeli forces during a protest near Ramallah last week. 20-year-old Ali Mahmoud Safi was buried in the al-Shuhada (Martyrs’) Cemetery in the al-Jalazun refugee camp north of Ramallah Thursday, as thousands mourned the first Palestinian youth to be killed in the camp so far this year.

A pessoptimistic view of the Israeli elections

Hatim Kanaaneh on

Hatim Kanaaneh reflects on the recent Israeli election and strains to find optimism in what he sees as a rising tide of fascism in the country: “It is my belief that the Palestinian Arab minority in Israel has a mission it cannot shirk: forcing true democracy on the Jewish majority that continues to slide down the slippery slope of racism. It is our ordained destiny, it seems, to save Israel from its the-whole-world-is-against-us paranoia. It is our role to coax Israel it back from its Masada Complex stand. We have little choice but to fulfill this impossible mission; the alternative is too bleak to contemplate.”

On Netanyahu’s apology to Palestinian citizens of Israel

Scott Ratner on
Benjamin Netanyahu apologizes to Palestinian citizens of Israel for racist remarks he made during the recent election. (Photo: Likud)

Prime Minister elect Benjamin Netanyahu recently issued an apology to “Israeli Arabs” for his outlandishly racist Election Day remarks that “Arabs voters are going to the polls en masse.” Netanyahu chose to render his apology to a crowd of elderly men rather than the 12 recently elected Palestinian Arabs from the Joint List that actually represent the majority of the country’s Arabic speaking population. His message? Palestinians seeking genuine representation and influence in the body politic are not welcome.

In Israel, the mask is finally off

David Glick on
A runner wears a mask depicting Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after an Election Race organised by a local gym at the Yarkon park in Tel Aviv March 16, 2015. (Photo: Reuters)

Boldly defying the U.S., the international community, and the Palestinian people, Netanyahu said in the clearest terms possible, “If I am elected there will be no Palestinian state.” What Netanyahu stated publicly is what has been true of all of Israel’s prime ministers, whether from the left, the center, or the right. For the past 22 years, all have been lying and misleading the world, pretending to seek peace with the Palestinians while pursuing policies to ensure there will never be peace and never be a Palestinian state. The irony is that the greatest of all these liars is the one who finally told the truth and we should thank him for it.

Joint List to lead mass march on Jerusalem, as Netanyahu forms a gov’t

Allison Deger on
Ayman Odeh, head of the Joint Arab List, at campaign headquarters in Nazareth, Israel. (Photo: Allison Deger)

While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in the final hours of forming a ruling coalition to lead the country, the Joint List is organizing a mass march. Unrecognized villagers will camp and walk their way to Israel’s seat of government, all while their party’s leadership is tightening ties with presumed opposition heads in the Zionist Camp.

Why did Herzog run scared? He fears the Israeli people

Philip Weiss on
Yitzhak Herzog

Yitzhak Herzog ran scared in the Israeli election. He did not bring up the Palestinian issue, and Netanyahu did, defining the debate in a rightwing manner. Herzog’s failure of leadership reflects his fear of fascist elements in his own society.

Meet the Knesset members from the Joint List

Allison Deger on
The Joint Arab List's member of Israel's next Knesset. (Photo: Joint Arab List)

Something has changed inside Israel for its Palestinian citizens. The hard data is revealing: voter turnout by Palestinian citizens of Israel jumped by 10% from the last election and in the Joint Arab List’s party leader’s home district it was nearly an unheard of 80%. The joint list is full of fresh faces with seven first time Knesset member, two women, five communists, two national democrats, two Islamist, one Christian and one Israeli-Jew. Meet the next Knesset members from the Joint Arab List.

Netanyahu’s victory ‐ what is the cost?

Robert Fantina on
Netanyahu and Obama at the United Nations, 2011. (Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Robert Fantina looks at the international political implications of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s victory in Israel’s election and writes it may have come at a surprisingly high cost.

The bitter anniversary of Yusuf Shawamreh’s death

Stanley Heller on
Yusuf Shawamreh collecting used shell casings at the separation barrier to sell as scrap metal in October, 2013 (Photo: B'tselem)

Stanley Heller remembers the life and scandalous death of Yusuf Shawamreh, 14, who was killed by Israeli soldiers on March 19, 2014 as he picked Akub, an edible wild-growing plant, on part of his family’s land in the West Bank.

Netanyahu’s victory marks the end of the two-state solution

Jeff Halper on
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gestures to supporters at party headquarters in Tel Aviv March 18, 2015. (Photo: REUTERS/Amir Cohen)

Jeff Halper writes: No one can be happy when racism and oppression win the day. In a wider perspective, however, Netanyahu’s victory in the Israeli election may represent a positive game-changer. The realization that successive Israeli governments have created one state in all of the Land of Israel has finally become as irrefutable as it is irreversible. This is the game-changer of this election. Since Israel itself eliminated the two-state solution deliberately, consciously and systematically over the course of a half-century, and since it created with its own hands the single de facto state we have today, the way forward is clear. We must accept the ultimate “fact on the ground,” the single state imposed by Israel over the entire country, but not in its apartheid/prison form. Israel has left us with only one way out: to transform that state into a democratic state of equal rights for all of its citizens.

The historic night for the Arab List

Allison Deger on
Joint Arab List head Ayman Odeh speaks with press during an election results event in Nazareth, Israel, Tuesday, March 17, 2015. (Photo: Allison Deger)

A historic moment was about to take place at campaign headquarters. An assistant for Ayman Odeh, head of Joint Arab List, a coalition of four parties running on one ticket for the first time, pulled me aside in the Nazareth convention hall and said with a smile, “we got 14 seats.” It was 8pm, there were still two hours to go before precincts would shut. Yet the Nazareth rally was abuzz over early the results. Israeli media had estimated their group would win enough seats in the next Knesset to become the third largest party in the country. It would become an unprecedented feat for the 20-percent Arab-Palestinian minority population. In this election another candidate, Avigdor Liberman, campaigned that they are a fifth column, to be expelled to the West Bank. Those signs, were plastered all over the entrances of Arab villages throughout the north of Israel throughout the past three months.

Palestine, (un)Naturally

Steven Salaita on
An Israeli jack hammer starting to destroy Palestinian olive trees in Beit Hanina, 2008. (Photo: POICA)

Steven Salaita says we can understand the entirety of the Israel-Palestine conflict by examining its physical effect on the land. Read a slightly modified version of a talk Salaita gave on February 13, 2015 at the Palestine Center in Washington, DC titled “Natural History Under Siege.”

Netanyahu won. Now what?

Avigail Abarbanel on
Likud party supporters react after hearing exit poll results in Tel Aviv March 17, 2015. REUTERS/Nir Elias

Avigail Abarbanel says she is relieved Netanyahu won the Israeli elections: “There wll be no more endless cycles of pointless ‘negotiations’ with Israel pretending that some day it will agree to a two-state solution while continually escalating both settlement (colony) building and the maltreament of the Palestinians. Now everyone will see that the Palestinians were right all along and that Israel has never been a partner for negotiations.”

The dismal lives of students locked in Israeli prison

Yas Mahmoudi on
Palestinian prisoners in Ofer Prison. (Photo: Moshe Shai/Flash90)

In Palestine, prisons are a major site in which the struggle for education, among other basic human rights, is tirelessly waged. Roughly 20% of Palestinians have been incarcerated, constituting as much as 40% of the male population. Many are students whose right to an education suffer enormously once imprisoned.