Category Archives:
Israeli Government

Exclusive: Palestine seeks to charge Israel with ‘apartheid’ and war crimes at The Hague

Allison Deger on
View of  International Criminal Court, July 23, 2014 in The Hague, The Netherlands.  (Photo: Enfoque Derecho)

Palestinian leaders seek to charge Israel with the crime of “Apartheid,” and 22 other charges including seven war crimes, according to Shawan Jabarin, the director of the Palestinian human rights group Al Haq. The thick set documents were ceremoniously handed over to the International Criminal Court (ICC) today at headquarters in The Hague, yet yesterday morning Jabarin was given exclusive access to the report in Ramallah.

UN report catalogs Israeli attacks on Palestinian children, but leaves Israel off child rights abusers ‘list of shame’

Allison Deger on
Israeli soldiers arrest a young Palestinian boy following clashes in the center of the occupied West Bank town of Hebron, June 20, 2014. (Photo: Thomas Coex/AFP)

Months ago journalists leaked that Israel would be kept off a United Nations list of the worst violators of children’s human rights following frantic lobbying by Israel and the United States. Even so, Israel is preeminently featured throughout the report published yesterday and called out as one of the worst child rights abusers in the world.

‘They said we drink the blood of children’—Netanyahu goes off the deep end after FIFA campaign

Allison Deger on
Netanyahu April 1, 2015

Over the past two days Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has taken his most aggressive—and outlandish—tone yet on critics by accusing them of anti-Semitic tropes, following a collapsed effort to sanction Israel at the international soccer association, FIFA. Speaking to Knesset today Netanyahu said his country’s “actions are being twisted,” telling his parliament those who speak against Israel are initiating “false libels.”

One last appeal before a Bedouin village in the Negev is demolished and a Jewish town is built in its place

Allison Deger on
Umm el-Hieran. (Photo: Adalah)

The Bedouin village of Umm el-Hieran in Israel’s southern Negev desert is running out of time and appeals before it will be razed to the ground and an exclusively Jewish town will be built in its place. After a decade of legal battles the Bedouins now have one final petition at their disposal, a re-trial. If they lose this hearing their township will be demolished and the saga will end with a modern Jewish bedroom community owned by a private Israeli developer that does not sell homes to Arabs.

Netanyahu eulogizes settler movement founder convicted of manslaughter

Allison Deger on
Rabbi Moshe Levinger (C) walks in downtown Hebron on January 20, 1996 (Photo: Sven Nackstrand/AFP)

Rabbi Moshe Levinger, a hero of the settler movement and co-founder of its fundamentalist Gush Emunim group, who established Jewish communities in Hebron and throughout the West Bank, conducted armed takeovers of Palestinian homes, and was convicted of manslaughter, died on Saturday in the settlement of Hebron where he lived. Levinger was 80 and is survived by his wife and 11 children.

Netanyahu’s coalition: Who’s in, who’s out

Allison Deger on
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett announce the formation of a coalition government Wednesday shortly before the task of forming government would have been given to another party. (Photo: Gali Tibbon/AFP/Getty Images/AP)

Late Wednesday evening Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cinched a deal with Naftali Bennett’s hardline pro-settler group Bayit Yehudi to finalize a ruling coalition and secure his fourth term as Israel’s leader. Even with the deal, Netanyahu now hangs by a thread. His coalition includes a scant 61 out of 120 parliament members, down from the 67 votes he thought were in his pocket. The government will convene with a cabinet full of Netanyahu’s political rivals and a weak coalition—one of the weakest in Israel’s history. If Netanyahu cannot appease every member of his ruling government, he will need to seek support from his opposition led by the Zionist Camp’s Issac Herzog in order to survive.

Netanyahu appoints Ayelet Shaked—who called for genocide of Palestinians—as Justice Minister in new government

Ben Norton on
Ayelet Shaked with HaBayit HaYehudi leader Naftali Bennett 
(Photo: Haaretz/Tomer Appelbaum )

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided to appoint Ayelet Shaked as justice minister in his fourth government. During Israel’s summer 2014 attack on Gaza, Shaked essentially called for the genocide of Palestinians. In a Facebook post on July 1—a day before Israeli extremists kidnapped Palestinian teenager Muhammad Abu Khdeir and burned him alive—the lawmaker asserted that “the entire Palestinian people is the enemy” and called for its destruction, “including its elderly and its women, its cities and its villages, its property and its infrastructure.”

Palestinian farm struggles to survive in West Bank town caught between Israeli sewage and the separation wall

Allison Deger on
Fayez (R) and Mona Tneeb in their Tulkarm farm. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Fayez Tneeb marveled at his organically grown banana tree even though it is failing and rooted in a waste water stream. He and his wife Mona are proprietors of Hakoritana Farm in Tulkarm, located in the northern West Bank only 100 meters from Israel. For the Tneebs, harvesting pesticide-free agriculture that they take to a local market is a constant struggle. The couple’s plot of land is caught between an Israeli factory that manufactures fertilizers and agrochemicals, and Israel’s separation barrier.

A tale of two Susiyas, or how a Palestinian village was destroyed under the banner of Israeli archeology

Allison Deger on
Entrance to Susiya in the south Hebron hills, the West Bank. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Hiam al-Nawaja dreams to live in what she calls a “normal house.” The 23-year old mother of three small children and sheepherder manages in a cinder block frame insulated with a tarp a typical modest home in Susiya, a pastoral Palestinian village set in the rolling south Hebron Hills in the West Bank. Yet a few short decades ago Susiya’s residents had sturdy stone structures built over ancient caves on a hilltop one kilometer from where their town stands today. The former location, “old Susiya,” is close enough that al-Nawaja can see bulldozed remains from her kitchen window. It was destroyed in 1986 when Israel dismantled the town’s mosque to uncover an ancient Jewish synagogue dating back to the sixth century.

HRW: Palestinian children pass out, vomit, from farming with illegal pesticides on Israeli settlements

Allison Deger on
Palestinian workers farm onions in the Israeli agricultural settlement of Tomer in the Jordan Valley, West Bank, January 2015. (Photo: Oded Balilty/AP)

Bad pay, hard labor, nasty skin rashes, and poor sleep in constructions sites are just the tip of work conditions found in Israeli agricultural settlements, said a Human Rights Watch (HRW) in a report released Monday. The 75-page “Israel: Settlement Agriculture Harms Palestinian Children” is a devastating look into underage Palestinian laborers farming for Israeli companies.

Joint List leads march to Jerusalem demanding recognition and equal rights for Bedouin

Allison Deger on
Ayman Odeh (2L) and Fadi Masamra (R) outside of Beersheva during the Bedouin March for Recognition from the Negev to Jerusalem, Thursday, March 26, 2015. (Photo: Allison Deger)

There are still a few weeks before head of the Joint List Ayman Odeh begins his first term in Israel’s parliament, yet he has already led a protest across the country. This past weekend Odeh led the “March for Recognition” with hundreds of Bedouins who live in unrecognized villages. The 130 kilometer trek from the southern Negev desert to Jerusalem officially ended on President Reuven Rivlin’s doorstep Sunday afternoon.

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.

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.

‘We aim to shape the democratic and moral alternative in this country’ — an interview with Ayman Odeh

Allison Deger on
Ayman Odeh (R) at a campaign event in Yirka, a Druze village in the Galilee in northern Israel, Friday March 13, 2015. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Months ago questions were raised if, at all, there would be any Arab representatives in the next Knesset. Then the groups unified under a single banner headed by Ayman Odeh, 41, a first time Knesset candidate from Haifa who started his career in public office at the age of 23 on Haifa’s city council. Now the long road is coming to and end and the Joint Arab List is the third largest party in the country with the potential, for the first time, to influence the outcome of elections.

Even if Netanyahu loses, he can still win

Allison Deger on
Isaac Herzog

Days away from elections in Israel on March 17th, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party may not be able to recover from the dive it took in the polls this week. They are down—more than they have been since campaigning began in December. He is expected to get 21 seats while the Zionist Camp headed by Labour’s Issac Herzog and Hatuna’s Tzipi Livni, would get 24. However, Israeli elections are determined by voting blocs and not individual parties. And so even if Bibi loses, he can still win. And if that happens, it wouldn’t be the first time.