Category Archives:
Israeli Government

‘We are in a violent fight with extreme Islam’ — Feiglin leads rightists to pray at al-Aqsa Mosque

Allison Deger on

It is nearly unheard of for Israeli police to block Jewish worshipers from reaching the Western Wall. But yesterday afternoon border authorities cinched back a hard plastic retracting wall of a Jerusalem checkpoint to reach the holy structures and for the first time in 14 years they also closed all access to al-Aqsa Mosque compound, preventing prayer in a campaign to stifle unrest smothering Jerusalem

Thousands attend funeral for Palestinian-American child killed by Israeli army

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A Palestinian man drapes a flag over the grave of Orwah Hammad as children pay respects in the West Bank town of Silwad. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Thousands gathered in the West Bank town of Silwad outside of Ramallah to bury Orwah Hammad, a 14-year old Palestinian-American from Louisiana who was killed by the Israeli army on Friday. Hammad was died after sustaining a gunshot wound to the neck and head during a demonstration against the killing of another Palestinian earlier in the week

Family of Mohammed Abu Khdeir continues to wait for justice as Israeli court again postpones trial for his killers

Allison Deger on
Yosef Haim Ben-David leaving district court in Jerusalem where he is on trial for the murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, October 20, 2014. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

Four months after the grisly slaying of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, his killers faced Jerusalem district court judges today to enter their pleas. Instead of responding to the charges, Yosef Haim Ben-David, the 29-year old settler from the Adam settlement and ringleader of the abduction, and two 16-year-old Israeli accomplices were all granted continuances. “I do not hope for anything from the Israeli court because it is a racist court,” said the deceased’s father Hussein Abu Khdeir, continuing, “It judges for the Israelis, not the Arabs.”

As Kerry scrambles to prevent Palestinian action at UN, Israeli govt makes clear it will never accept Palestinian state

Allison Deger on
Israeli and Palestinians take part in a rally to voice support for U.N. recognition of a Palestinian state, in Jerusalem this week. The banners read in Hebrew and Arabic "Together we march for liberation," Jerusalem, 2011. (Photo: AP)

Palestinians leaders will likely table a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for an Israeli deadline to set borders based on the pre-June 1967 line until after fall mid-term elections in the United States. Haartez’s Barak Ravid reports this week that while Palestinians have stalled, Secretary of State John Kerry is trying to prevent the initiative all together. As a last-ditch effort to stop the Palestinian plan, Kerry has sought to reprise his direct talks that collapsed earlier this year. Israeli officials abandoned that effort after the announcement of a Palestinian unity government and there are no signs they are interested in restarting talks

Knesset shell game: Aid meant for Israeli towns affected by Gaza war sent to illegal settlements instead

Orli Santo on
Israeli settlements in the West Bank (Photo: Reuters)

The residents of Israel’s southern periphery, bordering the Gaza Strip, are among the Israelis who suffered the most from Operation “Protective Edge.” By the end of the Operation, it was clear that residents of the embattled south — one of Israel’s poorest regions to begin with — were in dire need of the state’s aid. Yet money designated for the rehabilitation of the south is apparently being diverted to bolster West Bank settlements — again

Netanyahu at the United Nations: Hamas, Iran, ISIS and 100 cheering Israelis

Allison Deger on
Netanyahu at the UN General Assembly

With much anticipation Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took the stage at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Monday morning to lambast Hamas and refuting claims of his soldiers targeting civilians during Operation Protective Edge. He followed the Palestinian Authority President’s charges of “genocidal” Israeli army conduct in Gaza, but, like in years past, Netanyahu focused on Iran (and employed the use of a prop). As he spoke the galley of the GA assembly hall was stacked with members of the Israeli delegation, including casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who cheered at key moments while delegates from member countries refrained from applaus

The Greater Gaza Plan: Is Israel trying to force Palestinians into Sinai?

Jonathan Cook on
The Israeli-Egyptian border (Photo: Idobi /Creative Commons/ Wikimedia)

What is Israel’s endgame in Gaza? It is a question that has been puzzling analysts and observers for some time. But indications of the future Israel and Washington may have in mind for Gaza are emerging. Reports in the Arab and Israeli media – in part corroborated by the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas – suggest that Egypt may be at the heart of plans to solve the problem on Israel’s behalf. This month the Israeli media reported claims, apparently leaked by Israeli officials, that Egypt’s president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, had offered the Palestinian leadership the chance to annex to Gaza an area of 1,600 sq km in Sinai. The donated territory would expand Gaza fivefold. The scheme is said to have received the blessing of the United States

‘Only a suicidal country doesn’t recognize the Bedouin problem': Israeli minister seeks ways to lower Bedouin birthrate

Kate on
Al-Arakib, an unrecognized village of the Al-Turi Arab Bedouin tribe (8 km north of Beersheba), being demolished for the 54th time in August 2013. (Photo: Eloise Bollack)

Haaretz reports: “Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir said during a visit to the south on Sunday that he was examining ways to lower the birthrate of the Bedouin community. Shamir heads the ministerial committee on Bedouin resettlement arrangements. “We have to take all the Bedouin and get them out of the desert a bit and bring them closer to a normal state from the perspective of legislation, life expectancy, education and livelihood,” Shamir said. “Perhaps we could even deal with the phenomenon of multiple wives to reduce the birthrate and raise the standard of living.”

Netanyahu heads to New York to ‘refute all the lies’ and praise ‘the most moral army in the world’

Allison Deger on
Netanyahu-Airport-PMO

Although some friends will receive him at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu knows tomorrow he will be in hot water. When he left for New York this morning for his speech on Monday, he gave a bitter farewell: “In my address to the UN General Assembly,” he said on the tarmac, “I will refute all of the lies being directed at us and I will tell the truth about our state and about the heroic soldiers of the IDF, the most moral army in the world.”

Israel carries out extrajudicial killing of two Palestinians suspected in Israeli youths kidnapping

Allison Deger on
Palestinian civil defense members, near a burning shop, pick up a dead body during an Israeli security services operation in the southern West Bank city of Hebron on September 23, 2014 (Photo: Hazem Bader/AFP)

Overnight Tuesday Israeli special forces killed two Palestinian men who were suspected of kidnapping and slaying three Israeli youths abducted in June while hitchhiking in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc of the West Bank. Amer Abu Aisha, 32, and Marwan Qawasmeh, 29, had evaded Israeli forces for over 100 days hiding out in their home city of Hebron no more than five miles from the site of where the remains of Eyal Yifrah, 19, Gilad Shaar, 16, and Naftali Fraenkel, 16, were discovered over the summer

Hamas is just as bad as ISIS and worse than Boko Haram — Israeli government propaganda

Allison Deger on
"Hamas is ISIS" meme tweeted by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

At the height of the Gaza onslaught in July, Netanyahu’s right-hand man met with a group of journalists in Jerusalem to equate Hamas with ISIS. The latest Israeli rhetoric is overheated: Both organizations seek to establish an Islamic caliphate, both “educate (read: brainwash) children to sanctify death and to die as a martyr (shahid) in jihad.” Oh and Hamas is global, but Boko Haram isn’t

US and Canada strengthen economic relationship with Israel following attack on Gaza

Allison Deger on
Yair Lapid at his party's headquarters in Tel Aviv. (Photo: Edi Israel/Israel Sun)

Since Operation Protective Edge began in Gaza in early July, Israel has strengthened economic relationships with its closest allies. Within days of the air campaign starting, the U.S. and Israel penned a mutual recognition customs agreement which will lift screening barriers and tariffs. Then on Monday Israel cinched a similar Declaration of Intent from Canada, while focusing on the threat of ISIS, Hamas and Hezbolla

Giving up on the system: Leading Israeli human rights groups reject army request to file investigations on crimes in Gaza

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Smoke is seen following what police said was an Israeli air strike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip July 9, 2014. (PHOTO: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters)

Israel’s leading human rights groups will no longer provide information on solider misconduct to army investigators. After years of delayed military investigations for two Israeli wars in Gaza, the last without any army abuse convictions, the Israeli legal rights group Yesh Din and the human rights organization B’Tselem said, “the military law enforcement system is a complete failure” and is “incapable of conducting professional investigations.”

Israel has three years to end the occupation — Abbas

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A leaked transcript of a meeting between Mahmoud Abbas and Khaled Mashal includes Abbas’s claim that the U.S. has pressured the Palestinian Authority from joining the international criminal court, Abbas’s threats to hand over West Bank to Israel, and Israeli reports of assassination attempts by Hamas.

‘It’s 120 years that the world has opposed our construction, and we’ll continue to do it': Naftali Bennett defends Israeli settlement expansion

Kate on
Israeli settlements in the West Bank (Photo: Reuters)

Israeli government ministers Yair Lapid and Tzipi Livni argue that the Israeli government’s decision to appropriate nearly 1,000 acres of Palestinian land to build settlements in the West Bank will hurt Israel internationally, but Economy Minister Naftali Bennett says “It’s 120 years that the world has opposed our construction, and we’ll continue to do it.”

Israel’s decades-long effort to turn the word ‘terrorism’ into an ideological weapon

Rémi Brulin on
Netanyahu at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv

The Israeli discourse on “terrorism” has a long history, one in which Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s current Prime Minister, played a central role. Thirty years ago, at a major conference on “international terrorism” in Washington, D.C., Netanyahu insisted that “without a clear understanding of terrorism, the problem cannot be tackled” and proposed a clear, simple definition:

‘Lesson: The Jews will defend themselves even if it means killing children’

Philip Weiss on

Yaacov Lozowick is the state archivist of Israel. A scholar who moved to Israel from Europe, he is a true believer in the necessity of Jewish nationalism. Scott Roth and I once met him in West Jerusalem and had a polite conversation that became more adversarial when it was continued on email in the months