Category Archives:
Israeli Government

Israel’s opposition parties plan to filibuster bill to expel Hanin Zoabi

Allison Deger on
Hanin Zoabi

Members of Israel’s opposition coalition will filibuster overnight to stall a vote on a controversial bill to expand the Knesset’s power to oust one of their own. The expulsion bill, formerly called the suspension bill, grants parliamentarians the authority to permanently kick their peers out of office, without loose criteria for disqualification. It is aimed at one member: Hanin Zoabi of the Joint List.

Israeli human rights organizations push back against law designed to ‘silence opposition’

Emily Mulder on
Israelis from the left-wing organization Peace Now protest in front of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's residence in Jerusalem over the "Jewish state" bill, November 29, 2014. (Photo: Peace Now/Facebook)

Israel’s human rights NGOs pushed back this week after the Knesset passed a transparency law that critics say was the most recent attempt by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition to persecute the country’s left. Leading Israeli settlement watchdog Peace Now vowed to wage legal war against the new law, which requires NGOs that receive more than half of their funding from foreign donors to declare their funding sources prior to addressing Knesset committees, speaking with public officials, as well as on publications and websites.

After attack, Netanyahu gov’t pours money into rightwing settlements

Allison Deger on
Israeli security forces gather near the scene of what the Israeli military said was an attack by Palestinian in the Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba near the West Bank city of Hebron 30 June 2016. Israeli army said the Palestinian was shot and killed after he stabbed and killed an Israeli female settler and injured others. (Photo: Wisam Hashlamoun/APA Images)

Israel’s security cabinet said Sunday it will spend $13 million to expand social and education programs in West Bank settlements “in order to make it easier” for residents “to deal with the effects of the security situation and minimize its impact on the daily routine.” Peace Now said the funding was a backdoor policy to build up settlements under the cover of responding to the recent bout of violence.

Despite Turkish posturing, detente with Israel won’t change the Gaza blockade

Allison Deger on
Palestinians hold flags during a rally marking the 6th anniversary of the Mavi Marmara Gaza flotilla incident, at the seaport of Gaza City May 31, 2016. Nine activists, eight Turkish and one Turkish-American, died on May 31, 2010, when Israeli commandos raided the Mavi Marmara ship, which was part of a flotilla seeking to break the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip. (Photo: Ashraf Amra/ APA Images)

Israel and Turkey announced an end to the six-year diplomatic rift that began in 2009 after Israeli commandos killed 10 Turkish nationals during the seizure of a passenger ship, which departed from Turkey as part of the “Gaza Freedom Flotilla.” As a term of the agreement, Turkey will pass a law to make illegal any “criminal and civil claims” against Israel or it’s military forces for the death of the activists, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in Rome. Netanyahu added the blockade over the Gaza Strip, which was an area of dispute between the two countries, will remain in full.

Critics say Israel’s new ‘terrorism’ law criminalizes Palestinian political activism

Emily Mulder on
Hanin Zoabi

The Israeli parliament on Wednesday passed a law expanding the power of the state to label individuals or groups as “terrorists,” in what critics said will be exploited to criminalize legitimate Palestinian political activity. Among its most controversial tenets is an expanded definition of “terrorism” as well as official procedure for declaring a group a “terrorist organization.” The law also enables the state to outlaw charity groups “indirectly” contributing to “terrorist organizations,” imprison its members by association and issue a life sentence to those who “support” but are not directly involved in “terrorist acts.” MK Hanin Zoabi of the Joint List said the new legislation is not intended to indict “real terrorists.” but has a different aim. “It aims to prevent citizens from being critical and express their views, from being involved in a popular political struggle against the [Israeli] occupation, to talk about the boycott, and in general to think outside the box,” Zoabi tells Mondoweiss.

Palestinians forced to delay the start of Ramadan as Israel celebrates 49 years of ruling Jerusalem

Allison Deger on
Jerusalem Day paraders march through the Muslim Quarter of the Old City. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Blue and white banners filled Jerusalem yesterday to mark 49 years of Israeli rule in the city. Crowds of settler youth chanted the slogan “the Jewish nation lives” as they marched under the ramparts of Damascus Gate. Many wore stickers supporting rabbi Meir Kahane, a former Knesset member kicked out of the government after calling for violence against Arabs, while others pasted their clothes with decals backing a greater Israel, a Jewish-nationalist movement that seeks to annex the occupied Palestinian territory. Meanwhile, Palestinians were barred from sections of the city and postponed the start of their own festivities for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan to avoid conflicts with the settlers.

Israel wants a peace process – but only if it’s doomed to fail

Jonathan Cook on
Benjamin Netanyahu

Netanyahu wants to deflect attention from a French peace plan by pushing a “regional peace summit” based on the Arab Peace Plan of 2002, which promised Israel normal relations with the Arab world in return for ending the occupation. Israel’s sudden interest in the plan is odd, given that it has not been discussed in cabinet since the Saudis unveiled it 14 years ago. In truth, Netanyahu backs the idea because he knows reaching a region-wide agreement would be impossible with the Middle East in turmoil.

Palestinian parliamentarian Khalida Jarrar returns to West Bank after more than a year in Israeli prison

Allison Deger on
Palestinian parliamentarian Khalida Jarrar in her West Bank home in Ramallah after being released from an Israeli prison on Friday June 3, 2016. (Photo: Allison Deger)

Palestinian parliamentarian Khalida Jarrar returned to her West Bank home in Ramallah today after more than a year in an Israeli prison on charges related to her political activism. Jarrar was arrested in April 2014 first under an administrative detention order, a form of imprisonment without charge. In December of that year she signed a plea deal for a 14-month sentence after a lengthy hearing. After a tearful reunion with her husband, mother, and supporters at the checkpoint, Jarrar then traveled to her house in Ramallah. Once in her backyard amid shrubs and fruit trees Jarrar described her legal ordeal, and the long journeys she made to Israel’s military court to stand trial.

Religious zealots ready for takeover of Israeli army

Jonathan Cook on
Naftali Bennett, leader of the Jewish Home party, recently boasted that the national-religious camp, though only a tenth of the population, held “leadership positions in all realms in Israel”.

In a surprise move, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week forced out his long-serving defense minister, Moshe Yaalon. As he stepped down, Yaalon warned: “Extremist and dangerous elements have taken over Israel.” He was referring partly to his expected successor, Avigdor Lieberman, and Israeli commentators pointed out that the new government will be the most extreme in Israel’s history. Less noticed however has been the gradual and parallel takeover of Israel’s security institutions by those espousing the ideology of the settlers – known in Israel as the national-religious camp.

As right-wing incitement spreads through Israeli society, Netanyahu looks to extinguish fire he has stoked for years

Carlos Latuff on
(Image: Carlos Latuff)

Last week more than 5,000 Israelis gathered in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square in a massive outpouring of support for the Israeli soldier recently indicted on manslaughter charges for executing a wounded, immobile Palestinian man in Hebron. The rally included signs featuring the motto of the Nazi SS and was the latest example of the genocidal current running through Israeli society. In response, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “I suggest that everyone lower the flames,” but Netanyahu himself has been stoking these flames since Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by a Jewish opponent of the Oslo Accords.

PA under renewed criticism for security coordination with Israel

Emily Mulder on
Palestinian supporters of the Hamas movement burn an Israeli flag during a demonstration against the political arrests and the violence against Hamas members by PA security in the West Bank, in Gaza City on June 11, 2014. (Photo: Mohammed Asad/APA Images)

The detention by Palestinian Authority security forces of three Palestinians who allegedly planned to carry out an attack inside Israel this week brought renewed public criticism of the PA amid a slew of political disputes. The PA finds itself pitted between a need to appease the Israeli authorities through security coordination and the mass upheaval such coordination brings among political rivals and the wider public.