Trump brags that the U.S. removed the “toughest issue” from peace talks between Israel and Palestine. “We took Jerusalem off the table, so we don’t have to talk about it anymore.” He continued to threaten Palestinians with financial damage but warned that if they don’t agree to talk, but said the U.S. would have “nothing to do with it any longer.”
Monthly Archives: January 2018
Palestinians in Bethlehem’s Aida refugee camp have expressed their mounting anxiety over a US decision to slash funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). Ahmad Abu Salem, who owns a small shop in Aida camp, tells Mondoweiss, “UNRWA is all we have. We don’t have any alternatives if they continue cutting services. We would have no jobs and nowhere to go. If these cuts continue the situation here could explode. Without UNRWA we have nothing.”
Human rights organizations Amnesty International, B’Tselem and Human Rights Watch stopped itemizing Israeli crimes in the 2014 assault on Gaza, the worst of them all, Norman Finkelstein documents in his impassioned record of war crimes against the strip, Gaza: An Inquest Into Its Martyrdom, published by the University of California Press.
John Kerry was once accused by an Israeli leader of being messianic in pursuing peace. Mike Pence is messianic in the opposite cause. His speech to the Knesset positioned the vice president as a Zionist prophet, speaking of God’s faithfulness in delivering a state to the Jews.
Eight days have passed since Amer Othman Adi was detained by federal immigration agents upon arrival at a “routine” check-in, as mandated by the Immigration, Customs and Enforcement (ICE) office in Cleveland. Following his arrest, Adi’s family has applied unrelenting pressure on the immigration agency, both engaging the press and elected officials via social media, letter writing, and direct action. “This isn’t [ICE] deporting immigrants; this is ICE bullying and tricking people,” Lina Adi, Amer’s daughter, tells Mondoweiss “ICE is out of control.”
Reading JMN Jeffries’s reissued 1940 study of the Balfour Declaration, scholar Joseph Levine concludes that it is true that there are two narratives about the foundation of a Jewish state in Palestine — but only one of them, the Palestinian one, has much connection to reality.
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman says that Israeli poet Yehonatan Geffen should be banned from the media for comparing Ahed Tamimi to Jewish heroes Hannah Szenes and Anne Frank.
Jane Eisner of the Forward says the identification of Israel with one party, Republicans, is “terrifying,” and so Democratic Jews should support AIPAC, the Israel lobby. Liberal Zionists hate the occupation but they hate the threat to US support for Israel even more. She endorses the idea that the lobby is an instrument of Jewish influence.
Palestine was not empty. The Jewish people are not a nation with a homeland in the Middle East. Palestine was not ‘redeemed’, it was colonized. Its people did not flee, they were ethnically cleansed. Jews are not all Zionists. These are some of the myths that scholar Ilan Pappe exposes in his new book.
Relaying an unusually pessimistic outlook on Middle East peace, a senior White House official said today the Trump administration and the Palestinian leadership have not spoken in nearly seven weeks, breaking contact after President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Liberal Democrats have turned against Israel. Nearly twice as many liberal Democrats say they sympathize more with the Palestinians than with Israel– 35% vs. 19%– in the latest Pew survey. Just two years ago, Israel’s number was 33. We can thank Netanyahu’s ugly international image for that, as well as the attitudes of the young.
When Issa Amro was a child, he remembers Shuhada Street in Hebron being so crowded his father had to hold his hand tightly to keep him from getting lost. Today, the street is a ghost town, due to Israeli military control to protect illegal settlers. And Amro calls for international protests for the 9th annual Open Shuhada Street day on February 25, to demand an end to apartheid
Kadima, the Seattle Reconstructionist Jewish community, gave an award to a grassroots immigrants’ rights group, the Northwest Detention Center Resistance/Resistencia al NWDC, which focuses on a federal detention center in Tacoma, after the Jewish Federations of Seattle chose to honor the police department, despite its record of excessive force.
The Israeli military spying unit 8200 came to public attention in 2014 when reserve soldiers refused to serve as “tools for the deepening of the military regime in the occupied territories.” Now, facing a shortage of soldiers the unit will be seeking to get its recruits from the 10th grade.
Israeli officials in the Population and Immigration authority have begun distributing an ‘information page’ for African refugees at the Holot desert detention center. The document is chilling. It does not name the third country the refugees would be deported to, but ends with a warning that “if you do not agree to leave voluntarily to a third country, enforcement and deportation steps will be taken against you.” Not mentioned in the document is the new rule that refusal to leave will entail indefinite incarceration. The document ends with a “best of luck” wish.
Ben Jealous, the former President and CEO of the NAACP, is running for governor of Maryland. Kim Jensen and Laila El-Haddad are encouraged by his stances on public education, worker’s rights, and single-payer healthcare but say his position on BDS reveals a troubling inconsistency in his platform as a progressive.
Gaza is effectively an open-air prison, an extremely overcrowded one, with only a few hours of electricity a day and its groundwater polluted by seawater and sewage. After a decade of this horrifying experiment in human endurance, the Israeli army finally appears to be concerned about whether Gaza can cope much longer.
As Vice President Mike Pence began his speech to the Israeli Knesset, Palestinian lawmakers disrupted the speech, protesting the Trump administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. They were forcibly removed from the chamber– reportedly all 13 members of the Joint List. In his fiery speech, Pence advocated regime change in Iran.
Roger Cohen published a NYT column from occupied Hebron that takes a step away from Zionism– stating bluntly that the Israeli goal of sterilizing Hebron streets by emptying them of Palestinians is reminiscent of anti-semitic rhetoric, and that the occupation is neverending and it is imposed in the name of Jews, which he rejects.
There was no end to the denunciation by Israelis of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s speech last Monday: “Laced with vile antisemitic conspiracy theories,” Abbas has “lost his marbles,” “disgraceful lies.” But Abbas’s crime, as Gideon Levy points out, is correctly identifying Zionism as a colonial project. That must not be said, and marks Abbas as an extremist.
The Jewish establishment threw itself into the battle against intermarriage 25 years ago with warnings about Hitler and books by Dershowitz. Now no one cares anymore; and there are countless half Jews. The same thing is going to happen to Zionism, another anachronism the establishment is angrily defending.
Jewish identity is fluid, writes Yaacov Yagdar. It went from being public, political and communal in ancient days to a private matter of religious belief during the Enlightenment to being based entirely today on a commitment to the Jewish people and their nation-state Israel. The last is a perversion of the modern state and an offense to traditional Judaism in its treatment of its non-Jewish citizens.
Israeli forces killed Ahmad Ismail Jarrar, 31, during a raid Thursday on the occupied Jenin refugee camp as a reprisal for a settler’s killing last week. But Palestinian sources said the man’s cousin, Ahmad Nasser Jarrar, escaped the attack; and he had been accused of killing the settler.
Why did Rawan Yaghi not see her family in Gaza for four years as she studied at Oxford? Why did she miss her brother’s wedding? Because of Israeli borders that turn Palestinian territories into prisons. “Qalandia checkpoint looks like a slaughterhouse. As soon as the bus moved, I could then see the wall, the massive wall that now stood between me and my sister. The grey force pressed down on my chest and I burst into tears. I haven’t seen my sister since then,” she writes.
As thousands of women, and men, dust off their pink pussy hats ahead of this weekend’s anniversary Women’s March, Nada Elia says we are seeing many of the divisions that riddled last year’s rallies surface again. Thankfully, she says, we are also witnessing the emergence of a solid alternative to the shortcomings of imperial feminism. Elia writes, “Palestinian women and our allies have long pointed out the erasure of our oppression from mainstream feminist discourse. Hopefully 2018, and the grassroots insistence that Palestine must be included in intersectional struggles for justice, will put an end to that.”