A play in Washington based on the testimonies of Israeli soldiers in the peace group Breaking the Silence demonstrates that the occupation is now a permanent feature of Israeli society. Israel now claims not to be an occupier; and world governments often support it, because there is a Palestine Exception to international law. But a peaceful resolution will not occur till Israel dismantles this oppressive regime, argues Zeina Azzam.

Zeina Azzam presents the case against “normalization”. She says that meaningful discussion of Israel/Palestine cannot start with the status quo but must address, up front, such issues as the abnormal practices of occupation, settlements on occupied territory, the separation wall, house demolitions, severe restrictions on movement, and military assaults: “As long as Israeli policymakers and citizens continue to perceive the status quo as ‘normalized,’ then deviant and volatile perspectives will keep on building until an explosion—or perhaps a series of explosions—will greatly harm everyone involved and set the efforts back irreconcilably.”

The Palestinian artist, curator, and poet Ashraf Fayadh, 35, has been sentenced to death by beheading. Saudi Arabian authorities have declared his crime as “apostasy,” or abandoning one’s religion—in this case, renouncing Islam. Several other charges were also leveled against Fayadh, including allegedly photographing women and storing their pictures on his phone, a violation of the country’s Anti-Cyber Crime Law. He pleaded his innocence to all the charges. Amnesty International UK states that, “Throughout this whole process, Ashraf was denied access to a lawyer—a clear violation of international human rights law, as well as Saudi Arabia’s national laws.”