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Israel launches global initiative to protect its image from BDS activists

Kate on

Middle East Monitor reports that Israel has embarked on a massive recruitment drive to support the country’s online propaganda campaign one day after its companies were exposed for spreading disinformation on Facebook and meddling in the elections of several African, Asian and Latin American countries.

UNRWA rejects US calls to end agency’s mandate

Yumna Patel on
Jason Greenblatt addresses the UN in May 2019 about the US peace plan.

UNRWA officials are hitting back after a US proposal to remove the agency’s mandate by calling on countries hosting Palestinian refugees to take over food aid services. The US blames the humanitarian effort for prolonging the refugee issue. While UNRWA says political failures have sustained the issue.

NYU president slams speaker for endorsing BDS against ‘apartheid’ Israel (and doesn’t mind his calling Trump a ‘fascist’)

Philip Weiss on

NYU president Andrew Hamilton roundly condemned graduation speaker Steven William Thrasher for endorsing BDS against “apartheid” Israel in a speech at commencement Wednesday. Hamilton issued a statement saying remarks were one-sided and made some feel “unwelcome.” Astounding obeisance to Israel supporters! And not a word about Thrasher calling Trump a “fascist.”

How one Palestinian university is remaking ‘Israel Studies’

Rebecca L. Stein on
Bir Zeit University

The students in Birzeit University’s Israel Studies program are “trying to produce Palestinian knowledge of Israeli society” through critical engagement with Israeli culture, politics and society. In the process, they are fundamentally remaking the dominant paradigm of Israel Studies as it has been configured in the United States and increasingly in Great Britain, with its proud “advocacy” mandate on behalf of the Israeli state. Birzeit’s program turns this paradigm inside out, providing students with a radical alternative.

Palestinian Authority financial crisis deepens as Trump’s ‘deal of the century’ looms

Yumna Patel on
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas meets with the American delegation led by the advisor to U.S. President Jared Kouchner, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on August 24, 2017. (Photo: Osama Falah/APA Images)

The Palestinian Authority is in crisis, and high rates of poverty and unemployment, few prospects of free and democratic presidential elections, and the unveiling of the widely unpopular American “deal of the century” around the corner, will only exacerbate the already dire situation. “The collapse of the PA is definitely something we could see happening, especially if this financial and political situation worsens,” Palestine Policy Fellow at Al-Shabaka, Dr. Yara Hawari, told Mondoweiss.

Despite Palestinian boycott, UAE and Saudi Arabia to attend US-led conference in Bahrain

Yumna Patel on

Palestinian officials are doubling down on their plans to boycott a US-led conference in Bahrain next month aimed at garnering regional support for President Donald Trump’s peace plan. However, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, two major regional players, announced Tuesday evening that they would be sending delegations to participate. The Saudis and the Emiratis, who in recent years have significantly warmed relations with Israel, are the first two Arab powers to announce participation in the event.

US promise of Palestinian ‘prosperity’ falls flat at UN

James Reinl on
Jason Greenblatt addresses the UN in May 2019 about the US peace plan.

The Trump administration’s long-awaited Middle East peace plan drew criticism at the United Nations Wednesday, with European and UN officials saying Palestinians should not be coerced into selling off rights to run their own country.

UNRWA: A critical but impossible mission

Alice Rothchild on

More than 2 million Palestinian refugees in Jordan are served by UNRWA and Alice Rothchild visits the Nuzha camp in Amman where refugees get vital services from family planning to mental health counseling. The school is tidy and sparkling with an atmosphere of infectious enthusiasm. One girl asks: “Is America beautiful?”

Young Jews who don’t like Israel are not ‘healthy’ — leading Hillel director

Philip Weiss on

80 percent of Jewish college students think Netanyahu is a ‘terrible human being,’ says Andrew Getraer, Hillel director at Rutgers. While Leonard Saxe of Brandeis says that Peter Beinart and Dov Waxman are critical of Israel because they come from South African families and see Israel thru an “apartheid” filter.

‘Refugees are a tool of war’ — the view from the Syrian border

Alice Rothchild on

Rev. Nour Sahawneh aids thousands of refugees at his church in Mafraq, Jordan, near sprawling city-like camps. “Their lives are a disaster,” he tells Alice Rothchild. “They are a tool of war. They became a subject in a war, not a people to help… War is business.”

US-Israel relationship is ‘altar’ of ‘holiness,’ and Jerusalem embassy is ‘shrine’ — US ambassador

Philip Weiss on

Ambassador David Friedman’s religious remarks in Jerusalem Tuesday went well beyond his comment that Israel is “on the side of God.” Friedman likened the US-Israel relationship to the “altar” in the original Jewish temple in Jerusalem and called the embassy a “shrine” that people pray to and thank God for, and said the U.S. and Israel need to advance the relationship toward greater “holiness.”

Can Palestinians play off Europe against the US as peace plan looms?

James Reinl on
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Ishtayeh meets with Consuls and representatives of the European Union in the West Bank city of Ramallah, April 16, 2019. (Photo by the Prime Minister's Office)

In preparation for the U.S. peace plan that is widely expected to favor Israel, Palestinian officials are urging the EU to host a major conference that would undercut the preeminent US role in the peace process. Could it be enough to counter the Trump administration’s plan?

‘Music of dead, bombed-out buildings must be heard’ — Gaza artists hold anti-Eurovision concert in building destroyed by Israeli attack

Ahmad Kabariti on
Children watch the concert in the ruins of the al-Qamar building (Photo: Mohammed Asad)

Palestinian artists held a concert in a building destroyed by Israel just a week ago to call on the world to boycott the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest to be held in Tel Aviv. “Why doesn’t Eurovision arrange an event to let the music of dead, bombed-out buildings, and for the voices of mothers of the slain to be heard?” asked Sabreen Juma’a al-Najjar, the mother of slain paramedic Razan Al-Najjar, who attended the concert.

Palestinian FM calls for EU sanctions to halt US-Israeli peace plan

James Reinl on
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki has urged European nations to sanction Israel for illegally grabbing Palestinian land, saying the US Trump administration’s expected peace plan will do nothing to bring about Middle East peace. “They have to start thinking about sanctions, boycotting, Israeli policies, actions, the relationship, review their strategic bilateral relations with Israel — as [the] European Union and as individual countries,” al-Maliki told Mondoweiss.

A checkpoint and a wine opener: Israeli soldiers turn couple’s road trip into a nightmare

Yumna Patel on

Aseel Baidoun and her husband Ameer Malhees talk to Mondoweiss’s Yumna Patel about how a routine West Bank traffic stop turned into Israeli soldiers beating Malhees and a friend who was traveling with them: “When we got out of sight of anyone, one soldier grabbed my neck and pushed me up against the wall,” Malhees told Mondoweiss. “They started beating me, hitting me in my stomach, my face.” He recalls the soldiers telling him to tell his wife to ‘shut up, or else we will do the same to her.'”

For Iraqi refugees in Amman, kindness, support and an application to Australia

Alice Rothchild on

Iraqis throughout the Middle East remain unregistered, uncounted, unassisted and unprotected. But Alice Rothchild visits the Collateral Repair Project in Amman, begun in 2006, which serves 10,000 families a year and teaches everything from Capoeira, to music, to English, to mind-body medicine.

Video: What do Palestinians think of Trump’s “deal of the century?”

Yumna Patel on
Palestinians in the West Bank respond to the Trump administration's upcoming "deal of the century."

The buzz surrounding President Trump’s “deal of the century” is reaching a fever pitch. With countless speculations as to what the plan will include and very little confirmation from the administration, not much is actually known about the elusive plan. What we do know, is Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, a staunch supporter of Israel and the Netanyahu government, plans to emphasize Israeli “security” and “economic opportunities” for Palestinians. With no mention so far of Palestinian sovereignty and statehood, we asked Palestinians in the West Bank what they think of the peace proposal and its impending release.

Kushner’s peace plan is ‘pretext’ for Israeli land grab: Palestinian UN ambassador

James Reinl on
Ambassador Dr. Riyad Mansour

The Trump administration’s long-awaited plan peace for the Middle East is really a cover for Israel’s annexation of West Bank settlements, the Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations Dr. Riyad Mansour said Tuesday. “Some in the administration, they think: ‘Yes, what will help peace is break the legs of the Palestinians, break one arm and five teeth, and when they are on the ground they will come crawling to you for anything you offer them’,” Mansour said. “Those who think that way don’t know the Palestinians.”