The United Nations’ World Refugee Day, observed annually on June 20, should not merely represent a reminder of “the courage, strength and determination of women, men and children who are forced to flee their homeland under threat of persecution, conflict and violence.” It should also be an opportunity for the international community to truly understand and actively work towards finding a sustainable remedy to forced displacement.
Category Archives: Opinion
On June 9, Palestinian mental health professionals met to launch the Palestine-Global Mental Health Network in an effort to support their people’s emotional wellbeing and mental health, and to reclaim their power and self-determination.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been under fire for using the term “concentration camps” to describe US border detention camps. Speaking in 2015, Israeli journalist Amira Hass made a similar statement about Israeli policies toward Gaza. Jonathan Ofir says the two statements help clarify a reality that “is often far beyond the imagination.”
Israel and its rightwing supporters wanted an attack on Iran and they did not get it, this week anyway. Though of course the media did not identify the Israel lobby and Netanyahu as cheerleaders for war American people don’t want.
Presidential candidate Mike Gravel talks Israel/Palestine: “The most obvious and humane path forward is the creation of a secular, democratic, binational state with equal rights for all.”
Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis signed a new law that would limit criticism of Israel in Florida schools. Anti-Semitism includes “Applying a double standard to Israel by requiring behavior of Israel that is not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation…”
When J Street advocates for “Israel’s future as a democratic and Jewish homeland,” it is supporting a concept that has been a contradiction-in-terms since Israel’s establishment. Abba Solomon argues that J Street and Bernie Sanders too cannot face the fact that political Zionism means perpetual Jewish domination, or at best custody, of Palestinian lives.
At the end of June the Trump administration will unveil an economic package to bolster its peace plan for the Israelis and Palestinians at a conference in Bahrain. Despite Jared Kushner’s insistence, “Peace to Prosperity” is neither new, nor likely to succeed.
On May 21st, Amina Salah’s 14-year-old brother Mahmoud was shot by Israeli forces near Bethlehem in the West Bank and imprisoned, where he remains today. Salah writes, “Look at Mahmoud’s face in these pictures, and help to make sure that Mahmoud is soon back again with his family, in his home, where he belongs.”
On Wednesday, six members of Congress introduced a bipartisan bill to create a $50 million annual fund to “facilitate and finance joint economic ventures and people-to-people exchanges between Palestinians, Israelis, and Americans.” While the bill could be seen by well-intentioned members of Congress as a last-ditch attempt to revive the moribund prospects for a two-state resolution, Josh Ruebner says it should more accurately be seen as consistent with the Trump administration’s “deal of the century,” which appears in all likelihood to preclude the possibility of Palestinian statehood.
Palestinian lawmaker Ayman Odeh has long claimed that he was shot by Israeli police at Umm al-Hiran in 2017. But the police manipulated evidence, suggesting he was hit by stones or shrapnel. A new documentary shows how they hid the critical footage.
Dr. Benay Blend, who is Jewish, was banned from the question/answer social media platform Quora at the same time as her Palestinian colleague Dr. Rima Najjar, but their cases have been treated very differently by the website. “So, I have to wonder – Why did Quora treat my writing differently than Dr. Najjar’s,” Blend asks, “Even after we were both permanently banned, my answers remain on my profile in Quora; while her hundreds of well-researched answers have been completely erased.”
Hawks in the White House, led by National Security Advisor John Bolton, see a war aimed at eliminating Iran’s clerical leadership as a potentially big win for Washington. Many top officials in the U.S. military, however, see the matter quite differently. These days, the Pentagon is increasingly obsessed with preparations for another type of war in another locale entirely: a high-intensity conflict with China, possibly in the South China Sea.
In classical racist literature and discourse, black/brown natives are portrayed as lazy groups who cannot run their own affairs; they belong to backward entities that are in conflict/clash with other modern entities. Haider Eid says this is the best way to understand Jared Kushner’s recent remarks about Palestinians.
Josh Ruebner reviews Khaled Elgindy’s new book ‘Blind Spot: America and the Palestinians from Balfour to Trump’: “Reading Blind Spot, one is struck by the coherence of US policy toward the Palestinian people over the past century even as political realities have continued to dramatically change. Indeed, there is nothing new under the sun.”
The role which the Labor Zionist movement has played in establishing apartheid in Palestine/Israel, and the irrelevance of today’s Labor Party in Israel’s right-wing drift, reveal something important about Israeli society.
Faced with the current Israeli political turmoil, however, the Trump administration might prefer to abandon efforts to press ahead with its “deal of the century” peace plan. But even if that specific threat is lifted, the next Israeli government – whether led by Benjamin Netanyahu, his successor, or Benny Gantz – is not likely to depart from Israel’s long-term consensus, one that the Trump plan was simply set to accelerate.
Google Maps has turned Palestinian towns and cities into ghosts. They appear, yet according to the technology Goliath they do not exist as places one can actually get to. If you want to go between major West Bank cities such as Jericho, Bethlehem, or Hebron, Google will reply Sorry, we could not calculate driving directions… But if West Bank settlers want to visit other West Bank settlements, Google is at their service.
Twenty-five years ago James Zogby led the Clinton White House effort to build economic growth for the Palestinians as part of Oslo accords. He says the project failed –as the Bahrain economic conference organized by the Trump administration will — because Palestinians never gained the political freedom, including an end to occupation, that is a prerequisite to business growth.
National Security Advisor John Bolton recently dubbed Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua a “troika of tyranny,” but Danny Sjursen says the Middle East is where the genuine all-American troika of tyranny resides. “The kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the military junta in Egypt, and the colonizing state of Israel — all countries that eschew real democracy and are working together to rain chaos on an already unstable region,” Sjursen writes.
In a move that would have been considered surreal even two days ago, Benjamin Netanyahu dissolved the Knesset to avoid a coup within his own party, and possibility of being sent to prison. Yossi Gurvitz writes, “the so-called ‘wizard’ of Israeli politics managed to pull an extraordinary act of self-immolation.”
At Beirut’s Rafic Hariri International Airport Ibaa Abu Layaa was detained for 15 hours and then sent back home to the West Bank via Jordan after being blacklisted from Lebanon for the rest of her life. “The fracture in my heart will stay there forever,” Abu Layaa says.
The rise of populism in both its rightwing and leftwing manifestations, and the more general political polarization in our societies, are the symptoms of a breakdown in trust, a collapse of consensus, a rupture of the social contract. Jonathan Cook says today we desperately need the populism of Extinction Rebellion, of Greta Thunberg and the school strikes, of politicians prepared to stand by a Green New Deal and declare real climate emergencies.
The centrist Blue White opposition to Netanyahu’s Likud organized a demonstration in Tel Aviv to ‘defend democracy’. But it was rife with militant symbolism and orientalist mockery, and it marginalized Palestinian voices, as usual. Notably, protesters wore fezzes to say Israel shouldn’t become Turkey. It was surely lost on the demonstrators that many Arabs wear fezzes, including Arab Jews.
The deal of the century in the 1900s was the Balfour Declaration, which recognized Zionist colonization of Palestine, and Trump’s deal of the 21st century only continues that process, by giving Israel the right to annex portions of the West Bank and confine Palestinians to Bantustans.