The conspiracy theory of the UAE-Israel agreement

Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Abu Dhabi’s crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, smiles during a meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington.  (photo: Andrew Harnik / AP,  File)
The Arab leaders who have recognized and normalized with Israel have stated they have not betrayed the Palestinians. Do they know something that we do not know?

By Gershon Baskin  | The Jerusalem Post  |  Sept 16, 2020

The ambitious plan of MBZ, if successful, will turn the entire Middle East upside down.

I have heard a lot of conspiracy theories over the years, but I tend not to believe them. This is the latest one I heard, and there might be something to it. It seeks to explain why Arab states are breaking out from the Arab Peace Initiative, which promised Israel recognition and normalization only after the creation of a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.

Now, one Arab state after the other is recognizing and normalizing relations with Israel without any concessions from Israel on the Palestinian issue.

Continue reading “The conspiracy theory of the UAE-Israel agreement”

Gaza’s health sector at risk as Israel’s week-long airstrikes continue

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Smoke and flames rise after Israeli war planes carried out airstrikes over Gaza City on August 18, 2020. (photo: Mahmoud Alhende / APA Images)
Disappointment in Gaza over international reaction as Israeli airstrikes continue and civilians are caught in the middle.

By Yumna Patel  | Mondoweiss  | Aug 21, 2020

“We’ve been through this countless times, …But it’s harder now with a global pandemic and the whole world falling apart, no electricity and no water,’
— Omar Ghraieb, 33, a Palestinian journalist

Israel has been bombing Gaza for eight days straight, all as part of what Israel says is a response to incendiary balloons sent from Gaza into Israeli territory.

The night sky in Gaza has lit up in hues of red and orange every night for more than a week, with Thursday marking the eight consecutive night of Israeli airstrikes.

Despite reported efforts by Egyptian officials to mediate a cease fire, the cross-border tensions don’t seem to be stopping anytime soon, with the Hamas movement releasing a statement on Friday saying it “will not hesitate to wage a battle” with Israeli forces, “if the escalation, bombardment and siege [of Gaza] continues.”

Continue reading “Gaza’s health sector at risk as Israel’s week-long airstrikes continue”

Palestinian clergy: ‘Annexation could be the final straw for a viable Christian presence in Palestine’

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An icon of Mary is painted on the Israeli separation wall in the West Bank town of Bethlehem. (photo: Rrodrickbeiler / Dreamstime.com)
A July letter from Palestinian clergy address crisis of Christian emigration.

By Jeff Wright  |  Mondoweiss  | Aug 20, 2020

‘As any Palestinian—Christian or Muslim—will tell you, it is the Israeli occupation that is making life unbearable for Muslims and Christians alike,’
— Rev. Alex Awad, former pastor of the East Jerusalem Baptist Church 

“Annexation could be the final straw when it comes to a viable Christian presence in Palestine,” declare pastors representing four of the Holy Land’s historic denominations. “For Palestine, Bethlehem and particularly its Christian population… annexation will be particularly catastrophic.”

The July letter sent to diplomatic missions in Palestine/Israel—later released as an Open Letter—denounces Israel’s threatened annexation and calls upon the leaders of the world to “stop this severe injustice.” Written by clergy serving seven Christian congregations in Bethlehem and the neighboring towns of Beit Jala and Beit Sahour, the letter continues, “This is land theft! We are talking about land that is largely privately owned and that our families have owned, inherited and farmed for hundreds of years.”

Continue reading “Palestinian clergy: ‘Annexation could be the final straw for a viable Christian presence in Palestine’”

Palestinians in Jerusalem stuck between growing COVID-19 threat, Israeli occupation

Palestinian Muslim worshipers perform the Friday prayer inside the al-Aqsa mosque, in Jerusalem’s Old City on July 10, 2020. (photo: Muhammed Qarout Idkaidek / APA Images)
Masks help protect from COVID-19, but there is little protection from Israeli authorities.

By Yumna Patel  | Mondoweiss  | Aug 18, 2020

Despite reports from the Ministry of Health that 60% of the total cases are in recovery, the number of new cases being reported every day are still in the hundreds.

 

It’s been five months since the first cases of the coronavirus were announced in the occupied Palestinian territories, and Palestinians are still struggling to fight the spread of the virus.

What began as a relatively slow burn, with no more than a few hundred cases within the first three months, quickly devolved into a rapidly growing crisis with the total number of cases in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza surpassing 23,000 cases.

Despite reports from the Ministry of Health that 60% of the total cases are in recovery, the number of new cases being reported every day are still in the hundreds. Continue reading “Palestinians in Jerusalem stuck between growing COVID-19 threat, Israeli occupation”

‘There is no change in our plan’ to annex West Bank, Netanyahu says, in applauding Israeli-UAE deal that sidelines Palestinians

President Donald Trump talks with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jared Kushner in Jerusalem, May 22, 2017.
President Donald Trump talks with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jared Kushner in Jersalem, May 22, 2017. (photo: Kobi Gideon / GPO)

A historic deal for some, but many see further marginalization for Palestinians.

By Mondweiss Editors | Mondoweiss | Aug 13, 2020

Trump’s press conference on ‘historic deal’ between Israel and UAE has NO PALESTINIAN VOICE (and a room full of ALL MEN) and is all about increasing the pressure on Iran. This is peace?
— Medea Benjamin, Code Pink

Today the White House along with Israel and the United Arab Emirates announced a historic deal, the UAE will normalize relations with Israel; and annexation is off the table– for now. From the announcement:

Israel will suspend declaring sovereignty over areas outlined in the President’s Vision for Peace and focus its efforts now on expanding ties with other countries in the Arab and Muslim World.

The deal for a “Strategic Agenda for the Middle East” is a coup for Jared Kushner, who has been pushing for political wins for his father-in-law, and open economic relations between the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia and Israel– and thereby to shove the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into the margins.

Continue reading “‘There is no change in our plan’ to annex West Bank, Netanyahu says, in applauding Israeli-UAE deal that sidelines Palestinians”

The Israel lobby has lost its power to sideline critical Dems

Democratic U.S. Representatives Ilhan Omar, right, and Rashida Tlaib enjoy a supportive moment during a news conference at the State Capitol in St. Paul on Monday, Aug. 19, 2019. (Photo: John Autey / Pioneer Press)
Democratic U.S. Representatives Ilhan Omar, right, and Rashida Tlaib enjoy a supportive moment during a news conference at the state capitol in St. Paul on Monday, August 19, 2019.  (photo: John Autey / Pioneer Press)

The momentum continues for young progressive people of color in the Democratic Party who are speaking up for Palestine.

By Philip Weiss | Mondoweiss | Aug 12, 2020

‘2020 was the first election year ever in which the safe side of the issue is the side that recognizes Palestinian rights and that the US can no longer stand in solidarity with apartheid in the occupied territories and Jim Crow in Israel itself.’
— M.J. Rosenberg

It’s a big news day. Senator Kamala Harris became Joe Biden’s running mate choice yesterday afternoon, and Rep. Ilhan Omar handily defeated a challenger funded by pro-Israel groups in Minnesota last night.

Omar’s victory represents an important trend: the Democratic street is progressive on Palestine. The Israel lobby is not ten feet tall. Three times in recent weeks it has tried to defeat the pro-boycott-and-sanctions movement inside the party (BDS), and been crushed. Jamaal Bowman knocked off pro-Israel heavyweight Eliot Engel in the Bronx/Westchester in June. Rep. Rashida Tlaib handily won reelection in Michigan last week. Now Omar wins by 17 points, in a race that was all about Israel.

So the “Squad” of young progressive people of color is just getting stronger and bigger in the Democratic Party.

Continue reading “The Israel lobby has lost its power to sideline critical Dems”

The pandemic’s savage political revelations, from the U.S. to Palestine

Palestinian policemen wearing protective gear stand guard during a simulation training organized by the ministry of health and the ministry of interior in Gaza City on July 18, 2020. (Photo: Ashraf Amra/APA Images)
Palestinian policemen wearing protective gear stand guard during a simulation training organized by the ministry of health and the ministry of interior in Gaza City on July 18, 2020. (photo: Ashraf Amra / APA Images)

The issues of inequity being seen during this pandemic are also seen by Palestinians in Israel and the occupied territories who suffer from high levels of structural racism and cross generational trauma.

By Alice Rothchild | Mondoweiss | Aug 8, 2020

It can be argued that race (a predominantly social construct) is not the issue– rather, that the racism within our societies where African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, and other people of color live and work creates the inequities and vulnerabilities that produce the racial and ethnic differences in the data that are now obvious.

Much of the analysis of COVID-19 and Palestine examines the pandemic through a political lens. Palestinians in Israel and the territories have had less access to testing and information due to their second-class citizenship and the conditions of occupation. In the West Bank and Gaza, there are significant deficits in medical resources (such as ventilators) and trained (and adequately paid) medical staff.

In general Palestinians under occupation have high rates of diseases related to stress, poverty, smoking, and poor nutrition such as diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. They tend to live in environments contaminated by the detritus of war and the toxics from unregulated industries (such as Israeli industrial zones in the West Bank) with high levels of asthma and cancer. They often work in jobs that cannot be done on Zoom and that provide no labor protections– notably the construction and homecare workers who travel daily to Israel from the West Bank, waiting for hours in crowded checkpoints.

Continue reading “The pandemic’s savage political revelations, from the U.S. to Palestine”

Livestreamed Event: A Conversation on a Shared Homeland

 

Jewish Currents (photo: Tanya Habjouqa / NOOR / Redux)

Please join our brothers and sisters at Jewish Currents and the Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP) for a livestreamed discussion of what a shared Israeli-Palestinian homeland would actually look like.
Date: Tuesday, August 11, 2020
Time: 12:00pm EST / 9:00am PST
Location: On-line livestreamed event
Information: Event information here →
Tickets: Free, registration required
Event Details

Moderated by Jewish Currents Editor-at-Large Peter Beinart, this event will feature Sari Nusseibeh, a Palestinian academic and former activist; Meron Rapoport, an Israeli journalist; and Dr. Limor Yehuda, an Israeli legal scholar.

This event is co-sponsored by FMEP, which was created in 1979 by Merle Thorpe, Jr., a Washington-based lawyer and philanthropist, to promote a just resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Foundation advances this goal through its grants program, public programming, and research.

Peter Beinart is professor of journalism and political science at the City University of New York, Editor-at-Large of Jewish Currents, an Atlantic and CNN contributor and a fellow at the Foundation for Middle East Peace.

Sari Nusseibeh is a Palestinian Professor of Philosophy and former President of the Al-Quds University in Jerusalem. Until December 2002 he was the representative of the Palestine Liberation Organization in that city.

Meron Rapoport is an award-winning Israeli journalist who writes for Local Call/972+ Magazine and collaborates with Middle East Eye. He is one of the founders of A Land for All/Two States One Homeland, an Israeli-Palestinian movement promoting a confederative solution between an independent Palestine and an independent Israel.

Dr. Limor Yehuda is a legal scholar interested in the role of human rights and international law in peace processes. She is currently a fellow at Tel Aviv University and a founder of A Land for All.

More information here →

Man-made Israel (and the obsessive erasure of Palestinian history)

Masada, 2018.  (photo: Gary Todd, on Flicker)

Hellbent on crafting an umbilical cord between itself and a biblical, mythical 2000-year old past, Israel has erased the ancient history of Palestinians.

By Sam Bahour | Mondoweiss | July 31, 2020

‘The Invention of Ancient Israel’ is not an easy read. It is one of those books that when you finish reading the last lines and look up you feel like you just emerged from a washing machine.

THE INVENTION OF ANCIENT ISRAEL
The Silencing of Palestinian History
By Keith W. Whitelam
296 pp. Routledge. £24.79

What do you get when you mix ten decades of biblical studies, an Old Testament, the ideology of Zionism, and a tablespoon of politically motivated archaeology, all mixed in a bowl of historical evidence? Author Keith W. Whitelam undertook this recipe and reports on the results in “The Invention of Ancient Israel: The Silencing of Palestinian History” (of 1997). The short answer to the question is that one is left with a toxic modern state, hell-bent on crafting an umbilical cord between itself and a mythical 2000-year old past. In other words, the State of Israel.

If no one were hurt during this process, one could just turn a blind eye and be content that, To each his own. But when the results of the recipe never produce a stable product, and an entire people are continuously being battered into oblivion, we each have a responsibility to step in and say enough is enough.

Continue reading “Man-made Israel (and the obsessive erasure of Palestinian history)”

Present absences

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Near Tulkarem, 1948. (photo: Bettmann / Getty)

Book review of Rashid Khalidi’s latest book, The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance, 1917-2017.

By Kaleem Hawa | The Nation | July 27, 2020

For as long as I have been alive, the barriers in the West to advocating for Palestinian rights have deterred all but the most committed people.

Here’s the script: Criminalize the boycotts, deport the human rights advocates, rebrand anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism, smear the leftist Jews, infiltrate the leftist organizations, defund the aid programs, torpedo the political campaigns, fire the high school teachers and speech pathologists and network commentators, and pinkwash the occupation. The tactics vary today, but the intent remains the same. For as long as I have been alive, the barriers in the West to advocating for Palestinian rights have deterred all but the most committed people.

Often, as a result, the responsibility has fallen on the shoulders of Palestinians. Rashid Khalidi, a professor at Columbia and a codirector of its Center for Palestine Studies, is one of the best known to have taken up this responsibility. An acclaimed historian and former adviser to the Palestine delegation during the Madrid talks in 1991, he has written about the origins of Arab nationalism, American Cold War policy in the Middle East, the construction of Palestinian identity, and the history of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. He has also played an important role in representing Palestinians in Western media and in mentoring a growing generation of Palestinian writers and academics, including Noura Erakat and Lana Tatour.

Continue reading “Present absences”