How creeping annexation is strangling hope for Israeli-Palestinian peace

Bedouin-children-attend-improvised-class-in-the-village-of-Abu-Nuwar-West-Bank-after-the-Israeli-army-demolished-their-two-classroom-school-in-the-West-Bank-in-February-2016-AP-
Bedouin children attend improvised class in the village of Abu Nuwar, West Bank, after the Israeli army demolished their two-classroom school in the West Bank on Sunday.  (photo: AP)
A look back at the history of settlements which prevent the prospects for Palestinian statehood under a negotiated peace agreement.

By Seth Eislund  |  J Street  |  Aug 27, 2020

‘In June alone, Israel demolished 30 Palestinian homes in the West Bank (not including East Jerusalem) – the same number demolished throughout the entire first five months of 2020.’
— Israeli human rights organization NGO B’Tselem Report

Creeping Annexation is a decades-long project
Since Israel took control of the West Bank following its victory in the Six-Day War of 1967, the Israeli government has supported settlement construction on captured, occupied territory. This policy commenced just months after the end of the war, with successive Israeli governments basing much of their settlement policy in the first decade of occupation around what was known as the ‘Allon Plan’, which envisioned the annexation of large parts of the West Bank.

The settlement movement had an even more expansive view of Israel’s right to the occupied territory, pushing for the government to support Israelis in building settlements — and displacing Palestinians — across the entire West Bank. With increasing encouragement from the government, the number of Israelis living in the West Bank has ballooned from just 1,500 in the early years of occupation to almost 430,000 in the broader occupied West Bank and 220,000 in occupied East Jerusalem.

Continue reading “How creeping annexation is strangling hope for Israeli-Palestinian peace”

The neocolonial arrogance of the Kushner Plan

Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner attending the ceremonial opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem, May 14, 2018. (photo: Menahem Kahana / AFP / Getty Images)
With the neocolonial plans they have concocted for the Palestinians, Kushner and his Israeli allies are swimming against the tide of history.

By Rashid Khalidi | The New York Review of Books | Jun 12, 2019

The Trump administration’s Middle East ‘initiatives’ so far have virtually all come pre-packaged from the Israeli extreme right’s storehouse of ideas, including moving the Jerusalem embassy, recognizing the annexation of the Golan, airily dispensing with the Palestinian refugee issue, trying to liquidate UNRWA, and withdrawing from the nuclear deal with Iran.

“You cannot do without us,” Lord Curzon condescendingly told the Indians over whom he ruled as British imperial viceroy more than a century ago. As the Trump family rubbed shoulders with the Windsors during their recent visit to London, there was no mistaking the difference between the real aristocracy and the trumped-up one. However, Jared Kushner, presidential son-in-law and senior adviser responsible for crafting a Middle East peace plan, does have something in common with Lord Curzon and his colonial ilk.

In an interview with Axios shown on HBO on June 2, shortly before he arrived in the UK, Kushner cast doubt on the feasibility of independent Palestinian self-rule, declaring, “we’ll have to see,” adding, “the hope is that they over time can become capable of governing.” When asked if Palestinians should ever be able to enjoy freedom from “Israeli government or military interference,” he said only that this was “a high bar.” After suggesting that Kushner had consulted few if any Palestinians over the two years during which his peace plan was in the works, his interviewer asked if he understood why the Palestinians did not trust him. Kushner responded curtly, “I’m not here to be trusted.”

Continue reading “The neocolonial arrogance of the Kushner Plan”

EVENT: Israel, Zionism and the Jewish Community in 2019 (Tomorrow)

Peter Beinart. (photo: Center for American Progress Action Fund / Flickr)
Please join our brothers and sisters for this exciting evening with Peter Beinart.
Date: Thursday, May 23, 2019
Time: 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Location: Temple de Hirsch Sinai
1511 E Pike St
Seattle, WA 98122
Information & Registration: Event information here →
Event Details

Join us for a discussion with Peter Beinart, a prominent columnist for The Atlantic and the Forward. He will share his thoughts on anti-semitism, the changing conversation on Israel in the Jewish community, the results of the Israeli election and more.

Peter Beinart is Associate Professor of Journalism and Political Science at the City University of New York. He is also a contributor to The Atlantic, a Senior Columnist at The Forward, a CNN Political Commentator and a Non-Resident Fellow at the Foundation for Middle East Peace. He has written three books, The Good Fight, The Icarus Syndrome and The Crisis of Zionism.

Beinart has written for The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, the Boston Globe and other prominent publications. Beinart became The New Republic’s managing editor in 1995. He became the magazine’s Senior Editor in 1997, and from 1999 to 2006 served as its Editor.

This event is co-sponsored by J Street, Kavana Cooperative, Temple Beth Am, Temple de Hirsch Sinai and Congregation Beth Shalom.

More information here →

EVENT: Israel, Zionism and the Jewish Community in 2019 (Thursday)

Peter Beinart. (photo: Center for American Progress Action Fund / Flickr)
Please join our brothers and sisters for this exciting evening with Peter Beinart.
Date: Thursday, May 23, 2019
Time: 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Location: Temple de Hirsch Sinai
1511 E Pike St
Seattle, WA 98122
Information & Registration: Event information here →
Event Details

Join us for a discussion with Peter Beinart, a prominent columnist for The Atlantic and the Forward. He will share his thoughts on anti-semitism, the changing conversation on Israel in the Jewish community, the results of the Israeli election and more.

Peter Beinart is Associate Professor of Journalism and Political Science at the City University of New York. He is also a contributor to The Atlantic, a Senior Columnist at The Forward, a CNN Political Commentator and a Non-Resident Fellow at the Foundation for Middle East Peace. He has written three books, The Good Fight, The Icarus Syndrome and The Crisis of Zionism.

Beinart has written for The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, the Boston Globe and other prominent publications. Beinart became The New Republic’s managing editor in 1995. He became the magazine’s Senior Editor in 1997, and from 1999 to 2006 served as its Editor.

This event is co-sponsored by J Street, Kavana Cooperative, Temple Beth Am, Temple de Hirsch Sinai and Congregation Beth Shalom.

More information here →

“Endless trip to hell” — Israel jails hundreds of Palestinian boys each year

Israeli forces detain Palestinian Fevzi El-Junidi, 14, following clashes in the West Bank city Hebron, Dec 2017. (photo: Wisam Hashlamoun / Anadolu Agency)
Every year Israel arrests almost 1,000 Palestinian youngsters, some of them not yet 13. They’re seized in the dead of night, blindfolded and cuffed, abused and manipulated to confess to crimes they didn’t commit.

By Netta Ahituv | Haaretz | Mar 16, 2019

‘[Israeli soldiers] enter the village at night and arrest [the youths]. And whether these youths are the ones who threw the stones or not, you have already put a scare into the whole village.’
— Gerard Horton, a lawyer with the British-Palestinian Military Court Watch

It was a gloomy, typically chilly late-February afternoon in the West Bank village of Beit Ummar, between Bethlehem and Hebron. The weather didn’t deter the children of the Abu-Ayyash family from playing and frolicking outside. One of them, in a Spiderman costume, acted the part by jumping lithely from place to place. Suddenly they noticed a group of Israeli soldiers trudging along the dirt trail across the way. Instantly their expressions turned from joy to dread, and they rushed into the house. It’s not the first time they reacted like that, says their father. In fact, it’s become a pattern ever since 10-year-old Omar was arrested by troops this past December.

The 10-year-old is one of many hundreds of Palestinian children whom Israel arrests every year: The estimates range between 800 and 1,000. Some are under the age of 15; some are even preteens. A mapping of the locales where these detentions take place reveals a certain pattern: The closer a Palestinian village is to a settlement, the more likely it is that the minors residing there will find themselves in Israeli custody. For example, in the town of Azzun, west of the Karnei Shomron settlement, there’s hardly a household that hasn’t experienced an arrest. Residents say that in the past five years, more than 150 pupils from the town’s only high school have been arrested.

At any given moment, there are about 270 Palestinian teens in Israeli prisons. The most widespread reason for their arrest — throwing stones — does not tell the full story. Conversations with many of the youths, as well as with lawyers and human rights activists, including those from the B’Tselem human-rights organization, reveal a certain pattern, even as they leave many questions open: For example, why does the occupation require that arrests be violent and why is it necessary to threaten young people. . . .

Continue reading ““Endless trip to hell” — Israel jails hundreds of Palestinian boys each year”

EVENT: Israel, Zionism and the Jewish Community in 2019 (May 23)

Peter Beinart. (photo: Center for American Progress Action Fund / Flickr)
Please join our brothers and sisters for this exciting evening with Peter Beinart.
Date: Thursday, May 23, 2019
Time: 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Location: Temple de Hirsch Sinai
1511 E Pike St
Seattle, WA 98122
Information & Registration: Event information here →
Event Details

Join us for a discussion with Peter Beinart, a prominent columnist for The Atlantic and the Forward. He will share his thoughts on anti-semitism, the changing conversation on Israel in the Jewish community, the results of the Israeli election and more.

Peter Beinart is Associate Professor of Journalism and Political Science at the City University of New York. He is also a contributor to The Atlantic, a Senior Columnist at The Forward, a CNN Political Commentator and a Non-Resident Fellow at the Foundation for Middle East Peace. He has written three books, The Good Fight, The Icarus Syndrome and The Crisis of Zionism.

Beinart has written for The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, the Boston Globe and other prominent publications. Beinart became The New Republic’s managing editor in 1995. He became the magazine’s Senior Editor in 1997, and from 1999 to 2006 served as its Editor.

This event is co-sponsored by J Street, Kavana Cooperative, Temple Beth Am, Temple de Hirsch Sinai and Congregation Beth Shalom.

More information here →

EVENT: Israel, Zionism and the Jewish Community in 2019 (May 23)

Peter Beinart. (photo: Center for American Progress Action Fund / Flickr)
Please join our brothers and sisters for this exciting evening with Peter Beinart.
Date: Thursday, May 23, 2019
Time: 7:00 – 8:30 pm
Location: Temple de Hirsch Sinai
1511 E Pike St
Seattle, WA 98122
Information & Registration: Event information here →
Event Details

Join us for a discussion with Peter Beinart, a prominent columnist for The Atlantic and the Forward. He will share his thoughts on anti-semitism, the changing conversation on Israel in the Jewish community, the results of the Israeli election and more.

Peter Beinart is Associate Professor of Journalism and Political Science at the City University of New York. He is also a contributor to The Atlantic, a Senior Columnist at The Forward, a CNN Political Commentator and a Non-Resident Fellow at the Foundation for Middle East Peace. He has written three books, The Good Fight, The Icarus Syndrome and The Crisis of Zionism.

Beinart has written for The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times, the Boston Globe and other prominent publications. Beinart became The New Republic’s managing editor in 1995. He became the magazine’s Senior Editor in 1997, and from 1999 to 2006 served as its Editor.

This event is co-sponsored by J Street, Kavana Cooperative, Temple Beth Am, Temple de Hirsch Sinai and Congregation Beth Shalom.

More information here →

Event: Save Uyghur Muslims (Tomorrow)

Uigar Muslims

Please join our brothers and sisters at American Muslim Empowerment Network (AMEN) for this compelling with their special guest, international activist Aydin Anwar.
Date: Friday, Apr 19, 2019
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 pm
Location: Muslim Association of Puget Sound
17550 NE 67th Ct
Redmond, WA 98052
Information: Event information here →
Tickets: Free, but registration encouraged
Event Details

Do you know what is happening to our Muslim sisters and brothers in occupied East Turkestan? Join us to learn about the gross human rights violations by Chinese officials against the country’s Uyghur (Turkic Muslim) population, including the mass internment of over one million persons. You will also learn ways you can help.

We are honored to host Special Guest Aydin Anwar, a Uyghur-American activist and leading international voice on this issue, along with other impacted Uyghur community members. Continue reading “Event: Save Uyghur Muslims (Tomorrow)”

The many lives of Palestine

Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, Sunrise, 1859 (Edward Lear / Private Collection)
Book review: Nur Masalha, Palestine: A Four Thousand Year History.

By G.W. Bowersock | The New York Review of Books | Apr 18, 2019

It is ironic that Greco-Roman Palestine should be the thread that kept this identity more or less intact, but this in no way discounts the strong sense of Palestinian identity that Masalha emphasizes. It made the terrifying and terrible upheaval imposed in 1948 after the Mandate all the more traumatic, as many Palestinian writers have readily perceived. They gradually adopted the word nakba (catastrophe) to designate this national trauma.

In the opening chapter of his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon evoked in a few lapidary sentences the two most ill defined and yet most celebrated regions of the ancient Near East. As always, Gibbon chose his words carefully:

Phoenicia and Palestine were sometimes annexed to, and sometimes separated from, the jurisdiction of Syria. The former of these was a narrow and rocky coast; the latter was a territory scarcely superior to Wales, either in fertility or extent. Yet Phoenicia and Palestine will forever live in the memory of mankind; since America, as well as Europe, has received letters from the one, and religion from the other.

Gibbon knew well that the Phoenician alphabet lay behind the Greek letters that served to enrich Western literature. As for the religion that came from Palestine, Gibbon was certainly not thinking of either Judaism or Islam, but of Christianity, which Jesus brought to the Jews among whom he was born and to whom he was preaching. He was reputedly born in Bethlehem, a village that belonged administratively in those days to the Roman province of Judaea. Pontius Pilate was a Roman magistrate (a praefectus, as we now know despite Tacitus’s error in calling him a procurator), and of course he famously charged Jesus for being an aspiring king of the Jews.

Continue reading “The many lives of Palestine”

Omar hits back at Pelosi over BDS remarks

Rep. Ilhan Omar. (photo: AP)
Omar has faced a firestorm in recent weeks for making comments critical of Israel.

By Christina Marcos | The Hill | Mar 26, 2019

‘A condemnation for people that want to exercise their First Amendment rights is beneath any leader, and I hope that we find a better use of language when we are trying to speak as members of Congress that are sworn to protect the Constitution.’
— Rep Ilhan Omar

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) on Tuesday pushed back against Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for denouncing the global boycott and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel during an appearance before the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference.

During a speech before the conference Tuesday morning, Pelosi said, “We must also be vigilant against bigoted or dangerous ideologies masquerading as policy, and that includes BDS,” referring to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

Omar, as well as fellow freshman Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), both support the BDS movement, which seeks to pressure Israel over its policy toward Palestinians. The rookie lawmakers are the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress. . . .

Continue reading “Omar hits back at Pelosi over BDS remarks”