Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu made what was presumably intended to sound like a historic peace gesture towards the Palestinians last week.
He invited Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, to Jerusalem to address the Israeli parliament. In reality, Mr Netanyahu’s offer was as hollow as his previous utterances about Palestinian statehood. Continue reading…>>
A plan to inspect and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons has focused new attention on Israel’s undeclared WMDs.
Israeli officials are reported to be increasingly nervous that international efforts to destroy of Syria’s chemical weapons might serve as a prelude to demands on Israel to eliminate its own, undeclared weapons of mass destruction.
The Holy Land may be the cradle of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, but Israel has preferred to draw on a tradition that imagines the region in terms of a clash of civilisations. This is the context for understanding the announcement this month of a “forum” between the government and Israel’s Christian Palestinians designed to push them into serving in the Israeli military.
Israel would prefer that Christians reject the Palestinian variant of liberation theology and adopt the Christian Zionism that dominates in the US, Israel’s chief sponsor.
This election has been a personal blow to Netanyahu, but not to the right. Netanyahu misread the public mood, but not on the central issues that should define the left-right divide in Israel: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and decades of belligerent Israeli occupation. Far from a collapse of the right, the election demonstrated that the right is continuing to push the center of political gravity ever further rightwards.
The comparison between the Bab al-Shams activists and the settlers should not be extended too far. One obvious difference is that the Palestinians were building on their own land, whereas Israel is breaking international law in allowing hundreds of thousands of settlers to move into the West Bank. By establishing Bab al-Shams, the activists visibly demonstrated the apartheid nature of Israel’s rule in the occupied territories.
Who would imagine that Israeli Jews could be so intimidated by the innocuous Christmas tree? Far from “swallowing up” the historic Palestinian city of Nazareth, “Upper Nazareth is a Jewish town and all its symbols are Jewish,” Shimon Gapso, the mayor of Upper Nazareth said. “As long as I hold office, no non-Jewish symbol will be presented in the city.”
Murdoch’s efforts to put his own man in the White House failed because Petraeus decided he did not want to run for office. Most major US news outlets either ignored the story or downplayed its significance. Most likely reason for the US media’s aversion to the story is that it poses a danger to the Matrix-like wall of static interference generated by precisely the same media, which successfully conceals the all-too-cosy relationship between the corporations (that own the media) and the country’s politicians.
The four main culprits who should be held responsible for the deaths of Palestinians and Israelis in the days and, if Israel expands its operation, weeks ahead.
If Israel continues on its current course, another myth long accepted by western countries – that Israel is “the only democracy in the Middle East” – may finally be shattered. Netanyahu offered his assessment of the Arab Spring last week. It was, he said, an “Islamic, anti-western, anti-liberal, anti-Israeli, undemocratic wave”, adding that Israel’s Arab neighbours were “moving not forwards, but backwards”.
Jonathan Cook reports on plans by Israel to demolish the Palestinian village of Lifta, near Jerusalem, in order to build holiday homes for wealthy foreign Jews and to erase for Israelis “all troubling reminders of an earlier Palestinian presence”.
Jonathan Cook argues that post-Mubarak Egypt’s reassessment of its policies towards Israel and the Palestinians is plunging the Zionist state into a mood of deep depression and anxiety.
Jonathan Cook considers what judge Richard Goldstone may or may not have retracted from his original report on Israel’s attack on Gaza in 2008, the validity of his apparent retractions and what may lay behind his rethink.
Jonathan Cook reports on the kidnapping of Dirar Abu Sisi, operations manager of Gaza’s only power plant, by Israeli Mossad agents in Ukraine amid deep suspicions of official Ukrainian complicity.
With the 18-year-long Middle East peace process finally pronounced dead, is the Palestinian Authority (PA) finished too? That is the question being asked by Palestinians in the wake of a week of damaging revelations that Palestinian negotiators secretly made major concessions to Israel in talks on Jerusalem, refugees and borders.
Late last month, in a sign of growing anger at the arrests, a large crowd in Silwan was reported to have prevented police from arresting Adam Rishek, a seven-year-old accused of stone-throwing. His parents later filed a complaint claiming he had been beaten by the officers.
Jews must not rent homes to “gentiles”. That was the religious decree issued this week by at least 50 of Israel’s leading rabbis, many of them employed by the state as municipal religious leaders. Jews should first warn, then “ostracize” fellow Jews who fail to heed the directive, the rabbis declared.
The decree is the latest in a wave of racist pronouncements from some of Israel’s most influential rabbis.
Barack Obama dangles a lavish package of incentives in the face of Benjamin Netanyahu in an attempt to lure the Israeli prime minister into renewing a three-month, partial freeze on Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank.
The generosity of the US president’s package, which includes 20 combat aircraft worth $3 billion and backing for Israel’s continued military presence in the Jordan Valley after the declaration of a Palestinian state, has prompted even Thomas Friedman of The New York Times to compare it to a “bribe”.
In the past few weeks, Safed – one of Judaism’s four holy cities – has been making headlines of a very different kind as “the most racist city in Israel”. The unflattering, and hotly contested, epithet follows an edict from Safed’s senior rabbis ordering residents not to sell or rent homes to “non-Jews” – a reference to the country’s Palestinian Arab citizens, who comprise a fifth of Israel’s population.
The Palestinians and Israelis concentrated on the blame game, thereby highlighting the fact that both think the talks are doomed. The Camp David talks lasted two weeks before collapsing; these negotiations have been on life support since they began more than a month ago. The Israeli government was given the choice between peace and settlements, and it has chosen settlements. Rather than investing wasted energy in doomed talks, the two sides appear to be adopting the same alternative strategy: cutting a deal directly with Washington that circumvents the other party.
According to the leak, Obama made a series of extraordinarily generous offers to Israel, many of them at the expense of the Palestinians, in return for a single minor concession from Netanyahu: a two-month extension of the partial freeze on settlement growth. The White House has denied that a letter was sent, but, according to the Israeli media, officials in Washington are privately incensed by Netanyahu’s rejection. According to Makovsky, in return for the 60-day settlement moratorium, the US promised to veto any UN Security Council proposal on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict over the next year, and committed to not seek any further extensions of the freeze.
With the resumption of settlement construction in the West Bank yesterday, Israel’s powerful settler movement hopes that it has scuttled peace talks with the Palestinians, too. It would be misleading, however, to assume that the major obstacle to the success of talks is the right-wing political ideology the settler movement represents. Equally important are deeply… Read More »
By Jonathan Cook * | Sabbah Report | www.sabbah.biz A vague security offence of “contact with a foreign agent” is being used by Israel’s secret police, the Shin Bet, to lock up Arab political activists in Israel without evidence that a crime has been committed, human rights lawyers alleged this week. The lawyers said the… Read More »
By Jonathan Cook * | Sabbah Report | www.sabbah.biz History may be written by the victors, as Winston Churchill is said to have observed, but the opening up of archives can threaten a nation every bit as much as the unearthing of mass graves. That danger explains a decision quietly taken last month by Binyamin… Read More »
Doron Zahavi accused of running Israel’s Abu Ghraib By Jonathan Cook * | Sabbah Report | www.sabbah.biz A police officer known as “Major George” who is accused of torturing Arab prisoners in his previous role as chief interrogator in a secret military jail has been appointed to oversee relations with Jerusalem’s Palestinian population, it has… Read More »
By Jonathan Cook* | Sabbah Report | www.sabbah.biz Settlers step up “price tag” policy A rabbi from one of the most violent settlements in the West Bank was questioned on suspicion of incitement last week as Israeli police stepped up their investigation into a book in which he sanctions the killing of non-Jews, including children… Read More »
By Jonathan Cook * | Sabbah Report | www.sabbah.biz It is called Spot and Shoot. Operators sit in front of a TV monitor from which they can control the action with a PlayStation-style joystick. The aim: to kill. Played by: young women serving in the Israeli army. Spot and Shoot, as it is called by… Read More »
By Jonathan Cook * | Sabbah Report | www.sabbah.biz Two Palestinian brothers with Israeli citizenship have won 8,000 US dollars in damages from Israel’s national carrier, El Al, after a court found that their treatment by the company’s security staff at a New York airport had been “abusive and unnecessary.” Abdel Wahab and Abdel Aziz… Read More »
By Jonathan Cook * | Sabbah Report | www.sabbah.biz South Africa deported an Israeli airline official last week following allegations that Israel’s secret police, the Shin Bet, had infiltrated Johannesburg international airport in an effort to gather information on South African citizens, particularly black and Muslim travellers. The move by the South African government followed… Read More »
By Jonathan Cook * | Sabbah Report | www.sabbah.biz Civil rights groups in Israel have expressed outrage at the announcement last week that a special undercover unit of the police has been infiltrating and collecting intelligence on Israel’s Palestinian Arab minority by disguising its officers as Arabs. It is the first public admission that the… Read More »
By Jonathan Cook * | Sabbah Report | www.sabbah.biz A local authority in Israel has announced that it is establishing a special team of youth counsellors and psychologists whose job it will be to identify young Jewish women who are dating Arab men and “rescue” them. The move by the municipality of Petah Tikva, a… Read More »