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Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man, +972 Magazine 1/30/2015
Netanyahu tells supporters at a settlement campaign event that Israel will continue to build in the West Bank, as his Likud party competes with more hawkish parties for settler votes. Erekat calls for boycott, divestment in response.
Less than a month and a half before general elections, the Israeli government published tenders for 430 new settlement homes in the occupied West Bank on Friday.
The move could be interpreted as a gift of sorts to the right-wing electorate as the ruling Likud party fights for votes with the further-right Jewish Home party headed by Naftali Bennett. While Netanyahu has ruled out a withdrawal from the West Bank, which would necessarily preclude Palestinian statehood. Other prominent members of the Likud and the entire Jewish Home party outright oppose a two-state solution.
The settlement construction tenders are issued via the Housing and Construction Ministry, headed by Minister Uri Ariel of Jewish Home.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to continue settlement construction this week, speaking to young Likud supporters in the West Bank settlement of Ariel.
“We will not hesitate to stand up and say: we are here, we are staying here, we will build here and cultivate here,” Netanyahu said. “Ariel is a part of the State of Israel, that’s the way it was and that’s how it will be.”
The prime minister also ruled out handing over the central West Bank hill country to the Palestinians, warning of a “second Hamasastan.”.... more.. e-mail The Problem of Israel in the Modern World
Michael Welton, CounterPunch 1/30/2015
Can the Unspeakable be Spoken?
The mood of our uneasy times is incredibly bellicose, dark, apocalyptic and vengeful. The “war on terror” is like a virus that infects everything it touches. And it does seem to touch everything, from our popular television shows, to getting across borders, travelling overseas somewhere. You can’t read the Sunday paper without feeling queasy, a sense of dread tingling our nerves and spoiling our lovely morning coffee. Everyday brings a new jolt. And if terror doesn’t do the trick, fear of global warming, or running out of oil will spoil your day for sure.
I am particularly interested in probing the role that religious belief and mythological systems play in dividing us from one another, fuelling irrationality and hatred of others, and dampening any spirit of radical self-criticism. To illustrate the incendiary nature of religious belief, I will focus attention on the Israel-Palestinian conflict in the context of the Middle East. Perhaps no topic–Israel’s fate and role in the Middle East–is itself so incendiary and symptomatic of the failure of our global civilization to act justly.
The horrific Israeli war against Lebanon in 2006, the continuing assault on Palestinians in the Gaza strip, now virtually a prison, and the building of settlements in the West Bank, has revealed to the world the stark inadequacies of the old axiom, that “might is right”. I am fascinated with why Israel, particularly, believes that might is right, that war is the only message the Arabs understand and why Israel refuses to talk with their enemy. What belief system underpins the aggressions of Israel against the Palestinians and its Arab surroundings? Why is it so hard for us to criticize Israel in the west? Are there mythic underpinnings and reasons operating here, too? more.. e-mail Benjamin Netanyahu: the Anti-American Obstructionist
Melvin A. Goodman, CounterPunch 1/29/2015
Has He Gone Too Far This Time?
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s acceptance of an invitation to address a joint session of the U.S. Congress in March is an unacceptable interference in our domestic political arena and must be challenged. It is simply not enough for the White House to indicate that there will be no meeting between President Barack Obama and the Israeli Prime Minister. At the very least, the United States must take the next opportunity at the UN’s Security Council to forswear a veto on a resolution critical of Israel as well as signal a significant change in U.S. military assistance to the Israelis. The Israelis must be made to understand that the United States, the only ally that Israel has in the global community, will not tolerate its anti-American behavior.
Anti-Americanism in Israel is not exactly a new development, although Netanyahu has been more stubborn than his predecessors in conducting the policy. In the 1950s, Israeli agents bombed a United States Information Agency library in Egypt and tried to make it appear to be an Egyptian act of violence in order to compromise U.S.-Egyptian relations. This was an act of terrorism designed to coerce the West not to improve relations with Cairo.
In the 1960s, the Israelis told the United States at the highest levels that it would not conduct a pre-emptive attack against the Arab states, which is exactly what it did in starting the Six-Day War. In the war’s opening days, Israeli fighter planes bombed the USS Liberty, leading to the deaths of 34 American sailors. The Israelis claimed it was an accident. If so, it was the best planned “accident” that I have ever observed.
In the October War in 1973, the Israelis did their best to compromise a cease-fire.... more.. e-mail Dear Syria
Ramzy Baroud, CounterPunch 1/29/2015
From One Refugee to Another
Whenever the word ‘refugee’ is uttered, I think of my mother. When Zionist militias began their systematic onslaught and ‘cleansing’ of the Palestinian Arab population of historic Palestine in 1948, she, along with her family, ran away from the once peaceful village of Beit Daras.
Back then, Zarefah was six. Her father died in a refugee camp in a tent provided by the Quakers soon after he had been separated from his land. She collected scrap metal to survive.
My grandmother Mariam, would venture out to the ‘death zone’ that bordered the separated and newly established state of Israel from Gaza’s refugee camps to collect figs and oranges. She faced death every day. Her children were all refugees, living in shatat – the Diaspora.
My mother lived to be 42. Her life was tremendously difficult. She married a refugee, my dad, and together they brought seven refugees into this world – my brothers, my sister and myself. One died as a toddler, for there was no medicine in the refugee camp’s clinic.
No matter where we are, in time and place, we carry our refugee ID cards, our undefinable nationalities, our precious status, our parents’ burden, our ancestors’ pain.
In fact, we have a name for it. It is called waja’ – ‘aching’ – a character that unifies millions of Palestinian refugees all across the globe. With our refugee population now dominated by second, third or even fourth generation refugees, it seems that our waja’ is what we hold in common most.... more.. e-mail
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