Skip to content

The Israeli settlement project is a war crime

This week saw a new round of construction approvals by the Israeli government for settlement housing units, the majority of which are for colonies “deep” in the occupied West Bank.

The settlement homes were advanced by a committee of the so-called Civil Administration, part of the defence ministry, which forms a key part of the bureaucratic process for advancing settlement construction in the West Bank (East Jerusalem, illegally annexed by Israel, is treated differently). Read more

Advertisements

Fauda brings Israel’s ‘shoots and cries’ genre to the Netflix generation

There is a phrase in Hebrew which literally translates as ‘shoots and cries’ (or ‘shooting and crying’). As explained by literature scholar Karen Grumberg, “the Zionist solider, a man with a conscience, loathes violence but realises he must act violently to survive; the dilemma causes him to weep while pulling the trigger. Looking inward, he despairs at the violence he feels compelled to enact primarily because he fears his own moral corruption”. This ‘shoots and cries’ culture has not been limited to literature – it can also be found in critically-acclaimed Israeli films like “Waltz with Bashir”, or even Hollywood productions like “Munich”.And now, there is a ‘shoots and cries’ creation for the Netflix era: “Fauda”. Read more

Rights groups slam Israel Supreme Court for giving ‘green light’ to torture

The Israeli Supreme Court has been accused of redefining torture so as to permit it after a major new ruling was greeted with dismay by local and international human rights groups.

Last week the court – sitting as the High Court of Justice – denied a petition brought by The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) on behalf of Palestinian prisoner Asad Abu Ghosh. Read more

The Palestinians can undermine US-Saudi designs and rescue their national struggle

If the Oslo Accords gave birth to a Palestinian Authority without authority, then Donald Trump’s “ultimate deal” looks set to offer the Palestinians a state without statehood.

The potential spoilers are the Palestinian people themselves. The protests over recent days are an indication of the potential impact of popular mobilisation, and its ability to undermine US – and Saudi – plans for an “ultimate deal” that will ride roughshod over inalienable Palestinian rights. Read more

Why is Trump moving on Jerusalem now?

In comparison to the focus on opposition to the move and its possible ramifications, relatively little has been said about why Donald Trump’s administration has decided to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and signal its intent to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv.

For example, one widely-shared piece of analysis does not really answer the question in its title, namely, “Why is Trump undoing decades of US policy on Jerusalem?”

I believe there are three main reasons, none of which are mutually exclusive. Read more

Exclusive: Amnesty pledges to consider if Israel is committing apartheid

In an unprecedented development, Amnesty International has pledged to consider whether the Israeli government is committing the crime of apartheid in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).

This marks the first time that the global rights NGO has said it will investigate Israeli practices specifically with regards to whether they meet the international definition of apartheid. Read more

Why Israel does not want a sovereign Palestinian state

How many Israeli settlers – or settlement houses – until a two-state solution is impossible? That’s the question we should be asking our politicians, who frequently refer to a “closing window of opportunity” for a Palestinian state in light of Israeli “facts on the ground”.

Speaking in Parliament recently, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson urged a halt to “the illegal settlements”; every time Israeli authorities “build new units”, he said, they “move us further from a two-state solution”, even if “they are not yet making it impossible to deliver the new map”.

So, the question remains: how many is too many? Read more

The untold story: why Priti Patel’s departure is ‘a great loss for Israel’

It is easy enough to understand why an ambitious politician like Priti Patel would have wanted to court Conservative Friends of Israel (CFI), described this week by The Jewish Chronicle’s reporter Marcus Dysch as “the biggest lobbying group in Westminster”.

But what about the Israeli government and its allies? Why, in the words of Israeli opposition politician Isaac Herzog, was Patel’s fall from grace a “great loss for Israel”?

True, she looked like future leadership material. But in fact, a more interesting answer lies in the story of how the Department for International Development (DFID) has become a key battle ground for Israel and its Westminster lobbyists, an arena for foreign policy by proxy. Read more

Praise and protest: Reflections on how the Balfour centenary was marked

Following a year of build-up, the Balfour Declaration centenary has now come and gone. After the campaigns, events, articles and protests, I want to take a moment to make a few observations about how the centenary was marked.

To my mind, there were two main aspects to the anniversary’s significance. Read more

This week a world leader much worse than Donald Trump is visiting the UK – but I don’t see any protest from MPs

That US President Donald Trump has not yet made an official visit to the UK is down to the entirely justifiable opposition such a prospect provokes.

Here is a man who ran a racist election campaign and brought hard-right nationalists into the corridors of power, who has open contempt for treaties and bodies like the United Nations.

Yet this week, Theresa May will welcome to London another world leader about whom the exact same – and much more – can be said: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Read more