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Israel’s ‘creeping annexation’ of West Bank continues

There is much talk these days about Israel’s “creeping annexation” of the occupied West Bank, from both critics and proponents alike.

Critics say Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s government, dominated by right-wing nationalists in both the Likud and Jewish Home parties, has been advancing various laws designed to prepare the ground for Israel to annex portions of the occupied territory. Read more


Controversial antisemitism ‘definition’ faces resistance over free speech concerns

Pro-Israel groups in Britain are facing resistance in their attempts to use a controversial definition of anti-Semitism to stifle Palestine solidarity activism. Concerns over free speech are being heeded by universities and local authorities, in what is a boost for Palestine rights activists currently holding, or preparing to hold, Israeli Apartheid Week (IAW) events on campuses nationwide. Read more

Fear of Palestinian majority drives attacks on single democratic state

For those who always saw a so-called two-state solution as a means of preserving Israel as a ‘Jewish and democratic’ ethno-state, goodbye is the hardest word to say.

As the Israeli government consolidates a de facto, single state that all its predecessors since 1967 helped forge, those urging ‘separation’ from the Palestinians are sounding desperate – especially in their attacks on calls for a single democratic state, to replace today’s apartheid status quo. Read more

Amnesty made the right call when it refused to host Israeli apologists

The commendable decision by Amnesty International UK to cancel an event this week organised by the Jewish Leadership Council (JLC) is an important development in the fight against Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The event, which was to focus on the ills of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), featured Hillel Neuer, the head of pro-Israel pressure group UN Watch. Acknowledging that the booking should never have been approved in the first place, Amnesty UK pulled the plug on the event after concerns were raised both externally and within the organisation. Read more

Why Trump is wrong to cut funding to the UN agency which looks after Palestinian refugees

As with the decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, US President Donald Trump surely had his electoral base in mind when deciding to slash funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which looks after Palestinian refugees.

Trump’s decision, however, can not be divorced from a long-standing Israeli animus towards the agency, whose current difficulties have been broadly welcomed by Israeli politicians – including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israeli officials and pro-Israel groups make two main arguments in their attacks on UNRWA: Palestinian refugees are “fake” and the UN agency “perpetuates” the conflict. Read more

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

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