The Israeli settlement of Yitzhar, long a byword for nationalist extremism and anti-Palestinian violence, was in the news again on Monday, after residents erected a sign outside the settlement stating: “This road leads to the community of Yitzhar – Entry for Arabs is dangerous.”
As explained by Haaretz, the background to the stunt was an incident two weeks ago, when “an Arab medical worker who was sent to conduct a Covid-19 test was refused entry to Yitzhar”, reportedly on the basis that “he was an Arab”.
In response, the senior Israeli commander for the region “made it clear to the residents of Yitzhar that they must allow the entry of Arabs”, prompting the erection of the road sign in “protest”. Pictures of the sign were quickly shared on Twitter, prompting widespread outrage and opposition.
A new report in the Israeli publication Haaretz has shed fresh light on Israel’s intensifying demolition campaign in Palestinian communities, leading to a stark conclusion: Israel is conducting a war against the very existence of Palestinians in Area C, 60 percent of the occupied West Bank.
Meetings were held by the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee in late July and mid-August, and the subject was “the Palestinian takeover of Area C”.
The argument that the two-state solution is dead, or as good as dead, has by now become firmly embedded in mainstream commentary on Israel and Palestine.
Warnings about the diminishing likelihood, or viability, of a Palestinian state in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, based on the size of the settler population and extent of Israeli colonisation, have been sounded for decades.
Now, practical hurdles are also being understood in the context of – and as a practical expression of – the political obstacles, namely the rejection of and opposition to Palestinian sovereignty in the West Bank and Gaza Strip shared by Israeli leaders across the mainstream political spectrum. Read more
With just days to go until Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is allowed, per the coalition government agreement, to pursue the annexation of illegally occupied West Bank territory, debate swirls around what – if any – land will be formally annexed in the coming weeks and months.
Various annexation scenarios are being discussed, from the 30 percent of the West Bank envisaged in the Donald Trump administration’s plan – including the Jordan Valley region – through to a smaller amount of territory concentrated around major settlements. Read more
Delegitimizing Solidarity: Israel Smears Palestine Advocacy as Anti-Semitic
Journal of Palestine Studies (2020) 49 (2): 65–79.
In response to growing Palestine solidarity activism globally—and particularly in countries that have been traditional allies of Israel—the Israeli government has launched a well-resourced campaign to undermine such efforts. A key element of this campaign consists in equating Palestine advocacy; the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement; and anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism. Read more
Just days before going to the polls for the second time this year, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced, to much fanfare on home turf, that he planned to annex the Jordan Valley region of the occupied West Bank should he secure another term in office.
It was a move intended to rally right-wing voters behind his party, Likud, which remains in close competition with the opposition Blue and White list. Having failed to form a government in April’s election and with corruption charges looming over him, the stakes have never been higher for Mr Netanyahu. Read more
The recent Israeli security cabinet decision to approve construction permits for Palestinian homes in Area C of the occupied West Bank was somewhat of a rarity, “the first such decision since 2016”.
While the figure of 715 housing units in Palestinian towns sounds positive, thus far no details have been revealed – including for example, whether the plans relate to new construction or the retroactive legalisation of homes built without Israeli-issued permits.
In addition to this lack of clarity, these housing units are a drop in the ocean – according to Peace Now, “it is estimated that there are at least a thousand young Palestinian couples in need of housing in Area C each year”. Read more
A furore broke out in Israel this past weekend, after an interview with Education Minister Rafi Peretz was broadcast on Saturday night television.
Speaking to Channel 12, Peretz – a former army chief rabbi and now leader of the Union of Right-Wing Parties (URP) – was asked if he believes in so-called “conversion therapy” for gay people. Answering in the affirmative, Peretz responded: “I think you can,” adding: “I can tell you that I have a deep knowledge of education, and I have done it too.” Read more
The demolition of Palestinian-owned buildings by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem is a routine occurrence.
But in Sur Baher, a neighbourhood southeast of Jerusalem, an unprecedented mass demolition is looming – with the approval of Israel‘s top court. Read more
With just over two months to go before the second Israeli election this year, and with the latest polls predicting prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu will struggle to meet the 61 seats needed to form a governing coalition, former Israeli minister and current Yisrael Beiteinu party chair Avigdor Lieberman has emerged as the kingmaker. Last month the veteran politician expressed his desire for a unity government between Likud and the opposition Blue and White list. Mr Lieberman, whose refusal to form a coalition with Likud triggered the dissolution of the Knesset in May, told Israeli radio: “We will aim for a government with Likud and with [the Blue and White party] and that will be an emergency government, a national liberal government. We will do everything to limit the haredim [ultra-Orthodox] so that they won’t enter government.” Read more