Speculation over the White House’s “Middle East peace plan” continues to dominate media coverage of Israel and the Palestinians, the latest example coming with the announcement of a Bahrain-hosted “workshop” in June to encourage investment in the Palestinian economy.
With the exception of the Gaza Strip, however – and then only partially and selectively – minimal attention is being paid to developments on the ground in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Across the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the paradigm of military occupation alone is insufficient to understanding what is taking place – namely, ethnic cleansing. Read more
Later this year, Israel’s Supreme Court will hear a petition filed on behalf of a 70-year-old Palestinian citizen who has one simple request: to visit her father’s grave.
The story of Salwa Salem Copty, of her family’s village and her quest to visit the grave of her father, will, unfortunately, not get the attention from journalists and diplomats that it deserves. Read more
Long marginalised in Israel by an ascendant nationalist right, the so-called “Zionist Left” has retained significant moral and intellectual influence abroad. Author Amos Oz, who died aged 79 on 28 December, was perhaps the best-known embodiment of this political current and was widely revered internationally – as The New Yorker put it in 2004 – as “the godfather of Israeli peaceniks”.
Yet this image of the liberal artist or prophet, aided in no small part by political shifts in Israel that mean even mild critics are now denounced as “traitors,” is in stark contrast to Oz’s views on events past and present, and in particular on what Zionism has meant for the Palestinians. Read more
On 15 May, Palestinians mark Nakba Day, an annual event which both remembers the displacement of Palestinians in 1948 and protests Israel’s continued rejection of their right to return.
This year Nakba Day comes as the Trump administration makes good on its promise to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Today’s opening of the new US embassy comes amid protests in the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip. In response, Israeli forces have killed at least 41 Palestinian protesters, wounding hundreds more.
The convergence of the 70th anniversary of Nakba Day with these contemporary developments is an opportunity to consider its significance in the past, present and future. Read more
The so-called ‘Israeli-Palestinian conflict’ is not an ancient, tribal conflict, or millennia-old grudge match. Nor, as some propose, is it a tragic clash of competing nationalisms, or a cycle fuelled by religious extremism. The Zionist political project in Palestine has been, and is, a form of settler colonialism. Understanding it as such is important for three reasons. Read more
Last week, as Israelis celebrated their Independence Day, Palestinians in the country’s south held the annual March of Return, walking to the site of one of hundreds of Palestinian villages destroyed between 1947 and 1949.
This mass displacement and dispossession, known as the Nakba (catastrophe), is commemorated internationally each May. But in recent years, Israeli authorities have attempted to clamp down on events to mark the Nakba – most notably through a 2011 change to legislation pertaining to budget allocations. Read more
“If there are other inhabitants there, they must be transferred to some other place. We must take over the land. We have a greater and nobler ideal than preserving several hundred thousands of Arab fellahin.”
Menahem Ussishkin, chair of Jewish National Fund, 1930.
There is a lot of discussion about Zionism at the moment: how to define it, what it means to be anti-Zionist and whether that equates to antisemitism, and so on. But there has been a notable, and instructive, absence in these debates: an understanding of what Zionism has meant for Palestinians. Read more
67 years ago, the ethnic cleansing of Palestine unfolded through expulsions, massacres, and demolitions. Hundreds of villages were emptied, then levelled; centres of Palestinian urban life and community disappeared; columns of refugees took flight at the barrel of a gun.
A society was dismembered and fragmented. In the months and years after 1948, the army of the State of Israel, formed from the militias who had occupied and ‘cleansed’ village after village, used bullets and landmines to keep out the refugees trying to return home. Read more
There was outrage last week when the University of Southampton cancelled a forthcoming conference on Israel and international law, ostensibly on the grounds of “health and safety”.
The university had been under pressure from pro-Israel advocacy groups, and organisers have begun legal efforts against what they see as a concession to outside interference and bullying. The story of the campaign to shut down the conference should not, however, distract from why Israel’s supporters found the topics scheduled for discussion so objectionable. Read more