Last week, a Knesset committee approved a final version of the controversial “Jewish nation state” bill, sending it to the plenum for its three readings before becoming law.
Some Israelis have claimed that the law does not really change much, and stems more from the desire of current ultra-nationalist coalition members to make a point and curry favour with their base – the law, according to this view, is more symbol than substance. Read more
“These people have gone too far…”
MK Nissan Slomiansky, February 10, 2016
Many Palestinian citizens of Israel “take their rights too far.”
Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin, May 13, 2008
On February 2, Members of Knesset met with the families of Palestinian assailants whose bodies are being withheld by Israel authorities. The visit by Haneen Zoabi, Basel Ghattas, and Jamal Zahalka, all from Balad and part of the Joint List, was part of “a campaign being conducted by the families and legal aid and human rights groups seeking the return of the bodies of their family members.” Read more
On Wednesday, a debate was held in the British Parliament on the issue of Palestinian child prisoners detained by Israeli forces in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT).
The same day, two thousand miles away, Israel’s Knesset hosted a discussion on how to combat the growing, Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. Together, these two parliamentary meetings serve as a useful illustration of why Israel’s international image continues to deteriorate – and why it is not likely to improve any time soon. Read more
Hundreds of Jewish Israelis demonstrated on Saturday in the northern city of Afula, after construction tenders issued for new housing were won by Palestinian citizens from nearby villages.
The demonstrators, who are calling for the tenders to be revoked, included “senior officials” from the Afula city council, as well as David Suissa, chief of staff to Israel’s Housing Minister. “The fight in Afula has set off many warning bells”, said Suissa, adding that the protest was on behalf of “anyone who grew up in the city and wants to safeguard its character.” Read more
On Monday, newly re-elected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed regretfor his now notorious remarks on polling day last week, when he warned that Israel’s Palestinian citizens were coming out to vote “in droves.”
Netanyahu did not actually say sorry; he merely noted that what he had said “hurt some Israeli citizens”, and added that he sees himself as the prime minister of “each and every one of you…without differentiating between religions, races and sex.”
In the words of one journalist, Bibi’s comments were “like publishing a one-column-inch apology on the obituary page for deliberately libelling a person on Page 1.” The Joint List also rejected the non-apology, noting the prospect of further “racist and marginalising legislation” in the next Knesset. Read more
On 17 March, Israelis will go to the polls to elect a new government. Here are 10 facts about the Knesset elections and the Palestinian vote. Read more
In the weeks and months after the Jerusalem Light Rail was inaugurated, city officials boasted of a practical achievement and powerful symbol of the city’s modernity and “unity”. Criticism that the line served illegal settlements was dismissed as ignorant. Pictures of Jewish and Palestinian passengers were proof positive, some suggested, of the deceit of the apartheid charge.
Yet in the fiery weeks of this year’s summer, the JLR became a different kind of symbol, as Palestinians focused their rage on its stations and trains as representative of Israel’s colonial domination. Read more
Last week, Palestinian activist Muhammad Kanaaneh was due to address Tel Aviv University students at an event marking Land Day, a commemoration of the bloody state repression of anti-land expropriation protests in 1976. However, following pressure by right-wing Zionist activists, university authorities stepped in to ban Kanaanehfrom delivering his speech on campus.
The opposition to Kanaaneh’s lecture, including from Members of the Knesset, was on the basis that he was a so-called “convicted terrorist”, apparently jailed for “involvement with” or “passing on information to” Hezbolllah. But few bothered to examine the claims being made about Kanaaneh, or look beyond the shouts of ‘terrorist’. To do so would be to reveal another side to this affair, beyond the repression of Palestinian political activism at Israeli academic institutions. Read more
With the results of Israel’s election in (though the exact final breakdown is still unknown), one message has dominated: ‘Dead heat!’ The Knesset is being presented as split down the middle between ‘right-wing’ and ‘centre-left’ blocs, as discussions take place about how a coalition government will be formed.
But there is another way of looking at it: for Palestinians, the Israeli electorate has returned a parliament that is 90-10 in favour of ethnocracy. Read more
Israel’s Palestinian minority has always been subject to discriminatory policies, but some now say that a more open conflict between the Israeli establishment and its Palestinian citizens appears to be brewing.
In May, Ameer Makhoul, the director of Ittijah, a network for Palestinian NGOs, was taken from his home in the middle of the night by the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service.
Once the media gag was lifted, it emerged that Makhoul and another Palestinian citizen, Omar Said, a natural medicine expert and Balad party activist, were facing serious security-related charges.
Both men were denied access to lawyers for approximately a fortnight.
Makhoul’s wife, Janan Abdu, says she feels that her husband is being made an example of. Read more