‘Creeping Annexation’: Why Israel shelved the ‘Greater Jerusalem Law’

The postponing of an Israeli Knesset bill that would have annexed major illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank to the Jerusalem municipality is the result of behind-the-scenes US and, possibly, European pressure. But the story of the so-called “Greater Jerusalem law” does not end there. Israel wants to maintain an absolute demographic Jewish majority in Jerusalem, including in occupied and illegally annexed Palestinian East Jerusalem. There is enough support in the Knesset and among the public to ensure that coveted Jewish dominance. But the political balances, and possible drawbacks, are just too delicate and great for Israel to get exactly what it wants, even if there is a clear consensus among Israeli Jewish politicians and the public to permanently […]

Walls and militarised police: How Israel is exporting its occupation to the US

Israeli footprints are becoming more apparent in the US security apparatus. Such a fact does not bode well for ordinary Americans. US Senate Bill S.720 should have been a wake-up call. The bill, drafted by the Israel lobby group, American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), as part of its “2017 Lobbying Agenda” is set to punish any individual or company that boycotts Israel for its violation of Palestinian human rights. The severe punishment could reach a million dollars in fines, and up to 20 years in jail. Although political boycott has been sanctioned by the US Supreme Court, Congress wants to make a boycott of Israel the exception, even if it means the subversion of US democracy. Still, protests are […]

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This is not national unity: Hamas and Fatah must transform to speak on behalf of Palestinians

The reconciliation agreement signed between rival Palestinian parties, Hamas and Fatah, in Cairo on October 12 was not a national unity accord – at least, not yet. For the latter to be achieved, the agreement would have to make the interests of the Palestinian people a priority, above factional agendas. The leadership crisis in Palestine is not new. It precedes Fatah and Hamas by decades. Since the destruction of Palestine and the creation of Israel in 1948 – and even further back – Palestinians found themselves beholden to international and regional power play, beyond their ability to control or even influence. The greatest achievement of Yasser Arafat, the late and iconic leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was his […]

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Trump’s angry diplomacy in North Korea is an attempt to counter China

To understand the United States’ stratagem in the Pacific, and against North Korea in particular, one has to understand the fundamental changes that are underway in that region. China’s clout as an Asian superpower and as a global economic powerhouse has been growing at a rapid speed. The US’ belated ‘pivot to Asia’ to counter China’s rise has been, thus far, quite ineffectual. The angry diplomacy of President Donald Trump is Washington’s way to scare off North Korea’s traditional ally, China, and disrupt what has been, until now, quite a smooth Chinese economic, political and military ascendency in Asia that has pushed against US regional influence, especially in the East and South China Seas. Despite the fact that China has […]

The Balfour Declaration Destroyed Palestine, Not the Palestinian People

Some promises are made and kept; others disavowed. But the ‘promise’ made by Arthur James Balfour in what became known as the ‘Balfour Declaration’ to the leaders of the Zionist Jewish community in Britain one hundred years ago, was only honored in part: it established a state for the Jews and attempted to destroy the Palestinian nation. In fact, Balfour, the foreign Secretary of Britain at the time his declaration of 84 words was pronounced on November 2, 1917, was, like many of his peers, anti-Semitic. He cared little about the fate of Jewish communities. His commitment to establishing a Jewish state in a land that was already populated by a thriving and historically-rooted nation was only meant to enlist […]

In their own words: When Trump and Obama sounded the same

The nature of the rhetoric in Donald Trump’s first speech at the United Nations General Assembly was largely predictable. Even his bizarre threat to “totally destroy North Korea” was consistent with his overall style and previous warnings. But how different was his speech, if compared with the first and last UN speeches of President Barack Obama? A 19th Century English author, John Ruskin, once wrote: “Great nations write their autobiographies in three manuscripts – the book of their deeds, the book of their words, and the book of their art.” Soon after former US President Barack Obama’s arrival in the Oval Office, Harvard Business School Professor John A. Quelch injected Ruskin’s quote to re-assert the need to strike the balance […]

Courting the Global South: Will Israel Become a UN Security Council Member?

There is a great irony in the fact that Israel is seeking a seat at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Since its establishment atop the ruins of Palestinian cities and villages in 1948, Israel has had the most precarious relationship with the world’s largest international body. It has desperately sought to be legitimized by the UN, while it has done its utmost to delegitimize the UN. Following a resolution at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) condemning Israel’s human rights abuses in the Occupied Palestinian Territory in March 2014, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, then accused the UN of being ‘absurd’. He vowed to “continue to denounce and expose” the UN “procession of hypocrisy.” For many years, Israeli leaders and government officials have […]

The Genocide of the Rohingya: Big Oil, Failed Democracy and False Prophets

To a certain extent, Aung San Suu Kyi is a false prophet. Glorified by the west for many years, she was made a ‘democracy icon’ because she opposed the same forces in her country, Burma, at the time that the US-led western coalition isolated Rangoon for its alliance with China. Aung San Suu Kyi played her role as expected, winning the approval of the Right and the admiration of the Left. And for that, she won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1991; she joined the elevated group of ‘The Elders’ and was promoted by many in the media and various governments as a heroic figure, to be emulated. Hillary Clinton once described her as “this extraordinary woman.” The ‘Lady’ of […]

Three years after the war: Gaza youth speak out

“At bedtime, I am afraid to turn the lights off. I am not a coward, it is just that I worry that this bulb hanging from the ceiling is the last light that remains (shining) in my life.” Soon after he penned these words, Moath Alhaj, a young artist from a Gaza refugee camp, passed away in his sleep. After disappearing for two days, Moath’s friends broke down the door of his house and found him huddled with his blanket in a place in which he lived alone for 11 years. Moath lived in the Nuseirat Refugee Camp, one of Gaza’s most crowded camps, a name which is associated with historic hardship, war, and legendary resistance. Raised in the United […]

Terror next time: Daesh’s story is not over yet

Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul, has been reduced to rubble. It has been finally conquered, snatched back from the notorious group, Daesh, after months of merciless bombardment by the US-led war coalition, and a massive ground war. But ‘victory’ can hardly be the term assigned to this moment. Mosul, once Iraq’s cultural jewel and model of co-existence, is now a ‘city of corpses’, as described by a foreign journalist who walked through the ruins, while shielding his nose from a foul smell. “You’ve probably heard of thousands killed, the civilian suffering,” Murad Gazdiev said. “What you likely haven’t heard of is the smell. It’s nauseating, repulsive, and it’s everywhere – the smell of rotting bodies.” Read More: Are we asking the […]