Tag Archives: Israel

The future of #Israel: A Conversation With Naftali Bennett, Minister of Economy

11 Dec

Naftali Bennet is the head of the right-wing Bayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home) party. He was also a member of the security cabinet and the recent coalition as the minister of Economy. His party is so against the peace process that in the past he has advocated annexing 60% of the West Bank. I have written about him before.

At the same time, he is someone who is a real competitor to Benjamin Netanyahu. He is someone who could one day lead Israel’s right. Why do I think that? because I sincerely believe that he truly represents the aspirations and world view of a major part of Israel’s pro-settlement movement.

Do I agree with their world view? no.  But this is a part of Israeli society which can not and must not be ignored. We are all part of the same country, and we must listen to each other.

I strongly recommend watching and listening to Naftali Bennet’s conversation with former US ambassador to Israel Martyn Indyk at the recent Saban Forum.

With thanks to my student Joshua Rodin for alerting me about this interview.

#Iran and #Israel are expansionist?

8 Dec

Israel accuses Iran of having expansionist ambitions, Iran accuses Israel of the same.

Meanwhile the Arab world accuses both Israel and Iran of having expansionist ambitions, at the expense of the Arab world.

Lets see.

During the last two weeks:

The Iranian air force attacks ISIS forces inside the territory of an Arab country, namely Iraq.

The Israeli air force reportedly attacks ammunition stores inside the territory of an Arab country, namely Syria.

Maybe the Arab world has a point?

مصاحبه: حمله دیروز به کنیسا در اورشلیم

19 Nov Handing out sweets in Gaza today
در مصاحبه امروزم با رادیو بی بی سی فارسی در مرد حمله دیروز به کنیسا در قسمت غربی اورشلیم که 5 نفر کشته به جا گذاشت گفتگو کردم.
به نظر من, حمله دیروز برای همه اسرائیلی ها چه از چپ و چه از راست, عبور از خط قرمز بود.

Thank you ADL, Union for Reform Judaism Movement and JSTREET

4 Nov

Last week I wrote a blog post about plans by the Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon to separate Israeli and Palestinian persons on Israeli buses in the West Bank. Basically, any person who is Palestinian would not be allowed to travel on the same bus as an Israeli.

It warms my heart to see that those of us in Israel who think this policy would be wrong in every imaginable way are supported our friends and brethren in the U.S.

According to the Times of Israel, soon after the announcement, the Young Israeli Labor organization sent a letter to a number of US pro-Israel groups. The letter, among other things stated:

“This unfortunate decision is a disastrous one in any respect,” said the letter. “Apart from being a severely miserable decision in every moral aspect, it also adds a very powerful weapon to the arsenal of those seeking to undermine Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.”

So far ADL, Union for Reform Judaism Movement and JSTREET have responded positively to the letter. The ADL has stated that it will be addressing this issue privately with the government of Israel. The other movements will also be pursuing this matter.

Meanwhile Israel’s Attorney General has requested an explanation from Israel’s Defense Minister. He has to answer by November 9th.

This decision will be challenged to the hilt. The Defense Minister will have to put up a hell of a fight, for an unjust cause. Best to give up now.

In Netanyahu vs Obama: the winner is likely to be #Palestine

29 Oct A youth holds-up a big Palestinian flag during a protest against the controversial separation wall in Ramallah

Make no mistake, after the US midterm elections, Netanyahu is going to take the gloves off. He is going to try to make life hell for Obama in any way he can in order to settle scores with him.

One area where Netanyahu is likely to try to make life difficult for Obama is Iran. If there is a deal between Iran and the P5+1, Netanyahu is likely to try to encourage the Congress to vote against the lifting of the sanctions. Or to slow down the implementation of America’s commitment, in any way possible, so that Obama looks like a lame duck.

And this is where the Palestinians enter the picture and are likely to be the biggest winner.

First scenario: Obama tries to settle scores with Netanyahu by not vetoing a very harsh resolution against Israeli settlements at the UNSC. Likely winner = Palestine as such a resolution is going to make it easier to isolate Israel and impose sanctions against the settlements in the international community.

Second scenario: AIPAC finds itself being pushed by both sides (Obama and Netanyahu), so it decides not to get involved or to reduce its involvement in such a scenario. Likely winner = Palestine. As far as the Palestinians are concerned, the less AIPAC is involved in anything to do with Israel, the better.

Whatever you think of AIPAC, it is an American organization. Despite its excellent relations with Israeli governments, its unlikely that it would want to be seen as standing against the President of the US in a long drawn out battle with the Prime Minister of Israel.  Such fights are the stuff of nightmares for AIPAC as its main goal is to strengthen relations between Israel and US governments. Publicly taking sides in a fight between the leaders of the two countries would be the last thing it wants.

Third scenario (and the less likely one): Obama does not VETO UNSC resolution which recognizes Palestine. Winner = Palestine.

Whatever happens, one of the aforementioned scenarios is likely to be realized and no matter which one is realized, Palestine is likely to be the winner.

Iranians, Israelis could live with ‘bad’ nuclear deal

14 Oct kham-netan

The Israeli and Iranian publics can live with what their leaders each consider a “bad” nuclear deal.

My latest article explains:

http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/10/iran-israel-nuclear-talks-public.html

Top ten reasons why an independent Palestinian state would be good for #Israel

13 Oct palestine-israel

It takes two sides to make peace. Both Israel and Palestinians have to sacrifice, have to compromise.

However there are some in Israel who are opposed to the creation of an independent state. I am not. I am for it, once negotiations have been completed by both sides. I think it would be good for Israelis too. I have explained the reasons why below.

  1. It will save Israel from the real possibility of becoming a binational apartheid state. This is because demographically speaking, if Israel continues to occupy Palestinian lands in the next 20 years there will be more Palestinians than Israelis living under Israeli rule. Unless there is a state of Palestine, we either have to: – give the Palestinians living under our rule the vote = end of Israel as a Jewish state, or we deprive the majority Palestinians of the right to vote = making Israel an apartheid state.
  2. It will enable Israel to establish diplomatic relations with 57 Arab and Muslim countries, as per the Arab Peace Initiative (API).
  3. Peace with Palestine and the establishment of a Palestinian state will mean more trade with Arab countries =  more jobs and revenue for the Israeli economy.
  4. A Palestinian state, with set borders will enable the economy of Palestine to grow. Less poverty and more jobs + an end to the occupation of their land = less reason for the people of Palestine to support Palestinian extremists who only want war against Israel.
  5. The end of occupation will mean more legitimacy for Israel to strike back at terrorists inside Palestinian territory, if they decide to launch attacks from internationally recognized Palestinian borders. The end of occupation of Lebanon in 2000 and return to Israel’s borders has made it infinitely more difficult for Hezbollah to justify new attacks against Israel and more justifiable for Israel to strike back when under attack. Just compare how many attacks there were by Hezbollah against Israeli army and civilian targets during the occupation of Lebanon and how many were after the end of occupation.  The difference is not just big, its huge
  6. The occupation is corrupting Israeli society. Trauma of aggression taught to soldiers to use against Palestinians is brought home by soldiers and at times used against their own family / other members of society
  7. It would be a huge setback for those in the Iranian regime who abuse the Palestinian issue to divert attention from corruption and problems at home.
  8. A major setback for extremist groups such as Al Qaida and ISIS. Not to mention Hezbollah.
  9. The occupation is allowing extremists in the Israeli society to grow and prosper. Inside the West Bank, when a Palestinian commits a crime, any crime, he is arrested and investigated by the army and the SHABAK intelligence services. When an Israeli in the West Bank commits a crime, its the job of the poorer and the less organized police to investigate. This makes it much more difficult to arrest extremists in the West Bank. Case in point: look at how many attacks there have been by extremists against Mosques and Palestinians farmers and citizens in the West Bank.
  10. Many of the illegal settlements (according to Israeli law) are a major economic and military burden for Israel, while interrupting the lives of ordinary Palestinians.
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