This month marks the 10th anniversary of the first major military assault on the 2 million Palestinians of the Gaza Strip. After its unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, Israel turned the area into the biggest open-door prison on Earth. The two hallmarks of Israel’s treatment of Gaza since then have been mendacity and the utmost brutality towards civilians.
On 27 December 2008, Israel launched Operation Cast Lead, pounding the densely populated strip from the air, sea and land for 22 days. It was not a war or even “asymmetric warfare” but a one-sided massacre. Israel had 13 dead; the Gazans had 1,417 dead, including 313 children, and more than 5,500 wounded.… Seguir leyendo »
Israeli voters have to choose between two radically different visions for the future of their country when they go to the polls on 17 March. The rightwing ruling Likud party faces a challenge from the Zionist Union, which was formed by a merger of the Labour party and a small centrist party. Isaac Herzog, the leader of the new party, is a moderate left-of-centre politician who prefers to focus on the socioeconomic issues that are high on the voters’ agenda. His centre-right deputy, Tzipi Livni, was the minister of justice and chief negotiator with the Palestinians in the outgoing coalition government.… Seguir leyendo »
On Jan. 14, the Israeli defense minister, Moshe Yaalon, told the daily Yediot Aharonot, “Secretary of State John Kerry — who arrived here determined, who operates from an incomprehensible obsession and a sense of messianism — can’t teach me anything about the conflict with the Palestinians.” Even by Israeli standards, Mr. Yaalon’s comments were rather rude. Mr. Kerry’s crime was to try to broker Israeli-Palestinian peace talks that began last July and to stipulate a nine-month deadline. This is the kind of talk that gives chutzpah a bad name.
The episode also reveals a great deal about the nature of the much-vaunted special relationship between the United States and Israel.… Seguir leyendo »
Ariel Sharon, who died on Saturday after eight years in a coma, was one of Israel’s most iconic and controversial figures. His long and chequered career as a soldier and politician largely revolved around one issue: the conflict between Israel and its Arab neighbours. As a soldier he was involved at the sharp end of this bitter conflict. As a politician he became known as «the Bulldozer» on account of his contempt for his critics and his ruthless drive to get things done. Sharon was a deeply flawed character, renowned for his brutality, mendacity, and corruption. Yet despite these flaws he holds a special place in the annals of his country’s history.… Seguir leyendo »
In the absence of any last-minute objections, Israel will be welcomed as a member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development at its annual ministerial council in Paris on 26-28 May.
A successful outcome to the long-standing Israeli campaign to be admitted to the OECD would be hailed by Israeli government ministers as a major diplomatic triumph at a time when they have come under growing global criticism for the policy of building settlements on occupied Palestinian land.
It is vital therefore that the OECD makes Israeli accession conditional on tangible improvements in its human rights record and a commitment to embark on a credible peace process.… Seguir leyendo »