Tag Archives: Binyamin Netanyahu

Netanyahu victory: clear break with US-led peace process

19 Mar

Mahmoud Abbas

Palestinians see ‘long and difficult road of struggle’ against Israel as Netanyahu wins fourth term after rejection of two-state solution. Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas (above), and his close advisers may now decide to end security cooperation with Israel. Photograph: Issam Rimawi/AP

 

By Peter Beaumont in Jerusalem and Sufian Taha in Ramallah, The Guardian, 18 March 2015

In his sports shop in the Palestinian village of Hizme, Mohammad al-Kiswani, aged 52, reflected bleakly on the re-election of Binyamin Netanyahu.

“When Netanyahu won,” he said, “he dried the last drop of water that could quench our thirst for a state. This time he will be more radical. He promised the Israeli public he will not negotiate a two-state solution or negotiate over Jerusalem. He has taken off his mask and it has shown an ugly face.”

Mohammad al-Mahdi, the 35-year-old owner of a publishing press, was no less concerned. “I think things will get worse. The future will be black.

“But you can’t blame the Israelis because they were so clear in this election campaign. I don’t think there will be peace. I don’t think there will be a two-state solution. There will only be a country full of hate and racism and that is so sad because the Israeli public are turning towards the far right.”

If there is a paradox, it is that for Palestinians Binyamin Netanyahu’s decisive win in Tuesday’s Israeli elections has simplified issues for many – including the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, and his closest advisers – in their campaign to internationalise support for a Palestinian state.

Ahead of Tuesday’s election, some Palestinian officials close to Abbas had intimated that a Netanyahu victory – not least in terms of his outright rejection of a two-state solution and his vow to continue settlement construction – would mark a clear break in a US-led peace process that has been on ice since it collapsed almost a year ago.

Indeed a common sentiment among Palestinians in recent days is that the election campaign forced Netanyahu to reveal his opposition to a two-state solution.

“The Israeli elections forced Netanyahu to reveal his real position,” said prominent Palestinian journalist Daoud Kuttab, reflecting the views of many.

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Israeli cabinet approves law reinforcing racist ‘Jewish state’

24 Nov

 Binyamin Netanyahu

Binyamin Netanyahu The Israeli PM, Binyamin Netanyahu, argues the law is needed because the notion of Israel as a Jewish homeland was being challenged. Photograph: Barcroft Media

Peter Beaumont in Jerusalem, The Guardian, 23 November 2014

Israeli cabinet approves legislation defining nation-state of Jewish people. Opponents say proposed law would reserve ‘national rights’ for Jews and not for minorities that make up 20% of population

A controversial bill that officially defines Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people has been approved by cabinet despite warnings that the move risks undermining the country’s democratic character.

Opponents, including some cabinet ministers, said the new legislation defined reserved “national rights” for Jews only and not for its minorities, and rights groups condemned it as racist.

The bill, which is intended to become part of Israel’s basic laws, would recognise Israel’s Jewish character, institutionalise Jewish law as an inspiration for legislation and delist Arabic as a second official language.

Arab Muslims and Christians make up 20% of Israel’s population.

The cabinet passed the bill by a 14-7 majority after reports of rancorous exchanges during the meeting, including between the prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, and his justice minister, Tzipi Livni.

The bill, which still requires the Knesset’s approval to become a law, comes as tensions between Israelis and Palestinians rise sharply, and friction within Israel’s Arab minority grows.

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Jeff Halper: ‘Israel sows despair & senseless violence’

20 Nov

166800_498440064681_4490144_nJeff Halper standing up against Israeli demotion of Palestinian houses (file photo)

A Statement by Jeff Halper, director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) 19 November 2014

ISRAEL SOWS DESPAIR AND SENSELESS VIOLENCE

And the “Zionist answer” to the downward cycle of senseless violence in which Jerusalem finds itself: house demolitions, mass arrests, revoking the “residency” of native-born Jerusalemites, closing Palestinian neighborhoods with concrete blocks, arming Israeli Jewish vigilantes and cheap shots at the last person who believes in a two-state solution, Abu Mazen. Everything, that is, except an end to occupation and a just political solution. This is what happens when a powerful country forgoes any effort to address the grievances of a people under its control and descends into raw oppression.

Israel is not in “the grip of a terrorist onslaught,” as Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu stated in this press conference tonight; it is in the grip of senseless violence spawned by despair and repression. The Palestinians, having lost all hope of the Occupation ending and a tiny state of their own, imprisoned in tiny islands of their country, victimized, impoverished, lacking the minimum in individual and collective rights, displaced, even their only place of refuge, their homes, demolished (some 48,000 Palestinian homes have been demolished in the Occupied Territory since 1967), have been reduced to lashing out. Threats to al Aqsa mosque – and there are palpable threats coming from the Israeli right, which wants to partition the holy site as it did to the Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron – only add to the danger that what has been until now a political conflict that can be resolved may turn into an uncontrollable religious war.

Israel, having given up all pretense of seeking a just solution, has answered Palestinian despair with pure, atavistic repression. Once again Prime Minister Netanyahu’s analysis is dead wrong: the “core of the violence,” as he puts it, is not the Palestinians’ refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state (they recognized the state of Israel on 78% of historic Palestine 26 years ago), but Israel’s refusal to address – even acknowledge – Palestinian national rights and claims. His “Zionist answers” of increased repression are empty of any political policy that could ease the conflict; not only do they not deter, as an IDF commission concluded in 2005, but they inflame the situation and lead to an endless downward spiral of violence. The Israeli political scene has deteriorated to raw revenge – and revenge for both crimes and acts of resistance that could have been avoided by a genuine Israeli aspiration for a just solution.

In the meantime, the people suffer and hatred prevails, stoked by the only party strong enough to end it all, the Occupying Power, Israel.

Jeff Halper (born 1946) is an American-born anthropologist, author, lecturer, and political activist who has lived in Israel since 1973. He is co-founder and Director of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD).

Halper has written several books on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and is a frequent writer and speaker about Israeli politics, focusing mainly on nonviolent strategies to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Kia Ora Gaza hosted his speaking tour of New Zealand last year.

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