Divide and Rule, Israeli-Style

The boycott by Israel and the international community of the Palestinian Authority finally blew up in their faces with Hamas’ recent bloody takeover of Gaza. Or so argues Gideon Levy, one of the saner voices still to be found in Israel. “Starving, drying up, and blocking aid do not sear the consciousness and do not … Continue reading “Divide and Rule, Israeli-Style”

Olmert Reveals the Real Goal of War in Lebanon

Israel’s supposedly "defensive" assault on Hezbollah last summer, in which more than 1,000 Lebanese civilians were killed in a massive aerial bombardment that ended with Israel littering the country’s south with cluster bombs, was cast in a definitively different light last week by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. His leaked testimony to the Winograd Committee … Continue reading “Olmert Reveals the Real Goal of War in Lebanon”

Apartheid Looks Like This

The scene: a military checkpoint deep in Palestinian territory in the West Bank. A tall, thin elderly man, walking stick in hand, makes a detour past the line of Palestinians, many of them young men, waiting obediently behind concrete barriers for permission from an Israeli soldier to leave one Palestinian area, the city of Nablus, … Continue reading “Apartheid Looks Like This”

Israel’s Purging of Palestinian Christians

There is an absurd scene in Palestinian writer Suad Amiry’s recent book Sharon and My Mother-in-Law that is revealing about Israeli Jews’ attitude to the two other monotheistic religions. In 1992, long before Israel turned Amiry’s home city of Ramallah into a permanent ghetto behind checkpoints and walls, it was still possible for West Bank … Continue reading “Israel’s Purging of Palestinian Christians”

End of the Strongmen

The era of the Middle East strongman, propped up by and enforcing Western policy, appears well and truly over. His power is being replaced with rule by civil war, apparently now the American administration’s favored model across the region. Fratricidal fighting is threatening to engulf, or already engulfing, the occupied Palestinian territories, Lebanon, and Iraq. … Continue reading “End of the Strongmen”

The Trap of Recognizing Israel

The problem facing the Palestinian leadership, as they strive to bring the millions living in the occupied territories some small relief from their collective suffering, reduces to a matter of a few words. Like a naughty child who has only to say “sorry” to be released from his room, the Hamas government need only say … Continue reading “The Trap of Recognizing Israel”

Syria: Convenient but Unlikely Fall Guy for Gemayel’s Death

Commentators and columnists are agreed. Pierre Gemayel’s assassination must have been the handiwork of Syria because his Christian Phalangists have been long-time allies of Israel and because, as industry minister, he was one of the leading figures in the Lebanese government’s anti-Syria faction. President Bush thinks so too. Case, apparently, settled. Unlike my colleagues, I … Continue reading “Syria: Convenient but Unlikely Fall Guy for Gemayel’s Death”

Hollow Visions of Palestine’s Future

David Grossman’s widely publicized speech at the annual memorial rally for Yitzhak Rabin earlier this month has prompted some fine deconstruction of his "words of peace" from critics. Grossman, one of Israel’s foremost writers and a figurehead for its main peace movement, Peace Now, personifies the caring, tortured face of Zionism that so many of … Continue reading “Hollow Visions of Palestine’s Future”

The Struggle for Palestine’s Soul

The message delivered to Condoleezza Rice this week by Israeli officials is that the humanitarian and economic disaster befalling Gaza has a single, reversible cause: the capture by Palestinian fighters of an Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, in late June from a perimeter artillery position that had been shelling Gaza. When Shalit is returned, negotiations can … Continue reading “The Struggle for Palestine’s Soul”