This Light Is Always Red

SHEIKH SA’AD, East Jerusalem — A traffic light, yet no traffic at all. In fact, a traffic light… for pedestrians only. And even they move little. There are restrictions on walking out of this village (pop. 3,000). The 1,200 villagers who carry Palestinian identity papers have no way of crossing the barrier to leave the … Continue reading “This Light Is Always Red”

Israel Navigates Between Inquiries

JERUSALEM – Israel’s easing of its land blockade of Gaza is unlikely to lessen international pressure for a change in its policies towards the Palestinians. Nor can Israel be expected to give up its battle to undermine Hamas’ control of the Gaza Strip. On Thursday, a fortnight after the Israeli navy’s deadly raid on a … Continue reading “Israel Navigates Between Inquiries”

Killings Could Boomerang on Israel

JERUSALEM – What exactly happened on the high seas off the Gaza-Israel coast remains in murky waters.Already though, the implications of Israel’s assault on the peace flotilla of civilian vessels headed with humanitarian relief supplies for the besieged Palestinian territory are becoming starkly clear. Despite the unexpected loss of lives the killings might just remain … Continue reading “Killings Could Boomerang on Israel”

Israel, Palestine: Where Commemorations Are Split

JERUSALEM – In Israel and Palestine memory is a split matter, depending on which side of the map you come from. Especially this May, as Israeli and Palestinian leaders restart negotiating a border acceptable to their peoples. In the past 20 years, both peoples have largely accepted the principle of a two-state solution. Last year, … Continue reading “Israel, Palestine: Where Commemorations Are Split”

The Only Democracy in the Middle East?

JERUSALEM — Noam Chomsky, a fierce espouser of left-wing causes, is widely admired in countries which parade themselves as "democracies." Apparently, the admiration does not extend to Israel. The 81-year-old world famous linguist from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was denied access to the occupied West Bank when he tried to cross in from Jordan … Continue reading “The Only Democracy in the Middle East?”

In Jerusalem, Divided We Celebrate

JERUSALEM – "What kind of celebration is this," said Bat-El, 22, engulfed in a sea of blue- and-white Israeli flags in a huge procession marking Israel’s self-celebrated Jerusalem Day, the anniversary by the Hebrew calendar of Israel’s conquest of East Jerusalem 43 years ago during the 1967 Arab-Israel war. Members of the religious Zionist Bnei … Continue reading “In Jerusalem, Divided We Celebrate”

Jerusalem Divided Between Hats and Hearts

JERUSALEM – There’s a Jerusalem saying that the city wears too many hats – Jewish hats, Muslim hats, Christian hats – so it’s difficult to get at its brain. As Israelis and Palestinians wrestle for the right to wear the prime Jerusalem hat, U.S. President Barack Obama is being made aware that his special envoy … Continue reading “Jerusalem Divided Between Hats and Hearts”

Israel Trapped in Nuclear Isolation

JERUSALEM — As the world grapples with controlling the spread of nuclear weapons, it’s a time of complex choices in a Middle East edging between possible confrontation with Iran and possible movement towards Israeli-Palestinian peace. It’s also a time of troubled relations between the United States and Israel. And yet at this critical moment, against … Continue reading “Israel Trapped in Nuclear Isolation”

Religion Sways Policy, Now in Israel

JERUSALEM – There was a time when Israel was held in contempt by its neighbors for its over-liberal ways. They felt it did not "belong" in the Middle East. There’s been a twist in this negative perception of the possibility of the Jewish state fitting into the region. They were accustomed to an Israel that … Continue reading “Religion Sways Policy, Now in Israel”

Palestinian Homes on ‘David’s Garden’ Spared for Now

SILWAN, East Jerusalem – Outside the Bedouin-style protest tent in the heart of this Palestinian neighborhood, the anger is palpable, but controlled. Muhammad (surname undisclosed) turns to an Israeli TV reporter: "Would you agree to have your neighbor’s house moved on top of yours just because they knock his house down so as to build … Continue reading “Palestinian Homes on ‘David’s Garden’ Spared for Now”