On November 29th, the ruling party of the Palestinian Authority (PA), Fatah, held its seventh congress. The congress had been presented by some as an opportunity to shake up the entrenched and out of touch leadership of the party and renew the Palestinian national struggle.
Fires raged across Israel and the occupied West Bank last month, causing serious damage to property and destroying thousands of acres of natural forests. Immediately, Israeli government officials and members of the Israeli media began blaming Palestinians for setting the fires, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu describing them as an “arson intifada” and the police positing that they were lit on “nationalistic grounds.” Education Minister Naftali Bennett took the fires as an opportunity to deny Palestinian claims to their homeland, stating that “only those to whom this land does not belong could burn it.” Continue reading “Israeli Leaders Blame Palestinians for Fires Without a Shred of Evidence”
While President-elect Donald Trump has made lots of news this week as he begins his transition to the White House, one appointment has stood above the rest. Trump has appointed Steve Bannon, his campaign CEO and executive chairman of the white nationalist and anti-Semitic website Breitbart News, to the position of “chief strategist.” Steve Bannon is an idol of the white nationalist right and holds deeply anti-Semitic views. In addition to dealing in common anti-Semitic tropes on Breitbart News, Bannon reportedly refused to enroll his daughter in a school because of “the number of Jews that attend.” Upon news of his appointment, the head of the Anti-Defamation League immediately and strongly opposed his appointment on the grounds of his virulently racist views. Even the staunchly pro-Israel and right wing AIPAC was “apoplectic” about his appointment. However, the news website Bannon runs was conceived in Israel, is avowedly pro-Israel (featuring a particularly right-wing Zionist narrative) and even has a Jerusalem bureau. Continue reading “A Pro-Israel Anti-Semite? Not as Strange as you Might Think”
Image: “The enemy’s gas is occupation” [via Jordan BDS]
Recently, Jordan’s government-owned National Electric Power Company (NEPCO) signed a 15 year, $10 billion deal to import Israeli-extracted liquid natural gas. In the eyes of the appointed government of the Hashemite Kingdom, the deal is a boon. Jordan is a notoriously resource poor country, having to import 96% of its energy needs from other countries. In previous decades, Saddam Hussain’s Iraq and Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt provided subsidized fuel to fill the country’s energy needs. However, according to the Jordanian government, the loss of these providers and the damage to gas pipelines due to recent unrest in the Sinai have caused NEPCO to rack up billions of dollars in debt. At the same time, energy prices have steadily risen for Jordanians. The government claims that this deal will lower energy costs and save NEPCO $600 million a year.
Around one fifth of the population of the Jewish state of Israel is not actually Jewish. Most of these around two million people are the descendants of the Palestinians who remained after the 1947-1949 ethnic cleansing that resulted in the founding of Israel. Because they are not Jewish, these Palestinian citizens of Israel are treated as second-class citizens and subject to dozens of discriminatory laws. However, even within this minority, the laws and policies of the state distinguish and discriminate based on religious and ethnic identity. Most recently, attempts have been made to drive a wedge between Christian and Muslim Palestinians within Israel and the occupied West Bank. Continue reading “Playing Identity Politics: Israel’s Targeting of Palestinian Christians”
This week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a video in which he stated that those opposed to Israeli settlements in the West Bank are in fact advocating “ethnic cleansing” of Jews. In the video, Netanyahu attempts to contrast this nefarious goal with the supposed liberal pluralism of Israel by referencing Israel’s two million strong Palestinian population. The two-minute video earned an “unusually forceful” rebuke from the U.S. State Department with a spokesperson calling Netanyahu’s terminology “inappropriate and unhelpful.”