As occupier, Israel must face up to Goldstone report

As occupier, Israel must face up to Goldstone report

Goldstone was born in June 1967. I am not referring to the judge from South Africa, but to his report, or more precisely, the notion that Israel needs a synonym for the soul-searching it must carry out after 42 years of occupation. In the 575 pages of the report that is loaded with details, names, numbers, a list of weapons, interrogation methods and articles of international law, three paragraphs hide among the conclusions on pages 521 and 522, numbered 1674 to 1676. Here lies the explanation for the tragic results of Operation Cast Lead.

In those paragraphs Goldstone uses the term “continuum” to establish that the operation cannot be understood on its own without assessing it as part of a chain of events, which also includes the complete closure of the Gaza Strip for three years, the policy of razing homes, the arrests, the interrogations and torture, not only in the Gaza Strip but also in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. In short, Operation Cast Lead is not an “incident.” It is a link in a chain as old as the occupation itself.

The equation Israel is demanding – between those wounded in the Gaza operation and those wounded in Sderot, between the Qassams and the F-16s, between the mortars and the tank that killed three of Dr. Ezzeldeen Abu al-Aish’s daughters, between Hamas and Israel – betrays a poor understanding of the report’s essence. Goldstone puts the symptom under the microscope and derives the illness. The result is a textbook whose title should have been “A manual for the occupier in the fifth decade.” [continued…]

Whatever Bibi wants, Bibi gets

Barack Obama is a rookie. At least, this is what the Israeli prime minister seems to think. So far, Benjamin Netanyahu has been able to maximize his gains at the expense of the U.S. president and the Palestinians while solidifying his own position in the process.

Consider last month’s trilateral meeting on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly. After months of tough and very public statements by top U.S. officials, Netanyahu was able to get the leader of the free world to concede on a settlement freeze and gave nothing in return. For Israeli hawks and their allies in the United States, this was a victory. But it did not come without costs, even leaving aside the effect on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s domestic popularity. Heads of state around the world paid attention, and surely some of them thought of Obama: This man is a pushover. [continued…]

Jordan to Israel: Temple Mount violence derails peace efforts

Jordan warned Israel Police and religious Jewish radicals on Sunday that further provocation in the compound that houses the al- Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem would “fuel violence in the region and jeopardize peace efforts”.

Clashes between Israeli police and youths armed with rocks broke out Sunday at the Noble Sanctuary/Temple Mount compound where the mosque is located. The confrontation was apparently sparked by calls by radical Jewish clerics to their followers to go up to the compound, and by calls by radical Muslim clerics for their followers to defend the site. [continued…]

Israel confirms settlers ramping up West Bank construction

The defense establishment confirmed that in recent weeks West Bank settlers have been making a noticeable effort to expedite construction, in an attempt to maximize the “facts on the ground” before the United States and Israel reach an agreement on a settlement freeze.

A senior security source said this week that the defense establishment’s view on the situation was reflected in reports published in Haaretz last Friday, which stated that extensive construction is currently being carried out in at least 11 settlements. [continued…]

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