Israel as Innovator in the Attempted Mainstreaming of Extreme Violence

by Lisa Hajjar
published in MER279

The present era of counter-terrorism wars has severely damaged what, in hindsight, looked like a solid international consensus about which forms and levels of violence are “legal” in war and what “humanitarian” limits are imposed on such violence. The counter-terrorism paradigm of “with us or against us” in which the latter—and all that is proximate to it—is regarded as targetable upends the important distinction in international humanitarian law (IHL) between civilians and combatants and inflates the norm of proportionality to justify indiscriminate violence.

A Lonely Songkran in the Arabah

by Matan Kaminer
published in MER279

There was something awe-inspiring about the dark red rainclouds that covered the sky of the Arabah on April 13. Precipitation is rare in this section of the Great Rift Valley, which lies below sea level and hundreds of miles from the Mediterranean. When it does come, the rain rushes down the wadis of the Israeli Negev and from the high mountains of Jordan opposite, flooding the dry bed of the Wadi ‘Araba, prying loose the landmines buried decades ago when the two states were in a state of war. Rarer still is rain in April, the month in which fresh days and cold nights begin to give way to the stifling 24-hour heat of summer, and the month in which the bell peppers that have brought prosperity to the Israeli side of the Arabah begin to wilt and rot.

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From the Editor

published in MER279

At a State Department ceremony on September 14 the United States and Israel signed a Memorandum of Understanding promising $38 billion in military aid to Israel over the ten years from 2019 to 2028. As the White House was quick to point out, it is the largest single military aid package ever pledged by the US to any country, demonstrating President Barack Obama’s “unshakable commitment to Israeli security.”

Letter to Bernie, II

by Joel Beinin | published February 15, 2016 - 11:13am

Dear Sen. Sanders,

I’m a contributor to your campaign and enthusiastically support your bold, relentless critique of the billionaire class that is undermining democracy and making a decent life impossible for millions of people. I’d like you to speak more about how big money has been a destructive force in shaping our foreign policy as much, if not more, than our domestic policies. Perhaps no issue exemplifies this problem like Israel-Palestine.

Behind the Ban on the Islamic Movement in Israel

by Jonathan Cook | published January 11, 2016

The decision to outlaw the northern wing of the Islamic Movement in Israel was announced by Benjamin Netanyahu’s government on November 17, 2015, days after attacks claimed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, left 130 dead in Paris. Although the ban had been long in the making, the timing was patently opportunistic, with Netanyahu even comparing Israel’s Islamic Movement to ISIS. It is still unclear how the Israeli intelligence services and police will enforce the ban, given that the group has thousands of paid-up members among Israel’s large Palestinian minority, and ties to welfare associations and charities in Palestinian communities across Israel.

Water Blues

by Lizabeth Zack
published in MER276

Two quiet but revealing developments related to Middle East water were announced in the spring and summer of 2015. On February 26, Israeli and Jordanian officials signed an agreement to begin implementation of the long-awaited and controversial Red Sea-Dead Sea Water Conveyance Project. And, on June 9, a civil society-based coalition led by EcoPeace, a regional environmental NGO, released the first ever Regional Master Plan for Sustainable Development in the Jordan Valley. The two schemes represent very different approaches to solving water problems in the region—the first is an old-school engineering fix requiring massive new infrastructure, while the second is a river restoration project rooted in sustainable development principles.

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Operation Protective Edge

The War Crimes Case Against Israel’s Leaders

by Michael Thomas | published October 26, 2015

For 51 days in July and August 2014, Israel conducted a military operation in Gaza known as Protective Edge. It was the third major Gaza operation by the Israeli armed forces in seven years, and by far the most lethal and destructive. Some 2,205 Palestinians, including 722 militants and over 500 children, and 70 Israelis (64 of whom were soldiers) were killed. Thousands of Palestinians were wounded; over 18,000 of their homes were destroyed; some 470,000 were displaced; and large areas of Gaza were essentially razed.

Where Is Israel in the Refugee Crisis?

by Callie Maidhof , Michael Fin | published September 28, 2015 - 2:54pm

Last week, SodaStream CEO Daniel Birnbaum and Mayor Talal Al-Krenawi of the Negev Bedouin city Rahat issued a joint statement offering the absorption of 1,000 refugees from Syria, who would be supported by employment at the new SodaStream factory in nearby Idan haNegev.

From the Editors

by The Editors
published in MER107

Events since early June, and specifically the Reagan administration’s complete support for and identification with Israel’s invasion of Lebanon, accentuates the long-standing need to mobilize popular opposition to US policy in the Middle East. The possibilities for such efforts now exist to a greater degree than ever before. Polls show a majority of Americans oppose the invasion. Public attitudes at this moment are far ahead of the politicians and the media.

Israeli-Palestinian Dialogue

Report from the West Bank

by Salim Tamari
published in MER111

One of the lesser known aspects of Palestinian politics over the last eight years has been the steadily growing contacts between a number of Palestinian and Israeli progressive groups and individuals in the occupied territories. Though unreported, those contacts have not always been clandestine. They have involved a much wider circle than more publicized meetings between the small leftist parties on both sides of the “green line,” such as Matzpen and the Communist Party.

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