Middle East Monitor – Informed Comment https://www.juancole.com Thoughts on the Middle East, History and Religion Wed, 05 Aug 2020 05:33:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.15 Israel: Will Netanyahu’s Authoritarian Crackdown on Mass Demonstrations bring him Down? https://www.juancole.com/2020/08/netanyahus-authoritarian-demonstrations.html https://www.juancole.com/2020/08/netanyahus-authoritarian-demonstrations.html#respond Wed, 05 Aug 2020 04:02:44 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=192390 By Motasem A Dalloul | –

( Middle East Monitor ) – Massive demonstrations across Israel are calling for the unseating of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over corruption cases and his alleged mishandling of the coronavirus crisis. Worryingly for Netanyahu, the protests are growing, and look set to get even bigger, fuelled by hate speech and violence from his supporters and police.

According to Israeli media, thousands of demonstrators have gathered in Tel Aviv and other cities. The police have been removing them forcibly, while those who manage to stay behind face being pepper sprayed by pro-Netanyahu gangs and, some reports claim, beaten up by them.

At the same time, his political opponents are involved in a fierce battle with Netanyahu over his handling of the protests. Some, even from the right-wing, are threatening to bring down the coalition government.

The alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz, from the left of centre Blue and White, Netanyahu’s coalition partner, commented on the violent crackdown on the demonstrators: “As a government, we are obliged to be attentive to the people. As the regime, we bear the responsibility of facilitating holding the demonstrations and to protect the demonstrators who, regrettably, were attacked yesterday once again at several locations. The right to protest is the life’s breath of democracy, and violence erodes the foundation of democracy.”

This sends a clear message to Netanyahu, calling on him and the police to abandon violence against the demonstrators. “Nobody restricts the demonstrations,” insisted the Prime Minister, while also accusing them of being “coronavirus incubators”.

Haaretz reported that the right-wing Yamina alliance is threatening to embarrass Netanyahu’s Likud party by planning to present a bill that would allow the Knesset to override High Court rulings. The alliance apparently seeks to “lure” right-wing MKs to break the coalition’s discipline or “embarrass them by forcing them to vote against it.” Other bills from right and left aim to “rattle” the coalition.

Meanwhile, Israel is facing a crisis related to its credit agencies’ rating due to the ongoing conflict within the coalition over the approval of a very short-term budget for the rest of 2020 or a two-year budget for 2020 and 2021. While Netanyahu and his camp are insisting on a short-term budget, the others, led by Blue and White, are fighting for the two-year proposal.

Added to this is the financial cost of the coronavirus pandemic, which is hurting large economies and strong states, so what must it be doing to Israel? Last week, the global rating agency Fitch downgraded the sovereign debt outlook of the United States to negative. Haaretz did not rule out that the reasons which led to this downgrading would also apply to Israel, which is blundering through the pandemic under Netanyahu’s leadership.

“If the government has not approved the 2021 budget by the end of this year,” the chief economist at Bank Leumi, Gil Bufman, told Haaretz, “Israel may be added to the rating agencies’ watch list, increasing the risk that their Israeli outlook will be lowered to negative… The political situation is not sending good signals vis-à-vis management of fiscal policy and and it’s fair to assume that this will manifest itself in the credit agencies’ report.”

In Yedioth Ahronoth, journalist Nahum Barnea pointed out that: “Israel needs a talented leader, not a magician, a servant or a lord; it needs a person who is not chased by his criminal cases. Is Netanyahu, despite all of his virtues, able to meet all of these conditions? For me, it is likely that even his supporters would not be able to give a positive answer to this question.” The message that the protesters are sending is clear, he added: “Democratic countries cannot depend on one person.”

Speaking to right-wing Israeli journalist Baruch Yedid, who is close to Netanyahu, I was told that the demonstrations and increasing tension within the coalition could bring about the end of the government. Citing internal polls for Likud, Yedid said that Netanyahu’s popularity has decreased from 42 or 44 per cent to just 32.

He also expects the coalition government to end very soon, which means yet another General Election could be on the way. “The world is taking one way and Israel is taking another way,” he concluded. That is Israel’s democracy.

Motasem Ahmed Dalloul is a journalist based in Gaza and a specialist on Middle East affairs. He holds an MA in international journalism from the University of Westminster in London.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor or Informed Comment.

Via Middle East Monitor

This work by Middle East Monitor is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


Bonus Video added by Informed Comment:

i24: “Netanyahu Supporter: “Bibi We Love You! Death to the Leftists!””

https://www.juancole.com/2020/08/netanyahus-authoritarian-demonstrations.html/feed 0
Can the Israel Lobbies succeed in unseating Ilhan Omar? https://www.juancole.com/2020/07/lobbies-succeed-unseating.html Fri, 31 Jul 2020 04:02:55 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=192298 By Nasim Ahmed | –

( Middle East Monitor ) – Pro-Israel lobby groups in the US have come out in force to unseat Ilhan Omar in the August Democratic primary elections. The freshman lawmaker is locked in a bitter race with Antone Melton-Meaux, who is said to be a “moderate” candidate backed by lobbyists.

An investigation by Mondoweiss into Federal Election Commission records and Facebook’s advertising library has found that pro-Israel PACs (political action committees) have injected around $2 million into the race to support their favoured candidate Melton-Meaux, through multiple channels. Some of the most vociferous anti-Palestinian groups, whose political home is normally the Republican Party, have joined forces to oust the progressive Black Muslim woman before the November general election. Minnesota’s 5th congressional district is traditionally held by a Democrat.

The Pro-Israel America PAC, amongst the largest super PAC donors, has given more than $350,000 to Melton-Meaux’s campaign. According to the online election monitoring site Open Secrets, this PAC claims that it “works to strengthen support for the US-Israel relationship” and has spent a total of $1.8 million funding pro-Israel candidates.

Donors to Melton-Meaux, who has been critical of the Black Lives Matter Movement, also include groups run by David Satterfield, a Trump-supporting Middle East diplomat who was once accused of handing classified national security secrets to AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Trump loyalists are said to have spent around $700,000 on mailshots attacking Omar. Top donors in the PAC include multiple noted AIPAC activists, Mondoweiss has revealed.

AIPAC is also said to be active on Facebook where it recently circulated $663,000 worth of adverts critical of Omar and progressives generally. Other groups, like the American Jewish Congress, for example, are said to have run similar ad campaigns.

Melton-Meaux has also received financial support from another group not usually connected with the Democrats. At least twice over the past few months, a bipartisan group that includes a number of Trump supporters came together over Zoom to talk about why Melton-Meaux is their preferred candidate, reported Minnpost, a local Minneapolis newspaper.

NORPAC, a hawkish political action committee that has worked to promote a hard-line anti-Palestinian agenda in Congress, has held fundraisers for pro-Israel candidates. The group supported President Donald Trump’s withdrawal of America from the Iran nuclear deal and his move of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It’s reported that NORPAC has bundled $150,000 for Melton-Meaux’s campaign.

Despite its reputation as a right-wing group, more allied to Trump than progressives on the left, NORPAC has been brazen about its support for Melton-Meaux. “Together, we have the privilege of accomplishing a dual objective. Supporting a deserving candidate, Antone Melton-Meaux, who has communicated a genuine desire to strengthen the US-Israel relationship and bring honour to his country and party while at the same time replacing [Representative] Ilhan Omar, a highly divisive member of Congress who has proven to be unfairly and repeatedly critical of Israel.”

Asked why he was receiving money from the pro-Israel group, Melton-Meaux responded: “NORPAC is a bipartisan organisation, they support Democrats and Republicans. And the reality is [that] on issues of Middle East peace it will take bipartisan efforts. I really believe that the Israelis and the Palestinians want the same thing.”

Omar’s supporters have questioned the funds received by her opponent while highlighting the organic campaign led by the 37 year old. “Our campaign is supported by a grassroots coalition of people of all faiths, background and ethnicities,” Omar spokesman Isaiah Breen explained. “Right-wing donors are going on the record explicitly declaring their hate for Ilhan and desire to unseat her, using overtly xenophobic language. But we will continue to build an inclusive movement fighting for an America where everyone has their basic rights protected.”

Despite strong-backing from pro-Israel groups, Melton-Meaux, is said to be facing an uphill battle. “I’m not saying he can’t win, because we have seen candidates who have been able to do that, but I would say he doesn’t have a dynamic, visible campaign of shaking things up,” Professor of Political Science at the University of Minnesota, Larry Jacobs, told US Jewish community news site Forward. “His candidacy is practically invisible. Ilhan Omar already has the name recognition, she already has a bloc of voters, she has a campaign structure and is able to mobilise her supporters. He has none of those things.”

A recent poll put Omar 37 points ahead of her rival despite lagging behind the challenger’s huge fundraising efforts. Polling firm Change Research found that Omar had a solid foundation of support, with the “vast majority” of her supporters telling pollsters that they were certain about voting for her in the August primary. Indeed, 70 per cent of primary voters rated her favourably, with 42 per cent saying that they had a very favourable view of the incumbent congresswoman, compared to 20 per cent of voters who rated her unfavourably.

If these polls are to be believed, pro-Israel lobby groups are likely to suffer a second humiliating defeat in three months. Last month, Democratic Congressman Eliot Engel lost his seat to progressive Jamaal Bowman after serving 30 years on behalf of New York’s 16th congressional district. Despite pro-Israel groups spending an estimated $3 million to keep 73 year old Engels in his seat, the staunch supporter of the Zionist state lost to the 44-year-old former educator.

Nasim Ahmed is a writer, author, commentator on the Middle East and political Islam. He lives in London.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor or Informed Comment.

Middle East Monitor

This work by Middle East Monitor is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


Bonus Video added by Informed Comment:

WCCO CBS Minnesota: “1-On-1 With Rep. Ilhan Omar”

Can Palestinian-Israelis, 20% of the Population, Preserve their Arab Identity? https://www.juancole.com/2020/07/palestinian-israelis-population.html Thu, 30 Jul 2020 04:02:39 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=192281 ( Middle East Monitor “> Middle East Monitor) – Palestinians in Israel face a number of social challenges to preserve their identity. The first of these is probably the fact that they have Israeli citizenship. Ordinary people and activists alike are torn between the national and religious aspects of their multiple Palestinian-Arab-Muslim-Christian identities and the political reality and citizenship that has been imposed on them.

This uncertain relationship is not new, but over the past five years we have been heading towards a new crossroads. In my opinion, the politicians on the Arab Joint List bear the responsibility for pushing Palestinians in Israel towards this.

Post-Nakba, and during the fifties and the sixties, Palestinians in Israel lived in fear but managed to preserve their Arab identity, albeit without any open, public declaration of it. During the seventies, they began to emphasise their Palestinian identity in public; that is the period when the commemoration of Land Day began. From the mid-eighties to the late nineties, including the Oslo and post-Oslo periods, Palestinians viewed Israeli citizenship as the main component of their identity through which they engaged in the struggle for their rights and demands for better public services. The Second Intifada was probably an indication that this did not work, and that most Israelis still regarded them as Palestinians and treated them as such.

During the past five years, a new shift has been seen with the rise of the Arab Joint List, the outlawing of the Northern Islamic Movement, and the decline of Palestinian resistance, as well as the stability (if not the dramatic improvement) in relations between Israel and its Arab neighbours. For all of these reasons and more, Palestinians in Israel began to focus on improving their daily lives and their economy while their identity and struggle as part of the whole Palestinian nation has become less important. The Joint List, as a parliamentary coalition that seeks to get as many votes as possible, adopts this rhetoric that centres on the demands of daily life and improving the economy along with the overall well-being of Palestinian citizens of the Israeli state; political and ideological issues related to the conflict are neglected.

READ: Mosque in West Bank set ablaze by Israeli settlers

The increase in the crime rate is one of the most pressing challenges faced by Palestinians in Israel; for them, social problems are part of the battle for survival. Since the beginning of this year, 47 Arab Palestinian citizens of Israel have been killed in violent crimes. The number of crime-related deaths was 72, 76 and 93 during 2017, 2018 and 2019 respectively.

In the first ten months of 2019, the number of crime-related deaths among Arab Israelis was double the number among their Jewish fellow citizens, although Palestinian Arabs constitute around 20 per cent of the population. A central factor in this crisis is the state’s lack of any serious response to the increasing violence. An investigation by Haaretz published on 10 October last year found that there were indictments in only 30 per cent of murder cases in Arab society since the beginning of the year — 22 out of 72 — compared with 58 per cent in Jewish society, with 21 out of 36 cases.

Other social issues including increasing divorce rates, poverty and social divisions are, for Palestinians in Israel, not just the result of some universal changes that affect other nations, but also have more to do with the Israeli state’s neglect of the needs and concerns of the Arab community.

Palestinian children play outside their home in the poverty-stricken quarter of Al-Zaytoon in Gaza City [Ezz Zanoun/Apaimages]

In this regard, I think that the Palestinians — leaders and lay people alike — should think outside the box and develop their own solutions through independent associations and raising awareness among the people. This would allow them to be heedful of the issues related to the occupation and their political standing.

Like Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and the diaspora, those who are citizens of Israel focus on domestic issues; they do not consider the Palestinian “problem” to be the main priority and don’t cooperate with each other on that level. While I can understand the hard reality that each Palestinian community faces and is forced to cope with on a daily basis, I believe that all Palestinians, including those in Israel, must work together in order to determine aspirations and achieve Palestinian demands.

The Palestinian Authority’s attitude has resulted in it shirking the people’s demands, and the definition of who is Palestinian and who has the right to decide what’s best for the Palestinian people. Palestinian citizens of Israel should regain their influence as a core part of the Palestinian nation and work together with the other Palestinians in this context, taking into consideration their legal status and their political reality.

Given the discriminatory treatment of Israel towards its Palestinian citizens that is based on the perception of them as a threat, the latter need to learn to address their issues and cater for their own needs. To this end, they should first build their own independent institutions using democratic processes, including the High Follow Up Committee and other civil society organisations, and develop plans for improving their economy by developing their own companies and financial institutions.

This kind of self-reliance can help the Palestinians become a strong community that can handle its own problems towards which the state is apathetic. It will also help to keep the decision-making process as independent as possible.

By building democratic institutions they can also open up a discourse about their aspirations and, once unified, they can be a stronger entity when dealing with the Israeli government and society; not as subjects, but as a distinct community with its own needs and aspirations.

Last but not least, it is important to mention the challenge of saving and maintaining their land, presence and history in Jaffa, Nazareth, the Naqab and other places across the country. In this I would include the preservation of Al-Aqsa Mosque and the ruins and remnants of the villages destroyed by the state of Israel since the 1948 Nakba. This is a very important challenge, especially in light of the plans to have a land swap and consequent transfer of a portion of the Palestinians in Israel in exchange for Jewish settlers and their colonies in the occupied West Bank.

Palestinians in Israel should not stop their struggle for equal rights, freedoms and the ability to live in dignity. They have to challenge their unbelievable reality both in Israel and across the region.

The exclusionary rhetoric is dominant, and the rhetoric of power and injustice predominates. As such, the Palestinians, including those in Israel, must develop a comprehensive transnational discourse in their endeavours to achieve their goals; their own rhetoric must seek to achieve justice and freedom.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor or Informed Comment.

Ibrahim Khatib is a Fellow at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard University. He completed his PhD in May 2018 at Berlin Graduate school of Social Sciences in Humboldt University of Berlin. His PhD research is about the relationship between democratic values, identity, threat, conflict perception, and willingness to reconcile in the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict. In 2018-19 he did his postdoctoral research with Middle East studies at the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies (OSGA), University of Oxford.

Via Middle East Monitor

CategoriesArticleIsraelMiddle EastOpinionPalestine 7 Comments This work by Middle East Monitor is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


TRT World from earlier this year: “Arab Israelis reject US President Trump’s ‘peace plan’”

]]> What Biden’s presidency means for the US-Iran Cold War https://www.juancole.com/2020/07/bidens-presidency-means.html Sat, 25 Jul 2020 04:01:49 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=192201 By Brett Sudetic and Giorgio Cafiero | –

( Middle East Monitor ) – The upcoming US presidential election’s outcome is bound to significantly impact Iran’s future. President Donald Trump securing another term could leave Tehran continuing to face Washington’s “maximum pressure” campaign—a policy of harsh and sweeping sanctions crippling the country’s already faltering economy, and a continued brinkmanship that always risks escalating into a military confrontation—for another four years. Alternatively, if former Vice President (VP) Joseph Biden wins, Tehran-Washington relations could become less hostile, with both the US and Iran taking advantage of offramps to avoid a continued escalation that could spiral out of control.

With a likely embrace of more pragmatic policies toward Tehran, a Biden presidency could ease US-Iran tensions by moving bilateral relations in a more stable direction with a reduction, albeit not a total elimination, in Washington’s pressure on the Islamic Republic. Although impossible to predict how Biden would conduct foreign policy if elected, his record as Barack Obama’s VP and as a US Senator since the 1970s can help inform observers of what style of leadership Biden might bring to the international stage.

Like Obama, Biden has favoured a “liberal internationalist” agenda on the world stage. Although no dove, he has on many occasions favoured diplomacy and strong US support for international engagement and multilateral institutions—a contrast to Trump’s foreign policy defined by bold unilateral moves such as withdrawing the US from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the World Health Organisation, and the Paris Climate Agreement. In his Iran policy, Biden may be more sensitive to the interests of NATO members such as France, Germany, and Turkey, which supported the JCPOA and regretted the US’ decision to withdraw from the agreement in May 2018. Some analysts maintain that a Biden win in November could even put a US return to the JCPOA on the table.

A Biden presidency’s Iran policy would likely be more predictable and coherent than the current administration. Shortly after the Trump administration’s brazen killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in January, Biden presented a statement where he lambasted Trump’s reckless policies vis-à-vis Iran as well as the greater Middle East, blaming them for an “utterly predictable cycle of escalating conflict with Iran”. He went on to bash the Trump administration’s lack of planning and an inability to respond effectively to, for example, Iran’s downing of a US military RQ-4A Global Hawk drone. While condemning Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism, human rights abuses, and imprisonment of US citizens, Biden also called for a “smarter way to counter Iran”, likely consisting of a reduction in unilateral sanctions and an attempt at diplomatic engagement.

A President Biden may also be less susceptible to Saudi and Emirati lobbying for greater pressure on Iran, something Tehran would gladly welcome. Trump has gone to great lengths to give Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman the benefit of the doubt in many instances (Jamal Khashoggi murder, war in Yemen, the Lebanese prime minister’s “kidnapping”, etc.) while also lending his ear to Saudi narratives about regional issues such as Yemen’s Houthi rebellion, the Muslim Brotherhood and the perceived Iranian threat. A Biden presidency, however, could create additional space between Washington and Riyadh on matters that directly impact the Iranians, as the former VP’s rhetoric suggests. At a Democratic debate held in November 2019, the former VP declared that he “would make it very clear [the Americans] were not going to in fact sell [Saudi Arabia] more weapons” while also vowing to make the Saudis “the pariah that they are”.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman in Washington, US on 20 March 2018 [Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images]

Biden, however, could also present potential challenges to Iran. For one, he is a close friend and strong supporter of Israel. While difficult to imagine any US president actively supporting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s policies to the same extent as Trump, a Biden administration would likely not place significant US pressure on Israel related to issues like Israeli covert actions against Iran (“proxy” wars, cyber warfare, etc.). He may also be more willing to use US military force to keep Syria’s northwestern province of Idlib in the hands of anti-Assad fighters, representing a direct challenge to Tehran, Moscow and Hezbollah’s plans for helping Syria’s government achieve a total military victory in the war-ravaged country’s “final battle”.

Next door in Lebanon, anti-government protests have swept the country, with some criticising Iran’s support for Hezbollah and interference in Lebanese affairs. Biden has long been critical of Hezbollah, even threatening to cut aid to the country in the event of the party winning in Lebanese general elections. In Iraq, Biden would likely continue US support for Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi’s recent efforts of confronting and disarming Iranian-backed Shia militias such as Kataib Hezbollah. This, in addition to recent protests in the country partially targeted against Iranian interference in Iraq, could undermine Iran’s interests in its western neighbour.

Ultimately, it would be an oversimplification to assume a Biden victory would mean a return to Obama-era policies. Nearly four years of Trump’s presidency have unquestionably changed the Iranian regime’s approaches to regional and global challenges in ways that favour the thinking of the Islamic Republic’s so-called “hardliners” whose power in Iran has increased largely due to the reality of Trump’s presidency. If Biden becomes president in January, the Iran which he’ll be dealing with will not be the Iran that existed during his eight years as America’s VP.

Brett Sudetic is an advisor with Gulf State Analytics, a Washington DC-based geopolitical risk consultancy. As a management consultant, he has advised government organisations and state-owned enterprises throughout the Middle East.

Giorgio Cafiero is the CEO of Gulf State Analytics, a Washington DC-based geopolitical risk consultancy.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor or Informed Comment.

Via Middle East Monitor

This work by Middle East Monitor is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


Bonus Video added by Informed Comment:

The International Institute for Strategic Studies: “Will the Iran nuclear deal survive?”

The return of Apartheid, Israeli style https://www.juancole.com/2020/07/return-apartheid-israeli.html Tue, 21 Jul 2020 04:03:33 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=192147 By Adnan Abu Amer | –

( Middle East Monitor) – The possibly temporary postponement of Israel’s annexation of swathes of the occupied West Bank and Jordan Valley arose out of disagreements from within the Zionist state itself as well as other voices warning of the consequences of such a move. The fear is that Israel will be portrayed even more strongly as an apartheid state, recreating the disgraceful, disgraced and dismantled South African apartheid system. Indeed, that annexation will be seen as the return of apartheid, Israeli style.

Such accusations have been in the public domain since the 1970s, especially in Europe and North America. Israel, it has been said and demonstrated for decades, already imposes apartheid across the occupied Palestinian territories, as well as on its Palestinian Arab citizens who, although forming 20 per cent of the population, have local authorities and municipalities covering barely 2.5 per cent of the country’s land. Congestion in housing within Arab communities across Israel is 11 times greater than in Jewish areas and state finance for education provision, for example, is a fraction of that paid for the education of Jews.

As a result, Israel has been persistent in its efforts to persuade the world that it does not apply such a policy against its Arab citizens such as preventing equal employment opportunities for Arabs and Jews; complete segregation on public transport and in schools, universities, housing, the beaches; Arab autonomy; and the deprivation of political rights to Palestinians. The reality is that even if it does not reproduce all aspects of South African apartheid, it uses the principles of “separate development” — apartheid — to control the lives of the Palestinians. What’s more, it will continue to use the tools of apartheid to deny them their rights, within Israel and in the occupied territories.

READ: The deal of the century is unpalatable for both Israel and Palestine

The annexation of any land, Palestinian land included, is a violation of international law. In occupied Palestine, such a move not only deprives the people of their land but also their freedom of movement and their status as residents. Moreover, annexation will create more obstacles for the moribund peace process.

It is now 53 years since Israel annexed East Jerusalem. Jews who have been moved into the occupied part of the city are classed as Israeli citizens and are allowed to vote in Israeli elections. The indigenous Palestinian residents of the city are neither Israeli nor allowed to vote. What is that if not apartheid in action? It is a sign of things to come if the latest annexation plan is allowed to proceed.

That is why voices within Israel are warning that if the illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank are annexed then sanctions could be imposed on the state by the international community. Moreover, the so-called Israel Defence Forces and the government itself may not be ready to cope with the consequences and effects on security and economy, as well as the legal ramifications. The cost of new infrastructure to deal with this is estimated at a minimum of $11.5 billion.

Annexation is based on the transfer of the ownership of Palestinian land and property to Jewish Israeli citizens. Any Palestinian who moves after the day specified for the annexation will not get their rights in law. Moreover, Palestinian residents of the land which is annexed will get neither Israeli citizenship nor residence rights. Instead, they will be declared to be “illegal residents” in their own land and transferred to what remains of territory controlled — nominally, at least — by the Palestinian Authority. This mirrors what apartheid South Africa did with the creation of the “Bantustans”.

READ: PA says 23 EU countries stand with Palestine against annexation

Is this in Israel’s best interests in the long run? Has Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu really thought this through? Although he is determined to make sure that an independent State of Palestine never comes into being, the fact of the matter is that the PA territories will forever be a thorn in Israel’s side. Furthermore, Palestinians in the global diaspora, as well as in the Gaza Strip and refugee camps in Jordan, Syria and Lebanon, all want to exercise their legitimate right of return. Israel’s own Palestinian citizens may also want to “reunite” with a new state from their homes in the Negev, Galilee, Wadi Ara and the Triangle, so is a land swap deal on the cards which would create part of the state of Palestinian deep within the state of Israel?

These are major questions for Israel’s future. Does it want a two-state solution tomorrow, or a one, binational, state to be created the day after? The state and the territory that it occupies, colonises and controls today between Jordan and the Mediterranean is an apartheid state. This state of Israel cannot continue to control the lives of millions of Palestinians and not grant everyone equal rights and the right to self-determination, despite the fact that most of the world supports the Palestinian cause.

The bottom line is that Israel must know that being an apartheid state is not something that can be allowed to last forever. Sooner or later, millions of Palestinians will have to be granted their right to self-determination; apartheid can never be a solution acceptable to anyone, and so apartheid, Israeli style, is likely to implode. Those who still support annexation need to consider this very carefully. Ethnic cleansing is a crime under international law, and apartheid is a crime against humanity; neither are viable options for any state claiming to be a democracy. Israel is at a crucial juncture and needs to decide wisely.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

Via Middle East Monitor

This work by Middle East Monitor is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


Bonus Video added by Informed Comment:

Democracy Now! “Noura Erakat: Oppose Israeli apartheid & annexation of Palestine”

Qatar’s Victory over Saudi, UAE Blockade Shows UN Court can be Weapon of the Weak https://www.juancole.com/2020/07/qatars-victory-blockade.html Sat, 18 Jul 2020 04:01:41 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=192092 By Daud Abdullah | –

A press release issued by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on 14 July described its judgement against Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and UAE as “final, without appeal and binding on the Parties.” Since June 2017, the four countries have imposed a land, air and sea blockade against the State of Qatar. When Qatar started proceedings at the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in October 2017 the Blockading Four challenged the move claiming that the ICAO lacked the jurisdiction to “resolve the claims raised.”

Having now lost their appeal, the blockading countries must climb down from their high horses and return to the ICAO, which according to the ICJ does have the jurisdiction to entertain the application submitted to it by Qatar. Accepting this outcome would be like having to take bitter medicine. Undoubtedly, this dreadful public humiliation was always avoidable.

Two unmistakable issues lie at the heart of the current crisis; the first is the disregard for Qatar’s sovereign rights and the second has been the refusal of the four countries to negotiate in good faith.

From the onset, the motives of the Blockading Four seemed extremely dubious, even to the US, Saudi Arabia’s close ally. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said: “Now that it has been more than two weeks since the embargo started, we are mystified that the Gulf states have not released to the public nor to the Qataris the details about the claims that they are making toward Qatar.” She added: “The more that time goes by the more doubt is raised about the actions taken by Saudi Arabia and the UAE.”

By early July 2017 the four submitted a list of 13 demands through the Kuwaiti government, who offered to mediate. Altogether, they were widely seen as a violation of Qatar’s sovereignty. Foremost among these were for Qatar to: Shut down Al Jazeera channels; end military cooperation with Turkey; curtail diplomatic ties with Iran; align Qatar’s military, political, social and economic policies to other Gulf and Arab countries and sever ties to all “terrorist, sectarian and ideological organisations,” specifically the Muslim Brotherhood.

At the time, Qatar’s Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani informed a press conference in Rome that this list of demands was made to be rejected. It’s not meant to be accepted or … to be negotiated. Indeed, two days after announcing their blockade the Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash told Associated Press, “there is nothing to negotiate” with Qatar. Given this level of unreasonable intransigence, it is well within Qatar’s right to seek arbitration. Hence, it was in this context Doha decided to take its case to the ICAO.

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani in Brussels, Belgium on 19 February 2020 [Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency]

This week’s judgement by the ICJ, the principal judicial organ of the UN, has cleared the way for international arbitration. As signatories to the UN Charter, the Blockading Countries – Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and UAE – must respect the ruling and honour their treaty obligations. Surely, after consistently rebuffing all appeals to negotiate they now run the risk of having to bear the consequences of arbitration.

Despite its best efforts to alleviate the damaging impact of the blockade, the State of Qatar has suffered huge financial and commercial losses; not to mention of course the devastating individual human costs, as well as emotional and psychological suffering caused by the forced separation of families and disruption of social life.

The mere fact that the ICJ’s judges unanimously voted against the appeal of the Blockading Four is in itself a testimony of the strength of Qatar’s case and validity of the measures it adopted both regionally and internationally. Should they be successful in litigation the dividends will be massive. Had the Blockading Four chosen the path of negotiation they would not now be facing the prospect of having to pay out enormous sums in damages and reparations.

By any standards, the ICJ’s ruling represents a legal setback for the Blockading Countries as well as a damning political indictment. Although the judgement will not bring about an immediate end to the terrestrial, maritime and aerial restrictions imposed on Qatar, it does constitute a major step toward that end. While the ICAO will rule on Qatar’s right to freedom of civil aviation, Doha will have to challenge the other restrictions in the relevant international agencies.

Was this manufactured crisis really worth the trouble? Was it ever about “extremism” and “terrorism” as the Blockading Four have claimed? Given the way events have unfolded in the Gulf since June 2017 the only demand that the four did not have the moral courage to make back then was for Qatar to normalise its relations with Israel in the manner that they have done.

If there was one lesson that can be drawn from this tragedy it is that genuine negotiations are always less costly than arbitration.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor or Informed Comment.

Dr Daud A. Abdullah is is a former Deputy Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain and the Director the Middle East Monitor

This work by Middle East Monitor is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


Bonus Video added by Informed Comment:

Al Jazeera English: “UN’s top court backs Qatar in air blockade row with neighbours”

Never Again? 25 Years Ago, Christian Serbs Committed Genocide against 8,000 Bosnian Muslims on European Soil https://www.juancole.com/2020/07/christian-committed-genocide.html Thu, 09 Jul 2020 04:01:41 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=191960 By Elif Zaim | –

( Middle East Monitor ) – This year marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Srebrenica genocide in which more than 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were brutally slaughtered by Bosnian Serb forces led by Ratko Mladic. The slaughter took place in a supposed UN Safe Area.

A quarter of a century later, reconciliation still seems to be a remote possibility. Nationalist Bosnian Serbs show no signs of reckoning with what happened and no commitment to a multi-ethnic country. They continue to deny the genocide, and threaten to break away and create their own independent state.

Such divisive rhetoric and actions both undermine the delicate balance of the post-war order, and constitute a gruesome recipe for a renewal of conflict.

It is impossible to dispute that genocide took place in Srebrenica; damning evidence was uncovered in the international investigations. Forty-seven people have been convicted in various domestic and international courts to a combined total of 704 years in prison, as well as four life sentences, including Radovan Karadzic, “the butcher of Bosnia”, for war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity.

READ: Armenian provocation continues to threaten regional peace

Nevertheless, a new report from the Srebrenica Memorial Centre says that, “Rather than abating with time, denial of genocide has only grown more insidious in recent years.”

The report confirms that the main strategies used by the genocide deniers are casting doubt on the international judicial proceedings by claiming the existence of a fictitious anti-Serb bias, and creating manipulative narratives to glorify war criminals and aggrandise Serbian nationalist ideology.

The speeches of Bosnian Serb President Milorad Dodik provide numerous examples. Not only has Dodik claimed that the Muslims who were murdered are “still alive” but he also argues that Srebrenica is an “arranged tragedy” conspired by some Western states to “put collective guilt on the Serbian people”. He dismisses the genocide by saying that it is “a fabricated myth”.

In a bid to support these false allegations, the government of Republika Srpska, one of the two entities which make up Bosnia Herzegovina, set up a commission in 2019 to probe war crimes committed in Srebrenica. However, far from being impartial and thus credible, it seems that the commission aims solely to whitewash the atrocities, exonerate Serbian criminals and manufacture a counter narrative to distort the truth.

Mother of a Srebrenica victim Fazila Efendic visits graves of her husband and son who lost their lives in the genocide, which started on July 11, 1995 when soldiers under the command of Serbian commander Ratko Mladic took over the city of Srebrenica, at Potocari Memorial Cemetery in Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina on February 15, 2020.
[Samır Jordamovıc – Anadolu Agency]

Unfortunately, the lack of recognition that what happened at Srebrenica was genocide is not limited to the domestic sphere. In line with Serbia’s state policy that has been in place for years, Prime Minister Ana Brnabic states that Srebrenica was “a terrible crime” but it does not constitute genocide. Nonetheless, in a combined effort to push their own narrative and to be perceived as a responsible party, Serbian statesmen continue to attend the annual commemoration events to pay their disingenuous tributes.

As if this persistent local and regional denial is not enough, last year Austrian author Peter Handke was awarded the prestigious Nobel Prize in literature, despite his open rejection of the Srebrenica genocide and his support for Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic who was put on trial for war crimes and genocide before he died in 2006 in The Hague. This shameful decision by the Swedish Academy neglected Handke’s political stance and sparked outrage in the Balkans and beyond.

How can the survivors and relatives of the victims come to terms with Srebrenica when they are surrounded by individuals and state actors who are trying to rewrite history by denying that the horrific genocide actually happened?

Another apparently insurmountable obstacle to reconciliation is the lack of commitment among Bosnian Serbs to the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of a multi-ethnic Bosnia. In hindsight, we can see that the recognition of Republika Srpska by the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement as one of the two political entities forming Bosnia has created an enduring fallacy of “peace” through rewarding aggressors for their campaign of death.

Republika Srpska was proclaimed by Karadzic in 1992 as part of the process of creating an ethnically pure “Greater Serbia”. The territory was carved out violently by Bosnian Serb forces through the ethnic cleansing of non-Serbs.

Today, the Serb statelet that Karadzic and his acolytes fought for is a reality in Bosnia. The significant autonomy of Republika Srpska in many areas, including education, policing and the management of internal affairs, place it just a step away from becoming an actual state.

READ: Greek politician likens Haftar to Serbian war criminal

Acknowledging this vicious prize secured thanks to Dayton, the leaders of Republika Srpska have over almost a decade occasionally been using the secession card, and threatening to declare independence from the rest of the country. For example, in recent political bickering, following the constitutional court’s judgement to allocate unclaimed agricultural land to the central state of Bosnia rather than Republika Srpska, Bosnian Serb President Dodik once again repeated his calls for a secession referendum, saying “Goodbye Bosnia, welcome RS-exit”.

On a daily basis, the extension of this toxic mentality can be seen in the hate crimes directed against Bosnian Muslim returnees. Even though the Dayton Agreement guarantees the right to return of every displaced person and refugee to their pre-war homes (as does, in fact, international law, regardless of where the refugees come from), some of these people have been subject to physical or verbal attacks inflamed by ethnic hatred in Republika Srpska where now they constitute a minority.

Amid calls for secession and the ongoing hate crimes, we have to doubt if nationalist Serbs really learnt anything from what happened in Srebrenica. It is also doubtful if they will commit to making sure that no such massacre will ever happen again.

As long as this continues to be the case, with no formal apology or reparations in sight, Bosnian Muslims have every right to be wary of any sort of reconciliation. Twenty-five years down the line, reconciliation still seems impossible.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor or Informed Comment.

Middle East Monitor

This work by Middle East Monitor is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


Bonus Video added by Informed Comment:

Remembering Srebrenica: Srebrenica Revisited: 25 years on

Is More Conflict What the Mideast Needs? Israel’s Dangerous Plan to Annex 1/3 of Palestinian West Bank https://www.juancole.com/2020/07/conflict-dangerous-palestinian.html Sun, 05 Jul 2020 04:03:23 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=191892 By Hazem Ayyad | –

( Middle East Monitor.) – As expected, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu postponed Israel’s annexation plan… on the pretext of finishing his consultations with an American delegation. His decision was not made known for certain to his Foreign Minister, retired General Gabi Ashkenazi, who told Israel’s Army Radio: “It seems unlikely to me that this will happen today [1 July]. I reckon there will be nothing today, regarding [the extension of Israeli] sovereignty.”

Although Ashkenazi is a minister in a government led by Netanyahu, he spoke about the date of the planned annexation as a member of the Blue and White Party, a coalition partner led by another former general, Defence Minister Benny Gantz. While Ashkenazi did not provide a clear explanation for the postponement of the annexation, Gantz did not hesitate, starting with the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. He pointed out that 1 July was neither sacred nor set in stone as the official annexation date, because the unity government is divided with several heads.

The postponement was no great surprise or the product of a particular variable. It was imposed by the mounting pressure and concern within Israel and Washington, which pressed for the formation of the unity government. The US is also afraid of an outbreak of protests in the occupied Palestinian territories and, indeed, across the region, as a result of the Israeli annexation plan. The Trump administration’s concerns have grown with the spread of the coronavirus and the growing tension with Iran in light of the Caesar Act’s consequences for Syria. More important has been the international and especially European opposition to the Israeli move; UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres drew attention repeatedly to the illegality of the annexation and its threat to regional stability and, as the 1 July implementation date approached, a clearer international position became evident.

“An annexation decision could not be left without consequences,” Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told the French Parliament. “We are examining different options at a national level and also in coordination with our main European partners.”

“I will not miss the opportunity to annex the West Bank”- Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed Israel’s leaders lovingly, as usual, but said: “I profoundly hope that annexation does not go ahead. If it does, the UK will not recognise any changes to the 1967 lines, except those agreed between both parties.” Labour opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer expressed a firmer position, warning against the Israeli move and talking about possible sanctions.

These warnings set out new parameters; they are not what Netanyahu expected to hear, so he could isolate his country from Europe and simply use Israel’s military superiority to impose its will on the Palestinians, using the annexation and Israeli sovereignty to give himself a fig leaf of legitimacy to act as he sees fit. The step is reminiscent of major revolutions such as happened in Algeria when France failed to implement its promises made after the Second World War. Those promises were similar to the guarantees and promises made to the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) following the signing of the Oslo Accords which have not been implemented.

The political and security tracks of Netanyahu’s annexation plan collided with many facts and realities in occupied Palestine, the region and the world, despite his efforts to bypass them by promoting normalisation with the Gulf states and suggesting partial or gradual annexation, culminating with his “discussions with the Americans” as an excuse to postpone the implementation date. None of his efforts have prevented escalations in the occupied Palestinian territories in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and they have not stopped the new path from taking shape.

International reactions continued to snowball yesterday, as the postponement did not encourage any fundamental changes in them. Israel was met with a Palestinian counterstrategy based on escalation, confrontation and maximisation of the international and regional pressure. This could open the door to a new scenario that surpasses the miserable propositions of Netanyahu and some Zionist research centres which envisage getting annexation and normalisation implemented and out of the way before the US presidential election in November without major consequences in the region.

The Israeli annexation plan has charted a new path for the conflict and opened the door to new scenarios, security and political possibilities. The first could be the collapse of Israel’s unity government. If the annexation project can be thwarted, we could see more political, military and legal achievements in the face of the Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. These could have repercussions beyond the US election and affect alliances and ongoing conflicts in the region.

This article first appeared in Arabic in Al-Araby Al-Jadeed on 2 July 2020

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor or Informed Comment.

Via Middle East Monitor.

This work by Middle East Monitor is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


Bonus Video added by Informed Comment:

Ruptly: “State of Palestine: Hundreds protest against Israel’s annexation plans near Nablus”

On this Day in 1920, Receipt was Given to Colonial Britain for ‘One Palestine, Complete’; Jews were 11% https://www.juancole.com/2020/07/colonial-palestine-complete.html Wed, 01 Jul 2020 04:03:19 +0000 https://www.juancole.com/?p=191836 By Jehan Alfarra | –

On this day in 1920, the first High Commissioner for Palestine Herbert Samuel, was handed the administration of the country by the British government and signed a receipt saying “one Palestine, complete”

On this day in 1920, the first High Commissioner for Palestine, 1st Viscount Samuel, Herbert Samuel, was handed the administration of the country by the British government and signed a receipt acknowledging that he had received “one Palestine, complete”. It was still another three years before the Mandate for Palestine granted to Britain by the League of Nations came into effect.

What: Receipt of “one Palestine, complete”

Where: Palestine

When: 30 June 1920

Who was Herbert Samuel?

The Liberal politician was the first nominally-practising Jew to serve as a cabinet minister and lead a major political party in Britain. Though not a member of the World Zionist Organisation himself, while Liberal Home Secretary in 1914 Samuel obtained the organisation’s latest publications. Not long after, he found himself campaigning for a Jewish national home in Palestine and “co-operating closely”’, as he wrote in his memoirs, with Zionist leaders to further their cause.

With the outbreak of World War One, Samuel’s involvement with Zionism grew exponentially. In 1915, he proposed the idea of establishing a British protectorate over Palestine after the war and argued for a homeland in the region for the Jews, who had waited for “over eighteen hundred years” to return [sic] to Palestine, a land to which their connection, he said, was “almost as ancient as history itself”. Palestine at the time formed part of the Ottoman Empire, with a majority Muslim indigenous population, having been under Muslim rule for centuries.

“Let a Jewish centre be established in Palestine,” Samuel urged in a cabinet memorandum that he drafted. “Let it achieve, as it may well achieve, some measure of spiritual and intellectual greatness, and insensibly the character of the individual Jew, wherever he might be, would be raised. The sordid associations which have attached to the Jewish name would be, to some degree at least, sloughed off, and the value of the Jews as an element in the civilisation of the European peoples would be enhanced.”

Samuel’s ideas increased the British government’s pro-Zionist orientation and paved the way for the 1917 Balfour Declaration, in which the British Foreign Secretary declared the government’s support for the establishment of “a national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine.

What happened?

The Ottomans entered World War One in November 1914 on the side of the Central Powers, and the Ottoman Empire was dissolved in 1921 after their defeat. A mandate for the administration of the territories of Palestine was assigned to Britain by the League of Nations and came into effect on 29 September 1923.

In a series of letters exchanged during the war — known as the McMahon-Hussein Correspondence — the British government agreed to recognise and honour Arab independence after the war if the Arabs rose up against the Ottoman Empire. After the war, however, Britain and France divided up and occupied former Ottoman territory as agreed under the 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement and accepted the mandate system to govern Palestine. This was seen as a betrayal by the Arabs.

What happened next?

Embroidered panel displaying a receipt by the first High Commissioner to the Palestine Mandate acknowledging he had received ‘one Palestine, complete’. [Courtesy of the Palestinian History Tapestry].

Viscount Samuel was appointed as the first High Commissioner for Palestine by British Prime Minister David Lloyd George. On 30 June 1920, he signed a receipt (complete with “E&OE” – Errors and Omissions Excepted) addressed to him by the head of the British military administration in Palestine, Major General Sir Louis Bols, acknowledging that he had received “one Palestine, complete”. The receipt marked the handover of the land of Palestine from military to civilian administration.

In the eyes of Palestine’s indigenous population who were seeking their own independence and right of self-determination, Britain had handed over the territory to settler-colonial Zionists backed by Samuel, who governed the land until 1925. The people of Palestine had not been consulted about any of this.

According to Samuel in a speech that he delivered in Jerusalem in June 1921, the words of the Balfour Declaration, “Mean that the Jews, a people who are scattered throughout the world, but whose hearts are always turned to Palestine, should be enabled to found here their home; and that some among them, within the limits which are fixed by the numbers and interests of the present population, should come to Palestine in order to help by their resources and efforts to develop the country to the advantage of all its inhabitants.”

Two months later, in a report reviewing his first year as High Commissioner, Samuel said that Zionists “sometimes forget or ignore the present inhabitants of Palestine… many of whom hold, and hold strongly, very different views.”

Britain’s policy of facilitating Jewish immigration to Palestine with the stated goal of establishing a Jewish national home, and the disregard for the indigenous population and their national aspirations, resulted in the Great Revolt of 1936, a nationalist uprising by the Palestinians against the British administration, and Jewish insurgency in Mandatory Palestine.

Britain decided to end its mandate in Palestine on 15 May 1948. David Ben-Gurion, the Executive Head of the World Zionist Organisation at the time and later the first Prime Minister of Israel, read the “Declaration of Independence” establishing the State of Israel one day before the mandate ended.

Zionist militias and terrorist gangs had already been committing atrocities against the people of Palestine and, indeed, the British authorities, leading to around 750,000 Palestinians being forced out of the nascent state. More than 400 Palestinian villages and towns were depopulated and destroyed; this figure now exceeds 530. This “ethnic cleansing” came to be known as the Palestinian Nakba, the Catastrophe. Despite its membership of the United Nations being conditional upon Israel allowing Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and claiming their property, the first government in Tel Aviv passed a series of laws banning them from doing so. In the three years from May 1948 to the end of 1951, some 700,000 Jews settled in the new state.

Israel continues to ignore the legitimate right of return as established by UN Resolution 194 in 1948 and reaffirmed every year since. It was also mentioned specifically as an “inalienable right” by UN Resolution 3236 in 1974.

Less than two decades after the Nakba, in 1967, Israel occupied the West Bank and the Gaza Strip during the Six Day War and started constructing illegal settlements across the occupied Palestinian territories. Contrary to the Zionist narrative, Israel actually started hostilities by bombing and destroying the Egyptian Air Force on the ground.

Today, Israel continues to exercise military control over Palestinians in the occupied territories, and there are now an estimated 6.5 million refugees and their descendants.

100 years later

Marking 100 years since the handover of Palestine, the receipt signed by Herbert Samuel for “one Palestine, complete” has been included in a panel on the Palestinian History Tapestry, which tells the story of the indigenous people of Palestine through skilled, traditional Palestinian embroidery.

“The real lesson of the story of ‘one Palestine, complete’,” says Palestinian author and patron of the Tapestry project Dr Ghada Karmi, “is the light it throws on Zionism’s influence over the development of British policy, as early as 1920.”

Such influence continues to this day, arguably more than ever.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor or Informed Comment.

Jehan Alfarra is a Palestinian writer and multimedia journalist covering Middle Eastern affairs and specialising in Palestinian political news and social issues. She is also a contributing author to the book “Gaza Writes Back”.

Via Middle East Monitor.

This work by Middle East Monitor is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.