Near & Middle East
Two Presidents, One Problem

Two Presidents, One Problem

Americans preoccupied by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict live in the twilight zone. In recent weeks, this feeling has held unusual power. Take, for example, the embarrassing incident where US President Barack Obama exchanged unkind words about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with French President Nicolas Sarkozy. More»

Looking For Work

Looking For Work

Julia wanted to be a lawyer. But her family was poor. There was no money for university. So, in 2000, a few years after she’d finished high school in her native Russia, she applied to a company that promised overseas work. “They told me that after a year, I would be able to come back. They said I would have enough money to study and to buy a small apartment,” Julia says, speaking through a translator. More»

Black, Proud and Palestinian

Black, Proud and Palestinian

This story was taken for Arthur Neslen’s book In Your Eyes a Sandstorm: Ways of Being Palestinian a collection of interviews about Palestinian identity. Sadly, for space reasons, it could not be published there. But Souciant is happy to give it a home. In Your Eyes a Sandstorm will be released next week. More»

American Liebermans

American Liebermans

It was a typical California evening, in the Fall of 2005. I was driving to a friend’s home in north Berkeley. Sporting a Hebrew-language bumper-sticker that read “Sharon has no solution. End the occupation, negotiations now,” aside from being honked at by the occasional Israeli (the Bay Area is home to a growing expat community,) very few people, including Jews, understood what it meant. This night would be an exception. More»

Leaving America Behind

Leaving America Behind

In 1947, the fledgling United Nations endorsed the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine. Since then Israel’s relationship with the UN has become more and more contentious.  Last week, the confrontation between Israel and the Palestinians over Mahmoud Abbas’ bid for United Nations membership added a new chapter to that relationship. But what it means remains to be seen. More»

Effects of Occupation

Effects of Occupation

When it was clear that the Mubarak government was on its last legs, and the Egyptian revolt was succeeding, I estimated that Sadat’s peace treaty with Israel would last only two or three years.  I was wrong. It will probably be abrogated even more quickly.  The consequences will prove a disaster for Israel, Palestine, the Middle East and the world. More»

Crazy For Palestine

Crazy For Palestine

Next week, the Palestinians will get the United Nations General Assembly to endorse their right to an independent state, and possibly to grant them non-member observer status in their global body. This proposal has become a virtual obsession in both Jerusalem and Washington. As the date approaches, the hysteria is reaching a fever pitch. More»

Our Own Worst Enemies

Our Own Worst Enemies

Sometimes, it seems, that Israel’s security echelon is as bent on terrifying the country’s Jewish population as it is the Palestinians. Considering the paranoid prognostications of Major General Eyal Eisenberg, that the Arab Spring could give way to “a winter of radical Islam … and as a result the possibility for a multi-front war has increased, including the potential use of weapons of mass destruction,” one would be hard pressed to imagine otherwise. More»

Ready Aim Failure

Ready Aim Failure

On August 18th, coordinated terrorist attacks near the Israeli resort town of Eilat claimed the lives of six Israeli civilians and two soldiers. In a matter of hours, the Israeli government, claiming they had proof the attacks originated from Gaza, directed bombing attacks at the besieged Strip. At least a dozen people were killed, including a local leader of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu categorically stated was behind the Eilat attacks. More»

His Own Private Fantasy

His Own Private Fantasy

Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Danny Ayalon, is a diplomat whose chief skill is creating tensions, rather than defusing them. Now he’s taken a video originally produced in Hebrew for the YESHA Council (the leading lobbying group in Israel for the West Bank settlers) and imposed his own image speaking in English. The script is an almost direct translation. More»

Kosher and Treif

Kosher and Treif

Israel’s parliament recently passed a highly problematic law attaching civil penalties to individuals or groups that would promote or encourage boycotts against Israel, including against products made in settlements, Israeli civilian-populated areas established following Israel’s 1967 war, and subsequent military occupation of Arab territories. Many organizations and individuals in Israel oppose the Occupation, noting that the international community regards colonial settlements as violations of international law. More»

Preparing for Civil War

Preparing for Civil War

I was standing in line at the Mahane Yehuda post office in Jerusalem.  When my turn came I asked the clerk, a young woman, for stamps.  She put a sheet of stamps on the counter.  The Postal Authority had just printed a new series of stamps commemorating West Bank settlements.  I pushed the stamps back. “Give me others, please” I said. More»