Near & Middle East

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…)

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…)

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…)

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…)

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…)

There are posters in the windows, bumper stickers on the cars, pictures of the kidnapped soldier and the caption reads: “Gilad adayin chai”, in English, “Gilad still lives.” They refer to Gilad Shalit, the soldier who was taken by Hamas five years ago now. (More…)

Last week, Jerry Haber, aka The Magnes Zionist, offered his critique of the “Liberal Zionist Vision of the Two State Solution.” I strongly recommend you read his article and consider his points, because they are the very ones that have forced most advocates of a two-state solution to avoid those pesky details where the devil always hides. (More…)

Israel’s killing of dozens of pro-Palestinian demonstrators at the fence surrounding Majdal Shams has again catapulted the 19,000 Druze and 2,000 Muslim Arabs of the Golan Heights to popular attention. Despite being as numerous as Israeli settlers, they lack equal rights and access to resources, as Arthur Neslen discovered in this feature, which was spiked by Jane’s Islamic Affairs Analyst. (More…)

The Gay Girl in Damascus blog has been outed.  Supposedly written by a Syrian-American lesbian named Amina Abdallah Araf al Omari, the online personality came crashing down after her ‘cousin’ posted a dramatic story of her kidnapping by Syrian agents.  The alarm raised international attention and created a Facebook page where over 15,000 people demanded her freedom. (More…)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stood before a special joint session of the United States Congress. A foreign leader, he looked at home as he thumbed his nose at US President Barack Obama. Just days before, Obama had reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to two states—one for the Palestinians, the other for Israelis—based on pre-Six Day War borders. Netanyahu defied Obama as he told Congress (and international audiences watching the live broadcast) that Israel would not withdraw to the 1967 lines. (More…)

Gene St. Onge is not the sort of person you would expect to have done time in an Israeli prison. A middle-aged engineer from Oakland, California, there is a reserved aura about him that seems entirely suited to St. Onge’s hometown and choice of profession. (More…)

This a work of speculative fiction. It is an attempt to describe a future where the current Israeli trend of embracing right-wing politics, and valuing nationalism over democracy, continues unchecked. The purpose behind this stark portrait is not to predict it as an inevitable future, but to illustrate how bad things could get if we are not successful in containing Benjamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman. (More…)