On the same day that the world erupted in joyous, teary-eyed celebration following the selection of a new pope, a slightly less climactic breakthrough was reached thousands of kilometres away as four Israeli political parties, nearly two months after elections, quietly decided to form a coalition government. Right away, the deal seemed like it might fall apart over a last-minute dispute regarding deputy prime ministerial appointments, but two days later, all differences have been ironed out and the coalition agreement signed.
The chances were never exactly high that Israel would bend far enough to conclude a successful peace agreement (Read more…)
For many years, I have felt that, to paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of the death of the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were an exaggeration. Yes, Israel has been unyielding in its expansion of settlements in the West Bank in clear violation of international law, effectively dividing the already-slight territory into several isolated segments and making the creation of a viable Palestinian state nearly impossible. But Israel has withdrawn settlers from occupied territory before, in the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip. Unlikely as it may now appear, it could always happen again.
The above represents the
. . . → Read More: Song of the Watermelon: Two-State Twilight
I wrote less than two weeks ago that Israel was in an accelerating decline as a result of changed geopolitical realities in the Middle East, most recently and acutely the Arab Spring. That Arab Spring is now in the throes of a 2.0 reawakening and reconstitution of last year’s settlements, as events in Egypt in the last two weeks have made clear, not to mention the momentum of Syrian rebels,
How do you steal a Palestinian’s land? It usually begins by destroying his olive groves. Destroy his livelihood and then you can claim the land unoccupied and build a settlement.
It’s the olive harvest on the West Bank and, true to form, Israeli settlers with the help of the Israeli Army are on the attack.
The Palestinians are pleading for the international community to send observers to their lands, hoping this will force the Army to restrain the settlers’ land grab. Maybe Ottawa could do the right thing for a change. Nah, forget it.
*** Note: An unfinished draft version of this post mistakenly went out to e-mail and feed subscribers yesterday. Please do your best to scrub it from your memory and enjoy the updated post — as its author intended — below. Many thanks and apologies. ***
After months of controversy and negative media attention, the United Church of Canada, the country’s largest Protestant denomination, finally made it official. The church’s General Council voted today to call on its members to avoid buying products coming from Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. Presbyterian and Methodist churches in the United States have
. . . → Read More: Song of the Watermelon: Israeli Settlements and the United Church Boycott: Three Common Distortions
- proposed United Church boycott of products from Israeli settlements
Distortion #1: Why Israel? The world is full of tyranny and injustice. Of all the places and issues, why boycott the Middle East’s only democracy?
Three assumptions are packed into this distortion: that the United Church is boycotting Israel, that Israel’s critics routinely let others off the hook, and that Israel is a democracy. All three assumptions are false.
First, it is true that the United Church has never in its history chosen to boycott any other country except for apartheid South Africa, but it is not boycotting Israel
. . . → Read More: Song of the Watermelon: Israel, the Settlements, and the United Church: Three Common Distortions
The United Church of Canada’s governing body is meeting this week to decide if the Church will adopt a boycott of goods that come from illegal Jewish “settlements” in the Israeli-occupied territories.
If the proposed UC boycott flies it will be a bold stand for principle, in-step with a global community that considers the settlements illegal under international law. It could in fact be argued that the very act of purchasing the goods amounts to aiding and abetting a settler movement that actively threatens peace in the region, not to mention undermining the potential for a brokered resolution to the
. . . → Read More: Drive-by Planet: United Church should adopt boycott of Israeli settlement goods