August 19, 2008
This selection of 18 articles from the week between August 11 and August 18th reflects some of the main issues being covered, not including the death of Mahmoud Darwish and Raja Shehadeh’s hiking through the hilltops of the West Bank. Another thing not covered (other than in the two concluding commentaries below, #s 17 and 18) is the so-called “shelf agreement” for Israel’s final borders proposed by Olmert to Abbas. While such an offer would normally dominate the news in any given week, the utter emptiness of the offer (no viable Palestinian territory, no equitable exchange for lands annexed) is not worth comment beyond the two pieces at the end of this selection laying out precisely why the “shelf agreement” is a non-starter.
Despite this, there is news of diplomatic activity from Rice’s apparent plan for another trip to the region, to Olmert’s “gesture to Abbas” of releasing 200 arbitrarily detained (i.e., abducted) Palestinian prisoners, to efforts to resolve controversy over one recent example of attempted Israeli colonization of further Palestinian land in the West Bank (through new outposts) by simply moving the outpost adjacent to another parcel of land illegally occupied by Israelis (turning the outpost debate to one about settlement expansion). And so the deck furniture is rearranged by yet another Israeli government clinging to the sinking ship of settlements while purportedly supporting a two-state solution.
Several articles below speak to the receding hopes for any two-state solution, precisely as a result of such strategies on the part of the Israeli government. An additional theme of the selection below is the continuing harassment, torture and murder to which Palestinians are daily subjected by Israel — ranging from the story about the exoneration of those who killed Palestinian journalist Fadel Shana, to stories about settler attacks on Palestinians, to the priceless piece on the apartheid system of 1948-Israel, where Palestinian citizens are not permitted in municipal swimming pools.
Finally, as Ramadan approaches it is fitting to include coverage of the ongoing shortages in Gaza, forcing a run on banks and restrictions on the desperate measures taken by Palestinians — e.g., trying to run cars on cooking oil — in order to avoid an even more extreme food shortage, i.e. the lack of cooking oil for Gazans to prepare their Ramadan iftar meals. As ever, a review of the week’s news from Palestine leaves one with little to do but hope that the next week proves somewhat less dire.
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July 18, 2008
Today’s news continues to be dominated by the Israel-Hezbollah prisoner exchange, of which coverage we have included only Robert Fisk’s commentary from the Independent. Other relevant news concerns the ongoing corruption hearings concerning Olmert and their impact on prospects for political breakthroughs under the current Israeli government. There is also news substantiating Palestinian journalist Mohammed Omer’s account of torture at the hands of Israeli border control as he sought to return to Palestine after receiving an award in Europe. Finally, the Palestinian delegation currently in the US claims that a new round of peace talks have been scheduled — there will no doubt be more on this subject tomorrow. Read the rest of this entry »
February 20, 2008
This selection (longer than usual, but covering more days) brings together the interesting and/or noteworthy (for better or worse) news and commentary of the last 3 or 4 days. I include a few articles that provide an overview of the current tension in Lebanon where the anniversary of the Hariri assassination coincided with the assasination –being attributed throughout the region to Israel — of senior Hezbollah official Imad Mughniyeh. The ongoing destabilization of Lebanon serves the interests of many of the same players that are only too happy to extend the status quo in Israel-Palestine at the expense of the Palestinians.
In terms of news, it is a case of plus ca change — Israel looks for international support for a massive operation in Gaza while simultaneously proceeding with a tender for expanding its illegal settlements in East Jerusalem with over 1000 new units. A Palestinian woman is deprived of medical care by the IDF and dies while 8 are killed in a blast in Gaza (part of the “relative quiet” enjoyed by Israel, no doubt). The UN notes that the situation in Gaza is grim, while Gazan produce rots under Israeli sanctions. The last piece in the selection is Olmert’s claim that borders are not an important stumbling block in the “peace process.” Not entirely plausible, but few such claims ever end up mattering in any case.
In terms of commentary the NY Times reporter covers with great sympathy Israel’s “quandary” in Gaza — Israeli suffering at the hands of the rudimentary “rockets” lobbed over from Gaza is the focus, with military strategy being the “solution” considered at greatest length by the interviews undertaken by Erlanger, published first in the Herald Tribune and then picked up for the domestic audience in the NYT. Read the rest of this entry »
February 19, 2008
Today’s selections focuses on a number of notable news items — the
projection by both Israeli Vice PM Haim Ramon and PS premier Salem Fayyad that no peace deal will be likely in 2008, Israel’s failure to meet its basic “road map” commitments, and the fact that Olmert’s political future remains in doubt.
Then there are a couple of more surprising pieces indicating that the Palestinian population in the territories has increased by 30% despite killings, injuries and mass emigration since 2000, and perhaps less surprising but still striking, Israeli predictions that they will eliminate Hamas as an effective entity in Gaza within months. Read the rest of this entry »