Israel has been poisoned by the psychosis of permanent war. It has been morally bankrupted by the sanctification of victimhood, which it uses to justify an occupation that rivals the brutality and racism of apartheid South Africa. Its democracy—which was always exclusively for Jews—has been hijacked by extremists who are pushing the country toward fascism. Many of Israel’s most enlightened and educated citizens—1 million of them—have left the country. Its most courageous human rights campaigners, intellectuals and journalists—Israeli and Palestinian—are subject to constant state surveillance, arbitrary arrests and government-run smear campaigns. Its educational system, starting in primary school, has become an indoctrination machine for the military. And the greed and corruption of its venal political and economic elite have created vast income disparities, a mirror of the decay within America’s democracy.
And yet, the hard truths about Israel remain largely unspoken. Liberal supporters of Israel decry its excesses. They wring their hands over the tragic necessity of airstrikes on Gaza or Lebanon or the demolition of Palestinian homes. They assure us that they respect human rights and want peace. But they react in inchoate fury when the reality of Israel is held up before them. This reality implodes the myth of the Jewish state. It exposes the cynicism of a state whose real goal is, and always has been, the transfer, forced immigration or utter subjugation and impoverishment of Palestinians inside Israel and the occupied territories. Reality shatters the fiction of a peace process. Reality lays bare the fact that Israel routinely has used deadly force against unarmed civilians, including children, to steal half the land on the West Bank and crowd forcibly displaced Palestinians into squalid, militarized ghettos while turning their land and homes over to Jewish settlers. Reality exposes the new racial laws adopted by Israel as those once advocated by the fanatic racist Meir Kahane. Reality unveils the Saharonim detention camp in the Negev Desert, the largest detention center in the world. Reality mocks the lie of open, democratic debate, including in the country’s parliament, the Knesset, where racist diatribes and physical threats, often enshrined into law, are used to silence and criminalize the few who attempt to promote a civil society. Liberal Jewish critics inside and outside Israel, however, desperately need the myth, not only to fetishize Israel but also to fetishize themselves. Strike at the myth and you unleash a savage vitriol, which in its fury exposes the self-adulation and latent racism that lie at the core of modern Zionism.
There is one picture of Palestinian children studying around a small table by the dim light of gas lamps in the Beach Camp in Gaza, and another of children peeking over a sandy dune, with rows of small, uniform shacks of a desolate refugee camp in the background. In a third, a family walks across the Allenby Bridge, the father carrying two bulging suitcases, a young son clutching a white ball, heading east over the Jordan River.
These are a few of the black and white images, many of them powerful and haunting, that will eventually constitute a digital archive compiled by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, the first part of which was unveiled Thursday at a gallery in the Old City here. Together, they capture the Palestinian refugee experience from the 1948 war onward, giving form to a seminal chapter in Palestinian history, identity and collective memory.
For decades, about half a million negatives, prints, slides and various forms of film footage have been hidden away in the archive of UNRWA, the organization that assists Palestinian refugees. Stored in buildings in Gaza and Amman, Jordan, the materials had begun to grow moldy.
So officials started a preservation mission, digitizing the archive, which also documents the work of the agency. The exhibit that opened Thursday, called “The Long Journey,” will soon go on tour to large cities in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and possibly Syria, and will also be shown at cultural and political centers in Europe and North America. The images will also be made accessible to the general public on a special website.
- Kerry warns Israel of ‘third intifada’
- Israeli Commander: 100,000 Palestinians ‘Have a Score to Settle’ With Israel
- Palestinian villages subject to Israeli mock raids not told they are exercises
- Netanyahu Vows ‘Thousands More Homes’ in Settlements
- UN begins distributing fuel to combat Gaza crisis
- West Bank Palestinians lose water and land
- First planned Palestinian city is rising in the West Bank
- 125-year-old Palestinian man tells memories from peaceful days
- “5 Broken Cameras” wins Palestine’s first Emmy
- Israel to stop issuing birth certificates to babies born to foreigners
- Israeli poll from 2010: 75 percent favour deporting fellow citizens; Netanyahu favours birth control
While Israeli detention of children so young is infrequent, it is not unprecendented.
Last year, in the village of Kufr Qaddoum Israeli occupation forces attempted to arrest Mo’men Shtayeh who was two-and-a-half years old.
More often, occupation forces target children who are just a little bit older. A harrowing video of Israeli occupation forces arresting several boys in Hebron earlier this year gave a glimpse into the everyday violence faced by Palestinian children living under Israeli military rule.
And Muslim Odeh, profiled by The Electronic Intifada last year, had been arrested 10 times and physically abused by Israeli occupation forces.
His age? Twelve.
Human rights organizations, including B’Tselem, report that Palestinian children are routinely tortured and habitually threatened with rape by their Israeli captors, among other horrifying abuses.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has given a thinly-veiled warning that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat could be targeted for assassination.
Mr Sharon told Israeli newspapers that both Mr Arafat and the leader of Lebanese militant group Hezbollah should not “feel immune”.
“Anyone who kills a Jew or harms an Israeli citizen, or sends people to kill Jews, is a marked man,” he said.
The security cabinet decided last year in principle to “remove” Mr Arafat.
The findings were far weaker than those of a Swiss laboratory announced with fanfare on Wednesday by Arafat’s widow and Qatar-based al-Jazeera television.
Palestinians remained unfazed by the results – which dampen but don’t definitely disprove the possibility of death by poisoning – and officials continue to blame Israel.
Samples were extracted from Arafat’s corpse last November by Swiss, French and Russian experts after an al-Jazeera documentary revealed unusually high amounts of the deadly Polonium isotope on his clothes.
The US has not paid its dues to UNESCO due to the decision by world governments to make Palestine a UNESCO member in 2011. Israel suspended its dues at the same time and also lost voting rights on Friday.
Under UNESCO rules, the US had until Friday morning to resume funding or explain itself, or it automatically loses its vote. A UNESCO official, who was not authorised to speak publicly about the issue, said nothing was received from either the US or Israel.
The first forensic tests on samples taken from Yasser Arafat‘s corpse have shown unexpectedly high levels of radioactive polonium-210, suggesting the Palestinian leader could have been poisoned with the rare and lethal substance.
The Swiss scientists who tested Arafat’s remains after the exhumation of his body in November 2012 discovered levels of polonium at least 18 times higher than usual in Arafat’s ribs, pelvis and in soil that absorbed his bodily fluids.
The Swiss forensic report was handed to representatives of Arafat’s widow, Suha Arafat, as well as representatives of the Palestinian Authority on Tuesday. A copy of the report was obtained exclusively by the al-Jazeera TV network, which shared it with the Guardian before publication.
The Swiss report said that even taking into account the eight years since Arafat’s death and the quality of specimens taken from bone fragments and tissue scraped from his body and shroud, the results “moderately support the proposition that the death was the consequence of poisoning with polonium-210″.
Suha Arafat said the evidence in the report suggested that her then healthy 75-year-old husband, who died in 2004 four weeks after he first fell ill following a meal, was almost certainly murdered by poisoning. She told al-Jazeera: “This is the crime of the century.”
The head of a Russian forensics agency said on Tuesday that samples from the body of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat had revealed no traces of radioactive polonium, a Russian news agency reported.
However, the government scientific body later denied that it had made any official statement about the research, saying only that it had handed its results to the Russian Foreign Ministry.
If confirmed, the findings would deal a blow to Palestinian suspicions that Arafat was assassinated by Israel – a theory fuelled by a Swiss lab report last year which found unusual amounts of the deadly isotope polonium on his clothes.
One of the world’s leading medical journals has supported the possibility that Yasser Arafat, the longtime Palestinian leader, was poisoned with the radioactive element polonium 210.
The British The Lancet journal has published a peer review of last year’s research by Swiss scientists on Arafat’s personal effects.
It endorsed their work, which found high levels of the highly radioactive element in blood, urine, and saliva stains on the Palestinian leader’s clothes and toothbrush.
The Egyptian army has established a precautionary plan for military intervention in the Gaza Strip if attacks on Egyptian troops in the Sinai Peninsula intensify, Egyptian security officials said Wednesday.
Officials told Ma’an that Egyptian reconnaissance planes had entered the Gaza Strip’s airspace and examined a number of locations in Rafah and Khan Younis to be targeted if military attacks against Egyptian troops intensify in Sinai.
Egyptian aircraft could also target vehicles which travel across the border area delivering smuggled goods, sources added. More smuggling tunnels could also be destroyed, and sources highlighted that “all options are open.”
According to Egyptian military sources, the ongoing attacks in Sinai are carried out by organizations based both in Sinai Peninsula and in the Gaza Strip.
RECENT SINAI/GAZA NEWS:
The so-called “renewed” Israel-Palestine peace process is turning out to be nothing more than an illusion, as many observers from across the political spectrum expected. But the United States is apparently intent on blowing more smoke to maintain that hallucination as long as possible. And the Palestinian Authority, typically, is falling into a trap.
US Secretary of State John Kerry’s idea to keep a tight lid on the proceedings was a good one if talks lead somewhere. If they don’t, the aggrieved side is likely to head to the media to air their grievances, feeling that the process is not getting them where they want and that public pressure is their only option. Doing so, however, will surely anger the United States and open the door for the party causing the leaks to end up with the lion’s share of the blame for the talks’ failure.
Amid reports of deep Palestinian dissatisfaction with the way the talks are going, the US seems to be offering the public the same long-view analysis that they did months ago. Not commenting on what is actually taking place between the Israelis and Palestinians in their discussions, a senior State Department official offered the view that the turmoil in Syria and Egypt is spurring the two sides toward compromise.
“Both sides have made clear to us and to each other that they do not want the turmoil to engulf them and that therefore it motivates them to try to resolve their conflict to prevent that from happening,” the official told reporters. This rationale was part of the explanation Kerry offered as he was bringing the sides together as to why this time would be different from previous rounds of talks. It fails, however, to address the matters that are bringing the talks crashing down, which are just like those problems from previous talks.
Palestinian negotiators have been telling reporters that Israel is insisting on a new interim agreement, where a provisional Palestinian state would be established on 60% of the West Bank and no settlements would be removed in the initial stage. That is a non-starter for Palestinians, and they were making that clear before the talks even resumed. For their part, the Israelis, and specifically Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have been making it equally clear that they will not use the 1967 borders as a reference and are not seeking anything more than establishing a new interim arrangement. So, the new impasse was entirely predictable. And this gives the US view the air of a performance, hiding the very real evidence that these talks were doomed from the first and the US should have, and may well have, known it.
- Interactive documentary explores the ‘broken hopes’ in the West Bank after the Oslo peace accords (Yahoo!)
- Former negotiator: 100,000 settlers need to be evacuated (Jerusalem Post)
- Israeli troops disciplined after partying with Palestinians (Ynet)
- Israeli court may suspend law used to take over Palestinian land in Jerusalem (Haaretz)
- Minister Sa’ar: Israel won’t return to 1967 lines (Ynet)
- Danon: Likud Will Kick Out Any Lawmaker Who Backs Interim Deal with Palestinians (PNN)
- Kerry urges EU to postpone funding ban in Israeli-occupied territories (Reuters)
- World’s literary stars sign Israeli petition against destruction of Palestinian villages (Haaretz)
- Gaza shortages worsen as Egyptian government destroys tunnels (LA Times)
- Why some Palestinians want to learn like Israelis (CS Monitor)
- Critics charge that Israeli labor bill for female settlers is a cover for creeping annexation (AP)
Palestinian officials say that they have cancelled a planned meeting, part of the nascent peace talks with Israel, after Israeli troops attacked a Palestinian refugee camp in the occupied West Bank.
According to Israeli officials, troops entered the camp to capture a “suspect,” but wound up killing three people and wounding 16 others. One of the slain, Younis Jahjouh, had previously been released by Israel in a prisoner exchange.
Israel presented the killings as self defense, claiming they retaliated against “rioters.” The use of live ammunition against bystanders, however, has witnesses saying that the troops clearly came with an intent to cause casualties.
OTHER RECENT ISRAEL/PALESTINE NEWS:
- Israel Wants More US Aid, Citing US Sales to Arab Nations (Antiwar)
- While Officials Talk, Israelis Build (IPS)
- US on Israeli Settlements: A Policy Without A Policy (Jim Lobe)
- Israeli deputy minister: Demand for settlement freeze is anti-Semitic (Haaretz)
- Israel to turn mosque into synagogue (South Web)
- Palestinians warn they’ll turn to UN over settlement construction (Haaretz)
- Israel Announces More Settlement Expansion (Antiwar)
- PLO charges Israel with ‘war crimes, anti-human, racist acts’ (Jerusalem Post)
- Alice Walker disinvited from University of Michigan over ‘Israel comments’ (Electronic Intifada)
- Roger Waters asks musicians to boycott Israel (LA Times)
- European nations: Don’t do business in settlements (Ynet)
- EU enterprise chief seeks stronger ties with Israel’s war industry (Electronic Intifada)
- Israel apologizes to Japan over offensive Hiroshima comments on Facebook (Haaretz)
- Netanyahu snubs French minister – until Jewish leader steps in (Haaretz)
- IDF deploys sixth Iron Dome battery (Times of Israel)
- Venezuela to sell oil at ‘fair price’ to Palestinians (AFP)
- Archaeologists race to save Gaza’s ancient ruins (AP)
- Gaza Valley Faces Environmental Disaster (Al Monitor)
- Pressure Rises on Hamas as Patrons’ Support Fades (NY Times)
- Hamas official: Palestinian Tamarod group was trained by Egyptian intelligence (Jerusalem Post)
- Rights group urges Gaza’s Hamas to halt executions (AP)
- Palestinian children routinely tortured, some threatened with rape: Israel rights group (Electronic Intifada)
- Palestinian arrested for selling ‘Morsi perfume’ (Ynet)
- Soldiers violently attack and arrest peaceful protesters in Al-Masara (ISM)
- Israel Announces 1200 New Settlement Units On Eve Of Peace Talks (The Real News)
- Peace talks: The perfect alibi for settlement expansion (972 Mag)
- Kerry tells Netanyahu: Israel’s settlement activity violates terms of peace talks (Haaretz)
- Even worse odds than in 2008 for Mideast deal (AP)
- Israeli law will strip many Arab ‘absentees’ of land (The Independent)
- Israel encouraging preschool literacy – just not among Arabs (Haaretz)
- Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda (The Independent)
- Documenting a warped and psychotic society in Israel’s Wild West (Haaretz)
- Israel army publishes fake image of huge “Gaza shopping mall” (Electronic Intifada)
- Israel proudly displays separation fence to arriving tourists (972 Mag)
- Apartheid Train-Israel‘s multi-billion dollar railroad plan in the West Bank (Palestine Monitor)
Indyk has been around this peace talk track before.
He belongs to a small group of Jewish diplomats who have specialized in Middle East negotiations. The same names come up with every new effort to reconcile Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
[...] Indyk began his Washington career as an AIPAC staffer, served as executive director of an AIPAC think tank offshoot, the Washington Institute of Near East Policy, and then served two short terms as the first foreign-born U.S. Ambassador to Israel.
- Martin Indyk (Wikipedia)
- Why Kerry Will Fail in Israel-Palestine (Antiwar)
- Peace talks with Palestinians would take months: Israel official (Reuters)
- Hamas: No Negotiating with the ‘Occupation’ (INN)
- Israel to Release Longtime Prisoners Amid Palestine Talks (Newser)
- Palestinians say ’67 borders basis for talks (Houston Chronicle)
- Israel’s Netanyahu says talks with Palestinians ‘vital’ (BBC)
- Israeli-Palestinian peace talks’ resumption put in doubt by both sides (Guardian)
- Israel-Palestinian Talks Going Nowhere, Slowly (Antiwar)
- Arab League backs Palestinian stance in peace talks (Ynet)
- US Jews lend support to peace talks in new letter (Times of Israel)
- Netanyahu Rushes Referendum Requirement as Peace Talks Near (Antiwar)
As top Palestinian leaders discussed the possibility of new peace talks with Israel, Israeli and American officials suggested Thursday that no agreement has yet been reached to revive the stalled negotiations.
“There are currently no plans for an announcement on the resumption of peace talks,” State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki told reporters traveling with Secretary of State John F. Kerry in Jordan.
Kerry extended his latest Middle East trip Thursday to await news of a possible breakthrough from the Palestinians, who have been reluctant to return to talks without first setting conditions, such as a ban on new Israeli settlement building on land that the Palestinians claim for a future state.
Kerry had hoped to restart talks in June and had said during his last visit to the region, late last month, that a deal to do so was within reach. But his efforts to offer Palestinians an incentive to bargain without meeting their long-standing demands appeared to have fallen short.
The Israeli government is currently examining the legality of a proposed bill that would enable Israeli prison authorities to force-feed hunger-striking prisoners, Israeli media outlets reported.
Israel’s Channel 2 News reported on Wednesday that the bill, set forth by the Israeli Justice Ministry, the Ministry of Internal Defense, the Shin Bet, the Prisons Authority, the IOF, and members of the Israeli National Security Council, is at its early stages of review and that the final outcome of which is expected in the upcoming weeks.
Israel has been forced to early release some of the Palestinian prisoners after it faced mounting challenges from hunger strikes as in the cases of some prisoners including Samer al-Issawi and Ayman al-Sharawneh. Their releases were approved despite the objections of the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security organization, who recommended not to give in to their demands.
Israeli settlers have felled more than 1,000 olive and almond trees that have been cultivated for generations by Palestinians, say villagers in this verdant hamlet.
The destruction of trees in Awarta highlights the challenges faced by the roughly 80,000 Palestinian families living under Israeli occupation who depend on the olive industry for their livelihood.
“They’ve destroyed 150 of my olive trees and 300 of my almond trees,” said Fouzan Awwad, 53, a father of six and a member of one of the 23 families who have farmed this area in the West Bank hills east of Nablus. Some of the olive trees were more than a century old.
European governments including Britain have stepped up back-channel contacts with Hamas despite an official EU policy of political isolation, in an effort to understand and possibly influence debate in the Islamist group about its future direction, according to four senior Hamas officials.
Meetings between Hamas and European government representatives and intermediaries have taken place in Gaza, Cairo and European capitals over recent months, the officials said.
The EU banned contact between its member states and the Islamist organisation when the latter took over Gaza in 2007, and Hamas is classified as a terrorist organisation by Brussels.
The Hamas officials, who spoke to the Guardian over recent weeks, declined to give specific details of meetings. “These countries trust us not to disclose information about contacts,” said Ahmed Yousef, a member of Hamas’s decision-making body, the shura council, and a former deputy foreign minister.
by ASHER ZEIGER
Times of Israel
As attacks in the Sinai escalate, the military leadership in Egypt is reportedly seeking Israeli approval to launch a broad campaign to root out Islamic extremists in the largely wild peninsula.
The operation is expected to begin in the next several days, but Egyptian authorities need an okay from Jerusalem under the peace treaty between the countries, the Times of London reported Thursday.
There have been several attacks on Egyptian troops in the Sinai over the last several days, the army says, as jihadists, including Palestinians from Gaza according to some reports, have attempted to take advantage of a lack of stability since the ouster of president Mohammed Morsi in an army coup.
An Israeli army source told the British paper that Jerusalem saw no reason to decline Cairo’s request.
by KHALED ABU TOAMEH
The Jerusalem Post
The Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza Strip is now estimated at approximately 4 million, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics.
On the eve of International Population Day, the bureau published a statistical review that showed that the “total population of Palestine at mid- 2013 was about 4.42 million; 2.24 million males and 2.18 million females.” The estimated population of the West Bank was 2.72 million, while the estimated population of the Gaza Strip totaled 1.7 million, according to the review.
Data revealed that the Palestinian population is a young one; the percentage of individuals under the age of 14 constituted 40% of the total population at mid-2013.
People aged 65 or more constituted 2.9% of the total population – 3.2% in the West Bank and 2.4% in the Gaza Strip.
by Gili Cohen
The video, shot by Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, shows soldiers from the Givati Brigade stationed in the West Bank city detaining Wa’adi Maswada, aged five years and nine months.
In the video, one of the soldiers is heard asking the boy, “Where is Daddy?” Several local residents try to speak to the soldiers and deter them from proceeding with the arrest. One of the soldiers then tells them [in English], “He’s a child, eh?… No, but he threw it.” Another soldier says to the boy and the crowd, “Get over here, don’t set me off.” A Palestinian teenager takes the child by his hand and leads him off to the side. The whole time the 5-year-old can be heard crying.
Six soldiers can be seen gathering around the two, as the teenager stars telling the commanding officer from the Givati Brigade where the child lives. The child is led to a military Jeep, and the officer tells the child, “Climb in with me.” The child starts to flail and tries to run away, still crying, while residents start to gather around. An older person arrives and takes the child’s hand and they climb up together, as the boy continues to weep and is eventually dragged into the Jeep.
The continuing unrest in Egypt has taken a humanitarian and economic toll on the Gaza Strip, as the Egyptian authorities closed the Rafah border crossing on the Egypt-Gaza border amid insecurity in the Sinai Peninsula, and out of fear that Hamas activists would join in the struggle on the side of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood.
Egypt’s military overthrew elected leader President Mohammed Morsi last week, amid days of violent demonstrations. Clashes between Islamists and the military have continued since then, and the country’s economy is in dire straits.
The freedom of movement of Gaza residents, which was restricted to begin with, was further affected by last Friday’s decision to close the Rafah crossing until further notice. A few thousand Palestinians wishing to return to Gaza are stuck outside the territory. 150 of them are on the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing. 800 residents who made the pilgrimage to Mecca ahead of the month of Ramadan which begins on Wednesday are stuck in Saudi Arabia, since the Egyptian authorities are not allowing Gaza residents to depart from Cairo Airport, obliging them to return to their port of origin.
by Edward Malnick, and Robert Mendick
Lianne Pollak, who has led intelligence teams in the Israel Defence Forces, was recruited as a private consultant between October 2012 and April this year.
The 30-year-old was previously a policy adviser to Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, working with security agencies and senior officials.
Mr Blair has been involved in sensitive negotiations between the Israeli government and Palestinian Authority. The former prime minister is the unpaid envoy to the Middle East for the Quartet – the group that represents the US, Russia, the United Nations and Europe.
His role includes encouraging development in Gaza and the West Bank and helping to forge a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, having been appointed when he left Downing Street in June 2007.
The disclosure of Miss Pollak’s appointment follows calls for the former prime minister to be more transparent about his complex business network.
Officials from the Israeli Medical Association have been invited to the U.S. to present policy makers there with their methods of handling hunger strikers, as the U.S. administration comes under fire for its own practice of force-feeding of Guantanamo Bay detention camp prisoners who refuse to eat.
The invitation followed the officials remarks on the matter at a convention at Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health, one of the most prestigious medical faculties.
Israeli policies regarding hunger strikers were formulated in a position paper of the IMA in February 2005. The guidelines were written following hunger strikes by Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons a year earlier, and are based on the 1975 Tokyo Declaration of the World Medical Association, and the WMA’s Declaration of Malta on Hunger Strikers. The policy determines that hunger strikers will not be force-fed with liquids or food against their will.
In recent weeks, photos taken in the U.S.’ detention center in Guantanamo depicting Muslim prisoners being force-fed during Ramadan have embarrassed the administration. During the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn to sunset.
by Liz Sly
The Washington Post
The ouster on Wednesday of Egypt’s elected Muslim Brotherhood government barely a year after it took office represents a significant setback for the Islamist movements that have proved the biggest beneficiaries so far of the Arab Spring revolts.
From Tunisia to war-torn Syria, anti-Islamist activists have begun expressing unhappiness with the religious parties empowered by freedoms the turmoil unleashed. That the backlash has crescendoed in Egypt — the Arab world’s political and cultural trendsetter and the birthplace of the Muslim Brotherhood 80 years ago — is likely to resonate far beyond, perhaps most forcefully in Syria.
- Syria hails ouster of Egypt’s Morsi as ‘great achievement’ (AFP)
- Turkey slams Morsi’s military ouster (AP)
- Abbas Rejoices, Hamas Goes Quiet After Egyptian President’s Fall (VoA)
- Egypt shows power only comes from force, Somali militants say (Reuters)
- Israel fears Jihadist attacks after Morsi ouster (Ynet)
by Jason Ditz
[...] Not only did Kerry fail to make any deal to restart the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which was supposed to be the whole point of his visit, and Palestinian officials confirmed they weren’t any closer to a “breakthrough.”
Israel followed up Kerry’s departure with another announcement settlement expansion, this time in occupied East Jerusalem’s Har Homa. Likud officials were defiant, insisting that Kerry’s visit would not prevent them from continuing to build settlement units.
by Max Blumenthal
Beneath the radar of the US media, Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu succeeded in blocking a statement by European Union member states that would have included sharp criticism of illegal Israeli settlement activity and of the general direction of the peace process. Kerry and Netanyahu depended on Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of Foreign Affairs for the EU and a proxy of Quartet Special Representative Tony Blair, to prevent EU member states from delivering the statement at a June 24 Council gathering in Brussels.
Palestinian News Network
Israel’s former foreign minister, Avigdor Liberman, urged on Monday the Israeli government to examine the option of re-occupying the Gaza Strip in response to rocket fire launched from the Gaza towards Israel late Sunday.
Lieberman told Israel Radio, “Israel will have to seriously consider the option of conquering all of Gaza and really cleaning it out. I’m not sure we want to live with that situation, but in the long term it’s inevitable.”
“If Israel does not respond more significantly to the attacks, in two years there will be Hamas missiles aimed at Tel Aviv and Netanya,” Liberman said, noting that he was unsure of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon’s position on the issue.