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Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. He is the 2011 winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are "Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East" (Pluto Press) and "Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair" (Zed Books). His website is www.jonathan-cook.net
Eyeless in Gaza
Israel is occupying and besieging Gaza, conferring on its inhabitants a right under international law to fight for their freedom. How does the oppressor, the lawbreaker have a right to self-defence? If Israel objects to being scratched and bruised, it should stop choking its victim.
Friday, August 1, 2014
The experts' verdict: Every Israeli missile strike is a war crime (1 comments)
Even if we assume total good faith on Israel's part that it is trying to hit only Hamas and other military sites, it is clear it cannot do so even with the advanced weaponry it has. The inherent imprecision of its arsenal is compounded many fold by the fact that it is using these weapons in densely built-up areas. Israel is committing war crimes by definition -- right now.
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
US plays decisive role in Israel's attack on Gaza
Of great concern should be the Obama administration's decision to back Israel to the hilt and the US media's silence on the matter. There can be no hope of a peaceful solution ever gaining traction -- or these bouts of blood-letting in Gaza coming to end -- unless Washington is finally unmasked as Israel's abettor-in-chief.
Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Israelis have the upper hand when it comes to vengeance (5 comments)
In the face of the enduring violence of Israel's occupation, and the licence it provides soldiers to humiliate and oppress, ordinary Palestinians have a stark choice: to submit or resist. Ordinary Israelis, on the other hand, do not need to seek revenge on their own account. The Israeli state, military and courts are there every day doing it for them.
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Israel's New Abyss (1 comments)
Israel's law chief has agreed that the Palestinian politicians, journalists and activists swept up in the latest mass arrests will be treated as "ticking bombs." Israel's torture cells are back in business. s it becomes ever clearer to Palestinian society that Israel is never going to concede Palestinian statehood, things that were once barely tolerated are now seen as unendurable.
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Hamas-Fatah reconciliation -- Unity on Israel's terms won't help
The unity government simply breathes new life into the illusion -- created by the Oslo accords of two decades ago -- that good governance by the Palestinian Authority can change the Palestinians' situation for the better. In practice, such governance has entailed submitting to Israel's security demands, a Palestinian obligation Abbas termed "sacred" last week.
Monday, May 26, 2014
Israel's Christians need all the support they can get (1 comments)
A visit that eschewed politics to focus only on religion -- elevating holy sites above the people who live next to them -- would betray a Christian community that needs all the help it can get as it fights for its continuing place in the holy land.
Thursday, May 15, 2014
On Nakba Day, Israelis Forced to Confront a Guilty Secret (1 comments)
While Israeli Jews were trying to enjoy guilt-free street parties last week, news reports focused on the activities of their compatriots -- the Palestinians who remained inside the new state of Israel and now comprise a fifth of the population. Estimates are that one in four of these 1.5 million Palestinian citizens is from a family internally displaced by the 1948 war.
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
All is not lost for Palestinians, even if talks hit the buffers
The most disturbing scenario imaginable for Israel is on the horizon: a campaign of popular non-violent resistance by Palestinians. It needs no formal leadership and its simple demand -- equal rights -- is one Israel and the US will struggle to counter. Israel's arsenal may be well-stocked but it has no weapons to defeat such a campaign.
Distracted by the peace process: What really happened during the talks
Both the US and Israel have come to rely on the endless theatrics of the two-decade peace process. Settlement freezes, prisoner releases, rows about Palestinian Authority funding and, of course, intermittent negotiations have served as useful distractions from the main developments on the ground. The era of wishful thinking may finally be coming to an end -- and that will be progress in itself.
Monday, March 31, 2014
Israel to consider war crimes case (1 comments)
Israel's Supreme Court is set to consider evidence April 2 that Israeli political and military officials committed war crimes in relation to major military operations in Gaza and Lebanon. Former PM Ehud Olmert and his Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, the current justice minister, are among the high-level figures accused of breaking the laws of war when they attacked Lebanon in 2006, and Gaza in the winter of 2008-09.
Time to stop inflating Israel's huge bubble of denial (1 comments)
The reason why popular criticism of Israel is currently galvanising around the boycott movement -- what Netanyahu grandly calls "delegitimization" -- is that it offers a way for ordinary Americans and Europeans to distance themselves from their governments' own complicity in Israel's crimes.
Friday, February 14, 2014
Tide Turns against Israel: Pariah Status and Isolation Lie Ahead (5 comments)
A damaging falling-out last month, following insults from the defense minister against Kerry, has not subsided. Last week Netanyahu unleashed his closest cabinet allies to savage Kerry again, with one calling the US secretary of state's pronouncements "offensive and intolerable." But despite outward signs, Netanyahu is less alone than he looks -- and far from ready to compromise.
Sunday, February 9, 2014
The Israeli Surveillance State: Did The "Shin Bet" Just Hack My Computer? (1 comments)
The Shin Bet is run by people who have the minds of thugs, clever thugs, but thugs nonetheless. If that has always been true, it is all the more so now. The Haaretz newspaper recently revealed that three of the four top posts in the Shin Bet are currently occupied by people who describe themselves as national-religious -- that is, the ideology of the extremist settlers.
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
Cracks in the alliance: Is there finally daylight between Israel and the US? (2 comments)
While Netanyahu may act as though he is doing the White House a favor by negotiating, he should be in no doubt of his dependence on US goodwill. He received a timely reminder last week when Congress voted through a $3.1 billion aid package for Israel in 2014 -- plus hundreds of millions of dollars more for missile development -- despite the severe troubles facing the US economy.
Friday, January 17, 2014
Israel: Divide-and-conquer in Nazareth?
Efforts by Israel to divide its large Palestinian minority along sectarian lines have heightened fears that the Biblical city of Nazareth may be about to return to the scenes of violent clashes. Tensions in the hometown of Jesus and a destination for hundreds of thousands of tourists each year, have risen sharply in recent months after Israel unveiled plans to encourage Christian school leavers to serve in the military.
Thursday, January 9, 2014
Israel not ready to give up "villa in the jungle" (19 comments)
The last thing Israeli leaders want is for Jewish and Palestinian citizens to develop shared interests, forge friendships and act in solidarity. That would start to erode the rationale for a Jewish state, especially one premised on the supposed need of the Jews to defend themselves from a hostile world. In short, a Jewish state's future precisely depends on the anti-Arab stereotypes inculcated in young Israeli minds.
Friday, December 20, 2013
Kerry's framework agreement -- US plans "Gazafication" of the West Bank
However vigorous the EU's arm-twisting, the reality is that the Palestinian leadership is being cajoled into an agreement that would destroy any hopes of a viable Palestinian state. Abbas is said to have viewed the US plan as "worse than bad." His agreement to it would be worse than disastrous.
Saturday, December 7, 2013
Mandela: a Dissenting Opinion (15 comments)
Offering a dissenting opinion at this moment of a general outpouring of grief at Nelson Mandela's death is not likely to court popularity. It is also likely to be misunderstood.
Nonetheless, it is important to pause during the widespread acclamation of his legacy, mostly by people who have never demonstrated a fraction of his integrity, to consider a lesson that most observers want to overlook.
Monday, November 25, 2013
The false analogy of Syria and Palestine (1 comments)
Gaza is not like Syria because Palestinians live under a belligerent occupation, not in a unified, if failing state run by a dictator. There are very few decades-long occupations, but there are lots of dictators the world would be better off without. Occupations are regulated by international law, which in Gaza's case is almost entirely ignored.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Why Israel wanted Arafat dead
Israel's interests in killing Arafat are evident when one considers what occurred after his death. Not only did the Palestinian national movement collapse, but the Palestinian leadership got drawn back into a series of futile peace talks, leaving Israel clear to concentrate on land grabs and settlement building.
Sunday, November 3, 2013
Israel to drill for oil in the West Bank
What seems clear is that the oil field extends over a very large area, with much of the reserves believed to lie under Palestinian territory in the West Bank. According to the Oslo accords, Israel is obligated to coordinate any exploration for natural resources in shared territory with the Palestinian Authority, and reach agreements on how to divide the benefits.
Thursday, October 31, 2013
Whatever Happened To The Peace Talks? (1 comments)
All indications are that these "peace" talks, like their predecessors, are doomed to fail. The question is whether the Palestinians have the nerve to unmask the charade. If not, Israel will use the peace process as cover while its settlements devour yet more of the Palestinian state-in-waiting.
Thursday, October 17, 2013
Even the World Bank understands: Palestine is being disappeared (1 comments)
The World Bank report follows a long line of warnings in recent years from international bodies on the dire economic situation facing Palestinians. But, significantly, the World Bank has homed in on the key battleground for an international community still harboring the forlorn hope that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will end in Palestinian statehood.
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Partners in Crime -- Gaza: Crushed Between Israel and Egypt
Israel has turned a blind eye to Egypt pouring troops, as well as tanks and helicopters, into Sinai in violation of the 1979 peace treaty. Israel would rather Egypt mop up the Islamist threat on their shared doorstep. The destruction of the tunnels, meanwhile, has sealed off the main conduit by which Hamas armed itself against future Israeli attacks.
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Red Lines And Green Lights -- Israel Still Angling For Attack On Syria And Iran
Soon, as Israeli analysts are already pointing out, Syria will be hosting international inspectors searching for WMD, not unlike the situation in Iraq shortly before the US-led invasion of 2003. Israel, it can safely be assumed, will quietly meddle, trying to persuade the West that Assad is not cooperating and that Hizbullah and Iran are implicated.
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Israel seeks to pit Christian Arabs against Muslims in a cruel clash
Israel would prefer that Christians reject the Palestinian variant of liberation theology and adopt the Christian Zionism that dominates in the US, Israel's chief sponsor. All of this is designed to corral Israel's Muslim population into a corner, creating a much cleaner narrative for Israel in which Jews and Christians are brothers guarding the ramparts.
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Futile Peace Talks Again -- The Jewish State's Bottom Line
There are many flies waiting to spoil the ointment of the Middle East peace talks, not least Israel's recent announcement of a rash of settlement-building. The mood 20 years on is unchanged. The Palestinian minority is still viewed as a fifth column, one a Jewish state would be better off without.
Monday, July 29, 2013
We Steal Secrets: The assassination of Julian Assange
Gibney's film treats Assange as if he and the US corporate-military behemoth were engaged in a simple game of cat and mouse, two players trying to outsmart each other. This documentary could have been a fascinating study of the moral quandaries faced by whistleblowers in the age of the surveillance super-state. Instead Gibney chose the easy course and made a film that sides with the problem rather than the solution.
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Treatment of Palestinians is Apartheid by Any Other Name (1 comments)
The international community has long criticized Israel for the "discrimination" its Palestinian citizens face and for the "oppression" of Palestinians under occupation. This terminology needs overhauling too, say the human rights lawyers. A system that treats one ethnic group as less human than another already has a legal name: it is called apartheid.
Friday, June 21, 2013
Big Racists vs Little Racists -- How Israeli Apartheid Is Coming Unstuck (4 comments)
This month South Africa's departing ambassador to Israel, Ismail Coovadia, warned that Israel was a "replication of apartheid." The idea that the world may soon wake up to this comparison deeply unnerves Netanyahu and the right, all the more so as they risk being identified as the party refusing to make concessions towards peace.
Monday, June 17, 2013
Sapping Assad's Strength -- Israel Stirs The Pot In Syria (2 comments)
The best Israel can hope for is that Assad holds on but only just. That would keep the regime in place, or boxed into its heartland, but sapped of the energy to concern itself with anything other than immediate matters of survival. It would be unable to offer help to Hizbullah, isolating the militia in Lebanon and cutting off its supply line to Iran.
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Palestinians To Be Cast As Fall Guys -- Again (2 comments)
Palestinians have no control over their borders, airspace, radio frequencies, water and other natural resources, not even over the currency or internal movement of goods and people. Everything depends on Israel's good will. And few investors will be prepared to bet on that.
Friday, May 10, 2013
The Samson complex
Once the US formally abandons the peace process, the current status quo intensifies: a single state ruled over apartheid-style by Israel, with a Palestinian Authority consigned to irrelevance or oblivion. Another round of failed peacemaking will do far more damage to the Palestinians and Washington's reputation than to an Israel that never intended to pick up the phone in the first place.
Monday, February 25, 2013
Obama's Israel trip
The Palestinians are stuck in a political and diplomatic cul-de-sac, unable to move forward either with the development of their national struggle or with talks on viable statehood. Whatever Obama's intentions, the reality is that this will be another four years of diplomatic failure.
Saturday, January 19, 2013
Palestinian Citizens Wearily Eye Israeli Elections (2 comments)
The "center-left" is starting to panic, fearing that the momentum of the shift rightwards may soon prove unstoppable. Without concerted action to shore up a credible opposition to Netanyahu, Israel is hurtling towards full-blown fascism at home and pariah status abroad.
Monday, January 14, 2013
How 20 tents rocked Israel -- Palestinians take the fight to their occupiers (1 comments)
A group of 250 ordinary Palestinians set up a tent encampment they intended to convert into a new Palestinian village called Bab al-Shams, or Gate of the Sun. In a sign of how disturbed Israel is by such acts of popular resistance, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu had the the occupants removed in a dawn raid--although his own courts had issued a six-day injunction against the government's "evacuation" order.
Friday, December 28, 2012
The terror lurking in a Christmas tree (2 comments)
Few mayors or rabbis find themselves in the uncomfortable position of needing to go public with their views on the dangers of Christmas decorations. In Israel, segregation between Jews and Palestinians is almost complete. Even most of the handful of mixed cities are really Jewish cities with slum-like ghettoes of Palestinians living on the periphery.
Friday, December 21, 2012
Why the Washington Post killed the story of Murdoch's bid to buy the US presidency (4 comments)
In early 2011 Murdoch sent Roger Ailes, the boss of Fox News, to Afghanistan to persuade Gen David Petraeus, former commander of US forces, to run against Barack Obama in 2012. The Post buried it inside the paper's lifestyle section, presenting it as what the section editor called "a buzzy media story that...didn't have the broader import" that would justify a better showing in the paper.
Sunday, November 18, 2012
Why Gaza must suffer again -- The four guilty parties behind Israel's attack (15 comments)
If Israelis really believe they have to endure greater suffering because the Palestinians lack accurate weapons, then maybe they should start lobbying Washington to distribute its military hardware more equitably, so the Palestinians can receive the same allocations of military aid and armaments as Israel.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Don't expect a second-term Obama to take on Israel (2 comments)
The reality is that the White House is stuck with an Israeli government, with or without Netanyahu, that rejects an agreement with the Palestinians. As tensions flare again on the Israel-Gaza border -- threatening an Israeli attack, just as occurred in the run-up to the last Israeli election -- it looks disturbingly like four more years of the same.
Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Arab Jews vs Palestinians -- Israel's refugee pawns
Bipartisan pressure is mounting in the US Congress to count as refugees only Palestinians personally displaced from their homes in 1948, stripping millions of descendants of their status. While another -- and seemingly contradictory -- legislative move would insist on Arab Jews being granted the same refugee status as Palestinians.
Monday, September 10, 2012
Forget Iran, It's Israel's Nuclear Gun Pointed at Obama's Head (5 comments)
Discord between the two "unshakeable allies" is not limited to Iran. Antipathy has been the norm for decades. Over the summer, current and former CIA officials admitted that the US security establishment has always regarded Israel as its number one counter-intelligence threat in the Middle East.
Monday, July 30, 2012
Western complicity exposed -- Europe and US richly reward Israel for pariah status (4 comments)
The Netanyahu government has serially defied and insulted foreign leaders, including US President Obama; given the settlers virtual free rein; blocked peace talks with the Palestinians; intimidated and marginalized human rights groups, UN agencies and even Israeli courts; and fueled a popular wave of Jewish ethnic and religious chauvinism against the country's Palestinian minority, foreign workers and asylum seekers.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Israel's Annexation Plan
Under international law, Israel's rule in the West Bank and Gaza is considered "belligerent occupation" and, therefore, its actions must be justified by military necessity only. If there is no occupation, Israel has no military grounds to hold on to the territories. In that case, it must either return the land to the Palestinians, and move out the settlers, or defy international law by annexing the territories.
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Netanyahu Crowns Himself King of Israel: Will Israeli Left Finally Stir?
Should Obama choose a fight on the Palestinian issue, he will be facing a prime minister whose position in Israel is unassailable. Netanyahu will doubtless exploit his strengthened position to up the rhetoric against Tehran and add to the pressure for intensified action from the US and Europe.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Israel's immigration plan for 'ethnically pure' bunker state (3 comments)
As it did with the Palestinians many years ago, Israel has criminalized these new refugees -- in their case, for fleeing persecution, war or economic collapse. Whole families can now be locked up, without a trial, for three years while a deportation order is sought and enforced, and Israelis who offer them assistance risk jail sentences of up to 15 years.
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Israel's Grand Hypocrisy: Netanyahu Slams "Anti-Liberal" Arab Spring (9 comments)
As protests raged again across the Middle East, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, offered his assessment of the Arab Spring last week. It was, he said, an "Islamic, anti-western, anti-liberal, anti-Israeli, undemocratic wave", adding that Israel's Arab neighbours were "moving not forwards, but backwards".
Setting a price tag for Israeli supremacy
A mosque was torched, followed days later by an attack on Muslim and Christian graves. In each case the settlers left their calling card -- the words "Price tag," indicating an act of revenge -- scrawled on their handiwork. None of the recent attacks against Palestinians has led to prosecutions.
Monday, September 26, 2011
UN Bid Heralds Death of Palestine's Old Guard
Amid the enthusiastic applause in New York and the celebrations in Ramallah, it was easy to believe -- if only a for minute -- that, after decades of obstruction by Israel and the United States, a Palestinian state might finally be pulled out of the United Nations hat. Will the world's conscience be midwife to a new era ending Israel's occupation of the Palestinians?
Monday, July 4, 2011
Britain Arrests Respected Palestinian Leader (2 comments)
He is an Islamic "preacher of hate" whose views reflect "virulent anti-Semitism" and who has funded Hamas terror operations, according to much of the British media.
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
The Palestine Papers -- Israel's peacemakers unmasked (2 comments)
One of the Palestine Papers quotes an exasperated Mr. Erekat asking a US diplomat last year: "What more can I give?" The man with the answer may be Mr. Lieberman, who unveiled his own map of Palestinian statehood this week. It conceded a provisional state on less than half of the West Bank.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
God-TV Helps Israel Oust Bedouin (1 comments)
Half a million trees planted over the past 18 months on the ancestral lands of Bedouin tribes in Israel's Negev region were bought by a controversial Christian evangelical television channel that calls itself God-TV.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Law to Keep Jews and Arabs Apart: Apartheid Israel-Style
The pretty two-storey home with a red-tiled roof built by Adel and Iman Kaadan looks no different from the rows of other houses in Katzir, a small hilltop community in northern Israel close to the West Bank. But, unlike the other residents of Katzir, the Kaadans moved into their dream home this month only after a 12-year battle through the Israeli courts.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Wikileaks and the New Global Order; America's Wake-Up Call
The Wikileaks disclosure this week of confidential cables from United States embassies has been debated chiefly in terms either of the damage to Washington's reputation or of the questions it raises about national security and freedom of the press.
The headlines aside, most of the information so far revealed from the 250,000 documents is hardly earth-shattering...
Monday, November 22, 2010
Obama's Bribe; Palestinians Will Be The Losers - Again (1 comments)
Watching the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians drag on year after year without conclusion, it is easy to overlook the enormous changes that have taken place on the ground since the Oslo Accords were signed 17 years ago.