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How Iran Is Causing Chaos Beyond Just Israel and Palestine – The Daily Beast

Posted By on April 11, 2024

Iran presents itself as the sponsor of the liberation of Palestine, and thus arms proxies and allies in four Arab countriesLebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Yemenas well as the Palestinian Territories.

In reality, Tehran does what experts call its proxy fleet-in-being, an old tactic used by weaker navies against mightier ones. Iran deploys the proxy fleet to dominate what it imagines as the Wider Persian Gulf, an area thatin addition to its Gulf coastincludes the Arabian Sea, the Red Sea, and the eastern Mediterranean. Tehrans domination necessitates the ejection of America and the weakening, or even annihilation, of Israel.

Israel has been hitting back. In addition to its pledge to destroy the Iranian proxy Hamas in Gaza, and an ongoing war with another Iranian proxy, Hezbollah, across its border with Lebanon, Israel also managed to kill seven top Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) officers in a strike on Syria.

Irans Arab allies have voiced their expectation that Iran would respond directly by launching missiles from its territories against Israel. Bloomberg reported Wednesday that the Biden administration has warned Israel of an imminent Iranian attack.

But as of yet, Tehran has not done so, and its reluctance is attributed to its fear that any direct attack on Israel will give the Israelis a license to respond in kinddirectly. When doing so, Israel might try to destroy Irans nuclear program facilities, the crown jewel of the Islamic Republics Wider Persian Gulf project.

Iran could opt for avenging its generals by impressing on its proxies to strike Israel. But most of these proxy militiasin Lebanon, Gaza, Syria, and Yemenare already engaged in war with Israel. Lebanons Hezbollah is the only one with spare capacity to escalate the conflict with Israel, but if it does, it risks provoking a devastating full-scale war that neither side wants.

...Jordan finds itself in a precarious position, facing Iranian threats of arming anti-government Jordanian militias and smuggling arms to the West Bank through Jordanian territory.

With limited revenge options, and perhaps to save face, Iranian officials leaked to the U.S. media reports about their smuggling of arms to the West Bank, presumably to foment unrest with Israel. None of this is new, except for anonymous Iranian officials taking responsibilityfor the first timefor smuggling arms to Palestinians.

As far back as Jan. 2002, Israel intercepted Karine A, a ship that was loaded with arms in Iranincluding Katyusha rocketswhich was sailing toward Gaza at the height of the Second Palestinian Intifada. Two months later, Hezbollah operatives were arrested in Jordan as they tried to smuggle Katyusha rockets to armed Palestinian factions in the West Bank.

Iranian attempts to smuggle arms and sow discord between Palestinians themselvesand also between Palestinians and Israelishave never stopped since. In fact, theyve been made easier by the collapse of central authority in Damascus and the transformation of Syria into a narcotics state, where Iranian proxies control large swaths of the country, especially in the south that borders Jordan.

With a war-torn country and crippling U.S. sanctions, Syrias Assad regime now relies on its industrial scale production of captagon, a cheap and highly addictive drug, which Syrian drug dealers export to wealthy Gulf countries through Jordan. In the process, captagon trade has transformed Jordan from a transit point into a major consumer market, thus alerting Jordanian authorities to the danger and prompting Amman to crackdown on border smuggling, at times using fighter jets to hit smugglers. Iran uses captagon smuggling networks to send arms to Palestinians in the West Bank.

In December, with assistance from the Mossad, Israels intelligence agency, Jordanian police busted smugglers on the countrys northern border with Syria who were trying to sneak armsincluding missiles, landmines, and sniper and M16 riflesto Palestinians in the West Bank.

Over the past few years, Iran and Hezbollah have been agitating Palestinians to wage another intifada. Iranian efforts have led to a significant uptick in violent Palestinian attacks, especially in the West Bank, which is ruled by the Palestinian Authority that rivals Tehran-backed Hamas.

Islamist Iran has gone further by threatening to topple the Jordanian government and replace it with a resistance state.

Because of its location, Jordan is very important for the [Iran-led] resistance axis, said Ali Fadlallah, a spokesperson for Kataeb Hezbollah, an Iran-backed Iraqi militia. He added: Unfortunately, because of the ruling regime, [Jordans] location benefits the usurping entity [Israel], and does not offer Palestinian resistance any support.

Fadlallah promised to arm a militia of 12,000 Jordanians who, judging by the behavior of Iranian proxies elsewhere, will first use their muscles to take over the government, then start throwing rockets on Israel and U.S. forces.

In 1970, the late Jordanian monarch King Hussein ejected armed Palestinian factions from his country in a short round of war. Syria and Iraq could have intervened to tip the scales in favor of the Palestinian militias, and the U.S. posture of countering such intervention might have convinced Damascus and Baghdad to sit that war out.

With Iran successfully seeing its allies take over power in Lebanon, Yemen, and partially Iraq and Syria, Jordan finds itself in a precarious position, facing Iranian threats of arming anti-government Jordanian militias and smuggling arms to the West Bank through Jordanian territory. Jordan thus needs American and Israeli support and help, like the one it received in 1970, to protect its sovereign government.

Iran is unlikely to relent. After all, the Wider Persian Gulf is an ongoing project. America and its allies must remain vigilant to counter Tehrans troublemaking behavior, from smuggling arms to toppling states and forming loyalist militias in their place.

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How Iran Is Causing Chaos Beyond Just Israel and Palestine - The Daily Beast

Spain’s recognition of the State of Palestine can make the difference – Elcano Royal Institute – Real Instituto Elcano

Posted By on April 11, 2024

ThemeThe author, a former Director General of Israels Ministry of Foreign Affairs, lays down the reasons for recognising the State of Palestine in order to create the conditions for a sustainable peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

SummaryThe 7 October War is a strategic turning point for the Israeli-Palestinian bilateral relations, as well as for Israels regional and global alliances. The concept marketed by the Israeli government that Hamas was contained and deterred, and that Israel could be integrated into the Middle East region without addressing the Palestinian issue an idea that had been conveniently adopted by Western leaders collapsed on that very day. In the midst of so much bloodshed and an enormous magnitude of destruction, talk of the need for a two-state solution has taken centre stage again. It is to be hoped that the international conversation on the day after will dictate a strategic exit to this war that will bring about an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement based on the two-states paradigm. A Spanish recognition of the State of Palestine at this stage can ignite the momentum that might lead to overall European and UN recognition.


It is not easy at all for me, who served in Israels diplomatic service for over three decades, to stand out clearly for the instant recognition of Palestine in sharp contradiction with my governments position. It needs some explanation.

I entered the Israeli diplomatic service at the beginning of the 1970s while fulfilling the dream of serving my country as a diplomat. There was no other option for me, I did not even consider another alternative. I entered the government four years after the 1967 Six-Day War, after fighting as a soldier and as an officer in Israels armoured divisions. Born in Israel, to parents of German descent who had to flee their homeland, I felt that my young country deserved a decent place among the nations. My personal focus was mostly on the Middle East, which looked at the time very remote and different from us in its culture, religions and politics. I had a strong feeling that we should integrate into our immediate neighbourhood and most of the colleagues around me shared that view.

From day one of my diplomatic career, I discovered a peace-oriented diplomatic service. Israel already controlled and administered the occupied territories, but the declared aim was to exchange those territories for peace. It was a quite frustrating period as no Arab country even considered recognising Israel. In November 1977 we encountered, for the first time, a dramatic Arab turning point. We hosted the Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in Jerusalem, and gradually built our peace with Egypt. I was among the first diplomats officially visiting Cairo in what seemed like a dream come true. The mood in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a result of our agreement with Egypt was euphoric. Simultaneously, outside the government, the emerging pro-peace civil society included many of my student-years personal friends. They named their movement Peace Now.

In the early 1980s I was sent as a young diplomat to Ankara, Turkey, the only other Muslim country with which we had diplomatic relations at the time. The aim was to strengthen and further expand our diplomatic representation in the Middle East. Unfortunately, that did not happen during the whole decade. A wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence during 1987-89 slowed down the regional peace efforts.

During my years in Ankara, religious-nationalistic elements inside Israel were forcing the government to allow the establishment of civilian settlements in the West Bank and Gaza. They were highly motivated and well organised. It looked to me, watching the process from a distance, as a historic mistake. However, the Israeli leadership managed to convince us, young diplomats, that those settlements were needed for security reasons, that they were only temporary and would serve as a bargaining chip in due time. The declared plan was to evacuate the settlements when the Israeli-Palestinian peace process would be mature. Land for peace was the diplomatic slogan that we proudly marketed all over the globe. I whole-heartedly believed in it. Two states for two peoples was the declared official policy.

Nothing of this really happened in years to come. Even when we signed the Oslo Declaration of Principles with the Palestinians in September 1993, the settlements were not removed. Instead, they grew in size and population, gradually making a just and lasting agreement with the Palestinians more difficult. In November 1995, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated during his effort to enhance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. As a result, the well-intentioned Oslo Process entered a five-year period of deep freeze. In May 1999 Ehud Barak (heading the Labour Party) won the general election. Shortly after, he asked me to serve as the Foreign Ministrys Director General.

I saw this as a golden opportunity. I knew Barak personally and saw him as the politician that might U-turn the religious-nationalistic tendencies and lead the public into a just and lasting peace agreement with Yasser Arafat. I was convinced about Baraks sincere intentions. However, the negotiations that took place under US President Bill Clintons auspices at Camp David in 2000 ultimately failed. As a result, a big wave of devastating violence broke out again (2000-03) and shattered the hopes for peace.

Israel rushed back into a strengthened religious-nationalistic momentum, further expanding the settlements during the following two decades, creating a reality that started to look irreversible. In the early autumn of 2023, already out of Israels diplomatic service, I found myself in a very strange mood. I stopped believing that a Palestinian State was a viable possibility (in fact, the two-states goal had already disappeared from the official Israeli agenda a long time before), while simultaneously I was 100% sure that Israels control over five million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza (still under siege) was unsustainable. It looked like a tragic and explosive situation. The West Bank settlements kept expanding while the international community practically accepted them, including key countries in the Muslim world. As a professional diplomat, I had to admit on 6 October 2023, one day before the surprise attack on Israel, that Israels international standing had never been better.

All the above has been changing dramatically since 6:30 am on Saturday 7 October, when the sirens woke all of us Israelis, and rushed us into our home shelters. That morning alarms and their aftermath had already changed our personal lives, as well as Israels overall situation.

The 7 October War (its temporary name) already constitutes a strategic turning point for Israeli-Palestinian bilateral relations, as well as for Israels regional and global alliances. The attack that Hamas launched that day turned out to be the most devastating military chapter in the history of modern-day Israel. It left Israeli society shattered and bewildered and ignited an urge for revenge among many Israelis. Simultaneously, the international community, particularly the US and the West, came to a meaningful awakening. The concept marketed by the Israeli government that Hamas was contained and deterred, and that Israel could be integrated into the Middle East region without addressing the Palestinian issue an idea that had been conveniently adopted by Western leaders collapsed on that very day.

The events of 7 October and those that followed exposed how irresponsible it was for the international community to neglect one of the most dangerous and volatile conflict areas on earth. Over the past six months we have seen the principal global players, with the US at the helm, spring into action to contain the fighting and prevent it from spiralling out of control regionally and globally. At the same time, talk of the need for a two-state solution has taken centre stage again. It is to be hoped that the international conversation on the day after will dictate a strategic exit to this war that will bring about an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement based on the two-states paradigm.

It is a pity that so much bloodshed and an enormous magnitude of destruction were needed to bring the international community back to its senses with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Unfortunately, to date there have been no indications from either of the fighting sides that they are prepared to adopt the course of diplomacy to resolve the conflict. On the contrary, the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, appears to be concerned with protecting his political domain, while Hamass leader, Yahya Sinwar, remains insistent on retaining Hamass control over the civil and military governance of the Gaza Strip. The Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, continues to rule out Palestinian statehood and has declared that Israel will maintain security control over Gaza in the aftermath of the war. He convinced the Knesset (Israels parliament) to pass, by a great majority, a decision that rejects any external attempt to impose a Palestinian state on Israel. Furthermore, the political discourse in Israel is inundated with talk of transferring the Palestinian population from the Gaza Strip and re-establishing Jewish settlements in that territory.

This dim picture must not deter the international community from action. On the contrary, it is further evidence of the conclusion drawn by the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the EU, Josep Borrell, that the solution has to be imposed from the outside.

When the fighting endssoon, it is to be hoped the suffering and devastation in Gaza, where some two-thirds of the population have become internally displaced and where the danger from Israeli bombardment is coupled with rising cases of disease and the threat of famine, will require both immediate and massive humanitarian attention and long-term planning. Gaza reconstruction, however, can no longer be separate from a political strategy designed to resolve the conflict. In addition to the loss of life and material damage, the hostilities are cementing the animosity and hatred between the two peoples with each passing day, making the need to end the fighting all the more urgent.

An urgent need appears to create conditions for a sustainable peace based on the following principles:

The Spanish Parliament called upon the government to recognise the State of Palestine on 18 November 2014. This was less than one month after the Swedish centre-left coalition, led by the Labour Party, recognised the State of Palestine, shortly after gaining power. Also, the Spanish decision came a few weeks after the British and the Irish parliaments registered such a call upon their governments.

One day before the Madrid vote, two Palestinian terrorists attacked an Israeli Jerusalem synagogue and killed four Jews at prayer. As a result of the attack, the original text of the non-binding parliamentary motion was altered. The initial text urged the Spanish government to recognise Palestine, but the then ruling Popular Party (PP), which held an absolute majority in the lower house, proposed an amendment to weaken the wording. The amended resolution appeared less ambitious than the original one and was accepted by an overall majority. The final text said: The Spanish Parliament urges the government to recognise Palestine as a state. It also added: This recognition must be the consequence of a negotiation process between the parties, an addition that watered down the call to a certain extent. The wide media attention to the softened Spanish text was mostly due to the vocal denunciation that followed from Israel.

The Spanish move of 2014, that reflected the mounting frustration in Spain and the EU as a whole at Israels expanding settlements and the collapse of the US-sponsored peace talks, brought about additional calls of eight more Western European parliaments for the recognition of the State of Palestine. Israel reacted to all these calls very negatively, exposing the growing fear in Israel of the legitimation of a Palestinian state. It also reflected the eroding support inside Israel for the two-state solution.

The Western European pro-recognition momentum throughout 2014 collapsed on 5 January 2015. The terror attack by ISIS in Paris brought about negative feelings towards the Muslim world. As a result, the readiness to support the Palestinian cause also faded away. The mood in European parliaments changed as a result of the comparison that Israels Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, drew between ISIS and Hamas. In retrospect, ISIS terrorism inflicted substantial damage on the Palestinian cause.

The 2014 recognition momentum came to a clear halt for almost a full decade until the catastrophic 2023-24 Gaza war.

Only four Western European countries have recognised Palestine so far: Iceland, Malta, Cyprus and Sweden. Only three of them (Malta, Cyprus and Sweden) are members of the EU. Only one of them (Sweden) recognised Palestine after joining the EU. Altogether, nine EU member states have recognised Palestine, but the recognition of the Eastern European countries could be seen as only partially valid as it was done long ago, under different international circumstances.

Internationally, 139 countries out of the 193 member-states of the UN have recognised Palestine as a state. Furthermore, in 2012 it was recognised as a state also by the UN General Assembly, but it failed to gain recognition as a full member state. In order to become a full member state, Palestine needs the approval of at least two-thirds of the UN General Assemblys members and of at least nine of the 15 members of the UN Security Council, with no vetoes from the five permanent members, which is so far a very high hurdle. As of today, the State of Palestine can sit as an observer at the UN General Assembly meetings but not vote.

The war that broke out on 7 October 2023 has changed dramatically Israels international standing. The world is now more critical of Israel and more vocal in its support for Palestinian self-determination. It seems as if this can bring about the renewal of the Palestinian recognition momentum. Some Western European countries are already considering this as an option: Spain is one of them.

For Israel, the recognition of the State of Palestine by friendly countries is very worrying. The last thing this Israeli government wants to see is Palestinian statehood legitimised internationally (I would even say that for todays Israeli leadership this is no less than a nightmare). The levelling of Israels and Palestines legal status in the international arena that is seen internationally as the gate to peace is viewed in Israel as a diplomatic blow.

A Spanish recognition of Palestine at this stage can ignite the momentum that might lead to overall European and UN recognition. Spains Prime Minister, Pedro Snchez, recently announced his intention of recognising the State of Palestine before the summer, and to support its full membership of the UN. If the Spanish Council of Ministers approves the recognition of Palestine, Spain would become a meaningful player towards a new diplomatic momentum on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in line with its previous effort when it hosted the Madrid Peace Conference on the Middle East in 1991.

Another, though smaller, worry for the Israeli government at the moment are the sanctions imposed on extremist Israeli settlers who have violently attacked or committed human rights abuses against Palestinians in the West Bank. In Israel, this is considered to be related to the issue of Palestinian recognition. Leaders of the Israeli settlers are seen by the nationalistic part of the Israeli society as its modern pioneers in other words, as its national heroes. Restrictions on travelling to friendly countries or on the ability to register bank accounts by prominent settlers are seen as an international de-legitimation of the settlements and of Israels control of the West Bank as a whole. Six countries have already taken such measures recently: the US, the UK, Canada, France, New Zealand and Spain. Also, the EU reached a political agreement in March to sanction extremist Israeli settlers. It is hard to tell if this is a beginning of a new international trend, but if it is, it might push forward the Western tendencies in favour of the recognition of Palestine.

ConclusionsThe events of 7 October and those that followed exposed how irresponsible it was for the international community to neglect one of the most dangerous and volatile conflict areas on earth. The war that broke out that day has changed dramatically Israels international standing. The world is now more critical of Israel and more vocal in its support for Palestinian self-determination. It seems as if this can bring about the renewal of the momentum for Palestinian recognition. Some Western European countries are already considering this an option, Spain among them.

The Gaza war should be brought to a halt in the shortest time possible. It should be the last war ever fought between Israel and the Palestinians. To this end, the aim of any peace agreement must be strategic coexistence between the parties, based on the two-state solution, in line with all relevant UN resolutions.

Relations between Israel and Palestine must be conducted within the boundaries of the rule of international law and respect for human rights. These principles are non-negotiable and should be considered the fundamental framework of the political thrust to transform the historical enmity between the Israelis and the Palestinians into a viable coexistence.

International recognition of the State of Palestine and its acceptance as a full member of the UN should precede and must be separated from the success or failure of any peace process with Israel. The two protagonists in the negotiations should be granted equal international recognition. If the Spanish Council of Ministers approves the recognition of Palestine, Spain would become a meaningful player towards a new diplomatic momentum for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in line with its previous effort when it hosted the Madrid Peace Conference on the Middle East in 1991.

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Spain's recognition of the State of Palestine can make the difference - Elcano Royal Institute - Real Instituto Elcano

York University’s ‘Toolkit on Teaching Palestine’ endangers campus Jews – The Jerusalem Post

Posted By on April 11, 2024

Since October 7, there has been a proliferation of students vocalizing their views on the Hamas-Israel war. Most universities are no strangers to differing views; however, the already prominent friction between students has increased since the Palestinian Solidarity Working Group released its Toolkit on Teaching Palestine at York University. As a Canadian student based in Ontario, I am deeply concerned about the damage this toolkit could cause to the Jewish community both on and off campus.

While the intention of this toolkit may have been to educate students on the struggles the Palestinian community faces on campus and beyond, it has ultimately also become harmful to the Jewish community. The toolkit refers to Hillel York as a Zionist cultural institution, which is a misrepresentation of Hillel and is meant to be libelous. According to the director of Hillel York, Dean Lavi, Hillel is a safe haven for Jewish students on campus. Misrepresenting Hillel as a Zionist cultural institution may result in jeopardizing the safety of the students going there for sanctuary.

This has already proven to be true, given the extensive online targeting of students and the aggressive nature of recent protests. Given the lack of critical thinking that has been apparent within some educational institutions, groups of students have been influenced to join protests without clear knowledge or understanding of the context or impact behind them.

The rising hate towards the Jewish community has been astronomical. According to Toronto Police, as reported by many news outlets in 2023, there was a 103% increase of reported antisemitic incidents, compared to 2022.

This toolkit further exacerbates the dichotomous perspective of oppressor and oppressed, which can result in further Jew hatred and divisiveness within the community at large. On page 5, the toolkit discusses how the Palestinians are victims of genocide and how for the first time they are broadcasting the genocide of their people, the destruction of their culture and histories.

They also discuss Israel depriving them of basic human needs, such as food, shelter, and access to healthcare. This creates the idea that Israelis are aiming to not only cause genocide, which by definition is a major decrease in population which is not happening but also that the aim is to erase culture and identity. Israel has gone to lengths to avoid as many civilian casualties as possible while trying to dismantle Hamas and bring the hostages home.

When the goal and intent is genocide, civilians are killed without a second thought and attacks are initiated. Israel has not initiated any attacks on any of the neighboring Arab states and did not initiate attacks toward Palestinians.

Israel has taken to the defensive side rather than the offensive; only defending after Hamas initiated attacks. When only reporting on Israel, it seemingly acts to vilify it rather than educate on problems faced.

There is nothing written about the attacks towards Israel, only the ones done by Israel following a long and brutal 75-year-settler-colonial occupation of Palestine referring to Israelis as settlers rather than the people who came back to their ancestral land. Settlers by definition are those who immigrate to a new place with the intention of staying there, and if people are native/indigenous to that land, they cannot be settlers there or colonize it. Colonization only applies to those not indigenous to the land and who seek to control it.

This toolkit also quotes an American author and civil rights activist by the name of James Baldwin; part of the quote is If I love you, I have to make you conscious of the thing you dont see, however, this toolkit expresses a one-sided viewpoint. Creating an environment where there is no space for nuance forces students to choose a side based on the little knowledge given.

Frequently, when Pro-Palestinian protesters are questioned about what the chant From the river to the sea Palestine will be free means, many are unable to properly indicate which river and which sea. This supports the concern of people blindly following the crowd without being properly educated about the cultures and communities involved, and what each actually stands for. My concern is that this toolkit will further propagate the mob mentality that has already been infiltrating campus life.

According to the National Library of Medicine, Throughout history, Jewish communities have been exposed to collectively experienced traumatic events. Although we as a community have faith that we will shine brighter and come back stronger than before, there are many within our community who feel compelled to hide their Judaism as a precaution. Jewish people have proven time and time again how resilient we are, and will continue to be. Our voices will never be stifled. Although many people are saying, Never again is now, that is not quite accurate as it implies that we are powerless and victimized; we are neither.

The writer is involved with Allied Voices for Israel and is a student executive with Hillel, studying at Toronto Metropolitan University in the Faculty of Community Services.

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York University's 'Toolkit on Teaching Palestine' endangers campus Jews - The Jerusalem Post

Intimacy in Israel and Palestine: ‘Love has become an act of resistance in itself’ – Le Monde

Posted By on April 11, 2024

Two panels (story of Lana, 34, in Tel Aviv) from the comic strip "Amour, Sexe et Terre Promise," by Salom Parent-Rachdi and Zac Deloupy. SALOM PARENT-RACHDI ET DELOUPY / LES ARNES BD

Journalist Salom Parent-Rachdi conducted a two-year investigation in Israel and Palestine from 2018 to 2020, with one question in mind: How do people love each other there? The result is a documentary comic strip in French, illustrated by Zac Deloupy, Amour, Sexe et Terre Promise ("Love, sex and the Promised Land"). It includes 14 stories of intimacy from these territories where the weight of religion, the violence of colonization and obsessions with identity reach right into the bedroom.

From an ultra-Orthodox Jew in Jerusalem, to an Arab lesbian in Tel Aviv, to the wife of a Palestinian prisoner in Nablus on the West Bank, these encounters reveal the challenges of loving in Israel and Palestine.

After October 7 [the day of the terrorist attack carried out by Hamas in Israel] and the reprisals [by the Israeli army] in the Gaza Strip, at first I thought my subject was no longer relevant. How can we still talk about love in the face of such atrocious events? Is it still appropriate? Eventually, I think we reach levels of horror that are partly linked to the fact that there is a total dehumanization of the other, particularly when you read the reports of sexual violence committed by Hamas or when you see that Israeli soldiers take pictures with the stuffed toys and underwear of Palestinian families in their destroyed homes.

Through these stories, I hope, in my own small way, to contribute to bringing back a little humanity. It's important to show that people have personal, intimate stories.

There is a multitude of different groups that make for a rather explosive cocktail of identities: Sephardim from North Africa, Muslim and Christian Palestinians, secular Ukrainian Jews who benefit from the Law of Return [passed in 1950, it grants Israeli citizenship to anyone with at least one Jewish grandparent] and the ultra-Orthodox of Polish origin. These identities are accompanied by a host of tenacious stereotypes ("Russian Jewish women are prostitutes," "I'm a traitor if I date an Israeli Jewish woman as a Palestinian") that prevent certain love stories from happening. In fact, there's nothing strange about asking someone about their origins in the first few seconds of a date. On the contrary, you need to assert your identity quickly, even on dating apps.

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Intimacy in Israel and Palestine: 'Love has become an act of resistance in itself' - Le Monde

University of Cologne Pulls Professor’s Invite Over Her Support of Palestine – The Daily Beast

Posted By on April 11, 2024

The University of Cologne withdrew renowned philosophy scholars invitation for a visiting professorship over her support of Palestine, citing the schools ties to Israel.

On Monday, the top-ranked German University released a statement saying Professor Nancy Fraser would no longer be invited to the university as part of the 2023 Albertus Magnus Professorship, because she had signed a letter questioning Israels right to exist as an ethno-supremacist state.

In November, Fraser was one of over 400 philosophers and professors who signed a letter titled The Philosophy of Palestine. The purpose of the letter was to publicly and unequivocally express our solidarity with the Palestinian people and to denounce the ongoing and rapidly escalating massacre being committed in Gaza by Israel and with the full financial, material, and ideological support of our own governments.

Fraser was supposed to give a series of public lectures about her current book project on labor in a capitalist society, and had no intention to speak about Israel or Palestine, she said in an interview with Jacobin.

Fraser said that in the days before the announcement, the university had reached out to her about her decision to sign the letter. I thought, what a nerve! I mean, whats it his business what my views are about the Middle East? Im a free agent, Im able to sign whatever I want, she said.

I didnt want to be overly confrontational. So, I wrote back and said, well, of course, there are many different views about Palestine and Israel, and theres a lot of pain on all sides, including pain I experienced myself as a Jew. But theres one thing on which there can be no disagreement, she said. Two days later, she received word that she was no longer invited to speak at the university.

Fraser called the incident a truly outrageous instance of something many people would argue is a much broader trend in Germany today.

They are in clear violation of widely held academicand, frankly, constitutionalnorms about political freedom and freedom of speech, she said. This will do considerable harm to the German academy.

In a follow-up statement, the university attributed its decision to the letters invitation for other academics to join in an academic and cultural boycott of Israel. The university claimed it was difficult to reconcile this sentiment with its many ties to partner institutions in Israel. In 2019, the German parliament voted to condemn the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement against Israel for using anti-Semitic methods.

In October, the University of Cologne released a statement sending thoughts and prayers to our partners, their family members and friends in Israel, a country towards which we bear a particular historical responsibility and with which we enjoy a unique relationship.

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University of Cologne Pulls Professor's Invite Over Her Support of Palestine - The Daily Beast

East Palestine residents: No matter the settlement, ‘we will never be whole again’ – WTOV Steubenville

Posted By on April 11, 2024

News traveled quickly around East Palestine on Tuesday after it was announced that Norfolk Southern reached a $600 million agreement in principle to resolve a consolidated class action lawsuit regarding the Feb. 2023 train derailment in the village.

The main concern is will that money actually be going to impacted residents from the derailment?

The railway says it has already poured millions into the town in community assistance, cleanup, improving infrastructure amongst other things. Ohio Sen. JD Vance says the offer is a step in the right direction, but it's just a start.

However, some residents said they have their own lawsuits against the railroad.

And regardless of the amount, nothing could make things the way they were.

"Any amount they offer is not going to be enough, East Palestine resident William Hugar said. Cause theyre all thinking millions, were not going to get that.

We will never be whole again. All they can do is see how close they can get to where we were before.

The settlement will be submitted for preliminary approval to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio later this month.

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East Palestine residents: No matter the settlement, 'we will never be whole again' - WTOV Steubenville

Norfolk Southern Settles an East Palestine Train Derailment Suit for $600 Million – The New York Times

Posted By on April 11, 2024

Norfolk Southern announced on Tuesday that it had agreed to pay $600 million to settle a class-action lawsuit stemming from a February 2023 derailment of a train carrying hazardous materials in East Palestine, Ohio.

The settlement, which requires approval by Judge Benita Y. Pearson of U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, includes payments to residents and businesses within 20 miles of the derailment. It also resolves personal injury claims within a 10-mile radius of the derailment.

Individuals and businesses will be able to use compensation from the settlement in any manner they see fit to address potential adverse impacts from the derailment, Norfolk Southern said in a statement. This could include health care needs and medical monitoring, property restoration and diminution, and compensation for any net business loss.

The lawyers representing the victims said the settlement was a fair, reasonable and adequate result for the community on a number of levels, including the speed in which the resolution was reached and how much money residents and businesses would receive.

Beth Graham, a lawyer at Grant & Eisenhofer who represented the plaintiffs, said her team had received an overwhelmingly positive response from East Palestine and its surrounding area. Its still unclear exactly how many people would be eligible for compensation, but the number is likely to be in the tens of thousands, she said.

The community as a whole has been grateful and relieved that this is the first step in putting this behind them and getting them some sort of compensation, Ms. Graham said in an interview.

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Norfolk Southern Settles an East Palestine Train Derailment Suit for $600 Million - The New York Times

Fired by a German University for Solidarity with Palestine Interview with Nancy Fraser – Left Voice

Posted By on April 11, 2024

You just got fired from a guest professorship at the University of Cologne because you signed the Philosophy for Palestine statement, which condemns Israels unfolding genocide and system of apartheid. Can you tell us what happened?

I was invited to Cologne last July. I signed the statement in November. Just last week, even though the statement had been live for a long time, I got an email from Professor Andreas Speer telling me the rector had expressed concern. I thought this was very inappropriate. I was invited on the basis of my scholarly work, which has nothing to do with my views on Israel/Palestine. I wrote back to say that there are many different views, and that there is a lot of pain on all sides including for me as a Jew. But I emphasized there was no disagreement about the importance of free, open, and respectful discussion, as the rector had put it. My lectures have nothing to do with Israel/Palestine. Within 24 hours, I received an email from the rector: Since I was not willing to renounce my views, he had no choice but to cancel the professorship.

Youve worked at different German universities over the years. Has this ever come up before?

Never, but then again, I havent been as outspoken as some of my colleagues. The current situation in Gaza is so extreme that I felt I did need to speak out.

A few months ago it was revealed that a private lecturer at the same university was at a secret Nazi meeting discussing plans to deport millions of people. The university announced a months-long investigative process about his status, which has been going on for several months. Was there such a process with you?

No, it was just a handful of emails, and all over within 24 hours. Theyre saying this professorship was just an honor and not an academic appointment. But this is bogus. I was selected by a group of professors, and if the rector overrides them, he is infringing on academic freedom. Its also an attack on political freedom. The message it sends to everybody in Germany is: if you express certain views, your job is in danger.

Anyone with views to the left of center could be kicked out of the universities a dream for right-wing politicians. This is why many academics have protested, including from Germany.

Right. And the sad part is that Germany claims to be taking responsibility for Jewish people because of the Holocaust. But then these measures are directed against not only, but also Jewish intellectuals and artists. Theres a very restricted idea in Germany about the Good Jews you should be protecting, and the Bad Jews you can repress. I would like to say to the German public sphere: We are all Jews, and dont equate Germanys responsibility to us with supporting everything the State of Israel does.

This is not the first case in recent months. Jewish people like Judith Butler, Masha Gessen, and Candice Breitz have had awards revoked and shows cancelled.

I very much admire them Im proud to find myself in their company, even if that wasnt my intention. We are very inconvenient to people who want to restrict a real, open discussion of what is going on in Palestine. When Jews like us say we have different views about Israel, thats an inconvenience, and maybe even a threat.

How did your biography affect your views?

I come from an assimilated family that was not very religious at all. My grandparents left Europe in the early 20th century, before the rise of fascism. As a junior high school student, I became engaged in the civil rights movement. In those days, Baltimore was a legally segregated city with Jim Crow laws. African Americans could not eat at the same restaurants or swim in the same swimming pools. I gravitated quickly to the desegregation struggle. I had a classic 68 generation itinerary, from civil rights to the Vietnam war to SDS [Students for a Democratic Society] to feminism, and so on and so forth. I was never particularly involved with Israel.

I spent six months in a kibbutz in the immediate aftermath of the 67 war. There was a call for volunteers to come and help with the harvest. I thought a kibbutz had something to do with socialism, but I was rather quickly disillusioned, because I encountered an anti-Arab racism that was very similar to the anti-Black racism in the United States. There was an Arab village across the road, and the kibbutz would not allow the Arab children to use the swimming pool. I thought: Oh my god, this again?

That was my close encounter with Israel. When I returned to the United States, I threw myself into the panoply of New Left political engagements, and I did not focus on Palestine.

Both in the United States and in Germany, the governments are giving strong support to Israel, even if the majority of the population is critical. There is a lot of repression at universities against Palestine solidarity even when its coming from Jewish students. Do the two countries feel similar?

We face our own forms of McCarthyism here in the United States. But its not as severe because we have succeeded in staging more of a public debate. In previous years, the voices of Palestinians and the solidarity movement were swept under the rug. But now they are being heard and we have a more balanced debate. I hope something like that will emerge in Germany as well.

Here in the U.S. we have a large and politically active Jewish population much larger than in Germany. For decades, the most prominent Jewish voices have been straightforwardly pro-Israel. But in recent years, organizations like Jewish Voice for Peace and Not In Our Name have let Jewish people come out as critics of Israeli occupation. Bernie Sanders is the most prominent Jewish politician. He had been a strong supporter of Israel, but he has changed lots of people are changing. Some people thought he was too slow to call for a permanent ceasefire, but now he has.

Pro-Israel forces like APAIC are losing control of the narrative. And now, with the carnage in Gaza, the voices of critical Jews have been amplified. In Germany, in contrast, everybody is talking about Jews, but not with us.

First published in German in ND on April 9, 2024

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Fired by a German University for Solidarity with Palestine Interview with Nancy Fraser - Left Voice

BREAKING: American University places Students for Justice in Palestine chapter on disciplinary probation – The Eagle (American University)

Posted By on April 11, 2024

American University has placed the campus chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine on probation, following a disciplinary conference about a silent indoor walk during a Feb. 8 campus demonstration, SJP announced in an Instagram post Monday.

The University banned indoor protests when it updated speech and expression policies in a Jan. 25 email to the AU community.

This probation is intended to silence Palestinian voices on campus, as well as appeal to Zionist donors and influence, SJP wrote in the post.

On Feb. 8, about 30 demonstrators silently walked through the quad and two University buildings holding signs calling on the University to end support of Israel. The demonstration ended outside Mary Graydon Center, where an organizer broke the silence to call on AU to divest from any programs or funding related to Israel.

The terms of SJPs disciplinary probation were not immediately clear. The Jan. 25 email noted that AU community members who violate indoor protesting policies would be subject to disciplinary action, though administrators did not specify what actions would be taken.

SJP did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Elizabeth Deal, the assistant vice president for community and internal communication, referred The Eagle to the Student Conduct Code, which states that student organizations on probation that are found responsible for subsequent violations of the Code may be suspended or lose their recognition, but she did not comment further.

SJP wrote on Instagram that the conduct violation report, which detailed the reasons for the disciplinary conference, said students did not disrupt University operations.

The group wrote that in the policies the University did not define a protest and used vague language to police anything University administrators deem as unwelcoming and uncivil in an attempt to silence us.

Jewish Insider reported on Jan. 25 that the updated policies were developed with help in part by the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish advocacy group with the goal of fighting antisemitism and bias.

The ADLs website says it works to support a secure, Jewish and democratic State of Israel and advocates for continuing U.S. aid to Israel.

AUs partnering with the ADL behind closed doors should be alarming to all, SJP said in the post.

The group also wrote in the post that the report relied on the AU Police Departments extensive campus surveillance practices and that AUPD digitally hunted down specific individuals through racist profiling.

SJP wrote that the disciplinary conference, while presented as an informal conversation, was framed on our criminality and was experienced as an interrogation.

Several other universities have suspended or derecognized their campus chapters of SJP, including Columbia University, George Washington University, Brandeis University and Rutgers UniversityNew Brunswick. Columbia also suspended its campus chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace in November.

On Instagram, SJP echoed its previous concerns about University efforts to limit its activities and failure to support AU students.

We will continue to hold our administration accountable for their shameful actions, to protect all marginalized students including Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim students when our own leadership wont, and to advocate for Palestinian freedom, SJP wrote in the post.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

This article was edited by Kathryn Squyres, Zoe Bell, Tyler Davis and Abigail Turner. Copy editing done by Luna Jinks, Isabelle Kravis and Sarah Clayton.

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BREAKING: American University places Students for Justice in Palestine chapter on disciplinary probation - The Eagle (American University)

Penny Wong floats recognising Palestine ahead of two-state solution to help path to peace – The Conversation Indonesia

Posted By on April 11, 2024

Foreign Minister Penny Wong has taken Australian policy a modest step towards embracing recognition of a Palestine state ahead of a two-state solution, as a pathway to a lasting Middle East peace.

In a Tuesday speech to an Australian National University national security conference dinner, Wong said the international community was now considering the question of Palestinian statehood as a way of building momentum towards a two-state solution.

She quoted British Foreign Secretary David Cameron saying the United Kingdom will look at the issue of recognising a Palestinian state, including at the United Nations. Cameron said this could make a two-state solution irreversible.

There are always those who claim recognition is rewarding an enemy, Wong said. But she said this was wrong on two counts.

First, because Israels own security depends on a two-state solution.

"There is no long-term security for Israel unless it is recognised by the countries of its region.

"But the normalisation agenda that was being pursued before [the] October 7 [Hamas attacks] cannot proceed without progress on Palestinian statehood, she said.

Read more: Explainer: what is the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

Second, because there is no role for Hamas in a future Palestinian state. Hamas is a terrorist organisation which has the explicit intent of the destruction of the state of Israel and the Jewish people.

Wong said recognising a Palestinian state, which could only exist beside a secure Israel, did not just offer the Palestinians an opportunity to realise their aspirations, but also strengthens the forces for peace, and undermines extremism. The extremists included Hamas, Iran and Irans other proxies in the region.

A two-state solution is the only hope to break the endless cycle of violence, she said.

The Albanese governments policy has been for a two-state solution, but it has not embraced recognising a Palestinian state ahead of that. The Labor Partys 2023 national platform goes further. It says Labor:

supports the recognition and right of Israel and Palestine to exist as two states within secure and recognised borders

calls on the Australian government to recognise Palestine as a state.

In her speech Wong said Israel must make major and immediate changes to its military operations, in order to protect civilians, journalists and aid workers.

Earlier this week, the government appointed a former chief of the Australian Defence Force, Mark Binskin, to probe Israels investigation of its attack on a World Central Kitchens aid convoy in Gaza. Seven people, including Australian Zomi Frankcom, were killed.

Wong said Israel must comply with the binding orders of the International Court of Justice, including to enable the provision of basic services and humanitarian assistance at scale.

The foreign minister also expressed dismay at the local divisions the conflict is causing.

It is disheartening to witness the number of Australians that increasingly struggle to discuss this conflict without condemning their fellow citizens. This imperils our democracy. We have to keep listening to each other; respecting each other.

"But I have heard language demonstrating that people are losing respect for each others humanity. Blatant antisemitism and Islamophobia.

She condemned politicians who were manipulating legitimate and heartfelt community concern for their own ends.

"The Greens political party is willing to purposely amplify disinformation, exploiting distress in a blatant and cynical play for votes. With no regard for the social disharmony they are fuelling. This is not some game. There are consequences.

"At the same time, [Opposition Leader Peter] Dutton reflexively dismisses concern for Palestinians as Hamas sympathising. On this, and in his approach to the world, Mr Dutton needs to decide if he wants to be a leader in difficult times or if he wants to continue being a wrecking ball, making those times even more difficult.

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Penny Wong floats recognising Palestine ahead of two-state solution to help path to peace - The Conversation Indonesia

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