4. Thinking about Israel

Mar-30-2012 | Comments Off

Bird’s Eye: Birds can fly over fences, but the rest of us can’t. A set of fascinating insights into the changes that are taking place in Israel. Al Jazeera has a discussion with three distinguished guests of a quality I can’t imagine another media outlet having. Carlo Strenger, who has long favoured the two-state solution, has now abandoned it. Sadly I see no flaw in his reasoning. And once again, Richard Silverstein breaks important news before anyone else.

* Israel and Democracy: Inside Story video Al Jazeera (Thanks, Gabe)

Is Israel violating Palestinian human rights in the Occupied Territories? What does this tell us about the Israeli government and its policy of settlement expansion in Palestinian territory? And, does that contradict its claim of being the only democracy in the region? Joining Inside Story with presenter Hazem Sika to discuss these questions and more are guests: Jessica Montell, the executive director of human rights group B’Tselem; Akiva Eldar, the chief political columnist and editorial writer for Haaretz; and Mark Ellis, the executive director of the International Bar Association.

*Open Letter To Peter Beinart: Boycotting The Settlements Will Not Save The Two-State Solution Carlo Strenger Haaretz

This brings me to the final point of disagreement. You hope to save the two state solution. But I think you try to save spilt milk. You probably know the wisdom of every investment advisor. It is profoundly wrong to handle your investment portfolio reacting to previous losses. You need to look at it as if you were creating it now.

There is little use for us to decry the folly of Israel’s policy of the last forty years. We need to look at the situation as it is now: no Israeli politician will be able to retreat to the 1967 lines as long as Hamas will not radically change its views, and this, researchers familiar with the movement tell me, is not likely to happen soon.

The problem is that the longer the status quo continues, the more impossible the two state solution will become. In fact, it may already be dead. Hence the real question for liberal Jews and gentile friends of Israel is where we need to aim now.

* “Israel Bought an Airfield called Azerbaijan” Richard Silverstein Tikun Olam

One of the logistical nightmares of an attack on Iran is getting Israeli planes to and from their target, a flight of 2,000 miles.  The IAF simply doesn’t have the refueling capability that’s required.  Thanks to Perry, we’ve just learned one of the ways Israel plans to eliminate the problem:

…Four senior diplomats and military intelligence officers say that the United States has concluded that Israel has recently been granted access to airbases on Iran’s northern border. To do what, exactly, is not clear. “The Israelis have bought an airfield,” a senior administration official told me in early February, “and the airfield is called Azerbaijan.”

Though the country’s foreign minister recently dismissed the notion that his country would serve as a base for an attack on any other country, Perry writes:…Even if his government makes good on that promise, it could still provide Israel with essential support. A U.S. military intelligence officer noted that Azeri defense minister did not explicitly bar Israeli bombers from landing in the country after a strike. Nor did he rule out the basing of Israeli search-and-rescue units in the country. Proffering such landing rights — and mounting search and rescue operations closer to Iran — would make an Israeli attack on Iran easier.

* New Israeli Fence The Guardian

A frontier fence is being erected at high speed along the 150-mile boundary between the Sinai and Negev deserts. Once it is finished, Israel will be almost completely enclosed by steel, barbed wire and concrete, leaving only the southern border with Jordan between the Dead and Red Seas without a physical barrier.



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