Global Palestine: Contemporary Collisions

John Collins (@djleftover), author of Global Palestine (Hurst/Oxford UP, 2011), explores the global politics of violence and the representation of violence, paying particular attention to the microcosmic and prophetic location of Palestine in relation to these processes.

Likud advisor "wouldn't hesitate to make a wave of refugees out of Gaza"

Veteran journalist and blogger Helena Cobban has published a fascinating (and troubling) interview with Prof. Efraim Inbar, an advisor to Israeli Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu.  The interview, published under a Creative Commons license, appears on Cobban's invaluable blog, Just World News.   Here is the full text:

Where is Palestine in 2009?

The decades-old struggle for Palestinian liberation has reached a kind of crossroads.  On the one hand, things look bleaker than ever and seem to be getting worse.  The appalling human toll of the recent Israeli assault on Gaza, which included the use of white phosphorus shells and led to calls for an arms embargo against both Israel and Hamas, is but the latest example of this depressing trend.  On the other hand, precisely because of Israel's success in colonizing so much Palestinian land, an unexpected (but controversial) light is beginning to appear at the end of the tunnel: the possibility that the creation of a de facto apartheid-type situation may eventually give rise to a truly democratic "one-state solution" to the conflict.  So, where is Palestine in 2009?

Dear Mr. President

As the Weave concludes its February Theme of the Month on the early days of The Obama Era, I'd like to take a look back at President Obama's inauguration speech.  Listening to the speech back in January, I had some serious questions for  the new president, particularly regarding his views on the continuation of this country's imperial way of life.  Now, more than a month later, most of those questions remain.  I've put them in the form of a letter. 

One Democratic State in Israel/Palestine

A version of this piece was published this morning in the Albany Times-Union.

One Democratic State: A Way Out of the Israeli-Palestinian Quagmire

by John Collins

It's time to admit that the "two-state solution" is no longer a desirable option for resolving the conflict in Israel/Palestine.  Nationalism has failed both Israeli Jews and Palestinians, leaving the field open for a more forward-looking idea: a single democratic state for all who live in it.

A Sign of Desperation?

As someone who has supported a "one-state solution" to the conflict in Israel/Palestine for more than a decade, I have always told myself that the mainstream U.S. media would never allow this idea to see the light of day.  Then I saw yesterday morning that the New York Times had published an op-ed piece arguing in favor of...the one-state solution.  The author was Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi.  What's going on here?

Letter - Israel's bombing is a war crime

This letter to the editor by an impressive array of lawyers and international law experts appeared yesterday in The Times (London):

Israel's bombardment of Gaza is not self-defence - it's a war crime

ISRAEL has sought to justify its military attacks on Gaza by stating that it amounts to an act of “self-defence” as recognised by Article 51, United Nations Charter. We categorically reject this contention.

The rocket attacks on Israel by Hamas deplorable as they are, do not, in terms of scale and effect amount to an armed attack entitling Israel to rely on self-defence. Under international law self-defence is an act of last resort and is subject to the customary rules of proportionality and necessity.

A voice from Gaza

I regularly receive first-person reports from international solidarity volunteers working in Palestine.  These people come from all over the world and risk their lives (remember Rachel Corrie?) to stand and work nonviolently with Palestinians who are living under occupation, document what is happening, and get the word out to the world.  Today I thought I would reprint one particularly powerful example of the kind of testimony that these solidarity workers can provide:

More Gaza context

Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies offers some helpful perspective on the need to understand the deeper historical context behind Israel's assault on Gaza:

Putting Gaza back in context

Perhaps because I'm a bit of a media masochist, I have been watching a fair amount of mainstream media coverage of Israel's ongoing assault on Gaza.  In my more optimistic (wishful thinking?) moments, I do notice some changes, most notably the growing number of Palestinian voices that are now being given airtime.  (In this sense, as Robert Fisk argues, Israel's policy of banning international journalists from Gaza has backfired, since news organizations have increasingly turned to Palestinians on the ground in order to get an accurate sense of what is happening.)  At the same time, I continue to be distressed by the journalistic tendency to discuss Gaza in a way that is completely divorced from its political and historical context. 

On the value of Palestinian lives

When it comes to political violence, some people argue that it's dangerous to play the numbers game, endlessly comparing the numbers of dead as if human life could be reduced to mere statistics. And there is much to recommend such a cautionary view.  The Israeli assault on Gaza, however, is one of those moments when a look at the numbers is an essential part of understanding what is happening and what it means.   For a bit of perspective, consider this: as a proportion of total population, the death of nearly 200 Palestinians in a single wave of aerial bombing is equivalent to the death of roughly 6,000 Americans.