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Daily Summary: The Israeli Elections and News from Palestine

Dear Reader,

Below you will find a selection of articles about the Israeli elections and news from Palestine. Please note that this is a random collection of news articles intended to give a 'heads-up' about current affairs in Israel-Palestine. It is not meant to reflect the views of OneVoice. Readers are encouraged to investigate headline stories further in other news sources for a variety of perspectives.

3.2.15

Israeli Elections

YNet, Alexandra Lukash, Gilad Morag: Shaffir supports reigniting ‘tent protest’
MK Stav Shaffir (Zionist Union), one of the leaders of the massive social protest in 2011, tells Ynet social protest that happened three and a half years ago never really ended. 

TOI, Melanie Lidman: As tents return to Tel Aviv, protestors hope second time’s the charm
In throwback to massive demonstration of 2011, activist celebrates 40th birthday by heading to Rothschild Blvd. in bid to bring election discussion back to economic issues.

Netanyahu

NYTimes, Peter Baker & Julie Hirschfeld Davis: Netanyahu tells AIPAC he intends no disrespect to Obama
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday opened his high-profile visit to the American capital by playing down any personal dispute with President Obama, but he said that he had a “moral obligation” to warn against the dangers of an American-brokered nuclear deal with Iran.

WaPo, Ruth Eglash & William Booth: Retired Israeli veterans warn against speech
Hours after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu set off Sunday for Washington, a group of 180 retired Israeli generals and former top security officials warned that his upcoming address to a joint meeting of Congress on Iran’s nuclear program will cause more harm than good.

TOI, Adiv Sterman & Marissa Newman: No disrespect to Obama, but Iran must be stopped, Netanyahu says
At AIPAC confab, prime minister thanks president for his support, says despite disagreements ahead of Congress speech, Israel-US relations have not faltered

Al-Monitor, Julian Pecquet: Here comes Bibi!
Congress turns its attention away from other business this week as it prepares for the addres of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Politics

JPost, Khaled Abu Toameh: Palestinians to file first ‘war crime’ case against Israel on April 1
April 1 marks the day when Palestinians officially become members of the International Criminal Court.

 Al-Monitor, Daoud Kuttab: Shooting of Fatah activist could doom security cooperation
The security coordination between Israel and the Palestinian Authority is in jeopardy after Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Fatah activist in the Dheisheh refugee camp.

Gaza

TOI, AFP: UN peace envoy chides world over lack of Gaza aid
Robert Serry says only a small percentage of $5.4 billion pledged for reconstruction of Strip was delivered
 

2.27.15

Israeli Elections

Haaretz, AP & Marker: Herzog: Netanyahu’s government spent billions on settlements instead of solving housing crisis
Zionist Union leader and Netanyahu's main rival lashes out at prime minister, calls on him not to speak to Congress in March.

NYTimes, Isaaz Herzog: Dividing the U.S. on Israel
My father, Chaim Herzog, first went to Washington in 1950 to help open the Israeli Embassy. Throughout his life, he was committed to the American-Israeli alliance and did his utmost — as a general, diplomat and president of Israel — to maintain the deep bond between the Jewish democratic state and the United States.

Politics

+972, the Seventh Eye: ‘The media makes Israeli Jews ignorant of Arab society’
How much do this country’s Jews really know about Arab society, especially around election time? The head of the Mossawa Center, Jafar Farah, says Israelis have only their media to blame for their ignorance.

YNet, Kobi Nahshoni: Criminal sanctions for Haredi draft dodgers should end, says Netanyahu
PM says in interview on haredi radio that decision not to include haredi parties in coalition was 'forced' on him and that 'a Jew should not have to go to prison for studying the torah'.

West Bank

NYTimes, Isabel Kershner: Israeli utility to stop disrupting electricity in West Bank
Israel’s state-owned electric company will stop disrupting power supplies to Palestinian districts in the West Bank after reaching an agreement with the Israeli government meant to help offset a ballooning debt, Israeli officials said on Friday.

WaPo, Anne-Marie O’Connor & William Booth: Israel to let water flow to West Bank development at center of political feud
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has intervened to allow the newly constructed Palestinian city of Rawabi in the West Bank to connect to Israeli-controlled water sources, Israeli senior officials said Friday.

JPost, Tovah Lazaroff: Rawabi, the first new Palestinian city, can finally open its doors
PMO announces that Israel’s Water Authority will hook Rawabi up to its grid.

2.20.15

Israeli Elections

Haaretz, Aimee Amiga: Watch: Israeli gov’t pouring billions into settlements via secret budget, Stav Shaffir tells Haaretz
When Israel's youngest lawmaker joined the Finance Committee she was shocked to discover huge sums of money being allocated without Knesset oversight.

Haaretz, Jonathan Lis: Likud campaigners change tune to drum up support for Netanyahu
The prime minister gets public support from key figures, promises to announce economic platform.

TOI, Jonathan Beck: Committee permits Likud ad linking left, Islamic State
Judge says he doesn’t have jurisdiction to ban campaign spots, ‘even if they leave one feeling uncomfortable’.

WaPo, William Booth: Meet the underdog Israeli candidate who might dethrone ‘King Bibi’
If he wins the upcoming elections, incumbent Benjamin Netanyahu will serve a historic fourth term as prime minister of Israel, earning his sobriquet “King Bibi.”

Politics

Al-Monitor, Ahmad Melhem: PA considers ending economic ties with Israel
Palestinians are discussing the possibility of rejecting the Paris Protocol and disengaging economically from Israel following Israel's decision to withhold tax revenues from the Palestinian Authority.

YNet: US jury awards Israel attack victims over $218m in PLO trial
More than a decade after Sokolow family wounded in Jerusalem bombing, Palestinian Authority found liable for aiding terrorists.

West Bank

YNet, Reuters: Israel electric company cuts power to West Bank cities over debt
State-owned utility temporarily halts electricity supply to Nablus and Jenin to pressure Palestinian Authority into paying $492 million bill.

YNet, Itay Blumenthal: Israel breaks up Hamas terror cell in West Bank
11-strong cell in Hebron had planned to carry out range of attacks against Israeli civilians, including suicide bombings.

TOI: IDF raids home of Jerusalem knife attacker
Victim’s condition improves; Barkat, who subdued stabber, visits victim in the hospital.

2.20.15

Israeli Elections

Al-Monitor, Mazal Mualem: Latest scandal could hand Kahlon election
The latest developments in the Netanyahu residence scandal might tip the electoral balance and drive Likud supporters toward Moshe Kahlon's center-right Kulanu Party.

TOI: Weekend polls find Likud, Zionist Union tied
Netanyahu-led right-wing bloc appears to have better prospect of building coalition; voters unfazed by spending allegations against PM

+972, Reuven Abergel: Israeli Black Panther: Mizrahim must boycott the elections
Since its establishment and until today, not a single election has fundamentally changed the status of Mizrahim in the ‘only democracy in the Middle East.’ Now we must use the only tool we have left at our disposal and refuse to participate in the game altogether. 

Haaretz, Jack Khoury: Poll: Most Arab voters want Joint List in next government
Message from constituency, expected to turn out in record numbers: 'We don't want to liberate Palestine – we want jobs, we want to earn a living.'

Politics

Al-Monitor, Arye Mekel: Why is Bibi’s speech to Congress key for Israel’s security?
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has headed the battle against nuclear Iran for many years, and his upcoming speech to Congress fits in with his concerns for Israel's existence.

TOI: A-G may decide Sunday whether to order probe into PM’s spending
TV report says investigation of alleged ‘low level’ criminal abuse of funds at PM’s residence ‘inescapable’, PM and wife may be called to testify

YNet, Moran Azulay: Likud pressuring State Comptroller to soften report on housing prices
MKs Miri Regev and Yariv Levin slam Comptroller over intention to publish report on housing problems close to election date; Likud source: 'We know the report will be published, our aim is to soften its content'.

Haaretz, Yossi Verter: When taking fire, Netanyahu knows exactly who to send to the front lines
The Likud MKs and ministers were called to defend the festival of wastage at the PM's residences didn’t believe a word they said. But when what’s at stake is their place in the next government, they hold their noses and do what’s expected of them.

Haaretz: Adelson keeping campaign wallet closed until ‘well into 2016’
Casino billionaire and Netanyahu supporter was largest single contributor during 2012 U.S. presidential campaign.

Gaza

JPost, Tovah Lazaroff: UN warns of renewed Gaza violence unless donors fulfill pledges
“Four months after the Cairo Conference, donors have yet to fulfill the vast majority of their pledges,” says UN under secretary for political affairs.

2.19.15

Israeli Elections

+972, Samah Salaime Egbariya: A glimmer of hope against incitement and racism
Jamal Zahalka promises that the Joint List will remain together for a long time, Dov Khenin tugs at our heart strings, the head of the Islamic Movement speaks of the men and women who make history, and Ayman Odeh, who heads the slate, calls on Arabs members of the Zionist parties to come back home.

NYTimes, Isabel Kershner: In online videos, Israeli candidates pursue ‘likes’ and votes
With a month to go before Israel’s elections on March 17, the race has turned into a contest of cheeky online videos, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the role of an eager babysitter, and from the studios of the center-left Zionist Union a decidedly unsexy “Fifty Shades of Black

YNet, Ehud Keinan: Facebook to add “I voted” button for Israeli elections
After launching similar initiatives in United States, India and European Parliament, Facebook to make voting feature available for Israeli users in bid to increase voter turnout.

Politics

TOI, Avi lewis: Unlike Netanyahu, Livni says, she keeps criticism of US ‘quiet’
Zionist Union co-leader slams PM’s upcoming US visit; tells American Jews Palestinian state the only way to solve refugee issue

TOI, Jonathan Beck: Netanyahu ‘preparing for criminal investigation’
PM hires lawyer to represent him on ‘BottleGate’ as well as alleged ‘systematic effort to have private expenses paid by the state’

Al-Monitor, Yuval Avivi: What the Kahane phenomenon can teach Israelis today
The Israeli far-right prefers to preserve late Meir Kahane as a historical figure, but with his recent production of "Kahane Was Right" playwright Yoav Itamar forces the Israeli public to confront contemporary Israeli stances on Kahane's controversial, far-right ideologies.

Al-Monitor, Mazal Mualem: Bibi’s opulent lifestyle won’t sway voters
The release of the state comptroller's report has confirmed the lavish household expenses of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, but it may not matter on election day.

2.18.15

Israeli Elections

+972, Samah Salaime Egbariya: A glimmer of hope against incitement and racism
Jamal Zahalka promises that the Joint List will remain together for a long time, Dov Khenin tugs at our heart strings, the head of the Islamic Movement speaks of the men and women who make history, and Ayman Odeh, who heads the slate, calls on Arabs members of the Zionist parties to come back home.

NYTimes, Isabel Kershner: In online videos, Israeli candidates pursue ‘likes’ and votes
With a month to go before Israel’s elections on March 17, the race has turned into a contest of cheeky online videos, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the role of an eager babysitter, and from the studios of the center-left Zionist Union a decidedly unsexy “Fifty Shades of Black

YNet, Ehud Keinan: Facebook to add “I voted” button for Israeli elections
After launching similar initiatives in United States, India and European Parliament, Facebook to make voting feature available for Israeli users in bid to increase voter turnout.

Politics

TOI, Avi lewis: Unlike Netanyahu, Livni says, she keeps criticism of US ‘quiet’
Zionist Union co-leader slams PM’s upcoming US visit; tells American Jews Palestinian state the only way to solve refugee issue

TOI, Jonathan Beck: Netanyahu ‘preparing for criminal investigation’
PM hires lawyer to represent him on ‘BottleGate’ as well as alleged ‘systematic effort to have private expenses paid by the state’

Al-Monitor, Yuval Avivi: What the Kahane phenomenon can teach Israelis today
The Israeli far-right prefers to preserve late Meir Kahane as a historical figure, but with his recent production of "Kahane Was Right" playwright Yoav Itamar forces the Israeli public to confront contemporary Israeli stances on Kahane's controversial, far-right ideologies.

Al-Monitor, Mazal Mualem: Bibi’s opulent lifestyle won’t sway voters
The release of the state comptroller's report has confirmed the lavish household expenses of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, but it may not matter on election day.

2.18.15

Israeli Elections
 
+972, Don Futterman: The threat of hope and truth in elections devoid of both
Proponents of a strong democracy should welcome young citizens sounding their voices. But a prime minister who builds his campaign on fear mongering clearly feels threatened by anyone grouping together the words ‘hope,’ ‘truth’ and ‘politics.’
 
TOI, Tamar Pileggi: Liberman: Allowing Zoabi to run a ‘disgrace to democracy’
Foreign Minister joins lawmakers on right in castigating court ruling overturning disqualification of Arab MK.

TOI, Raphael Ahren: The extremist who could bring Kahanism back to the Knesset
Having survived a bid to bar him, Boston-born ultra-nationalist Baruch Marzel is set to become an MK, though his dreams of expelling Israel’s Arabs are seen more as empty threats than actual danger

Al-Monitor, Ben Caspit: Bibi’s speech to Congress could tip electoral scale
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Zionist Camp Chair Isaac Herzog are practically in a tie, according to polls, but Netanyahu might tilt the balance with a charismatic speech to Congress.

Politics
 
NYTimes, Jodi Rudoren: Inquiry by Israeli comptroller criticizes spending habits of Netanyahu and wife
Food costs at the Israeli prime minister’s residence more than doubled after Benjamin Netanyahu took office in 2009, reaching nearly $120,000 in 2012, a third of it in takeout meals. The state paid about $2,000 a month to clean the Netanyahus’ private home in the seaside town of Caesarea, though the family spent most of its time in Jerusalem.
 
NYTimes, Jodi Rudoren: Reviving the art of debate in Israel
Until a few years ago, there was no Hebrew word for debate. Then in 2012, linguists adopted the term “mamat,” whose root means “confrontation,” which Yoni Cohen-Idov, an international debating champion, sees as symptomatic of what ails his nation’s political discourse.
 
WaPo, William Booth: Israel’s Netanyahu spent $24,000 on takeout, and it’s causing a scandal
After nine years with Benjamin Netanyahu as their prime minister, Israelis know a lot about him and his first lady, Sara. Now they also know how much the couple spends on hair and makeup, maid service and swimming pool water.
 
+972, Orly Noy: No parity between Zoabi’s democracy and Kahane’s racism
By simply discussing the disqualification of MK Haneen Zoabi and Baruch Marzel from the upcoming elections, the extreme right has already claimed another victory. 
 
YNet: Poll: Most Americans against Netanyahu US trip
CNN survey finds majority of respondents think House Speaker Boehner should not have extended invitation to Netanyahu to speak before Congress without consulting with White House, in contrary to an earlier poll conducted by YouGov/Huffington Post.
 
Tablet, Tal Trachtman Alroy: Report reveals Netanyahus’ ‘excessive’ spending
State Comptroller’s probe cites cleaning, dining, home maintainance costs

2.13.15

Israeli Elections

Haaretz, Judy Maltz: Israel’s political parties suddenly ‘discover’ English-speaking voters
Roughly 170,000 English-speakers live in Israel, among them new immigrants, old-timers and children of immigrants born in the country.

TOI, Justin Jalil: Jewish Home attacks Likud as parties spar over right-wing votes
Bennett’s party accuses Netanyahu of trying to lure away its voters and even planning a coalition with the left.

YNet, Moran Azulay: Bayit Yehudi: Netanyahu wants to take us out, form leftwing gov’t
Battle for rightwing voters heats up as Netanyahu and Bayit Yehudi lock horns; Bennett: Netanyahu posturing in hopes of stealing votes from US; top party source says PM working to destroy Bennett.

Politics

Haaretz, Eva Illouz: Be scared: Netanyahu’s secret weapon
Few democratically elected heads of government have made fear as blatantly defining of their political discourse as the prime minister.

+972, Orly Noy: The prestigious award that only goes to Ashkenazi men
While the prime minister’s attempt to intervene in the selection committee for Israel’s most prestigious prize is clearly anti-democratic, so is the fact that the vast majority of its recipients look exactly the same.

Al-Monitor, Hazem Balousha: Hamas, Dahlan share rivalry toward Abbas
Although officials say relations between former Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan and Hamas are limited to aid provided by Dahlan to the Palestinians in Gaza, the shared enmity toward President Mahmoud Abbas shows otherwise.

TOI, Avi Issacharoff: When Netanyahu closed the door on peace talks
The inside story of the negotiations between Peres and Abbas that almost led to a framework agreement in 2011.

TOI, Amanda Borschel-Dan: No BDS supporters for New York celebrate Israel parade
While right-wing groups claim the New Israel Fund has been ousted from the event, it’s still unclear who will be marching.

Gaza

WaPo, William Booth: War punishes Gaza
Half a year after devastating hostilities, life in the region seems worse than ever. Thousands remain displaced, internal violence is increasing – and Hamas is preparing for battle.

Opinion

Al-Jazeera, Marwan Bishara: Will Hillary save Netanyahu?
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is between a rock and a hard place. Locking horns with US President Barack Obama over his ill-timed speech to Congress, means he's likely to bruise regardless of whether he ends up delivering it or backs down.

2.12.15

Israeli Elections

+972, Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man: The road to a fourth Netanyahu gov’t runs through Haneen Zoabi
The ‘Zionist Camp’ needs the Arab parties in order to form a government. Its decision to vote for disqualifying Zoabi makes that support less and less likely.

PNN: MK Hanin Zoabi banned from running for elections
Israeli occupation central election committee on Thursday passed vote to exclude Palestinian MK Hanin Zoabi, from the Arab list that's running for Knesset elections next March.

Haaretz, Jonathan Lis: Zionist Union youth launch new election campaign—bashing Bibi
Activists attribute party's drop in the polls to lackluster campaign.

Politics

YNet: Poll: Majority of Americans think Obama should meet with Netanyahu
Joint YouGov and Huffington Post poll shows majority of respondents find Boehner's invitation for Netanyahu to address Congress inappropriate but still believe Congress should attend the speech.

TOI, JTA: EU official: No new sanctions against Israel
However, regulations demanding identification of settlements products before market to Europe may be enforced.

Al-Monitor, Ahmad Melhem: Hamas makes release of detainees condition for negotiations
Hamas is making the release of the detainees of the 2011 prisoner exchange deal a condition for any future negotiations, saying that Israel did not abide by the agreements.

Al-Monitor, Akiva Eldar: What does it mean to be a modern Zionist?
The term "Zionism" has been used and abused by Israeli politicians for decades, especially before election time, so perhaps a new civic perspective on the concept is in order.

JPost, Khaled Abu Toameh: Mahmoud Abbas in Belgium to rally support for Palestinian statehood bid
Abbas arrived in Brussels after a three-day visit to Sweden, where he inaugurated the Palestinian embassy in Stockholm.

Haaretz, Anshel Pfeffer: Netanyahu speaks for all Jews whether they like it or not
It's too late to say now that Netanyahu isn't speaking in the name of Jews around the world. He’s been doing it for years and very few have spoken out.

2.11.15

Israeli Elections

Haaretz, Jack Khoury: AG Weinstein: Zoabi shouldn’t be barred from Knesset run
There is no evidence that the firebrand Balad MK had supported an armed struggle against Israel, attorney general says.

Haaretz, Jonathan Lis: Arab list may seek place on sensitive Knesset security committee
‘It is impossible to expose classified material to MKs who praise Azmi Bishara,’ says Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman.

+972, Mairav Zonszein: Joint Arab list launches Hebrew campaign: ‘My answer to racism’
Jewish Israelis who value equality and want a ‘sane’ country should support the Arab-dominated list, chairman Ayman Odeh says at Tel Aviv launch event.

+972, A. Daniel Roth: Why I’m ‘giving’ my vote to a Palestinian in Israel’s elections
‘I very much want to vote for the party that best represents my ideological leanings; I’m waiving that right in these elections because so many others living under this government’s control can’t vote at all.’

Politics

Haaretz, Nimrod Bousso & Zvi Zrahiya: Lapid calls to nationalize the Jewish National Fund
After failed battle with quasi-governmental organization as finance minister last year, Lapid promises to take reform a step further in move he says will weed out corruption.

Al-Monitor, Nurit Canetti: Israelis take ‘Bridge to Arabic’
The Arabic studies project of the Israeli Arab Jisr az-Zarqa village encourages its Jewish students to substitute part of their tuition with service to the village, to strengthen their ties with local Arab residents.

Al-Monitor, Adnan Abu Amer: Hamas condemns killing of Jordanian pilot
Hamas speaks out in support of Jordan following the Islamic State’s brutal killing of Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kaseasbeh and also looks to repair relations with the Hashemite kingdom following a tense period.

TOI, Tamar Pileggi: ‘850 Shin Bet torture complaints yield no investigations’
Physicians for Human Rights says number of annual petitions against intelligence agency has grown fourfold since 2012.

TOI, Arye Mekel: What if Bibi is right?
Most Israeli political parties and most Israeli and American commentators are critical of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s decision to address Congress regarding the agreement currently negotiated with Iran, two weeks before the Israeli elections. Netanyahu and his supporters are on the defense,claiming that he has to go to Washington and speak.

NYTimes, Jodi Rudoren: Netanyahu says speech to congress is his duty
For the third time in three days, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel said Tuesday that he still planned to address a joint meeting of Congress next month on the Iranian nuclear program, despite mounting calls here and abroad for him to cancel.

West Bank/Settlements

YNet, Yaron Doron: NGO buys West Bank lands using forged documents
Police arrests three suspects involved in scheme that used Arab straw men and an NGO with an Arab name to fool Palestinian land owners into selling lands to Jews.

2.10.15

Israeli Elections

Haaretz: Bennett promises to ‘bring peace and tranquility’ to Arab localities affected by crime
Herzog: My first step as PM will be to mend U.S. ties; Zionist Union youth protest outside Netanyahu's residence; The latest Netanyahu expense scandal to come to light.

TOI, Ilan Ben Zion: J Street launches campaign against Netanyahu
Online petition says PM ‘cannot claim any mandate to speak for Jews in the US’ when he addresses Congress on Iran.

Al-Monitor, Shlomi Eldar: Labor candidate calls for coalition with Arab parties
In an interview with Al-Monitor, Labor Party candidate Zuhair Bahloul calls upon the Arab parties to adopt a different strategy and demonstrate willingness to join a Labor-led coalition after the elections.

Al-Monitor, Mazal Mualem: Israeli right ditches effort to topple Netanyahu
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, former Minister Moshe Kahlon and others are positioning themselves to join a possible right-wing coalition government after accepting the impossibility of toppling Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with votes from the center.

Haaretz, Asher Schechter: Israeli politics is for sale. Who’s buying?
Foreign donors have been trying to 'buy' Israeli politics long before the right wing launched attacks on the left last week. And the right has been doing much of the selling.

Politics

Haaretz, Barak Ravid: Netanyahu: Congress speech meant to highlight threat to Israel’s existence
PM says speech isn't meant to antagonize Obama; J Street urges Boehner to postpone address.

NYTimes, Jodi Rudoren: Netanyahu throws a punch in Israel’s newspaper war
The gloves came off in Israel on Monday as a fierce newspaper war exploded into the country’s harsh election campaign.

+972, Edo Knorad: Netanyahu is losing it
From his growing conflict with the White House to frantic attacks on the media, there’s something off with Israel’s prime minister.

YNet, Avital Lahav: Lapid sets sights on nationalizing KKL-JNF
Yesh Atid leader says he'll propose bill to transfer billions of shekels from KKL-JNF's coffers into the state treasury. The decision to bring KKL-JNF into the fold was one of the main disputes that led to the collapse of the gov't; KKL-JNF: Lapid's trying to get votes and headlines on our expense.

TOI, AFP: Nascent Palestine to open embassy in Sweden as Abbas visits
Swedish premier tells Palestinian leader that statehood comes with expectations.

Al-Monitor, Daoud Kuttab: Former Knesset speaker declares Zionism over
Former Knesset Speaker Avraham Burg has said that Zionism "expired" with the establishment of the Israeli state in 1948, and that society should move toward citizenship rather than nationalism.

TOI, Tamar Pileggi: Top senator to skip Netanyahu’s speech, calls invite ‘tawdry’
Joining growing list of those who won’t attend, Patrick Leahy bashes Republicans for bringing Israeli leader without coordinating visit.

2.9.15

Israeli Elections

Haaretz, Jonathan Lis: Netanyahu rules out coalition with ‘left-wing’ parties
Prime minister says Bennett's Habayit Hayehudi will be part of Likud government; poll gives Likud, Zionist Camp 23 seats each.

+972, Gila Zamir: How Zionism is pitting Jewish parties against each other
The Arab parties have understood that they better stick together so that they don’t crash into pieces like the Jewish parties – all because of the hysteria over being the most Jewish-Zionist-Israeli of all.

Al-Monitor, Akiva Eldar: Unity government a recipe for diplomatic disaster
Zionist Camp co-chair Isaac Herzog has refused to reject joining a unity government with the Likud, although the leftist parties in such governments typically end up serving as "defense attorney" for right-wing policies.

Haaretz, Uri Misgav: Election Campaigns: Parties are not really fighting for voters
This is either the calm before the election storm, or the calm before post-election power plays to secure a place in the coalition.

Politics

YNet, Ronny Douek: A real test for Israel’s leaders
Op-ed: Asking politicians what they would do in their first 100 days in power would give them focus, and make them truly accountable.

Ynet,Yitzhak Benhorin & Gilad Morag: Obama warns Netanyahu: Don’t sour Iran talks with Congress speech
US president says difference in stance on Tehran is separate from the decision not to meet with PM during his Washington visit; Netanyahu says he's determined to speak to Congress to 'prevent dangerous agreement' with Iran.

JPost, Khaled Abu Toameh: Hamas accuses Palestinian Authority of planning to instigate Gaza unrest
Senior Hamas official says a number of suspects have been arrested in connection with alleged scheme.

JPost, Reuters: Netanyahu: Speech at Congress not political, it’s existential
The Prime Minister reaffirmed his previous statements the his speech before congress is not about the elections, but stopping Iran.

+972, Lisa Goldman: Arab, Leftist high schoolers walk out on Naftali Bennett’s speech
Bennett suggests Arabs steal Jewish property during conference for Israeli high schoolers who will be voting in their first elections. Activist says he was threatened by Shin Bet outside the event.

TOI, Elhanan Miller: Western embassies pushing Arabs to vote, says Joint List’s counsel
‘If Herzog supports Zoabi disqualification, he can forget about being prime minister,’ warns Hassan Jabareen
 

2.5.15

Israeli Elections

Haaretz, Rotem Starkman: His rivals are drafting economic plans, but Netanyahu has nothing
Likud has won two elections and stayed in power for six years without a vision or a platform, and is trying for a third.

Al-Monitor, Mazal Mualem: Zionist camp, leftist Meretz battle over base
Meretz Chairwoman Zehava Gal-On is campaigning to preserve her party's constituency, which is turning toward the Zionist Camp list in hopes of an electoral upset.

Politics

JPost: ‘Abbas may halt security cooperation with Israel unless Palestine is created’
Israel Radio quotes unnamed diplomat well-versed in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

TOI, Raphael Ahren: Should Netanyahu cancel his speech to Congress?
PM’s options amid crisis with the White House include calling his visit off, postponing it, remaking it, or taking a friend. For now, he’s set to proceed as planned

Haaretz, Ari Shavit: The Zionist argument against Netanyahu
Consistently and methodically, albeit unintentionally, Mr. Security is undermining Israel's security.

Gaza

Al-Monitor, Adnan Abu Amer: Hamas declares opening of Gaza seaport
Hamas is working to open and operate its Gaza seaport, especially since countries such as Turkey, Cyprus and Greece apparently have agreed to send and receive ships from Gaza.

Ynet, Reuters: Egypt, Norway urge donors to pay $5.4b aid pledged for Gaza
Organizers of reconstruction conference say reconstruction of Strip slow as majority of pledges yet to be received.

Opinion

NYTimes, Roger Cohen: Israel needs a grown-up
A pivotal Israeli election looms in March with one man towering over it: Benjamin Netanyahu. “It’s us or him,” says a slogan of the opposition Zionist Camp, as the prime minister seeks a fourth term. People tire of the same face; there’s a shelf life for any leader in a democracy. Netanyahu’s would-be successors are betting that, after a cumulative nine years in power, he has exhausted his.

2.4.15

Israeli Elections

YNet, Yehuda Shohat: ‘How dare you call us traitors?’
V15 founders Itamar Weizman and Nimrod Dweck have had a boost in recent days thanks to accusations from Likud; but the two insist they are non-partisan and that the claims against them are ridiculous.

Haaretz, Jonathan Lis: New Israel Fund and V15 group fire back at Likud
Police complaint, threat of lawsuit come in response to ‘inciteful’ claim of illegal activities.

Haaretz, Jonathan Lis: Habayit Hayehudi barred from handing out fruit for Tu Bishvat
Herzog tells students Likud will leave them homeless; 40 days to go: Polls see Likud gathering steam.

Haaretz: Israel election 2015: Poll central

Politics

NYTimes, Thomas Friedman: A bad mistake
The decision by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and House Speaker John Boehner to cook up an address to Congress by Netanyahu on why the U.S. should get tougher on Iran is churlish, reckless and, for the future of Israeli-American relations, quite dangerous.

TOI, AP: Israeli ambassador gets an earful from Jewish Dems
In wake of controversy over Netanyahu’s Senate speech, Ron Dermer told ‘Israel should never be used as a political football’

TOI, Judah Ari Gross: Biden, other Democrats may skip Netanyahu’s speech
J Street lobby urges Boehner to postpone controversial Congressional address till after the Israeli elections

Al-Monitor, Ben Caspit: Israel reluctantly accepts Hamas rule
Israel has quietly changed its stance toward Gaza with a loosening of the blockade to improve the transfer of goods and movement of people in the hope of averting another explosion in the enclave.

+972, Avner Gvaryahu: Israel’s president went to Hebron for all the wrong reasons
Instead of ignoring the Palestinian stores and homes whose doors the army welded shut, instead of ignoring the racist graffiti and segregation, President Rivlin had an opportunity to look occupation in the eyes. He didn’t.

West Bank/Settlements

Ma’an: Activists raise Palestinian flags on annexed land near Bethlehem
 Palestinian activists on Wednesday raised Palestinian flags and pictures of the late PA minister Ziad Abu Ein on land confiscated by Israel south of Bethlehem.

Gaza

Al-Monitor, Shlomi Eldar: Fate of Gazans is in Hamas’ hands
The Hamas movement is at a decisive crossroads: either it relinquishes its military control and concentrates on rehabilitating the Gaza Strip or it risks destroying all of Gaza's residents.

2.3.15

Israeli Elections

TOI, David Horovitz: The defiantly hopeful Zionism of Stav Shaffir
Never mind ‘Bottlegate.’ Israel’s youngest female MK alleges systematic corruption involving tens of billions a year, going back decades, in the state budget. Naturally, she insists, her party will root it out if elected. And ensure a better future for Israel

Tablet, Tal Trachtman Alroy: Campaign videos stir controversy in Israel
Making sense of the Israeli elections is a difficult task. With a vast array of political parties to choose from, and with each throwing blame and pointing fingers at the others, the election season can be confusing, disheartening, and terribly amusing for news consumers and voters alike.

Al-Monitor, Mazal Mualem: Sephardic candidates face real discrimination in elections
Ahead of the elections, the Israeli political system still shies away from confronting the phenomenon of ''ethnic voting,'' where Sephardic candidates receive less support than those of European candidates.

JPost, Gil Hoffman: Livni, Meretz, mock Lapi anti-corruption plan
According to the plan, anyone convicted of a crime that includes moral turpitude will never be allowed to serve as a minister or member of Knesset again.

JPost, Niv Elis: In Zionist Union platform, Trajtenberg calls for giving land for free
Koolanu's Kahlon calls for splitting credit cards from banks.

+972: Just another exclusionary democracy in the Mideast
This state has never truly recognized the injustices it is responsible for: the Nakba, the occupation or the poor treatment of Mizrahim. And yet, we still have an obligation to try and make this a place worth living in. 

+972: Israeli media coverage: An election with no Arabs?
What does it say about the mainstream media when it took over two months for one of Israel’s most well-read newspapers to include a photo of a non-Jew in its special elections coverage section? 

Politics

Ma’an: Hamas blasts Israel after head of Gaza inquiry resigns
Hamas on Tuesday accused Israel of exerting pressure on the head of a UN commission investigating possible war crimes by Israeli forces during last year's military offensive in the Gaza Strip

TOI, Marissa NewmanOutgoing head of UN Gaza probe pans Netanyahu, Liberman
William Schabas calls PM, FM ‘masters of extravagant, ridiculous statements'; says he was ‘obstacle’ to commission’s work

TOI, Tamar Pileggi: Top White House aid to visit Israel despite flagging ties
Philip Gordon, known for critical statements, will meet with senior officials in Jerusalem, Ramallah

YNet, Elior Levy & Reuters: Abbas orders probe into Palestinian cartoon of Prophet Mohammed
Palestinian paper publishes clarification for cartoon of Prophet Mohammed reaching into a heart-shaped pouch to sow seeds of love around the world

YNet, Moran Azulay: Politicians pressure police to question 4 MKs snagged in corruption probe
Yesh Atid MK, Meretz hopefuls demand attorney general order police to summon suspects for investigation immediately.

Gaza

Al-Monitor, Daoud Kuttab: Fatah power struggle leads to missing paychecks in Gaza
A series of internal conflicts in Fatah has been deepened by a decision to withhold the salaries of Gaza-based security officers said to be supporters of Mohammed Dahlan, President Mahmoud Abbas' chief rival.

U.N. Inquiry

Wafa: Netanyahu welcomes resignation of UN fact finding committee’s chief
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Tuesday welcomed the resignation of the Chairman of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the 2014 Gaza-Israel Conflict, William Schabas, according to Israeli media sources.

Al-Arabiya, AFP: Head of U.N. Gaza war inquiry quits amid Israeli anger<
The head of a U.N. inquiry into the 50-day war in Gaza last year has resigned after Israel accused him of a "conflict of interest", the United Nations said Tuesday.

2.2.15

Israeli Elections

Haaretz, Kobi Niv: Without Arabs, there won’t be democracy in Israel
Jewish-Arab cooperation is the only way to stop Israel from careening down the nationalist-fanatic slope

JPost, Gil Hoffman: Labor and Yesh Atid ink surplus vote agreement
Labor and Yesh Atid signed the first surplus vote agreement of the 2013 election on Monday.

TOI, Adiv Sterman: Likud hires top Republican strategist ahead of elections
Amid furor over V15’s ties to Obama campaigner, Likud to be advised by Vincent Harris, who worked with senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz

TOI, Tamar Pileggi: Leftist sponsor spooks Likud, Jewish home away from Confab
Both the Likud and Jewish Home parties canceled their planned participation in Haaretz’s annual “Israel Democracy Conference” after discovering the event was sponsored by the left-wing organization the New Israel Fund this week.

Haaretz, Yossi Verter: Haaretz Poll: Netanyahu gaining strength with 25 seats, while Herzog falls to 23
New Haaretz-Dialog poll gives Likud three more seats than those predicted in last survey, in January.

Politics

YNet, Itamar Eichner: New paper reveals Israel’s damage control efforts on Palestinian ICC bid
Foreign Ministry report disseminated to all missions abroad outlines Israel's central arguments against ICC preliminary probe into possible war crimes. 

JPost, Khaled Abu Toameh: Hamas no longer accepts Egypt as Israel mediator, source close to group says
Court in Cairo rules to ban the Qassam Brigades and list it as terrorist organization.

 Al-Monitor, Julian Pecquet: Palestinian Authority on the hot seat
A look at the Middle East issues Congress will be addressing the week of Feb. 2.

YNet, Aviel Magenzi:  02 March 2015 See Post

Israeli Election Headlines English Bar Event

On January 27, OneVoice held its second English-language “Peace Pays Off at the Bar” event at Patrick’s Pub in central Tel Aviv to attract Israel’s international community. The guest speaker was Daniel Ben-Simon, acclaimed journalist and former Member of Knesset for the Labor Party. The event brought in over 50 English-speaking attendees from Israel, the United States, Canada, Russia, and more.

There was a buzz of anticipation about the room as a steady stream of attendees arrived, pulled up chairs close to the stage. “I’m here because I saw the event on Facebook and thought it looked interesting,” said Ethan, 22, a local journalist originally from New York. “I also have friends attending the event, which made it more likely for me to come.”

OVI’s Sharon Siegel, the event organizer, brought the crowd to attention and introduced the theme of Ben-Simon’s talk: the upcoming elections. “Whether you are here for only a short period of time, or you’re planning to stay here long-term, you can get involved,” she said.

When Ben-Simon took the stage, he was quick to emphasize the importance of Israel’s March 17 election. “This election will change the face of Israel and the history of Israel,” he said, “but most people are too angry or disinterested to vote.”

Ben-Simon revealed what he believes to be the most important issue in the election: “what to do with the West Bank.” He went on to speculate that, in the discourse around the elections, the West Bank is likely to be overlooked in favor of the economy. “Most Israelis don’t feel the lack of a Palestinian state, but they do feel that their living standard has lowered so much over the last few years that they cannot afford another four years of this economy.”

During his talk, Ben-Simon criticized the government’s unwillingness to negotiate with Israel’s Arab neighbors. “You cannot close the window and say you do not see anything. We need to open Israel and be a part of this region.”

Other topics of Ben-Simon’s talk included an indictment of the religious right for stalling negotiations with the Palestinians, and the practice of recruiting celebrities to serve in political parties as a way of garnering votes. “If you have more celebrities you can get more votes, it makes a parody of the Knesset.”

In the end, Ben-Simon restated the importance of the upcoming election and urged everyone to get involved and vote. “The political game can determine how we live and if we live.”

After his talk, Ben-Simon answered a few questions from the audience, and was followed by Guy Simon, a representative of the non-profit agency, Kol Oleh, which brings information about Israeli politics and the upcoming election to English-speaking immigrants. Simon presented information about several political parties that will be important in the upcoming elections and the key issues of their platforms.

“I think these things are necessary for new immigrants - helping them figure out how to navigate the political process,” said Riana, an attendee at the event. Cydney, a photographer from Atlanta attending the event, said, “For someone like me, who is considering moving to Israel, I think it’s important to be aware of what is going in in Israeli politics. I’m definitely glad I came.” 

Guy Simon Kol Oleh

Guy Simon of Kol Oleh speaks to audience members about the Israeli elections.

27 January 2015 See Post

First English-Language “Peace Pays off at the Bar” a Success

OneVoice Israel’s (OVI) successful “Peace Pays Off at the Bar” events continued on January 6, when 150 people from Israel’s vibrant international community packed the Casa Veranda bar in Tel Aviv to learn about what it will take for peace between Israel and Palestine.

Americans, Russians, Norwegians, Brits, Germans and other internationals stood elbow-to-elbow at OVI’s inaugural English bar event organized and led by OVI intern Sharon Siegel. The audience listened intently to event speaker Gershon Baskin as he described his diplomatic experience and relationships with the people of Palestine. He endorsed a negotiated two-state solution as the only way to move forward with a peace agreement.

Baskin, a man passionate about this topic, said that the majority of the Palestinian people want peace and support a two-state solution. “What I'm saying is that this is doable; what we know about public opinion research is that the majority of Israelis and the majority of Palestinians would accept an agreement if they believed that there was a partner for peace on the other side.”

He went on to indict the current government in Israel for failing to make negotiations with the Palestinians a priority. “Israel is a start-up nation,” he said, “and we're a country that puts out new patents every morning. But on the issue most important to us, what puts lives on the line every day, we have zero initiative, and that's on Netanyahu.”

Baskin inspired hope for peace as well. “The amazing thing about human beings is our capacity to learn from our mistakes. There's no reason to think that in a negotiated agreement they'll go the same way and we'll make the same mistakes.”

At the end of his talk, Baskin turned toward the topic of Israel’s upcoming elections. “On March 17, we have to get out the vote. On March 17, we have to make a change. We as Israelis have a responsibility to bring home a government that will return to serious negotiations with the Palestinians.

“This is life and death. It matters for every single one of us, and every single one of us can make a difference,” he concluded.

After Baskin’s talk, he opened the floor for questions from the crowded room. After answering questions on topics like Hamas, the rise of radical Islam, and the current unrest in the West Bank, an audience member named David finally asked, “I wonder if you have any hope for March? Do you believe there’s a viable candidate to challenge Netanyahu?”

“I believe there is a chance that the next government will be headed by Isaac Herzog,” Baskin responded, “and if we want to have a center-left government, we need to convince people that there is hope. When people don't have hope, they vote for people like Netanyahu.”

At the end of this very successful event, OneVoice gained many new supporters from all across the international community. Alisa, a production manager from Russia, said, “it was an amazing event and I'm grateful I came here because I heard a different perspective than I've heard over the last few months. I've heard over and over that there is no partner for peace. This is the first time I've heard from someone I respect that peace is possible. This makes me want to move forward more and spread this farther.”

Gershon Baskin mingles with event particpants during OVI's "Peace Pays Off at the Bar" event.

Gershon Basken (center), with OVI staff from left to right: intern Aaron Pilcher, Project Manager Elanit Green, intern and event organizer Sharon Siegel, OVI activist Roise Perper, and intern Eric Canosa.

12 January 2015 See Post

Palestinian Activists Illuminate Bethlehem with Christmas Eve Popular Resistance

Christmas Eve is a day of celebration for many around the globe, and thousands of people from all walks of life flock to Bethlehem’s Manger Square to take in the sights of the season. OneVoice Palestine saw the day as primed for mass public engagement and sent 80 of our best youth leaders from 22 chapters in the West Bank to promote popular resistance against the occupation and conflict among the crowd.

Preparations for this event took place weeks ahead of Christmas Eve, with the staff and volunteers meeting, discussing, and planning to execute what turned to be one of OVP’s biggest events in years.

OVP coordinated with the chapter heads of Bethlehem, Hebron, Nablus, and Jericho, and it would be a lie to say there wasn’t any pressure on the staff. There were legitimate concerns about logistics and safety. Adding to the pressure was the known presence of media outlets from local agencies and news reporters from around the globe. We needed to present OneVoice’s message and vision for nonviolent activism and the two-state solution in the best way possible. We needed to paint an inspirational image for thousands of Palestinians and tourists visiting Bethlehem on Christmas Eve.

Early Wednesday morning, the youth leaders arrived in OVP’s office in Bethlehem. All donned a specially designed sweatshirt that encouraged tourists to speak to their communities about Palestine through acknowledging Palestinian rights of freedom and self-determination. OneVoice staff briefed the youth leaders about the program and divided them into small groups to reach the most people. The staff and youth leaders walked the main street of Bethlehem wearing Palestinian keffiyehs, checkered black and white scarves that are a symbol of Palestinian nationalism and an icon of Palestinian solidarity.

When we reached Manger Square, morale was high. We wanted this event to succeed, but more importantly we wanted our voices to be heard. We set up a small stand with fliers and coffee. The coffee cups carried the OneVoice logo and messages from our previous “Wake Up! What is Your Role?” campaign. We printed and handed out hundreds of brochures and “passports” with clear messages about non-violent activism, the two-state solution, the Arab Peace Initiative, and a message from our staff and youth leaders to the international community to recognize Palestine as a state on the 1967 borders.

Palestinians visiting Bethlehem found the event intriguing. They asked the youth leaders about the logo and the initiative. OneVoice offered the crowd coffee and engaged many in long conversations about Palestinian national interests. In some cases the conversation turned into long debates about the Palestinian leadership’s vision and non-violent activism. Not all Palestinians we met in Bethlehem showed support for our work, but the majority was pleased by the youth leaders’ enthusiasm and courage.

The event was remarkable. The keffiyehs were everywhere and the passports were a big hit; everyone wanted one! Internationals nodded in approval and encouraged the youth leaders to continue down the path of non-violent activism. They took photos with our activists and one in particular was shouting “two-states” at the camera! Local media outlets followed us around, too. They interviewed OVP Executive Director Samer Makhlouf and senior activist Raya Fatayer. Two hours later we ran out of passports! We were also running low on fliers. We didn’t anticipate how huge the crowd was.

Afterward, the youth leaders marched back to our office, exhausted but very proud of what we accomplished. For many youth leaders it was an extraordinary experience. For others it was a quick stop to refuel. As for the staff, we are excited for the next step. OneVoice generated momentum that day. It was a much needed win to ignite hope and a reminder why we all love doing what we do.

We dined as a team later that evening. OneVoice staff thanked everyone and reminded them why our work is important. We also took the opportunity to give out certificates to the youth leaders who participated in our training program, and celebrated the hard work of our senior youth leaders who had a wonderfully constructive year. That evening, we looked around the room and saw hope in the eyes of our youth leaders. OVP’s community shined as a great example of what hard work, popular resistance, and a simple idea can accomplish.

Wasim Almasri is OneVoice Palestine's Communications Officer.

30 December 2014 See Post

Candles Shine on Peace Talk Social at Haifa Bar

On December 25, OneVoice Israel (OVI) hosted its inaugural “Peace Pays Off at the Bar” event in Haifa at the Syncopa Bar. Despite a power outage in the neighborhood, 160 participants from all walks of life came out, making it the largest bar event to date – with or without electricity!

“Peace Pays Off at the Bar” is an expansion of OVI’s "Peace, It Also Pays Off!" campaign, which asked Israelis to consider how they would rather spend 32 billion shekels—the amount the conflict costs Israel each year at the expense of social and economic programs. 

Participants had the pleasure to hear MK Ilan Gilon and Professor Danny Gutwein speak. MK Gilon (Meretz) was deputy mayor of Ashdod as well as member of the Labor, Welfare, and Health Committee. He was chairman of both the subcommittee for pension plans and the subcommittee of the Knesset for disabled access. Professor Gutwein, a Haifa resident since birth and an associate professor at Haifa University, served as head of the Department of the History of Israel and is a member of the University Senate. Prof. Gutwein deals with economic and social issues: focusing on inequality, the dismantling of the welfare state, and the connection between the occupation and privatization.

Both men spoke about the social issues plaguing Israel and how the upcoming elections are so important in making a difference in improving these problems. In addition, they discussed the rise in settlement building and how much of an effect it has on the Israeli economy.

“The settlement enterprise is a compensation mechanism to the collapse of the welfare state,” Prof. Gutwein stated. “When the country eliminates social services within the country it invests more in the settlements. We don't have public housing, but the settlements are so cheap. As we undermine the welfare within Israel the settlements in the West Bank get stronger.”

Ilan Gilon had strong words on the topics of social justice and racism saying, “We are surrounded by racism in Israel where people don't rent to Ethiopian, Arab, and gay citizens. We have to change this.” He also addressed the upcoming elections. “The fight in this election is to be released from the occupation and give the country back to most of its citizens…People separate their political agenda from their social agenda but in my view there is no distinction; my political outlook stems from the concept of a social world.”

Special guest Shevach Weiss, former member of Knesset and Speaker of the Knesset during Yitzhak Rabin’s second government, attended the event and stated his belief that “the upcoming elections have the momentum to bring about peace.”

The large turnout and positive response to this Haifa Peace Pays off at the Bar event marks it as an accomplishment in the path toward public engagement and peace. Yonie, a student from Haifa University, said “this event was very worthwhile; I enjoyed myself and learned a lot from both the speakers. I intend to participate in more OVI events.”

OVI plans to hold more events with the hopes for even larger audiences in the near future.

Aaron Pilcher and Sharon Siegel and interns at OneVoice Israel.

Scene from the candle-lit Syncopa Bar during the OVI event.

MK Ilan Gilon (center) with Professor Danny Gutwein (left).

OVI northern regional director Nimrod Barnea (standing top right) with MK Ilan Gilon (center) with Professor Danny Gutwein (left).

29 December 2014 See Post

Final 2014 OVE Tour a Record-Breaker Despite Feeling Regional Reverberations

OneVoice Europe (OVE) dedicated eight November days to talk diplomacy, conflict resolution, and the importance of non-violent activism with 732 London, Birmingham, and Leicester residents – an OVE record – in the last Outreach and Education tour of the year.

Keren Nebenhaus of OneVoice Israel and a representative from OneVoice Palestine traveled with OVE’s Education Director Sharon Alsoodani to mosques, synagogues, and universities in search of proactive and productive discussions that challenged traditional stereotypes of Israelis among British citizens.

Beginning in the London Central Mosque, OVE shared a platform with speaker and Founder of Building Bridges for Peace, Jo Berry. Berry talked reconciliation and her own experience of meeting Pat Magee, the Irish Republican Army member who killed her father in 1984.

“When I met [Pat], I wanted to see him as a real human being,” Jo said. “I remember thinking: ‘He doesn’t look like a terrorist’ – he had a sensitivity about him and an understanding of the seriousness of the situation. But in planting that bomb, in using violence, he lost some of his humanity.”

The mosque invited Jo to talk about what lessons could be learned from the Northern Ireland experience for those involved in the Israel-Palestine peace process. This approach resonated with the audience – the discussion went on longer than planned as mosque members were so keen to ask questions of the OneVoice activists after the talk.

Other stops on the London leg of the tour included the Liberal Jewish Synagogue, the Al-Hikma Islamic School, and the University College School Jewish Society. Most audience members across both Jewish and Muslim groups said they felt a personal connection with the conflict, spurring the huge amount of interest in the regional speakers. It was clear that, whatever their views, young people in the UK are open to hearing from the other side; indeed, that they want to find a way to understand with them. At the Chingford Foundation School, one pupil said: “All religions value forgiveness and we need to let [hate and mistrust] go and all sit down and communicate.”

Parts of the tour were impacted by the violence in the region. Our event at Kings College was cancelled after four rabbis were murdered in Jerusalem, and as a result the students felt it was an inappropriate time to discuss peace. There can be no better illustration of the way in which violence shuts down dialogue, stifling voices for peace – it was a sobering reminder of how hard we have to work.

At the Leicester Doc Media Group, an organization that arranges local film festivals and promotes citizen journalism, we put on a small event with an audience desperate for the opportunity to vent their frustrations on this issue. The attendees were very interested in meeting with an Israeli to counter the stereotypes they read about in the news.  We discussed the possibility of making a solidarity film as well as other forms of activism in the future. Organiser John Coster, in his fifth year running the Leicester Docfilm Festival, is keen to invite OneVoice back as part of a tour based in the Midlands, and discussions are underway.

As the tour came to a close, Keren reflected on her time in the UK.

“I learned that it's very common to dehumanize someone that you don't know, and therefore it's important to insist on constantly challenging perceptions of ‘the other side,’” Keren said. “Ignorance can turn the best intentions into a danger. It reinforced my belief that people are not good or bad - they are simply human.”

The OVE tour is something completely unique in the UK, offering young people a different, more active way to get involved in the conflict, a very painful topic for many of them. It is our hope there will be some more positive developments for students to lend their support to in 2015.

The Moseley School session during the OVE November Outreach and Education Tour.

Feature Image: Students with OVE Director Sharon Alsoodani (left) and Keren (back) at the Al-Hikma Islamic School.

16 December 2014 See Post

OneVoice on the Death of Palestinian Minister Ziad Abu Ein

OneVoice is saddened and deeply troubled by the death of Palestinian Authority minister Ziad Abu Ein, at a nonviolent protest in Area C of the West Bank yesterday. The circumstances surrounding this tragedy are deeply disturbing. Nobody should lose their life at a non-violent protest, and we condemn any actions that may have contributed to this tragedy.   

Ziad had participated in OneVoice Palestine's tree planting initiative in Salfeet in November, and was a stalwart supporter of non-violence and of a two-state solution. Poignantly, mere days ago he posted a Facebook status congratulating our activists on their non-violent activism (see below). The thoughts and prayers of our staff and youth leaders are with his family.

Most importantly, we call on all those in Israel and Palestine to refrain from acts that might inflame tensions, and to use these tragic events to push for what Ziad Abu Ein was out on that hilltop yesterday to accomplish: an end to occupation and violence, and the achievement of a two-state solution.

11 December 2014 See Post

“Peace Pays Off at the Bar” Quenches Israeli Thirst for Politics

OneVoice Israel (OVI) hosted its first “Peace Pays Off at the Bar” gathering outside of Tel Aviv at the Agnes Bar in Hod Hashoron. The December 1 social event, featuring guest speaker Gershon Baskin, was successful in engaging a new swath of the Israeli public at a time when political upheaval has taken Israel by storm.

The Agnes was packed wall-to-wall with 50 people, the crowd representing all aspects of Israeli society. Baskin, an OVI board member and the founder and co-chairman of the Israel-Palestine Creative Regional Initiative (IPCRI), spoke to a wide variety of issues relating to the peace process and about his many years of experience working with Israelis and Palestinians – publicly and privately – to promote understanding of both narratives in the conflict. Baskin is well known for his keen political insight and his secret back-channel meetings between Israel and Hamas that successfully negotiated the release of Israeli solider Pvt. Gilad Shalit.

“We got very close to an agreement with the Palestinians, at least twice before,” Baskin told the audience. “Today, many of them have lost faith in reaching an agreement with us. [But] the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be solved.”

“As an Israeli citizen who loves this place and is proud to be an Israeli, there is no other place I would want to live. The conflict is resolvable and we can reach a formula acceptable to both nations. We have people who agree to the outline of a peace based on two states.”

“Peace Pays Off at the Bar” is an expansion of OVI’s "Peace, It Also Pays Off!" campaign, which asked Israelis to consider how they would rather spend 32 billion shekels—the amount the conflict costs Israel each year at the expense of social and economic programs. The first “Peace Pays Off at the Bar” event took place at the Little Prince in Tel Aviv on October 6 that saw Col. (Ret.) Miri Eisin speak to 70 people.

Dan Shika, OVI’s Central Regional Director, commented on the prospects of spreading “Peace at the Bar” beyond Tel Aviv, saying, “This was my first event held outside of Tel Aviv and I am very pleased that we were able to get the OVI message to 50 new people and hopefully by word of mouth our message will continue to spread throughout the area.”

Dan Shika

Above: OVI Central Regional Director Dan Shika introduces Gershon Baskin at The Agnes Bar on December 1.

Aaron Pilcher is OneVoice Israel's Fall 2014 intern

05 December 2014 See Post

Unlocking Peace: Play Your #GivingTuesday Role

What is #GivingTuesday? What is OneVoice? Learn how you can play your role to end the occupation and conflict in Israel and Palestine! Support the noble efforts of our youth leaders engaging their respective peoples in this very important conversation. Check out this informative SlideShare presentation to learn more!

 

 

02 December 2014 See Post

Israeli-Arab Outreach Fosters Mutual Need For Peace

“There is no other way but to live together. It is impossible not to make peace.” - Samir Hussein, Deir Hanna Municipality

The citizens of Sakhnin, a village in northern Israel, are predominately Arab. They are part of an Israeli-Arab demographic of 2 million – one-fifth of Israel’s population.

The importance of Israel’s Arab community in the discussion of peace and social justice is not lost on OneVoice Israel (OVI) staff. On November 20, Regional Director Nimrod Barnea and intern Aaron Pilcher drove up north to speak to these very issues.

“Relations with Israeli Arabs are imperative for OVI, and we do have Arab Israeli activists in our campus recruiting work,” said Nimrod. “These relations help us learn more about the other narratives and social struggles within Israel.”

Fifteen people from local municipalities and various peace organizations attended the meeting in Sakhnin, including the village’s mayor, Mazin G'Nayem.

“Our leaders think that the land is more valuable than human life and we need to change that,” Mayor G’Nayem said. “We [take to the streets and] demonstrate for two things: peace with our Palestinian brothers and peace with our Jewish brothers.”                 

Neta Peleg from Kibbutz Be’eri, a southern Israeli community near the Gaza border, said, “If we continue to keep silent, we let the extremists from both sides win and they will push us farther into the conflict. We cannot allow this to happen.  All of us should use our voices and speak out against them. We should not let the extremists run or lives.”

This was a very unique opportunity for OVI. It was a chance to hear voices outside the Israeli mainstream, and it was amazing to see that in spite of the violence happening around the country and in Palestine, there are still voices for peace. OVI has not participated in an event like this in the past year, but plans to host similar meetings with members of the Israeli-Arab community – outreach that must be done regularly to foster understanding and trust within Israeli society.

“This gathering proves there is hope; it warms one’s heart,” said Dacwar Edgar, head of the Fassuta Municipality, toward the end of the meeting. “I wish to close with a message of peace, equality, and togetherness.  This is the only way we will succeed. We should leave here in partnership. There is no other way.”

01 December 2014 See Post

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