Category Archives: Israel/Palestine

Arab Freedom Is Good for Israel

The Huffington Post
Posted: February 14, 2011
By Sanjeev Bery

Whatever their rivalries, the authoritarian leaders of the Middle East did not want to see Hosni Mubarak removed from power. When you are a dictator – even with the title “King” – the forced departure of another dictator is not the kind of precedent you want set.

Worth noting is that this group of Mubarak loyalists was joined by Israeli leaders as well. Though frequent in their exhortation of democratic values, Israeli officials offered a degree of praise for Mubarak at a time when hundreds of his own people were dying in protests against his regime.

The challenge for Israel is that much of its foreign policy has depended on the continuation of other dictatorships. Whether it is Egypt, Saudi Arabia, or Jordan, Israel has come to depend on having nondemocratic neighbors who rely on US patronage. Israeli policymakers fear that if these autocratic rulers are removed from power, Arab majorities will select leaders who are hostile to Israel. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Bery's pen, Israel/Palestine

Israeli Policies Face Jewish Critics

The HKS Citizen (Harvard Kennedy School)
October 13, 2010
By Sanjeev Bery

Acre by acre, successive Israeli governments have used settlement construction to colonize what is left of Palestinian land.  Meanwhile, a growing chorus of Jewish critics is forcing Israel to choose between its aggressive policies and the path of peace.

After a moratorium of ten months, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently resumed settlement construction in the Palestinian West Bank.  On October 6th, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that Israeli bulldozers had been working “furiously” on the construction of 350 new Jewish-only housing units in the Palestinian region.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Israel/Palestine

Turkish Foreign Minister Slams Israeli Settlements in Harvard Speech

The Huffington Post
Posted: October 4, 2010
By Sanjeev Bery

Speaking at Harvard last week, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu criticized Israel’s decision to continue building settlements on Palestinian land:

Jewish settlements [themselves] are illegal. How can we talk on the extension of [the] moratorium or extension of Jewish settlements?

With peace negotiations on the verge of falling apart, the comments demonstrate increasing anger at Israel from a former ally. The Turkish Foreign Minister also declared Gaza an “open prison” and stated that Palestinians have “the full right to live in their own country with full sovereignty based on 1967 territory, including Eastern Jerusalem.”

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Bery's pen, Israel/Palestine

Washington Post Journalists Repeat Israeli Claims as Fact

The Huffington Post
Posted: June 1, 2010
By Sanjeev Bery

In the June 1st edition of the Washington Post, journalists Scott Wilson and Laura Blumenfeld uncritically repeat Israeli claims regarding the Gaza aid flotilla as fact. Wilson and Blumenfeld should recognize that Israeli officials have a vested interest in discrediting the activists who challenged Israel’s blockade of Gaza. Instead, the reporters wrote a piece in which they presumed to know what Israeli officials were thinking — not just what they were doing.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Israel/Palestine, Media Musings

Boxer vs. Feinstein: The Path to Middle East Peace

The Huffington Post
Posted: May 17, 2010
By Sanjeev Bery

In the growing national debate on US-Israel relations, California’s two US senators have very different things to say. On one side, Senator Barbara Boxer has firmly aligned herself with the pro-Israel lobby. On the other side, Senator Dianne Feinstein has adopted a more independent position in support of Middle East peace.

2010-05-12-FeinsteinBoxer-Photo_Feinstein_Boxer.jpg

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Israel/Palestine

An email from Senator Dianne Feinstein

The following email was sent by US Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office to constituents who emailed her on the topic of Israel and Palestine.  Her comments reflect a clear break from the positions of AIPAC and the pro-Israel lobby.

Key excerpt:

However, like you, I have grave concerns about the expansion of Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and I believe that this issue is a major stumbling block to a peace agreement.  In my view, settlement activity should be halted until an agreement is reached.  Neither side should take any actions which would prejudice the outcome of negotiations on the final status issues.

Full email:

From:    senator@feinstein.senate.gov
To:  Sanjeev Bery
Date:  Thu, Apr 29, 2010 at 4:16 PM
Subject:  U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein responding to your message
Mailed-by:  feinstein.senate.gov

Dear Mr. Bery:

Thank you for writing to express your support for the Obama Administration’s position on the expansion of Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.  I appreciate hearing from you on this topic, and welcome the opportunity to respond.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Israel/Palestine

And now for some IDF spin…

Who knew that the IDF was there to help the Palestinians?

IDF Furthers Its Efforts to Improve Palestinian Daily Life

From the Israeli Defense Forces’ website

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Israel/Palestine, Media clippings

Haaretz: Second IDF soldier refuses to serve over violence towards Palestinians

By Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz Correspondent
8/26/2009 (Israel)
Haaretz

A second IDF soldier has refused to continue following orders unless his complaints of violence toward Palestinians are investigated, Haaretz has learned.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Israel/Palestine, Media clippings

Israel’s Ban on Crayons

The Huffington Post
Posted: June 18, 2009 11:09 AM
By Sanjeev Bery

Israel’s massive blockade of Gaza continues, but it is easy to lose sight of what this really means. As the BBC reports, the blockade is so extensive that the Israeli government even bars musical instruments from entering the territory.

Little is allowed to leave Gaza either. Israel also bans virtually all exports to the outside world, causing Palestinians who live in the territory to suffer unemployment rates of 40%.

On Tuesday, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter highlighted some of the most egregious examples of this policy. In a speech to parents and graduating students at a UN-run Gaza school, Carter stated:

I understand even paper and crayons are treated as “security hazards” and not permitted to enter Gaza. I sought an explanation for this policy in Israel, but did not receive a satisfactory answer – because there is none.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Bery's pen, Israel/Palestine

“Israeli Media Reads the Fine Print”

The Huffington Post
06/06/09
by Sanjeev Bery

In the 48 hours since President Obama’s speech in Cairo, Israeli journalists and pundits have had a lot to say. Their comments offer insights into U.S. foreign policy that many American observers might not get at home.

Some were particularly struck by Obama’s implicit linkage of Palestinian aspirations and other global struggles for freedom. In the liberal newspaper Ha’aretz, journalist Akiva Eldar wrote:

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Bery's pen, Israel/Palestine