Category Archives: Israel


Textbook ‘incitement’ debate not over yet

israel palestine schoolbooks

Palestinian texts promote discord, not peace


“Victims of Our Own Narratives” was the title of a recent handout given to journalists filling two rooms — one in Jerusalem and the other at the Press Club in Washington, DC. Headlines were quick to follow stating that the problem of incitement in Israeli and Palestinian school textbooks is over. However, wishful thinking aside, it is not.

The “textbook incitement debate” deals with the claims that textbooks in both Israeli and Palestinian societies undermine the peace process and fail to encourage the struggling nations to find common ground. Putting this simply, it is about books that foster hate and struggle rather than tolerance and peace.

Recently – following three years of work – a new report by an Israeli-Palestinian research team claimed to have settled that debate. The self-proclaimed “definitive” report, commissioned by the Council of Religious Institutions in the Holy Land and headed by YaleProfessor Bruce Wexler, studied Israeli and Palestinian textbooks and stated that there is no actual dehumanization or incitement in either curriculum and concluded that both sides need to improve their attitudes toward the other. Continue reading


The (unilateral) Way to Palestine

Jerusalem – Next week, unless another twist of history prevails, President Abu Mazen will become the fulfiller of an old dream: the establishment of a Palestinian state. It will be a triumphant moment for many, the end of an era and a reason to wave the thousands of Palestinian flags woven in recent weeks. The world has been entranced with this small piece of land that has triggered too much blood and attention. Finally, one would hope, all of that would come to an end. Or, will it be to another dead end?

A short review of history revels that the “unprecedented moment of Palestine” occurred three times already and that a recognized government of Palestine has already been in office. This, of course, did not help the Palestinian people who were dispersed in the region under the yoke of Egypt, Jordan and, later, Israel. This moment might not be different.

In September of 1948 –in the midst of the first Arab-Israeli war- the first All-Palestine Government was formed in Gaza. Its leader, the Jerusalem Mufti, Mohammad Amin al-Husayni, unilaterally declared the independence of Palestine with Jerusalem its capital. The new state formed a government, issued passports but failed to gain recognition even amongst other Arab states. Nine years later, in 1959, the All-Palestine Government was annulled by no less than President Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt who claimed that it failed to successfully advance the Palestinian cause. Continue reading


The Jewish Spring



Anatolia Daily

Over 300,000 Israelis came out to the streets last week to demonstrating in Jerusalem, Haifa and Tel Aviv with a call for social justice. Over 1,000,000 others followed live on their TV’s . First page headlines continue to cover what appears to be the strongest protest movement ever to be seen in the history of Israel and the government, who caught itself unprepared for this “social Tsunami”, appears stuttering as it attempts to engage the growing crowds.

Few have predicted that the initiative of a few young people who setup tents in the Tel Aviv 3 weeks ago will pick up such steam. But the moment was ripe and soon enough, tent sites turned up in over 40 cities around the country. But tent life had much more than protests in mind. The daily scene was a beautiful gathering of young people who have found themselves engaged in a profound conversation about the further they seek to create in their country. “It’s Zionism, phase II” told me a veteran activist as she observed the discussion circles that function daily until the late hours of the night. Discussion issues included education, welfare, medicine, minority rights and public services and they culminate in an attempting to built and refine a foundation for a new treaty between the government and people of this land. I took an Egyptian friend who visited here last week to observe share some notes on her experience in Tahrir. “It is organized here ” she commented as we departed from the students in Jerusalem tent who gave her a standing ovation. “These guys appear to have a sense of what they want.”

Continue reading


Where is the peace train?

“Cause out on the edge of darkness,
there rides a peace train
Oh peace train take this country,
come take me home again”

Cat Stevens/Yossouf Islam

Caspian Weekly
Events surrounding the “Freedom Flotilla” tragedy continue to unfold, but the world is already flooded with demonstrations, denunciations and calls for retaliation. The Israeli attempt to board six civilian ships for security reasons resulted in 9 dead and over 30 injured.  It has been dubbed by most news outlets as “deadly,” “inhuman,” or a “disproportionate use of force” at best.

Condemnations have come from virtually all diplomatic circles.  United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon denounced the violence and demanded explanations. Russia’s Foreign Ministry dubbed it a “gross violation of international law.” Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak decried the use of excessive and unjustified force, and Turkey said its relations with Israel may not recover due to this “inhumane attack.” Continue reading