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Today’s Top Stories
1. The West Bank’s heating up; Israelis, Palestinians, and journos all freely use the term, third intifada. A hunger strike by some inmates ballooned following the death of one security prisoner who wasn’t on an hunger strike. Demonstrations spread across the West Bank (see Haaretz live-blogging) while YNet reports 4,500 prisoners refused their breakfasts. More below.
2. The EU wants the peace process restarted so badly, it’ll support Hamas participation in a national unity government — with no conditions. Elliott Abrams comments on an Arab media report:
If the story is accurate, it represents a significant change in EU policy. Previously, the EU–as part of the Quartet, with the United States, Russia, and the UN–had staunchly supported the “three Quartet principles.” These required that Hamas abandon violence and terror, accept all previous Israel-PLO agreements as binding, and accept Israel’s right to exist. Now it seems the Europeans are asking far less of Hamas–in fact, appear to be asking nothing at all . . .
3. The Oxford Student Union was all set to vote on boycotting Israel on Wednesday. But George Galloway’s odious walkout on a debate with an Israeli last week poisoned what might have been a significant BDS victory. According to The Guardian:
Both the proposer and the seconder of the motion have received threatening emails: the seconder has withdrawn his support and the proposer has requested that her name not be publicised.
That’s probably what prompted The Guardian’s Comment is Free contributor, Rachel Shabi, to criticize Galloway. Whatever Shabi’s motive, this snippet made my antennae twitch:
But there is another issue here, alluded to by Galloway and by comments on social media. Because the people who shout “antisemitism” over criticism of Israeli policy are often also advocates of a rightwing agenda on Israel, there is within anti-occupation circles growing anger over the term’s use – even dismissal of it. What gets missed, often, is how off-putting all the Israel hate in such circles can be; how focused on the people – Jewish people, Israeli people, sometimes interchangeably – not the state. Those who raise doubts or ask questions about the level of animosity tend to be shut down with the rebuttal that the occupation is far worse – the atrocity ace card. This is no way to build a movement that includes Jewish and Israeli advocates of equal rights for all.
Israel and the Palestinians
• Palestinian leaders quoted by the Times of Israel said:
Palestinian officials on Sunday morning warned that another popular uprising was indeed unfolding, but asserted that protesters would stick to the path of nonviolence.
And Israel’s response? The Jerusalem Post writes:
According to Channel 10, Netanyahu also instructed Israeli authorities to transfer the PA its tax revenues for January, “so that they won’t have an excuse not to enforce calm on the ground.”
• The 30-year-old Jaradat was in prison “for his involvement in a stone throwing incident in November, 2012, in which an Israeli had been wounded.” He apparently died of cardiac arrest.
• Do you see a pattern to these headlines?
- Abbas and Mashaal agree on peaceful intifada.
- Palestinians Plan Violence to Force US to Extract Concessions From Israel.
- Prisoner protests mark PA effort to start a “popular intifada“
• Is history repeating itself? Jonathan D. Halevi catalogued what’s known about the PA’s responsibility for the second intifada, which was not “spontaneous.”
• IDF commander to Israeli media: Palestinians have made 18 attempts to kidnap soldiers in the last four months.
- Europe to soften its demands on Hamas?
- Meet Syria’s most outraged bystander.
- Iran announces discovery of new uranium deposits.