Produced by the Foundation for Middle East Peace. Views and positions expressed here are those of the writer, and do not necessarily represent APN's views and policy positions.
With Government Support, Violent Settlers Escalate Tension in the West Bank
By Ori Nir
Leaders and supporters of the ideological settlers in the West Bank are disputing the veracity of a leaked IDF report which shows a 54% increase in settler violence since the beginning of the current Gaza war on October 7th. One right-wing Israeli columnist called the report “a blood libel,” arguing that the data have been manipulated or even fabricated and that in actual fact there has been a recent drop in incidents of settler violence.
I follow reports by human rights organizations, both Israeli and international. I noticed that Israel’s Yesh Din organization, which documents settler violence, found that 2023 was a record year in settler violence. I am also closely familiar with the dynamics of settler violence and Palestinians’ tendency to avoid reporting such incidents for fear of retribution. I would be surprised if the figures are not significantly higher than the IDF reported.
The October 7 Hamas attack and the months since have been devastating for both Israeli and Palestinian societies. After months of war in Gaza, Israel has begun to signal a shift in strategy towards a new phase of this conflict. This shift has raised questions of what comes next for Gaza. Far-right ministers in Netanyahu’s government, such as Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir, have made concerning remarks calling for the expulsion of Palestinians. Ben-Gvir even asserted that such a move would pave the way for Israel to rebuild Jewish settlements in Gaza.
The Times of Israel reported last week that the “voluntary” resettlement of Palestinians from Gaza is slowly becoming an official policy of the government, with conversations taking place with several countries about the potential absorption of Palestinians from Gaza.
Any ideas of expelling Palestinians from Gaza or establishing Israeli settlements within the strip are unacceptable. The Biden administration has called such rhetoric “inflammatory and irresponsible,” and Vice President Harris’ has stated that “under no circumstances will the United States permit the forced relocation of Palestinians from Gaza or the West Bank, the besiegement of Gaza, or the redrawing of the borders of Gaza.” Still these comments have done little to curb the far-right.
At a time when we direly need to collectively heal our broken hearts, we were joined by one of America’s leading rabbis, Sharon Brous, for a conversation on humanity, human connection, compassion, and community.
Rabbi Brous is the author of a new, highly acclaimed book, The Amen Effect, Ancient Wisdom to Mend Our Broken Hearts and World. The book pairs heart-driven anecdotes from Rabbi Brous’ experience building and pastoring her faith community over the past two decades with ancient Jewish wisdom and contemporary science.
Sharon Brous is the founding and senior rabbi of IKAR, a trail-blazing Jewish community based in Los Angeles. A leading voice at the intersection of faith and justice in America, she has been named #1 Most Influential Rabbi in the U.S. by Newsweek/The Daily Beast.
Listen to the audio on PeaceCast- https://peacenow.libsyn.com/310-mending-our-broken-hearts-with-rabbi-sharon-brous
Read the transcript- https://peacenow.org/entry.php?id=42789
The future of the Gaza Strip is a matter of intense discussion in Israel, Washington and around the world, and, of course, also among Palestinian policymakers and policy shapers. What is the focus of this discussion? How do the Palestinian Authority and the PLO see the future of Gaza? How do they link it to the future of the West Bank and Palestinian society? What are the challenges facing the Palestinian political community and leadership?
The Hamas attacks on October 7th cost the lives of some 1,200 Israelis, saw over 240 men, women and children taken hostage, and left the nation in shock and mourning. Israel’s initial decision to retaliate militarily was justified and internationally endorsed, but we are now over three months removed from that horrible day.
At this point, the continuation of the war endangers Israel’s national security interests, threatens to lead to a wider regional war, and has made Gaza utterly uninhabitable, plagued by death, hunger, and disease. The scope and duration of Israel’s response, and its lack of a “day after” strategy that would harness its military response to a clear political objective, has cost Israel dearly and caused shocking carnage and immeasurable suffering for Gazan civilians, most of whom have been displaced from communities now reduced to rubble. The United Nations has said that hunger is widespread and the threat of starvation is imminent in Gaza. The healthcare system has collapsed, and disease is spreading.
Yossi Alpher is an independent security analyst. He is the former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University, a former senior official with the Mossad, and a former IDF intelligence officer. Views and positions expressed here are those of the writer, and do not necessarily represent APN's views and policy positions.
Americans for Peace Now (APN) commends Israel’s Supreme Court for striking down the so-called “reasonableness law” which bars the Court from challenging unreasonable government decisions. The law, passed by the Knesset last July, is a key component of the judicial reform advanced by Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.
For over four decades, as a reporter and columnist, Bradley Burston documented Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians and commented on it. His new book, The End of Israel, details a roadmap to the current catastrophic crisis in Israeli society, which culminated in the events of October 7th and those that continue to follow. Burston introduces the book as a documentation of the consequences of a choice that Benjamin Netanyahu made years ago to “contort and sacrifice his country for the sake of his own political longevity.” As Burston writes, “He chose. Israel lost. End of story.”
Bradley Burston, a US-born award-winning journalist was a reporter for the Jerusalem Post in the 1980s and 1990s, reported on Israel for Reuters, and was a founding editor of Haaretz's English online edition. Haaretz readers were familiar with his column “A Special Place in Hell,” from which his new book was compiled.