Israeli political science Professor Galia Golan has in recent years focused her research on opportunities that the government of Israel has missed to advance peace with its neighbors or to avert wars. A recent Israeli State Comptroller report asserts that Prime Minister Netanyahu and his then-minister of defense Moshe Ya’alon were advised of possible ways to avert the 2014 “Protective Edge” Gaza war, but did not discuss them with members of the Cabinet. Golan says the decision to wage war fits into a longtime Israeli leadership pattern that mainly stems from a deep mistrust of the other side. Golan also addresses the Israeli government’s de-facto creeping annexation of portions of the West Bank, pointing out that such actions are slamming the door on the two-state solution and pushing Israel into a state of apartheid.
This episode features a documentary film about Israeli and Palestinian former combatants, who have come together to advocate within their societies and across the societies for peace. These are people who in the past saw each other through the crosshairs and today are jointly devising strategies to break the status quo of enmity and apathy, fear and hate in both societies, working together to pave a way for ending the conflict.
The name of the documentary is Disturbing the Peace; more on the significance of this name in the following conversation. The name of the organization that is profiled in the film is Combatants for Peace. Participating in the conversation are Stephen Apkon and Marcina Hale, the co-creators of the film, and Maya Katz, a member of Combatants for Peace.
In their first meeting since Donald Trump assumed the presidency, the new President of the United States and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel are expected to reach some understandings on the chief national security challenges facing Israel. To discuss these challenges and the way in which the two leaders perceive them, and to set the stage for the March 14 meeting in the Oval Office, PeaceCast formatted a February 9th APN briefing call with Israeli national security expert Yossi Alpher. Using his rare analytical skills, Alpher connects the dots between Israel, Washington, the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Lebanon’s Hezbollah, Iran, Syria, Russia and beyond, to paint a coherent picture of the current US-Israel national security agenda.
The Israeli government’s enthusiastic embrace of Donald Trump and his controversial policies is further exacerbating the estrangement and alienation that many American Jews increasingly feel toward Israel’s leadership -- and perhaps toward Israel more generally.
President Trump, for most American Jews, represents the antithesis of what they view as Jewish values and American values. Seeing Trump and some of his policies – particularly his immigration policy – being embraced by the prime minister of Israel is for liberal American Jews – and most American Jews are liberal -- like fingernails on a chalkboard.
At this low point in the history of Israel’s relations with America’s Jewish community, the Ruderman Program for American Jewish Studies at Israel’s Haifa University released a new study about this topic. The study, titled “Israel – a Unifying or Divisive Issue among American Jews” was published this week. We spoke with its author, Alon Pinkas.
A large majority of Israelis were born into a situation in which their country is occupying the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem. A new poll shows that many Israelis don’t know the basics of that situation – for example, that Israel has never annexed the West Bank, or that settlements like Ariel and Maale Adomim are not under Israeli sovereignty. Oded Haklai, a Canadian-Israeli scholar who conducted the poll demonstrates how the occupation-ignorance tipping point among Israelis is the age of 50, and explains why. For more on Haklai’s poll, read his Washington Post article here.
On January 3rd, an Israeli military court convicted sergeant Elor Azaria of manslaughter for killing a young, severely injured unarmed Palestinian who moments earlier stabbed and injured one of Azaria’s fellow combatants in the West Bank town of Hebron. The Azaria trial was about much more than the conduct of one soldier and the IDF’s rules of engagement in the West Bank. It ended up being about the relationship between Israeli society and the IDF, about the rule of law, about the cynical way in which the IDF has been politicized by demagogical politicians – and, of course, about the occupation. IDF Lieutenant Colonel (Res.) Amos Guiora, the former commander of the IDF’s School of Law, suggests a several contexts in which to examine the verdict and what it means.
This first episode of APN’s new podcast features two interviews. Both were recorded recently in Jerusalem coffee shops (apologies for the boisterous ambiance).
The first interview is with Elias Zananiri, the deputy director of the PLO’s Committee for Interaction with the Israeli Public. Elias, a veteran Palestinian journalist and a member of the Geneva Initiative, talks about the PLO’s efforts to demonstrate to Israelis that they do have a partner for peace across the Green Line and that peace would be a win-win for Israelis and Palestinians.
The second interview is with Talia Sasson, the former Israeli government attorney, who authored the famous 2005 “Sasson Report” on illegal outposts in the West Bank. Sasson, who is now the President of the New Israel Fund, talks about her recent book (published in Hebrew and soon to be translated into English) on the report and on West Bank settlements. She finishes the interview with an important message for American friends of Israel.