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Awol

Israel, Palestine and Iran

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When an American in the IDF meets a Palestinian American in Hebron

An American serving in the Israeli army in Hebron says that in her job granting and denying Palestinians permission to work and travel, it’s a ‘conversation starter’ to meet Palestinians who back home would have full rights like her.

The video below was published Sunday by COGAT, the unit of the Israeli Defense Ministry charged with administering the military occupation of the Palestinian territories. COGAT has a rich history of producing tone-deaf videos seemingly meant to do little more than make COGAT look like the benevolent arm of the occupation, for which Palestinians should be nothing but grateful. (See here, here, and here.)

This particular video is about Alyse, an American immigrant to Israel who serves in the IDF’s oxymoronically named Civil Administration, a part of COGAT. Soldiers in the Civil Administration and COGAT determine where Palestinians may live, where and when they may travel (including to other parts of the occupied territories like Gaza and East Jerusalem), whether they can build or expand homes on their own land, whether they own that land at all, whether an Israeli settler can steal that land, whether two soccer teams from different parts of Palestine can play each other,and on and on.

At one point in the video, Alyse, who hails from Chicago and is now stationed in Hebron, notes that it’s “a huge conversation starter” to meet Palestinians who are also from the United States.

“It’s always interesting to meet people who are so different than me yet have such a similar background,” she says.

Does she ever think about what that system would be called if it were imposed back in Chicago? Or which side of the glass she might be on if it were?

https://972mag.com/cogat-american-idf-soldier-meets-palestinian-americans/143030/?fbclid=IwAR0EorIPUxZqyKm-J_CCidI0AHpHfCMJ9_4TKg4T6G7CtP537pgRiI0tvFM

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General election in Israel in 2 weeks.

As always lots of Palestinians will die.

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Stumbled upon this superb piece which really resolved a lot of my confusion at (a) meeting lots of liberal left British Jewish people in London, and then subsequently (b) visiting Israel itself, which was not at all the sunny Mediterranean version of north London or New York I was expecting.

Anyway, this take on the whole thing makes a lot of sense: https://www.timesofisrael.com/nobody-hijacked-israel-its-just-not-what-its-pioneers-thought-theyd-created/

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I came from the West, with the European stories of Israel — the kibbutz, the Holocaust… The longer you’re here, the more you realize those stories don’t fully represent Israel. Half the country came from the Muslim world, and that informs everything about Israel — cuisine, behavior, music, religion, politics. Many Israelis think the basis of the country is the European Jewish world — Herzl and Ben-Gurion — and that the Jews of the Middle East then came and joined that story. I think it’s the opposite: Israel is part of the continuum of Judaism in the Muslim world, together with the remnants of European Jewry.

You can interpret this in lots of different ways (please do read the whole article, it's superb, even if I don't agree with everything the interviewee says).

On the one hand it's an argument against Netanyahu's cynical conflation of antisemitism with legitimate criticisms of Israeli govt policies. On the other hand, it's a fairly strong argument against the concept of a single Jewish/Israel lobby in the West.

But it definitely makes sense to me after a visit to a city like Tel Aviv. You really don't feel like you're in Europe, or a culture descended from European culture, despite the bars and the liberal attitude to drugs and alcohol. It has much more in common with Beirut or Dubai.

I think this nuance is missing from so much of the debate around Israel and Palestine, because the assumption is that it was primarily a promised land for the European Holocaust survivors and their descendants, who were essentially "white Europeans", and had been living in Europe for centuries. In fact, many Israeli Jews are as obviously indigenous to the region as a Lebanese Christian or an Arab Muslim. These are the people who are most likely to see Israel v. Palestine in the same way a Serb sees Serbia vs. Bosnia.

I rarely see this nuance from either side - from pro-Israel voices in the UK like Danny Finkelstein, nor from anti-Israel voices like Jeremy Corbyn.

Anyway, not a debate I'd normally want to wade into, and I appreciate this is not the whole story, but still a useful perspective.

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So Netanyahu has made an election promise to annex 'all Israeli settlements in the West Bank', plus 'other strategic areas', which presumably basically covers literally anything they feel like . . .

. . . and the opposition have reacted by moaning that Netanyahu stole their idea:

This must be how you tickle the fancy of Mr and Mrs Average Israeli Voter. 

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It’s difficult to pass any comment on Israeli expansion without making absolutely valid comparisons.

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1 hour ago, chrisp65 said:

It’s difficult to pass any comment on Israeli expansion without making absolutely valid comparisons...

...with apartheid regimes.

A bunch of fascist scum.

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More lebensraum for their chosen people.

Nothing to see here...

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On 18/09/2019 at 23:42, Tayls said:

@Awol - what’s your take on these recent events dude? 

Any events in particular? There's quite a lot happening!

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More US sanctions against Iran and more US troops to Saudi Arabia.

It's election time soon.

Meanwhile Israel politics is still a mess after this new election.

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20 hours ago, Awol said:

Any events in particular? There's quite a lot happening!

Well, I was thinking the Saudi oil facilities being blown to pieces at the time, but stuff has happened since. What’s your take on that and then the developing ‘escalations’

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The elections have caused quite a mess around here,  but there's some hope for something different. 

I went over some of the comments here. People just don't know what's going on here. Talking about annexations as if it's even an option. No one, NO ONE (!!!!) even consider it. Not Netanyahu, not Gantz. No one. But it's election time and Netanyahu tried to spin things a bit. Even his followers didn't but it.  Theses elections had nothing to do with the Palestinians or Iran. They were around one topic and one topic only - for or against Netanyahu. Not Netanyahu's way (since no one really knows what's his way), not Gantz's economic beliefs. Not even close. It was pro or against Bibi's desire to keep ruling, most probably in order to protect him from the judicial storm he's about to face very soon. For now it seems as a draw with a slight advantage to the against-Bibi group (Yey!!!!).

The interesting part is The Arab party's willingness to support one of the candidates. In recent elections they went AWOL and refused to take part in the game, but the growing desire of the younger-generation to become more "Israeli" drives their representatives to change their course and I am glad for it.

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20 hours ago, Tayls said:

Well, I was thinking the Saudi oil facilities being blown to pieces at the time, but stuff has happened since. What’s your take on that and then the developing ‘escalations’

Those behind the US decision to pull the plug on the JCPOA seemed to believe (against all historical evidence) that ramping up sanctions would push Iran back to the negotiating table - to incorporate their conventional missile programme, support for terrorism & non-state armed groups - & into a new, improved JCPOA. 

Those sanctions have pretty much closed down Iranian oil exports & the attacks in Saudi are them pushing back against the US by demonstrating they can hold global energy supplies at risk. 

IMO they’ve got the measure of Trump’s bluster (all fart & no s**t) & are trying to force an end to US sanctions, gambling he won’t risk conflict before the 2020 elections.

Concurrently, Iranian, Chinese & Russian naval forces are shortly to conduct joint exercises in the Gulf of Oman, next to the Straits of Hormuz. This bandwagoning of illiberal states (increasingly to include Turkey) is part of a wider challenge to the so called ‘rules based liberal order’, freedom of navigation at sea, etc.

FWIW I think things might get quite bumpy over the next few years with lots of possible flash points - Korean Peninsula, South China Sea, Persian Gulf, Ukraine et al. The West is unprepared materially or psychologically to deal with any of it, which isn’t great. 

Also looks like we might be in for the next round of Arab uprisings, the Egyptians are getting back on the streets demanding Sisi is removed - he’s locked up 60,000 political prisoners since coming to power & is more repressive than Mubarak ever was. 

I don’t know enough about the internal politics of Israel to understand how that’s gonna turn out, but externally it seems likely they’ll be in a big fight with Hezbollah before too long. That really depends on how it goes between the US & Iran. The IDF hitting Iranian militia & IRGC targets in Iraq (x3) has raised some eyebrows! 

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On 22/09/2019 at 11:50, Awol said:

I don’t know enough about the internal politics of Israel to understand how that’s gonna turn out, but externally it seems likely they’ll be in a big fight with Hezbollah before too long. That really depends on how it goes between the US & Iran. The IDF hitting Iranian militia & IRGC targets in Iraq (x3) has raised some eyebrows! 

Regardless of who'll form the next government, I don't think there'll any major change in tactics concerning Iran. Israel is trying to hamper Hezbollah attempts to grab advanced weaponry and despite hitting the shipments hard, I reckon Hezbollah has got enough weaponry as it is. I am unsure of any big fights with Hezbollah in the near future as both sides have got too much to lose. In any case, Hezbollah has the ability in inflict damage on Israeli cities, but they are no real match to the IDF and they know it. This means that any aggressive acts towards Israel will bring the Israeli PM to send the IDF with all guns blazing, as a warning both to Hezbollah and to Iran. Lebanon will pay dearly in such case and I am unsure of their willingness to get into this mess at the moment. 

All in all - I think that if Iran and its proxies will get more aggressive, it will bring together Israel and the Sunni states, such as Saudi Arabia, as they are under a much greater threat than Israel is. It all depends on the US readiness to be active. If the US will be determined to keep Iran at bay - things will continue to be relatively quiet here. If Trump will do a Trump, things might deteriorate with time.

 

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Massive anti-government protests growing across southern Iraq, scores of civilians murdered by security forces & Iranian aligned militias. 

Turkey preparing to invade NE Syria & smash the US backed Syrian Democratic Forces - Syrian Kurds plus some local Arab tribes.

ISIS recovering rapidly, carrying out a devastating assassination campaign within areas it formerly occupied, and is assessed to have the strength to attack and take a major urban centre in Iraq or Syria if it chose to (but more likely to continue rebuilding its operational strength, for now). 

Far too many plates spinning in the region right now & odds of another major disaster unfolding are shortening quickly. 

 

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Very sad to hear that. Isis were always going to make a comeback with the way things were left. 

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