If anyone out there was still clinging to the notion that the Israeli government officially supports a two-state peace with the Palestinians, Barak Ravid’s account of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee discussion on Tuesday should be enough to shatter that illusion.
The discussion saw government coalition members vociferously challenging Justice Minister Tzipi Livni’s assertion that Israel’s policy is one of “negotiations based on two national states which will bring an end to the conflict."
MK Orit Strock from Habayit Hayehudi cut Livni off. "Two states for two peoples is not the government's official position," she said. "It is not part of the government's guiding principles, and for good reason. This is perhaps Netanyahu's position and your position, but it has not been accepted as the government's position."
[…] "The government has not even decided that it supports two nations for two peoples," [Habayit Hayehudi MK Yoni] Chetboun told Livni.
MK Moti Yogev (Habayit Hayehudi) continued the thought, saying, "Two nations for two peoples is disconnected from reality."
Alexandra Boulat / VII
What’s disturbing about this is that these Knesset members are actually right: official commitment to the two-state solution isn’t in the coalition agreement, nor is it spelled out in the government’s ruling party’s platform (Likud-Beytenu didn’t bother to create one this past election cycle). And this isn’t the first time that omission has lent strength to Israeli politicians who oppose two states—not just in far-right, pro-annexationist Habayit Hayehudi, but in the Likud itself. Back in January, Likud MKs stated that their party does not support a two-state solution, Netanyahu’s 2009 Bar Ilan speech notwithstanding. As the Times of Israel reported:
The right-wing Israeli group NGO Monitor is very, very concerned with the possibility that some non-governmental groups that have received money from the U.S. government do work that stands in opposition to U.S. policies. So concerned, in fact, that NGO Monitor went and drafted a report about it and, this week, presented that report to the U.S. Congress. The report says, "In many cases, these NGO activities directly contradict American policies in support of peace efforts." In its recommendations, the report says that "potential recipients should be evaluated for consistency with U.S. policy." It should be noted that these NGO's targeted by NGO Monitor—which casts a wide array of activities as "anti-Israel"—don't necessarily use the U.S. government funding to work at cross purposes with the U.S. government, but rather engage in these activities outside those programs supposed by donor cash.
US pastor John Hagee speaks during a visit with Evangelical Christians to Ariel Israeli settlement in the occupied Palestinian territory on April 3, 2008. (Jack Guez / AFP / Getty Images)
This all makes sense: it's completely reasonable for the U.S. government to take a careful look at groups that get benefits from it but work in direct opposition to its goals and policies. Here's one example you probably won't see NGO Monitor doing a report about:
As the American government seeks to end the four-decade Jewish settlement enterprise and foster a Palestinian state in the West Bank, the American Treasury helps sustain the settlements through tax breaks on donations to support them.
A New York Times examination of public records in the United States and Israel identified at least 40 American groups that have collected more than $200 million in tax-deductible gifts for Jewish settlement in the West Bank and East Jerusalem over the last decade.
A phenomenon is sweeping the Middle East. Arabs young and old are voting in record numbers—and this time it's not for the Muslim Brotherhood. Armed with nothing but their cellphones, they have set aside their differences and united to watch and vote for the next Arab Idol.
Palestinians watch as Palestinian singer Mohammed Assaf from the Gaza Strip participates in the Arab Idol competition at a restaurant in Gaza City on April 26, 2013. (Mohammed Abed / AFP / Getty Images)
If Pan-Arabism died with Jamal Abdel Nasser, the Arab incarnation of the Idol franchise has officially resurrected it. Now in its second year, Arab Idol is a bizarro version of American Idol in its glory days, when Simon Cowell would berate Paula Abdul as she slurred and slumped in her chair. The Idol of days long gone by, that launched the careers of future megastars like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood. I am a huge Arab Idol fan, not because I love cheesy covers of the Egyptian Songbook, but because it defies every single orientalist stereotype. The judges’ panel is made up of legendary Arab superstars from a variety of countries and faiths: proof that not all Arabs are Muslim. The two men and two women sit right next to each other on the panel and the audience is mixed too, because except for the lunatic fringe that is how we roll in the Middle East.
Ragheb Alama, the Lebanese Elvis who lived, plays the Simon role and anchors the judges’ table. Unlike Simon, he is a charming, masterful mentor and a singing legend. The two female judges, Nancy and Ahlam, look like the Real Housewives of the Middle East. They are Dolly Parton meets Cher. Loud and covered in diamonds, they are the antithesis of the oppressed Arab woman—the one that’s veiled in black—that the Western media fixates on. Nancy and Ahlam are scantily clad and forego the hijab, but it wouldn’t be an issue if they chose to wear one. Anything goes in the world of Arab Idol. Rounding out the panel is Egyptian Producer, Hassan El Shafei. He's the Randy Jackson of this crew, so there’s really not much else to say about him.
"What is worrying me is not a Palestinian state but the existence of the Jewish state. I am in doubt. Time is not on our side."
--Labor MK Benjamin Ben-Eliezer at Knesset committee meeting which revealed how deep the divisions in the government are on the peace process.
- Settlers severely beat handicapped Palestinian boy near Hebron - Settlers from Maon outpost assaulted a 16-year-old handicapped boy in Yatta on Tuesday, leaving him bruised all over his body. He was taken to hospital for treatment. Last week, settlers from Maon torched two dunams of wheat fields in the south Hebron hills. (Maan)
- Clashes in Hebron as Israeli forces bodysearch Palestinian woman - Sundus al-Azza, 19, was called to be patted down by Israeli soldiers. Al-Azza demanded that a female soldier carry out the search, as is normal protocol, but the soldiers insisted on doing it themselves. The woman then shouted for help and locals in the area immediately rushed to her assistance. (Maan)
- Palestinian vehicle set on fire by settler Molotov cocktail near Beit El - Settlers from Beit El on Saturday evening threw a Molotov cocktail toward Palestinian passersby and vehicles on the Ramallah-Nablus road and near al-Jalazun refugee camp north of Ramallah. One car burned completely, but the driver was able to escape. (Maan)
- Israeli forces demolish 2 houses in East Jerusalem - Israeli forces forced the Shalan family to evacuate their homes early Tuesday before demolishing them. "The house was built 12 years ago on land that my parents bought a long time ago. We tried so many times to get a building permit but the Israeli courts kept refusing..." (Maan)
- Israel's defense minister defends al-Dura panel, calls second intifada incident 'a blood libel' - Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon says a French militant used the al-Dura affair to justify the killing of Jews, even though the special committee's report says otherwise. (Haaretz+)
- Gaza security forces to uphold 'standards of manliness' - Hamas security forces in the Gaza Strip have been instructed to uphold standards of manliness. In April, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights reported that Hamas had forced young men to get haircuts. (Maan)
- Israel hospitalizes hunger striker- Ayman Abu Daoud, 32, was transferred from Ramle prison clinic to the Haemek Medical Center in Afula. He has been on hunger strike since April 14. He was released in 2011 in the Shalit prisoner swap, but rearrested four months later and accused of violating his release terms by distributing financial allocations to persons affiliated with a political party. (Maan)
In a recent blog post, Rabbi Eric Yoffie set out to establish the kinds of “red lines” he thinks should govern the selection of speakers in synagogues, JCCs and Jewish Federations. On the correct side of the line, he argues, are those who support Israel’s existence as a “Jewish and democratic state.” On the wrong side are those who “promote hatred of other religious and ethnic groups” and those who promote BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) against Israel. Yoffie singles out well-known Islamophobe Pamela Geller as a purveyor of hate speech—hence she should be banned—and points to Peter Beinart and J Street representatives as examples of those whose views may be controversial in certain circles, but who, because of their support for Israel, should get the kosher seal.
I applaud Yoffie’s efforts to spur what is an important and increasingly urgent conversation, but I think there are some additional questions worth raising.
In this Sept. 11, 2012 photo, anti-Islamic blogger Pamela Geller, speaks at a conference she organized entitled; “Stop Islamization of America,” in New York. (David Karp / AP Photo )
On one hand is the question of how serious Yoffie is about excluding those whose actions undermine the existence of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state. I’m thinking of those who promote Israel’s addiction to occupation and are helping inch Israel forward towards West Bank apartheid, if it doesn’t already exist. This could include, say, the Israeli prime minster, various cabinet ministers, and many members of Knesset. It would also include various North American Jewish leaders, including some pulpit rabbis, no doubt, who maintain a second home in Israel, if that home is in a West Bank settlement.
On the other hand is the sticky question of BDS. Yoffie doesn’t directly mention “selective” BDS—meaning boycotting products strictly from West Bank settlements—a move that has seen increasing support from within liberal Zionist circles, including from Peter Beinart (who calls it “Zionist BDS”), Peace Now and various Israeli literary and cultural figures. As a liberal Zionist who wishes to see Israel maintain itself as a Jewish and democratic state, I have also written publicly about my own support for such a stance.
In a recent interview with the New York Times, Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid said the following: “I used to have so many opinions before I learned the facts.”
He was talking about his transition from television to politics, and I have to say, that is a remarkable sentence from a man who was very recently elected based on his pre-fact opinions—particularly, but not exclusively, as he continues to function in a fact-free zone.
Demonstrators march through the streets to protest against Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid's budget cuts on May 18, 2013 in Tel Aviv, Israel. (Uriel Sinai / Getty Images)
Thousands of Israelis protested the entire array of austerity measures in Lapid’s budget earlier this month, largely because they are so at odds with the promises he appeared to be making in his election campaign. As my colleague Gershom Gorenberg noted yesterday, among Lapid’s many fanciful notions is the idea that forcing hunger on the children of detested sub-cultures is an effective way to mainstream their parents into society—and given his position in the government, Lapid’s budget and opinions about the people it’s meant to serve are a pretty important indication of his ability to function without the constraints of reality.
But Yair Lapid is far more than just Finance Minister. He’s Benjamin Netanyahu’s greatest threat in the political arena, he reflects the views of Israel’s somewhat ill-defined “center” (non-religious Jews who, when polled, say they want to be shed of the occupation but are pretty sure the Palestinians are entirely at fault for the failure of the peace process), and as head of the second largest party in the Knesset, he’s instrumental in setting policy and shaping public opinion.
Yesterday morning, Women of the Wall activist Peggy Cidor woke to the sound of two policemen knocking on her door. They’d been called in by one of her Jerusalem neighbors, who had already seen what she had not: the threatening graffiti scribbled on the wall downstairs. As Haaretz reported:
The words “Torah tag”—evoking the term “price tag” that is used to describe random acts of violence against Palestinians by radical settlers—was spray-painted on the door of Peggy Cidor, a resident of the Talpiyot neighborhood. On the walls of the stairwell leading up to her apartment were also spray-painted the following (in Hebrew): “Women of the Wall are wicked,” “Peggy, Your Time has Expired” and “Jerusalem is Holy.”
Cidor has served on the board of Women of the Wall, an organization fighting for the rights of women to pray as they see fit at the Western Wall, for the past 15 years. She said this was the first time anything “nasty” like this had happened to her.
Cidor filed a complaint with police. “The police warned me to be careful now,” she said. “I expect Haredi [ultra-Orthodox] leaders to condemn this act,” she said.
Israeli Peggy Cidor, one of the leaders of the liberal Jewish religious group Women of the Wall, stands in the stairwell leading to her apartment after vandals spray-painted slogans against her which read in Hebrew, 'Peggy you are the first,' on May 20, 2013, in Jerusalem. (Gali Tibbon / AFP / Getty Images)
Cidor calls the incident “nasty,” but it’s downright disturbing. First, for all the obvious reasons: the fact that vandals are targeting a woman at her home; that fact they’re sullying the Torah by committing such crimes in its name; the fact that what we’re seeing here is Jewish terror directed against a fellow Jew.
But what’s even more disturbing is that these vandals are borrowing from the lexicon of terror employed by radical Israeli settlers against Palestinians—and the fact that that borrowing is no coincidence.
Critics from the left often accuse Israel of acting irresponsibly, and isolating itself by ignoring the consequences of its actions. This state of affairs tends to be hailed by the right as a sign Israel is acting responsibly—by simply doing what it must to survive—while others seek to isolate it. The case of the Israeli apology to Turkey over the deaths on the Mavi Marmara in 2010 has turned things around. Now, when Israel is acting responsibly by trying to engage with others, rightists are unhappy because they see the apology and mending fencing with Turkey as irresponsible.
But Turkish-Israeli relations, long frayed, are on the mend on the basis of the apology (made possible by the removal of Avigdor Lieberman from the cabinet). And contrary to what many naysayers have insisted, Israel benefits considerably from warmer relations. Their arguments tend to be that Israel didn’t do anything wrong, that it shouldn’t apologize for the deaths of individuals affiliated with terrorist organizations, and that Turkey doesn’t like Israel anyway and so the apology will serve to humiliate Israel without any concrete benefits.
Ariel Schalit / AP Photo
It’s true that the details of the apology’s components are still being worked out (particularly Israeli compensation), and lingering resentment and tension remain fuelled by Ankara’s continuing relationship with Hamas and Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. But those who predict doom for Israel on the basis of its apology tend to ignore the social nature of international politics, and forget that relations between states don’t turn on the demands for instant results made by pundits and commentators. Responsible states benefit from acting responsibly because, as they demonstrate constructive behavior over time, other states will come to trust them more, be more willing to work out differences with them, and work more easily with them on issues of common interest.
A initiative in Europe to make clear on product labels that goods were made in Israel's West Bank settlements came up against a roadblock this weekend, or was delayed at a checkpoint, if you prefer. Haaretz's Barak Ravid reported on Sunday that Israeli officials had asked their American counterparts to prevail upon Europeans for a delay of an imminent move toward labeling. No one should be shocked that the U.S.—despite its own view that settlements are distinguishable as "illegitimate"—pressed the Europeans and that they acceded.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with U.S. Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) in 2010 in Jerusalem. (Amos Ben Gershom/GPO via Getty Images)
Why did the Americans and Europeans do this? Because the peace process: John Kerry and his colleagues told the Europeans he hoped to restart talks by June and, as a European diplomat told Ravid, "The E.U. decided to give Kerry the time he asked for." The clock's ticking before a re-do this summer, noted Noam Sheizaf: "It seems that Israel’s effort to prevent labeling settlements products is likely to fail: the labeling directives for member states will eventually pass and might even be implemented," Sheizaf wrote at +972 Magazine. "I doubt, however, if the impact of such a step will be more than symbolic in nature." That's probably true—products' point of origin, for instance, are often obscured because of a single Israeli export market—but the power of symbolism shouldn't be underestimated. We were told over and over again how Palestine's bid for a U.N. upgrade was largely symbolic, and it was—but it's also obviously altered dynamics both within the conflict and on the world stage.
One reason the symbolism strikes so poignantly with labeling is the obvious ironies that won't be lost on any close observers of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. The proposed E.U. move dovetails with European obsessions about labeling products' origins, but would also make it easier for Europeans to carry out boycotts, not of Israel but of only the settlements. Breaking out settlements from Israel proper isn't as easy as it sounds, not least because the settlements are viewed in Israel as part of the state—and rightly so, since only one sovereign rules between the river and the sea and Israeli settlers live under Israeli law (while Palestinians live under occupation and its corresponding martial law). That, in turn, gives way to the other obvious irony: Israelis don't speak (often) of annexing large swaths of the West Bank. That is, the settlements are part of Israel but Israel nonetheless maintains that they're not permanent. An eventual Palestinian state, even if it's only hypothetical and stays that way, is essential to Israel's image abroad, or what's left of it anyway. Though the actual policies of control would hardly need to be altered, if Israel publicly claimed the whole West Bank on a permanent basis, it couldn't call itself a democracy without enfranchising the Palestinians therein.
"If Lapid thinks Issawiya, Shuafat and Beit Hanina need to be part of the Jewish state and that stopping settlement construction is an American, European or Qatari interest, then apparently our Finance Minister is more connected to the settlers than the reality."
Labor MK Omer Bar-Lev on Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid's statement to the New York Times.
- Israeli forces issue demolition orders to Bedouins in Yatta - Israeli military vehicles raided an area east of Yatta and forces issued the orders to seven Bedouin families from the al-Hathalin tribe. (Maan)
- Israel nixes UNESCO Jerusalem visit, alleging Palestinians tried to make it political - Foreign Ministry rescinded its offer to let a team from the UN cultural agency inspect historical sites in the Old City of Jerusalem, saying the Palestinians violated a prior agreement that the visit be apolitical. (Haaretz+)
- Qatar: Arab Spring makes Israeli-Palestinian peace more pressing - Gulf state's emir tells Doha Forum Mideast revolutions put Israel 'in direct confrontation with Arab people, not only their rulers.' (Agencies, Ynet)
- Rachel's Tomb attacked: 200 Molotov cocktails in three months - The firebombs were thrown at people going to pray and at soldiers, according to senior army and Border Guard officers in a meeting of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense committee. (Israel Hayom, p. 17)
- Mohammed al-Dura's father calls for international probe into whether IDF killed his son - Palestinians say the 12-year-old died during a shootout with the IDF at the start of the second intifada; Israeli committee disagrees. Says he is willing to have his son exhumed from his grave. (Haaretz+ and NRG Hebrew)
- Palestinian village hangs large Swastika flag on electric line - The Israel Defense Forces Civil Administration on Monday ordered the Palestinian Electrical Company to remove a Swastika flag hanging on one of its electric wires in the Palestinian village of Beit Ummar. (Israel Hayom)
- Israel to demolish car dealership in Jerusalem - Israeli bulldozers demolished a car dealership in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem. The owner was shocked when he received a call from the Israeli side informing him that he had to remove 65 cars from the site ahead of the demolition. (Maan)
- Israel Police looking into allegations Yacimovich appointed donors to top Labor posts - The examination is in response to a complaint filed last month by party activist Yoni Ariel, a supporter of Yacimovich rival Amram Mitzna, who later left the party for Hatnuah. (Haaretz+)
- Minister Yuval Steinitz: "Israel prefers Assad falls - to weaken the Iranian regime" - The minister contradicted the media report according to which Israel is interested in Assad staying in power. "We received messages from Europe that it's time to gie Iran a military threat." (Maariv/NRGHebrew)
Naftali Bennett was slated to be the keynote speaker at the final event of the year organized by MASA, an extra-governmental organization that seeks to "inspire the next generation of Jewish leaders and strengthen their connection to the Jewish people and to Israel." But soon after Bennett took the podium, albeit a bit late, a group of some thirty young Diaspora Jews shouted him down. The chants went like this: "Diaspora Jews say, No to occupation; Diaspora Jews say, No to annexation; Diaspora Jews say, dai la'kibush"—end the occupation, in Hebrew. It would appear that if Bennett is popular with young Israelis, he may be just the opposite with young Diaspora Jews. They really don't seem to like him.
Naftali Bennett, head of the Israeli hardline national religious party, Jewish Home, looks over during the first high-tech conference for Israel's Haredi Sector, on January 15, 2013, in Jerusalem. (Gali Tibbon / AFP/ Getty Images)
The group that protested was made up of mainly 19-year-old gap-year students, organized through a new, diverse leftist collective that calls itself All That's Left—with which I have been involved—and members of HaShomer HaTza'ir's World Movement. According to the All That's Left press release disseminated following the hullabaloo, after the students had been escorted out, they sat down outside and started talking. They want to explain to other MASA students why, exactly, Naftali Bennett was so bad.
That they would want to do this makes a great deal of sense: many Diaspora Jews—particularly American Jews—find Bennett a pill almost too hard to swallow. For one thing, American Jews like Obama's position on Israel—and that means two states. According to recent polling, some 78 percent of Jewish-American voters who saw ads that "criticize President Obama for his positions or actions towards Israel" were either unaffected by the ads or "more likely to support" Obama afterwards. And Bennett, well, he promised to "do everything in [his] power to prevent a Palestinian state."
I was moved to read your piece commemorating the flight of your husband from a village near Jerusalem in 1948. He has kept the rusty iron key to his home. Yours was one of hundreds of articles in the global media, together with demonstrations and marches, marking your Nakba—the flight of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arabs in 1948.
A picture dated February 10, 2009 shows the entrance of an abandoned Jewish synagogue with a removed Star of David from the wall in Fallujah, west of Baghdad. (Saddam Hussein / AFP / Getty Images)
But let me tell you a little known-fact: as your husband's family was fleeing their village, a greater number of Jewish refugees were streaming out of the Arab world with one suitcase—in the opposite direction.
Over 800,000 Jewish refugees fled in the years immediately following 1948. This is the Jewish Nakba—a forgotten tragedy shrouded in silence. One of those refugee families was mine. We lived in a comfortable house in a riverside Jewish neighbourhood in Baghdad.
Most Israelis are familiar with the Arab League resolution from 1967 in Khartoum, Sudan—if not by name, then certainly by its principles. Its infamous “Three No’s”—no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it—made up the strategy of the Arab League for the decades to come, and validated the fears of most Israelis. Those principles meant to the Israeli public that no matter what policy may be adopted for the territories occupied in the Six Day War, Israel’s neighbors would always consider it a tumor on the map of the Middle East. That approach of the Arab world does not justify the expansion of Israeli settlements into the West Bank and Gaza, but it certainly explains in part the dwindled resistance of the moderates in Israel against their creation.
On the other hand, most Israelis are not aware of the Arab Peace Initiative (API). I myself came across it by sheer coincidence, through a PR stunt by the OneVoice Movement. A month later I joined OneVoice, which has been working since to spread the word about it and propel Israeli politicians to give it a chance. The initiative offered to reverse the Khartoum resolution with a triple “Yes.” Yes to ending the conflict, yes to security cooperation, and yes to normalization with Israel. In 2007, U.N. General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon urged Israel to restart the peace process based on the API. The Israeli Foreign Ministry, however, had considerable reservations about the initiative. The MFA spokesman, Mark Regev, said that “if the Arab initiative is take it or leave it, that will be a recipe for stagnation.”
Dept. Foreign Minister Elkin addresses the launch at the Knesset in Jerusalem, Israel on May 20, 2013. (Hadas Grinvald)
Six years later, contrary to the fears of many who deal with the conflict, the API is still on the table. Several things have actually made it even more relevant. Firstly, the API withstood the turmoil of the “Arab Spring,” and was ratified twice in its last two summits in Baghdad and Doha. Secondly, U.S. Secretary of State Kerry has recently pushed the Arab League towards flexing its intransigent position on borders. Accordingly, in a conference in Washington D.C. last month, Arab foreign ministers accepted the principle of land swaps based on the 1967 Green Line.
The Israeli government has yet to issue an official response and, as far as we know, did not even hold a comprehensive discussion about it. How many of the decision makers in Israel can confidently respond to the nuances of API?
Yair Lapid's signature is all over Israel's new national budget, and not just because the former TV emcee is now the minister of finance. In the most generous reading, Lapid's willingness to adopt ministry technocrats' austerity measures shows that he's in over his head, and that his campaign promises to help the middle class have as much substance as the smile of a talk-show host. But Lapid did make some choices among the ideas offered to him, and his choices will most harshly affect the two groups in Israeli society that Lapid most likes to dislike: Arabs and the ultra-Orthodox. The budget is an economic offensive against the cultural outsiders.
Already approved by the cabinet, now before the Knesset, the budget is supposed to cure the swollen deficit created by the same ministry wizards under Prime Minister Netanyahu's last government. Here are a few ingredients of the purported treatment: The budget increases the utterly regressive value-added tax. It cuts child allowances—the government stipend to families, essential to the livelihood of poor and working-class families, especially large families. For the first time, housewives will have to pay taxes for health care and national insurance, which provides Israel's social safety net.
An Ultra Orthodox Jewish child stands during an anti-election rally on January 20, 2013 in Jerusalem, Israel. (Lior Mizrahi / Getty Images)
A half-explicit purpose of the new budget is to push Arab women and ultra-Orthodox men to get jobs. The goal itself is more than reasonable. Forty-five percent of working-age Israelis aren't employed. That's an immense drag on the economy. The proportion of Arab women and ultra-Orthodox men in the labor force is especially low—even if, nearly unnoticed, more members of both groups have been going to work. But the assumption built into Lapid's budget is that if you make the poor even poorer, takers will be motivated to become makers. (I use those terms deliberately; the budget has a Romneyite streak as wide as a runway.) This, in turn, presumes that low motivation is what keeps people from working.
"The expert opinion attached to the report reads like an article by a movie critic and not by a pathologist."
--Haaretz's Barak Ravid on the government inquiry report that claimed Mohammed Al-Dura was never killed.
- Israeli man 'sexually assaults' 2 boys in Jordan Valley - In late April an Israeli man wearing a police uniform approached two 14-year-old boys attending goats north of Jericho, and with his firearm visible, ordered them to strip before sexually assaulting them one at a time. (Maan)
- Clashes as locals try to unblock major linking road closed by Israel - Israeli forces and Palestinians clashed on Sunday as locals tried to unblock a road between that links Dair Jarir and neighboring villages with Ramallah and Jericho. Israel's military closed it a day earlier with cement blocks. (Maan)
- Since beginning of 2013, Israel effectively barring tourists from West Bank by neglecting to explain mandatory permit -To visit Palestinian-controlled areas, some foreign nationals need military entry permit that Israel doesn't explain how to get. (Haaretz+)
- Jordanian regime scuttles attempt to expel Israeli envoy - Legislators drop no-confidence motion under palace pressure; protesting Israeli settlements, MP promises to push again for ambassador's expulsion. [Note: Media Line claims that police 'allegedly' detained Jerusalem Mufti. That is a fact. -OH] (Media Line, Ynet)
- Livni: Erdogan wrong to think Hamas can be part of peace process - Justice minister says Turkish PM's assertion that Hamas is imperative to peace talks is skewed by his personal, Islamic politics. (Israel Hayom)
- Ultra-Orthodox riot in Jerusalem as soldiers cross Mea Shearim - Police claim dozens set fire to trash bins, hurled stones in protest of two ultra-Orthodox soldiers crossing ultra-Orthodox neighborhood. No injuries reported. (Ynet)
- Nablus vendor tries to set self on fire after crackdown - Muhammad Yaesh, 40, tried to set himself on fire in Nablus on Sunday in protest against a police campaign to regulate street vendors in the West Bank. (Maan)
- Peres sends condolences to Turkey following May 11 terror attack - Message is first high-level expression of sympathy; Netanyahu had refrained from contacting Turkish PM after the bombings near the Syrian border. (Haaretz+)
- Final exams start in West Bank schools despite ministry's opposition - Palestinian school children across the West Bank started final exams Sunday despite the ministry of education’s decision to delay them until the end of the month. (Maan)
Matthew Kalman broke the story of physicist Stephen Hawking’s boycott of Israel. Then Cambridge University tried to falsely deny it.