UN Report on War Crimes during Israel’s 51 Day Assault on Gaza

The report creates a profoundly false sense on the part readers as to equivalent responsibility for wrongful behavior by both Israel and Palestine. (IRIN)

By Richard Falk Exactly a year ago, for 51 days between July 7 and August 26 Israel carried out its third major military assault (2008-09; 2012; 2014) on Gaza in the past six years. This last one, code named Operation Protective Edge by Israeli Defense Forces, was the most vicious, killing 2,251 Palestinians, of which […]

47Soul: Shamstep


By Louis Brehony The speakers rumble with the sound of a synthesized air raid siren and a crowd ducks down for cover, a look of dramatic trepidation on the faces of the audience. The atmosphere is electric. Nobody predicted this. This isn’t a village near the Gaza border, waiting anxiously for the next Israeli attack. […]

Turkey’s Electoral Maelstrom

Erdoğan’s push for a constitutional shift from a parliamentary to a presidential system has failed. (Via Aljazeera)

By Richard Falk If I were Turkish, and not merely a sympathetic observer and part time resident, I would write an Open Letter to the opposition political parties that had separately and collectively achieved several goals in the June 7th elections: –repudiating Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s push for a constitutional shift from a parliamentary to a […]

Baskin’s Generous Offer: Making Peace with Israeli Occupation

Baskin with Mahmoud Abbas. (Via

By Ramzy Baroud It would be fair to assume that Gershon Baskin’s recent article in the Jerusalem Post – Encountering Peace: Obviously no peace now, so what then? (June 24) – is not a mere intellectual exercise aimed at finding ‘creative’ solutions to the Israeli occupation of Palestine. Baskin is a regular contributor to the […]

On Intimidation and Counter-BDS Efforts

BDS takes its target as the construct and the institutions of the occupation, not Israeli individuals or Jewish people at all. (

By Samah Jabr The Orange Affair The Orange affair here is not the ominous orange of the victims of Guantanamo or the Islamic state – it about the French telecommunication company Orange and its recent affair with Israel. After announcing in Cairo that Orange was suspending its contract with Israel’s Partner Company, the CEO of […]

Sisi’s Strategy behind the Sudden Opening of the Rafah Border Crossing

Rafah crossing. (Johnny Barber, Palestine Chronicle)

By Matthew Ayton The people of the economically immiserated Gaza Strip have been given a semblance of relief as Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has announced that the Rafah crossing – Gaza’s lifeline with the outside world – will open more frequently. Sisi has observed Israel’s blockade on Gaza since his coming to power, and […]

Will the UN’s Gaza Report Force Change?

Mary McGowan Davis, Chairperson, Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict, at a press conference to launch the report. (UN)

By Annie Slemrod A United Nations investigation accusing Israel and Palestinian armed groups of alleged war crimes in last summer’s Gaza conflict caused a stir on Monday. The report singled out Israel for its use of explosive weapons with wide-ranging effects in heavily populated areas and said Palestinian militants sent rockets indiscriminately into Israel. Both Israel’s […]

Is BDS Replacing Iran as Israel’s Blackmail Card?

It can be said that the false charge of anti-Semitism is Zionism’s trump card. (Via Aljazeera)

By Alan Hart My headline question was provoked by an Uri Avnery article with the headline “BDS, the new enemy”. After noting that Netanyahu’s whole career has been based on fear mongering and in recent years his promotion of fear of a nuclear-armed Iran, Avnery wrote this: “But Netanyahu saw with growing anxiety that the […]

In Baghdad, Organized Destruction

(Jason Fudge, flickr -cc - Common Dreams)

By Cathy Breen Two days ago an email came from an Iraqi doctor in Baghdad in response to a brief greeting I sent for the month of Ramadan. “Thanks so much for remembering us…In fact we are the same if not worse. Our hearts are broken at the organized ruining of our country. We are […]

Khader Adnan: A Symbol of Palestinian Resistance

Khader Adnan is becoming an iconic symbol of man's and nations’ search for dignity. (Via Aljazera)

By Ghada Ageel The body of Khader Adnan is again on the line and the very life of this Palestinian political prisoner is in great danger. Adnan, who successfully carried out one of the longest hunger strikes in the history of the Palestinian prisoner’s movement, has launched yet another strike in protest against the renewal of […]

Asylum Seekers: Fortress Europe with Israeli Guns

The Israeli government built the 'Holot' incarceration facility to hold thousands of African refugees. (

By Shir Hever The EU has recently adopted a plan to use extreme measures to restrict the flow of asylum-seekers from Africa and the Middle East, who cross the Mediterranean in a desperate attempt to save themselves and their families from war and famine. According to a Wikileaks-revealed document, the EU has decided to sabotage […]

The B Vocabulary: The Western Left and Its Sterile ‘Field of Ideas’

Che Guevara / Marilyn Monroe. (Kate Stanworth, Argentina Independent)

By Ramzy Baroud Over the year, I realized that the term ‘left’ is not exclusive to a political ideology, but a mode of thinking championed mostly by self-tailored ‘leftist’ western intellectuals. I grew to dislike it with intensity. But that has not always been the case. My father was a communist, or so he called […]

The Drone Eats with Me: Diaries from a City under Fire


By Vacy Vlazna “We prepare the suhoor. We all sit around five dishes: white cheese, hummus, orange jam, yellow cheese, and olives. Darkness eats with us. Fear and anxiety eat with us. The unknown eats with us. The F16 eats with us. The drone, and its operator somewhere out in Israel, eat with us.” I […]

The United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza Conflict


Human Rights Council Twenty-ninth session Agenda item 7 Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories Report of the independent commission of inquiry established pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution S-21/1* ** Summary: The present report contains the main findings and recommendations of the commission of inquiry established pursuant to Human Rights Council […]

Would You Advise a Friend to Follow You Across the Mediterranean?

Jad arrived in Italy after days at sea. (Jad Mohammed, IRIN)

By Joe Dyke – Beirut Of the two, Jad never wanted to leave – Syria was home, and he liked it. His friend Hassan* had been angling for a move to Europe for years, hoping to further his studies. Then war came. More than four years since the start of the country’s bloody civil war, […]

Shadings of Zionism

Soft bi-nationalists are not yet ready to include all Palestinians in the proposed state. (

By Blake Alcott Last year liberal Zionists launched efforts to get international recognition for a tiny state called Palestine. The US-brokered peace talks that terminated in mid-2014 were the last of many attempts to get Israelis and Palestinians to agree to two states, and its failure prodded European parliaments, with the connivance of the Palestinian […]

Gaza Welcomes Ramadan with Record Levels of Poverty and Unemployment

Al-Tabbaa stated that the war waged by Israel against the Gaza Strip last year lasted 51 days and increased the number of unemployed people by around 200,000. (Via MEMO)

The Chamber of Commerce in Gaza has reported that nearly two million Palestinians are facing the month of Ramadan under the worst economic conditions in decades. The blame has been placed on the effects of Israel’s offensive against the beleaguered territory last summer and the Israeli-led blockade, which has entered its ninth year. The Director […]

Win for Academic Freedom: Steven Salaita Awarded Back-to-back Victories against University that Fired Him

Steven Salita. (Via Twitter)

The first part of June has awarded back-to-back victories to a professor who last year was dismissed from his post at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Nearly a year ago Steven Salaita was fired for posting some tweets that were considered by some to be beyond the pale of proper academic discourse; the context […]

The Living Martyr, a Visit to the Bakr Family in Gaza

Sharifa Bakr sits in front of posters commemorating Ahed and Zachariah Bakr. (Dan Cohen, Mondoweiss)

Last week, the Israeli military absolved itself of wrongdoing in the killing of the four Bakr boys during the war on Gaza last summer. Israeli military spokesperson Peter Lerner posted a narrative on his Facebook page that was full of holes, which Guardian correspondent and witness to the massacre Peter Beaumont expertly picked apart. Paul […]

The Imperative of Palestinian Liberation

The increasing activities of solidarity with Palestine represents an important step in the right direction. (

By Atef Alshaer Before 1948, there was no country, nation-state, in historic Palestine called Israel. Israel founded itself by the conquest and exclusion of others, the Palestinians, the rightful owners of Palestine. This is the most basic fact that is often forgotten or ignored altogether among the supporters of Israel. Palestine as a name and […]

Just Politics: Iran, Like the Rest, Is Not Blameless

Iran hopes to translate its palpable regional ascendency into political capital. (Via Aljazeera)

By Ramzy Baroud When the United States government declared its war on Afghanistan in October 2001, thus taking the first step in its so-called ‘war on terror’, following the devastating attacks of September 11 earlier that year, Iran jumped on board. Then Iranian President Mohammed Khatami, dubbed a reformist, provided substantial assistance in the US […]

Israel’s Race to Economic (and Moral) Bankruptcy

Ideological blinkers imposed by Zionism could push them to pursue the benefits of the occupation even more aggressively. (

By Jonathan Cook Two recent reports suggest that Israel could face catastrophic consequences if it fails to end the mistreatment of Palestinians under its rule, whether in the occupied territories or in Israel itself. The Rand Corporation’s research shows that Israel could lose $250 billion over the next decade if it fails to make peace […]

Biography’s Life in Occupied Palestine Launched in Gaza

At the launch of Biography’s Life in Occupied Palestine. (CPDS, Supplied)

By CPDS – Gaza, Palestine The Center for Political and Development Studies in Gaza, Palestine held a launch of Biography’s Life in Occupied Palestine, a special issue highlighting the life of Palestinians under occupation. Cynthia Franklin, Morgan Cooper and Ibrahim G. Aoudé have co-edited the newly released special issue, which has 17 authors, who contributed […]

Is the Middle East America’s to Lose?

This idea of the West 'losing' a country should be banished from the 21st century political imaginary. (

By Richard Falk I was appalled by the embedded colonialism of a recent issue of The Economist [June 6-12, 2015], boldly proclaiming its mood of geopolitical angst on its cover titling its featured story “Losing the Middle East.” Any glimmer of doubt about the intent of the magazine’s editors is removed by displaying a somewhat […]

Bibi Boosts BDS – Israel’s Opposition Proves It is Necessary

It is during Netanyahu’s time in office that BDS has made considerable headway. (Via Aljazeera)

By Ben White In his speech to AIPAC last year, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu referred 18 times to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. A year on, and it is clear that for Bibi, BDS is the new public enemy number one. Denounced as an antisemitic “strategic threat,” the Palestinian-led, global campaign to pressure […]

CrossTalk: ISIS and Obama’s Failure


The Islamic State continues to thrive and establish itself as a power base in the Middle East. Though it must be pointed out that its strength today is only the result of the west’s habit of playing with jihadi groups who later turn on their masters. Is this intentional chaos or policy recklessness? CrossTalking with […]

Ship to Gaza Critics Don’t Want Media to Expose Consequences of Blockade

Gaza: wars, a protracted Israeli-Egyptian blockade and little construction material. (IRIN)

By Various Authors* A Swedish major tabloid published an op-ed on 9 June 2015, in which Ship to Gaza was described as a media prank—not the first of its kind. What is it that our critics are so worried that the media might expose? Is it the schools in Gaza that are forced to teach […]

Lebanon’s Palestinian Refugee Camps Protest UNRWA Aid Cuts

Around 455,000 refugees are registered with UNRWA in Lebanon, with many living in the country’s 12 refugee camps. (UN)

By Louisa Lamb – Baddwi Camp – Tripoli, Lebanon Life as a Palestinian refugee is more than a constant struggle these days, in fact more than in memory, according to a sampling of some of the more than 200,000 Palestinians in Lebanon’s camps. Every day looms with pessimism, as many wonder if they will be […]

Where Do Israeli Weaknesses Lie?

Israel should learn from history that arrogance and over-confidence can backfire. (Tamar Fleishman, PC)

By Hasan Afif El Hasan By the late 1960s, former colonial empires were moving away from occupation and colonization, Israel has been marching in the opposite direction. The relationship between the occupier and occupied is always based on fear and violence, humiliation and pain, suffering and oppression, and a system of masters and slaves. The […]

Middle East Reporting: The Need for Honest Journalism

But if biases are a must, it should be biases for the right reasons: Human rights. Conflict resolution. Peace. (

By Ramzy Baroud Writing about and reporting on the Middle East is not an easy task, especially during these years of turmoil and upheaval. But I cannot remember another time in recent history when we have needed journalists to shine in order to challenge conventional wisdom, to think in terms of contexts, motives, alliances, and […]

The Free Zone | Blog

  • July 6, 2015

    Arab-killing Never Hurt an Israeli Cop's Record

    Finally, the ultimate policeman was found, one with no suspicion of sexual harassment or corruption hanging over him – and our Arab brethren are already protesting because this police chief-designate, Maj. Gen. Bentzi Sao, was involved in killing Arabs in the October 2000 protests. - They have some nerve. Instead of saying thank you to Deputy Minister Yaron Mazuz that those young people were killed with Israeli ID... More →
  • July 6, 2015

    Israel Losing Democrats, 'Can’t Claim Bipartisan US Support': Top Pollster

    Three quarters of highly educated, high income, publicly active US Democrats — the so-called “opinion elites” — believe Israel has too much influence on US foreign policy, almost half of them consider Israel to be a racist country, and fewer than half of them believe that Israel wants peace with its neighbors. These are among the findings of a new survey carried out by US political consultant Frank Luntz. -... More →
  • June 22, 2015

    UN Report: 'War Crimes' Likely by Both Sides in 2014 Gaza War

    Both Israel and Palestinian militants may have committed war crimes during last year's Gaza war, a widely anticipated United Nations report said Monday, decrying "unprecedented" devastation and human suffering. - The Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza conflict announced it had gathered "substantial information pointing to the possible commission of war crimes by both Israel and Palestinian armed groups." - On Jan.... More →
  • June 22, 2015

    Outrage as Wife of Israeli Interior Minister Posts and then Quickly Deletes Racist Joke Calling U.S. President 'Black and Weak'

    The wife of a senior Israeli politician has posted a racist tweet about Barack Obama, suggesting he is 'black and weak'. - TV host Judy Nir Mozes Shalom, who is married to Interior Minister Silvan Shalom, uploaded the offensive message on Sunday before quickly deleting it, insisting it was a joke. - After causing a stir in Israeli media, Mozes Shalom apologized to Obama. - 'President Obama I shouldn't have written the... More →
  • June 21, 2015

    More Than 40% of Palestinians in Historic Land Are Refugees

    Statistics released by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) on Monday show that 41.2 per cent of the Palestinian residents of their historic land are refugees; 25.2 per cent live in the occupied West Bank and 66.8 per cent are in the Gaza Strip. - Palestinians aged under 15 make up 39 per cent of the total Palestinian population. That age group stands at 40.9 per cent among refugees compared to 39.2 per... More →
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