Heading to Gaza: Crossing Rafah

Rafah border crossing.

By Johnny Barber The Rafah Crossing from Egypt to Gaza was opened on May 26th for 2 days after being closed for the past 75 days. The opening allowed Palestinian residents of Gaza who were stranded in Egypt or third countries to return home to Gaza. The crossing remained closed for those trying to leave […]

Parodies of Parity: Israel and Palestine

Unless the structural distortion and illegitimacy is acknowledged, no viable political arrangement will be forthcoming. (

By Richard Falk As long ago as 1998 Edward Said reminded the world that acting as if Palestinians were equally responsible with Israelis for the persisting struggle of the two peoples was not only misleading, but exhibited a fundamental in misunderstanding of the true reality facing the two peoples: “The major task of the American […]

How an Alleged War Crime Goes Away — and Resurfaces a Year Later

Victims of Shujaiyeh massacre. Over 100 Palestinians were killed. (Al-Rai')

The story begins in the middle of one of the deadliest battles of last summer’s Gaza war, in the Shujaiyeh neighborhood, where some 100 Palestinians and over a dozen Israeli soldiers were killed. On July 22, IDF Cpt. Dima Levitas was killed by Palestinian fire. Levitas was laid to rest the next day in Jerusalem’s […]

StandWithUs Invests Nearly Half a Million Dollars in Ongoing Anti-BDS Lawsuit against Olympia Food Co-Op

'Stand with Us'.

On May 28, 2015, the Washington State Supreme Court struck down the state’s anti-SLAPP law, following an appeal filed by five individuals who are suing the Olympia Food Co-op for boycotting Israeli products. The Israeli advocacy organization StandWithUs immediately hailed the decision as a “BDS Defeat,” “a major setback to the anti-Israel boycott, divestment, sanctions […]

The Untold Story of Israeli Military Exports to South Sudan

South Sudanese refugees in Israel. (Activestills)

We now know that Israel sold weapons to Rwanda in the 1990s as genocide was being committed throughout the country. The details of these dealings are still being kept secret and an appeal (Hebrew) to make them public is currently being examined in the High Court of Justice. No lessons, it seems, were learned from […]

Why is the Media Ignoring Israel’s Alliance with al-Qaeda?

Western intelligence agencies were aware, as far back as August 2012, that 'Islamic State' could arise.

Since January, I have been ploughing a lonely furrow in this column by covering what is certainly one of the most under-reported stories in the world right now: Israeli involvement in the war in Syria. Almost unnoticed by the mainstream media, Israel’s occupation forces in the Golan Heights have been in alliance with the Nusra […]

US Rebukes Israel while Showering It with Arms and Favors

Obama may signal verbally his disquiet with the current Israeli government, but he is not about to exact any real price from Israel. (WH)

By Jonathan Cook – Nazareth Only a few weeks into Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government, the intense strain of trying to square its members’ zealotry with Israel’s need to improve its international standing is already starkly evident. The conundrum was laid out clearly by Tzipi Hotovely, a young political ally of Netanyahu’s recently appointed to oversee […]

Turkey and Syria: The War of Two Men against One

This is a wrong war morally, legally and politically.

By Jeremy Salt The next time Recep Tayyip Erdogan talks to the media perhaps he should be asked precisely where the Turkish national interest lies in the destruction of Syria. In the name of bringing down the government in Damascus, Syria is being torn to pieces by groups armed, trained and financed by foreign governments. […]

Beyond the Middle East: The Rohingya Genocide

At a Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh. (

By Ramzy Baroud “Nope, nope, nope,” was Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s answer to the question whether his country will take in any of the nearly 8,000 Rohingya refugees stranded at sea. Abbott’s logic is as pitiless as his decision to abandon the world’s most persecuted minority in their darkest hour. “Don’t think that getting […]

After Capturing Haifa, Ben-Gurion Gave Order to Stop Fleeing Arabs from Returning

Arab residents leaving Haifa, accompanied by Haganah men, April, 1948.

David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister, gave an instruction aimed at preventing Haifa’s Arab residents who have fled the city during the 1948 War of Independence from returning to their homes as long as the fighting continued. This was revealed in a letter bearing Ben-Gurion’s signature, which will go on sale next week at the […]

The End of Hasbara? ‘NYT’ Readers Question US Support for Apartheid

New York Times headquarters. (Wikimedia)

The New York Times published a remarkable discussion yesterday. Alongside an article about Israel canceling a plan to segregate buses going to the West Bank so as to keep Palestinians off settlers’ buses, it published readers’ comments, and in both the editors’ selection and the readers’ selection, the comments were running against Israel. In fact, […]

Oslo Sowed the Seeds of an Intra-Palestinian Schism

The failure of the reconciliation government to end the split between Hamas and Fatah was inevitable. (via Aljazeera)

By Ghada Ageel On 23 April 2014 Palestinian factions led by Hamas and Fatah met at the home of then-Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and concluded the al-Shati agreement. Despite differences in ideology and political programmes as well as a shared understanding of the consequences – inevitable outside intervention, possible cuts in donors’ aid, and intensified […]

Which Countries Are Failing to Deliver Gaza Aid?

Thousands of Gazans saw their homes destroyed in last summer's war. (Shareef Sarhan, UNRWA)

By Annie Slemrod Gulf Arab states and Turkey have spectacularly failed to fulfill their pledges to Gaza, contributing to a two-thirds shortfall in promised assistance to the beleaguered enclave, a new report reveals. Qatar has delivered just 10 percent of the $1 billion it promised, while Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Kuwait between them have handed […]

Introduction to Middle East Sectarian Wars

Can the Middle East people manage the daunting political challenges posed by sectarian wars waged by undemocratic regimes?

By Hasan Afif El-Hasan The actual religious requirements of Islam are quite simple, but no religion can lead society down a common path to worldly happiness or to the here-after heavens when the religious are at war with themselves. Today, the most rigid religious Islamic states in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia and Iran could […]

Dimona: Israel’s ‘Little Hiroshima’

A partial view of the Dimona nuclear power plant in the southern Israeli Negev desert. (Via Aljazeera)

By Richard Silverstein  In the early 1950s, after Israel had fought a desperate war of independence in which thousands of Israelis died to ensure the founding of the state, David Ben Gurion, its first prime minister, decided the nation required an existential trump card to guarantee its survival. In 1955, he tasked his chief aide, […]

Nakba and the Question of ‘Palestinian Strategy’

third prerequisite would have to wrangle with the question of leadership.

By Ramzy Baroud “What is the Palestinian strategy?” is a question that I have been asked all too often, including on 15 May, the day that millions of Palestinians around the world commemorated the 67th anniversary of the Nakba, the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians by Zionist militias in 1947-48. The question itself doesn’t require […]

Breaking the Silence ‘Confessions’ Part of the Problem, Not the Solution

Israeli occupation soldiers at Qalandiya checkpoint. (Tamar Fleishman, PC)

By Ghada Ageel and Rela Mazali The Israeli veterans’ group “Breaking the Silence” on 4 May uploaded a collection of testimonies describing Israel’s assault on Gaza last summer. These accounts, the group said, were given by more than 60 Israeli officers and soldiers who took part in the attack and disclose “systematic policies that were dictated […]

The House Belongs to Someone Else: The Lie Lives on!

The lie lives on through you and through your children. (Tamar Fleishman, PC)

By Mats Svensson She told me she longed to get away. Just for a few days. She had been invited to visit friends in Amman, only a few miles away. She only needed to drive down the mountain, down to the Jordan River. If it can be called a river. Once upon a time it […]

The Whole Truth about Israel in One Sentence

To say that Gideon Levy is courageous is an understatement. (Wikimedia)

By Alan Hart It was written by Gideon Levy, the conscience of Israeli journalism, in an article for Ha’aretz, and here it is: “The two-state solution is dead (it was never born); the Palestinian state will not arise; international law does not apply to Israel; the occupation will continue to crawl quickly to annexation, annexation […]

At Promise and Hope: Promoting Resilience in Palestinian Schools

In Palestine, children are at special risk, because the occupation erodes every aspect of Palestinian life. (

By Samah Jabr Ali, 8, suffers from allergies which cause a frequent nasal discharge. Running out of tissues during class, he asked his classmates for some but the teacher scolded him. “You always have a snotty nose!” The teacher forbade other students from giving him tissues so that he would remember to bring his own. […]

The Nakba 67 Years on: Holding on Tight to Our Long Postponed Dreams

Palestinian refugees refuse to give up their demands for the right to return. (via Aljazeera)

By Ghada Ageel Sixty-seven years ago, Palestinians woke up to a tragedy that ravaged their hearts and distorted Palestinian life forever. Over 800,000 people, approximately half of the population of then-mandatory Palestine, were evicted from their homes and their ancestors’ lands. The horror was engraved on all of the faces; a language and reality they […]

Palestine Commemorates 67 years of Ongoing Nakba

The enormity of the 1948 tragedy and the gross injustice inflicted on the Palestinian people are yet to be officially recognised by the world's key powers.

By Dr. Mosheer Amer On 15 May every year, the Palestinian people all over the world commemorate the anniversary of the Nakba, or “Catastrophe”. The Palestinians mourn and remember the massive expulsion and forcible displacement from their homes, villages and towns by Zionist militias in a systematic drive to create an exclusively Jewish state in […]

The Nakba: A Crime Watched, Ignored and Remembered

Steadfastness of the Palestinians is like the age-old olive trees.

By Ilan Pappe The 15th of May is usually a trigger for a journey back in time. And for an unfathomable reason each such journey conjures up a different aspect of the Nakba. This year, more than anything else, I am preoccupied with the continued apathy and indifference of the Western political elite and media […]

Israel Seeks in Nepal to Whitewash Its Crimes in Gaza

Israel's humanitarian double standards do not apply only to the tiny enclave. (APA via Aljazeera)

By Jonathan Cook – Nazareth Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was quick to congratulate Israeli soldiers on their relief efforts in Nepal, where an earthquake late last month claimed many thousands of lives. “These are the true faces of Israel,” he said of a 260-strong team that arrived to pull survivors from the rubble, treat […]

The Arab Boat: It’s an Arab-Palestinian Nakba, and We Are All Refugees

A small vessel loaded with 353 people believed to be refugees fleeing Syria lies around 50 nautical miles southwest of Cyprus' coast in Sept 2014. (Cypriot Defense Ministry)

By Ramzy Baroud In a western capital far away from Gaza and Cairo, I recently shared a pot of tea with an “Egyptian refugee”. The term is familiar to me, but never have I encountered an Egyptian who refers to himself as such. He stated it as a matter of fact by saying: “As an […]

The Nakba: Israel’s Catastrophe

It is a case of eternal love, of an unbreakable bond. (Naji al-Ali)

By Vacy Vlazna “By military force, the Jewish forces conquered 78% of Palestine in 1948 and depopulated 675 towns and villages, leaving only 15% of its Palestinian citizens under the rule of the Jewish forces. This area of Palestine was called Israel.” — Salman Abu Sitta The Palestinian Nakba is a catastrophe for the Jewish […]

Gaza: Children in Crisis

The most common symptoms among children are anxiety and fear. (via Aljazeera)

By Hilary Wise Mona Samouni was 10-years-old when she lost her home, her parents and 19 other relatives, after they were crushed before her eyes in one of the bombing raids of Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in 2009. In an award-winning film, she speaks of her past experiences with an almost eerie detachment, as if she […]

NZ Super-annuitants Profit from Gaza Children’s Agony

Israeli weapons leveled entire Palestinian neighborhoods. (

By Vacy Vlazna The shocking decision by the government-owned New Zealand Super Fund (NZSF) to NOT divest from Israel Chemicals Ltd (ICL), manufacturer of white phos-phorus, blatantly violates the NZSF Responsibilities: “ethical investment including policies, standards and procedures for avoiding prejudice to New Zealand’s reputation as a responsible member of the world community” and Standards […]

Birzeit Wins again: Students of the West Bank Unite

Birzeit rose once more in a display of people’s power. (Via Twitter)

By Ramzy Baroud In November 1993, I was on a mission. At the age of 21, I wanted to change the world, starting with Birzeit University, the second-largest Palestinian university in the West Bank, situated near Ramallah, in the heart of the occupied territories. Back then I had made a name for myself with my […]

Will Britain’s Election Make any Difference for Palestine?

British Prime Minister David Cameron meets former President of Israel Shimon Peres. (Via Aljazeera/file)

By David Cronin Support for Israel has been hardwired into Britain’s ruling elite. Both of the two parties vying to form – or more realistically, dominate – the next government bear responsibility for the suffering inflicted on the Palestinians. In 1917, the Conservatives’ Arthur James Balfour made a formal commitment, as foreign secretary, towards ensuring that […]

The Free Zone | Blog

  • June 2, 2015

    One last Appeal before a Bedouin Village in the Negev is Demolished and a Jewish Town is Built in Its Place

    The Bedouin village of Umm el-Hieran in Israel’s southern Negev desert is running out of time and appeals before it will be razed to the ground and an exclusively Jewish town will be built in its place. After a decade of legal battles—a matrix of court cases over lands, houses, and demolition orders—the Bedouins now have one final petition at their disposal, a re-trial. If they lose this hearing their township... More →
  • June 2, 2015

    How an Alleged War Crime Goes Away — and Resurfaces a Year Later

    The story begins in the middle of one of the deadliest battles of last summer’s Gaza war, in the Shujaiyeh neighborhood, where some 100 Palestinians and over a dozen Israeli soldiers were killed. On July 22, IDF Cpt. Dima Levitas was killed by Palestinian fire. Levitas was laid to rest the next day in Jerusalem’s Mount Herzl military cemetery. - Because the fighting was still ongoing, his fellow soldiers were still... More →
  • June 1, 2015

    When will Israel Stop Seeing Palestinians as a 'Demographic Threat?'

    Last week, Haaretz’s Ofer Aderet reported about the auctioning of a letter written by Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, to then-Haifa Mayor Abba Hushi. In the letter Ben-Gurion rejected attempts to allow Palestinian Arabs to return to Haifa after fleeing during the 1948 war, stating that “until the war is over, we don’t want a return of the enemy.” - While the letter does not reveal anything... More →
  • June 1, 2015

    Israeli Propaganda Dominates front Page of New York Times

    Did you get the New York Times today? Hasbara Central took over the front page of the country’s leading newspaper. This article, along with a gigantic photo, fills the top of the front page: “Aided by the Sea, Israel Overcomes an Old Foe: Drought,” by Isabel Kershner. The url says it even better: “water-revolution-in-israel-overcomes-any-threat-of-drought.html.” - Do I even need to spell it out? Here’s the... More →
  • June 1, 2015

    Sheldon Adelson To Host Secret Anti-BDS Summit for Jewish Donors

    Leading Jewish mega-donors have summoned pro-Israel activists for a closed-door meeting in Las Vegas to establish, and fund, successful strategies for countering the wave of anti-Israel activity on college campuses. - The meeting, taking place this weekend, will be hosted by casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson and was organized by several other top Jewish funders, including Hollywood entertainment mogul Haim Saban,... More →
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