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United States Foreign Policy

Chronicles of a Death Foretold: The Kerry Negotiations

[U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has a private chat with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas before a meeting in Ramallah, West Bank, on December 12, 2013. Image by US State Department.]

[The following five commentaries were originally published together in Volume 43, No. 3 of the Journal of Palestine Studies.] Rashid Khalidi: Chronicles of a Death Foretold Farsighted observers saw it coming. For them, the apparent breakdown in April 2014 of the initiative launched by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry amid much fanfare nine months earlier, in August 2013, came as no great surprise.  Would U.S. diplomacy have the courage to do something it had failed to do for over thirty-five years, and put forward an initiative on Palestine that diverged markedly from the Israeli government’s colonialist, annexationist agenda? Would Israeli prime minister ...

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Petition: Nobel Peace Laureates and Celebrities Call for Military Embargo on Israel

[This letter was posted by BDS Movement. An abridged version of this letter calling for the UN and governments to impose a military embargo on Israel was published in the Guardian on July 19 2014. The letter is signed by six Nobel peace laureates: Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Adolfo Peres Esquivel, Jody Williams, Mairead Maguire, Rigoberta Menchú and Betty Williams. Other signatories include Noam Chomsky, Roger Waters from Pink Floyd, playwright Caryl Churchill, US rapper Boots Riley, João Antonio Felicio, the president of the International Trade Union Confederation, and Zwelinzima Vavi, the general secretary of the Confederation ...

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HRW's Pro-Israel Partisanship on 'Protective Edge'

[44th Munich Security Conference 2008: The Executive Director, Human Rights Watch, Kenneth Roth, during his speech. Image by Kai Mörk.]

[The following post was originally published on Just World News.] The NYC-based organization Human Rights Watch, which has grown increasingly closer to the US government over the years, has sunk to a new low in the kneejerk response it published July 9, to Israel's deadly 'Operation Protective Edge'. See how. Where What Helena Cobban Comment Heading Palestine/Israel: Indiscriminate Palestinian Rocket Attacks A definitive and damning ...

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Human Rights Watch Goes to War

[Gaza, post-Operation Cast Lead. Image by Physicians for Human Rights - Israel.]

[In view of the growing controversy about HRW's role and positions, Jadaliyya is re-posting this 2009 analysis of HRW's response to Israel's 2008-2009 assault on the Gaza Strip by Co-Editor Mouin Rabbani, originally published on Normanfinkelstein.com] The Middle East has always been a difficult challenge for Western human rights organizations, particularly those seeking influence or funding in the United States. The pressure to go soft on US allies is in some respects reminiscent of Washington’s special pleading for Latin American terror regimes in the 1970s and 1980s. In the case of Israel such organizations also face a powerful and influential domestic ...

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المسألة السّورية: سؤال المصير والمستقبل: الحراك الشعبي في سورية

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‫الحراك الشعبي في سورية 1ـ الحراك الشعبي السّوري ، الّذي بدأ في النّصف الثّاني من آذار (مارس) 2011 تحوّل تدريجياً ، وقبل أن يتصلّب عوده، وتترسخ قاعدته الشّعبية، ويتحقق استقلاله عن القوى والمؤثرات الخارجية، تحوّل، بعد بضعة أشهر، عن النهج السّلمي إلى حرب متعدّدة الصّفات ومن نوع جديد لم تألفه المنطقة، شاركت فيه أطراف عربية وإقليمية ودولية عديدة. وهكذا غُطي على الأهداف الداخلية للحراك (الحرية والكرامة والعدالة)، ثمَ أزيحت تدريجياً لصالح أهداف هذه الأطراف التي لعبت دور المموّل والمسلّح والموجَه والمخطّط، ووضعت، بالتالي، الأطراف النافذة في الحراك تحت السّيطرة المباشرة لأجهزتها المتمركزة في الدّول المجاورة لسورية.  ‫الحراك الشّعبي السّوري تلا الأحداث التي جرت في العديد ...

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Quick Thoughts: Lisa Hajjar on Guantanamo Bay and High Seas Detention

[The five 9/11 defendants in the Guantánamo military commission, June 2014. Artwork by Janet Hamlin.]

[Jadaliyya Co-Editor Lisa Hajjar recently returned from her fifth visit to the US naval base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where the United States has maintained a military prison facility since 2002. Below she provides her impressions and analysis of the current state of military trials.] Jadaliyya (J): You recently visited Guantánamo to report on the military commission proceedings. What is the state of the cases currently on trial? Lisa Hajjar (LH): In the 9/11 case, there are five defendants, including self-declared “mastermind” of the terrorist attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammad (KSM). In the USS Cole case, there is one defendant, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, ...

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Quick Thoughts: Trita Parsi on the Iranian Nuclear Negotiations

[Image courtesy of trend.az/]

[The November 2013 Joint Plan of Action concluded between Iran and the P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, United States, UK) in Geneva, committed the parties to concluding a comprehensive agreement on Iran’s nuclear program by 20 July. Jadaliyya asked Trita Parsi, who has written and commented widely on these talks, for his assessment of where they stand]:
 Jadaliyya (J): What are the main obstacles to Iran and the P5+1 meeting the July deadline for a comprehensive agreement? Trita Parsi (TP): There are numerous issues that still divide the two sides. The most difficult one appears to be the size of the Iranian enrichment program. The United States wants to see a ...

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Comparing American and Israeli Ways of War

[Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin and Brig. Gen. Shahar Shohat at a press conference for a combined US-Israel military exercise, Austere Challenge 12; Image by Staff Sgt. Yuval Haker/IDF]

Over the last few years, Israel and Palestine have become major topics of interest and debate for scholars who do American Studies. This is evident in burgeoning comparative analyses of settler colonialisms, militarized borders, intersections of racialization and revolutionary politics, and cultural productions that emanate from or speak to the issue of diaspora, to name a few. Here, I share some thoughts about the comparative work that I do on Israel’s and America’s ways of war. I contend that Israel is not only the most relevant comparative example to understand American ways of war, but in fact provides the model for articulating and projecting ...

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O.I.L. Media Roundup (28 May)

[Screenshot of United States President Barack Obama delivering his speech on Afghanistan at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. Image by Executive Office of the President of the United States, via Wikimedia Commons.]

[This is a monthly archive of pieces written by Jadaliyya contributors and editors on the Occupations, Interventions,and Law (O.I.L.) Page. It also includes material published on other platforms that editors deemed pertinent to post as they provide diverse depictions of O.I.L.-related topics. The pieces reflect the level of critical analysis and diversity that Jadaliyya strives for, but the views are solely the ones of their authors. If you are interested in contributing to Jadaliyya, send us your post with your bio and a release form to post@jadaliyya.com [click "Submissions" on the main page for more information] US Foreign Policy Guantánamo ...

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Nobel Peace Laureates and Others to Human Rights Watch: Close Your Revolving Door to US Government

[The following open letter was issued on 12 May 2014 by the below signatories, and originally published on Alternet.org.] Dear Kenneth Roth, Human Rights Watch characterizes itself as “one of the world’s leading independent organizations dedicated to defending and protecting human rights.” However, HRW's close ties to the U.S. government call into question its independence.  For example, HRW's Washington advocacy director, Tom Malinowski, previously served as a special assistant to President Bill Clinton and as a speechwriter to Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. In 2013, he left HRW after being nominated as Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, ...

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O.I.L. Monthly Edition (April 2014)

[Pro-Palestinian demonstrations in Egypt. Image by Gigi Ibrahim via Flickr.]

[This is a monthly archive of pieces written by Jadaliyya contributors and editors on the Occupations, Interventions,and Law (O.I.L.) Page. It also includes material published on other platforms that editors deemed pertinent to post as they provide diverse depictions of O.I.L.-related topics. The pieces reflect the level of critical analysis and diversity that Jadaliyya strives for, but the views are solely the ones of their authors. If you are interested in contributing to Jadaliyya, send us your post with your bio and a release form to post@jadaliyya.com [click "Submissions" on the main page for more information] Quick Thoughts: Chas Freeman on Israeli ...

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O.I.L. Media Roundup (30 April)

[Watchtower, Rafah, Gaza Strip border with Egypt, April 2009. Image by Marius Arnesen, via Wikimedia Commons.]

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Occupation, Intervention and Law and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the O.I.L. Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each biweekly roundup to OIL@jadaliyya.com by Monday night of every other week.]  Israel-Palestine Gaza Rockets Hit South Israel, Army Strikes Back: Officials, Reuters Israel and Palestine exchanged air strikes and rocket fire respectively in the most recent cross-border clash in Gaza. Israel: Stop Shooting at Gaza Civilians, Human Rights Watch Israeli troops have killed four and wounded ...

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Cash, Weapons and Surveillance: the U.S. is a Key Party to Every Israeli Attack

The U.S. government has long lavished overwhelming aid on Israel, providing cash, weapons and surveillance technology that play a crucial role in Israel’s attacks on its neighbors. But top secret documents provided by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden shed substantial new light on how the U.S. and its partners directly enable Israel’s military assaults – such as the one on Gaza. Over the last decade, the NSA has significantly increased the surveillance assistance it provides to its Israeli ...

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Solidarity with Guantanamo Bay & Palestine: An Open Letter Calling on the Boycott of the White House Iftar

[The following open letter was originally published by Falling Walls Initiative.] “Hardship is the only language used here. Anybody who is able to die will be able to achieve happiness for himself. He has no other hope except that. The requirement is to announce the end and challenge the self love for life and the soul that insists to end it all and leave this life, which is no longer called life, instead has become death and renewable torture. Ending it is a mercy and a happiness for the soul. With ...

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Nobel Peace Laureates Slam Human Rights Watch's Ken Roth for Refusal to Cut Ties to U.S. Government

[In a May 12 letter, two Nobel Peace Prize Laureates and over 100 scholars, journalists and human rights activists called on Human Rights Watch to close its revolving door to the U.S. government. On June 3, HRW published a response from executive director Kenneth Roth on its website, arguing that their “concern is misplaced.” In a June 11 debate on Democracy Now!, HRW Counsel and Spokesman Reed Brody similarly rejected their recommendations. Nobel Laureates Mairead Maguire and Adolfo Pérez Esquivel join ...

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An Institutionalized Disregard for Palestinian Life

One either rejects the killing of non-combatants on principle or takes a more tribal approach to such matters. In the case of Israel and the Palestinians, the global outpouring of grief and condemnation over the killing of three Israeli youths in the occupied West Bank constitutes the moral equivalent of Rolf Harris denouncing Jimmy Savile.One either rejects the killing of non-combatants on principle or takes a more tribal approach to such matters. In the case of Israel and the Palestinians, the global ...

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Letter Concerning Israeli Raids on Palestinian University Campuses

[The following open letter was issued by theCommittee on Academic Freedom of the Middle Eastern Studies Association (MESA)] June 30, 2014 John Kerry US Secretary of State via fax 202-663-3636 Benjamin Netanyahu Prime Minister of Israel via fax 972-2-5303367 Dear Sirs, On behalf of the Committee on Academic Freedom (CAF) of the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA), I write to express our concern about the recent raids by Israeli forces against Palestinian university ...

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O.I.L. Media Roundup (28 June)

[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Occupation, Intervention and Law and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the O.I.L. Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each biweekly roundup to OIL@jadaliyya.com by Monday night of every other week.]  Palestine-Israel Palestinian Prisoners in Israeli Jails Stage Hunger Strike After Inmate Dies, Harriet Sherwood Palestinian security ...

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Presbyterian General Assembly Votes to Divest from Israeli Occupation

[The following press release was issued by US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation on 20 June 2014.] Following a ten year process, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) has voted 310 to 303 to divest from Caterpillar, Motorola Solutions, and Hewlett Packard as a result of the companies’ involvement in the Israeli military occupation.  This historic move came roughly two weeks after the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits of the United Methodist Church -- the largest ...

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O.I.L. Media Roundup (13 June)

[This is a monthly archive of pieces written by Jadaliyya contributors and editors on the Occupations, Interventions,and Law (O.I.L.) Page. It also includes material published on other platforms that editors deemed pertinent to post as they provide diverse depictions of O.I.L.-related topics. The pieces reflect the level of critical analysis and diversity that Jadaliyya strives for, but the views are solely the ones of their authors. If you are interested in contributing to Jadaliyya, send us your post ...

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Quick Thoughts: Keane Bhatt on Human Rights Watch’s 'Revolving Door' for US Government Officials

  [On 12 May an open letter published on AlterNet to Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth urged the organization to close "what seems to be a revolving door" for US government officials, warning that the appointment and employment of such officials "call into question its independence". The more than 130 signatories included two Nobel Peace Prize laureates, senior current and former UN officials, and prominent lawyers, academics and journalists. Jadaliyya ...

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O.I.L. Media Roundup (17 May)

[This is a monthly archive of pieces written by Jadaliyya contributors and editors on the Occupations, Interventions,and Law (O.I.L.) Page. It also includes material published on other platforms that editors deemed pertinent to post as they provide diverse depictions of O.I.L.-related topics. The pieces reflect the level of critical analysis and diversity that Jadaliyya strives for, but the views are solely the ones of their authors. If you are interested in contributing to Jadaliyya, send us your post ...

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Quick Thoughts: Chas Freeman on Israeli Espionage against the United States

[Two successive reports by Jeff Stein in Newsweek this month (see here and here) sought to portray the full extent of Israeli espionage against the United States–including accounts of an Israeli agent hiding in the air duct of Al Gore’s hotel toilet and a level of snooping one congressional staffer characterized as "alarming . . . even terrifying." The reports have also sought to shed light on the degree to which political pressure from congressional politicians have stymied US ...

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Jadaliya Co-editor Noura Erakat and Ali Abunimah Weigh In on Fatah-Hamas Unity Agreement in The New York Times

A First Step, but Israel and the U.S. Stand in the Way, Noura Erakat By giving Palestinians greater strength when dealing with Israel, a Fatah-Hamas unity government is a necessary first step toward a viable solution. But continuing obstacles make it insufficient toward achieving that goal. Since Hamas’s electoral victory in 2006, Fatah has spent tremendous financial and diplomatic resources to defeat Hamas at the expense of combating Israel’s apartheid regime and military occupation. While Hamas has ...

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