February 17, 2019

Gantz, Peace & the West Bank

“Benny Gantz, chair of the new Israel Resilience party, delivered his maiden speech on Jan. 29 and on the occasion avoided uttering “Palestinian state,” a term the political right has turned into a catchphrase for left-wing sympathies verging on treason. Also notably, the new candidate, vying to replace Benjamin Netanyahu as Israel’s prime minister, chose to use the term “separation fence” rather than “security fence,” the official designation of the barrier. He pledged to “maintain security in the entire Land of Israel,” but added, “We will not allow the millions of Palestinians living beyond the separation fence to endanger our security and our identity as a Jewish state.

The choice of words regarding the barrier is not semantic quibbling. Gantz, a former military chief of staff, obviously knows the official name of the structure, a combination of fencing and wall that Israel began building in 2002 on parts of the occupied West Bank and on its own territory around it. In fact, authorities have been so determined to ensure the use of the official terminology to brand the barrier’s purpose that in 2009 the Foreign Ministry forced the national airline, El Al, to stop distributing maps to passengers until it replaced the term “separation wall” with “security fence.”

The demarcation between Israel and the 2.5 million Palestinians on the West Bank is one of the major political challenges that would confront a center-left government if Gantz manages to oust Netanyahu in the April 9 elections. The barrier that such a government would inherit could constitute a solution for separating Israelis from Palestinians, but its route would be a major diplomatic headache.”

Read more

JJ Editor's Daily Picks

"Have world leaders really got the will to bring peace to Yemen? We hear much about Yemen’s crisis, but far less about the hypocrisy of states fuelling the very conflict they condemn."

"No poll so far in our database has tested Trump against the relatively unknown Weld... Indeed, Weld seems like one of the weakest candidates that anti-Trump Republicans could put up in a national campaign. "

"An initiative by the mayor of Tiberias for the municipality to help provide public transportation on the Sabbath has caused the issue of the social status quo to the forefront of public discussion."

"Like “30 Rock,” “Kimmy Schmidt” obviously slanted leftward, but most always exhibited a similar eagerness to skewer politics more generally than just the GOP."

"Yes, we’re all overwhelmed with email. One recent survey suggested that the average American’s inbox has 199 unread messages. But volume isn’t an excuse for not replying."

"... platforms now have a stranglehold over publishers who, individually and even as a group, have little-to-no bargaining power when it comes to algorithmic changes, ad rates, and much else."

"[There's] a subgenre known as National Socialist black metal, which espouses neo-Nazi views and has been described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as aiming to recruit youth to white-supremacist causes."

"“The Ideas That Made America” by Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen is an anomaly in the genre. Its brevity is a point of pride, yet it aspires to do a little of everything."

"My wish is to die in my own bed, cared for by people I love—clean, comfortable and relatively free from pain. I hope to have time to say my goodbyes and give my final blessings."

"A diet for fast weight loss is a pipe dream. Many of us want to lose weight without making permanent changes, because we view thinness instead of health as a success."

"Opportunity casts a long shadow over all subsequent Mars rovers, setting a gold standard of JPL engineering. Customized versions of its mobility software are used on the rovers Curiosity and upcoming Mars 2020."

"Biblical scholarship has deepened our understanding of the Torah and at the same time challenges us to consider the implications of our declaring the Torah to be emet. What is emet and what does it mean to say that the Torah is emet?"