By Al-Zaytouna Centre for Studies

The recent trend of Israeli calls for Israeli citizens to take an oath of allegiance to the state suggests the rise of extremist right-wing and religious currents within Israel. It also suggests a growing spirit of racism against Arabs living in Israel, and an attempt to increase pressure on them. Moreover, this trend can be seen as a prelude for a law which will ultimately link the solution of the Palestinian issue to the future of the Israeli citizens who are originally Palestinians of Palestine 1948. Since the Palestinians of 1948 regard their presence in the country as pre-dating the establishment of the Israeli state, and because the notion of a declaration of allegiance clashes with their religious and national affiliations, they will persistently refuse to pledge loyalty to the state of Israel as a Jewish state. This conflict between the positions and considerations of the Israeli state and those of the indigenous people opens the way for various consequences. These would allow Israel further to tighten the noose on its Palestinian citizens, and create the conditions necessary to start a policy of displacement. However, this would expose Israel to more international isolation.

 

 

By Aisling Byrne

'If we are building a police state -- what are we actually doing here?' So asked a European diplomat responding to allegations of torture by the Palestinian security forces. The diplomat might well ask. A police state is not a state. It is a form of larceny: of people's rights, aspirations and sacrifices, for the personal benefit of an elite. This is not what the world meant when it called for statehood. But a police state is what is being assiduously constructed in Palestine, disguised as state-building and good governance. Under this guise, its intent is to facilitate the authoritarianism which creates sufficient popular dependency -- and fear -- to strangle any opposition.

By Dr Mohsen Mohammad Saleh

The existence of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) is an achievement to be proud of. Its establishment expressed the spirit of the Palestinian people’s desire to liberate the land and not see their cause subsumed by the wider Arab political and social milieu. Nevertheless, an objective analysis shows that the PLO today is not the same as the PLO at the time it was established in 1964. It is suffering from five main

By Lamin Andoni

Barack Obama, the US president, is pushing for direct negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians. A resumption of direct talks would be his first "peace-making achievement" in the Middle East since he took office more than a-year-and-half ago. But, barring a surprise halt to Israeli settlement building in occupied East Jerusalem, the Palestinians will not hold direct talks with Israel. And even if the US were to succeed in bringing the two sides together, there will be no breakthrough as long as Israel remains unwilling to end its 43-year occupation.

The current stalemate in the "peace process" cannot be solved by a freeze - partial or total - on Jewish settlement building, and reflects the flaw at the core of the process, which focuses on Israeli security and demographic requirements rather than on ending the 43-year old Israeli occupation.

 

By Heidi-Jane Esakov

During the forced removals of the South African suburb of Sophiatown in 1955, around 65,000 residents were moved and "dumped in matchbox houses" in black townships. Only a few years before that, in 1948, Bedouins of Israel's Naqab/Negev region, who Israel had not expelled, were also forcibly moved "from their ancestral lands into a restricted zone called the Siyag (literally, 'fenced in')". And, just as Sophiatown was completely bulldozed, the Negev village of Al-Arakib was recently razed to make way for a Jewish National Fund forest.

As a South African it is particularly difficult not to see the stark parallels between the experiences of black South Africans under apartheid and of Palestinians today.

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