Jerrold Kessel

US pressures Israel over settlements

JERUSALEM (IPS) - A showdown over Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank is looming between Israel and the United States barely a week after the encounter at the White House between US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. What’s becoming increasingly clear is that the 18 May encounter was no friendly “getting-to-know-you” meeting between a new president and a new prime minister of the Middle East’s most enduring alliance. 

Hamas gaining international legitimacy

JERUSALEM (IPS) - Delegations from the rival Fatah and Hamas organizations have again failed in Cairo to bridge their differences meant to usher in a Palestinian unity government, but this has in no way slowed inroads which the Islamist movement has been making to increase its international legitimacy — much to Israel’s concern. 

Israeli military cloaks abuses

JERUSALEM (IPS) - The Israeli army’s Advocate General has summarily closed an internal investigation into allegations stemming from accounts by soldiers of abuses against Palestinian civilians committed during Israel’s recent war on Hamas in Gaza. It took the military investigators just half the duration of the 22-day war in Gaza to bulldoze the accounts and to dismiss completely the serious allegations made by soldiers who had themselves taken part in the fighting. 

Where every day is a woman's day

BEIT SAHOUR, occupied West Bank (IPS) - We’ve been warned she’s a “harsh case.” Hesitantly she enters, a withdrawn smile hidden behind glasses and a canopy of thick black hair. Impassively, she tells her life story — as if it’s about someone else entirely: she’s 19. Since seven, she’s been sexually assaulted by “an influential family relative.” He used to tell her what they were doing was “normal between a man and a woman.” She felt secluded from her own family by a vow forced upon her not to reveal their “little secret.” 

Arab-bashing Israeli politician's ascent

JERUSALEM (IPS) - And then there were four. Just days until Israel’s general election, the three front-running parties have been joined by an anti-establishment surge from the far right that has the Yisrael Beiteinu party vying for a major role in the next government. Led by Avigdor Lieberman, Yisrael Beiteinu has actually overtaken the once powerful Labor party of Ehud Barak and is fast closing the gap on the top two contenders.