Sunday, November 03, 2013

Politics – October 2013

Support is sought to facilitate the work of the Middle East Study Group. Information at

I also welcome promoting the two-state solution. See

Academic institutions are established to transmit and enrich our knowledge and our understanding of phenomena. To do this they must distinguish between valid ideas and illogical, nonsensical, baseless ideas and bad ideas (such as racism). Thus, universities cannot protect a broad, abstract concept of marketplace of ideas.

~Raphael Cohen-Almagor

Two State Solution
Reflections on the September 2013 Newsletter
Question: Iran’s Obsession with the Holocaust
Amos Oz Won the Franz Kafka Prize for 2013
Nazi War Criminal Erich Priebke died in Italy aged 100
My Republished Article
Euthanasia in the Belgium
Book Review - Ilan Peleg and Dov Waxman
New Books
Monthly Poems
Light Side

Two State Solution

I have sent Abe Silverman two of my articles on two-state solution whose principles are:

Palestinian sovereignty – will be declared and respected.

Mutual recognition – Israel shall recognize the State of Palestine. Palestine shall recognize the State of Israel.

Mutual diplomatic relations – Israel and Palestine shall immediately establish full diplomatic relationships with each other, installing ambassadors in the capital of the respective partner.

Capital – each state is free to choose its own capital.

Borders – These should be reasonable and logical for both sides. Former military intelligence chief Amos Yadlin explained: “Having a border is the best security arrangement.”[1]  Settling the conflict would give Israel greater international legitimacy to fight terrorism and enable it to deal with the more serious emerging threat from Iran.
Israel will withdraw to the Green Line, evacuating settlements and resettling the settlers in other parts of the country. The major settlement blocs -- Ma’ale Adumim, Givat Ze’ev, Gush Etzion, Modi’in Illit and Ariel –- which account for approximately 70% of the Jewish population in the West Bank and for less than 2% of its size, may be annexed to Israel upon reaching an agreement with the PA of territorial exchange that will be equal in size.[2] Border adjustment must be kept to the necessary minimum and must be reciprocal. At the Taba talks, the Palestinians presented a map in which Israel would annex 3.1 percent of the West Bank and transfer to the PA other territory of the same size.[3] Beilin said that they were willing to concede Israeli annexation of three settlement blocs of at least 4 percent of the West Bank.[4] Prime Minister Olmert offered Palestinian President Abbas a similar or even slightly better deal but Abbas did not reply positively.

Territorial contiguity – a corridor would connect the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to allow safe and free passage. The road will be permanently open and solely Palestinian. No Israeli checkpoints will be there. Palestinians will not be able to enter Israel from this corridor, nor shall Israelis enter Palestine from the corridor. 

The Security Barrier creates a political reality. It should run roughly along the 1967 mutually agreed borders.

SecurityPalestine and Israel shall base their security relations on cooperation, mutual trust, good neighborly relations, and the protection of their joint interests.[5] Palestinian sovereignty should be respected as much as possible. Checkpoints will be dismantled. Only the most necessary control and early-warning posts will remain, subject to review and necessity agreed upon by both sides. The Palestinian state will be non-militarized. This issue was agreed upon in 1995. Also agreed upon were joint Israeli-Palestinian patrols along the Jordan River, the installation of early warning posts, and the establishment of a permanent international observer force to ensure the implementation of the agreed security arrangements.[6] The early warning posts will be periodically visited by Israeli security officers but they won’t be permanently present on Palestinian soil. If there is a need for a permanent presence, this would be trusted to an agreed-upon third party.

Safe passage – There will be a safe passage between the West Bank and Gaza, with no Israeli presence or checkpoints. The safe passage will be under Palestinian sovereignty and control. Palestine will ensure that this safe passage won’t be abused for violent purposes. Such abuse would undermine peace and trust between the two parties.

Jerusalem – What is Palestinian will come under the territory of the new capital Al Kuds. Al Kuds would include East Jerusalem [what about the massive Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem? Ramot, Pisgat Zeev, French Hiill etc??] and the adjacent Palestinian land and villages. Abu Dis, Al-Izarieh and Al-Sawahreh will be included in the Palestinian capital. The Israeli capital would include West Jerusalem and the adjacent Israeli settlements. To maintain Palestinian contiguity, Israel may be required to give up some of the settlements around Arab Jerusalem. The Old City will be granted a special status. Special arrangements and recognition will be made to honour the importance of the Western Wall and the Jewish Quarter for Jews, and similarly special arrangements and recognition will be made to honour the importance of the Islamic and Christian holy places. The Old City will be opened to all faiths under international custodianship. There will be Israeli-Palestinian cooperation in providing municipality services to both populations.

Haram al-Sharif – On March 31, 2013, a Jordan-Palestinian agreement was signed between the PA and Jordan, entrusting King Abdullah II with the defense of Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem.[7] While Jordan may be a party to any agreement concerning the site, a broader arrangement is welcomed. As agreed by Abbas and Olmert, it will be under the control of a five-nation consortium: Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United States. The Waqf will continue its administration. Jews will enjoy right of access. Excavation for antiquities may be undertaken only with the full agreement of both sides. Similarly, alterations to the historical structures and foundations can be made only upon the consent of both sides.

Water – The UN secretary-general has said that Palestinians “have virtually no control” over the water resources in the West Bank, with 86 percent of the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea under the de facto jurisdiction of the settlement regional councils.[8] Israel and Palestine should seek a fair solution that would not infringe the rights of any of the sides and will assure that the Palestinian people will have the required water supply for sustenance and growth.[9]

Fishing – Israel and Palestine will enjoy fishing rights in their respective territorial waters.

Terrorism and violence – Israel should remain steadfast on its demand of the Palestinians to fight terrorism. Zero tolerance in this sphere. Both sides will work together to curb violence. Both sides will see to it that their citizens on both sides of the border reside in peace and tranquility. Zealots and terrorists, Palestinian and Jews, will receive grave penalties for any violation of peace and tranquility. The Palestinians, apparently, fail to understand the gravity of terrorism and are willing to accept it as part of life. Nabil Shaath said: “The option is not either armed struggle or negotiations. We can fight and negotiate at the same time, just as the Algerians and the Vietnamese had done”.[10] Democracies, however, see things differently. On this issue there should be no compromise.

Incitement – Both sides need to clean up the atmosphere, fight bigotry, racism, incitement and hate on both sides of the fence/wall. This includes a close study of the education curricula in both the PA and Israel. Both sides need to overhaul their school books, excluding incitement, racism, bigotry and hate against one another.[11] The curricula should reflect a language of peace, tolerance and liberty. Both sides should utilize the media to promote peaceful messages of reconciliation and mutual recognition.

Education – Israel and Palestine will institute a shared curriculum on good neighborhood, understanding cultures and religions, respect for others and not harming others. This education program will commence at the kindergarten and continue at primary and high schools. In every age group vital concepts for understanding the other will be studied. This program is critical for establishing peaceful relationships and trust between the two parties.

Language – Starting in primary schools, Arabic will be a mandatory language for pupils to study in Jewish schools. Similarly, Hebrew will be a mandatory language for pupils to study in Palestinian schools. Language is the most important bridge between different cultures and nations. Israeli will master Arabic to the same extent that they presently master English. Palestinians will master Hebrew as their second language.

Prisoners – As an act of good will, part of the trust-building process, Israel will release a number of agreed upon prisoners. With time, as trust will grow between the two sides, all security prisoners will return home.

Refugees and their right of return – This is a major concern for both Palestine and Israel. For Palestinians, this issue is about their history, justice and fairness. For Israelis, this is a debated issue, where many Israelis are unwilling to claim responsibility for the Palestinian tragedy and most Israelis object to the right of return as this would mean the end of Zionism. The issue is most difficult to resolve as the original refugee population of an estimated 700,000-750,000 has grown to 4,966,664 refugees registered with UNRWA at the end of November 2010. About 40% of the refugees live in Jordan, where they comprise about a third of the population; another 41% are in the West Bank and Gaza, 10% are in Syria, and 9% are in Lebanon. In the West Bank, refugees constitute about one-third of the population while in Gaza they comprise over 80% of the population.[12]
                Israel and the PA have been arguing endlessly about this issue as a matter of principle without examining by surveys how many of the refugees and their families actually intend to return to Israel if this option were available to them. What needs to be done is to identify the population, establish the numbers, and after mapping the refugee population conduct a survey among them that would include the following options:
Return to Israel;
Return to the West Bank;
Return to the Gaza Strip;
Emigrate to third countries that would commit to absorbing a certain quota (appeal will be made to countries that receive immigration on a regular basis to participate in this settlement effort);
Remain where they are.
The 1948 Palestinian refugees will be able to settle in Palestine. The rest of the world is legitimate to set immigration quotas for absorbing Palestinians who apply for settlement in their designated choice of country. Unification of families should be allowed in Israel on a limited annual quota. But massive refugee return to Israel will not be allowed. This dream should be abandoned. When Abu Mazen was asked whether he insisted on getting back Safed, where he was born, he replied: “It’s my right to see it, but not to live there”.[13] I suspect that Abu Mazen’s view reflects the view of many Palestinians who seek recognition, apology and compensation, not the right of return. Thus Israel should recognize the Nakba, acknowledge Palestinian suffering, and compensate the 1948 refugees and their children (but not grandchildren) for the suffering inflicted on them. An international tribunal of reputable historians and international lawyers, including equal representatives of Israel and Palestine, will determine the level of compensation. If needed, Israel may establish an international relief fund to which humanitarian countries that wish to see the end of the conflict contribute. I believe that between Israel, Europe, the Moslem World, North America and other countries of good will (the Geneva Accord mentions Japan; I would add China, Australia and Brazil), the required funding can be secured. The United Nations and the World Bank may also be approached to offer assistance.

Economic Agreements - Israel and Palestine will consider opportunities for economic cooperation for the benefit of both societies, aiming to capitalize on the potential of both, to optimize resources and coordinate efforts. Israel would help Palestine develop independent economy and open doors for Palestine in the Western world and elsewhere. Palestine will pave the way for Israel’s integration into the Middle East as an equal member in the community of neighbouring countries. Palestine will help Israel develop economic, industrial, tourist and other relationships with the Arab and Muslim countries.

International Commerce – Israel and Palestine will be free to conduct international commerce as they see fit. In order to develop trust between the two parties, some level of transparency about logs of commerce will be agreed and memoranda of understanding will be signed by the two parties.

Tourism – Israel and Palestine will coordinate efforts in promoting tourism to the region, via collaboration with neighboring countries, in order to facilitate cultural and religious experiences that are unique to this region.

Communication and Media – Mutual channels of communication will be opened on television, radio and the Internet. These media channels will transmit their broadcast in two or three languages: Arabic, Hebrew and possibly also English. Communication and language are important for the development of good neighborly relations.

Termination of the conflict – following the signing of a comprehensive agreement covering all issues and concerns, an official statement will be issued declaring the end of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

International Arbitration – Difficult issues that won’t be resolved by direct negotiations will be delegated to a special arbitration committee. This special committee will have an equal number of Israeli and Palestinian delegates plus an uneven number of international experts. The committee will include lawyers, economists, human rights experts and experts on the Middle East. Their resolutions would be final, without having the right of appeal. Both Israel and Palestine will commit to accept every decision of the arbitration committee. One model to follow might be the arbitration committee comprised to resolve the Taba dispute between Israel and Egypt.

Reflections on the September 2013 Newsletter

Several people commented on my obituary of Edmund Pellegrino:

Professor Rosalie Ber wrote:

Shalom Rafi,
Your September newsletter brought me the sad news of Pellegrino's demise.
I was fortunate to have spent a 10 days course on Medical Ethics at Georgetown University in the early 90's and was one of his admirers, having had very interesting discussions with him. He was the really ideal role model for medical students, interns, residents and specialists alike.
I have one of his books and have used it often when teaching medical students.
You were lucky to have had so many opportunities to meet with him.
hag Sameach


Professor Shimon Glick wrote:


Thanks for that beautiful and moving obituary for Ed Pellegrino who was a most unusual great individual. Your description was so true to the reality
Best regards

Dr Miri Talmon brought to my attention:

"Palestinian and Israeli artists have a common destiny" interview with Mr. Anan Barakat

Dr Yoav Tenembaum wrote:


Very interesting Newsletter!

The letter by Y. Frankental is moving. I have heard him on several occasions. I don’t always agree with him, but he is an interesting person who should be respected for his relentless endeavours in his search for peace.

The story told by Ephraim Halevy about his first encounter with King Hussein is interesting. I knew about his special relationship with King Hussein, though I was unaware of the circumstances in which he first met him.

Incidentally, Halevy came to speak to us, at the Diplomacy Program at TA University. He was interesting, but surprised us when he received a phone call on his cellular phone and decided to answer it, in the middle of his talk. I thought it was an emergency. No, it wasn’t. He was waiting for a phone call from a TV producer in order to be interviewed. Israelis tend to behave in a peculiar manner when it comes to cellular phones, but Halevy’s example was quite singular.

I liked your poem!

All the best and Hag Sameah!


Abe Silverman wrote in response to my two-state articles:

Sept 23/13
Chag Samai'ach
Thank you for the reminder of the history of the conflict and the failure to reach an agreement and peace.
What struck me and reminded me as I read through your accurate account of the failed attempts to reach an agreement is how much Israel has always been ready to give and how often the Arabs said no. And setting aside the character flaws of Rabin, Netanyahu, Sharon and Olmert it is clear that they all did their best to reach a 2 State solution. The failure in my opinion was not theirs. It was and is the Palestinian leadership that is not serious about a 2 state solution. And the strong evidence of that is their unwillingness to recognize Israel as a Jewish state as envisioned in the 1947 UN Partition Plan. To recognize Israel as a Jewish State is to give up their dream of one day returning Israel to Holy Muslim land.
So please let me give you my opinions regarding your Conclusions on page 573 and I will number the points for easy reference.
We must start with number 1 because without it I don't believe that and agreement will ever be reached.
(1) A 2 State solution must be based on 1 State of Israel the Jewish homeland and 1 State of Palestine the homeland of the Palestinian People. I don't believe that the Palestinians will agree.
(2) Palestine will be established in the West Bank and Gaza will not be a problem
(3) Establishing an agreed to recognized International Border I see as not insurmountable.
(4) Removing most settlements should not be a large problem. Israel has already shown it's willingness to trade land for peace.
(5) I can't see the realigning of the Security Barrier as being a problem
(6) Territorial Contiguity not a big problem
(7) Security. The Palestinians will never agree to be demilitarized and will never agree to Israel having any control over their borders. And Gaza has taught Israel that they must have the right to control what is brought into Palestine.
(8) Jerusalem is a problem but not insurmountable.
(9) All water issues can be resolved
(10) Terrorism and Violence agreement can be reached
(11)  Incitement of Arab youth, big problem and will continue until Islam decides to deal with that problem. We in the West will never be able to change the hearts and minds of those who have already been indoctrinated to hate. And their numbers are staggering.
Can a 2 State Solution happen? Not for several more generations. Can Israel continue to prosper and live with relative quite and security? That question is more relevant to the Iranian Nuclear issue then it is to the problems with the Palestinians. I believe that the Status quo as it relates to the Palestinians, as unpalatable as it is, is the only viable solution at this time.
Warm regards

Dear Abe

I think all sides made mistakes: The Palestinian Authority, Israel and the United States. But there is a little point to remain in the blaming business. We must learn from the mistakes, make amends and move forward.

Regarding the specific points: senior officials in both the Israeli and the Palestinian delegations told me that point (1) is not problematic. The PA would agree to acknowledge the State of Israel as the Jewish homeland.

Point (6) is problematic because of Ariel. If you look at the maps you will see that it is situated deep in Palestinian territory. Obviously, it would be quite a task to dismantle Ariel.

As for point (7), The Palestinians have agreed to a demilitarized state. They object to Israeli presence in their territory. For security purposes, the idea is to bring in an international force. The PA agreed on the installation of two early warning posts. Israel demanded three.

I believe my ideas on Jerusalem, the Holy Basin and the refugees’ right of return (outlined above) are doable.

Chag sameach

Sept 24/13

Dear Rafi

There is no question that many mistakes have been made and many more will be made by everyone involved. To me it has always been the intent. On the question of peace has the Israel and the Arabs been willing to make difficult compromises. As for the Israel I think the answer is yes going back to 1947. I believe that the Arabs have not.

On point (1), I do hope your information is correct. If the Arabs do agree that Israel is the home of the Jewish people behind clearly defined and agreed to borders through negotiation anything and everything is possible. I have not heard anything from my well placed sources that leads me to believe that the PA will agree. 

Point (6) can be solved simply by the PA agreeing that Ariel should become a city in Palestine where Jews can continue to live in peace and security and become Palestinian citizens if they wish. 1.5 million Arabs are Israeli citizens, why can't a couple of hundred thousand Jews not be Palestinian citizens.

Point (7). Israel must not give in to any compromise that would lessen the security of its citizens. The PA must agree to a trial period where Israel can oversee the flow of goods and people into Palestine. We don't want to repeat the mistakes that were made in Gaza. Artillery, rockets, missiles, in Jenin cannot be tolerated.
I agree that an accommodation can be reached on Jerusalem, the Palestinian refugees.

Chag Samiach

People sent me the link for a debate that took place recently in the USA. Listen to Jeremy Ben-Ami, , voice of reason

A European friend wrote:

Dear Raphael,

It strikes me that, indeed, many people in Israel seem not to believe anymore in peace. Will it ever be possible? Or they just never say it is possible?

Then I think about Europe, where nations have been killing each other for much longer time and in much greater numbers than Israelis and Arabs have been killing each other. Numbers do not really matter - atrocities have been engraved in memories for centuries. And Europeans are not less inclined than others to blame everything on some enemy - and to hate that enemy…

I can imagine that for very long, peace has seemed impossible to historical foes: the German and the French, the French and the British, the German and the Polish, the Bulgarian and the Turks, and so on and so on.

Nevertheless, to take Alsace where I live, and which has changed hands between France and Germany seven times over the last three generations,  if someone were today to say: let us go rough up some Germans (or some French) on the other side, they would be looked upon with utter indifference. “Let us go kill on the other side” would probably get you an ambulance…

I agree, in the Middle East religion is a major factor – but look at the British and the Irish… The IRA prisoners went on hunger strikes – and tough those strikes out, to death. Not even a generation has passed, and this now seems so remote.

It is not easy. There have been and there will be setbacks, but it must be possible. The alternative is that Israel may one day cease to exist, like the Soviet Union, like Yugoslavia, what have you. What else – a “small” nuclear war? The demographics are unequivocal, and the US will not be forever so much stronger than anybody and everybody else internationally.  

How do you get this through to your compatriots?



I was asked to participate in an open forum on: 

What is the best solution to find common ground between Israelis and Palestinians?
You can read it at


I am encouraged by the positive new voices from Tehran, and the hopeful diplomatic developments in which leaders speak to each others.

On September 28, 2013, President Obama spoke on the phone with President Rohani. It was a rather short conversation, 15 minutes long, but given the fact that it was the first such communication since 1979, it is a start, hopefully only the first step in many more discussions to come.  President Rohani said that Iran does not wish to develop nuclear weapons while President Obama acknowledged Iran’s right to develop nuclear power for peaceful purposes, and that the way forward is through meaningful, transparent, verifiable communications, leading to an international agreement and to the relief of sanctions on Iran.

I sincerely hope there is a way forward, and that the huge cloud that has been hovering over Israel’s skies will be removed. All nations have the right to exist in tranquility and peace. The issue of survival should not be on the table.

Question: Iran’s Obsession with the Holocaust

At the same time: I understand the Jewish, Israeli and German obsession with the Holocaust. But why on earth the Iranians are so obsessed with the Holocaust and its refutation?

Amos Oz Won the Franz Kafka Prize for 2013

I was delighted to hear that Amos Oz has won the prestigious Franz Kafka Prize in the Czech Republic for 2013. Amos is a writer, novelist, and journalist, as well as a peace and human rights activist. He is also a professor of literature at Ben-Gurion University in the Negev.
 An international jury that included prominent German literary critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki selected Oz for the prize, which is awarded annually with a $10,000 prize.

Since 1967, Oz has been a prominent advocate and major cultural voice of a two-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Oz's work has been published in some 41 languages, including Arabic in 35 countries. He has received many honours and awards, among them the Legion of Honour of France, the Goethe Prize, the Prince of Asturias Award in Literature, the Heinrich Heine Prize and the Israel Prize. In 2007, a selection from the Chinese translation of A Tale of Love and Darkness was the first work of modern Hebrew literature to appear in an official Chinese textbook.

Past winners have included the American novelist Philip Roth and Nobel laureates Elfriede Jelinek of Austria and Harold Pinter of Britain.
Hearty congratulations, Amos!!

Nazi War Criminal Erich Priebke died in Italy aged 100

Erich Priebke was on the wanted list of the Simon Wiesenthal Center for many years. When I was chairing “The Second Generation to the Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance” Organization in Israel during the 1980s, he was one of the people we wished to bring to justice.

Priebke was a Nazi SS captain. He was convicted for his role in the massacre of 335 civilians in Italy. Like many of his kind, he only followed orders.

People with no conscience live longer but even they cannot live forever.

My Republished Article

Internet Responsibility, Geographic Boundaries and Business Ethics”, in Hannibal Travis (ed.), Cyberspace Law: Censorship and Regulation of the Internet (London and NY: Routledge, 2013), pp. 185-208.

In the late 1990s, the Internet seemed a perfect medium for business: a facilitator of unlimited economical propositions to people without any regulatory limitations. Cases like Yahoo! mark the beginning of the end of that illusion. They demonstrate that ISPs have to respect domestic state legislation in order to avoid legal risks. Yahoo! was wrong to ignore the French plea to remove Nazi memorabilia from its auction site. Its legal struggle proved futile and may have harmed its business. This essay argues for the adoption of standards of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). CSR considerations may trump some forms of anti-social, highly offensive expression.

Euthanasia in the Belgium

I have granted several interviews on the recent developments in Belgium relating to their very extensive, rapidly developed euthanasia policies.

You may listen on

Book Review - Ilan Peleg and Dov Waxman

Israel Affairs, Vol. 19, No. 2 (2013), pp. 391-392.

Ilan Peleg and Dov Waxman, Israel's Palestinians (NY: Cambridge University Press, 2011), 272 pages. $28.00. ISBN: 978-0521157025.

This is to date the most comprehensive and important discussion on the Palestinian position in Israeli society. It explains the reasons for their discrimination by the establishment since the founding of the state in 1948 until today, the magnitude of the discrimination, and its consequences. The authors propose practical reforms to better the condition of the Palestinians in Israeli society, to decrease and eliminate discrimination, and consequently to mitigate the tension between the Jewish majority and the Palestinian minority. The proposals are well reasoned and constructive. Their importance cannot be underestimated. I share with the authors the sense of moral urgency. Discriminating against some twenty percent of society on a systematic basis due to national-religious reasons is both immoral and destructive. Such discrimination undermines the democratic foundations of Israel of which its leaders are so proud. Israel should strive to see that all its citizens, without exception, feel at home in their country and that they share enough to sustain a common creed that is believed to be valuable and worthwhile. Necessary accommodations are in need to make Israel a vital democracy in the international community of nations. These accommodations will be instrumental also in resolving the wider Israeli Palestinian conflict concerning the Palestinian brethren in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Chapter 1 analyzes the Palestinian internal composition, its collective identity and socio-economic status. Around 50 percent of the Arab population lives in poverty. The authors note that the poverty rate among Arab families has significantly increased since the 1990s, rising from 35 percent in 1990 to 45 percent in 2002 (p. 35). Arabs have generally held the low-wage jobs in Israeli economy. On average, Arab men earn 60 percent of the national average wage, while Arab women earn 70 percent of the average wage (pp. 36-37). Arab citizens are discriminated in having access to land, in land planning, in rural and urban development, and in housing provisions. Arabs own only 3.5 percent of Israel’s lands (pp. 40-41). Arab municipalities are not allocated comparable funding granted to Jewish municipalities (p. 43).

Chapter 2 discusses the changes in the Palestinian political behaviour over time -- from passivity to activity. Chapter 3 argues that the Palestinians became more militant in their political conduct in recent years. Chapter 4 shows that Jewish-Palestinian relations have deteriorated in recent years, putting the Jewish majority and the Palestinian minority on a collision course. Once the nature and magnitude of the conflict within Israel is clarified, Peleg and Waxman turn to discuss how to manage the conflict. While the discussion is interesting and important as the authors make valuable suggestions, its organisation can be improved. Suddenly in chapter 5, Peleg and Waxman reflect on Israel's formative years to show how the state became a Jewish republic. I think this discussion should have opened the book. Then, in chapter 6, multicultural theories are discussed. Why then? Why not earlier? What is the point in reflecting on them? The theories are mentioned but not employed to analyse the case study at hand.

Chapter 7 is the most interesting and important part of the book, offering practical ways to improve the status, rights and conditions of the Israeli-Palestinians. Inter alia, the authors propose to establish a Palestinian functional autonomy; appointing Palestinians to significant power positions; abolish the systematic discrimination against Palestinians; amend the Israeli anthem so that the Palestinian citizens could identify with it; resolving the problems of land and housing that create constant friction between Palestinians and Israeli authorities; introducing Basic Law: Equal Citizenship, and strengthening the status of Arabic in the nation. Finally, in chapter 8, Peleg and Waxman map Israeli society and the Jewish population’s willingness to accept their constructive proposals, implicitly acknowledging that their views represent a minority view of about 7 to 8 percent of the Jewish-Israeli population. They warn that unless dramatic action is taken to remedy the present illiberal situation, the Jewish majority and the Palestinian minority are on a confrontation course.

At the end of the book the reader finds updated bibliography and a useful index.[14]
This book is a valuable resource for scholars, students, and policy makers who wish to understand the Jewish-Palestinian rift in Israel and who seek ways to resolve it. 

I thank Ilan Peleg for a copy of his book.

New Books

Yigal Kipnis, The Golan Heights (London and Ny: Routledge, 2013).

Prime Minister Barak aimed to leave behind him a substantive legacy: peace treaty with Syria. When he came to office, this was his first concern. Yigal Kipnis, a resident of the Golan, was surprised to discover that his happiness and way of life were threatened by the prospects of peace. As he studied the story of the Golan, he discovered the extent to which his memories as an individual did not correlate to actual events. That gap, Kipnis claimed, greatly affected the inability to lessen mistrust on both sides and consequently the entire political process. Kipnis aims in this book to detail the Syrian-Israeli dispute in order to enable decision-makers to focus on the need to find a solution which will serve the best interests of both countries.


The book starts with the demarcation of the international border in 1923, describes the bloody disputes between the two countries from 1949 until 1967, the rapid building of settlements immediately after the 1967 victory, the development that took place after the enactment of the Golan Heights Law-5742-1981- 14 December 1981,, and the failed peace negotiations during 1993-2000, involving Rabin, Peres, Netanyahu and Barak.

Presenting the settlement landscape of the Golan before and after June 1967, The Golan Heights deals with the issue of the border between Israel and Syria, the Syrian settlement of the Golan prior 1967, and with the Israeli settlement process in the area following the Six Day War. Until the Six Day War, Israelis viewed the Golan almost exclusively through the military prism with little awareness to the Syrian civilian life there. There were 273 Syrian towns and villages with a population of 150,000 people. 223 of them, with 123,000 people were conquered by Israel. This marginalized population, mainly agricultural with a traditional lifestyle, conservative, poor, illiterate, who lived all their lives isolated from their society now became even more isolated and deprived. Many of them had left and soon afterwards the Israeli settlement chapter began. Kipnis does not elaborate on what exactly happened, whether the Syrians decided to leave or were forced to leave. He succinctly writes (p. 61): “On 10 June 1967, an extreme change took place in the settlement landscape of the Golan… almost all of the settlements were abandoned and a swift process of destruction took place”.

I thank Routledge for a copy of this book.

Hannibal Travis (ed.), Cyberspace Law: Censorship and Regulation of the Internet (London and NY: Routledge, 2013).

This book explores what the American Civil Liberties Union calls the "third era" in cyberspace, in which filters "fundamentally alter the architectural structure of the Internet, with significant implications for free speech." Although courts and nongovernmental organizations increasingly insist upon constitutional and other legal guarantees of a freewheeling Internet, multi-national corporations compete to produce tools and strategies for making it more predictable. When Google attempted to improve our access to information containing in books and the World Wide Web, copyright litigation began to tie up the process of making content searchable, and resulted in the wrongful removal of access to thousands if not millions of works.

Just as the courts were insisting that using trademarks online to criticize their owners is First Amendment-protected, corporations and trade associations accelerated their development of ways to make Internet companies liable for their users’ infringing words and actions, potentially circumventing free speech rights. And as social networking and content-sharing sites have proliferated, so have the terms of service and content-detecting tools for detecting, flagging, and deleting content that makes one or another corporation or trade association fear for its image or profits. The book provides a legal history of Internet regulation since the mid-1990s, with a particular focus on efforts by patent, trademark, and copyright owners to compel Internet firms to monitor their online offerings and remove or pay for any violations of the rights of others.


I thank Hannibal Travis for a copy of this book. I also appreciate his kind “Thank you” note, an unusual gesture in this often crude academic world.

Monthly Poems

A Calendar of Sonnets: October

The month of carnival of all the year,
When Nature lets the wild earth go its way,
And spend whole seasons on a single day.
The spring-time holds her white and purple dear;
October, lavish, flaunts them far and near;
The summer charily her reds doth lay
Like jewels on her costliest array;
October, scornful, burns them on a bier.
The winter hoards his pearls of frost in sign
Of kingdom: whiter pearls than winter knew,
Oar empress wore, in Egypt's ancient line,
October, feasting 'neath her dome of blue,
Drinks at a single draught, slow filtered through
Sunshiny air, as in a tingling wine!

Helen Hunt Jackson

Our Life and Four Seasons

Birth years and spring days
how it all begins to liven up
we see the light of day
and spring begins to lighten our days

Summer days and younger years
days are longer and we are stronger
summer blooms with the warmth of the sun
we bloom with knowledge and love

The fall and mid age
Fall arrives and tries to hold on to the warmth
of the summer
we try to hold on, to our youth and knowledge
fall felt the heat of summer
and then starts to feel, the cold freeze of winter
Mid life seen the joy of youth and hopes
to see the old age of wisdom

Old age and winter
our steps are shorter
and so are the days
winter will end and so will we
to a new beginning and in time
to the holy land
forever and ever amen

Vasco M. Resendes

Light Side
This is what happens when a filmaker proposes: Justin Baldoni in “The Proposal” receives a YES from his patient and speechless girlfriend and promotes himself at the same time.,14572,L-3103056,00.html

Gotta Love the Irish – Part 3

The Brothel

Two Irishmen were sitting in a pub having beer and watching the brothel across the street.
They saw a Baptist minister walk into the brothel, and one of them said,
"Aye, 'tis a shame to see a man of the cloth goin' bad."

Then they saw a Rabbi enter the brothel, and the other Irishman said,
"Aye, 'tis a shame to see that the Jews are falling' victim to temptation."

Then they saw a Catholic priest enter the brothel, and one of the Irishmen said, "What a terrible of the girls must be quite ill."

Peace and love.

Yours as ever,


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[1] Ben Birnbaum, “The End of the Two-State Solution: Why the window is closing on Middle-East peace”, The New Republic (March 11, 2013),

[2] For pertinent maps, see
See also West Bank “Settlement Blocs”, Peace Now,

[3] Yossi Beilin, The Path to Geneva, p. 239.

[4] Beilin, The Path to Geneva, p. 246.

[5] The Geneva Accord,

[6] Beilin, The Path to Geneva, p. 169.

[7] Analysts: Jerusalem deal boosts Jordan in Holy City, Ma’an News Agency (April 3, 2013),

[8] Briefing: Beyond the E-1 Israeli settlement, IRIN (March 18 2013),

[9] For further discussion, see Hillel Shuval, "Is the Conflict over Shared Water Resources between Israelis and Palestinians an Obstacle to Peace?,” and Amjad Aliewi, Enda O’Connell, Geoff Parkin and Karen Assaf, “Palestine Water: between Challenges and Realities,” both in Elizabeth G. Matthews (ed.), The Israel-Palestine Conflict (London: Routledge, 2011): 93-113, 114-138.

[10] Shlomo Ben-Ami, Scars of War, Wounds of Peace, p. 240. Yossi Beilin tells the story of the Taba talks during which two Israelis were murdered in Tulkarem. The Palestinians, he writes, expressed their shock at the murder but they found it difficult to understand why “we always play into the hands of those who want to sabotage the talks”. Beilin, The Path to Geneva, p. 243.

[11] See Daniel Bar-Tal, “Challenges for Constructing Peace Culture and Peace Education”, and Salem Aweiss, “Culture of Peace and Education”, both in Elizabeth G. Matthews (ed.), The Israel-Palestine Conflict (London: Routledge, 2011): 209-223, 224-246.

[12] Alan Dowty, Israel/Palestine (Cambridge: Polity, 2012): 243.

[13] Ben Birnbaum, “The End of the Two-State Solution: Why the window is closing on Middle-East peace”, The New Republic (March 11, 2013),

[14] For further discussion, see R. Cohen-Almagor (ed.), Israeli Democracy at the Crossroads (London: Routledge, 2005); Israeli Institutions at the Crossroads (London: Routledge, 2005), and “Israel and International Human Rights”, Encyclopedia of Human Rights, ed. Frederick P. Forsythe (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), Vol. 3, pp. 247-257.