Saturday, January 31, 2015

Politics – January 2015

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Mutual respect is the key for co-existence.   

~Raphael Cohen-Almagor

The terrorist time-bomb has exploded in the most likely place in Europe. France is now fighting for its future as a society committed to the values of Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité.

The politicians rightly pointed out intelligence deficiencies. French home security should have known of the al Qaeda cells in France and their connections with most radical elements overseas.

This is only the beginning -- a wake-up call for many countries in Europe and elsewhere regarding what I call the “democratic catch”, i.e. that the very values of liberal democracy might bring about its destruction. Liberty and tolerance are important values but they should have boundaries. Otherwise they are a recipe for chaos and lawlessness.

Many politicians, including Prime Minister Netanyahu, rushed to Paris to be seen in the first row of world leaders. It was interesting to analyse who was invited, who arrived without an invitation, and who avoided this massive solidarity photo-opportunity. Have you noticed who was strikingly missing from the photo op?

Lebanon and Israel might embark on another round of violence following an Israeli attack on terrorists in Syria which resulted on the death of six Hezbollah fighters. One of those killed in the strike was the son of Imad Mughniyah, a revered Hezbollah military commander assassinated in a 2008 bombing.

More worrying signs inside Israel as seven Israeli-Palestinians have been charged with membership and activity in an illegal organization, support for a terrorist organization and efforts to contact the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. Young Palestinians are also enchanted by the radical, anti-Western violent Jihadism that threatens world peace. Much of the radicalization process is conducted on the Internet. Necessary steps must be taken by responsible governments to counter this phenomenon.

Reflections on December Newsletter
Long and Winding Road to Palestinian Statehood
Israeli Foreign Ministry document paints grim picture of State's isolation
Good News for Israeli High-teach and Bio-tech Companies
My New Article
My 2014 Articles
New Books
Monthly Poem

Light Side

Reflections on December Newsletter

My primary school friend, Dr Yoav Tenenbaum, wrote from Tel Aviv:

Dear Rafi,

With regard to the Israeli elections, I don’t know whether you have read that Tzipi Livni has said that Abu Mazen, rather than Netanyahu, was responsible for the failure of the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

I was disappointed by Herzog. I always thought he was serious and intelligent. Why on earth would he agree to a rotation agreement with Tzipi Livni? She barely represents herself and one more MK, four having already resigned…In the opinion polls her party barely managed to be elected to the Knesset. Why would Herzog agree to her demand that he agree to a rotation agreement?!

I can certainly understand why he would consent to an agreement stipulating that the two parties would run together in the forthcoming general elections. What I fail to understand is why he should have agreed to a rotation arrangement.

Anyway, I wish you and your family all the best, 


Aryeh Deri has learnt, not for the first time, that emotions are a bad guide in politics. Think before you act, and never allow your destructive emotions to take over. When you kick someone from home, he will not feel at home again, even if he returns. Eli Yishai was kicked out of Shas bitter and intent on revenge. The first installment was cashed in. More will come. Time will tell whether Yishai enjoys enough independent support and whether he is popular enough to split the Shas support into two camps.

Some people are not dead even when they are dead and buried. The religious leader and founder of Shas, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, continues to influence from his grave. A recording of Rabbi Yosef, in which he used sharp derogatory words against Deri suddenly appeared after the Deri-Yishai divorce, reshuffling the cards and causing Deri huge embarrassment. Rabbi Yosef cursed almost anybody who was somebody in Israeli politics. He did not use his words carefully. I assumed that at one point or another he used harsh words also against Yishai...

As elections are nearing, speculations are growing. A lot of noise, most of it designed to fill pages and ratings time. We need to focus on what is truly important: A real chance for a coalition without the Likud. I allow myself cautious optimism. Israel needs change. Moreover: the Jewish people all over the world need this change as what happens in Israel has impact on many people in the Diaspora. Prime Minister Netanyahu’s policies do not yield anything positive. How long will he be allowed to experiment with Israel’s future?


Remember Obama’s campaign? It was true for the USA.
It is true now for Israel.

Labour and Livni call themselves The Zionist Camp. A fitting name to protect Zionism from its inner contradictions. The dialectic between a Jewish state and a democratic state cannot always be reconciled. Herzog and Livni remind us what true Zionism means.

The good news is the Yisrael Beitenu (Israel is Our Home) of Mr Lieberman is fading away. Its popularity is in steady decline, especially as evidence of corruption is piling up among in the highest echelons of the party. Surprising? Hardly. Anyone who follows the devious characters that Lieberman assembled to his party knows that there is never a dull day for Israeli reporters and police officers. Following those characters is likely to yield good (i.e. bad) stories. Lieberman, a political fox, reads the map. Do not be surprised if he will try to merge with another party, either before or after the elections. He needs to make the most of his declining shares.

The bad news are that many of Lieberman’s departing voters are moving to Jewish Home, Bennett's Party, in the ascendant. At least 16 seats are predicted. His forefathers of the Mafdal would be very happy with such popularity. Many of them would not identify with the man and many of his statements. Bennett does not represent humane Judaism.
Repeated polls have shown that the opposition will have 58 seats. After the January Labour primaries, the two camps, for the first time, showed in the polls equal strength: 60 seats each. This is not enough to bring about change. The opposition needs to court the religious parties, testing their waters, seeing whether one of the parties (or more) would be willing to consider an alternative to Netanyahu.

Here we are back to Mr Deri who continues to make anti-Bibi noises, asking how the prime minister can sleep at night when so many children in Israel go to sleep hungry. Fair point. Deri is a pragmatist. For the right price he would be willing to renew the historic alliance between the religious parties and Labour in its various forms and names. Deri might be the key.

Long and Winding Road to Palestinian Statehood
December 31, 2014

On December 30, 2014, the Palestinians were reminded yet again that the way to statehood is long. Yet again they were reminded that violence does not pay, that terrorism brings them more setbacks. The community of nations does not appreciate nor trust their “good” intentions, despite the highly disturbing and unjust Israeli occupation.

A United Nations Security Council draft resolution that set a deadline to establish a sovereign Palestinian state was defeated after it failed to receive the required nine votes for adoption in the 15-member body.

The United States showed for the zillionth time its support of Israel. Unsurprisingly, Australia also voted against the measure. On issues of security and fighting terror, Australia and Israel are in sync. Australia and the USA were the only countries that opposed the resolution.

Unsurprisingly, China and Russia were among the eight countries that voted for it. Whatever the USA does, be certain that China and Russia will endorse the opposite.
France was Israel’s greatest disappointment. The relationship between Israel and France is good, but the French administration supports the two-state solution and wishes to end the occupation. President Hollande believes that this was a step in the right direction. Thus no need to read too much into this vote. France is and remains a friend of Israel.

France was joined by another small European country, Luxembourg; two South American countries – Chile and Argentina with whom Israel does not maintain good relationships; one African country, Chad, and of course Jordan.
Relationships between Israel and South American countries are a major concern. The Foreign Office should invest much more effort to improve relationships with at least some of these countries. It needs to identify common interests and specific needs, and attempt to build bridges.

Britain and four other nations abstained. The British vote reflects the complexity of the situation. There are good reasons to vote for the resolution. There are good reasons to vote against it. The good reasons to vote for the Palestinian side are not strong enough for Britain to test its friendship with the USA.

It is interesting to note that Lithuania, South Korea, Rwanda and Nigeria abstained. The Israeli Foreign Office has been investing great efforts to develop and maintain good relationships with these countries during the past few years. Foreign Minister Lieberman visited all four of them, showing Israel’s keen interest to keep them on its side when important votes in the UN are called for.

The draft resolution was introduced by Jordan on behalf of the Palestinians. It set a one-year deadline for negotiations with Israel; established targets for Palestinian sovereignty, including a capital in East Jerusalem, and called for the “full and phased withdrawal of Israeli forces” from the West Bank by the end of 2017.

According to the NY Times, American ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power explained that the resolution was “deeply imbalanced,” setting deadlines that did not adequately take account of Israel’s security needs. “Today’s staged confrontation in the U.N. Security Council will not bring the parties closer to achieving a two-state solution,” she said. “This resolution sets the stage for more division, not for compromise.” At the same time, Power cautioned Israel against interpreting the vote as “a victory for an unsustainable status quo” and said continued “settlement activity” would also undermine the chances for peace.

Abu Mazen does not believe in violence. As a diplomat, he wishes to pursue the long and winding road of world recognition.

The American administration has repeatedly warned the Palestinians that joining the International Criminal Court would lead to congressional sanctions.

Hamas, on the other hand, represents the violent alternative. One need not be a genius, or a prophet, to realise that the countdown to yet another round of violence has begun. The future for Gaza remains bleak. This entails a depressing and troubling future for the children of Israel.

January 1, 2015

Abu Mazen swiftly moved to action. He realized, finally, that passivity does not work for him. He needs to be active and pursue his own interests, not other nations’ interests. If he will listen to the warnings launched against him, the future of the Palestinians will remain dire.

On December 31, 2014, Abu Mazen signed nearly two dozen international agreements, including the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. War crimes allegations against Israel are mentioned. At the same time, similar allegations will be raised against Hamas, part of Abu Mazen’s unity government. You can also expect American and Israeli financial sanctions again the PA. It is time to test whether the Arab world is sincerely committed to the Palestinian cause. They have a lot of money that they can afford to spend in helping the Palestinians. It is time to show more than just lip service. Lip service won’t help the PA survive against greater odds. It will assist Hamas in dictating moves to yet another violent showdown. 

January 3, 2015
Israel has announced it will freeze tax funds and attempt to bring war crime prosecutions against Palestinian leaders in retaliation to Palestinian moves to join the International Criminal Court. Israel withholds more than 100 million Euros worth of tax revenues, money crucial to running the Palestinian Authority.

Palestinian officials delivered the documents to the UN with the aim of prosecuting Israelis for what they consider war crimes.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that they will not allow army officials to be dragged before the court, continuing that the Palestinian leaders should face trial for entering an alliance with Hamas.

Israeli Foreign Ministry document paints grim picture of State's isolation

Israel faces sanctions and increasing isolation on the world stage in 2015, according to a classified Israeli Foreign Ministry report.

The document, sent by the ministry to Israeli missions worldwide, warns of possible diplomatic damage to Israel due to expected steps to label products made in the West Bank settlements, possible economic and cultural sanctions, compensation demands for damage caused by Israel to European projects in the Palestinian territories and more.

The document by the Foreign Ministry's deputy director-general for coordination, Gilad Cohen, is a summary of a situation assessment conducted by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.

The document lists a series of economic sanctions and boycotts - some potential, some already imposed - as a result of the freeze in peace talks with the Palestinians, which are expected to seriously hurt Israel.

"The Europeans are creating a clear connection between diplomatic relations and economic ones (and) in this context, it is important to note that Europe is Israel's main trading partner".

This deterioration is reflected, among other things, "in independent French activity, including at the UN Security Council, and in the heightening of negative signals sent to Israel."

Also at stake is a decline in security imports and supply of replacement parts to Israel - something that would primarily affect Israeli defense. In recent years, Britain, Belgium and Spain have halted shipments of weapons to Israel, citing concerns that the arms would be used in violation of international law. Leading banks and investment and pension funds in Denmark, Norway, Ireland and the Netherlands have decided to halt cooperation with financial institutions in Israel that operate in the territories, and to stop investing in Israel.

The classified document warns that "American influence is successful, at present, in delaying practical decisions until after the elections in Israel. But in the wake of the systematic Palestinian policy to move the conflict to the UN arena, there's no guarantee the US will continue using its veto rights after elections."

Good News for Israeli High-tech and Bio-tech Companies

End-of-year reports show 52 Israeli companies were acquired for some $15 billion, nearly double 2013′s exits worth $7.6 billion.

18 IPOs racked up $9.8 billion.

Kontera ($150 million), Cyvera ($200 million), SuperDerivatives ($350 million), Simbionix ($120 million), Green Smoke ($110 million) and Wilocity ($300 million) were among the top blue-and-white acquisitions of 2014.

Jonathan Medved, CEO of OurCrowd equity crowdfunding, said that the pace of investment in Israel is surprisingly swift. “2013 was already a good year by Israeli standards. The fact that 2014 is up 30 to 40 percent is shocking”.

“This year, 2014, will be known as a revolutionary year,” writes Eyal Solomon, CEO of Ethosia, in the introduction to his firm’s annual report on Israeli high-tech and biotech. “It is revolutionary in raising funds, in the rate startups were launched, in the speed of raising funds and the pace of exits, which broke every record possible.” But whereas years past were all about Israeli companies scoring big exits, 2014 showed a transition to successful IPOs and globalization. “Companies that in the past were able to sell themselves and earn big returns for investors are going to the end with a share offering and building big companies,” Rubi Suliman, head of PriceWaterhouseCoopers Israel’s high-tech practice, told Ha’aretz.

My New Article

E-International Relations

The recent round of hostilities between Israel and Hamas (July 2014) has left the prospects for peace in tatters. It also put the idea of a two-state solution in a deep freeze. At present, it is hard to see the two parties – Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) – sitting together to negotiate peace. Things, however, may change if there is a different, more peace-oriented government in Jerusalem following the March 2015 elections.

The aim of this piece is to review the different options for the future of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. These are: status quo, Palestinian autonomy, one-state solution, two-state solution, three-state solution, and confederations. I will argue for a piecemeal process leading to a two-state solution. Of all the options, this seems to be the most viable.

There are a few proposals on the table as to how to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict:

First Option: Decide Not to Decide: Maintaining the Status Quo 
This option is the most appealing for a leaderless people, for leaders who are risk-averse, who lack the ability to make bold moves towards peace. The problem, however, is that in reality there is no status quo. The status quo is interrupted time and again by both sides. It is interrupted by Israel that continues to expand its territory at the expense of the Palestinians, and it is broken time and again by Hamas and other Palestinian radical factions that are not willing to recognize Israel and its right to exist. They are intent upon destroying Israel no matter what, are willing to make significant sacrifices, and to wait for many years, even generations, to see their dream realized. With spoilers on both sides, the so-called status quo that exists more in parlance than in reality, is likely to lead to another cycle of violence. It is only a matter of time before we will witness another war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza to which some elements within the West Bank may also join.

Second Option: Palestinian Autonomy 
Without saying this explicitly, the policy of the last Israeli government under Prime Minister Netanyahu was in line with Menachem Begin’s autonomy plan of 1977. Begin did not wish to see the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel. He was willing to grant the Palestinians limited administrative rights and abilities. Although Prime Minister Netanyahu voiced his commitment to two-state solution the most recent Israeli government acted in accordance with the 1970s Likud policies. There was a clear discrepancy between the verbal commitments and the action on the ground. Netanyahu expanded the West Bank settlements and the Israeli presence in East Jerusalem. Following the 1993 Oslo Accords, the West Bank was divided into three areas: area A includes the major Palestinian cities; area B includes some 440 Palestinian villages and their surrounding lands, while area C includes all the rest, some 60% of the West Bank (The Oslo Interim Agreement; Khouri 1998; Qurie 2008; Pundak 2013). Without explicitly saying this, the Israeli government has aimed to increase its presence in area C, effectively delineating only 40% of the West Bank for the Palestinian Authority and granting the Palestinians the ability to govern their lives in areas A and B without recognizing their national rights and aspirations. Simply put, the struggle is over land. Israel has aimed to create facts on the ground and to expand its territory at the expense of the Palestinians. The Palestinians would not have it. For them, their big sacrifice was made in 1948 when they were left with only 22% of historic Palestine. To give up 60% of the 22% is a difficult pill to swallow. Israeli facts (i.e. settlements) on the Palestinian land of the West Bank could be sustained either through a consensual solution, agreed to by both sides, or through violence. As it is hard to envisage Palestinian consent to this sacrifice without ample compensation, this reality of Israeli expansion is likely to yield more violence and blood. 

Third Option: One-State Solution 
This solution means that Israel and Palestine will become one unit. This solution has three variants. All three variants aim to put an end the Jewish state. All three variants aim to eliminate the Zionist enterprise:
  1. Palestinian – the creation of one Palestine at the expense of Israel. Both parties will agree to the creation of one state under Palestinian symbols. It is unlikely that Israel will agree to this.
  2. Post-Zionist. It is also known as “the State-of-all-its-citizens solution”. Israel will annex all territories under its control. All Palestinians will become Israeli citizens, with full citizenship rights. With time, Jews will become a minority in Israel as the birth rate among Arabs exceeds that of the Jews. It will be the end of Zionism (Azoulay and Ophir 2012). Israel would forego its clear Jewish identity as the home for all Jewish people. Only a small minority of Israeli-Jews are willing to accept such a vision for Israel.
  3. The Iranian/Hamas solution: bringing the end of Israel by force. Conquering Israel and re-establishing the historic Palestine, before the Zionist revolution and the Israeli victories over the Arabs (see The Charter of the Hamas). Many Israelis are afraid of this solution. This is why so much emphasis in Israeli politics is put on security. This is why security considerations today are far more important in the eyes of most Israelis than prospects for peace. Deep suspicions and fears of the other lead Israelis to see peace and security as competing concepts rather than supplementing concepts.

Fourth Option: Solutions that Are Aimed to Get Rid of Palestine or to Undermine Its Cause for an Independent State
These solutions are proposed by Israelis on the right of the political camp. Commonly, there are two lines of arguments:
  1. The Palestinian state already exists. The Palestinians should aspire to create a home for themselves in Jordan, not in the West Bank or in Gaza. They should immigrate to Jordan and seize the reign of power there (Tauber 2013). The Hashemite Kingdom is not keen on this proposed solution.
  2. People who oppose the two-state solution ask rhetorically: why do you speak of two-state and not of a three-state solution? Hamas and Fatah are rivals, not friends. Fatah is not welcomed in Gaza. Its people were brutally murdered when Hamas took over following the 2006 elections. Thus, in reality there is a major rift between the two parties, despite their unity government (Nisan 2012). People who propose this solution know that this is not what the Palestinians aspire to, and that three-state solution cannot be a viable option. They raise this option only to discredit the two-state solution.

Fifth Option: Confederations
There are several options:
  1. With Jordan (West Bank)
  2. With Egypt (Gaza and the West Bank)
  3. With Israel, Egypt and Jordan (The New Middle East) (Morris 2009; Eiland 2010).
In terms of viability, there is no doubt that some form of confederation will better serve the Palestinian interest. However, at present this is a far-fetched proposal. Jordan, Egypt and Israel are not rushing to establish such a confederation. This option can become realistic only when there is peace, trust and good will of all concerned nations. These three ingredients, peace, trust and good will are scarce at present.

Sixth Option: Two-State Solution 
This is the most just solution. I have been campaigning for a two-state solution since 2012, and explained the reasons why this solution is fair and just in a number of articles which the reader is welcome to read (Cohen-Almagor 20122014a2014b). I do not wish to repeat the reasoning here. I believe that peace is a precious commodity and therefore it requires both parties to pay a high price for its achievement, reaching a solution that is agreeable to both. The peace deal should be attractive to both Israel and Palestine, equally. It cannot be one-sided, enforced or coerced. Of all the possible solutions presently on the table, a two-state solution is the only viable, long-term solution from which both sides can profit. While the strategy is to reach that solution, the tactics for reaching it need to address present realities and new complexities that are the result of the latest round of hostilities between Israel and Hamas.

At present it is impossible to see the two rivals sitting together and reaching a comprehensive agreement that will settle all disputes and declare an end to hostilities. There is too much hostility, suspicion and bad blood between the two parties. The tactics recognize that trust and good will between Israel and the Palestinian Authority are much-needed commodities and leave much to be desired. Thus what is needed is a series of steps to build trust and good will that will pave the way to the negotiation table.

The two major obstacles to peace are the build-up of settlements by Israel, and Palestinian terrorism. These two issues were not adequately tackled in any previous negotiations. The result is the present mess of continued violence. Until these issues are comprehensively addressed, the peace wagon will remain stuck and unmoved.
Israel and the Palestinian Authority are either unwilling or unable to stop settlement growth and continued acts of terror and violence. Thus what is required is the involvement of third-parties in the conflict. Third parties should shoulder efforts to tackle these issues, closely coordinating their constructive trust-building steps. The third parties should include the United States, and the Arab League [1]. The Palestinian Authority is too weak and too fragile to address the conflict successfully with its very modest means. The PA needs the assistance, legitimacy and capabilities of a greater power that has some vested interest in resolving the conflict. Until now, the US was unable to deliver the goods on its own. The Arab League cannot carry the burden alone. But coordinated efforts of the USA and the Arab League to build trust by addressing the major hurdles may prove successful, leading Israel and the PA to a better, positive future.

In an atmosphere that is not derailed by either settlement buildup or by terror, further constructive steps can be made. Granted that there will be spoilers on both sides. There will be settlers who will try to create facts on the ground, and there will be terrorists who will continue in their attempts to throw both parties into another round of violence. The important thing is a firm stand by both Israel and the PA against such spoilers. Explicit and unequivocal condemnation and firm actions against spoilers is needed. No shred of legitimacy should be conferred on them, making a clear and loud voice that both Israel and PA are now intent on embarking upon a renewed journey towards peace. With this frame of mind, with resolute commitment to pave a new horizon for their respective people, it will be possible to make further steps that will provide a momentum for peace. These steps may include agreements on allocation of water resources (Aliewi et al 2011; Shuval 2011), on fishing in their respective territorial waters, slow but steady release of prisoners, evacuation of isolated Israeli settlements, and the introduction of significant changes in the Israeli and Palestinian education curriculum, emphasizing good neighborhood, pluralism and diversity, acknowledging the differences of culture and religion, with utmost respect for the tradition of each other and with the view that these traditions can be levers for tranquil co-existence (Aweiss 2011; Bar-Tal 2011). 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 [2].

To resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict there is a need for courageous leaders on both sides who seize the opportunities presented to them and make the most for their peoples.

To create peace, it is essential to have trust, good will and security. It would be far-fetched at present to hope for peace in the short term. We should have few illusions about a fast-track leading to a comprehensive peace. The road to peace is long, protracted and most complicated. What is required is to build trust; consolidate economic conditions for Palestinians; bolster security on both sides; stop enlarging existing settlements; dismantle checkpoints to make the lives of Palestinian civilians easier; involve international community in the trust-building process. The road is long and trying but the potential reward is worthy of all efforts.

My gratitude to Richard Oliver Collin for his constructive comments.
[1] See the Arab Peace Initiative 2002.
[2] For further discussion, see Rothman 1992.
Aliewi, Amjad, Enda O’Connell, Geoff Parkin and Karen Assaf (2011). “Palestine Water: between Challenges and Realities,” in Elizabeth G. Matthews (ed.), The Israel-Palestine Conflict. (London: Routledge): 114-138.
Aweiss, Salem (2011). “Culture of Peace and Education”, in Elizabeth G. Matthews (ed.), The Israel-Palestine Conflict. (London: Routledge): 224-246.
Azoulay, Ariella, and Adi Ophir (2012). The One-State Condition, Stanford Studies in Middle Eastern and Islamic Societies and Cultures (Stanford: Stanford University Press).
Bar-Tal, Daniel (2011). “Challenges for Constructing Peace Culture and Peace Education”, in Elizabeth G. Matthews (ed.), The Israel-Palestine Conflict. London: Routledge, pp. 209-223.
Cohen-Almagor, Raphael (2012). “Two-State Solution – The Way Forward”, Annual Review of Law and Ethics, Vol. 20, 381-395.
Cohen-Almagor, Raphael (2014a). “Breaking the Israeli-Palestinian Deadlock – Two State Solution”, Global Education Magazine: International Day of Peace (September 21): 58-63.
Cohen-Almagor, Raphael (2014b). “Suggestions for Israeli-Palestinian Agreement”, New Directions(Kivunim Hadashim), No.30 (June): 144-159 (Hebrew).
Eiland, Giora (2010). “Regional Alternatives to the Idea of Two States for Two People”. BASA Center Publications (Ramat Gan: Bar Ilan University, Hebrew).
Khouri, Rami G. (1998). “The Arab-Israeli Peace Process: Lessons from the Five Years Since Oslo”,Security Dialogue, Vol. 29, Nr. 3, 333-344.
Morris, Benny (2009). One State, Two States (New Haven: Yale University Press).
Nisan, Mordechai (2012). “The 3-state solution”Ynet (May 3).
Qurie, Ahmed (2008). Beyond Oslo (London: Tauris).
Pundak, Ron (2013). Secret Channel (Tel Aviv: Aliyat Hagag, Hebrew).
Rothman, Jay (1992). From Confrontation to Cooperation (London: Sage Publications).
Shuval, Hillel (2011). “Is the Conflict over Shared Water Resources between Israelis and Palestinians an Obstacle to Peace?,” in Elizabeth G. Matthews (ed.), The Israel-Palestine Conflict. (London: Routledge): 93-113.
Tauber, Daniel (2013). “Should Jordan be Palestine?” The Jerusalem Post (April 23).

Raphael Cohen-Almagor received his DPhil in political theory from Oxford University. He is Professor and Chair in Politics, and Founder and Director of the Middle East Study Group, University of Hull. He was Founder and Director of the Center for Democratic Studies, University of Haifa. Raphael was Fulbright-Yitzhak Rabin Visiting Professor at UCLA School of Law, Visiting Professor at Johns Hopkins University, and Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Among his more recent books are The Right to Die with Dignity (2001), Speech, Media and Ethics (2001, 2005), The Scope of Tolerance (2006, 2007), The Democratic Catch (2007, Hebrew), and Confronting the Internet’s Dark Side: Moral and Social Responsibility on the Free Highway (2015). His papers can be found here. Follow him on Twitter at @almagor35.

My 2014 Articles

Here is a summary of my 2014 main publications. The majority is available on my website,, and I will be happy to email you any copy in a case of need.

"After Leveson: Recommendations for Instituting the Public and Press Council", The International Journal of Press/Politics, Vol. 19, No. 2 (April 2014), pp. 202 - 225.

“Towards Responsible Journalism: Code of practice, journalist oath and conscience clause”, Ethical Space, Vol. 11, No. 1/2 (2014), pp. 37-43.

“Suggestions for Israeli-Palestinian Agreement”, New Directions (Kivunim Hadashim), No.30 (June 2014), pp. 144-159 (Hebrew).

“Reconciling Liberalism and Judaism? Human Rights in Israel”, in Jo Carby-Hall (ed.), Essays on Human Rights: A Celebration of the Life of Dr Janusz Kochanowski (Warsaw: Jus et Lex Foundation, 2014), pp. 136-163.

“Avoiding the Destruction of the Third Temple: Separating State and Religion”, in Yossi Goldstein (ed.), Religion Nationalism: The Struggle for Modern Jewish Identity, An Interdisciplinary Annual (Ariel: Ariel University, 2014), pp. 170-189.

Book Review of Amos N. Guiora, “Legitimate Target” (NY: Oxford University Press, 2013), Democracy and Security, Vol. 10, Issue 1 (2014), pp. 101-104.

Book Review of Ruth Gavison (ed.), “The Two-State Solution” (NY and London: Bloomsbury, 2013), Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 50, Issue 4 (2014), pp. 683-687.

“Breaking the Israeli-Palestinian Deadlock – Two State Solution”, Global Education Magazine: International Day of Peace (September 21, 2014), pp. 58-63,

“Foreword”, in Rusi Jaspal, Antisemitism and Anti-Zionism: Representation, Cognition and Everyday Talk (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2014), pp. xiii-xvii.

New Books

Postponed, I am sorry to say. Had to mark some 100 essays instead. Such fun.
(Do you know Miranda? Please read the last two words as said on the show).

Monthly Poems

We attended a Bar Mitzvah where the grandmother of the Bar Mitzvah boy saw it fitting to read the poem IF by Rudyard Kipling. As I was reminded of this beautiful poem, I wish to share it with you.

  1. If—

(‘Brother Square-Toes’—Rewards and Fairies)

If you can keep your head when all about you   
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,   
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;   
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;   
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;   
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,   
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,   
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,   
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,   
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
Source: A Choice of Kipling's Verse (1943)

Light Side

One-liners on the Internet:

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

Politicians and diapers have one thing in common. They should both be changed regularly, and for the same reason.

Evening news is where they begin with 'Good evening', and then proceed to tell you why it isn't.

To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.

If God is watching us, the least we can do is be entertaining.

If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of payments.

Did you know that dolphins are so smart that within a few weeks of captivity, they can train people to stand on the very edge of the pool and throw them fish?

The sole purpose of a child's middle name, is so he can tell when he's really in trouble.

Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.

A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.

Always borrow money from a pessimist. He won't expect it back.

Peace and love.

Yours as ever,


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