FROM Bradley Burston
Israeli Refuseniks Spark Debate over Intelligence Gathering 43 veterans of one of Israel’s most secretive intelligence units signed a letter over the weekend refusing to serve in the occupied territories, specifically rejecting orders to spy on Palestinians. An unidentified captain who served from 2003 to 2011 spoke to the Guardian, saying, “The problem is that the goal of what the unit does in regards to Palestinians is not just self defense – it’s upholding a military regime, which means to oppress the population, weaken the political system so they can’t improve their situation so the military regime continues.” They’re only the latest so-called “refuseniks” in that country, but their public act of defiance has caused an unusual backlash from government officials. The Israeli defense minister called them “criminals.” Part of the reason is the wing of the army they come from. Unit 8200 is a prestigious intelligence team for the Israeli Defense Forces; it’s been compared to the NSA here in the United States. Bradley Burston is columnist and senior editor at the Israeli news site Ha’aretz.
Is a Boycott against Israel Reaching a 'Tipping Point?' As Israel expands illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank – a violation of international law and a major obstacle to peace with the Palestinians, some European companies are refusing to do business there. The Palestinians' call for "boycott, divestment and sanctions" may succeed where Intifadas and rocket fire have not. Prime Minister Netanyahu calls it "immoral and unjust," but Secretary of State Kerry warns it could damage Israel's "relative calm and prosperity." We hear how the boycott has divided Israelis and American Jews. What will it mean for the peace process and the "two-state solution?"
The US and Israel: How Deep Are the Differences? When Vice President Biden was in Israel last week, the Netanyahu government announced new plans for Jewish housing in East Jerusalem. The aftermath included yesterday’s Palestinian “day of rage” and diplomatic outrage from the Obama administration toward Israel.
The US and Israel: How Deep Are the Differences? When Vice President Biden was in Israel last week, the Netanyahu government announced new plans for Jewish housing in East Jerusalem. The city was quiet today after yesterday's "Day of Rage," by Palestinians protesting the announced Israeli construction plans. In public, the US and Israel are exchanging warm words, but tensions are high, and Israel has yet to respond to US demands that the plans be reversed. Did Prime Minister Netanyahu want to sandbag Biden? Was President Obama looking for a way to get tough with Israel? What does it all have to do with peace talks, Iran, American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and US credibility in the Middle East?
Did Israel Intentionally Try to Insult the US? On Vice President Biden's first day of a five-day Middle East visit, the government of Israel announced construction of 1600 new homes in disputed East Jerusalem. Was it a deliberate slap at the Obama Administration? Bradley Burston is a columnist and senior editor at Ha'aretz , a left-leaning Israeli newspaper.
'Do-or-die' time on healthcare bill President Trump has demanded a House vote today on replacing Obamacare…whatever the details might be. Despite his campaign promise that nobody would lose health insurance, that's possible for 24 million people if he were finally to sign this bill into law.
Political appointments and the reshaping of the judiciary President Trump has the chance for a long-term impact -- not just on the US Supreme Court, but on the entire federal court system. And his nominees are likely to get the support of a massive spending campaign by donors who don't have to reveal their names. Can President Trump "pack" the federal court system?
House Republicans release their Obamacare replacement As two House committees take up "repeal and replacement" of "Obamacare," there may be life left in the Affordable Care Act after all. Even Republicans are divided, and proposed changes won't make good on President Trump's promise to provide "health insurance for everybody."
America's top diplomat faces challenges in Asia Whatever happened to America's "pivot to Asia?" That's just one of the questions left hanging since Rex Tillerson's first trip there as Secretary of State. Is the Trump Administration hoping to change Foreign Policy or maintain the status quo?