The United States’ Recognition of Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and the Challenge to the International Consensus

by Mandy Turner , Mahmud Muna | published May 16, 2018

On December 6, 2017, US President Donald Trump announced that the US was recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and would be moving its embassy there from Tel Aviv in fulfillment of the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act. In one fell swoop, the US has seriously challenged 70 years of international consensus enshrined in international law as regards the status of the city, and put the potential for a two-state solution into a tail-spin. In keeping with the general chaos surrounding his presidency, Trump and his administration then announced a series of contradictory remarks regarding this historic decision. The original declaration insisted that the decision did not affect final status negotiations regarding Jerusalem, a position that was confirmed by then secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, a few days later. In so doing, Trump threw the diplomatic equivalent of a Molotov cocktail into the incendiary issue of Jerusalem’s status, but then denied he had done so, arguing that his decision was “nothing more, or less, than a recognition of reality. But then Trump contradicted himself in a January 3, 2018 tweet, where he stated: “we have taken Jerusalem, the toughest part of the negotiation, off the table.” Deciphering the different meanings in Trump’s statements and language is less important than the implications that this decision will have for future diplomatic policy and practice.

Anti-Semitism and Pro-Israel Politics in 
the Trump Era

Historical Antecedents and Contexts

by Les Field
published in MER284

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s silence following the neo-Nazi, white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12, 2017 was deafening, and revealing. For three days following the parade of anti-Jewish slogans and swastikas, Netanyahu—often characterized as an outspoken critic of anti-Semitism worldwide—made no comment. [1]

Israel Dispatch

by Rebecca L. Stein
published in MER283

Among the numerous ideological affinities and governing styles shared by President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is a commitment to the rhetoric of “fake news.” [1] In the last year, Netanyahu has increasingly borrowed this Trumpian formulation in an attempt to quell dissent and undercut critical Israeli and international media scrutiny. Netanyahu is not unique in this regard. Over the course of the last year, authoritarian regimes across the globe—including Syria, Russia and Malaysia—have adopted the fake news script to silence detractors and critics, frequently in response to the charge of human rights violations.

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.

From the Editors

by The Editors
published in MER282

For Palestine, 2017 is a year of anniversaries. One hundred years since the Balfour Declaration gave imperial imprimatur to the Zionist project. Fifty years since the beginning of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. And thirty years since the start of the first intifada, the popular uprising against that occupation. We will soon reach the seventieth anniversary of the nakba, the displacement and dispossession of most of the Palestinian population. These anniversaries remind us of the long entanglement of Palestine in global imperial networks. They highlight the extended, and seemingly endless and bottomless, suffering that Palestinians experience both inside and outside of historic Palestine.

Fifty Years of Occupation

A Forum (Part 3)

by Sherene Seikaly , Neve Gordon , Lori Allen , Alaa Tartir , Sara Roy | published June 9, 2017

June 5, 2017 is the fiftieth anniversary of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, which culminated in the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights, among other transformations of regional politics. The post-1967 occupation and its consequences continue to structure the mainstream conversation about resolving the conflict between Israel the Palestinians, and those between Israel and other Arab states, even as scholarship increasingly poses the occupation as part of a longer-term and more multi-faceted question of Palestine. We asked several specialists to reflect on the past, present and future of the question of Palestine at this historical juncture.

Fifty Years of Occupation

A Forum (Part 2)

by Gershon Shafir , Omar Jabary Salamanca , Sobhi Samour , Mandy Turner , Andy Clarno | published June 7, 2017

June 5, 2017 is the fiftieth anniversary of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, which culminated in the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights, among other transformations of regional politics. The post-1967 occupation and its consequences continue to structure the mainstream conversation about resolving the conflict between Israel the Palestinians, and those between Israel and other Arab states, even as scholarship increasingly poses the occupation as part of a longer-term and more multi-faceted question of Palestine. We asked several specialists to reflect on the past, present and future of the question of Palestine at this historical juncture.

Fifty Years of Occupation

A Forum

by Joel Beinin , Noura Erakat , Zachary Lockman , Maha Nassar , Ilana Feldman | published June 5, 2017

June 5, 2017 is the fiftieth anniversary of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, which culminated in the Israeli military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights, among other transformations of regional politics. The post-1967 occupation and its consequences continue to structure the mainstream conversation about resolving the conflict between Israel the Palestinians, and those between Israel and other Arab states, even as scholarship increasingly poses the occupation as part of a longer-term and more multi-faceted question of Palestine. We asked several specialists to reflect on the past, present and future of the question of Palestine at this historical juncture.

Reviving Activism in Jordan

The Movement Against Israeli Gas

by Curtis Ryan
published in MER281

In January 2011, hundreds and sometimes thousands of Jordanians began protesting like clockwork on Friday afternoons; they continued to do so for nearly two years. The crowds were small compared to those in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen and Bahrain, but the turnout was sustained and marked a significant uptick for Jordan, where peaceful protest had not been uncommon. But by 2013 the demonstrations declined in both size and frequency. The regime weathered the main storm of the Arab uprisings, and without having resorted to violent repression. Many in the regime credited top-down reforms, including a revised constitution and amended laws on parties, public gatherings and elections.

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.

Israel as Innovator in the Attempted Mainstreaming of Extreme Violence

by Lisa Hajjar
published in MER279

The present era of counter-terrorism wars has severely damaged what, in hindsight, looked like a solid international consensus about which forms and levels of violence are “legal” in war and what “humanitarian” limits are imposed on such violence. The counter-terrorism paradigm of “with us or against us” in which the latter—and all that is proximate to it—is regarded as targetable upends the important distinction in international humanitarian law (IHL) between civilians and combatants and inflates the norm of proportionality to justify indiscriminate violence.

A Lonely Songkran in the Arabah

by Matan Kaminer
published in MER279

There was something awe-inspiring about the dark red rainclouds that covered the sky of the Arabah on April 13. Precipitation is rare in this section of the Great Rift Valley, which lies below sea level and hundreds of miles from the Mediterranean. When it does come, the rain rushes down the wadis of the Israeli Negev and from the high mountains of Jordan opposite, flooding the dry bed of the Wadi ‘Araba, prying loose the landmines buried decades ago when the two states were in a state of war. Rarer still is rain in April, the month in which fresh days and cold nights begin to give way to the stifling 24-hour heat of summer, and the month in which the bell peppers that have brought prosperity to the Israeli side of the Arabah begin to wilt and rot.

Please Subscribe to access the full contents of this article.