Personal accounts of current events in Palestine and Israel; commentary and analysis from the Middle East, the USA and Europe
Gideon Levy
Church Leaders' Letter to Congress, Oct 2012

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Jewish Voice for Peace

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IMEU: Institute for Middle East Understanding

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Commentary about what is happening today in the Middle East:

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one of the best Israeli commentators and a leading peace activist

Gideon Levy
cutting edge, thought-provoking commentary

Avraham Burg - Opinion
speaking courageous truth to his nation and the world

James Wall's Wallwritings
a former editor of "The Christian Century" with extensive experience on Mid East affairs

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News Archives

From 2011:

News - Jan 2011

News - Feb 2011

News - March 2011

From 2010:
News - April/May 2010

News - June/July 2010

New - Aug/Sept 2010


Gideon Levy is a Haaretz columnist and a member of the newspaper's editorial board.

Levy joined Haaretz in 1982, and spent four years as the newspaper's deputy editor. He is the author of the weekly Twilight Zone feature, covering the Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza over the last 25 years, as well as the writer of political editorials for the newspaper

Levy was the recipient of the Euro-Med Journalist Prize for 2008; the Leipzig Freedom Prize in 2001; the Israeli Journalists’ Union Prize in 1997; and The Association of Human Rights in Israel Award for 1996.

Find below:

News Articles by Levy
Opinion by Levy
Older Articles and Opinion by Levy

Please note: the dates listed for these articles use the format of DAY/MONTH/YEAR, unlike date formats in the US (month/day/year). So 1/10/11 = October 1, 2011, not January 10, 2011.

Articles by Gideon Levy
Opinion by Gideon Levy

Older articles and opinion from Gideon Levy

Twilight Zone / Grad land
A journey to the missile-scarred southern cities located within firing range of Gaza.
By Gideon Levy
There is something touching about the note written on a scrap of paper that is carelessly pinned to the bulletin board of an apartment building in Ashdod. The handwriting is awkward and there are childish spelling mistakes. The note reads: "Shalom to the tenants. I lost the keys of the Peugeot car in your building during the fall of the Grad. If anyone found them, let him please call my phone."

Israeli leaders' price tag against the Palestinians

This price tag meted out by the forum of eight is not much different than the settlers' price tag; it's violent, uncontrolled and seeks vengeance.
By Gideon Levy
What, for heaven's sake, is so terrible about Palestine being accepted to UNESCO? Why is this considered an "anti-Israeli" step? And in general, what's so bad about the Palestinians relinquishing terror and going over to the international arena? If Israel were to behave intelligently, it would vote to accept the Palestinians to any respectable international organization.

And if Israel were to behave with integrity, the hollow talk about two states would be translated into support for the Palestinians' diplomatic moves to achieve that. International recognition of a Palestinian state is the last chance to thwart a one-state solution. It's also the last chance to preserve the Palestinian Authority's strength and prevent Hamas from taking over instead. Israel should support that enthusiastically.

Settlers succeeding in hostile takeover of Israel

Do you really want to live in a country where the heads of the settlement enterprise allocate its lands, plan its nature sites, rule on its laws and are increasingly controlling its lifestyles?
By Gideon Levy
Phase I was long since declared an unqualified success: The settlers gained control of the occupied territories, using their power and their construction projects to thwart any just arrangement. But anyone who thought they would settle for controlling the West Bank should take a look at Phase II of the plan, which is at its height and already a success story.

Now, after the hostile takeover of the West Bank, comes the takeover of the state. Now that their lust for land has been slightly slaked they have turned their attention to much broader areas than their own considerable domain. From now on, Yesha is truly here. From now on, it's not enough for them to head the local government councils in the territories - now they're aiming for seats of power within Israel, so that they can shape its image. After taking the West Bank region of Gush Etzion, now they want the Tel Aviv region of Gush Dan.

Israel's social protest faces its ultimate test
In two days we'll know: If the protest wasn't a protest, the revolution wasn't a revolution. If they stay home, we'll know they aren't deserving of change, any change; they don't deserve a revolution, any revolution.
By Gideon Levy
This Saturday evening, Israelis may choose to spend yet another quiet autumn night in their homes. The television news will report on a demonstration taking place at exactly that time in the city centers. A company that estimates crowds will report on the minuscule number of demonstrators, and news presenters will dismiss them with a shake of their heads: this is not the million-strong showing we are familiar with, not even a half-million.

Protest is dead.

Afterwards Israelis will turn to the wonders of television. I'll remind you, as a public service, of the Saturday night television line-up: "Three" ("three women share a journey in search of love" ), "The Wedding Game" ("a bride and groom set out on a humorous, moving, dramatic and wild treasure hunt" ), and a repeat broadcast of "The Roy Bar Natan Show." And the protest show? It's no longer interesting. The magic is gone as well as the spirit.

Shalit deal should change Israel's stance toward Hamas

Even in the midst of the prisoner deal, efforts at brainwashing and sowing fear along with demonization and dehumanization continued in all their strength and ugliness.
By Gideon Levy
They told us Hamas is a bloodthirsty gang. They told us there was no one to negotiate with. They told us that Israeli military intelligence was the best in the world and that we know everything there is to know about that cruel gang (but not where Gilad Shalit was being held). And lo and behold, the most right-wing government in the country's history conducted serious negotiations with this fundamentalist gang and came to a serious agreement with it. And if that's not enough, it turns out the "gang" kept its word.

But let's not get too excited. Israel can be counted on not to shake things up as a result of the Shalit deal in how it relates to Hamas. The sea remains the same, the Arabs remain the same, and Hamas remains the same in the eyes of Israel (and the United States) even after the agreement.

Shalit is returning to a state in psychosis
Israeli society now wraps itself in a self-righteous cloak of self-praise: How concerned we are about the fate of a single soldier. And what about the fates of many soldiers, of an entire army, an entire people?
By Gideon Levy Tags: Gilad Shalit IDF Hamas Yitzhak Rabin
This weekend even Gilad Shalit's aftershave was a topic for discussion. A top-drawer commentator reported to the galvanized nation, in infinite earnestness, that the psychology experts of the Israel Defense Forces recommended that his family pack a bag containing his favorite aftershave, to ease his return. An electronic sign at the entrance of a Tel Aviv bar flashed a message that was no less grotesque: "Special prices for shots of Absolut and Finlandia ... Welcome home, Gilad Shalit."

Shalit will return on Tuesday to his home, as has been hoped. He will return not to a country but rather to a telenovela in which emotions are forever and always the only language. It must be hoped that he will return in good mental health, but he certainly won't be returning to a healthy society. He will return to a society in psychosis. The national psychosis surrounding his fate began the day he was captured, and is now reaching its peak. The IDF readied a few sets of uniforms for him, it was reported, in the event that the national boy lost a great deal of weight - the main thing is to show him off in uniform, as befits a war hero.

You and I and the next Yom Kippur War
Not even the trauma of the Yom Kippur War, the mother of all traumas, led to a genuine strategic change for Israel. The generals and pundits will promise that the IDF learned its lessons, but Israel didn't learn anything.
By Gideon Levy
Here's a new law of nature: The further we get from the Yom Kippur War, the closer it gets to us. At the end of this week we will once again recall that war, the pages of the newspapers and the television programs will be full of stories of heroism - and the real lesson will once again be blurred beyond recognition, as always happens here.

Nothing will change. The emergency warehouses may be better equipped, intelligence is certainly more sophisticated, but the historical lesson, the most important conclusion of all, has never been learned here, not for a moment. Now as then, we can once again sing to ourselves with pleasure and certainty: "When we take a walk, we are three - you and me and the next war" (Hanoch Levin, 1968).

The Shin Bet scandal that never died

In the Bus 300 affair, Shimon Peres and Yaakov Neeman, entrusted with enforcing the law, proved in the 1980s how they truly related to the rule of law.
By Gideon Levy
There are some scandals that refuse to die, either because they are never fully investigated or because those responsible for them never paid the price they should have. The Bus 300 affair of 1984, involving the murder by Shin Bet security service officers of two bus hijackers who had already been apprehended when they were killed - and the subsequent cover-up of the act - falls into the second category. Almost everything was clear at the time, but nonetheless, the case refuses to die because most of those responsible for it were never punished. They never paid the price either through the courts or in the court of public opinion.

And then on the eve of Rosh Hashanah, the case was revived when Gidi Weitz exposed some of the court transcripts of the case in Haaretz. Much was already known before this impressive scoop, but one cannot help becoming enraged all over again after reading the description of what happened on the night of April 13, 1984 and in the months of baseless accounts, cover-ups, efforts to silence witnesses, extortion and lies that followed, even 30 years later.

Netanyahu proved Israel doesn't want peace

Netanyahu shows to the world that Israel wants neither an agreement nor a Palestinian state, and for that matter not peace, either.
By Gideon Levy    

On Friday night Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once again proved himself to be an excellent elucidator, this time in the service of the Palestinians: He demonstrated to the world, better than even Mahmoud Abbas, why they had no recourse but to appeal to the United Nations. If there is one clear take-home message from his Hezekiah and Isaiah speech, it is this: The Palestinians (and the world ) can no longer expect anything from Israel. Nothing.

Netanyahu was particularly persuasive when he explained that a Palestinian state would endanger Israel - narrow waist, just hundreds of meters from Israeli cities, thousands of rockets - one giant blah-blah that willfully ignores the possibility of peace. A Palestinian state, perhaps, but absolutely not in our time, and not in our school of thought.

The Palestinians are the new Jews

The Palestinians are the new Jews and their leaders are amazingly similar to the former Zionist leaders.
By Gideon Levy
Look at the Palestinians and look at us. Look at their leaders and recall ours. Not, of course, those we have today, but those we once had, the ones who established the state for us. The Palestinians are the new Jews and their leaders are amazingly similar to the former Zionist leaders.

Their David Ben-Gurion is no longer with them - Yasser Arafat died under mysterious circumstances - but look at Mahmoud Abbas: Isn't he Levi Eshkol? Saeb Erekat - isn't he Abba Eban? Salam Fayyad - isn't he Pinhas Sapir or Eliezer Kaplan? The same moderation, the same nondescript personality, the same pragmatism, the same political wisdom and even, to some degree, the same sense of humor. To take what is attainable, to give up the big dreams - in the partition plan as in the two-state solution.


Twilight Zone / Tragedies, not flags
No celebrations were going on in the Jenin refugee camp this week, where families involved in the long struggle with Israel acknowledged that what concerns them now is economics - not empty declarations at the UN.
by Gideon Levy
12:51 23.09.11

Lina Taamallah
Twilight Zone / An organic bond
Six years ago, Anna Weekes-Majavu donated a kidney to a Palestinian toddler. Since then, the South African-born peace activist has been prevented by the Israeli authorities from seeing the child whose life she saved.

by Gideon Levy
11:05 16.09.11

shehadeh - Miki Kratsman - September 9 2011
Twilight Zone / No exit
Why is Israel preventing Dr. Haitham Shehadeh from traveling from Hebron to Amman, where his family is, and why was he detained for months without trial, and without being told the reason?

by Gideon Levy
09:28 09.09.11

al-Fari’a refugee camp near Nablus.
Twilight Zone / Blood on the tracks
Ibrahim Sirhan bled to death after being shot by Israeli soldiers last week in al-Fari’a, a refugee camp near Nablus that can’t escape its tortured past.
by Gideon Levy 13:14 22.07.11

Jamil Al-Masri
Twilight Zone / Drive-by shooting
Jalal Al-Masri was fatally shot by soldiers while driving to collect his family for a weekend vacation in Eilat. Six months after the incident, his bereaved family are still looking for answers.
by Gideon Levy 10:47 15.07.11

Handicapped Palestinians - Miki Kratsman - 08072011
Twilight Zone / Crippling bureaucracy
Three Palestinians seriously injured by work accidents in Israel have traveled here for years to receive treatment, but now they're facing a series of insurmountable obstacles by Gideon Levy 15:53 08.07.11

The activists' fly-in / Stop the Israeli isolationist flotilla
This is what the world sees: Israel is becoming the old Albania, a fortified destination with a thought police at its gates and a demonstrations police on its borders.

by Gideon Levy
03:16 07.07.11

Manal Mahamra and family - Daniel Bar-Or - July 2011
Twilight Zone / Separation anxiety
Because Israel has prevented any form of family unification in the territories since 2009, mothers and fathers are torn from each other and from their children.
by Gideon Levy 14:02 01.07.11

Twilight Zone / Island of sanity

Life on a Swedish island, a place where the sun doesn't set, where the summer weather is like our winter and where passions rise only when a rare songbird is sighted or a wolf is shot.
by Gideon Levy 12:35 24.06.11

Awad Tawil
Twilight Zone / Field of nightmares

After settlers from Havat Gilad raided the fields of Farata village, a stone-throwing battle ensued, wounding one of the farmers, who bled profusely. Who was arrested? The wounded farmer and his brother.

by Gideon Levy

Mohammed, Eid Dajneh
Twilight Zone / A burning issue
When two shepherd boys were badly burned after finding a metallic object, the IDF sent a team to scour the area. So why did another boy find a similar object in the same place just two days later?
by Gideon Levy 12:23 03.06.11

Mediterranean Museum exhibit.
Twilight Zone / Nothing to give a whoop about
The two major news developments of the past few weeks have not stirred much emotion at the Jenin refugee camp;a local Hamas activist explains why the Palestinians are so disillusioned. by Gideon Levy 11:22 13.05.11

Freedom Theater
Twilight Zone / Mer's last show
The Freedom Theater management says Juliano Khamis 'was the model of a freedom fighter to the children of the camp, a symbol of our culture and our struggle ... Had the bullets that hit his back seen his eyes, they would have begged forgiveness.'
by Gideon Levy 14:46 08.04.11

Munir Dweik
Twilight Zone / Return to Shuk Hatikva
Munir Dweik, our regular taxi driver in Gaza, spent his teen years working in the Hatikva quarter's chicken market. This week he paid a return visit by Gideon Levy 11:37 01.04.11

Palestinian Sussia
West Bank chaos, just a stone's throw away
An old rattletrap, some despondent villagers, a unit of Civil Administration soldiers and some of the most beautiful landscapes in the country. by Gideon Levy 08:27 04.03.11

Tomb of the Patriarchs - Miki Kratsman
Twilight Zone / Ghost town
A private outing in Hebron, following the education minister's decision to encourage schoolchildren to visit the Tomb of the Patriarchs by Gideon Levy 11:33 25.02.11

hawara - AP - February 18 2011
Twilight Zone / Good riddance
Bad memories of the Hawara checkpoint, abandoned this week by the IDF: winter and summer, in rain and burning sun, we would stop here and wait.
by Gideon Levy
11:26 18.02.11
How school trips to Hebron resemble visits to Auschwitz
Just as upon return from the state-sponsored trips to Auschwitz, Jewish students will come back from Hebron feeling more nationalist than ever before.
by Gideon Levy
03:11 17.02.11

egypt - Ruth Sherlock - January 28 2011
Twilight Zone / Egypt: A tale of love and darkness
This week it was impossible for Israeli journalists who do not hold a foreign passport to enter Egypt to fulfill a journalist's passionate desire to be there now, especially now.
by Gideon Levy 10:55 04.02.11

Photos of Jawaher Abu Rahmah - Miki Kratsman
Twilight Zone / Lightning strikes again
Her brother was killed at a Bil'in protest and now Jawaher Abu Rahmah has died there as well. The IDF said she may have died of cancer, but her family is sure she was killed by tear gas.
by Gideon Levy
11:37 07.01.11

Sonia Twilight zone- Emil Salman
Twilight zone / The long road to treatment
Sonia and Osama Rasras encountered many obstacles - and much help - in their campaign to get their daughter medical treatment. But the battle is far from over
by Gideon Levy 05:29 24.12.10

Twilight Zone / Of fences and neighbors
The ongoing saga of a Jordan Valley moshav and the barrier it is trying to erect on lands abutting - and encroaching on - the encampment of 170 beleaguered Palestinians. by Gideon Levy 12:53 03.12.10

Abu Salah- Miki Kratsman
Twilight Zone / Safed, a war story
A campaign of racism and anti-Arab incitement is turning one of Israel's holy cities into a ticking bomb by Gideon Levy 10:39 12.11.10

An IDF soldier during the Gaza war
Twilight Zone / Baron of manipulation
Gideon Levy's recent interview to The Independent drew a scathing attack from right-wing columnist Ben Dror Yemini. Here is Levy's rebuttal by Gideon Levy 12:35 22.10.10

A Zubeidi wedding
Gideon Levy / How times have changed at Jenin refugee camp
Recent wedding in the Jenin, Apache helicopters are replaced by twinkling stars, IDF tanks by trucks filled with plastic chairs and musical instruments. by Gideon Levy 11:24 15.10.10

Kawazba- Alon Ron
Twilight Zone / Straight to the heart
Palestinians constantly sneak into Israel to find jobs paying meager wages. Some are beaten and imprisoned. This week a 37-year-old father of five was shot to death.
by Gideon Levy
12:07 08.10.10

Sheikh Sayyah Abu Drim
Twilight Zone / The invaders
Last week, an entire 'unrecognized' Bedouin village was demolished, far from the public eye. But residents won't give up: They have already started to rebuild. by Gideon Levy 12:22 06.08.10

Only we're allowed
After Tuesday's border clash, Israel will continue to ignore UNIFIL and the Lebanese army.
by Gideon Levy
02:37 05.08.10