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TOPIC: benjamin netanyahu


A New Palestinian Martyr, And Israel's "Other" Crisis That Won't Go Away

A Palestinian has died from a hunger strike in an Israeli prison, exacerbating the cycle of violence in the region. Israeli's protesting Benjamin Netanyahu''s right-wing government have little to offer to resolve the eternal crisis of the Occupied Palestinian Territories.


Khader Adnan, a 44-year-old leader of the radical Palestinian organization Islamic Jihad, had been imprisoned in Israel for the 10th time when he began his third hunger strike on February 5, which would prove to be fatal. The resident of Jenin in the West Bank was found unconscious in his cell Tuesday, and declared dead upon arrival at the hospital after 86 days of refusing food and medical care.

Israeli authorities claim that Adnan had refused all assistance, but an Israeli medical NGO asserts that Israel denied a request for hospitalization as his condition deteriorated.

Islamic Jihad immediately declared Adnan a "martyr," though he was accused of "endorsing terrorism," and rocket fire was reported after his death from Gaza , the organization's stronghold. However, the widow of the Palestinian activist addressed the leaders of the jihadist group: "You did nothing to save him while he was alive, so do nothing after his death," she said. "It is my nine sons who will avenge their father in due course."

The ancient "eye-for-an-eye" law of revenge is still holding strong.

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On Israel's 'Phony' Fight For Democracy

Praise in the West has been heaped on the popular protests in Israel that have halted undemocratic judicial reform proposed by the Netanyahu government. But this supposedly noble fight for democracy doesn't apply to 20% of its citizens, not to mention the policies carried out in the Occupied Territories.


Protests against proposed justice system reforms have rocked Israel for weeks. Opposition to the reforms proposed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government — the most right-wing, xenophobic government in Israel's history — have been described in newspapers around the world as an example of people fighting to defend their democracy.

But for many Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, who have largely chosen not to participate in the protests, these are not demonstrations for democracy.

Palestinians, who make up 20% of Israel's population, have stayed home during the anti-government demonstrations because “the protesters are not calling for democracy for all citizens of the country, but only for the Jewish ones, thus perpetuating inequality and occupation," Ibrahim Husseini writes in Al-Araby Al-Jadid.

“Even before the current government of Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel was a phony, reprehensible and completely anomalous democracy," the Balad party, a nationalist, left-wing Arab political party in Israel, wrote in a statement.

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Bibi Blinked: Can Netanyahu Survive After Backing Down On Judicial Putsch?

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin "Bibi" Netanyahu has backed down in the 11th hour on his plans to push forward on a major judicial reform bill that had sparked massive protests.


Benjamin Netanyahu played the sorcerer's apprentice and lost. By announcing Monday night the suspension of his judicial reform, which has deeply divided Israeli society and brought hundreds of thousands of people onto the nation's streets, he signed his defeat.

One thing we know about the Israeli prime minister is that he has not said his last word: the reform is only suspended, not withdrawn. He promised a "real dialogue" after the Passover holiday.

Netanyahu is not one to back down easily: he had clearly gone too far, first by allying himself with extreme right-wing forces from the fringes of the political spectrum; but above all by wanting to change the balance on which the Jewish State had lived since its foundation in 1948. His plans threatened to change the nature of the state in a patently "illiberal" direction.

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U.S., France, Israel: How Three Model Democracies Are Coming Unglued

France, Israel, United States: these three democracies all face their own distinct problems. But these problems are revealing disturbing cracks in society that pose a real danger to hard-earned progress that won't be easily regained.

"I'd rather be a Russian than a Democrat," reads the t-shirt of a Republican Party supporter in the U.S.

"We need to bring the French economy to its knees," announces the leader of the French union Confédération Générale du Travail.

"Let's end the power of the Supreme Court filled with leftist and pro-Palestinian Ashkenazis," say Israeli government cabinet ministers pushing extreme judicial reforms

The United States, France, Israel: three countries, three continents, three situations that have nothing to do with each other. But each country appears to be on the edge of a nervous breakdown of what seemed like solid democracies.

How can we explain these political excesses, irrational proclamations, even suicidal tendencies?

The answer seems simple: in the United States, in France, in Israel — far from an exhaustive list — democracy is facing the challenge of society's ever-greater polarization. We can manage the competition of ideas and opposing interests. But how to respond to rage, even hatred, borne of a sense of injustice and humiliation?

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In The News
Emma Albright, Ginevra Falciani, Inès Mermat, Hugo Perrin and Anne-Sophie Goninet

Xi In Moscow, Banking Shares Sink, Bangladesh Bathing

👋 Sawubona!*

Welcome to Monday, where Chinese leader Xi Jinping lands in Moscow for talks with Vladimir Putin, banking stocks and bonds hit a new low despite UBS’ rescue of Credit Suisse, and about one million pilgrims take part in a “sacred bath” ceremony in Bangladesh. Meanwhile, Paul Molga in French daily Les Echos looks at the vicious circle between climate change and earthquakes.

[*Zulu, South Africa]

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Pierre Haski

Nine More Dead In The West Bank — And Israel Still Thinks The Palestinian Question Doesn't Exist

... and it runs much deeper than Benjamin Netanyahu's new government.


PARIS — The nine Palestinians killed during an Israeli military operation Thursday in the West Bank town of Jenin brings to 26 the number of deaths since the start of the year. This is a clear deterioration of conditions in the Palestinian territories after the year 2022 had already marked the highest number of victims since 2004 with 150 deaths.

This would appear to mark the return of a routine of low-intensity violence if the political context were not so explosive, where we see a new Israeli government in which key positions have been given to representatives of a virulent extreme right, hostile to any agreement with Palestinians, and keen to intensify any crackdowns.

The army sought to make it clear that the number of deaths in Jenin was not due to a change in military doctrine, but to the severity of the clash with members of the extremist Islamic Jihad group.

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Pierre Haski

Why Ben-Gvir's Explosive Visit Is Really Aimed At Netanyahu

Less than a week after being sworn in for the sixth time as Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu was defied by a highly charged visit his far-right coalition ally, Itamar Ben-Gvir, made to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, that has enflamed the entire Muslim world. Netanyahu has a choice to make.


PARIS — Pick an arsonist to head the fire department and you’re sure to have blazes to fight. That's exactly what is happening in Israel right now, since far-right leader Itamar Ben-Gvir was installed as Minister of National Security.

It didn't take more than a week for the new minister, who had been convicted in the past for incitement to racial hatred, to do what his Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wish he hadn't: to make a visit to Jerusalem's al-Aqsa Mosque compound (a.k.a. Esplanade of the Mosques, or Temple Mount), the third holy site of Islam, and one of the most sensitive spots on the planet.

Ben-Gvir has a clear objective: He wants to challenge the status quo, which exists since 1967, that bans Jews from praying on the esplanade, on which stood their Holy Temple, some 2,000 years ago.

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eyes on the U.S.
Alex Hurst

How Trump’s Legal Troubles Look In Places Where Presidents Get Prosecuted


What do South Korea, Taiwan, Israel, Italy, France, Portugal, and Iceland all have in common? They’re all wealthy democracies that have charged and prosecuted former heads of state or heads of government for criminal acts committed while in office.

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Dominique Moïsi

Is Israel's Far Right More Extreme Than In Italy Or The U.S.?

French writer and political scientist Dominique Moïsi was in Israel last week for the country’s latest elections, which saw the victory of a hard right coalition led by Benjamin Netanyahu. He warns that there is an inherent conflict between the self-declared "start-up nation" and the anti-science, anti-liberal program of the new government.


PARIS — In his autobiography Things Seen, seminal French author Victor Hugo describes daily life in Paris during the revolution of the 1830s. He writes about the “limited reach of tragedy,” where one street is covered in barricades and the next is completely peaceful.

On Nov. 1, the day of the elections in Israel, I was walking around the streets of Tel Aviv with those images from Victor Hugo in mind. There was no indication that the future of the country might be at stake despite the huge election signs on buildings and buses. But for their fifth general election in four years, the people of the country's largest economic and cultural metropolis seemed jaded, if not indifferent.

This impression was quickly contradicted by a turnout of more than 70%, a significant increase over previous elections. But nothing seemed to suggest that Israel was on the brink of a tipping point.

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Alan Posener

Why Netanyahu's Holocaust Theory Sounds So Ugly In Germany

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has sparked outrage with his thesis that a Palestinian gave Adolf Hitler the idea to annihilate the Jews. It is, of course, utter nonsense. But from a German perspective, there is another problem.

BERLIN — It is the most narcissistic insult possible to receive for Germany, a country so stained by its history.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated this week that it was not Adolf Hitler and his willing aides who had conceived of the plans for the "Final Solution to the Jewish Question," but rather some Arab. But not just any old Arab: The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini himself was supposed to have offered the idea for the mass slaughter of the Jews.

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NATO Condemns Russia, Literature Nobel, Bacon's Powers


NATO is prepared to send troops to Turkey to defend its ally against any threats along its southern border, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said during a press conference before a meeting with defense ministers in Brussels today, Reuters reports. His comments come after Russian jets operating in Syria violated Turkey's airspace over the past week. "In Syria, we have seen a troubling escalation of Russian military activities," Stoltenberg said. "We will assess the latest developments and their implications for the security of the alliance. NATO has already responded by increasing our capacity, our ability, our preparedness to deploy forces, including to the south."

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Extra! Netanyahu On His Way To Fourth Term

Like most Israeli dailies, the Wednesday edition of Haaretz went to print too early to call Tuesday's election results, even as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was declaring victory. The 65-year-old is indeed heading to a fourth term as his Likud party defied final polls that had showed him trailing the centrist Zionist Union party led by Isaac Herzog.

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