Despite the immediate headlines, Trump’s tweet has little significance for the Heights. The international community, including the UN, is not going to shift its position on their status. And, while Netanyahu may be boosted, the Israeli presence will continue to depend on the strength of arms, the expansion of settlements and the acceptance of actors such as Russia.
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Israelis are more concerned with their economy and their security. Though they would like to resolve their long-running conflict with the Palestinians, or at least “separate” themselves from Palestinians and stop ruling over them in the West Bank, most Israelis see no safe or easy way to do so. However unsatisfactory it is, the status quo is bearable for them.
So far, this speculation is undermining discussion about the real issues facing Israelis today: the occupation, emerging apartheid, the anti-democratic nature of recent legislation, government incitement and racism. Only anti-corruption is accorded a central place and only because there are four cases pending against Netanyahu. A decision on whether he will be indicted will be announced before the elections.
With general elections set for April 2019, he has emerged as the only candidate with a real chance of unseating Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Moreover, electing Gantz represents a first step toward reversing the country’s drift to the right, leaving the elaboration of policies and plans for the new, centrist government coalition.
A report describes in depth how human rights defenders are routinely beaten, placed in solitary confinement and forced to endure extreme temperatures and humiliation. Other tactics used to punish activists include spreading rumours to tarnish their reputation, which prevents them from finding a decent job once they are released from prison. Families are also pressured to persuade relatives to stop criticizing the state. In other cases, activists are simply told that they must leave Oman and never return.
Some of these opponents denounce Boutros’ support of the movement and consider her concerts to be more like pro-Hezbollah rallies than purely artistic events. However, both supporters and opponents unanimously believe that Boutros has a beautiful voice as well as artistic and ethical commitment. Her voice has been used in many protests and demonstrations held by political parties and civil groups.
However, there is no clear rule that obliges Netanyahu to leave office during the investigation. He likely won’t. Most pundits predict he will at least hold onto power until the next general elections, which must be held before November 2019. In those elections, Netanyahu will seek a renewed mandate from his voters. A win would give him significant leverage. Being strong enough politically would allow him to try to remain in office, even while being prosecuted. If he succeeds, he will surpass David Ben-Gurion as the longest serving prime minister.
Cultural heritage can strengthen communities and their ties to the land they live on. The researchers repeatedly talked about putting their villages on the map, and making them part of a wider Bedouin community which extends through both time (to previous and future generations) and space. They have become visible to local, national and international audiences. Cultural heritage, and the actions taken to protect it, become a resource both to encourage equality and to share a different vision of what life could be in these embattled communities.