RSS-Update: Challenge - A Magazine covering the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict CHALLENGE is a leftist magazine focusing on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict within a global context. Published in Tel Aviv, it features political analysis, investigative reporting, interviews, eye-witness reports, gender studies, arts, and more. Its editorial staff includes Jews and Arabs. en Wed, 26 Apr 2017 00:00:00 +0300 Wed, 26 Apr 2017 00:00:00 +0300 s.CMS 2017 CHALLENGE, Tel Aviv Barghouti will not bring salvation The Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike led by Marwan Barghouti has global repercussions. The Israeli political-security cabinet discussed the issue in light of the strike's potential to ignite widespread unrest in the West Bank and sever the “idyllic” security cooperation between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel. Yacov Ben Efrat Wed, 26 Apr 2017 00:00:00 +0300 What prompted Assad to use sarin gas? The Hebrew version of this article was published several hours before the United States attacked the Syrian airport near the city of Homs with Tomahawk cruise missiles. This was President Donald Trump's response to Bashar al-Assad's use of deadly sarin gas. Though the response is clearly a message of deterrence, the fate of the Syrian people is not Trump's only concern; he also wants to demonstrate the contrast between himself and his predecessor Barack Obama. It is also his desire to shrug off the cloud of suspicion that has haunted him since taking office, namely the FBI investigation into his team's collusion with Russian president Vladimir Putin. It is important to define who is responsible for the overall tragedy in Syria, and especially to address the impact of Trump’s policy as it stood [i]before[/i] the images of horror from Idlib began flooding TV screens, newspapers and the social networks. Yacov Ben Efrat Sat, 08 Apr 2017 00:00:00 +0300 It's the Settlements, Stupid! Jason Greenblatt is undoubtedly an intriguing personality. Beneath his black skullcap lies a shrewd real estate dealer who knows marketing and is skilled in identifying business opportunities. Greenblatt dons or doffs the skullcap according to the occasion. On March 19, 2017, he participated (without skullcap) as an observer at the Arab League Conference on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea. But returning home, via Ben-Gurion Airport, Greenblatt accepted the blessing of the head of the Ponevezh Yeshiva, where the skullcap returned to his head.! Yacov Ben Efrat! Sat, 01 Apr 2017 00:00:00 +0300 Comptroller's report on the last Gaza war: More is hidden than revealed With the words "There is no clear policy toward Gaza," the Israeli State Comptroller summed up his criticisms against the Netanyahu government in a recent report on Operation Protective Edge. This claim is baseless. The humanitarian disaster in Gaza testifies to a very well-calculated policy, which is played out daily. The strategy guiding the Netanyahu government is to prevent at all costs the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank. The way to reach this sacred goal is to preserve the split between Fatah and Hamas. Operation Protective Edge, which began in July 2014, was the result of a clear policy to thwart the unity government that Fatah and Hamas had recently established. Yacov Ben Efrat Sat, 04 Mar 2017 00:00:00 +0200 The law to legalize settlements: Inching toward a one-state solution On Feb. 6, 2017, Israel's Knesset enacted the “Legalization Law,” dubbed by its opponents the "Theft Law." The vote was 60 to 52. The law "legalizes" housing units built by settlers on private Palestinian land. This was after enforcement of a High Court decision to raze homes built on such land in the Amona outpost (and some in the settlement of Ofra are slated for similar treatment). The decision could affect more than 2000 settler homes built—say settler leaders—accidentally on private land. Yacov Ben Efrat Sat, 11 Feb 2017 00:00:00 +0200 Stuck with Bibi, stuck with Occupation “There will be nothing because there is nothing.” That is Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s response to the ongoing investigations against him. Well, there will be something because there is something. Gifts received by Bibi Netanyahu and his family were “given” because he demanded them. In addition, the corrupt deal initiated by Netanyahu with [i]Yediot Aharonot’s[/i] publisher, Arnon “Noni” Mozes (“you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours”) is not kosher. But it is doubtful whether there’s enough in the two investigations to topple Netanyahu. Bibi has a firewall not because he lacks opponents (actually there are many within and outside of his party, and the media are not letting him off the hook), but because his opponents see no credible alternative to his rule. Also, his government is stable, the economy is doing well, and security tensions are bearable; as a result, Netanyahu is not getting flack from his base. Yacov Ben Efrat Sat, 14 Jan 2017 00:00:00 +0200 The fate of Syria will be decided in Astana On Friday, a "diplomatic assault" occurred when the United States abstained rather than veto a UN Security Council Resolution on the Israel/Palestine question. This resolution says that settlement activity constitutes a "flagrant violation" of international law and has "no legal validity." Netanyahu was quick to accuse Obama of coordinating moves with the Palestinians. He slammed the Security Council, charging hypocrisy in light of the UN’s utter helplessness to end the genocide in Syria and South Sudan. Netanyahu is right. The settlement enterprise and the Israeli occupation are overshadowed by the terrible events perpetrated in Syria by Assad, Iran and Russia. But Netanyahu’s hypocrisy was exposed. In the Israeli daily [i]Yediot Ahronot[/i] (December 27, 2016), Ronen Bergman reported that Israel was absent from the UN General Assembly vote on a resolution calling for the establishment of an international mechanism for collecting evidence of war crimes in Syria. It was Netanyahu who gave the order to skip the vote despite the recommendation of the Israel Foreign Ministry to favor it, saying it was a moral issue of the first order. Yacov Ben Efrat Fri, 30 Dec 2016 00:00:00 +0200 Aleppo Falls, Syria Weeps The fall of Aleppo is viewed in Israel as a great victory for Bashar Assad, and as the first step towards the resumption of his control over Syria. Idlib, still in rebel hands, is next in line. After Idlib is pounded to smithereens, Russian and Syrian aircraft and the Shiite militias will head south to restore order to the part of the Golan Heights that Bashar used to hold. Then the Redeemer will come to Zion. But if you take a closer look at how Aleppo fell, it is not clear that Assad is indeed on his way to regain control over Syria. On the contrary, at center stage in the unfolding picture are Putin, Khamenei, Nasrallah, Erdogan and Netanyahu, while Assad has been shunted to the background. The powers determining the future of Aleppo in particular, and of Syria in general, are the Russians and the Iranians. Assad legitimized their intervention along with that of various militias operating on their behalf. Yacov Ben Efrat Sun, 18 Dec 2016 00:00:00 +0200 The new axis of evil: Trump, Putin, Netanyahu The extreme right-wingers raised their arms in the traditional Nazi salute, chanting "Heil Trump!" The Tea Party recorded a historic achievement, but this was not only a triumph for the American right-wing. Benjamin Netanyahu and his extreme right-wing allies in Israel were also celebrating. On that fateful Tuesday, the Kremlin was biting its nails in anticipation of a Trump victory. Putin openly welcomed the prospect of Donald Trump in the White House. Yacov Ben Efrat Mon, 28 Nov 2016 00:00:00 +0200 Trump and the white minority's revenge Four months ago, documentary filmmaker Michael Moore forecast the victory of Donald Trump. He listed five main reasons to explain why Trump would win, and all of them have come true, one by one. Yacov Ben Efrat Fri, 11 Nov 2016 00:00:00 +0200