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JOSEPH DANA


08/05/2016

Turkey’s deep state just became more mysterious

Few observers of Turkish politics are surprised that prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu has announced that he will step down at the end of the month. The direction of travel in Turkish politics has been clear for some time. Having engineered a move from prime minister to president in 2014, Recep Tayyip Erdogan appears to be willing to stop at nothing to solidify his grip on power. Mr Davutoglu, his former foreign minister and close confidant, has dutifully assisted Mr Erdogan’s power plays, but in recent months has taken a more critical line over some of the president’s key decisions. Apparently...
01/05/2016

The gap between myth and reality in Israel’s history

In two weeks, Palestinians around the world will commemorate their forced displacement in 1948, known as the Nakba. Falling just five days after Israel’s independence day, Nakba day has become a global event on which Israel’s foundation myths are revisited, rejected and recast. Every nation has foundation myths. In many cases, they consist of sloppy acts of historical revision designed to inspire a specific brand of nationalism. During Thanksgiving, for example, Americans engage in collective cognitive dissonance about the violent settlement of the United States with rituals pretending that Native Americans and settlers peacefully broke bread together. Israel’s foundation myths...
24/04/2016

Is Erdogan ready to run Turkey’s economy too?

Monetary policy has always been fertile ground for political manipulation. While many countries try to maintain a strict separation between political calculations and central banks, several in emerging markets fail to strike the right balance.In Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) rose to power on a platform of social conservatism and neoliberal economic aggressiveness. His party was able to kick-start the Turkish economy at a time when most countries were in the throes of the global financial crisis. Having survived every political challenger who has arisen, Mr Erdogan’s grip on power appears unshakable. But it was the...

17/04/2016

One Palestinian village's death by a thousand cuts

My first visit to the village of Al Walaja in 2009 was little more than an afterthought. Having spent most of the day in Bethlehem monitoring Israeli settlement encroachment around the hilltop city, a friend suggested we stop by Al Walaja on our way back to Jerusalem. A non-violent protest movement was taking shape in the village. Al Walaja sits above a neatly terraced hillside, close to Jerusalem's southern edge. From the verandas of village homes, you can see Malha Mall and Teddy football stadium, home to the ultranationalist Beitar Jerusalem team. Over the past decade, the Israeli military has...
16/04/2016

A pursuit piled high with difficulty – and promise

Happiness is at once challenging and straightforward to define. As a basic human emotion subject to irrational proclivities, happiness as an ideal has occupied an important place in philosophy. While early Enlightenment philosophers eschewed happiness as a passion similar to emotions like hope and fear, the pursuit of happiness has generally been understood as a positive when it comes to contemporary political philosophy. The American Declaration of Independence, which represented a watershed moment in the history of political philosophy, famously enshrined the pursuit of happiness as an unalienable right. How does happiness fit into the philosophy of modern countries in...
14/04/2016

The long read: Turkey’s foreign policy takes shape in a time of terror

In the arid hills of south-eastern Turkey, an increasingly bloody war is destabilising one of the region’s most pivotal countries. For three decades, Turkey and its Kurdish minority population have fought over demands for sovereignty and national aspirations. A shaky ceasefire signed in 2013 prevented outright bloodletting and offered a period of relative calm; however, that sense of peace disappeared last summer. In a rapid succession of events, Turkey’s leadership diverted attention away from domestic and regional challenges to one issue: suppression of the Kurds.On the surface, the renewed fighting might seem like just another flare-up in the course of...

27/03/2016

Israeli extrajudicial killings belie narrative of morality

Video footage of an Israeli army medic shooting a wounded Palestinian assailant in the head as he lay subdued on the ground is viscerally disturbing but hardly surprising. A video of the execution, caught on tape by Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem, has set off a firestorm debate about the rule of law in Israel and Palestine. The video shows two Palestinian men lying motionless on the ground after reportedly stabbing Israeli soldiers in the centre of Hebron. A large group of Israeli soldiers and settlers are busy establishing a crime scene. There is no doubt that the victim poses...
20/03/2016

Turkey’s terror threat is larger than just the Kurds

The horrific suicide bombing in the heart of Istanbul’s tourist district on Saturday is a stark reminder of the challenges facing Turkey. A suicide bomber detonated himself on Istiklal Avenue, a meandering pedestrian-only street connecting Taksim Square and the iconic Galata Tower. According to initial reports, the bomber failed to reach his primary target and instead targeted a group of foreigners. For several months, Turkey has been consumed by terrorist attacks. ISIL carried out a suicide bombing in Istanbul targeting German tourists and offshoots of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) targeted the Turkish capital with suicide bombers. Hundreds of...
13/03/2016

Israel’s favoured status in America is put under scrutiny

In the aftermath of the 1967 war, the United States emerged as Tel Aviv’s primary benefactor and a nefarious “special relationship" between the two countries was born. Last week, a lawsuit was filed in Washington, DC by a group of Palestinians against several US businesses and charities that assist in Israel’s continued occupation of the West Bank. The lawsuit is a sign that Palestinians are going after Israel where it hurts at a time when Tel Aviv is keen to extend its reach into the heart of America’s political landscape. US president Barack Obama has given up on securing an...

06/03/2016

Apartheid analogy compels Israel to confront reality

Israeli Apartheid Week is under way in the Arab world. What began as a marginal gathering of activists now commands the attention of the highest levels of Israel’s leadership. As such, the response from Israel’s supporters has been predictably hysterical, and a recent article by the United Kingdom’s chief rabbi in the New Statesman is a case in point. Ephraim Mirvis, the South African-born chief rabbi of Britain, claims to know what apartheid looks like, because he grew up in apartheid South Africa. In his attack on Israeli Apartheid Week, he details how familiar he was with the different status...
22/05/2019

Israel blames the messenger as West Bank burns

Since last October, Israel and Palestine have been consumed by a stream of violence. Palestinians attacked Israeli civilians and soldiers in the occupied West Bank, Jerusalem and central Israel, while the Israeli military has carried out mass arrests, closed major cities on the West Bank and accelerated its de facto annexation of West Bank land. This wave of violence lacks structure and coordination, so it is too early to say that this is the start of the third intifada. Israel has failed to devise a strategy to adequately defend itself or curb the attacks. Unable to address the root causes...
22/05/2019

After two decades, has the PA run its course?

More than two decades after its creation, the Palestinian Authority (PA) is a dysfunctional pseudo-state that has exhausted its mandate. A growing number of Palestinians believe that, through the PA’s security and economic cooperation with Tel Aviv, its interests conflict. Mahmoud Abbas, chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and PA president, has entered the 11th year of his four-year presidential term, but appears close to stepping down. Will his departure lead to a period of PA reform or continued status quo? Possible successors to Mr Abbas are starting to drop clues. Saeb Erekat, chief Palestinian negotiator and PLO secretary-general,...