Gershom Gorenberg

Gershom Gorenberg is a senior correspondent for The Prospect. He is the author of The Unmaking of Israel, of The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements, 1967-1977 and of The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount. He blogs at South Jerusalem. Follow @GershomG.

Recent Articles

Be Grateful That He's Not Subtle About It

I live in a country where democracy is fading. Trump's all-out assault makes it easier for Americans to sustain resistance.

AP Photo/Alex Brandon
AP Photo/Alex Brandon President Donald Trump holds up a signed executive order in the Oval Office of the White House, Saturday, January 28, 2017. S trange as it may sound, I'm jealous of progressive Americans as they contend with the Trump dystopia. At least the assault on your democracy—and on your most basic sense of what country you live in—is coming all at once. For an Israeli, this is a reason for envy. The gradual offensive against our own democracy has made resistance far more difficult. Nonetheless, you may be able to learn something from our experience—not so much from our successes, but from our mistakes. I know that three months after election night you still can't wrap your mind around it. The rest of the world—or at least my corner of it—watches America the way someone watches a car racing over a cliff: horrified and riveted. I can't escape by switching from English to Hebrew news. Trump, spelled from right to left, is all over the Israeli media. On Sundays, the top...

The Wrecking Ball

The rise of the Trump regime is demolishing the last hopes for a peaceful, two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed
AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed A Palestinian man stands in front of an Israeli bulldozer to try to stop work during a protest outside the village of Deir Qaddis, near the West Bank city of Ramallah. W e interrupt this broadcast from America's airports with an economic bulletin: Already, Donald Trump is creating jobs—not by action but simply by his amoral aura, by his projection of chaotic cluelessness, by the mere fact of taking power. OK, the jobs will be offshore: in the West Bank, building new homes in Israeli settlements—and in the process, burying Israeli-Palestinian peace prospects. The simple version of the story is this: Two days after that under-attended inauguration in Washington, the Jerusalem City Council—suddenly liberated from U.S. pressure—gave the go-ahead to build over 560 new homes in Jewish neighborhoods of East Jerusalem. Soon after, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman signed off on 2,500 more homes in the rest of the West Bank. The...

Capital Offense

History explains why America has never moved its embassy to Jerusalem. Trump is likely to ignore history and caution, and the holy city will pay the price.

AP Photo/Eitan Hess-Ashkenazi, File
AP Photo/Eitan Hess-Ashkenazi, File An Israeli border policemen guards the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv as other Israelis line up for U.S. visas. S omewhere around 3 a.m. on the Saturday after next, America's newly inaugurated chief insomniac is likely to tweet, “Moved U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, Israel's capital. Huge!” Yes. It will be a huge mistake. Among experts, the most optimistic estimation is that the diplomatic and security impact on Israel and the United States will be merely awful, not apocalyptic. I do not take comfort even from such “upbeat” assessments, perhaps because I live a few hundred meters from the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem—which, with the switch of a sign, will become the embassy, and quite possibly the focus for violent protests. Mr. Trump, I'd like to tell him, if I could hold his attention for long enough, if you want to mess with the sanity of a city, please pick a different one, in your own country. Mine has enough troubles. Now, to acknowledge the obvious:...

The Last Thing Netanyahu Wants to Say Is 'Annexation'

Facing an Israeli court deadline and a possible Security Council resolution on settlements, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to avoid admitting what his real policy is. Waiting for Trump is easier.

Abir Sultan, Pool via AP
Abir Sultan, Pool via AP Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem, Sunday, December 11, 2016. Update: Late Wednesday night, the Amona settlers rejected the compromise offered by the Israeli government, and prepared to resist evacuation. The decision is likely to lead to a major confrontation between settlers and police at the mountaintop outpost and to a crisis in Israel's government coalition—or to a diplomatic crisis, depending on how Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responds. D ecember 25 is usually an ordinary day in Israel. This year, though, it has been marked prominently on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's calendar. It signifies a deadline he has sought to delay and a reckoning on his West Bank policy that he wants to postpone—if possible, forever. Netanyahu's policy is to protect and expand settlements. He thereby shows that he regards Israeli rule as permanent. All the while, he aims to maintain the...

Who by Fire

Israel's leaders were quick to blame Palestinians for disastrous wildfires. The real culprit is global warming, which threatens both peoples.

AP Photo/Ariel Schalit
AP Photo/Ariel Schalit Israeli firefighters work in Haifa, Israel, Friday, November 25, 2016. T he wildfires have finally died out. The fires in Israel began early last week and were only extinguished early this week. They spread into the well-off neighborhoods of Haifa, the ones close to the forests and far from the port, and destroyed hundreds of apartments. They swept through the hills west of Jerusalem. Even in places far from the flames, the smell of smoke mixed with the smell of dust in the dry wind blowing day after day from the desert. Remarkably, no one died. The last Israeli fire disaster, also in forests near Haifa, took 44 lives in 2010. Yet the fires this time blackened nearly as much land and cut deeper into built-up areas. Immediately, inevitably, fire became a subplot in Israeli-Palestinian politics. Evidence suggested arson in several blazes. Police arrested Palestinian suspects. Right-wing Israeli politicians seized on the incidents. “Only someone to whom the land...

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