Those of us who are committed to finding a peaceful solution to the thorny issue of the Arab-Israeli conflict - one which will allow both Palestinians and Israelis to live and prosper without the eternal threat of violence – can be sure of one thing. The extremism, hatred and incitement employed by terror organisations and their fellow travellers in the Red-Green alliance are constantly at work to try to douse that tiny flame of hope.
As was the case in previous years, new attempts to undermine Israel's legitimacy by engineering highly publicised stunts with potentially violent outcomes are planned for the coming months. The first of these is scheduled for March 30th 2012 and is named the 'Global March to Jerusalem'.
The concept is to have masses of people (the organisers are hoping for a million) gathering on Israel's borders with Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt and demanding to reach Jerusalem. Concurrently, demonstrations are planned in the Palestinian-administered territories and against Israel's diplomatic missions in cities around the world.
The march's organisers describe it as a potential 'tipping point' in the protracted conflict and the common denominator of its varied supporters is that they...More >>
The past twelve months have seen unpredicted political and social upheaval throughout the Middle East and North Africa and currently just about the only certainty is that there is still much more to come.
With the cards still very much in the air and last January's confident assertions on the part of the various Middle East experts - who informed us that the two countries in which revolution would definitely not be taking place were Syria and Libya - still ringing in our ears almost as loudly as Hillary Clinton's bizarre assurance that Bashar Assad was 'a reformer', only fools would try to predict how the MENA region might look in five years' time.
What is clear, however, is that the general trend appears to be towards a rise in power on the part of religiously-motivated political elements and a deepening of the Sunni-Shia sectarian rift which has long existed in the region, alongside real cause for worry about the futures of other minorities.
In this volatile climate and with the fate of existing peace treaties between Israel and some of its Arab neighbours far from guaranteed, the Middle East Quartet (comprised of...More >>
Hadar Sela in CiF Watch analyzes the Guardian’s decision to get socialist pundit Andy Newman to give his take on the subject of Gilad Atzmon's new book:
Gilad Atzmon is clearly a very extreme case; one would have to be either terminally intellectually challenged or willfully blind in order to not recognize his anti-Semitism and yet Andy Newman is now feted in Left-liberal circles for stating the in-your-face obvious. Why?
The second question is why Andy Newman? The man is something of a political butterfly, having flitted between various sub-factions of the far-Left including the Socialist Workers Party and George Galloway’s Respect before most recently ending up in the Labour Party. He is a prominent member of the Swindon branch of the Stop the War Coalition – an organization which regularly collaborates with Islamist fascists on projects such as ‘Al Quds Day’ and itself has a despicable history of promoting anti-Semites. On October 8th it will be holding a rally in central London at which known supporters of the anti-Semitic (and proscribed) terrorist organization Hamas such as Anas Altikriti and Mohammed Sawalha are billed to appear.
In other words, inviting Andy Newman to rubber-stamp Gilad Atzmon’s anti-Semitism is
Readers of political commentary on the Middle East will frequently see reference to the 'one-state solution' in relation to the Arab-Israeli conflict. What perhaps is often not sufficiently clear is what lies behind that particular political ethos, exactly who is promoting it and why.
Advocates of the 'one state solution' are, by definition, opposed to the two-state solution – i.e. the creation, as a result of negotiations between the relevant parties, of a Palestinian State which will exist side by side – hopefully in peace and good neighbourly relations - with the Jewish State of Israel. This has been the premise behind the entire peace process since 1993. It is the basis upon which the Oslo Accords and later the Roadmap were built. It was the logic behind Israel's agreeing to the PLO being allowed to establish the Palestinian Authority and Israeli concessions on areas A and B. It is also the concept upon which all diplomatic efforts to bring peace to the region have been – and still are – based.
As frustrating as the peace process has been, the two-state solution remains the stated goal of the international community as well as successive Israeli governments during the last...More >>
This year marks the fortieth anniversary of the commencement of European Union contributions to the Palestinians. The EU has been UNRWA's largest donor since 1971 and over the last decade has provided that organisation with almost one billion Euros. Since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority under the Oslo Accords in 1993 it has, in addition, been a major donor to that administration.
The numbers are truly staggering; the EU has pledged to provide 28.4 percent of the total humanitarian aid budget for 2011 – US $60,013,647 – making it the top contributor. That figure does not include donations from individual EU member countries or separate donations to shore up the PA budget. In 2010, EU contributions to the PA budget as set out in the Palestinian Reform and Development Plan amounted to 199.90 million Euros. Funds donated by member states of the EU amounted to an additional 62.70 million Euros.
When combined with the additional donations from the World Bank, the United States, Japan and the notably less significant...More >>
The recent news that conflicting demonstrations both for and against Bashar al Assad had been held in two of the Druze villages in the north Golan had already piqued my curiosity, particularly as the pro-Assad demonstration was held in Buqata, which is known locally as the more moderate of the four villages, and the anti-Assad one in Majdal Shams; traditionally the more militant.
So when the opportunity recently arose to join a tour to the area with a group of foreign journalists unable to currently get visas to enter Syria, I too went along to hear the next best thing; the perspective of the Golan Druze - most of whom who have friends and family in Syria - on the uprisings there. As so often is the case in the Middle East, not least when talking to the Druze, attempts to peel back the onion-like layers to get to the facts raised many more questions than they provided answers.
The office of the Al Marsad human rights organisation in Majdal...More >>
Unfortunately for the free world, the long-awaited death of Al Qaeda's leader brings with it no great revelations or seismic shift in world politics and security. Bin Laden's style of nihilistic ideology does not require him to be breathing in order for it to continue; in fact it may even be nurtured by his long overdue demise, as sympathisers and members of Al Qaida franchises worldwide will likely use his 'martyrdom' as yet another excuse for their medieval practices.
So, whilst we will not yet be able to wave farewell to endless queues at airport security, body scanners and ridiculous confiscations of lip-gloss and lighters anytime in the foreseeable future, it is now perhaps even more important than ever for Western leaders to begin joining the dots more effectively than they have done so far.
Curiously, too many of those who were easily able to identify Bin Laden as a threat to their freedoms and values are seemingly unable to recognise the other offshoots of the family tree of the legacies of Mawdudi and Qutb for what they really are, despite the evidence staring them in the face.
The manner in which the world, and in particular the Quartet, responds to the emerging Hamas-Fatah reconciliation will be of prime importance in dictating whether the Middle East will move within the next few months from a situation of no peace to one of all-out war.
If Hamas is allowed by the international community to integrate into the Palestinian Authority without being made to renounce its armed campaigns and without being obliged to recognise Israel's existence, the already terminally ill peace process will come to a very rapid demise. Not only will Israel not negotiate with a Palestinian government which contains terrorist elements, but the terms of the Roadmap, which up to now have formed the foundations of negotiations, will become devoid of any further relevance.
That, of course, would suit Hamas perfectly; it has done all in its power to scupper the peace process for many years and by its very definition rejects all negotiations intended to lead to a two-state solution. However, it also suits Fatah which, despite dodging the negotiating table with considerable alacrity since negotiations resumed last autumn, received a serious blow to its already...More >>
The United Nations Human Rights Council addressed the subject of the dire state of the human rights of Syrian citizens this week. The discussion did not, however, relate to the Syrians being shot at , murdered or imprisoned by their own regime in the town of Dara’a in southern Syria even whilst the council session took place. The resolution – proposed by Cuba, North Korea, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan and Venezuela – related solely to the human rights of “Syrian citizens” of the Golan Heights.
Whilst we are by now regrettably familiar with the UNHRC’s practice of sidestepping the issue of the human rights of millions of people who live under some of the oppressive regimes which also hold seats in that institution, here we have an instance in which what should be an internationally respected body is fabricating supposed abuses for purely political ends. Sadly, some nations on the council which should know better – including the UK, France and Belgium - chose to abstain from the vote...More >>