In Gaza, some NGOs place water politics over public health
March 11, 2014 | Ahron Shapiro
Gaza’s water quality issues, due to years of overpumping from their coastal aquifers as well as other factors such as agricultural pollution, and sewage dumping, are well documented. However, efforts by some NGOs to implement what has been determined by experts to be the most effective solution – desalination – has been met by staunch opposition by some 30 Palestinian and pro-Palestinian organisations and NGOs. They made this clear in a position paper they issued on March 9 through the Palestinian water issue-focused NGO umbrella coalition EWASH. It’s enlightening to examine their reasons for opposing desalination, in their own words.
Israeli field hospital in the Philippines receives high praise
November 19, 2013 | Sharyn Mittelman
To date, 12 babies have been born in the Israeli field hospital set up in the city of Bogo at the northern end of Cebu Island on November 14 to provide medical assistance to the Typhoon ravaged region. Typhoon Haiyan struck on November 8 and is estimated to have killed at least 4,000 people and left 600,000 homeless.
Israel refuses to participate in UN “human rights” farce
February 1, 2013 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz
Israel has been making headlines recently for its failure to show-up to its “Universal Periodic Review” (“UPR”) session at the United Nations Human Rights Council (“HRC”) and for refusing to cooperate with a recent “fact-finding mission” into settlements in the West Bank. …
Sadly, it appears that the reforms to the UN Human Rights Commission and its re-branding as the “Human Rights Council” have had little effect…
Israeli Politics – Barak bows out, Tzipi Livni jumps in
November 30, 2012 | Or Avi Guy
There is never a dull moment in Israeli politics, let alone when the upcoming elections are right around the corner. This week three main developments took place, any of which could significantly influence the political outlook.
New Huawei allegations – Iranian partner breaching US sanctions
October 31, 2012 | Sharyn Mittelman
There are new allegations regarding the Chinese telecommunication company Huawei, with Reuters reporting that an Iranian partner of Huawei, Soda Gostar Persian Vista, last year tried to sell embargoed American antenna equipment to an Iranian firm.
This latest report of breaching US sanctions, may further undermine Huawei’s concerted efforts to improve its image in Australia, following an Australian government decision in March this year to block Huawei from bidding on its National Broadband Network (NBN) due to national security risks.
In the workplace? In a car? Middle East grapples over women’s whereabouts
November 17, 2011 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz
As I wrote earlier this year, a great deal of the problems facing the Arab world as it stumbles towards democracy stem from a conservative culture that is inhibiting female participation in society.
How do you solve a problem like Pakistan?
November 9, 2011 | Sharyn Mittelman
Pakistan is a foreign policy conundrum for the West. While Pakistan has publicly been an ‘ally’ to the West in fighting al-Qaeda and supporting the war in Afghanistan, privately its intelligence agencies work with the Taliban and support terrorist organisations. In addition, Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is considered by many to be unstable, and therefore poses a very real threat to international security should it end up in the wrong hands.
West failing Arab liberals as Islamists rise
September 1, 2011 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz
Protests are raging again in Iran, this time ostensibly over the drying up of a salt lake in Iran’s East Azerbaijan Province. It is true that the local people are suffering from the damage that the lake’s gradual erosion has done to their economy, however the familiarity of videos such as the one below, showing grainy images of Iranian police shooting at protesters, who throw rocks in return, point to a general discontent with the ruling Ayatollah regime that boils just below the surface of the Islamic Republic.
The 1979 “Islamic Revolution” was the first case of a relatively young Islamist movement actually gaining dominion over an entire state. The subsquent deterioration of Iran was mirrored in the other Islamist “successes” in Afghanistan, Sudan, Gaza and large portions of Algeria, Yemen and Somalia. The totalitarian ideology that promises a return to the “glory days” of Islam through forced regression to a 7th-century civil society has to date yielded nothing but misery to those living under it. Yet, as this blog has been reporting, the ideology remains perhaps the most influential force in the Arab world, with its adherents looking increasingly likely to hijack the “Arab Spring” revolutions…