Europe and the UN resolution on a Palestinian State

September 9, 2011 | Sharyn Mittelman

The European Union (EU) is divided on how they will vote on the upcoming UN resolution to recognise an independent Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines.

This weekend, European foreign ministers are set to meet in Poland (the current president of the EU) in a final effort to find a unanimous position on the Palestinian UN resolution. However, it is clear that there are stark differences between the 27 members of the EU.

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9/11 Ten Years Later

9/11 Ten Years Later

September 9, 2011

This Update is devoted to three different pieces reflecting on where the world now is,  ten years after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks – both in terms of the current understanding of those events and in terms of the their consequences.

First up is noted journalist and author Christopher Hitchens, who reflects on the understanding that he think needs to be preserved of those events ten years ago – primarily that they were very simple, or at least should be understood in very simple terms. He take strong issue with the idea that it is the job of intellectuals to always introduce complexity into discussions of events – in this case, he says, these efforts end up as “as half-baked obfuscations or distractions.” He continues to argue that what happened on Sept. 11, 2001 was ” a direct confrontation with the totalitarian idea, expressed in its most vicious and unvarnished form.”

What Time is it? Certainly not time for Palestinian Unity…

September 8, 2011 | Tzvi Fleischer

It has s become increasingly clear in recent months that the Palestinian Unity deal signed by Hamas and Fatah in May is not leading to a lot of unity…

The extent of the ongoing differences between Fatah and Hamas was starkly highlighted in a recent dispatch from Reuters. Apparently, Fatah and Hamas cannot even agree on the time of day – literally.

 

The People Demand Social Justice! but how will they get it?

“The People Demand Social Justice!” but how will they get it?

September 8, 2011 | Or Avi Guy

“Dear government, share in the joy of your people, who will be hitting the streets again, en mass, Saturday night…. share in our joy. You have an opportunity, possibly the last one, to join the people and start marching. If you do not- if you dare not- you shall stay there alone, behind” wrote Stav Shaffir, one of the leaders of the social protest in Israel, just before Saturday night’s rally, the last demonstration in this phase of the social protest that swept Israel this summer.

On Saturday night 400,000 Israelis filled the streets in the largest demonstrations in the history of Israel. After 50 days of demonstrations and marches and after dozens of tent sites appeared across the country, the demands for “social justice”, solutions to the housing problem and to the sky-rocketing cost of living, were heard loud and clear.

Never let the facts get in the way of a good polemic

Never let the facts get in the way of a good polemic

September 7, 2011 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

Fairfax journalist Paul McGeough has written an op-ed in this morning’s Sydney Morning Herald on the recently released “Palmer Report” – the UN investigation into last year’s flotilla incident. As we noted yesterday, the report, while critical of Israel’s operational response, essentially vindicated Israel’s blockade of Gaza and was very critical of IHH, the Turkish Islamist group that organised the flotilla. A flotilla participant himself, as well as publicly sympathetic to its aims, McGeough had this to say on the first 3/4 of the report:

The panel headed by former New Zealand prime minister Geoffrey Palmer sharply criticises the flotilla organisers and suspects their motives – why so many passengers, why so many journalists, why so little aid? It stops well short of “they deserve what they got” but it describes the flotilla as a “dangerous and reckless act . . . exposing a large number of individuals to the risk that force [would] be used . . . and people [would get] hurt…

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The Palmer Report into the Gaza Flotilla

The Palmer Report into the Gaza Flotilla

September 7, 2011

Over the weekend, the UN’s Palmer Report into the Mavi Marmara maritime incident last May was published – the full report is available to read here, a good summary of its key provisions is here.  That report – which takes Israel’s side on most questions relating to the Gaza blockade and the background to the incident – has led to an intensification of the crisis in Israeli Turkish relations – with Turkey expelling the Israeli Ambassador and threatening to cut off trade relations.  The response of the Israeli Government to the report – it was accepted with some reservations – is here.

Iran's latest nuclear gambit

Iran’s latest nuclear gambit

September 6, 2011 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

According to recent reports Iran may be attempting to strike back at the West for the alleged cyber warfare that it has been suffering in recent months. As AP has identified, Iranian involvement may be behind recent attacks on US internet giants, as well as the CIA.

AMSTERDAM — Hackers who broke into a Dutch web security firm have issued hundreds of bogus security certificates for spy agency websites including the CIA as well as for Internet giants like Google, Microsoft and Twitter, the government said Monday.

Experts say they suspect the hacker – or hackers – operated with the cooperation of the Iranian government.

While these hackings serve as further proof of Iran’s persistent belligerence to the West, it is not only in the US and Europe that public opinion has been turning against the Islamic Republic…

Ten years on

Ten years on, 9/11 Conspiracies still Rampant in the Middle East

September 5, 2011 | Tzvi Fleischer

Following the 2001 9/11 attacks, it was widely reported that, in the Middle East, conspiracy theories were rampant that the attacks were actually plots by the American government, the Israelis, or both. Ten years down the track, there is less reporting of such beliefs, but have they faded away through the passage of time and the give and take of debate?

Sadly, as recent polls make clear, the reality is very much the opposite…

 

UN Palmer Report - Blockade of Gaza is Legal

UN Palmer Report – Blockade of Gaza is Legal

September 5, 2011 | Sharyn Mittelman

The United Nation’s “Palmer Report” into last year’s flotilla incident on the Mavi Marmara has vindicated Israel by finding that the naval blockade of the Gaza strip, including Israel’s right to enforce the blockade including in international waters is legal under international law and it has also rebutted many of the false assumptions that have been made about the flotilla incident.

The Palmer Report found:

“Israel faces a real threat to its security from militant groups in Gaza. The naval blockade was imposed as a legitimate security measure in order to prevent weapons from entering Gaza by sea and its implementation complied with the requirements of international law.”

The Palmer Report also urged that all future efforts to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza should be done “through established procedures and the designated land crossings in consultation with the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority”, discouraging future Gaza flotillas.

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PA spin on unsteady path to unilateral statehood

PA spin on unsteady path to unilateral statehood

September 5, 2011 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

As reported by Al Jazeera, the US has begun a serious attempt to prevent the Palestinian unilateral statehood bid at the UN later this month. The Palestinian Authority, however, has remained steadfast and continued its refusal to back down.

The New York Times reported on Sunday that the US has launched an attempt to persuade the Palestinians not to seek statehood at the annual UN General Assembly meeting beginning on September 20.

“When it comes to going to the United Nations, I think the train has left the station,” Muhammad Shtayyeh, a member of Fatah’s central committee who is overseeing the UN bid, said on Sunday…

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