Iranian kettle meets pot

Iranian kettle meets pot

July 29, 2011 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

Press TV, an Iranian state-controlled media outlet, has reported Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad seemingly blaming some kind of pro-Israel conspiracy for the anti-Iranian sentiment permeating the Middle East, 

“In the final days of their existence, plotters intend to cause difference and clash in our region to save the Zionist regime (Israel),” said President Ahmadinejad in the southwestern city of Ahvaz on Thursday…

UNRWA and Alternatives for Palestinian Refugees

UNRWA and Alternatives for Palestinian Refugees

July 29, 2011 | Tzvi Fleischer

The United Nations Relief and Works Administration (UNRWA) – set up in 1949 to look after the humanitarian needs of Palestinians – has long been the subject of controversy, with critics accusing it of deliberately perpetuating the refugee problem….

Now Israeli researcher Arlene Kushner has written, in the latest edition of Middle East Quarterly, a detailed compendium and deconstruction of many recent examples illustrating, in her words “The propensity for senior UNRWA staff to make inappropriate, incendiary, and highly politicized statements – in stark contrast to the organization’s mandate.”…

A new article at the Jerusalem Post offers an interesting example of what might be done if UNRWA’s insistence that Palestinian refugees must never be resettled, but must stay in refugee camps until the conflict is over, could be bypassed.

 

Ruthless terrorist group behind Somali famine

Ruthless terrorist group behind Somali famine

July 29, 2011 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

The catastrophic drought in East Africa has created an all-but unprecedented humanitarian disaster. Commendably, many world leaders – including Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd – have called for the international community to provide immediate aid relief to the millions who are suffering.

When describing the tragic situation in Somalia, Michel Gabaudan, the president of Refugees International, has made the allegation that the Somali famine is “man-made”. Gabaudan provides a pertinent reminder of the recent anarchic history of the war-ravaged nation…

A "Two-State Solution" or a "Two-Stage Solution"?

A “Two-State Solution” or a “Two-Stage Solution”?

July 28, 2011 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

MEMRI has translated an interview with Nabil Shaath, Head of Foreign Relations in Fatah – the dominant party within the Palestinian Authority – which certainly provides cause for concern. Shaath essentially confesses that the PA’s commitment to a two-state solution is merely part of a larger plan to eventually end Israel’s existence as a Jewish homeland.

[The French initiative] reshaped the issue of the “Jewish state” into a formula that is also unacceptable to us – two states for two peoples. They can describe Israel itself as a state for two peoples, but we will be a state for one people. The story of “two states for two peoples” means that there will be a Jewish people over there and a Palestinian people here. We will never accept this…

Threats from Iran

Threats from Iran, Ambivalence from Egypt

July 27, 2011 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

As translated by Iranian defector Reza Kahlili, Iranian Brigadier General Mohammad-Reza Naghdi responded to the recent assassination of an Iranian scientist, shot by an unidentified man on a motorcycle, by saying:

The main plot for this criminal act was conceived by the American government, and since it is scared of the reaction by the Muslim world due to the uprisings in the region, it had the Zionist regime commit the heinous act… In order to protect the security of our country, we have no option but to have the Zionist regime wiped off the map…

Israeli-Turkish impasse remains as report is delayed for a third time

Israeli-Turkish impasse remains as report is delayed for a third time

July 26, 2011 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

While this year’s Gaza flotilla barely caused a stir, the ongoing saga of last year’s continues. Last night, the UN’s Palmer Commission confirmed rumours that the report that the release of the report they have prepared on last year’s effort will again be delayed in the hope that Israel and Turkey will settle their differences. As Herb Keinon reports in The Jerusalem Post:

The United Nations on Monday officially confirmed that the planned release Wednesday of the UN’s Palmer Commission report on the Mavi Marmara has been postponed until late August. UN spokesman Martin Nesirky gave no specific date for the much-delayed report, which officials in Jerusalem said on Sunday was now expected on…

‘Multi-Party’ Reform: Too Little

‘Multi-Party’ Reform: Too Little, Too Late for Assad?

July 26, 2011 | Geoffrey Levin

In its biggest concession thus far to the protest movement that has swept the country, the Syrian cabinet on Sunday approved a bill permitting new political parties to exist alongside the Baath Party, which has ruled the country alone for over four decades. Yet the opposition understandably views the bill, which has yet to pass a vote before the parliament, with deep skepticism, as it comes after the government killed over 1,500 protestors. Al Jazeera reports:

Yasser Saadeldine, a Syrian opposition figure living in exile, said the new law “is designed to show on paper that the regime tolerates dissent while continuing killings and repression”.

Reporting from Beirut, Al Jazeera’s Rula Amin said that protesters are dismissing the draft law. The people are demanding “political freedoms, not just a law to organise how to form political parties”.

 

Economies wilting in Arab Spring

Economies wilting in Arab Spring

July 26, 2011 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

There are very few who will deny that democracy is of great value to the people living within a democratic society; certainly, overthrowing dictatorships often comes at a great cost – which, hopefully, will be offset by the benefits of outcome. What seldom comes to the fore is precisely what this cost entails. To tackle this problem, Foreign Policy researcher Ty McCormick has attempted to put a dollar value on the democracy efforts within the Arab Spring – observing that the unrest has caused numerous economic blows to the countries in which uprisings have occured.

The economies of Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Syria, and Tunisia are projected to shrink by a collective 0.5 percent this year, reversing 4.4 percent growth in 2010, according to a report published by the Institute of International Finance in May. In Yemen and Libya, which are still in turmoil, the numbers will likely be worse; and the growth forecast for the North African region as a whole has fallen from 4.5 percent in 2010 to less than 1 percent this year, according to the African Central Bank…

On the Oslo attacks: Neo-Nazis and Islamist extremists share a worldview

On the Oslo attacks: Neo-Nazis and Islamist extremists share a worldview

July 25, 2011 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

Israel’s leaders certainly know where Israel sits with regard to the horrific massacre that took place in Oslo over the weekend. Both President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu have expressed their sorrow over the tragic events and expressed Israel’s empathy with the Norwegian people, given the terrorist attacks that Israel is all too used to facing. As The Jerusalem Post reports:

After sending a message of condolence to King Harald V of Norway on Saturday, President Shimon Peres on Sunday followed up with a phone call to the King to personally voice his own and the nation’s condolences…

Gaza Arms Smuggling Thrives After Mubarak’s Fall

Gaza Arms Smuggling Thrives After Mubarak’s Fall

July 25, 2011 | Geoffrey Levin

The fall of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in February led to a sharp increase in weapons smuggling to the Gaza Strip and continues today, according to a recent piece by Israeli security correspondent Ron Ben-Yishai. In the past six months alone, Bedouin smugglers have transferred three times the quantity of industrial explosives to Gaza as they did in all of 2010, as Gaza’s terrorist organisations roughly doubled their number of rockets to an estimate 10,000, an amount equivalent to Hezbollah’s arsenal at the start of the 2006 War.

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