UNRWA does provide valuable health, education and welfare services to Palestinians who are often in genuine need. But it does so at the cost of a series of problematic behaviours which have become a significant obstacle to any two-state Israeli-Palestinian peace.
If I were compiling a foreign policy wish list for 2018, high on the list would be ending the fiction that Lebanon is an independent country rather than an Iranian satrapy governed by Iran's foreign legion, Hezbollah.
On January 25, members of the UK Parliament supported a non-binding resolution in the House of Commons to proscribe all of Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation under UK terrorism legislation. Currently, in the UK only the military wing is defined as a terrorist organisation.
Aoun has long been a controversial figure in Lebanon. Once the country's most anti-Syrian political figure, since 2005 he has been aligned with the Assad regime and its principal ally in Lebanon, the Iranian-backed Shi'ite militia Hezbollah... While many welcome the potential end of political stagnation produced by the presidential vacuum, the key question is whether the agreement to elect Aoun also implies increased Iranian control.