In an unexpected departure from the international consensus in support of UNRWA — the UN body that sustains the descendants of the Palestinian refugees of the 1948 War of Independence — Switzerland’s foreign minister has stated that continued funding for the agency without the reform of its mandate is perpetuating the Palestinian conflict with Israel.
“Today [UNRWA] has become part of the problem,” Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis told a group of Swiss journalists as he flew home from an official visit to Jordan on Thursday. “It provides the ammunition to continue the conflict. For as long as Palestinians live in refugee camps, they want to return to their homeland.”
By Adriana Cohen: Do Democrats truly stand for democracy, LGBT and women’s rights, or even freedom?
Perhaps those values are merely talking points used to garner votes, because if progressives truly cared about human rights they claim to espouse, they wouldn’t have boycotted the U.S. delegation in Israel this week celebrating the historic opening of America’s embassy in Jerusalem.
You read that right. Not a single Democratic lawmaker traveled to Israel this week to honor our long-standing ally and remarkable moment in history. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer issued a supportive statement applauding moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel’s capital but avoided what would have been a bipartisan show of force alongside Sens. Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham and Mike Lee and other Republicans on-site to support our greatest ally in the Middle East — the only nation in the region that embraces American values.
Israel will do what’s needed to block Iranian aggression, sooner rather than later, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday.
“Nations that didn’t act in time against murderous aggression against them paid a much higher price later on,” said Netanyahu, who often invokes European powers’ 1938 agreement to let Nazi Germany annex portions of Czechoslovakia. “We don’t seek escalation, but are prepared for any scenario.”
By Michael Rubin: While diplomats debate what Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s revelations of a secret Iranian nuclear archives mean, 2,500 miles away another press conference dropped another surprising bombshell alleging Iranian malfeasance.
On May 1, Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita informed an assembled crowd of journalists, “I have just returned from the Islamic Republic of Iran, where I had a meeting with Iranian minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Javad Zarif. I informed him of the decision of the Kingdom of Morocco to break off its diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
Spies from Israel’s Mossad agency discovered the top-secret location of a warehouse used to store Iran’s nuclear weapons files, broke into the building, took half a ton of documents and managed to smuggle them back to Israel that same night, The New York Times reported Monday.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed the daring operation as he displayed the trove of documents in a presentation aimed at proving that Iran has lied about its atomic weapon’s program.
Arab Commentators Seek to Explain Why Israel Is So Far Ahead of Other Middle East States
avatar by Benjamin Kerstein
Egyptians celebrate in Cairo’s Tahrir Square following the announcement that President Hosni Mubarak had resigned, February 2011. Photo: Jonathan Rashad.
Over the past several months, a series of Arab commentators have sought to explain why Israel appears so far ahead of the Arab world in politics, economics, and military power.
According to translations published on Thursday by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), the general consensus was that Israeli democracy gives the country this strength. In particular, the emphasis on the rule of law, the fight against corruption, and the importance of education.
Although the commentators at times engaged in racist rhetoric and smeared Israel as an “apartheid” state, they nonetheless acknowledged that Arab nations have failed in their basic responsibilities to their citizens, whereas Israel has not.
Reda Abd Al-Salam, the former governor of Egypt’s Al-Sharqiya province and a lecturer at Mansoura University in Egypt, noted, “The Arab and Muslim peoples live under regimes that for decades have engaged not in developing their peoples and establishing themselves in economy, society, science, and democracy, but in establishing their [own] rule.”
By Hassan Mneimneh. The battle for the suburbs of Damascus was nearing its end. The regime units — equipped, backed, and supplemented by Russian and Iranian forces — were on the verge of achieving total victory: the defeat of all rebel factions, the expulsion of a population that had demonstrated its lack of loyalty to the regime, and the plundering of all items of any value in the conquered territory. For the Damascus regime to engage in a chemical attack at such a juncture, provoking international condemnation and risking the derailing of its march to victory may thus appear to be a gross miscalculation. In fact, such an action seems so evidently contrary to the interests of the regime that many reasonable observers may assign some credibility to the successive versions of the Russian apologetic narrative — denying that a chemical attack took place; attributing the spread of chemical agents to their presence in the targeted arsenal of the rebels, or directly blaming the rebels for intentional use of chemical weapons against their own population in order to generate world sympathy.
The careful reading of the long history and track record of the despotic regime in Syria strongly suggests that the regime did indeed undertake the chemical attack, but not for any military purpose. It was instead a fundamental element in the effort of the regime to restore the only formula within which it can survive: caging the Syrian population in a state of despair.
By Zev Chafets: In the run-up to this week’s 70th anniversary of Israel’s independence, Israeli Defense Forces chief of Staff General Gabi Eisenkot pronounced the country “invincible.”
This was a bold statement. The country faces a growing threat from Iran and its puppets in Lebanon and Gaza, and the possibility of a clash with Russia over Syria. And yet, few Israelis have disagreed with this assessment.
There is mood of confidence here, and its origin lies in a doctrine of strategic defense that has proven itself over nearly a century of intermittent warfare.