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Posts tagged ‘Benjamin Netanyahu’

Israel’s ‘creeping annexation’ of West Bank continues

There is much talk these days about Israel’s “creeping annexation” of the occupied West Bank, from both critics and proponents alike.

Critics say Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s government, dominated by right-wing nationalists in both the Likud and Jewish Home parties, has been advancing various laws designed to prepare the ground for Israel to annex portions of the occupied territory. Read more


Why Trump is wrong to cut funding to the UN agency which looks after Palestinian refugees

As with the decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, US President Donald Trump surely had his electoral base in mind when deciding to slash funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which looks after Palestinian refugees.

Trump’s decision, however, can not be divorced from a long-standing Israeli animus towards the agency, whose current difficulties have been broadly welcomed by Israeli politicians – including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israeli officials and pro-Israel groups make two main arguments in their attacks on UNRWA: Palestinian refugees are “fake” and the UN agency “perpetuates” the conflict. Read more

The Palestinians can undermine US-Saudi designs and rescue their national struggle

If the Oslo Accords gave birth to a Palestinian Authority without authority, then Donald Trump’s “ultimate deal” looks set to offer the Palestinians a state without statehood.

The potential spoilers are the Palestinian people themselves. The protests over recent days are an indication of the potential impact of popular mobilisation, and its ability to undermine US – and Saudi – plans for an “ultimate deal” that will ride roughshod over inalienable Palestinian rights. Read more

Why is Trump moving on Jerusalem now?

In comparison to the focus on opposition to the move and its possible ramifications, relatively little has been said about why Donald Trump’s administration has decided to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and signal its intent to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv.

For example, one widely-shared piece of analysis does not really answer the question in its title, namely, “Why is Trump undoing decades of US policy on Jerusalem?”

I believe there are three main reasons, none of which are mutually exclusive. Read more

Why Israel does not want a sovereign Palestinian state

How many Israeli settlers – or settlement houses – until a two-state solution is impossible? That’s the question we should be asking our politicians, who frequently refer to a “closing window of opportunity” for a Palestinian state in light of Israeli “facts on the ground”.

Speaking in Parliament recently, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson urged a halt to “the illegal settlements”; every time Israeli authorities “build new units”, he said, they “move us further from a two-state solution”, even if “they are not yet making it impossible to deliver the new map”.

So, the question remains: how many is too many? Read more

This week a world leader much worse than Donald Trump is visiting the UK – but I don’t see any protest from MPs

That US President Donald Trump has not yet made an official visit to the UK is down to the entirely justifiable opposition such a prospect provokes.

Here is a man who ran a racist election campaign and brought hard-right nationalists into the corridors of power, who has open contempt for treaties and bodies like the United Nations.

Yet this week, Theresa May will welcome to London another world leader about whom the exact same – and much more – can be said: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Read more

Debunking Israel’s UN-bias claims

Nikki Haley, the US envoy to the United Nations, made headlines in June when she denounced what she claimed was a pattern of “anti-Israel” behaviour at the UN.

“I have never taken kindly to bullies, and the UN has bullied Israel for a very long time,” she said. “We are not going to let that happen any more. It is a new day for Israel in the United Nations.”

While Haley’s words were music to Israeli leaders’ ears and echoed long-standing talking points of pro-Israel advocacy groups, analysts say there is little substance to her allegations that, in the words of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Israel has been “the UN’s punching bag”. Read more

Sensing an opportunity, Israel targets UNRWA and the Palestinian right of return

Last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for the dismantling of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). The call was unprecedented in terms of Israeli policy to date, and also marked an escalation in anti-UN rhetoric and steps by Israeli government officials.

Netanyahu, speaking at a weekly cabinet meeting, revealed that he had discussed the need to dismantle UNRWA with US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley: “I told her it was time the United Nations re-examine UNRWA’s existence”, he said. Read more

Fact-checking Israeli Ambassador Mark Regev

Israel’s Ambassador to the UK, Mark Regev, places a premium on speaking at university campuses. The context? Israel’s uphill struggle to assuage a growing sense of frustration and anger at a Benjamin Netanyahu-led government seen as a serial violator of international law and human rights.

In October, Regev addressed Cambridge University students at its famous Debating Union. The event was recently uploaded onto YouTube, and of particular interest is the Q&A (beginning 27 minutes in). The questions are predominantly critical, or sceptical, and Regev has to shoot from the hip.

So here are three claims that the Israeli ambassador made in response to students’ questions – and an analysis of their accuracy. Read more

Trump and Palestine – so what now?

Before Donald Trump’s inauguration, it was a safe bet to assume that his administration’s approach to Israel and the Palestinians would either be one of relative neglect, or serve as a boost to the far-right Israeli nationalists who seek annexation of all or parts of the West Bank.

Either, of course, would spell trouble for the Palestinians. So far, and particularly after Trump’s meeting this week with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, it would appear to be a combination of the two. Read more