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UN

  • AP: UN shelter shelled; more than 140,000 displaced

    The United Nations today confirmed "multiple dead and injured" at its shelter in Beit Hanoun, where Gazan families had sought refuge from non-stop Israeli shelling that has killed more than 700 Palestinians, most of them civilians. Chris Gunness, a spokesperson for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestine refugees, said via Twitter that the agency had earlier today passed the shelter's "precise coordinates" to the Israeli military. Fearing an attack, UNRWA had "tried to coordinate with the Israeli army a window for civilians to leave," but "it was never granted," said Gunness. As reported by AP, the attack…

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  • Peace process: Only four options left

    Resolutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be reached either by agreement or evolution. As the peace talks stumble toward their formal end point, there are essentially four scenarios for political developments between the river and the sea, excluding resurgent violence: two states by agreement, two states by evolution, one state by agreement, or one sovereign entity by evolution. Policymakers should acknowledge these scenarios openly to assess what each one will mean for the future of the region. I recently proposed using basic values as a guideline to assess the desirability of such scenarios: reducing violence, realizing human and civil rights,…

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  • Israel grasps at a crumbling narrative

    Blaming the peace talks' failure on Palestinian 'rejectionism' is nothing more than a flimsy attempt at flipping reality on its head. With commentators now referring to the peace process as a “corpse,” Israeli talking heads and politicians are scrambling to manage the narrative of the dying animal. The first task today is to finesse the blame laid squarely on Israel by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. One radio commentator spoke quite factually about “Kerry’s mistake.” But it’s hard to finesse an unprecedented shift of tone from an American administration. It isn’t exactly like America suddenly supported a negative UN…

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  • Getting guns off the kitchen table – locally and globally

    How is it that Israel, a state with substantial arms exports, and which demands tight global scrutiny of the weapons purchased by its neighbors, has not signed a UN treaty to reduce violence against women and children? By Smadar Ben-Natan (translated from Hebrew by Ofer Neiman) The Knesset Committee for Advancement of the Status of Women is about to discuss a national action plan, initiated by a wide coalition of feminist NGOs, for the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1325. The resolution calls for the adoption of a gender perspective in peace and security issues, or simply put – for…

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  • A proposal: A simple, effective mechanism to improve the world, one penny at a time

    Corporations run the world. It’s time we run the corporations. By Paula Schmitt There’s a passage in Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs that is emblematic of the darkness faced by consumers with any social concern. Apple is being visited by Danielle Mitterrand, the wife of the then French president, and while Jobs keeps force-feeding her all his sloganeering about technology and design, Mitterrand interrupts him to ask about working conditions, overtime, holidays. Jobs, of course, doesn’t answer. Proponents of capitalism like to boast that their system is about choice; but choice of what? Of brands? Products? I want to…

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  • Photos of the week: A light through the wall

    This week: more holes in the separation wall, protests against the Prawer-Begin Plan, tear gas in Nabi Saleh, a Palestinian passport for a Palestinian citizen, soldier protect settler activists, solidarity with Palestine at the UN, marching against violence against women, Greenpeace targets GMOs in Israeli supermarkets, and clashes after Israeli forces kill three Palestinian militants.                         

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  • Does the 'NY Times' think Netanyahu is American?

    Tuesday's New York Times editorial about Netanyahu's "pushback" on Iran at the United Nations General Assembly doesn't say much, except for implying that diplomacy is preferable to military force when it comes to Iran's nuclear program. But what is noteworthy (and irksome) is the way in which the editorial board of the paper refers to the Israeli prime minister: Mr. Netanyahu has legitimate reasons to be wary of any Iranian overtures, as do the United States and the four other major powers involved in negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. But it could be disastrous if Mr. Netanyahu and his supporters…

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  • Europe's leaders speak out on Israel’s treatment of Palestinian children

    While the Israeli public and media failed to take any significant notice of a recent UN report criticizing Israel’s policy on children’s arrests and detention, some European officials and NGOs are speaking out about the abuses. By Galit Saporta (Edited by Ami Asher) It seems that yet another report, this time from the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), regarding abuses that occur during arrest, interrogation and detention of Palestinian children by the Israeli army, has failed to generate any public attention in Israel. Only one article in Haaretz (“It’s only Palestinian children,” June 27, 2013) has…

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  • Netanyahu uses Syria tensions to send Washington a message

    By comparing the deteriorating security situation along Israel's northern border with security arrangements in any future Palestinian peace deal, was Netanyahu making declarations to thwart the success of Kerry's planned peace talks? Prime Minister Netanyahu said a few interesting (and politically genius) things at the weekly cabinet meeting Sunday. Various media outlets construed his statement in different ways, which was apparent in the different headlines with which they led. Many English-language news sites chose some variation of the headline: "Israel won't intervene in Syria unless fired upon." The Times of Israel, however, led with, "Netanyahu alludes to military action at Syrian border,"…

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  • The less Obama does on this visit, the better

    Given the likely options, I'm glad Obama is coming here tomorrow to do nothing rather than to try to revive the peace process. Today, reviving the peace process, Obama-style, would mean coercing Mahmoud Abbas to enter negotiations with Netanyahu in return for nothing, or next to nothing, such as a token prisoner release, some musical chairs with a few checkpoints and a vague statement of good intentions. And for that, Netanyahu would get what he very much wants: "peace negotiations" with no end, which would provide diplomatic cover for his terribly right-wing, settlement-crazy new government. At the same time, Abbas…

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  • Prisoner's death in Palestinian jail highlights violations, loss of legitimacy

    Protest against prisoner conditions in Israeli jails will not prevent anger and delegitimization of PA law enforcement system for its own violations. A Palestinian prisoner being held on charges connected to a stabbing died in a Palestinian Authority jail in Jericho on Friday, according to a Jerusalem Post and Ma’an News Agency. The articles report that the Palestinian attorney general ordered and launched an investigation into the death and an autopsy. Palestinian officials have said that Ayman Samarah, 40, was not tortured, but suffered from diabetes and high blood pressure and was taken to a hospital on Friday after being…

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  • Palestinian President Abbas: The only leader fighting for the Jewish state

    Following the United Nations vote to recognize Palestine as a non-member observer state, Israel quickly announced it would reignite construction in the E1 area of the West Bank, long considered by the U.S. as the last nail in the coffin of the two-state solution. The move is not only Israel's affront to the two-state solution, but to its existence as a Jewish state. In his speech at the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas made his commitment to a two-state solution explicitly clear: Palestine comes today to this prestigious international forum, representative and protector of international legitimacy,…

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  • UN votes yes on Palestinian statehood: Not 'just' a symbol

    While commentators say the vote is merely symbolic, at least for Palestinians and the international community, the vote could be a game-changing  kind of symbol. One week ago, the request to the UN General Assembly to grant Palestine status as a non-member observer state looked like a poor stepchild of the highly anticipated first “UN route” just over one year ago. The buildup to September 2011 was long; yet until about a week ago, it wasn’t even clear whether the current vote would really happen. The 2011 application for UN membership turned into an anticlimax. This year, the dark-horse diplomacy…

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