Israel/Palestine (OpenDemocracy) – A two-state solution has international legitimacy, while a deeply integrated polity seems the only realistic option on-the-ground. Does Two States One Homeland square the circle while giving dignity and human rights a chance The UN’s extraordinary resolution 2334 of December Read More
Israel (TMV) – The case of Sgt. Elor Azaria is roiling the Israeli public today. This 19 year old IDF Medic was convicted yesterday of manslaughter in the extra-judicial killing of Abdul Fatah al-Sharif, age 21. How did these two young Read More
Israeli police arrived at the home of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today for an initial round of questioning over allegations that the PM took lavish gifts from wealthy contacts in the private sector.
A large black screen was erected in front of the Prime Minister’s house today to shield Benjamin Netanyahu’s home from the gaze of onlookers and reporters this morning in apparent preparation for the arrival of Israeli police investigators. Although the police did not speak to journalists outside, the Israeli media says they are there to question Netanyahu in an ongoing investigation that accuses the PM of using his position to take bribes, illegal campaign donations and lavish gifts.
This has been a big week in world events and we here at Geopolitics Alert have covered a few major stories. Here are your key takeaways for the week of December 25th:
Israel Reacts to the UNSC Settlement Decision.
After the United Nations Security Council bite last week calling for a halt to Israeli settlement in Palestinian territory, Israeli officials have been, in the words of some commentators, “throwing a tantrum.”
The recent resolution passed by the United Nations Security Council condemning the growth of the illegal colonial Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian land of East Jerusalem and the West Bank was a necessary reprimand for the Netanyahu Government. What made it all the more remarkable was the fact it passed the Security Council without being vetoed by the United States. Historically the United States has shielded Israel from censure by the UN Security Council but this time the Obama administration rightly abstained.
Now, I am about as pro-Israel as they come and feel very protective of Israel. I strongly believe in Israel’s right to exist and I am a huge admirer of the State of Israel and the Israeli and Jewish people. All my closest friends at university were Jewish and I attended meetings of the Cambridge University Jewish Society as well as speaking in defence of Israel at the Cambridge Union. It was one of the greatest privileges of my life to visit the great State of Israel back in November 2013. It was one of the most poignant and memorable trips of my life. My group were taken to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv as well as the Israeli-Lebanese border and the Israeli-Syrian border up in the Golan Heights. We got to visit the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament where we had consultations with various Israeli MPs from the Labor Party, Kadima and Likud. We also visited the inspiring Shimon Peres Peace Centre as well as Galilee and Yad Vashem. I would one day love to live in Israel. A magnificent country, only the size of Wales, yet extremely dynamic, innovative, cultured and intellectual with a prodigious output and work ethic. Truly an amazing country and people. But it was not just Israel we visited. We went into the West Bank to Ramallah and met with the de facto Palestinian Foreign Minister as well as Palestinian peace activists.
Israeli officials have reportedly scrapped plans to build hundreds more illegal settler units on the occupied Palestinian territory, which would amount to a clear violation of the recent UN Security Council resolution demanding a halt to the regime’s land grab policy.
Hanan Rubin, with the Jerusalem (al-Quds) Local Planning and Building Committee, said on Wednesday that the bid to approve construction permits for nearly 500 homes in East al-Quds had been shelved upon the request of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Rubin said the decision came as US Secretary of State John Kerry is to offer a purported “comprehensive vision” for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict during a speech in Washington later in the day, according to Press TV.
Following the vote on Friday by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) calling for a halt to further Israeli settlements in the West Bank, the Jerusalem Planning Committee has approved hundreds of new settlement homes in East Jerusalem.
The Israeli government began approving new settlements over the weekend that were previously deemed ‘diplomatically sensitive’ by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office prior to the election of Donald Trump. Despite a noticeable slowdown in the construction of settlements over the last few years of the Obama presidency, Israel seems to be banking on further support for their settlement projects from incoming President Donald Trump.
The United Nations Security Council was scheduled to vote the evening of December 20 on a resolution demanding Israel halt its settlement expansion policies in all Palestinian territories it occupies. However, according to a UN diplomatic source the vote has been postponed and the new date “is yet unkown.”
The resolution, drafted by Egypt, demands “Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement expansion activities in occupied Palestinian territory, including al-Quds.”
It states such activity is “dangerously imperilling” a two-state solution, and calls for the UN to take “affirmative steps” to reverse this conduct “on the ground.”
Azerbaijan has reached a deal with Israel to buy the Iron Dome air defense system, a senior Azerbaijani government official has announced. But questions remain over how useful the celebrated system really is for Azerbaijan and whether it would be worth the cost.
Over the last couple of months, there have been a number of reports that a deal like this was in the works, and last month this blog featured a post on how those reports probably weren’t true. There are technical reasons that the Iron Dome won’t do what Azerbaijan wants. And the state-of-the-art system would be a budget buster for Azerbaijan, which has been forced by falling oil prices to slash expenditures, not least on the military.
The Israeli Knesset Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday approved a bill prohibiting religious institutions from using outdoor amplification.
If the Israeli-proposed bill becomes law, mosques will be forced to stop using public-address systems to call Muslims to prayer five times a day, resorting only to the volume that can be achieved by the unamplified human voice.
The calls usually last several minutes, the first sounding early at dawn and the last just before sunset. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who supports the bill, believes that the practice disturbs the peace, and that it is the government’s duty to protect citizens from noise.