Tag Archives: middle-east

British ex-PM says threat from radical Islam growing

April 23, 2014 – 13:46 AMT

PanARMENIAN.Net – The West should set aside its differences with Russia and China to focus on the growing threat from radical Islam, Tony Blair said Wednesday, April 23, in a speech that included a call to support Egypt’s military government against its Muslim Brotherhood opponents, the Associated Press reports.

The former British prime minister said that tackling “a radicalized and politicized view of Islam” should be at the top of the global political agenda.

He said many in the West seemed “curiously resistant” to face up to a force that “is undermining the possibility of peaceful co-existence in an era of globalization.”

Blair, Britain’s prime minister between 1997 and 2007, is now Middle East envoy for the Quartet of the United Nations, the European Union, the U.S. and Russia.

In a speech in London, he said that “whatever our other differences, we should be prepared to reach out and co-operate with the East, and in particular Russia and China,” to combat Islamic extremism.

Blair’s political legacy in Britain is tarnished by his decision to lead the country into the divisive invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Blair acknowledged the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan had undermined Western willingness to intervene in the Middle East. But he called for the West to engage with the region, saying “we have to stop treating each country on the basis of whatever seems to make for the easiest life for us at any one time.”

Blair argued that “on the fate of Egypt hangs the future of the region.”

He defended the coup that overthrew the elected Muslim Brotherhood government of Mohammed Morsi last year, saying “the Muslim Brotherhood government was not simply a bad government. It was systematically taking over the traditions and institutions of the country.”

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British ex-PM says threat from radical Islam growing

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Palestinian Water Shortages Intensify Due To Drought, Aging Infrastructure, Inaction

Bloomberg BNA The current water shortage in Arab East Jerusalem is only the latest water crisis facing Arab areas of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, representatives from regional security, environmental and human rights organizations told Bloomberg BNA.

Its solution need not wait for progress in the currently stalled Middle East peace talks, they said. Nor should it.

Residents of East Jerusalem neighborhoods, though outside a security fence built by Israel to prevent terrorist infiltration, have had almost no water from the national grid since March 4.

In many parts of the neighborhoods, particularly their suburbs and elevated areas, there is no water at all. In other sections, pressure is very low, preventing pumping above ground level.

There are elderly, babies and people with disabilities, and the situation has become unbearable, said Jamil Sanduka, chairman of the Ras Hamis Neighborhood Committee. Anywhere else, if thousands of people were without running water, this problem would have been solved quickly. In our case, the problem is first and foremost that all the responsible parties simply do not care.

The East Jerusalem water shortage stems partly from a winter drought but mainly from crumbling infrastructure, an overwhelming number of illegal hookups to the remaining grid and a lack of coordination among Israeli government authorities. Some even call the neglect intentional, saying it reflects an Israeli desire to limit Arab population growth in the area where residency comes with a highly valued Israeli identity card and the right to freely cross into Israel.

Residents of the neighborhood are waiting to see how the Israeli government will respond to an April 2 order by the Supreme Court, giving it 60 days to propose solutions to the problem. Meanwhile, they bring water from friends and family who still have it, and buy more in bottles and jerry cans from scalpers at rates far above its regulated cost.

Hagihon, Jerusalem’s municipal water company, says there is little it can do. Rapid population growth, lack of urban planning and a proliferation of pirated pipes have overwhelmed the infrastructure, Hagihon Director-General Zohar Yinon told the Knesset (parliamentary) Public Petitions Committee on March 19.

Of the 60,000 to 80,000 residents in the area, barely 3 percent are legally connected to the municipal grid, he said. The rest get their water for free through illegal connections to the system, causing leaks and eliminating water pressure further down the line, he said.

The illegal tapping costs Hagihon about 10 million shekels ($2.9 million) a year, Yinon said, compared to the 100 million shekels ($29 million) needed to inspect, map and repair the system, and to install legal, metered hookups. And that does not factor in the cost of the police escorts needed for work crews to enter the area, he added.

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Palestinian Water Shortages Intensify Due To Drought, Aging Infrastructure, Inaction

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Rigging the Game Against Palestinians

Official Washingtons neocons are busy spinning the latest U.S. failure to negotiate an Israeli-Palestinian peace as an excuse to extend the Israeli occupation indefinitely by insisting that the Palestinians first pass some ever-receding test of quality self-governance, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar notes.

By Paul R. Pillar

Now that Secretary of State John Kerrys attempt to breathe life into the diplomacy known as the Middle East peace process has been widely pronounced even by those who appropriately salute his efforts to be a failure, different quarters are chiming in with recommendations for what to do next about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Some suggestions are helpful; others would only help to perpetuate the Israeli occupation and lack of an agreement, and may be tacitly intended to do just that.

The New York Times editorial board proposes that the United States, as a last act before ending this phase of its active diplomacy on the problem, post on the international bulletin board its own sense of what the principles of a final settlement ought to look like. This is probably worth doing, and it has the merit of reflecting the fact that the basic lines of a feasible two-state solution have been apparent for some time.

Jackson Diehl, deputy editorial page editor of the Washington Post.

Perhaps this would help to clarify who is resisting such a settlement and who is not. This has been tried before, however, most notably with the Clinton parameters, and it was insufficient to push the process over a finish line.

A couple of other limitations and uncertainties, revealed in the most recent diplomacy, would have to be overcome for such a U.S. declaration of principles to help. One concerns whether the Obama administration would be able and willing to backtrack on how, in its recent efforts to get some kind of preliminary agreement, it moved away from the consensus feasible settlement and adopted certain Israeli positions, such as regarding a continued troop presence in the Jordan River valley, that were bound to be unacceptable to any Palestinian leader.

The other uncertainty concerns the ability of one of the parties with the Israeli government demonstrating this skill in virtuoso form to use mixtures of procedural and substantive issues to put off any agreement even without explicitly rejecting U.S.-promulgated principles. The Netanyahu government has done this with its Jewish state demand and, more recently, with its reneging on a commitment to release Palestinian prisoners. The latter tactic resembles the familiar North Korean ploy of selling the same horse twice by making new demands for compensation in return for doing something it was already supposed to do anyway.

A different, but old and familiar, proposal that comes from those most sympathetic to an indefinite Israeli occupation has been voiced anew by Jackson Diehl of the Washington Post and Michael Singh of the Washington Institute for New East Policy. This notion is that a Palestinian state is not something to be created from above through negotiations but built up from below through a long process of developing Palestinian institutions.

The idea is that statehood is not a gift to be given to the Palestinians, but something they must earn by being good administrators. The appropriate role for the United States and other outsiders, according to this formulation, is to provide assistance and tutelage in being good administrators.

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Rigging the Game Against Palestinians

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West Bank travel guide – Wikitravel

For other places with the same name, see West Bank (disambiguation).

The West Bank is a Palestinian territory under Israeli occupation with areas of Palestinian Autonomous Control pockmarked with Israeli military/civilian settlements in the Middle East between Israel and Jordan, to the north of the Dead Sea. It forms the larger portion of the semi-autonomous Palestinian Territories (the smaller being the Gaza Strip). Depending on where one travels the area is controlled by Palestinian authorities, Israel, or even both. It has been under Israeli administration since 1967 with its future status uncertain and still to be resolved, between Israel and the PA.

It is known as the West Bank because it lies on the western bank of the Jordan River. This part of the world is steeped in biblical history and contains many sites of religious and archaeological significance.

About 2 million Palestinians live in the West Bank and hundreds of thousands of Israeli settlers reside in approximately 100 official and unofficial Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Within the political dispute between the Palestinians and Israelis there are at least two presentations of the West Bank:

In Israeli terms it is called the regions of Judea, Samaria, and Benjamin. Some Israelis see the West Bank territories as historically Jewish land and claim a biblical/historical birthright to resettle it by building settlements there. Israel is also building a huge concrete barrier and/or fence system partly within the West Bank, officially aimed at preventing the infiltration of Palestinians into Israel’s official pre-1967 borders and to isolate Jewish settlements from Palestinian populated areas.

This move has been deemed illegal under international law. Israel unofficially is accused by Palestinians as an unilateral Israeli attempt to draw the borders and annex Palestinian land. The barrier cuts off Palestinians from each other, vital farm lands, and most of all: physically separates West Bank Palestinians from the Palestinian districts of East Jerusalem and its holy sites.

The Palestinians and the PNA claim this region, in addition the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, as the territory of a future Palestinian state, the State of Palestine. There are 400,000 Jews and around 2.5 million Palestinians living in the West Bank in addition to the 1.7 million Palestinians in Gaza and another 208 thousand in Jerusalem (though there are also Arab-Israelis that live in Jerusalem) (Est. 2011). As of November 2012, Palestine is formally recognized as an independent state by the UN, still deemed under Israeli occupation until a final peace agreement between the two above parties.

Temperate; temperature and precipitation vary with altitude, warm to hot summers, cool to mild winters.

Mostly rugged dissected upland, very hilly and mountainous, heavy vegetation is very common in most places.

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West Bank travel guide – Wikitravel

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Running from war to create a new Palestinian narrative

Palestinians ran for peace in only the second Palestine Marathon on Friday. Kim Wilkinson, a Middle East academic, reports from Bethlehem on an event that makes a peaceful protest.

The travel agent explained to me that if there were any violencesuch as a bombing or a violent protestduring my time in Palestine that I would not be covered under insurance because this would be considered an act of war. This seemed a little extreme, but it is this perception of Palestine as

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Running from war to create a new Palestinian narrative

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Ed Miliband warns Israeli settlement expansion pose a 'mortal threat'

He spoke out after visiting the Khan al-Ahmar Bedouin camp on the West Bank where families, who are among 2,300 Palestinians in Area C, are facing forced displacement if Israeli settlements go ahead.

“If we are going to have a viable, democratic Palestinian state the more we see an expansion of settlements the more it becomes difficult to construct this state.”

The Labour leader, who has been accompanied on the trip by wife Justine, had a kickabout with football-loving children in the camp before meeting community leader Abu Khamis.

He is on the last leg of a three-day visit and will stay overnight in Ramallah, in central West Bank, tonight – the first leading British politician to be able to do so as a result of improved security conditions.

Mr Miliband has already held talks with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and will meet with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas before he leaves tomorrow.

His visit comes just one month after Prime Minister David Cameron’s Middle East trip where he pushed for the premiers to agree an outline deal.

US Secretary of State John Kerry has led international attempts to rekindle the peace process but the fragile negotiations again appear to be on the brink of complete collapse.

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Ed Miliband warns Israeli settlement expansion pose a 'mortal threat'

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Labour leader condemns Israeli settlements as wrong and illegal

The Labour leader is a supporter of a “homeland for the Jewish people” but has made clear he does not give blanket backing to the actions of the Israeli government.

Miliband, who is of Jewish descent but an atheist, made his strongest criticism yet during a visit to the Middle East, describing the policy as “wrong and illegal”.

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He spoke out after visiting the Khan al-Ahmar Bedouin camp on the West Bank where families are facing forced displacement if Israeli settlements go ahead.

The Labour leader said: “What I have seen today shows that the expansion of Israeli settlements on the Palestinian West Bank is not only wrong and illegal but represents a mortal threat to the two-state solution and to a successful outcome of the peace process.

“If we are going to have a viable, democratic Palestinian state the more we see an expansion of settlements the more it becomes difficult to construct this state.”

He is on the last leg of a three-day visit and stayed overnight in Ramallah, in central West Bank, last night – the first leading British politician to be able to do so as a result of improved security conditions.

Miliband has already held talks with Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and will meet with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas before he leaves tomorrow.

His visit comes just one month after Prime Minister David Cameron’s Middle East trip where he pushed for the premiers to agree an outline deal.

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Labour leader condemns Israeli settlements as wrong and illegal

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Criminal Court a US/Israeli Red Line for Palestinians

Riyad H. Mansour, Permanent Observer of the State of Palestine to the U.N., briefs journalists Apr. 2 on the signing of international treaties and conventions by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. (Credit: UN Photo/Mark Garten)UNITED NATIONS- When Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas decided to defy the United States and Israel over stalled peace negotiations, he formally indicated to the United Nations last week that Palestine will join 15 international conventions relating mostly to the protection of human rights and treaties governing conflicts and prisoners of war.

But he held back one of his key bargaining chips that Israel and the United States fear most: becoming a party to the Rome Statute that created the International Criminal Court (ICC) to punish war crimes and genocide and where Israelis could be docked.

Asked whether it was a wise move, Darryl Li, a post-doctoral research scholar at Columbia University, told IPS, I would call it a clever move, not necessarily a wise one.

Theres no question avoidance of ICC was deliberate, thats clearly a U.S.-Israeli red line, he said. So it makes sense as a way to prolong negotiations.

But since the current framework for negotiations wont yield just outcomes due to the Palestinians lack of leverage, I wouldnt call it wise, he declared.

And in a blog post for the Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP) last week, Li underlined the political double standards: Israel demands that Washington release the convicted spy Jonathan Pollard while the Palestinians are blamed for voluntarily shouldering obligations to respect human rights and the laws of war.

Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch (HRW), said, It is disturbing that the Obama administration, which already has a record of resisting international accountability for Israeli rights abuses, would also oppose steps to adopt treaties requiring Palestinian authorities to uphold human rights.

He said the U.S. administration should press both the Palestinians and the Israelis to better abide by international human rights standards.

In a statement released Monday, HRW said Palestines adoption of human rights and laws-of-war treaties would not cause any change in Israels international legal obligations.

The U.S. government should support rather than oppose Palestinian actions to join international treaties that promote respect for human rights.

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Criminal Court a US/Israeli Red Line for Palestinians

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Israel cancels Palestinian prisoner release – Video



Israel cancels Palestinian prisoner release
The US Secretary of State John Kerry has said the Middle East peace process is at a critical moment with Israel cancelling a planned release of Palestinian. …

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Israel cancels Palestinian prisoner release – Video

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Kerry Urges Israel, Palestine to Lead | 3rd best version | EXTENDED AP TEST – Video



Kerry Urges Israel, Palestine to Lead | 3rd best version | EXTENDED AP TEST
US Secretary of State John Kerry pushes leaders to lead in the Middle East peace process during an overseas trip to Algeria. (April 3) TEST | 3rd best versio…

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Kerry Urges Israel, Palestine to Lead | 3rd best version | EXTENDED AP TEST – Video

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