The Role of the ICC in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

December 10, 2012 by

To the delight of many states and the dismay and indignation of some, Palestine has made a step forward on the international stage. Last week, the UN General Assembly accepted the request which granted Palestine the status of a “non-member observer State”. Palestine’s role at the UN will not undergo a drastic change, but the International Criminal Court might be mentioned more often in the future when we read about the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Palestine is now eligible to sign the Rome Statute of the ICC with possible consequences for Israel. These consequences might appear in the form of Palestinian demands to investigate and prosecute alleged crimes against humanity and war crimes conducted by Israel.

The Art of the Possible: Recognizing Palestinian Statehood

November 30, 2012 by

The road of history is a pot-holed one. But that doesn’t mean, despite the crashes and stutters, that we don’t eventually get past them. The UN vote over upgrading the Palestinians to non-member observer status within its claims to the 1967 borders is one example of that. The vote was passed today with the 193-member assembly voting 138-9 and 41 abstentions. By no means does the vote suggest that Palestinian sovereignty is a foregone conclusion. Israel has done its best to curtail such efforts over the years since the Oslo Peace Process, and it does have a group of diminishing allies in that quest.

Long-term Peace in Gaza Depends on Egypt

November 26, 2012 by

The newly elected President of Egypt, Muhammad Morsi, confronted his greatest challenge to date in brokering a cease-fire between Hamas and Gaza last week – and by almost all accounts, he passed with flying colors. The agreement ended nearly two weeks of intense violence on both sides, which resulted in more than one hundred and fifty deaths and thousands of wounded. Conducted under the auspices of the Egyptian government, the cease-fire between Hamas and Israel will provide welcome relief to both sides of the conflict. However, it still remains only a temporary measure.

Netanyahu’s High-Stakes Game in Gaza

November 24, 2012 by

Many key phrases have been presented to explain Israel’s latest military onslaught against Gaza, which left scores dead and wounded. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is flexing his muscles in preparation for the Israeli general elections in January, suggested some. It is Israel’s way of testing the administration of Egyptian President Mahmoud Morsi, commented others. It was a stern message to Iran, instructed few. Or that Israel is simply assessing its ‘deterrence’ capabilities. And so on.

US Foreign Policy and the Middle East: The Next Four Years

November 11, 2012 by

Over the next four years the U.S. will face a number of foreign policy issues, most of them regional, some of them global. Conn Hallinan outlines and analyzes them, starting with the Middle East.

Can a Nuclear Armed Iran Be Contained?

October 9, 2012 by

During his address at the United Nations General Assembly, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held up a diagram of a bomb to urge international action against Iran’s nuclear program. He emphasized that soon Iran will have enough enriched uranium to become a threat to the existence of Israel, and said the world has until next summer at the latest to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power.

Stephen Harper: Statesman of the Year?

October 1, 2012 by

On Thursday September 27th, while most of his colleagues were across town taking part in the opening of the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was at Manhattan’s opulent Waldorf Astoria Hotel accepting an award for “World’s Statesman of the Year” from the Appeal of Conscience Foundation.

Amidst Confusion, Canada Severs ties with Iran

September 17, 2012 by

Over a week after Canada suspended formal diplomatic relations with Iran, reaction in Canada remains mixed. While supporters of the Harper government and defenders of Israel have declared it bold and principled, a number of foreign policy analysts have raised questions about the timing, and cause of the sudden rupture. On Friday September 7th a senior diplomat from Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade arrived unannounced at the Iranian embassy in Ottawa carrying two letters.

Israel and the Iran Nuclear Weapons MacGuffin

August 15, 2012 by

I think there is some misunderstanding about Israel’s concern over Iran’s nuclear program. To use Alfred Hitchcock’s term, the Iranian bomb is simply “the MacGuffin”, the psychologically potent but practically insignificant pretext for action, reaction, and drama. To my mind, the main object of Israel’s foreign policy as practiced by Benjamin Netanyahu, is to preclude US and European rapprochement with Iran. If peace breaks out in the Middle East, in other words, Iran, its markets, and its oil would quickly become remarkably popular with Western governments and investors.

Iran: Heads I Win, Tails You Lose

August 14, 2012 by

I don’t know if you guys have heard, but apparently Israel is about to go to war with Iran. Not only that, but it doesn’t actually matter what is happening in Israel or the rest of the world, because any event or environment can be interpreted to mean that an Israeli strike is just around the corner. In fact, an imminent Israeli attack can be predicted based on two diametrically opposed sets of facts. For instance, in May it was reported that the decision to attack was imminent because Israeli officials were being uncharacteristically silent, and this speculation meant that an attack was about to come.

Self-Immolations Speak of Israel’s Economic Pains

July 28, 2012 by

In the past weeks, the streets of Tel Aviv have been witness to desperate people setting themselves on fire in protest against the growing social and economic inequalities and the rising cost of living in Israel. Almost one year after 400,000 Israelis filled Tel Aviv’s Rothschild Boulevard in protest at the increasing economic difficulties, a wave of civil unrest and upsurges is again encompassing the country. The latest victim of the protests was 57-year-old Moshe Silman, a disabled war veteran who sustained severe injuries after setting himself ablaze at a bus stop near Tel Aviv on July 14.

Israel: Settler Violence Offers Netanyahu Peace Pivot

June 24, 2012 by

A little over a month ago, Israeli settlers from the infamous Yitzhar compound stormed the neighboring Palestinian village of Asira al-Qibliya in the West Bank, firing rocks at the village’s homes and sending 24-year-old Fathi Assayara to a Neblas hospital with a gun wound to the neck. IDF soldiers can be seen standing by as Yitzhar settlers, who faced stone throwing in return, fire on the Palestinians gathered. Now, one month after the IDF promised a full investigation that has never materialized and five weeks after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu formed a new coalition government that ostensibly freed him from the far-right Shas Party, the unaddressed Yitzhar debacle offers the Netanyahu government a vital opportunity to advance constructive negotiations.

Obama and the Arab-Israeli Conflict

June 12, 2012 by

Obama displayed an exceptional ability to inspire confidence in his promises during the 2008 campaign. One such promise was his pledge to actively pursue a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians—an issue he did not shy away from on the campaign trail. Although Obama implemented an assertive and logical plan to resolve the conflict early in his presidency (something his predecessors avoided), the administration’s policies and diplomatic efforts have proven strikingly unsuccessful.

An Unlikely Peace: Iran’s Quest for Nuclear Weapons is Likely to Lead to War

April 21, 2012 by

As Israel has faced the threat of Arab armies and Islamic terrorism throughout its history, it has struggled to maintain a strong deterrence in the Middle East, one that will prevent other countries in the region from continuing to attack and to kill Israeli citizens. One of today’s most important issues in foreign affairs is Iran’s quest to obtain nuclear weapons and how their journey towards nuclear dominance in the Middle East might bring America and Israel into the conflict.

Profiting from Patience: Why Israel Should Not Act Unilaterally Against Iran

April 16, 2012 by

Even before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took the stage at the 2012 AIPAC conference, the crowd of more than 13,000 participants knew what the topic of his speech would be: Iran. Speaking with passion unmatched by any of the other notable speakers, including US President Barack Obama and Israeli President Shimon Peres, PM Netanyahu used biblical quotes, touching personal stories, and unbridled rhetoric to ensure that those in attendance understood that Israel would no longer stand by as Iran developed a nuclear weapons program. His speech made it clear that Israel was losing patience with the diplomatic approach that has been favored by President Obama, and that Israel was seriously considering unilateral military action.

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