Israel and Palestine:
- Israel’s ever friendly Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has rejected calls by his Australian counterpart Kevin Rudd that Israel sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
- Binyamin Netanyahu has hailed the US climbdown over the settlement freeze/arms deal as “good for peace”. One wonders if the Americans agree.
- A group of 26 ex-EU leaders has urged the Union to impose sanctions on Israel for continuing to build settlements on occupied Palestinian territory.
- On Friday, Bolivia became the third South American state in recent weeks to recognise a Palestinian state on 1967 borders. European foreign ministers have ‘threatened’ to follow suit in order to punish Israeli refusal to halt illegal settlements.
- A US tourist was murdered and her friend stabbed in a forest near Jerusalem at the weekend. Police report that the pair were stabbed by Arabs in what is being considered as a politically-motivated attack.
- Rabbis from around the world have denounced the edict forbidding Jews from renting homes to Arabs.
- A ceremony to honour Palestinian firemen who helped to fight the worst brush fires in Israeli history was called off after the military failed to grant them entry permits in time.
- Where are the wikileaks documents from the US Embassy in Israel’s capital, Tel Aviv? According to Brian Whitaker, ‘sensitive documents from Israel go through different channels – to the White House rather than the State Department – and are therefore not among the batch leaked to Julian Assange’.
- Interesting piece on Guardian’s Comment is Free: Palestinians’ future is in their hands: “The creation of a Palestinian state is closer than ever – but only if its leadership accepts Israel’s place on the map”.
- Electronic Intifada founder Ali Abunimah: “Israel leaves us no choice but to boycott“.
- Former Labour MP Denis MacShane: “The call to boycott Jewish commerce is Europe’s oldest political appeal.”
- Labour MP Gerald Kaufman: “Netanyahu’s refusal to have a peace policy will become a suicide note.”
- Read the debate on Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill in the Commons, with interesting contributions by Gerald Kaufman, including “the hypocrisy of the Liberal Democrats on universal jurisdiction is unlimited, as on so many matters”.
- Read the debate in the Lords, introduced by Lord Fowler’s Question on Gaza: “To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to alleviate the hardships suffered by people living in Gaza”, with important contributions by Baroness Morris of Bolton and Lord Phillips of Sudbury.
- Discussion on economic development in the West Bank, with Alistair Burt confirming: “The economic development of the whole of west bank area and of Gaza is a crucial part of the development of the Palestinian state. The establishment of that valid state, side by side with a secure and recognised Israel, is of interest to us all.”
- Regarding the Gaza Aid Flotilla, Alistair Burt says that: “The establishment of an independent Israeli Commission of inquiry into the Gaza flotilla tragedy was an important step forward… We have also been in touch with the Commission regarding British witnesses giving testimony.”
- Political Director of Conservative Friends of Israel Robert Halfon MP enquires after the number of rocket attacks on Israel in 2010. Alistair Burt’s reply includes the comment: “The IDF note that at current levels 2010 is set to be the year with the lowest number of rocket attacks since 2002. This is small comfort to those at the receiving end and we continue to condemn all rocket attacks. Such acts of terrorism are indiscriminate and frequently target civilian populations. We call on all sides to halt acts of violence and focus efforts on a negotiated solution.”
- Baroness Tonge asks HMG “what assessment they have made of the adherence to human rights clauses in the EU-Israel Association agreements”, with the response that a recent report “highlighted that international democracy indexes rank Israel at levels comparable to EU member states but more efforts were needed to address the economic and social situation of the Arab minority and enhance their integration in Israeli society.”
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