Monday, March 20, 2017

No, This Is Not Your Father’s UNRWA

[T]he reintegration of the refugees into the economic life of the Near East, either by repatriation or resettlement, is essential in preparation for the time when international assistance is no longer available, and for the realization of conditions of peace and stability in the area
United Nations General Assembly Resolution 393 (V), December 2, 1950

The goal and purpose of UNRWA is simple and straightforward -- if not immensely challenging: to either repatriate Palestine refugees into what is now Israel or to resettle them elsewhere, while recognizing the obvious reality that there will come a time "when international assistance is no longer available."

Yet here we are, 67 years later.

Those Palestine refugees have not been either repatriated nor resettled.
And that international assistance?
Lo and behold: its being offered and provided.

So what happened to the whole purpose of UNRWA?
It changed.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Are The Arab Gulf States Really Ready for a Regional Alliance With Israel?

“[Besides Egypt and Jordan,] many other states in the region recognize that Israel is not their enemy. They recognize that Israel is their ally. Our common enemies are ISIS and Iran. Our common goals are security, prosperity and peace. I believe that in the years ahead we will work together to achieve these goals.”
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, in speech to UN General Assembly, September 22, 2016

Is The Enemy of My Enemy -- My Friend, or My Ally?


At a time when there are still some who insist that Israel is isolated in the international community, it is becoming increasingly clear that Israel is in fact building new friendships and alliances. In his speech at the end of December last year, criticizing Israel, Kerry described Israel's friends as United Kingdom, France and Russia. But Netanyahu's recent trip to Singapore and Australia extends Israel's circle beyond that. Meanwhile closer to home, Netanyahu has visited Africa, visiting Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia.

And then, even closer to home, are the Arab countries.

Israel has diplomatic relations with Egypt and Jordan.
It has no relations with Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran.
Israel has unofficial relations with Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE and Oman.

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

For A While Gaza Actually Was Another Singapore -- Before They Blew It In the 1970's

A couple of weeks ago, Israeli Defense Minister Liberman offered to provide Gaza with a huge level of assistance in return for Hamas shutting down their rocket attacks and closing their attack tunnels. In return, senior Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar turned down the offer, claiming that if Gaza wanted to be like Singapore, it would have already done so.

The truth is that for a while, in the 1970's, Gaza rivalled -- and even surpassed -- Singapore.