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    Resuming the negotiations which never really stopped

    The news that Israeli-Palestinian negotiations are to be resumed after a publicly announced three year break hasn’t been confirmed by the release of any formal agreement between US Secretary of State John Kerry and the Palestinian Authority. This, of course, may never materialise, but we can consider the fact...
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    Israel to release Palestinian prisoners

    On Sunday, Israel’s Cabinet voted in favour of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s proposal to release 104 “heavyweight” Palestinian prisoners still languishing in Israeli jails. The goodwill gesture hopes to pave the way for the revival of peace negotiations and, for the Palestinian side, forms a pre-cursor to their beginning....
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    Al Mabhouh’s assassination and the assassination of the Arab Spring

    I believe that none of us will ever forget Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh. Al-Mabhouh, a member of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam brigades, was assassinated on January 19 2010 at the age of 50. The assassination took place at a hotel in Dubai where Al-Mabhouh was choked to death after having received...
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    Gaza on the regional decision-makers’ negotiating table

    In light of political developments in Egypt and the international and regional support the coup has received, it has become clear that the United States’ current policy is to support the status quo. This imposes an economic and political isolation on the Gaza Strip which strips it of its...
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    How Sovereign a State?

    Will re-launched Israeli-Palestinian negotiations lead to a sovereign Palestinian state? In this brief, Al-Shabaka Policy Advisor Camille Mansour analyzes Israeli and Palestinian positions relating to key issues of sovereignty (e.g. armaments, alliances, crossings, borders, Israeli military posts). His conclusions – and warnings – are essential reading. Since the 1980s...
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    Is democracy possible in the Middle East?

    It is a highly charged question that has prompted years of scholarly debate. Some argue that democracy may be incompatible with Middle Eastern values. In his book “What Went Wrong: Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response”, Bernard Lewis attributes blame to “a lack of freedom”/Others, such as Edward Said,...
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    What is behind the resumption of negotiations in Washington?

    US Secretary of State John Kerry has worked hard on the Israel-Palestine portfolio since he came into office earlier this year. He has made six tours to the region, the most recent ending in the announcement of the resumption of negotiations. It would be foolish to say that Kerry’s...
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    Israel’s referendum problem

    As peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian officials jumpstart into motion again, plenty of questions remain. “What was on the menu for last week’s White House Iftar?” Fish and saffron risotto, of course. “Could talks really succeed this time?” Depends what you mean by success. “What about the settlements?”...
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    Shamir 1991; Netanyahu 2013; history repeats itself

    Unlike the Palestinians, Netanyahu’s government does not depend on negotiations. The importance of the negotiations goes beyond tables and press conferences. It is more important for Israel to be praised in the process and to negotiate for negotiation’s sake, nothing more, nothing less. This issue does not concern Netanyahu...
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    The politics of selective compromise

    “They already have a certain amount of self-determination – something that’s less than a state but covers almost all of the Palestinian population.” Elkin’s statement refers to the alleged lack of control over 60 per cent of the West Bank, dismissing Mahmoud Abbas’ constantly criticised economic dependency and security...
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    Saudi foreign policy is an open-ended struggle

    From Lebanon to Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Yemen and Iraq, not to mention its support for the Syrian opposition, Saudi Arabia’s foreign policy appears to be contradictory. While attacking the Arab Spring revolutions it is also backing the revolutionaries in Syria as part of its moves against Iran and Iranian...
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    The Hamas dilemma in Egypt

    I realise that the environment in Egypt is not conducive to discussion of the state’s relationship with Hamas, which has been accused of interference in Egyptian affairs post-January 25 Revolution. Nevertheless, a press conference held by Hamas in Gaza on July 30th revealed a number of dangerous documents in...
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    The return to negotiations fractures Palestine even further

    Palestinian negotiator Saeb Eraket and his Israeli counterpart Tzipi Livni have sat down for “talks to begin talks”, a process which US State of Secretary John Kerry has spent four months incubating. In Washington the keen Kerry is watching over the embryonic process in the hope that Israel and...
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    A critique of eternal negotiations at any cost

    Discussing the points of view that support the resumption of “eternal and at any cost” negotiations we can see that some have called publically on the top decision-maker to override the national consensus because it is, they claim, stuck in the past and a slave to rigidity and slogans....
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    Is Palestine’s first planned city part of the resistance or a whitewash of the occupation?

    From the disorder of a construction site in the occupied West Bank, a new vision of Palestine is rising. Not far from Ramallah, workers in hard hats are busy erecting plush office blocks, luxurious residential homes and Western shopping malls. This is Rawabi, Palestine’s first planned city. The vision...
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    A raid on Sinai

    The bad news is that an Israeli drone strike killed five Egyptians in Sinai last week; they were, it is alleged, “jihadists” who intended to launch a rocket against Israel. Even worse news is that the operation was coordinated with the Egyptian army. More disturbing still was the fact...
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    What peace are they talking about?

    The construction of 1,200 housing units in the occupied West Bank does not threaten the peace process, although Israel finds it difficult to accept the “unfair accusations” that activities of the sort are “expansive” and “aggressive”. The “Arab idol” winner Mohammad Assaf sang about a “flying bird” and threatens...
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    Palestinian-Israeli Negotiations

    The late Palestinian writer, Emile Habibi has coined the Arabic word “AlMutashail” out of the two halves of the Arabic words (mutafail /optimist and mutashaim /pessimist) to describe someone who is both an optimist and pessimist-an “op-pessimist”. His word should be remembered upon hearing the restart of peace negotiations...
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    “Feilool” Was Always a Misnomer

    Towards the end of July, General al-Sisi delivered a new 48-hour ultimatum for the Brotherhood to end their protests against the military coup. Even as he demanded that the Brothers end their demonstrations, he called upon their opposition to demonstrate nationwide in order to give the army a “mandate”...
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    Visualizing Palestine in a two state solution: A state of Palestine or a Palestinian Bantustan?

    After a long career as a journalist covering the apartheid in South Africa, Allister Sparks travelled Israel and Palestine, shocked by what he witnessed he was compelled to comment, “When I look at Israel, when I traveled through the West Bank, I was looking at Bantustans-totally unviable, impossible states”....
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    Why Saudi Arabia is taking a risk by backing the Egyptian coup

    King Abdullah fears the Muslim Brotherhood, which challenges the kingdom’s claim to be the protector of Islam It took almost 60 years for the CIA to own up to its role in the British-backed coup that overthrew Iran’s prime minister Mohammed Mossadegh on August 19, 1953. But Saudi Arabia’s...
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    Palestinian refugees, and the day following the failure of the negotiations?

    What has been disclosed regarding the peace talks so far does not give us hope, and this latest effort can already be judged to be an immense failure for the simple reason that it will not achieve the minimum essential requirements of a just and lasting peace, embodied by...
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    It is tragic that only reports of chemical attacks return international attention to Syria

    In recent months, Britain has been going through a phase of Syria fatigue. Astonishing figures of two million Syrians inside the country in desperate need, or the fact that over 1.7 million have fled to neighbouring countries, have failed to bring about the necessary international attention to the crisis....
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    Will Gaza have a date with ‘lean’ years in the future?

    A state of anxiety and confusion has taken over the residents of Gaza as the tunnels leading to the Egyptian border have been almost entirely closed off. Humanitarian crises are beginning to emerge as it is becomes increasingly difficult to move consumer goods both into and within the Gaza...
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    Abbas forfeits Palestinian right to land and memory

    Diplomacy and submission have been propelled to prominence with Mahmoud Abbas’s recent concession to Israel. Allegedly speaking on behalf of Palestinians, Abbas declared that the Palestinian Authority would agree to an epilogue to the “conflict” if a just agreement was offered. In return, he added, the Palestinian Authority would...
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    The Jordan Valley in a State of Palestine

    Palestinian families used to come to Al-Oja spring, in the Jordan Valley, to spend summer days bathing. The spring overflowed with water, turning the land into the “bread basket” of the West Bank. Today the spring has gone. Left behind is dry, arid land and a stone’s throw away...
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    The Arab Spring and the appropriation of the “war on terror”

    The Arab Spring arrived 10 years after George W. Bush declared the advent of the “war on terror”. The events of September 11 allowed the Bush administration to launch a crusade at home and abroad, pledging to destroy “terrorism” wherever it may be and imposing an ultimatum on state-counterparts...
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    The goals behind intervention in Syria

    Syria’s apparent use of chemical weapons provides a good excuse for an American-Western military intervention in Syria. If the West was driven by the immorality of killing on a mass scale, then the killing of over 100,000 Syrians would have been enough for them to take action against the...
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    Forget the red lines and political egos; we need to save lives

    I am a peace activist but at the moment one wrestling with her conscience because, in truth, if someone gave me a gun and Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad strolled into the crosshairs I think I would struggle not to pull the trigger. The former eye doctor is a monster...
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    Threats to Syria are Israeli words spoken by Western tongues

    Since America became the leader of the “free world”, interference in the independence and sovereignty of nation states around the globe has become a permanent fixture of US foreign policy. The tactics may differ from place to place but the aim remains the same everywhere: to control countries as...
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    Against Assad and against U.S. led attack

    Visiting Aleppo in late July was one of the most horrendous journeys I have ever undertaken. Travelling in a convoy of 30 trucks loaded with humanitarian aid, my initial enthusiasm melted away in the face of the colossal human catastrophe which greeted us. Just a few miles into Syria...
  • Syrian children wait at the border near Jordan after they fled from the ongoing Syrian regime strikes on Daraa, on 6 July 2018. [Ammar Al Ali/Anadolu Agency]
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    Thousands of Syrian children forced into Jordan’s labour market

    Hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees have fled the crisis in their war-ravaged homeland, leaving behind family, friends and their livelihoods. Escaping with little more than the clothes on their back and the memories of what they’re leaving behind, they have no option but to create new lives for...
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    Syrians want rid of President Assad, but without US bombs

    There’s little trust in America’s motives, and an airstrike would not stop the brutal slaughter of civilians. Far better to help the rebels directly The Arab world has longed to get rid of the brutal regime of Bashar al-Assad for years. In their minds it represents absolute evil. Future...
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    On Egypt’s politicised judiciary

    As the eyes of the world turn to Syria, the Egyptian crisis is continuing. This week, it was announced that deposed president Mohammed Morsi and 14 of his Muslim Brotherhood colleagues will be face trial for inciting violence and murder. The charges relate to an incident in December, when...
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    Apartheid relived: Israeli laws conjure-up uncomfortable memories of South Africa

    On Jerusalem Day, which commemorates the illegal annexation of East Jerusalem to Israel, a young Jewish settler was asked if his country is an apartheid state. His reply was both illuminating and misguided: “How can Israel be an apartheid state? Palestinian citizens of Israel have the same rights as...
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    Saudi and Israel share interest in action against Syria and Iran

    If President Barack Obama has disappointed the Syrian opposition by seeking congressional approval for an attack on Syria, he did the same to America’s allies in the Middle East. It is true that Israel and Saudi Arabia have no love for each other, but they are both pressuring their...
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    Preliminary observations on the rise of Islamic movements

    Given the involvement and degree of relative success of the Islamic movements perhaps we should be referring to the “Islamic Spring”, not the “Arab” version. It is worth considering some general observations about this phenomenon with regards to the rise of Islamic movements across the Arab world. The first...
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    The price of Oslo, a new documentary from Al-Jazeera’s ‘Palestine under the microscope’ team

    I’ve just watched on Al-Jazeera Arabic with interest, amusement and amazement the first part of a new documentary called “The Price of Oslo” produced by Al-Jazeera Programmes Department as part of its series entitled: “Palestine Under the Microscope”. The second part is supposed to be aired next Thursday. I...
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    Egypt’s coup leaders grateful for Israeli support

    The Egyptian army and Israel have grown much closer in the weeks since the coup d’etat. In a Ha’aretz report, Amos Harel, suggested that the Egyptian and Israeli relationship now was in fact stronger than it was during the rule of Mubarak. Following the coup, it was Israel that...
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    The shame of the Arabs and the death of the nation

    Debates have taken place around the world about the crimes committed in Syria, the most worrying of which was the death and injury of thousands due to the use of chemical weapons last month. What distinguishes these debates, even as people condemn the massacres and call for deterrents, is...
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    Hamas and Gaza in the eye of the storm

    The campaign to remove Hamas from government in Gaza has started: a “rebellion” movement has been announced; journalists have been invited to meet its “secret” leader; and Fatah’s Azzam Al-Ahmad has said that the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah is still looking at how to respond to Hamas’s call for...
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    Will Assad surrender his chemical weapons?

    US Secretary of State John Kerry is prepared to say anything in order to rally support for Barack Obama’s plans for a military attack against Syria, including outright lies. Did he not say that there were no Jihadi groups in Syria and then retract his statement and say that...
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    US Ambassador to Yemen: You’re waging war on Yemen’s children

    “When more Yemeni children attend school and learn to read, they are better able to contribute to this great nation—as knowledgeable and skilled citizens. This is our dream.” So wrote the US Ambassador to Yemen, Gerald Feierstein, in the Yemeni Observer this week, in a piece lauding joint USAID-Yemeni...
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    Chemical weapons in international law

    One of the blunders of modern science was the creation of weapons that can spread toxins and disease within a matter of minutes. However international awareness about the dangers of using chemical weapons was high from the very start. As far back as February 1918, the International Committee for...
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    Who created the terrorists?

    The fallout from the coup in Egypt includes a number of answers to questions regarding political and security issues since the fall of the Soviet Union. The collapse of the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact was a historic turning point in the strategies adopted by the US and the capitalist West....
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    Despite Egypt and Syria, Palestine is still the real issue

    The world has been transfixed by events in Egypt and Syria, with the West’s moral conscience missing over the former but resurfacing on the latter thanks to the use of chemical weapons. It’s OK to blow people to kingdom come using conventional explosives – we’ll even sell you the...
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    Where does Jordan stand on the Syrian Crisis?

    The official Jordanian position on what is happening in Syria remains unclear. After nearly two years of revolution in Syria, Jordan has tried to distance itself as much as possible by avoiding getting involved in the conflict. Jordan’s role has been limited to giving advice to Syria and accepting...
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    Israel weighs up options as brakes are placed on Obama’s military action

    Last week, Congress was due to vote on a resolution which would authorize US President Barak Obama to conduct “limited” military strikes, aimed at “deterring” Syria’s leader Bashar Al-Assad from the use of chemical weapons. Obama’s resolution brought worldwide condemnation, with anti-war protestors taking to the streets, as he...
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    Aborting the Arab Spring is the goal

    I’m not sure if we are all aware of the extensive efforts taking place around us in order to use the “failure” of the Muslim Brotherhood’s year in office to attack the Arab Spring and apologise for it. While it is true that the death of the Arab Spring...
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    The chemical weapons deal exposes the conspiracy against the Syrian revolution

    The conspiracy against the Syrian Revolution has never been more pronounced than it is now after the deal to rid the country of its chemical weapons. It is clear to anyone who is thinking critically that we are witnessing an international conspiracy with the implicit approval of Arab states;...