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Important lessons from the Birzeit University elections

MEMO Commentary by Dr Daud AbdullahThe conduct of public opinion polls may not be as well-entrenched in the Middle East as it is in the west but there are no doubt other credible means to gauge the public mood of which, in Palestine, university elections are one. This week the pro-Hamas "Wafa" bloc of candidates swept to success in the polls at Birzeit University in a manner that brings to mind the 2006 parliamentary elections, which Hamas won hands down across the occupied Palestinian territories. The big question now is whether PA President Mahmoud Abbas will go to the polls with presidential and legislative council elections as he has been promising for some time.


Veolia had no choice but to call time on its Israeli contracts

Veolia logoThe decision by Veolia to end its operations in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories sends a strong signal to similar multinationals that profiteering from Israel's occupation industry is a risky business. It can only be a matter of time before they will also have to choose between small profits from Israel and potentially colossal global losses. This is a victory for the effectiveness of the worldwide Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign; without BDS, Veolia would still be conducting business for the benefit of the Israeli occupation authorities in Palestine.


Post-ICC accession, reconciliation must top the Palestinian agenda

MEMO commentary

Now that Palestine has formally become a member of the International Criminal Court (ICC), its political forces can no longer afford to delay national reconciliation. It has been overdue for far too long. The same courage and political will that was used to pursue membership of the ICC must now be deployed to forge an all-inclusive national unity and consensus.


Military options for MENA chaos will fail; it's time to root out the causes

MEMO Commentary by Dr Daud AbdullahIn the same way that the "Seventh Cavalry" was the staple means for American settlers in the Old West to be rescued in the movies, calls for a multinational intervention force have become the standard blueprint for dealing with the threats of "terror" and insurgency. Such calls are currently being heard in Somalia, Mali and the countries surrounding the Chad basin. Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Al-Arabi believes that the Arab countries are desperately in need of such a force.


A perfect gift for Egypt's failing regime

MEMO CommentaryThe callous murder of 21 Copts in Libya over the weekend was a welcome gift to the military-led regime in Egypt. Like the senseless killings in Paris, it offered an opportunity for the government in Cairo to present itself as a deserving and credible partner in the great "war on terror".


Israeli war crime suspects may be able to run but they cannot hide

MEMO Commentary

The resignation of William Schabas from his post as head of the UN commission to investigate possible war crimes during Israel's 2014 onslaught on Gaza was always on the cards. From the time of his appointment in August last year, he has been subjected to a relentless campaign that questioned both his integrity and impartiality.


UNRWA and the next explosion of violence against Gaza

MEMO Commentary by Dr Daud AbdullahBy international donor standards $720 million is small change. Yet, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has only managed to procure $135 million from UN member states to assist the victims whose homes were damaged or destroyed by Israel during its 2014 war on the Gaza Strip. As a result, the agency has decided to suspend its cash assistance programme for repairs and rental subsidies to 66,000 families displaced by the war.


Mahmoud Abbas faces a creeping coup

MEMO Commentary by Dr Daud AbdullahThe search for a successor to President Mahmoud Abbas is getting nastier every day. His bitter rival, Mohamed Dahlan, has emerged as the front runner and favoured candidate. Regional governments, Israel included, have been rehabilitating the elusive fugitive from Palestinian justice. Reports that Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman met with Dahlan in Europe recently must be disturbing for Abbas. Increasing calls by Israeli officials for his resignation have led to heightened speculation that a creeping coup against Abbas is well underway.


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