Obama and Netanyahu met in Washington today. Here are the remarks to the press afterwards. Obama acknowledges that there’s “still tensions and issues there that have to be resolved”. Not about much about settlements except in question time, and then the answers are very unsatisfying.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, I just completed an excellent one-on-one discussion with Prime Minister Netanyahu, and I want to welcome him back to the White House. Read More…
IN THE Old City of Jerusalem sits one of the most sacred places of worship for Christians. Not far away, near the Mount of Olives, is the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque. At the foot of the Dome of the Rock is the Western Wall, where last week hundreds and hundreds of Jews people went came to celebrate Shavuot.
For Jews, Christians and Muslims these few square kilometres surrounded by the ancient yellowing stone walls of the Old City hold are the home of places with deep and layered religious meaning.
It’s also here in this area that a war between Jews and Muslims (or Israelis and Palestinians, if you prefer) has been raging for what to many seems like an eternity. It’s been a brutal war. It’s a war for land, for who can claim this holy city as their own. Read More…
I received this email response from Benjamin Pogrund to my article which appeared in last week’s Sunday Times.
You are right to focus on the barrier/wall/fence. It is horrible and the concrete section of it especially is not only an ugly sight but has done enormous harm to Palestinian existence (even though only part of it has been built and it looks as though it will not be completed). But, if I may suggest it, it does need a bit of context. The barrier idea arose during the intifada as a security measure, to keep out suicide bombers. If you lived through that period you would understand how much it resonated with a lot of people. It was a truly terrifying time, especially in Jerusalem. My own view then was that the barrier was an extreme step and I opposed it – but I understood why people were clamouring for it. The actual construction has perverted and manipulated the original aim and it has been used as a land grab. Read More…
Earlier last week COSATU released a statement supporting the Goldstone report, and on Friday the South African government released this statement:
The South African government has noted the reactions to and criticisms of the report compiled by South African Justice Richard Goldstone upon conclusion of his three month long investigation into attacks by Israel on Palestine at the end of December 2008. Justice Goldstone was appointed to head the United Nations fact-finding mission into the Gaza conflict. Read More…
Different worlds. Different planets perhaps?
Ahmadinejad said today he was proud his denial of the Holocaust had enraged the West. Iran’s official news agency quotes him saying: “The anger of the world’s professional killers is (a source of) pride for us”.
On Friday, in a speech he questioned whether the “mythical” Holocaust was a “a real event.
On Wednesday in New York at the General Assembly of the UN Israel’s PM Netanyahu will be sitting just two seats away from Ahmadinejad, that’s if both watch Obama’s speech.
Will Netanyahu take the opportunity of disabusing his Iranian counterpart of his mythical ideas?
I read Goldstone’s op-ed piece in the NY Times last night. If you haven’t read it, do so.
“But above all, I accepted [my United Nations mandate to investigate alleged violations of the laws of war and international human rights during Israel’s three-week war in Gaza] because I believe deeply in the rule of law and the laws of war, and the principle that in armed conflict civilians should to the greatest extent possible be protected from harm….Pursuing justice in this case is essential because no state or armed group should be above the law. Western governments in particular face a challenge because they have pushed for accountability in places like Darfur, but now must do the same with Israel, an ally and a democratic state.”