Reaching the age of 83 is no big deal these days. Centenarians abound. But Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas is 83 with a long history of health problems. Some twenty years ago he underwent an operation for prostate cancer. Subsequently, as a heavy smoker, he has struggled against a succession of health issues, many connected with his heart.
For the sake of the Palestinians and Israelis alike, the humanitarian crisis in Gaza has to be seriously addressed by the international community. The massacure of unarmed Palestinians at the Gaza-Israel Border has left at least 60 Palestinians killed and at least no less than 1700 injured. Eight of the dead were children. While the demonstrations have intensified over US embassy relocation from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the start of protests was on 30 March 2018.
Suddenly, it seems, the appalling circumstances in which the vast majority of Gazans are living have struck the public conscience. The Strip suffers from a chronic lack of water, of electricity, of medical resources – and the situation seems to be deteriorating from week to week. Gaza’s problems stem from a variety of causes, but the people of Gaza have little inclination to analyse the reasons for the humanitarian crisis that has overwhelmed them. The struggle to exist in anything approaching decent living and working conditions occupies most of their attention.
A little noticed subtext to furious protests across the Middle East and North Africa against US President Donald J. Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is simmering anger at Arab governments.
President Trump’s announcement on December 6th that, “It is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” and that he is “directing the State Department to begin preparation to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” will hurt both Israeli and U.S. strategic interests. Two critical problems: It damages Israel and U.S. interests by seriously irritating the Arab world, and it gives Iran, the Hezbollah, and Russia the opportunity to exploit this anger and the divisions.
António Manuel de Oliveira Guterres became Secretary-General of the United Nations on January 1, 2017. Once Portugal’s prime minister, he was UN High Commissioner for Refugees from 2005. For ten years he headed the world’s largest humanitarian organization during a period when unprecedented numbers of people fled their homes to seek safety or a better life elsewhere. He used his time in office to achieve fundamental organizational reform, cutting staff and administrative costs, while expanding the organization’s emergency response capacity during the worst displacement crisis since the Second World War.
From early on in his bid for the presidency Donald Trump was intrigued by the possibility of brokering a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians. On the campaign trail back in February 2016 he declared “I will give it one hell of a shot. I would say if you can do that deal, you can do any deal.” Later, as he earmarked his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, to lead the peace-making effort, he said: “I would love to be the one who made peace with Israel and the Palestinians. That would be such a great achievement.” There is little doubt that…
Israeli shooting range offers tourists the chance to shoot targets designed to look like Palestinians. A shooting range in Israel has come under fire for offering tourists the chance to pretend they’re security services shutting down terror attacks – using targets mocked up to look like Palestinians. Caliber 3, which is based in the West Bank and run by a former member of the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF), calls itself “the premier academy for counter terror and security”. It offers six programs for tourists, including desert “Survival Training”, krav magna martial arts, and “Combat Rappelling” using paintball guns.