Analysis

It's a mad, bad world. And that's just the UN

By Robin Shepherd, October 28, 2010

Put formulations such as "United Nations", "Human Rights" and "Palestinian territories" into the same sentence and, chances are, you're in for a peculiar experience. Add to that sentence the name "Richard Falk" - UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories - and you've entered the theatre of the absurd.

Mr Falk, who doubts official accounts of 9/11, was on fine form last week in delivering a report to the UN General Assembly.

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How political Islam got the public vote

By Martin Bright, October 28, 2010

Political Islam or Islamism, as it is sometimes known, has finally entered the mainstream of British politics. The election of Lutfur Rahman as Mayor of Tower Hamlets, the new government's decision to send a minister to attend Islam Channel's Global Peace and Unity conference, and the news that Tony Blair's sister-in-law has converted to Islam, demonstrate that a radical strain of totalitarian Islam has become acceptable to a significant proportion of the political classes.

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Mosque attack part of tit-for-tat policy

By Nathan Jeffay, October 14, 2010

Who were the arsonists at Beit Fajar, and why would anybody want to torch a Palestinian mosque?

The obvious answer is that it was an act of hatred, akin to when antisemites desecrate Jewish cemeteries in Europe: it is simply a bubbling over of the contempt that some settlers have for Palestinians.

In all probability, however, the attack was not an expression of anti-Arab anger but rather a show staged by extremist settlers to communicate a specific message to the Israeli authorities. The Beit Fajar mosque was essentially caught in the crossfire.

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Too late for dialogue with Palestinians

By Emanuele Ottolenghi, October 14, 2010

For nine months out of the ten-month settlement freeze, Palestinian leaders refused to directly engage their Israeli counterparts, because it did not include Jerusalem. Having belatedly joined the talks, they quickly abandoned them lest the freeze they previously considered insufficient be reinstated.

Suppose that, at Washington's behest, Israel extends the freeze for two more months. Given the track record, there is little chance anything will be achieved - except, maybe, stemming the tidal wave about to drown US President Barack Obama's Democrats in the mid-term elections.

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What this means for the law...

By Jonathan Goldberg, October 14, 2010

Although I was one of the complainants against this judge, I take no pleasure whatever in the moral victory of the formal reprimand.

It must be understood that you cannot criticise any judge for summing up the evidence actually called in the trial, however flawed or prejudiced that evidence seems.

At the Hove trial, the defence called every type of pro-Palestinian propagandist in the guise of "expert", whereas the prosecution countered with no evidence whatever for the Israeli side.

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What it means for the community

By Jeremy Newmark, October 14, 2010

This decision represents a significant setback to those working to import the Israel/Palestine conflict into our judicial systems by engaging in what has been aptly described as "lawfare".

This was always about more than the grotesque comparison between Israeli actions and Nazi atrocities. This was the thin end of the wedge. It opened the possibility of UK foreign policy being made in our courtrooms, circumventing the democratic process.

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Is this lobby really 'pro-Israel'? We are all about to find out

By Shmuel Rosner, October 7, 2010

The facts are not all known at this point in time, but there's enough to make the case that J Street - the relatively new, dovish, "pro-Israel, pro-peace" Jewish lobby - might be in big trouble. In the past couple of days, four troubling facts were revealed about J Street's activity.

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Mr Ahmadinejad, throw that stone

By Miriam Shaviv, October 7, 2010

According to the Arab press, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is planning to end his tour of Lebanon by symbolically lobbing a rock at Israel over the border fence.

The thinking, presumably, is that this would be a great PR coup - that the image would cement Mr Ahmadinejad's reputation as the Islamic world's foremost opponent of the Jewish state. But would it really?

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Sadly, for both sides, no change beats risk of talks that could fail

By Shmuel Rosner, September 2, 2010

The most recent poll by the Palestinian Centre for Public Opinion tells the whole story.

No, most Palestinians do not think "direct talks" are a good idea. They do not see how Special Envoy George Mitchell's frequent visits make peace more likely. And they also do not believe that President Barack Obama is "in a position to establish a Palestinian state". In fact, 65.8 per cent of West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza Strip Palestinians think he is not.

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This is no way to serve the UK market

By Jan Shure, August 12, 2010

It seems inconceivable that El Al has introduced feeder flights for Eilat - presumably with the intention of making the resort more accessible for winter sun holidays - while making it almost impossible for its core market to get there quickly and conveniently.

The UK market used to be the number one for the Red Sea resort: 45,000 of us flocked there in 1997; just 5,000 of us went in 2003.

Some of the decline is attributable to wars, political factors and changing tastes, but most in the industry believe it's largely due to the difficulty of getting to Eilat for a winter sun holiday.

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