Analysis: TUC in chaos over Israel

By Martin Bright, September 18, 2009

There was nothing edifying about the sight of trade unionists fighting each other in Liverpool this week over an attempt by the Fire Brigades Union to introduce a boycott of Israeli goods .

Did no one tell the brothers there is a recession on?


Analysis: Hizbollah is losing credibility at home

By Gary Gambill, September 10, 2009

Beirut is abuzz with talk about Salah Ezzedine, a financier who bilked thousands of Lebanese out of their life savings before declaring bankruptcy late last month.

Dubbed the “Lebanese Bernie Madoff”, Mr Ezzedine took a financial beating when the collapse of oil prices last year decimated his holdings in Eastern Europe.

In a desperate attempt to recover from his losses, Mr Ezzedine raised hundreds of millions of dollars from Lebanon’s insular Shiite community by offering a reported 40 per cent annual return. In the blink of an eye, the money was gone.


Analysis: Israel must use more solar power to generate electricity

By Stephen Tindale, September 3, 2009

Israel is a world leader in solar energy. About three quarters of all households use the sun to heat water, using a technology called solar thermal.

Israeli firms are also widely recognised as leaders in the field of solar electricity. For example, BrightSource signed a major deal in February to create a solar power plant in southern California, which will generate enough electricity for almost a million homes. A much smaller plant is planned for the Negev.


Analysis: Plot to assassinate IDF head reveals Hizbollah's real aims

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 3, 2009

An Israeli Arab man has been indicted for allegedly passing on information about the IDF Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Gabi Ashkenazi, to Hizbollah, in a plot to have him assassinated.

Rawi Sultani, 23, is a law student from Tira in central Israel, who worked out at the same gym as Lt Gen Ashkenazi. He was first contacted by Hizbollah when he attended a summer camp in Morocco organised by Israeli-Arab party Balad.


Analysis: Former PM in dock after years of allegations

By Anshel Pfeffer, September 3, 2009

The accusations against Ehud Olmert in the indictment go back 20 years, all the way to a plane ticket allegedly bought for his wife with illegal funds.

Rumours of financial wrongdoing, both on a personal level and connected to party finance, have been swirling around him since the 1970s. He still managed to become a senior minister, a two-term Jerusalem mayor, a prime minister and the second longest-serving Knesset member in Israeli history after the eternal Shimon Peres. How did he get so far and why finally now, after scaling every possible height in political life, is he facing trial?


This could lead to a push for UN sanctions

By Eric Lee, September 3, 2009

If the TUC adopts the resolution proposed by the Fire Brigades Union, the implications are far-reaching.

First and most important, it opens the way for the Labour Party, in which the unions play an increasingly important role, to shift its own views on the Middle East toward a more pro-Palestinian position.

This could result in the British government supporting sanctions targeting Israel. As the UK is a permanent member of the UN Security Council, this might even mean an eventual push for UN sanctions against the Jewish state.


Ahmadinejad and his terror-suspect minister

By Meir Javedanfar, August 27, 2009

The nomination of General Ahmad Vahidi as Iranian Defence Minister has shocked the international community.

General Vahidi is wanted by Interpol for his alleged role in the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community centre in Argentina.

Many see his nomination as yet another sign that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is still intent on antagonising the West, and Israel especially.


US view: This is not the path to peace

By Noah Pollak, August 27, 2009

Binyamin Netanyahu and George Mitchell have concluded more talks about the peace process, which so far means talks about a settlement freeze. Neither the Americans nor Israelis believed they would find themselves here: the latter didn’t expect such a confrontational American opening, and the former didn’t anticipate that its approach would alienate the Israeli public and shield Bibi from domestic political pressure.


Analysis: Settlements will be the key

By Daoud Kuttab, August 27, 2009

Palestinians understand clearly that any political resolution of their conflict with Israel will require compromises, possibly very difficult ones. But one area in which Palestinians do not see room for compromise is the issue of Jewish settlement activities in areas Palestinians hope will be their independent state.

If the Netanyahu-Mitchell framework for talks muddles this issue — for example by leaving the settlements to the final stage of the peace talks — it will be hard to see how there can be a functional peace process.


Analysis: Call this slow-drip diplomacy

By Anshel Pfeffer, August 27, 2009

Binyamin Netanyahu has an ideal schedule in mind. Reach an agreement on a prisoner deal with Hamas and carry it out in three weeks’ time. And then, with Gilad Shalit safely at home for Rosh Hashanah, travel to New York and together with Barack Obama and Mahmoud Abbas at the United Nations General Assembly, announce the beginning of negotiations with the Palestinians and a temporary freeze on settlement activity.

The icing on the cake would be an agreement between the permanent UN members on a severe round of sanctions against Iran.