Hope must lie with the children of Israel/Palestine

Hope must lie with the children of Israel/Palestine: Professor Padraig O’Malley talk at Queen’s University Belfast by Allan Leonard for Northern Ireland Foundation 21 October 2015 Professor Padraig O’Malley gave a bleak prognosis of the Israel/Palestine peace negotiations, calling the two-state proposal ‘delusional’. At an event hosted by the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation and Social Justice (ISCTSJ) at Queen’s University Belfast, Prof. O’Malley shared his insights into the psychological and structural complexities of peace making in that … Read more

Your Guide to Israel’s General Election

Israel goes to the polls on St Patrick’s Day to elect a new parliament, which in turn will either confirm incumbent Binyamin Netanyahu in office or oust him in favour of the centre-left. The St Patrick’s Day connection? If Netanyahu loses, he will be replaced by a man whose father was born in Belfast’s Clifton Park Avenue and whose grandfather was Chief Rabbi of Ireland. Polls indicate that it will be a close run thing, with 11 lists, many covering … Read more

Israeli Ambassador Daniel Taub: A Battle for the Future of Gaza

Writing exclusively for Slugger O’Toole the Israeli Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Daniel Taub writes about his views about the recent conflict in Gaza and the prospects for the future. As I write this article, after a fortnight of quiet, hopes are high that the latest ceasefire between Israel and Hamas has brought two months of fighting to a close. We are now left to reflect on what has been achieved. For many international observers, the answer is very little. … Read more

Gaza: listen to Warsi & UK could help wage peace, not war

Baroness Warsi’s hard-hitting resignation letter to David Cameron has served to focus attention on the UK’s policy on the carnage in Gaza. The former Foreign Office minister says her resignation was prompted by the government’s “morally indefensible” policy – one of arming the Israelis, while pressuring the Palestinian Authority not to seek justice through the International Criminal Court. Despite the Prime Minister’s dubious expressions of sympathy for the people of Gaza, a more one-sided UK policy could scarcely be imagined. … Read more

Shelling UN schools and media soundbites in #Gaza

Last night yet another UN school was hit by Israeli shells, reportedly adding a further 16 dead to the ever growing number of fatalities in Gaza. That death toll has now more or less doubled since the Irish and UK governments abstained from the UN vote on Gaza last week. In the absurd media war that is taking place, varying weights of credibility are being attached to IDF spokespersons on individual incidents like this, as well as the wider context of … Read more

EU statement on abstention from #UNHRC #Gaza vote

Even with no immediate end in sight to the violent Israeli assault on Gaza, one dimension of the post-ceasefire landscape is already clear. Despite the global connectivity offered by social media and the public platitudes of political ‘leaders’ it is clear (and has been for a very long time) that the international diplomatic architecture is simply not fit for purpose. The immediateness and intimacy the internet offers produces some extraordinary dissonances. The emotional response of communities across the world coming … Read more

Israel/Palestine and the Irish perspective

The people of Ireland are hugely sympathetic to the people of Palestine! There you go my bid of understatement of the year is well and truly lodged. Like most people, I have watched incredible and horrific scenes of Palestinian people losing their homes, jobs and relatives as they face a pounding from one of the most advanced military forces in the world. Likewise, I have watched images of Israeli’s running for shelter as rockets fly in from Hamas. While there is … Read more

#GazaUnderAttack and the myth of proportionality

Spare a thought for the 1.8m people who live in the Gaza strip and are currently being subjected to air strikes by the Israeli Defence Forces (e.g. see Haaretz for regular updates). If you want an idea of what conditions in Gaza are like, you can get a grasp of population density if you can imagine moving all the population of the six counties into an area from the tip of the Strangford peninsula up to about Bangor. Now think of the impact of … Read more

What happened in Galway was wrong but don’t be misled about BDS

As a longstanding advocate for Palestinian rights, I unequivocally condemn the shameful and frankly unacceptable behaviour emanating from a student at NUI Galway who last Wednesday disrupted an event on campus, telling BICOM’s Alan Johnson to “Get the f**k off our campus now“. There, I’ve said it. I don’t think I lose any credibility by rejecting behaviour that is wrong, damaging to Palestine solidarity work and also contrary to the centuries-old practice on university campuses of open forum discussion on … Read more

“But today, identity seems more central to politics than ever before.”

Brian’s noting of the advice from Richard Haass to the Israeli government reminded me that there are other places, and administrations, who have received similar ‘lessons’ from The Process™ here.  Afghanistan, for example.  Of course, it always helps to have well-placed friends [writing your speeches! – Ed].  And it’s worth noting that Richard Haass’ role here was not without criticism…  His successor, Mitchel Reiss, has been more forthright in his recounting at times.  ANYhoo…  There’s also Iraq.  Where the BBC now reports Almost every … Read more

The NI peace process has lessons for Israel and Hamas

Richard Haass President Bush’s envoy to Northern Ireland and now head of a  leading foreign affairs advisory board,  has a piece in the Financial  Times (£) headlined “Israel should learn from Northern Ireland.” The first lessons are not those touted by the former paramilitaries but those learned  by the governments.  As he has said before, Haass puts Israel in a roughly equivalent role to that of the British government in the peace process. Israel needs to put Hamas to the test. … Read more

… a ballot paper in one hand: #Gaza 2012

There seems to be nothing that exposes the impotence of the much vaunted international community more starkly than the meek tolerance of Israeli violence in the Palestinian territories and Lebanon. News outlets like the BBC are now reporting both that the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) are leafleting Gazans warning of an imminent invasion of ground forces, and, that all air attacks will end later today (technically these aren’t mutually exclusive claims). Either way, the recent Operation Pillar of Cloud has already seen the … Read more

#FreedomWaves now en route to #Gaza.

For Update see below. Two ships are currently in international waters on their way from Fethiye in Turkey to try and deliver medical aid to Gaza. The Palestine Chronicle reports that, on the Freedom Waves flotilla, there are twenty-seven activists from nine countries, including the US, Canada, Denmark, Belgium, Germany and Australia alongside Palestinians from Bethlehem and Haifa. One of the two ships in the flotilla is the MV Saoirse, the Irish boat which was sabotaged en route to join an aid flotilla earlier this year. There was no … Read more

Israel and Unionism

One thing that raises tensions on Slugger more than the ‘traditional route’ of the Orange/Green debate is anything to do with Israel and the West Bank/Gaza. There have been several comments in the past month which have questioned the reasons behind the linkage, perceived or otherwise, between NI Unionists and the state of Israel. Yesterday [Friday 2nd] Turkey expelled the Israeli Ambassador following the leaking of a UN report concerning the boarding of the  ‘Mavi Marmara’ in May 2010. So … Read more

It’s not Jerusalem, its Yerushalayim…

Last Saturday was my annual pilgrimage to the Maiden City to commemorate the Relief of Derry. Personally I have never been one of those Unionists who got overly hung up on the interchangeable use of the words Derry and Londonderry. I’ve been a member of the Apprentice Boys of Derry for 20 years this very month, and for as long as I can remember Saturday has always been ‘Derry Day’ to myself, my family, my friends and basically everyone I … Read more

Irish Ship to Gaza sabotaged

The Irish Ship to Gaza campaign have reported sabotage to their vessel, MV Saoirse, which they claim was carried out by Israeli agents. The MV Saoirse was to participate in another Free Gaza flotilla aimed at breaking through the Israeli blockade to bring aid to the Gaza region. Al Jazeera are reporting this as the second incidence of sabotage this year. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not softening significantly from last year’s line, judging by recent comments reported by Ha’aretz (which also has concerns about the … Read more

Images of the individual’s resistance, revolt and defeat…

Some odd resonances around the globe this week, from Peru to Palestine via Banna Strand. Today, Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa was named as the recipient of this year’s Nobel prize for literature. Vargas Llosa has travelled a pretty scenic route from supporting Fidel Castro, to an unsuccessful presidental campaign in 1990, a Cervantes Prize in 1995 and, latterly, a comfy chair among the Peruvian centre-right. In the announcement of the award, the committee cited his cartography of structures of power and … Read more

Another local Nobel Peace Prize winner heads towards the Middle East …

Steve Punter's profile photo of David Trimble

Having rejected the UN’s call for an international inquiry into the storming of the flotilla of aid vessels heading for Gaza, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has now announced his country’s own inquiry. A panel of three will be led by retired Supreme Court judge Yaakov Tirkel, and observed by two international experts. Whereas 1976 Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Corrigan was heading towards Gaza aboard the MV Rachel Corrie, 1998 winner Lord Trimble will be joining retired judge advocate … Read more

DUP to block Gaza debate at Stormont today…

The DUP is moving to block a vote on the emergency Gazza debate today through using a ‘petition of concern.’ Mover of motion is William Irwin. The debate was proposed by independent MLAs Gerry McHugh and Dr Keiran Deeny, and supported by at least 30 MLAs. Under Standing Order 11 of the rules that govern the Assembly, if the First Minister/deputy First Minister or at least 30 MLAs request a special sitting, the Assembly can be recalled. The plenary sitting … Read more

“I don’t know what to say..”

Yesterday a meeting of the European Parliament Committee on International Trade (INTA) had an exchange of views with US Ambassador William Kennard on EU-US Trade relations. Joe Higgins, Irish Socialist Party MEP, confronted the American Ambassador over his country’s trading relationship with Israel: Is trade still a value-free activity that must not involve human rights and other rights? Or what has significantly changed in the new administration? And if something has significantly changed, why does your administration still continue to … Read more