Kerry, Abbas Discuss Return of RefugeesJanuary 8, 2014 15:33 by Pesach Benson
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Today’s Top Stories
1. The difficult trade-offs for peace continue. According to Xinhua, John Kerry proposed that 80,000 Palestinian refugees be allowed to settle in Israel. Mahmoud Abbas is pushing for 200,000.
“Kerry’s proposal on the return of refugees is the same proposal offered by former U.S. President Bill Clinton during Camp David peace talks held in the United States in 2000,” said the official.
2. The Muslim Brotherhood’s on the ropes because it utterly lost the backing of the Egyptian street. Dina Khayat points out in the Wall St. Journal:
Now, for the first time in the Muslim Brotherhood’s 80-year history, the group’s struggle is not primarily with the state. During the Mubarak years, when the Brotherhood was banned and its leaders regularly detained, the majority of Egyptians sympathized with them as underdogs. These days, the Brotherhood’s quarrel is with the average Egyptian citizen and the very people who once rooted for them. Cairo’s move to outlaw the Brotherhood is indeed part of a crackdown, but one that was demanded by the public.
3. Haaretz: Holland’s largest pension fund is withdrawing money invested in five of Israel’s largest banks because of their ties to West Bank settlements. Will this set a precedent?
PGGM’s investments in Israeli banks amount to only a few tens of millions of euros. But its decision is liable to damage the banks’ image, and could lead other business concerns in Europe to follow suit . . .
PGGM told the banks its opinion was based on an advisory opinion issued by the International Court of Justice in The Hague in 2004, which said that settlements in occupied Palestinian territory are illegal and violate Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. That article states that “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”
Israel and the Palestinians
• Worth reading: Professor Judea Pearl on How Not to Fight an Anti-Israel Boycott. I think Pearl would be especially proud of Middlebury College’s American Studies program. It’s director and seven faculty members called on the ASA to revisit its constitution and mission statement so that member institutions — not just individuals — can vote. More at Inside Higher Ed. The full letter‘s in PDF.
As an institutional member, our program never dreamed that we would be spending so much of our time and energy being asked by our administration, alumni, colleagues, students, and the media to support, explain, defend, or denounce an ASA resolution on which we had no right to vote. In this way, the boycott resolution has worked very much against ‘the encouragement of research, teaching [and] publication’ given emphasis in the organization’s constitution . . .
If we find no constructive engagement on the effort to define more clearly the ASA’s mission, we will, with regret, leave this long-valued institution.
• For more commentary/analysis, see the Times of Israel (unilateral statehood), Times of London (Ariel Sharon and today’s peace process), The Independent (staff-ed on Kerry’s diplomacy), National Post (academic boycott), Haaretz (recognizing Israel as a Jewish state),
Rest O’ the Roundup
• Over at Haaretz, Ely Karmon rounds up a number of reports and studies to explain why the rise of jihad in Syria poses a threat to the West. Spoiler alert:
What should the West do to support the rise of moderate forces in Syria? To seriously press Saudi Arabia and Qatar to stop financing and arming the jihadists. To help Turkey physically close its borders with Syria. To support the Kurdish moderate forces. To find legal ways to stop the flow of foreign fighters to Syria.
And if the U.S. leadership doesn’t want to see Syria topping the threat list as an annual event, perhaps 2014 will see American drone attacks against jihadi leaders in Syria.
Unlike his protege Anelka, Dieudonné is actually dangerous. Four times a week, at the theater in Paris’ 11th arrondissement, he puts on his one-man show entitled “The Wall.” The auditorium is packed and the audience is laughing. Throughout the show, he airs every anti-Semitic, anti-Zionist, anti-colonialist and anti-American sentiment — everything for the price of one ticket. Dieudonné, in the guise of a comedian, exhorts to Jew-hatred.
(Image of Egypt via Wikimedia Commons/Jonathan Rashad)
For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.