Global Geopolitics

Accusations of ‘Apartheid’ Cause Israelis to Backpedal

A  decision by the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) to segregate buses in the occupied West Bank has backfired after causing an uproar in Israel’s Knesset, or parliament, and political damage on the international stage.This came as Israel faces mounting international criticism over its land expropriation and settlement building in the West Bank, and other forms of discrimination levelled against Palestinians.Israel’s new extreme right-wing government is also being attacked on the domestic front with liberal Israelis, and Israeli NGOs involved in human rights, accusing the government of damaging Israel’s image and values.[pullquote]3[/pullquote]Israeli settlers in the West Bank have been waging a campaign to prohibit Palestinians, particularly labourers who work in Israel, from using their buses in the occupied West Bank for over a year, saying that they represented a security threat, refused to give up their seats for Israelis and expressed sexual interest in Israeli women.Last week, approval was given for buses to be segregated but after the backlash the plan was quickly scrapped.However, Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon quickly denied that segregation or racism had anything to do with the issue and that the decision to ban Palestinians from Israeli buses had only been based on “security” needs.Neither has Ya’alon given up on the plan. He intends to instruct the IDF to come up with a new plan to cover all 13 crossing points from the West Bank into Israel.This development came simultaneously as European Union foreign policy head Federica Mogherini paid a 24-hour visit May 20-21 to Jerusalem and Ramallah in an effort to push the Israeli-Palestinian peace process forward, stating that Europe wanted to play a more prominent role in the process.But behind Mogherini’s visit was growing approval within the European Union for more pressure to be exerted on Israel to stop expropriating land from the Palestinians to build more illegal Israeli settlements and enlarge current ones.Israel’s Foreign Ministry was on the defensive following its perception of bias from the European Union.“The Israeli government will not be pressured by the European Union into making any concessions with the Palestinians in regards to the peace process,” said a spokesman from Israel’s Foreign Ministry – who insisted on remaining anonymous due to “ongoing problems at the ministry”.“If the EU exerts one-sided pressure on Israel, without putting any pressure on the Palestinians, the situation will backfire because it will allow the Palestinians to avoid direct negotiations with us at the negotiating table,” the spokesman told IPS.“Any future peace negotiations will have to involve face to face talks between the Palestinians and us. We will accept nothing less.”Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely, quoting a mediaeval biblical scholar, instructed all Israeli diplomats not to apologise for Israel’s occupation, stating that “all of the land (meaning East Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories) belonged to Israel.As Israel finds itself painted into a corner politically, Palestinian and Israeli analysts have been debating whether there would be any European pressure on Israel and whether that pressure would have any effect.Political scientist Prof Samir Awad from Birzeit University, near Ramallah, believes that the European Union will be able to successfully pressure the Israeli government, despite its extremism.[related_articles]“The EU is Israel’s biggest trading partner and the threat of economic sanctions on Israel is a language the Israeli government understands far more than empty threats from the Americans who never followed any criticism of the Israeli government with any action,” Awad told IPS.“EU pressure on Israel will also be buoyed by the fact that a number of EU countries have officially recognised a Palestinian state while others have recognised a state in principle and are critical of Israel’s continued occupation and land expropriation in the West Bank,” added Awad.However, political analyst Benedetta Berti, a research fellow at Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) in Tel Aviv, is not convinced that the European Union will succeed in pushing Israel to any negotiating table.“If we look at their record so far there has been a lot of rhetoric but not much actual action. So far, 16 out of the 28 EU ministers have told Mogherini to go ahead with labelling settlement goods exported to Europe,” Berti told IPS.“It hasn’t happened yet as they have to get 20 of the 28 EU ministers on board for that and due to the divisions in the EU over Israel I’m not sure that it will happen in the near future,” explained Berti.Meanwhile, an Israeli rights group has accused the Israeli authorities of being indifferent to attacks on Palestinians by Israeli settlers and security forces.“Most cases of violent crimes against Palestinians not only go unpunished – but often are completely ignored by the authorities. Even when criminal investigations against soldiers accused of such offences are opened, they almost always fail,” said Yesh Din, a volunteer organisation working to defend the human rights of Palestinian civilians under Israeli occupation.The groups said that approximately 94 percent of criminal investigations launched by the IDF against soldiers suspected of criminal violent activity against Palestinians, and their property, are closed without any indictments. In the rare cases that indictments are served, conviction leads to very light sentencing.“Moreover, Palestinians who attempt to file complaints about crimes committed against them face staggering obstacles in their way. The complete absence of military police stations open to the Palestinian public in the West Bank, for example, makes it literally impossible for Palestinians to file complaints directly with the military police,” stated Yesh Din.Edited by Phil Harris    

Failure of Review Conference Brings World Close to Nuclear Cataclysm, Warn Activists

After nearly four weeks of negotiations, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference ended in a predictable outcome: a text overwhelmingly reflecting the views and interests of the nuclear-armed states and some of their nuclear-dependent allies.

A Chimera in Growing Cooperation Between China and Brazil

A total of 35 agreements and contracts were signed during Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang’s visit to Brazil, as part of the growing ties between the two countries. But there is one project that drew all the attention: the Transcontinental Railway.

Germany’s Asylum Seekers – You Can’t Evict a Movement

In a move to take their message of solidarity to refugees across the country and calling for their voices to be heard in Europe’s ongoing debate on migration, Germany's asylum seekers have taken their nationwide protest movement for change on the road under the slogan: “You Can't Evict a Movement!”.

Opinion: New World Information Order, Internet and the Global South – Part I

More than four decades ago, the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) launched the concept of a New International Information Order (NIIO).

The U.N. at 70: The Past and Future of U.N. Peacekeeping

When the Cold War ended in 1991, there was hope the U.N. Security Council would be able to take decisive action to create a more peaceful world. Early blue helmet successes in Cambodia, Namibia, Mozambique, and El Salvador seemed to vindicate that assessment.

Opinion: Universalisation and Strengthening Nuke Treaty Review Need to be Qualitative

"Strengthening the Review Process" and "Universalisation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty" (NPT) are distinctly substantive issues, that require consideration with their specificities in view.

Opinion: The Crisis of the Left and the Decline of Europe and the United States

The victory of the Conservative Party and the debacle of the Labour Party in the recent British general elections is yet another sign of the crisis facing left-wing forces today, leaving aside the question of how, under the British electoral system, the Labour Party actually increased the number of votes it won but saw a reduction in the number of seats it now holds in Parliament (24 seats less than the previous 256).

Boatloads of Migrants Could Soon Be ‘Floating Graveyard’ on Southeast Asian Waters

On Thursday, May 14, a group of journalists rented a boat from Ko Lipe, a small island in Thailand’s southwest Satun Province, and headed out into the Andaman Sea – a water body in the northeastern Indian Ocean bounded by Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Strait of Malacca.

U.S. Hosts Arms Bazaar at White House Arab Summit

When the United States sells billions of dollars in sophisticated arms to Arab nations, they are conditioned on two key factors: no weapons with a qualitative military edge over Israel will ever be sold to the Arabs, nor will they receive any weapons that are not an integral part of the U.S. arsenal.

The U.N. at 70: Is It Still Fit for the Purpose?

Events are being organised around the world to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, but a recent seminar held in the Austrian capital was not held to applaud the body’s past contributions.

Q&A: Nuclear Disarmament a Non-Starter, “But I Would Love to Be Proven Wrong”

Albert Einstein, the internationally-renowned physicist who developed the theory of relativity, once famously remarked: “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”

Migrants Between Scylla and Charybdis

Not even a month has passed since over 700 hundred migrants lost their lives in their attempt to reaching the shores of Italy and the media spotlights have already faded on the island of Sicily, Italy’s southern region and main gateway to Europe.

Analysis: Global Politics at a Turning Point – Part 2

In the following months, reports of the use of chemical weapons by Syrian forces multiplied. The most serious was an allegation that the Syrian army had used sarin gas on Mar. 19, 2013 at Khan al Assal, north of Aleppo, and in a suburb of Damascus against its opponents. This was followed by two more allegations of small attacks in April.

Analysis: Global Politics at a Turning Point – Part 1

President Barack Obama’s Nowroz greeting to the Iranian people earlier this year was the first clear indication to the world that the United States and Iran were very close to agreement on the contents of the nuclear agreement they had been working towards for the previous 16 months.

Next Page »