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Egypt Faces Post-Revolution Economic Crisis - David Schenker (Los Angeles Times)
In the four months since the revolution, Egypt's EXG30 stock index has plunged 22%.
Tourism in March fell 60% from the year before, resulting in a drop in revenue to $352 million from $1 billion and a loss of jobs.
The arrival of about 300,000 workers fleeing Libya will add to the unemployment rate.
Foreign capital is fleeing as purges of Egypt's leading entrepreneurs and industrialists are spooking would-be investors.
Foreign reserves are down from $36 billion on the eve of the revolution to $28 billion.
Maj. Gen. Mahmoud Nasr, a member of the governing Supreme Military Council, warned that the state's reserves would be depleted within six months.
is director of the Program on Arab Politics at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
See also Egypt Not Looking Very Springlike
- Jonathan S. Tobin (Commentary)
Israel and Britain Are Allies in the Fight for Democratic Values - Ron Prosor (Telegraph-UK)
Israel and Britain are members of an elite club of countries whose flags are frequently burnt in hostile Middle Eastern dictatorships.
The venomous tirades of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also include regular mentions of "criminal Britain," proof that you must be doing something right.
Extremists who despise democracy are abusing Britain's institutions to demonize Israel, the Middle East's only democracy, out of the accepted family of nations. Ironically, the abuse of British tolerance has made it the Western headquarters of the assault on Israel's legitimacy.
The writer, Israel's ambassador to the United Kingdom for the past four years, will be Israel's new ambassador to the UN.
Why Iran Is Pushing for a Shiite Victory in Bahrain - Michael Segall (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
Bahrain is the locus of a titanic struggle between regional powers representing polar extremes of Islam (Shiite Iran vs. Sunni Saudi Arabia), and international powers' economic and geo-strategic interests.
Bahrain is now truly in the Iranian lion's maw, while it still hosts the main naval base of the American fleet in the Gulf region.
Iran has claimed that Bahrain formerly constituted Iran's fourteenth province and is acting vigorously to overthrow the regime through planting clandestine cells and organizing the Shiite population for protests, while being aided by Lebanese Hizbullah.
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- U.S. to Boycott Durban III Racism Conference - Nicole Gaouette
The U.S. has announced it won't attend the 10-year commemoration of the UN Durban conference on combating racism on Sep. 21 in New York. Acting Assistant Secretary of State Joseph Macmanus
said that the U.S. voted against the UN resolution establishing the 2011 event because the so-called Durban process "included ugly displays of intolerance and anti-Semitism and we did not want to see that commemorated." (Bloomberg)
See also Conference of Presidents Lauds Administration Decision Not to Participate in "Durban III" Conference (Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations)
- Syrian Forces Shell Town, Kill 41 - Khaled Oweis
Syrian forces killed 41 civilians in Rastan on Tuesday in an effort to crush pro-democracy protests, human rights lawyer Razan Zaitouna said on Wednesday. Syrian forces also killed nine civilians on Tuesday in the town of Hirak, rights campaigner Ammar Qurabi said on Wednesday.
- Egypt Revolution Leaves Sinai Increasingly Lawless - Tim Whewell
Twice during the few days I spent in el-Arish, roads were blocked by armed Bedouin intent on avenging the kidnap of members of their clan by a rival tribe.
After several days, I was allowed to visit the border with Gaza, but I went a little further, travelling down back roads, to visit an arms dealer.
Between 2000 and 2007, he says, he was one of five smugglers in charge of the arms trade in Sinai, each of them making four or five deals a month, each involving between 200 and 400 guns. The main source was Sudan, the main market Gaza.
Now, he says, it has all changed. Gaza has all the guns it needs, and Hamas can manufacture its own rockets. The market now is internal, within Sinai.
"Because of the revolution," he says, "there are no police anymore."
See also Egypt Limits Crossings at Gaza Border - Joel Greenberg
Egypt reimposed restrictions Wednesday on the number of Palestinians allowed to enter from Gaza at the Rafah crossing, days after permanently opening the border point. (Washington Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Fatah Has Never Recognized Israel and Will Never Do So - Khaled Abu Toameh
Fatah has never recognized Israel's right to exist and will never do so, Azzam al-Ahmed, a member of the Fatah Central Committee who is closely associated with PA President Mahmoud Abbas, told the Egyptian newspaper Al-Masry Al-Youm.
Asked whether Fatah had spoken with Hamas about recognizing Israel, the senior Fatah official said, "Fatah has not recognized Israel." (Jerusalem Post)
- The Conflict Isn't Territorial - Moshe (Bogi) Ya'alon
As the prime minister's speech before Congress made clear, the main reason for the failure of all attempts to secure Israeli-Palestinian peace is the Palestinian refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Israel's Palestinian dialogue partner in peace talks is the PLO, whose members, including Fatah, all reject Israel's right to exist as the Jewish people's nation-state.
The Palestinians always stress that they are in favor of a "two-state" solution, rather than a solution based on "two states for two peoples." According to Palestinian leader Abbas, the Jews are not entitled to a state. The heart of the conflict with the Palestinians is existential and not just territorial. As far as the Palestinians are concerned, the occupation started in 1948 and not in 1967. Hence, Palestinian recognition of Israel as the Jewish people's nation-state is a required condition for a viable peace. Imparting this realization to the Palestinian public is a condition for implementing a peace deal and will require significant time.
The writer is Israel's Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Strategic Affairs.
- Is Obama Preventing a Solution to Mideast Peace? - Gidi Grinstein
Since the Hamas victory in the January 2006 elections, there is not and cannot be a Palestinian partner to any diplomatic process. A Palestine that includes Hamas, which refuses to recognize Israel and existing agreements, cannot be a partner to negotiations on a final-status agreement. Yet, without Hamas, the Palestinian system lacks internal legitimacy. That's why all the calls out of Washington for a renewal of talks between Israel and the Palestinians are hollow.
Only one format is likely to enable progress to a permanent situation based on the principle of two states for two peoples: coordinated unilateral steps based on understanding and quiet cooperation. That's how the PA institutions were established in recent years, with security achieved in Judea and Samaria and economic growth in the West Bank.
Obama is trapped in a worldview that has become obsolete. He believes that Israel and the Palestinians must and can reach a final-status agreement that will solve all the issues, establish a Palestinian state and end the conflict.
The writer is the founder and president of the Reut Institute.
- Palestinians' Statehood Bid Imperils Israel - Lawrence J. Haas
The Palestinian push for UN recognition of statehood comes amid signs that Palestinians are discarding the notion of living in peace with Israel, which will require the U.S. to veto any proposal that reaches the Security Council in order to protect its key Middle East ally. Fatah's recent power-sharing agreement with Hamas gives the latter a partner role in governing a future Palestine, boosting the chances that such a state could become a haven for terrorism while further constraining any Palestinian efforts to pursue negotiations with Israel. The writer is a senior fellow at the American Foreign Policy Council.
- The UN Statehood Charade - Benny Avni
A General Assembly vote for statehood would be a small step forward for Palestinians. But so was a similar 1988 vote, when the assembly endorsed Yasser Arafat's declaration of a "Palestinian state" (110 members voted for the resolution, with only Israel and America opposed). Yet nobody remembers that "historic" vote. The 1988 UN vote changed the name of the Palestinian UN Observer Mission from "PLO" to "Palestine" - but legally, it changed nothing. Neither will the vote this fall. (New York Post)
- The Endgame for Syria's Bloody Junta - Burhan Ghalioun
The Syrian protest movement has achieved significant gains. This is not just in reference to the fear barrier having been broken. The existence of the people themselves as an active political reality has been established; hundreds of thousands of Syrians who had previously surrendered to the status quo have re-entered the political arena. Moreover, those who sympathize with the movement greatly outnumber those actively participating in protests. Large swaths of the regime's supporters and helpers are also breaking away.
The losing battle the regime is waging against its own people has forced it to divest itself of all its political, legal and moral convictions and don the robes of a medieval militia. It has forfeited any hope of regaining its position as a political system, as it is not possible to regain the people's confidence through more killing, lies and deception.
The writer is director of the Centre d'Etudes sur l'Orient Contemporain (Ceoc) in Paris, and a professor of political sociology at the Universite de Paris III.
Is Gaza Still Occupied? - Eugene Kontorovich and Paula Kweskin (Jerusalem Post)
See also Why Is Israel's Presence in the Territories Still Called "Occupation"? - Avinoam Sharon
- A staple claim of Palestinian supporters is that Israel's occupation of Gaza did not end with the military withdrawal and the accompanying uprooting of nearly 10,000 Jewish residents.
- Yet Article 42 of the 1907 Hague Regulations provides that a "territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army."
Similarly, the Geneva Conventions require that ground forces exercise "control within" the territory.
Moreover, an occupying power must be able to provide all governmental functions - to run things inside the occupied territory, not simply patrol the borders. Yet the de facto government of Hamas rules Gaza without Israeli intervention.
- Some claim that border control amounts to "effective control" of the interior. But prior blockades, like that of Cuba by President John F. Kennedy, were never considered occupations. Moreover, border controls are typical along every international frontier, even among the friendliest of nations.
- In March, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1973 that authorized military action, delineated a no-fly zone across all of Libya, froze Libyan assets, and authorized the extensive use of force against Libyan troops. Yet Resolution 1793 specifically rules out any "occupation" of Libyan territory.
- So we now have confirmation from the Council that a broad embargo, no-fly zone and months of constant aerial bombardment do not constitute an "occupation." Obviously Israel's much less comprehensive and invasive measures against Gaza do not constitute an occupation by this standard.
Eugene Kontorovich is a professor at Northwestern University School of Law, and Paula Kweskin is an attorney at NGO Monitor.
Iraq was occupied by the Coalition forces until June 28, 2004, at which time authority was handed over to the Iraqi Interim Government. Coalition forces remained in Iraq, but Iraq was no longer deemed occupied. Would the same not hold true for the establishment of the Palestinian Authority and Israel?
(Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
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