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December 26, 2014 / 4 Tevet, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘opposition’

UN Chemical Weapons Inspectors Arrive in Syria

Monday, August 19th, 2013

UN inspectors tasked with investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria arrived there on Sunday, Xinhu reported.

The 20-member UN delegation, led by Swedish expert Ake Sellstrom, will begin their two-week mission today.

The Syrian government and the opposition have accused each other of using chemical weapons in an attack on Khan al-Asal town on March 19 that killed at least 25 people and injured 130 others, and both sides are denying responsibility.

The UN fact-finding mission, set up in March at the request of the Syrian government, will investigate the use of chemical weapons at the town of Khan al-Asal, outside Aleppo, and in two other sites.

The locations of two other incidents have not been publicized for security reasons. The UN investigation team’s mandate is to report on whether chemical weapons were used, and to specify what kind of chemical weapons was used. But they are not asked to determine the responsible party.

Israeli Democracy Dealt Blow with ‘Governance Act’

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Last night the Knesset voted to raise the threshold vote from 2 to 4 percent. This means that a political party must win 4.8 seats before it can receive its first seat in the Knesset. It was presented by the Likud-Beiteinu faction as a necessary measure to enable Israel’s government to govern without the constant fear of being toppled by a walkout of one of its minor coalition members.

The new threshold would effectively eliminate the small parties in Israel, forcing them to align in large power blocks or disappear. Meanwhile, their votes should be siphoned off to four or five major parties.

There’s an inherent problem in Israel’s parliamentary system, which has made it difficult for coalition governments over the past 65 years: the executive, meaning the prime minister, is also a member of the legislative body. In order to stay in power, he or she must juggle the Knesset membership around to maintain a majority of at least 61 out of 120 members. If they go below 60, their government is likely to lose a vote of no confidence (of which it endures about 10 a week), and the nation must go to new elections.

Under the U.S. constitution, it is perfectly fine for the president to govern while both houses of Congress are in the hands of a party other than his own. He will serve out his term of four years (unless he is impeached), and would simply have to haggle with the opposition party to get his legislation through.

An attempt in the recent past to let the voter pick the prime minister in a separate vote ended up with a disappointment to anyone who thought they would attain executive stability this way – and the separate PM vote was scrapped. It appears that the only real solution would be for Israel to switch to a presidential system, with an executive who governs outside the Knesset.

But such a change would be rejected by the smaller parties, who get their life’s blood—i.e. patronage jobs—from their leaders’ stints as government ministers. A cabinet run by an executive who isn’t himself an MK would be staffed by technocrats rather than by politicians, and the smaller parties would be left out to dry, unable to suckle on the government’s teat.

The new “Governance Act” that was passed last night would presumably have the same effect on the smaller parties: they would become history. This means the elimination of all the parties that currently boast fewer than 5 MKs: Hadash (Arabs) has 4, Ra’am Ta’al-Mada (Arabs) has 4, National Democratic Assembly (Arabs) has 3, and Kadima has 2.

You may have noticed a recurring ethnic group among the Knesset factions which would be eliminated by the Governance Act. Those 11 “Arab” seats would be eliminated, unless, of course, these three factions, with vastly different platforms (one is Communist, the other two not at all). are able to unite around their single common denominator, namely that they’re not Jews.

The political thinker behind this power grab is MK Avigdor Liberman, who’s been dreaming about a Knesset where his faction, Likud-Beiteinu, could win a decisive majority, once and for all. His henchman, MK David Rotem, was the bill’s sponsor. But the law of unintended consequences and double-edged swords is strong in Israel, and the new bill could just as easily be just what the Left needed to stage a resounding comeback.

Labor (15 MKs) and Meretz (6 MKs) are really the old Mapai, Achdut Ha’avoda and Mapam, the three Zionist workers parties. Hadash is really a remnant of Maki and Rakach, the two Communist parties which split off Mapam. If the leftist establishment got it together—as it did in 1992—it could cobble Labor, Meretz, the Arabs, Kadima and Livni to create a juggernaut of more than 35, possibly 40 seats.

This kind of unity could only be forged by a common feeling of a great betrayal by the right-wing government – and, what do you know, judging by last night’s drama over the threshold vote, such a sense of betrayal is permeating the smaller parties.

One after another, opposition MKs came up to the podium and used up their time to keep silent. MK Jamal Zahalka strapped duct tape over his mouth. MK Ahmad Tibi stood with his back to the plenum. Merets chair zehava Gal-on wept, her hands over her face.

Guardian Editorial Takes the Side of Morsi (or Mubarak?)

Monday, December 10th, 2012

To get an idea of just how outrageous a recent Guardian editorial (on Dec. 7) defending President Morsi and criticizing the liberal opposition truly was, here are two tweets by commentators with otherwise unimpeachable Guardian Left credentials:

Here’s Guardian Cairo correspondent Jack Shenker.

Let me say once again, I totally disassociate myself from this@guardian editorial on  - it’s offensive & wrong: guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/…

Here’s ‘Comment is Free’ contributor Rachel Shabi:

What is the Guardian thinking with this awful, misleading editorial on bit.ly/VDYy6T

Here are a few excerpts of the Guardian editorial in question:

[The crisis in Egypt] is not about the proposed constitution,

[The opposition is engaged in] a power battle in which the aim is to unseat a democratically elected president, and to prevent a referendum and fresh parliamentary elections being held, both of which Islamists stand a good chance of winning. Morsi, for his part, is determined that both polls be held as soon as possible to reaffirm the popular mandate which he still thinks he has.

The opposition on the other hand has never accepted the results of freely held elections, parliamentary or presidential, and is doing everything to stop new ones being held

So, the Guardian, when faced with a choice between a Muslim Brotherhood which is ideologically opposed to true democracy and individual freedoms – a political predisposition clearly on display in Morsi’s recent decision to assume dictatorial powers - and a political opposition which is at leastmarginally progressive, chose the reactionary Islamists.

The following post by a Lebanese writer, who blogs at Karl reMarks, wrote the following piece titled ‘The Guardian’s Editorial on Egypt Re-Imagined‘, which is based on the same Dec. 7 Guardian editorial re-imagined as if it were written in January 2011, with minor changes like replacing Morsi with Mubarak.

As the crisis in Egypt develops, it is becoming increasingly clear what it is not about. It is not about the elections, or the economic crisis, or Egypt’s relationship with Israel. Nor is it about the arrangements for a successor to the president. Nor even is it about the temporary but absolute powers that the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, assumed for himself – for a mere thirty years, and which will lapse the moment the Egyptian people stop making a fuss.

Urging the opposition to shun dialogue, Mohamed ElBaradei said that Mubarak had lost his legitimacy. So the target of the opposition is not the constitution, or the emergency law, but Mubarak himself. What follows is a power battle in which the aim is to unseat a democratically elected president, with 88.6% of the vote, and to prevent fresh parliamentary elections being held, both of which the ruling NDP stand a good chance of winning. Mubarak, for his part, is determined that both polls be held as soon as possible to reaffirm the popular mandate which he still thinks he has.

In weighing who occupies the moral high ground, let us start with what happened on Wednesday night. That is when the crisis, sparked by yet another Mubarak decree when he was at the height of his domestic popularity over the role he played in stopping the yet another Israeli assault on Gaza, turned violent. The NDP party sanctioned a violent assault on a peaceful encampment of opposition supporters in Tahrir Square. But lethal force came later, and the NDP was its principle victims. NDP offices were attacked up and down the country, while no other party offices were touched. This does not fit the opposition’s narrative to be the victims of state violence. Both sides are victims of violence and the real perpetrators are their common enemy.

Mubarak undoubtedly made grave mistakes. In pre-empting decisions by the courts to derail his reforms, his decrees were cast too wide. His laws have many faults, although none are set in stone. The opposition on the other hand has never accepted the results of freely held elections, parliamentary or presidential, and is doing everything to stop new ones being held.

The Guardian is not only supporting a racist, antisemitic, anti-Christian, anti-West Islamist movement, but are remaining loyal even when a more liberal alternative is possible.

Reporters Distance Themselves from UK Newspaper’s Backing of Morsi

Monday, December 10th, 2012

At least two writers for the Guardian newspaper have distanced themselves from an editorial in the Guardian in which the paper criticizes the liberal opposition to Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi who seeks the ratification of a constitution protesters say does not protect individual rights from religious persecution, according to the CiFWatch organization.

In the editorial, the Guardian characterized the opposition as merely seeking power, saying the crisis was not about the constitution but a “power battle” against a “democratically elected president.”

In response, the paper’s Cairo correspondent wrote on his twitter account, I “totally disassociate myself from this @guardian editorial on #Egypt - it’s offensive & wrong.”

A contributor to the Guardian‘s “Comment is Free” opinion section, Rachel Shabi wrote “What is the Guardian thinking with this awful, misleading editorial on #egypt?”

Adam Levick, the managing editor of the CiFWatch website, wrote that, “The Guardian is not only supporting a racist, antisemitic, anti-Christian, anti-West Islamist movement, but are remaining loyal even when a more liberal alternative is possible. ”

CiFWatch monitors bias against Israel in the British publication the Guardian as well as other UK publication. It is affiliated with CAMERA. Its entries are often featured on the Jewish Press website.

Syrian Rebels Post Video of Outcome of Assad’s Chemical Weapons

Sunday, December 9th, 2012

A video uploaded to YouTube by Syrian rebels on Saturday seems to indicate that Syrian President Bashar Assad is attacking opposition forces with chemical weapons.

The video is allegedly taken in a suburb of Aleppo, where Syria’s largest stockpile of chemical weapons is believed to be stored.

Warning: Video is graphic and potentially disturbing to children

London’s Sunday Times reported that Israeli commandos have infiltrated Syria with the mission of recording information about Assad’s weapons depots and the transportation of chemical weapons to new locations.

On Wednesday, the London Times reported that the US and other allies were considering launching military reprisals on Assad’s forces in response to the chemical weapons use.

Syria is believed to hold the world’s third largest chemical weapons hoard.

Assad’s forces have killed an estimated 42,000 people in the almost two years since Syria’s Arab Spring began.

Rand Paul to Visit Israel

Sunday, December 2nd, 2012

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a skeptic of assistance to Israel who also is considering a 2016 presidential run, will travel to Israel.

According to a report Friday on the Christian Broadcasting Network website, Paul will be accompanied by Christian and Jewish leaders, and will also visit Jordan.

He will meet with leaders in both countries, as well as Palestinian leaders.

The trip is organized by David Lane, a “prominent evangelical activist,” according to CBN, and will include Republicans from Iowa, the critical first caucus state in the primaries.

Paul has backed eliminating foreign aid, including to Israel, but unlike his father, rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), who has run for the presidency in the past, he has refrained from using Israel-critical rhetoric, instead framing his opposition to aid as bolstering his policy that Israel should remain free of outside influence.

Paul has attracted conservative grassroots attention because of his budget-slashing rhetoric, but his opposition to Israel assistance has been as an impediment to winning over the party base.

Mofaz on his Facebook Page: Ceasefire A Mistake

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Opposition leader and Kadima chairman MK Shaul Mofaz expressed opposition to the ceasefire on his Facebook page.

Mofaz wrote that “the ceasefire is a mistake and the next round with Hamas is waiting around the corner.” Mofaz also wrote that “in practice the military’s operational achievements did not translate into political success. You don’t settle with terrorism. There decision. And, unfortunately, a decisive victory has not been achieved and we did not recharge our deterrence. As the Chief of Staff during the Defensive Shield operation I stopped the suicide bombers. I know it’s possible. It’s possible to defeat terrorism.”

It should be noted that Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz was in charge of removing the IDF from the Gaza Strip, along with some 10 thousand Jewish residents. That move has probably contributed more than anything else Israel has done since the Oslo Accord of 1992 to deteriorate the state of her security.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/yoris-news-clips/mofaz-on-his-facebook-page-ceasefire-a-mistake/2012/11/21/

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