Category Archives: Middle East

Could Neda Be What Is Needed To Bring Democracy To Iran.

The sad and needless death of Iranian women, Neda Agha Soltan, has been viewed around the world on sites such as YouTube. It is a disturbing video and I won’t be providing a link to a video here but it is not hard find if you search on a search engine or on YouTube.



Neda Agha Soltan


While Neda is not the only person to be killed during protests in Iran following elections that are regarded by many Iranians to be corrupt, it is the most widely covered and discussed. Its impact on world wide interest on the current events has been significant.

What I think is the most tragic part of the deaths happening in Iran is the fact that these people are dying in their efforts to support democracy in their country due to the very undemocratic actions of the countries leadership and it paramilitary.

These people are protesting over what they see as the flawed and corrupt result of the Iranian presidential election held in June this year. A recount of votes has been carried out, although limited, and while some irregularities have been found they were judged by ‘independent’ electoral authorities to not have influenced the result.

The large number of people attending these protests and the sustained effort of protests so far would seem to indicate the popular wish of the people. Though popular wishes do not always mean much in a country ruled by dictators such as in Iran.

The death of Neda certainly seems to have inspired continued protests and hopefully democracy can win in the end. Hopefully with as little blood shed as possible.

U.S. and Israel Don’t See Eye To Eye On Settlements.

Israel stands firm on its plans to continue building settlements in the West Bank.

The U.S. is also firm on its insistance that Israel must stop the building of its settlements in the West Bank.

Israel asserts that its plans to build settlements in the West Bank are nessecary due to ‘natural growth’. That term has been defined vaguely by Israeli officials, meaning for some that settlements should expand to accommodate only their own children.

Israel “cannot freeze life in the settlements,” Netanyahu said, describing the American call as an “unreasonable” demand.

Whatever the American demands and Israeli definitions, the reality is that no full freeze seems likely.

Mr Netanyahu is in a difficult position with factions pushing for the expansion of settlements and many opposed to the establishment of an independant Palestinian State. Support for succumbing to U.S. demands is not at all strong.

Netanyahu has set a stance to stop the spread of unofficial settlements however, that are not within the official settlement plans. Many successive governments have turned a blind eye to these unofficial settlements which largely contain rogue Israeli elements.

President Obama has played down tensions between the U.S. and Israel saying that “Part of being a good friend is being honest” in an interview with NPR News. “And I think there have been times where we are not as honest as we should be about the fact that the current direction, the current trajectory, in the region is profoundly negative, not only for Israeli interests but also U.S. interests.

“We do have to retain a constant belief in the possibilities of negotiations that will lead to peace,” he added. “I’ve said that a freeze on settlements is part of that.”

“Not only is it in the interest of the Palestinian people to have a state, it’s in the interest of the Israeli people to stabilize the situation there,” he said. “And it’s in the interest of the United States that we’ve got two states living side by side in peace and security.”

Despite Israeli objections to halt West Bank settlements President Obama is confident United States was “going to be able to get serious negotiations back on track” between Israel and the Palestinians.

In the interview with NPR News Obama also said “It’s in the interest of the United States that we’ve got two states living side by side in peace and security.”

Referring to the debate about settlements, he said: “Diplomacy is always a matter of a long hard slog. It’s never a matter of quick results.”

Israel Will Not Stop Settlements.

The Israeli Government says it won’t bow to U.S. requests for it to stop its settlements in the West Bank.

“I want to say in a crystal clear manner that the current Israeli government will not accept in any fashion that legal settlement activity in Judea and Samaria be frozen,” Transport Minister Yisrael Katz, an official close to the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said, using the Israeli term for the West Bank. “The government will defend the vital interests of the state of Israel.”

This was the first official reaction from the Israeli Government after U.S. President Obama’s request for the them to halt settlements.

Israel’s settlement of the West Bank is a key hurdle to peace talks with Palestinian authorities. While I understand Israel’s need for security the Palestinian people require the same security. How can the Israeli Government justify forcing people put of their homes so that they can build settlements on land that is in a separate State to Israel. They have effectively invaded this land.

If Israel expect to have security for themselves then they have to respect the need for others to have security. Israel says it requires its settlements on the West Bank for natural growth. What other State in the World expects to be able to legally expand its borders to establish new settlements.
It is my opinion that Israel is being unreasonable in its expectations and needs to halt these settlements now and respect the borders it shares with other sovereign states. Until it does this I cannot see how peace between Israel and other Middle Eastern states can be achieved.

Obama Calls For Israel To Halt West Bank Expansion

Israel must halt their expansion into the West Bank and Palestinians must increase West Bank security to allow the Middle East peace process to advance, said President Obama after meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday.

Obama told reporters “I am confident that we can move this process forward if all the parties are willing to take on the responsibilities and meet the obligations that they’ve already committed to.” during a joint appearance with Abbas following the White House meeting.

Abbas said the Palestinian Authority was committed to fulfilling its obligations under the 2003 Middle East road map.

The two leaders called for immediate progress in the peace process in the hope of restarting peace talks directly between Palestinians and Israeli’s.

No formal Palestinian-Israeli negotiations have occurred since the latest Israeli elections brought Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to power.

“What is needed right now is to resume the discussions with the current Israeli government,” Abbas said.

Obama pushed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, last week, for a firm Israeli commitment to Palestinian statehood as part of the so-called two-state solution, a position strongly advocated on Thursday by Abbas.

Netanyahu has committed to removing illegal settlements but has also committed to continue expansion or “natural Growth” of existing settlements.
Netanyahu has also refrained from committing to a Palestinian state saying that Israel needed security and a clear Palestinian Leader to talk to.

Obama said “It is in our interest to ensure that Israel is safe and secure,” and for steps to be taken towards a Palestinian free state.

At the same time, Obama said he told President Abbas “in a frank exchange” that continuing anti-Israel sentiments and incitements were “impediments to peace.”

The Palestinian Authority headed by Abbas holds power on the West Bank, while the militant Palestinian Islamist group Hamas controls Gaza. Abbas is under pressure to negotiate with Hamas on creating a unified Palestinian leadership, Obama noted, and praised him for insisting that such a Palestinian leadership must agree to Israel’s right to exist and commit itself to peace.

Without both sides of this conflict doing their part and recognising each others right to security and a clearly defined boundary peace will be difficult to establish and maintain.

Clearly some large policy shifts will be required from both sides before a suitable peace can be found.