Street violence in the ancient port of Acre over the past few days has traumatised a town that has promoted itself as a multicultural tourist hotspot, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and rare model of integration between Israel’s Jewish majority and the Arabs who make up a fifth of the population.
Global News Journal
Tzipi Livni, Israel’s foreign minister, put some deep cracks in the macho Mediterranean country’s glass ceiling with her victory — albeit a narrow one — over former general Shaul Mofaz in Wednesday’s Kadima party leadership election. But no sooner had she moved a step closer to becoming Israel’s first woman prime minister since the legendary Golda Meir in the 1970s, than two former members of the vaunted Sayeret Matkal commando unit got together for a strategy session.
Hezbollah literally rolled out the red carpet to welcome home five prisoners released by Israel in a U.N.-mediated exchange deal. Securing the release of the last five Lebanese held by Israel was a major triumph for the group, which in turn handed over the bodies of two Israeli soldiers captured in a 2006 raid into Israel.
In the past President George W. Bush accused Tehran of belonging to an “axis of evil”, compared negotiations with its president to appeasing Adolf Hitler, and warned that a nuclear-armed Iran would lead to World War Three.
Four years ago this week, on July 9, 2004, the International Court of Justice in The Hague, known as the World Court, ruled in an advisory opinion that the wall and fence barrier which Israel was building in the West Bank was illegal under international law and that Palestinians affected by it should be compensated. Israel responded by dismissing the decision as politically motivated and defended the barrier, which it calls the “security fence”, as an effective response to “Palestinian terrorism”. Israel says the barrier, whose projected route of fences and walls snakes through the West Bank for over 700 km, has saved Israeli lives by preventing a continuation of attacks, notably suicide bombings.
There is a running joke among Western journalists, diplomats and other foreigners based in Iran who have the task of trying to understand what is going on behind the scenes: the longer you stay here, the more opaque Iranian policy making becomes.