By Heidi-Jane Esakov

Mido Macia, a 27-year-old Mozambican immigrant to South Africa was found dead in his police cell in Daveyton, east of Johannesburg, on 26 February 2013. In a brutal scene captured on film by onlookers, Macia, with hands bound and tied to the back of a police van, was dragged 500 metres by police officers. His torture continued in a police cell with allegations of brutal beatings.

By Henry Siegman

Introduction

Failed bilateral talks over these past 16 years have shown that a Middle East peace accord can never be reached by the parties themselves. Israeli governments believe they can defy international condemnation of their illegal colonial project in the West Bank because they can count on the US to oppose international sanctions

Bilateral talks that are not framed by US-formulated parameters (based on Security Council resolutions, the Oslo accords, the Arab Peace Initiative, the "road map" and other previous Israeli-Palestinian agreements) cannot succeed.

Israel's government believes that the US Congress will not permit an American president to issue such parameters and demand their acceptance. What hope there is for the bilateral talks that resume in Washington DC on September 2 depends entirely on President Obama proving that belief to be wrong, and on whether the "bridging proposals" he has promised, should the talks reach an impasse, are a euphemism for the submission of American parameters. Such a US initiative must offer Israel iron-clad assurances for its security within its pre-1967 borders, but at the same time must make it clear these assurances are not available if Israel insists on denying Palestinians a viable and sovereign state in the West Bank and Gaza.

By International Crisis Group

After almost two decades of unsuccessful U.S.-sponsored negotiations, Palestinians are re-evaluating their approach to peace.

Tipping Point? Palestinians and the Search for a New Strategy, the latest International Crisis Group background report, discusses why Palestinians, who are most in need of a resolution, balk at resuming negotiations; why, although President Obama appears willing to be engaged and confront Israel, Palestinians have denied him the chance to advance talks; and why, seventeen years after Oslo, the best that can be done is get the parties to talk indirectly. The answer is not that the PLO or its leadership have given up on talks and the two-state solution. They have invested too much for too long to shift course swiftly and radically. Rather, they seek to redress the power imbalance with Israel by pressing their case internationally, reinvigorating statebuilding, and encouraging a measure of popular resistance.

By Heidi-Jane Esakov

The story of Israel’s 22 January national elections was to be that of a right-wing government shifting even further to the right. In an unexpected outcome, political newcomer and suave former television talk-show host Yair Lapid scuppered that story when his ‘centrist’ and secular party, Yesh Atid, came second after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s party Likud Beiteinu (formed with extreme right-winger, former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman). Although Yesh Atid

By Tariq Dana

A Snapshot of Palestinian capital

The presence of Palestinian businesspeople in the political sphere predates the establishment of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). After the PLO’s foundation, Palestinian capitalists played a variety of roles in the national liberation movement. Some PLO factions, particularly Fatah, saw the Palestinian capitalist class as a ‘national bourgeoisie’ and, as such, an indispensable part of the anti-colonial struggle and dealt with it accordingly.

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