Daily TIP

Peace process crippled by UN vote

Posted by Tip Staff - December 27, 2016


The American delegation to the United Nations broke with decades of policy on Friday when it chose to abstain from voting on (rather than veto) a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution condemning settlements—a move with dire consequences for the peace process.
“Rather than taking a step toward peace, this resolution makes a negotiated settlement almost impossible to achieve, and it cannot be undone,” Shelley Berkley, who served seven terms in the United States House of Representatives as a Democrat from Nevada, wrote in The Hill Tuesday. “This diplomatic side-stepping is counter-productive to achieving a real and lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians.” Congressional Democrats likewise scorched the UN vote for its repercussions on the peace process last week.
“Creating a Palestinian state through unilateral means — such as through the UN — would lead to a failed state,” according to Berkley. Her comments were bolstered by Hudson Institute distinguished fellow Walter Russell Mead in a sobering analysis on Tuesday, which made clear that no action at the UN can change the facts on the ground: Palestinian society is growing increasingly fragmented. Progress towards good governance is going in reverse. UN resolutions mask the real problems plaguing the Palestinian people rather than solving them, and, in doing so, have the potential to backfire.


Iran continues its disturbing crackdown on Christians and other religious minorities, sparing some and persecuting others, according to an article in The Daily Beast Tuesday. There are about 150,000 Christians in Iran and over 100 churches.
Activists say there are about 90 Christians being held in Iranian prisons—some of whom were sentenced after converting from Islam to Christianity.
Punishments in Iran almost always veer on severe. Earlier this year, three men were imprisoned and sentenced to 80 lashes each for drinking wine, symbolic of the blood of Christ, during church services. (Similarly, more than 30 college students were sentenced to 99 lashes after attending a coed graduation party with alcohol this past May.)
The Baha'is—Iran’s largest religious minority with roughly 300,000 people—are also targeted. Since Iranian President Hassan Rouhani took power in 2013, more than 151 Baha’i have been arrested and 388 acts of economic discrimination — including threats, intimidation and the closing of Baha’i-owned businesses — have been documented against members of the faith. Thousands of Baha’i have also been denied entry into universities, while 28 have been expelled on the basis of their religion.


Young Israelis announced the launch of Operation Human Warmth on Sunday, a project to collect winter supplies for their Syrian neighbors. The campaign will run until January 12 and seeks to provide winter coats, gloves, shoes, blankets and sleeping bags to Syrians in need, especially women and children.
"Our history as a nation and the fact that we are a democratic society obliges us morally to act for victims everywhere, to be the voices of the voiceless. We must not stand by when it is in our ability to help those in need,” said Tal Rotem, the operation’s coordinator from the Combat Genocide Association.
Sixteen collection centers are set to open across the country Monday where the general public can drop off supplies that will be sorted by Jewish, Arab and Druze volunteers from the youth movements. The first Operation Human Warmth took place in January 2014, during which 30 tons of supplies were collected and transferred to Syrian refugees.

The Sino-Israeli Robotics Institute (SIRI) was inaugurated in mid-December when a delegation of nine Israeli companies — led by Ariel University Prof. Zvi Shiller, chair of the Israeli Robotics Association (IROB) and Technion Prof. Moshe Shoham, founder of Mazor Robotics and a world leader in medical robotics — participated in the second Sino-Israeli Robotics Innovation Conference in Guangzhou, China. Intended as “home base” for Israeli robotics companies entering the Chinese market, SIRI is located at the Guangzhou International Robotics Center (ROBOHUB), a government-supported, 4,800-square-meter robotics incubator and demonstration center including a large exhibition and demo area, innovation lab, training center and corporate offices. “This is an exciting time for the Israeli robotics industry,” says Shiller. “We are committed to establishing a true partnership with SIRI and ROBOHUB, and we look forward to broadening this strategic cooperation, which will serve as a fast track for transforming ideas into products and for moving products into the Chinese market.” (via Israel21c)

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