By Uri Avnery*
29 August 2015
I MUST admit that Moshe “”Bogie” Ya’alon did not top the list of my favorite politicians. The former army Chief of Staff and present Minister of Defense looked to me like a mere lackey of Netanyahu and a one-dimensional militarist. Many people call him a “bock”, a non-complimentary German-Yiddish term for billy goat.
Yuval Steinitz, the present minister for I-don’t-know-what, was also not at the top of the list of politicians I admire. He, too, seemed to me one of the servants of Netanyahu, without a recognizable personality of his own.
Even the former army Chief of Staff, Gabi Ashkenazi, was not one of my ultimate heroes.
When he was appointed, some malicious people claimed that he owed his advancement to his Oriental origin, since the Minister of Defense, at the time, was also of Oriental origin.
Ashkenazi’s father was from Bulgaria, his mother from Syria. The Minister of Defense at the time, Shaul Mofaz, was from Iran. Ashkenazi was in charge of one of the serial wars against Gaza. He was and remains popular.
Now I admire all three. More than that, I am deeply grateful to all three.
WHAT HAS brought about such a profound change?
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The United Nations refugee agency on 28 August 2015 said that the number of refugees and migrants crossing the Mediterranean to reach Europe has surpassed 300,000 this year, up from 219,000 during the whole of 2014.
A group of Afghans arrive on the island of Lesbos after travelling in an inflatable raft from Turkey to Greece. Hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants used the dangerous sea route across the Mediterranean in 2015. Photo: UNHCR/A. McConnell
“Some 2,500 refugees and migrants are estimated to have died or gone missing this year while attempting the crossing to Europe – compared to 3,500 who died or went missing in the Mediterranean in 2014” said Melissa Fleming, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), at a press briefing.
This number, which includes almost 200,000 people landing in Greece and 110,000 in Italy, represents a substantial increase from last year. “In the last few days,” Fleming continued, “more people have lost their lives in three separate incidents.”
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For the fifth International Day against Nuclear Tests on 29 August 2015, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has welcomed voluntary moratoria on testing imposed by nuclear-armed states but stressed that these cannot substitute for a legally-binding treaty.
An atmospheric nuclear test conducted by the United States at Enewetak Atoll, Marshall Islands, on 1 November 1952. Photo: US Government | Source: UN News Centre
“The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) is essential for the elimination of nuclear weapons,” Ban said in a message. “It is a legally-binding, verifiable means by which to constrain the quantitative and qualitative development of nuclear weapons.”
The UN General Assembly declared 29 August the International Day against Nuclear Tests in December 2009, adopting a unanimous resolution that calls for increasing awareness and education “about the effects of nuclear weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosions and the need for their cessation as one of the means of achieving the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world.” 2010 marked the inaugural commemoration of the International Day against Nuclear Tests.
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By Robert J. Burrowes*
26 August 2015
Understanding human conflict requires us to understand human psychology. And it is only when we understand the psychology that drives conflict that we can take intelligent steps to address it.
Robert J. Burrowes
Unfortunately, understanding the psychology of conflict is not easy and I would like to illustrate one significant problem in this regard and explain what we can do about it.
That problem is what is often called ‘projection’ or ‘transference’ and it illustrates the importance of emotional, as distinct from intellectual, content in any conflict.
Let me start by quoting a few carefully selected words from a lengthy dialogue recently published. http://peacefromharmony.org/?cat=en_c&key=628
The dialogue took place between two Israelis, two Palestinians and several individuals from other countries and was focused on the Israeli occupation of Palestine.
It was concluded by the moderator’s observation that ‘our discussion has reached an impasse’.
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Röszke , 25 August 2015 (IRIN)* – As Hungary rushes to complete the first phase of a controversial fence along its Serbian border, migrants – mainly refugees from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq – have been desperately trying to reach the country, which marks the beginning of the European Union’s passport-free Schengen zone. When the fence is up, entry will become much harder.
**Photo: András Hajdú/IRIN | Syrian refugees reach Hungary by following a Serbian rail track
A new surge is expected as Macedonia has re-opened its border with Greece, which was closed for several days last week after the government declared a state of emergency due to the numbers of migrants and refugees entering the country.
Thousands of refugees are now crossing Serbia and heading for Hungary, where they are likely to encounter more border guards.
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Alarmed by the dramatic increase in grave violations against Yemen’s children, the United Nations Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict has called on all parties to respect their obligations under international law to safeguard civilians from harm, including children.
A boy holds a large piece of exploded artillery shell, which landed in the village of Al Mahjar, a suburb of Sana’a, the capital of Yemen. Photo: UNICEF/Mohamed Hamoud
Reflecting on conflict-affected countries in the Middle East, Leila Zerrougui said in a statement issued on 24 August 2015 that Yemen has become “another stark example of how conflict in the region risks creating a lost generation of children, who are physically and psychologically scarred by their experiences, deprived of educational opportunities, and who face an uncertain future.”
After the conflict escalated in late March, at least 402 children had been killed, and more than 606 injured.
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The European Union should establish a human rights-based, coherent and comprehensive migration policy which makes mobility its central asset, a United Nations expert on 25 August 2015 advocated, assuring is the only way in which the EU can reclaim its border, effectively combat smuggling and empower migrants.
A young Syrian refugee carries his brother across the border between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), near Eidomeni, Greece, in June 2015. Photo: UNHCR/A. McConnell
“Let’s not pretend that what the EU and its member states are doing is working. Migration is here to stay,” Crépeau stressed.
“Building fences, using tear gas and other forms of violence against migrants and asylum seekers, detention, withholding access to basics such as shelter, food or water and using threatening language or hateful speech will not stop migrants from coming or trying to come to Europe,” the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, François Crépeau, said.
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