In Jesus’s birthplace, Palestinian Christians mark Christmas behind a Wall

by Helena Cobban, JWE president

In 2019, the Palestinian Christians of Bethlehem– many of them descendants of some of Jesus’s or his disciples’ first converts– spent their 58th Christmas under Israel’s hostile military occupation. Bethlehem’s mixed, Christian-Muslim population is encased more tightly than ever by the Israeli-built Wall, which prevents them even from making the four-mile journey to Jerusalem, where many of them have close family members, schools, or businesses to stay in touch with.

Last Saturday, I was blessed to take part in a simulcast church service held jointly in Washington National Cathedral and the Evangelical Lutheran Church “Christmas” Church in Bethlehem. It was a powerful and moving experience, as congregants in both locations participated in the traditional Service of Lessons and Carols, some of it in Arabic, some in English. The archived version of the simulcast can be viewed here.

Three of the five rooftop singers in Bethlehem

Later, I discovered this beautiful video that the Bethlehem Municipality made for Christmas last year. In it, five accomplished vocalists sing a special arrangement of “The Little Drummer Boy”– while standing on a rooftop overlooking much of the city! Their sing evocatively in a mix of English, Arabic, and Italian as a drone camera records them from many angles.

Either of these two videos (or anyway, some excerpts from the simulcast one, which at present is unedited) could make a wonderful centerpiece for congregations or other groups wanting to understand the experience of Christian Palestinians more deeply.

Maryam, Joseph, and their donkey, handmade by young women from the East Jerusalem YWCA, 1988.

And before I dive a little deeper into the highlights of these two videos I want to re-up this blog post that I published here at JWE in December 2016: “The Story of Christmas told for everyone (especially my grandkids)”, which I hope you will also enjoy.

So first, the archived video of the simulcast church service:

This one runs at 1 hr 31 mins– but the first 25 mins of this version are all “technical prep”, so to have a good viewing of the whole service, you can just cut those out, leaving you with a video that runs just over one hour. You can also download the whole Order of Service here, which means you can follow along with everything.

One of the screens in the cathedral, where we could see what was happening in the Bethlehem church.

The technical people at both ends, by the way, are to be applauded for managing everything brilliantly. It was the first time I’d ever participated in any simulcast church service and by watching the big screens set up in our portion of the “choir” area of the cathedral, I was able to have a rich sense of worshipping “with” the participants in Bethlehem.

The Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem has a small sanctuary, and not a whole lot of seating space. But the front row of seats was filled with dignitaries from the Lutheran and Episcopalian churches in the region, and the small brass band provided a couple of musical interludes.

Their pastor, Rev. Dr. Munther Isaac, spoke the opening words. “Christmas reminds us,” he said, “to look for God in a cave with a homeless family, to look where there are refugees… where there is a Wall.” (He is in the center in the photo at the head of this blog post.)

At our end, the congregation(s) were welcomed jointly by Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith, the Dean of the Cathedal, and Rev. Leila Ortiz, the Bishop of the Washington DC synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Part of the Washington DC congregation.

Washington National Cathedral is an airy, towering structure built along the lines of Europe’s great Gothic cathedrals. Our whole congregation of around 200 people fit into the “choir” portion of the sanctuary, which was beautifully decorated for Christmas. We were also lucky enough to have an actual human choir of 16 members of the cathedral’s professional singing corps, who contributed some very moving hymns and carols.

… And, talking of people with great singing voices, do try to download and enjoy the video of the five Bethlehemites singing “The Little Drummer Boy”, if you get the chance.

Five wonderful Bethlehem vocalists, with their cityscape behind them.

These singers are, in order of appearance: Nathalie Murad, Fouad Moubassaleh, Milad Fatouleh, Amjad Khair, Fadi Ghattas. Nathalie sings in English, Milad in Italian, and the other three in Arabic. It is an exceptional a capella performance by these five, which clearly must have been recorded separately, given the lovely quality of the recording.

A view the drone-camera took from high up, looking down on the singers and the city streets beneath them.

If you scroll down in the comments under the video, you’ll find more details about the recording– and also, a translation into English of a portion of the words sung in Arabic by the fourth and fifth singers. The fourth singer is singing this:

The children of Christmas [(Bethlehem)] have two faces:
One face smiles; the other is sad.
Sadness comes out from their viscera;
It screams: We have famine.
No one’s listening.
And the scream is muffled [by the festivities].

And the fifth singer, this:

In a small cave, a poor child was born.
He proclaimed that great happiness is ahead.
That they will be “saved” from their sadness and pain.

As the Christmas season proceeds, according to both the Latinate and Orthodox calendars, I am pleased to be able to share with you these resources about the city of Jesus’s birth and some of the Christian people who still live there, despite all the hardships they face.

The post In Jesus’s birthplace, Palestinian Christians mark Christmas behind a Wall appeared first on Just World Educational.

The Growing Gap between Jordan and Israel, After 25 Years of “Peace”

Several recent incidents underscore the cooling in Jordanian-Israeli relations 25 years after the two signed the Wadi ‘Araba peace agreement. Israel’s imprisonment without charge of two Jordanian nationals of Palestinian origin during the summer led to Jordan’s withdrawal of its ambassador “for consultations” until their release last month after repeated protests. While the Jordanians languished in Israeli prison, Jordan arrested an Israeli infiltrator and, instead of turning a blind eye as had frequently happened with such incidents in the past, sent him to trial at the state security court. Nor have earlier incidents been forgotten, such as the killing of two Jordanians at the Israeli embassy in Amman in 2017 and the killing of a Jordanian judge at the crossing between Jordan and Israel in 2014.

Most significant, however, was Jordan’s decision last year not to renew the 25-year lease on Baqoura and Ghumar, two enclaves it had allowed Israel to continue to farm as part of the Wadi ‘Araba agreement. The enclaves were returned to Jordan in November despite Israel’s clear desire to extend the agreement. To get a fuller picture of the issues behind the deterioration of Jordan’s relations with Israel and their implications for Jordanian-Palestinian relations, Al-Shabaka spoke to Oraib Rantawi, the founder and director general of the Amman-based Al Quds Center for Political Studies and an Al-Shabaka policy analyst.

Three Main Factors Behind Jordan’s Fears 

Jordanian policymakers believe that Israel’s rightward trajectory is leading it in the direction of destroying the two-state solution along with the Wadi ‘Araba agreement, leaving Jordan to deal with the fallout. First and foremost, Jordan is worried about the repercussions related to the Palestinian refugees:

  • It fears it will be left alone to handle the Palestinian refugee file – a massive issue for the small, resource-scarce country to address. While the number of Jordanian citizens of Palestinian origin is believed to be three million, it is estimated that another 1 to 1.3 million hold identity papers, travel documents, or no papers at all (see fuller discussion here). That figure is greater than the number of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and Syria combined. It includes Palestinians from Gaza as well as Palestinians from the West Bank and East Jerusalem who lost their Jordanian citizenship when Jordan ceded sovereignty over those Israeli-occupied territories in the wake of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO)  declaration of Palestinian independence in 1988. 
  • It is alarmed by the efforts by Israel and the United States to redefine who is a refugee. Jordan is ready to show some flexibility on the refugee question if there is a Palestinian state as well as recognition of the right of return and compensation. Otherwise it will make every effort to hold the line against US-Israeli plans to liquidate the right of return. 

Jordanian policymakers believe that Israel’s rightward trajectory is destroying the two-state solution, leaving Jordan to deal with the fallout
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  • The talk of dismantling UNRWA is also alarming. The loss of the benefits and services provided by UNRWA – including education, health care, and food subsidies – as well as the jobs lost by Palestinians would impose major costs on Jordan.
  • Another burning question is what will become of the five million Palestinians whose homes and lands are in the West Bank and East Jerusalem if Israel successfully prevents the establishment of a Palestinian state? Would there be an effort to impose a federal or confederal state on Jordan with the remnants of the West Bank? Such an outcome would be rejected equally strongly by Jordan and the PLO.  

In the second place, the Netanyahu government has repeatedly challenged the status quo cemented by the Wadi ‘Araba agreement regarding Jordan’s custodianship of the Al-Aqsa compound in Jerusalem. There are now almost daily Israeli incursions into the compound as well as attacks on the Jordanian staff serving there as part of Israel’s effort to control and change the face of both the Muslim and Christian holy sites in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.   

In the third place, Jordan believes that Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing cohorts are much more interested in developing direct relations with the Gulf states. Israel has made it clear that it no longer needs Jordan as a buffer zone or an intermediary to the Gulf states. Indeed, both Jordan and Egypt feel they have been left out in the cold, a point driven home by Jared Kushner’s discourse on the so-called deal of the century, where much of the focus is on the Gulf and very little on Jordan or Egypt.

Jordan’s coolness toward Israel is also a reflection of the government’s need to secure popular support amidst severe popular discontent with economic conditions as well as the fear that the uprisings in Iraq and Lebanon could spread. 

Core Issues Remain Unchanged

Jordan is sending a clear message that the relationship with Israel is not one way – and not irreversible – and that Jordan cannot be excluded from regional relationships. And yet core economic and security links between the two countries are unchanged. There is still full-scale security coordination; the Israeli-Jordanian gas agreement – which is highly unpopular and which undercuts Jordan’s effort to achieve energy independence (see further background here)  – is soon going on stream; and the free trade zone between the two sides is still fully operational. 


Jordan’s coolness toward Israel is a reflection of the government’s need to secure domestic popular support
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Yet it is likely that we will see further degradation in relations. If, for example, Israel annexes some or all of the West Bank, that could be a near-terminal blow to the relationship. Apart from the fears expressed above, such an Israeli move would, among other things, erase the land that remains as a border between Jordan and Palestine, something that is unacceptable to both. At the same time, much as Jordan might like to have a severe a response, it has to take into consideration its heavy reliance on the US, which is its biggest donor to the tune of $1.6 billion annually, and also a source of political support. Similarly, aid from some of the key the Gulf states could (and is) being used to pressure Jordan to stay in line. 

Implications for Jordanian-Palestinian Relations

Jordan and Palestine are acutely aware that the danger threatens them both, and are both coming under similar economic and political pressures from the same set of actors. The Palestinian Authority (PA) currently sees Jordan as its closest ally in the region. Egypt is focused on Gaza and on securing “calm” between Hamas and Israel that could translate into a more permanent ceasefire. The Gulf states are facing their own set of issues, and Lebanon and Iraq are tackling severe crises. 


Jordan as well as the PLO/PA need to develop a plan B to counter Israel’s moves
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This leaves Jordanian and Palestinian officialdom more closely aligned and there is now daily coordination between the two. Recently, Jordan has for the first time included Palestinians from Jerusalem (including members of the Fatah Party) in the council governing the Al-Aqsa compound. Both sides should build on this to expand the effort to protect the holy sites. In another sign of increasing closeness, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh signed three memoranda of understanding with Jordan during his July 2019 visit, his first stop on an Arab tour as part of his effort to disengage the Palestinian economy from Israel’s. Ways need to be found to prevent Israel from blocking the implementation of these agreements, perhaps drawing on the backing of the European Union and its member states. 

Perhaps most importantly, Jordan as well as the PLO/PA need to develop a plan B to counter Israel’s moves. Jordan is still basing its position on the resolution of the conflict based on a Palestinian state and a just solution to the refugee problem.  While continuing to work for that solution it is imperative that Jordan at least reduce its dependency on Israel, particularly in the water and energy sectors. Efforts to expand relations with Turkey and Qatar are good steps in the right direction, but much more needs to be done to prepare to deal with all eventualities.

The post The Growing Gap between Jordan and Israel, After 25 Years of “Peace” appeared first on Al-Shabaka.

100’s of Chanukah celebrations rekindle resistance to Trump

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 24, 2019 Contact: Sonya E Meyerson-Knox | [email protected] | 929-290-0317 From BDS dreidels to “Boycott, boycott, boycott” to #LatkesAgainstTrump, Jews across the U.S. challenge Trump’s Executive Order (New York City, NY) From Seattle to Ann Arbor to Tuscon, from New York City to LA to Miami, hundreds of Chanukah celebrations were held challenging President Trump’s…

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“S” is for State Responsibility

By Raed Jarrar (@raedjarrar)

For years, many Palestine solidarity advocates have been hesitant to call for US sanctions on Israel because it has been considered too “unrealistic.” Instead, most have been calling for consumer boycotts and corporate divestments, and those who lobby the US government have mainly focused on challenging it to re-think the massive foreign military assistance it provides to Israel.

Using US-based legal frameworks, activists have been trying to pressure the US government to exercise responsible oversight of that aid. Although this oversight has never actually been applied to Israel, it is important for activists to understand what these mechanisms are, what they have the potential to achieve, and what additional new mechanisms can be explored and utilized. 

Existing mechanisms 

Since 1961, the Foreign Assistance Act (FAA) has explicitly barred the United States from providing assistance to any country that engages in gross violations of human rights. In the mid-1990s, Congress added a small but extremely important amendment to the FAA: Amendment 620M, also named the Leahy Law, after Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT), who worked tirelessly for its passage. 

The Leahy Law bars the US Department of State from providing foreign aid to security force units that have committed gross violations of human rights and mandates a vetting procedure to ensure that units have not committed such violations. A parallel, though slightly different, provision is included in the annual funding legislation that governs the Department of Defense’s portion of foreign military assistance. Nearly 100 countries around the world receive Foreign Military Finance (FMF) assistance from the US. Of the total sum allocated, Israel gets more than half– currently, $3.3 billion/year.

Failure of accountability 

A 2014 report found that between 2011 and 2013 the US government implemented Leahy Law vetting on 530,000 foreign units, ultimately finding that 2,516 of these units were credibly linked to gross violations of human rights in those years. Not one of those units was in Israel. Even more astounding is that unlike every other country in the world, the US government has no mechanism to track or vet US military aid to Israel

US government spokespeople claim that Washington complies with the requirements pertaining to training programs the US runs for Israeli units – which might be true — but the cost of these training programs is a drop in the ocean compared to the overall $3.3 billion of FMF spending. For example, in 2018, the US government spent $885,459 (using FMF) to train 66 Israelis – that is %0.02 of the FMF aid, leaving %99.98 unaccounted for. 

Oversight attempts

In February 2016, Sen. Leahy and ten other members of the US Congress wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry asking the State Department to implement the Leahy Law for units receiving US military aid in both Egypt and Israel. The letter was met with swift pushback, including from Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu himself, and the issue was never fully addressed by the US government. 

Some members of Congress, meanwhile, have been trying to draft and enact new laws to increase Israel’s accountability. One of them is Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) who introduced H.R. 2407, also known as the Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act. The bill seeks to stop one small but important subset of Israeli abuses by prohibiting any US military aid from being used “to support the military detention, interrogation, abuse, or ill-treatment of children in violation of international humanitarian law.” Realistically, however, there is little prospect that H.R. 2407 will become law any time soon. 

What can we do to hold the US government accountable if it is failing to hold itself accountable? 

The answer to this question might be a combination of continuing to pressure the US government through all the tools that have been previously utilized, and adding new options to our toolbox. This would include other mechanisms that could be employed under international law, rather than US law, by invoking nation-states’ responsibility to impose sanctions on Israel (or on the US for failing to hold Israel accountable). 

State responsibility

There are binding requirements under international law for the US and all other states to not recognize as lawful any “illegal situations,” such as Israel’s settlements outside the Green Line. This obligation prohibits not only explicit recognition of illegal settlements, but extends also to actions that would imply recognition — such as trading with these settlements. The international community and expert bodies, including the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and United Nations Human Rights Council, have long considered Israel’s settlement building outside the Green Line as unlawful, mostly because it is a clear violation of the Geneva Conventions. 

All parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention are obligated to “ensure respect” for the Convention. As a signatory to the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention, which refers to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War and defines humanitarian protections for civilians in a war zone, the US government has an obligation to “ensure respect” for the Convention which defines Israel’s settlement-building as unlawful. Other governments have an obligation to hold the Israeli government accountable, as well as the US government for its role in supporting an “illegal situation.”  

In addition, the International Law Commission (ILC), produced what is referred to as the “Draft articles on Responsibility of States for Internationally Wrongful Acts” in 2001. They are considered to be customary international law. The articles, although not specific to Israel or the US, also discuss nation-states’ responsibility to uphold and protect international law and not encourage violations of international humanitarian law. In fact, nation-states are called upon to exert their influence to stop such violations.

Putting this into practice

Operating within the binding context of state responsibility, it is incumbent upon the US government to ban all Israeli settlement goods from entering US markets. It must also prevent US-based companies from operating in these illegal settlements or trading settlement goods. By allowing settlement goods, which sustain settlements, into US markets, the US government is providing implicit recognition of the illegal creation of the settlements. By doing this, the US is also providing assistance to the illegal settlement project and contributing to the maintenance of the settlement economy, which helps finance their continued existence and expansion. The burden in this case falls on the US government — and when the US government fails to hold itself accountable, other governments should step in to stop the US and Israeli governments.

It will take an orchestrated effort by US-based activists and organizations to work with international and regional bodies, or even with other governments taking unilateral or multilateral steps, to compel the US and Israel to abide by international law.   

The same logic can be applied to US military aid to Israel that is being used to violate international law on a daily basis – it is the US government’s responsibility to vet and suspend its aid because it is contributing to an illegal situation.  If the US government doesn’t do that, other governments should step in to stop both the US and Israeli governments from violating international law. 

Getting to “S” 

Most US-based supporters of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign for Palestinian rights have focused their energies so far on the “B” (boycott) and “D” (divestment) prongs of the campaign. Pursuing the “S” has seemed like a difficult stretch if we were to define it as “Sanctions,” such as the ones that were enacted against pre-1992 South Africa for its commission of the crime of apartheid.

If we reconfigure the “S” to mean compelling the US government to fulfill its State Responsibility while dealing with Israel – or ask other governments to step in and compel the US – then we already have some of the tools needed, in both national legislation and international commitments, to push this campaign forward. In this way, adding “State Responsibility” to the movement’s toolbox can be an important asset in the campaign for Palestinian human rights.

Raed Jarrar (@raedjarrar) is a Palestinian-American political analyst and advocate. 

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Algerian protest movement update

by William B. Quandt*

On December 12, 2019, Algeria held a presidential election. Americans
may not have noticed, since hardly any news from Algeria reaches our shores. And
the election itself may turn out not to have been a very important moment. But
the larger picture of what has been happening in Algeria is certainly worth our
attention.

First the election: an ageing technocrat, Abdalmajid
Tebboune, received some 58% of the votes cast. Participants in the country’s mass
protest movement had vigorously called
for a boycott of the vote. In the end, just under 40 % of eligible voters took
part– if official figures are to be believed, which many Algerians do not.

Tebboune is very much a figure of the old guard, but with a
few possibly important differences. He has had a lot of experience in governance
at the local, provincial, and national level, having served as Prime Minister
in the last phase of the Bouteflika presidency. But he was also Algeria’s
shortest-serving Prime Minister ever. He reportedly fell out with the former
president’s brother, Said Bouteflika, when he tried to move against some of the
corrupt businessmen who were his allies and was unceremoniously dismissed after
just six weeks in office. Still, he is widely perceived as a pillar of the old
system and he will have to go quite some distance to win the confidence of most
ordinary Algerians.

The protest movement, or hirak, had called for a
boycott. These millions of Algerians who have been peacefully flooding the
streets, all across the country, each Friday since last February, were calling
for fundamental change, not a pseudo-election that they feared could bestow
legitimacy upon the same old army-backed system that has been in charge in the
country since 1962.

Since the election, there have been a few indications that both le pouvoir (that is, the powers-that-be) and some of the opposition demonstrators have been thinking about how to get out of the political impasse that has been in place for years.

Tebboune, to his credit, made some conciliatory comments in
his inaugural speech, including by noting the legitimacy of many of the hirak’s
demands. He also said that henceforth he did not want to be addressed as “Your Excellency”:  “Mister” would be just fine.  More concretely, he immediately replaced the
very unpopular Prime Minister and Minister of Interior.

It is early days to judge the reaction to these moves from
skeptical Algerians, but two currents are already visible. One, especially
prominent in the Berber-speaking areas of Kabylia, where almost no one
participated in the election, has been to reject any idea of dialogue or
negotiation with “the gang” in power. Before December 12, a popular slogan in
the weekly street demonstrations was “No elections with the gang.” Now, that
has been tweaked into “No negotiations with the gang.”  Sometimes this call is augmented with demands
that political prisoners must be released before any negotiations or dialogue,
and that the restrictions on the media that have been tightened over recent
months should first be lifted.

While these generally rejectionist views seem widespread, there is also a current of opinion being expressed by some of the oft-quoted intellectuals – academics, political figures, members of civil society groups – that reflects a shift of emphasis in the hirak’s current phase. One tendency is saying that the hirak needs to begin to establish its priorities and to develop forms of representation through countrywide deliberations. The goal here might be an eventual unified platform of demands for change in the constitution, elections to a constituent assembly, and so forth. All of that is still, however, predicated on significant gestures from the pouvoir in the form of releasing prisoners and freeing up the media.

There is clearly still some suspicion among many in the hirak that any move to “structure” the movement could prove divisive. It sometimes seems that anyone showing an inclination for a leading position or claiming to speak for the hirak is automatically suspect. We have seen something like this in other mass protest movements around the world, but in the Algerian case the distrust of anyone seeking power is profound and is exacerbated by the absence of well-established political parties. Still, at some point these very horizontal movements do need some form of structure if they are to succeed in forcing change from the highly institutionalized bureaucratic and military establishments that have dominated Algerian political life for so long.

UCP leader Zoubida Assoul (r.) listens as another hirak participant expresses her views in a street meeting.

To give you a sense for how this debate may unfold, we can look at a few excerpts from recent on -the-ground commentary.  For example, Zoubida Assoul, the president of a political group called the “Union for Change and Progress”, argued in an intra-hirak street gathering held December 20 that the hirak needs to “self organize”  and “structure itself to formalize its own platform of demands in order to block the path of any attempt at infiltration or cooptation that would destabilize or break the unity of the movement.”  (See this short video of Assoul discussing these ideas with others in a small corner of the 44th Friday street protest. As is common in Algeria, she speaks in a mixture of dialectical Arabic and French and her interaction with the crowd is interesting to watch. The images in this blog post are stills from the video.)

Another articulate commentator on current events is Amine Khene, an intellectual and former diplomat, who recently wrote his 107th short essay on the events of the past ten months.  Having noted just after the election that it changed none of the fundamentals, Khene now writes that “the formal dialogue between the people and the power holders cannot take place before the powers-that-be respond positively and with concrete actions to the demands that have been expressed for the past ten months by the popular movement.”  

It is worth noting that while Khene, along with many others such as the legendary freedom fighter Zohra Drif Bitat, forthrightly opposed the December 12 election, they also urged Algerians not to try to block those of their compatriots who chose to vote. This insistence on maintaining the peaceful and rights-respecting nature of the protests and the unity of the country has been one of the most impressive parts of Algeria’s recent experience. 

I urge anyone reading this to stay tuned, to keep an eye on what is happening in this second largest Arab country. It is possible that, somewhat along the model of Tunisia, we could see in Algeria another promising move toward a decent outcome of this inspiring example of sustained, peaceful political protest.  However, there still remain many worrisome signs that the old order will not give way without a fight.


William B. Quandt is a scholar, author, and professor emeritus in the Department of Politics at the University of Virginia. He previously served as senior fellow in the Foreign Policy Studies Program at the Brookings Institution and as a member on the National Security Council in the Nixon and Carter administrations. His areas of expertise include Algeria, Middle East issues, and U.S. foreign policy.


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New HRW report details Israeli repression of civil rights in the West Bank

HRW called on official agencies of the Israeli government, as well as social media companies, to desist from actions that encourage the violation of International Human Rights Law and deprive Palestinians in the West Bank of the protections they are due.

Bernie Sanders Escalates Attacks on Israel’s ‘Racist’ Netanyahu

Senator Bernie Sanders said this during December’s Democratic primary debate: “We must be pro-Palestinian as well…Right now in Israel we have leadership under Netanyahu, who has recently, as you know, been indicted for bribery, who in my view is a racist. What we need is a level playing field in terms of the Middle East which addresses the terrible crisis in Gaza, where 60 or 70 percent of the young people are unemployed.”