Report

U.N. Security Council Rejects Palestinian Statehood Resolution

The U.N. Security Council on Tuesday rejected a Palestinian draft resolution calling for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories by the end of 2017 and a peace deal with Israel within a year.

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The U.N. Security Council on Tuesday rejected a Palestinian draft resolution calling for an end to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories by the end of 2017 and a peace deal with Israel within a year. The draft called for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with negotiations based on the 1967 borders. The measure received eight yes votes, but needed nine to pass. The United States and Australia voted against it, while five countries, including Britain, abstained. U.S. envoy Samantha Power called the draft “deeply imbalanced” and said, “We voted against it because…peace must come from hard compromises that occur at the negotiating table.” With the failure at the Security Council, Palestinian officials said President Mahmoud Abbas plans to join the International Criminal Court, where the Palestinians could push for war crimes proceedings against Israel.

Syria-Iraq

The U.S. military has begun training a first wave of Iraqi recruits, who officials say will be ready to fight against Islamic State militants by mid-February. The military plans to train 5,000 new recruits every six weeks. On Tuesday, Iran and Iraq’s defense ministers met in Tehran and signed an agreement that could formalize Iran’s support for Iraq’s army. Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for U.N. Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura said he will be represented at talks between Syrian government and opposition figures in Moscow on January 26-29. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the talks would be a “warming up” for a possible third round of negotiations in Geneva.

Headlines

  • A suicide bombing and a second explosion killed up to 33 people in the central Yemeni city of Ibb at a Shiite celebration including Houthi supporters.
  • Saudi Arabia’s 90-year-old King Abdullah was admitted to a hospital Wednesday to undergo medical testing.
  • Beji Caid Essebsi was sworn in as Tunisia’s new president Wednesday, pledging a commitment to national reconciliation and to protect the country.
  • Protesters clashed with security forces after Bahrain extended the detention of opposition al-Wefaq leader Sheikh Ali Salman and the U.N. high commissioner for human rights called for his release.
  • Turkey’s top judicial board has suspended four prosecutors who initiated a graft investigation in Dec. 2013, which has since been dropped, against President Erdogan’s inner circle.
  • A fire at Libya’s el-Sidr oil port has destroyed up to 1.8 million barrels of oil meanwhile a suicide car bomber targeted the parliament in Tobruk wounding 11 people.

Arguments and Analysis

2014: The Sisification of Egypt’ (Amr Khalifa, Daily News Egypt)

“If your wishes for 2014, in Egypt, included respect of human rights, a civil state and respectable judiciary, the year was an efficient delivery system of pain. The stark reality that this dark turn in history delivered, to analysts and dissidents alike: the majority of Egyptians prefer to exalt in Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s iron-fisted glory. This ‘fist’ has seen Egypt arrest over 10,000 Egyptians this year alone, including hundreds of minors. When Mubarak was, recently, found innocent of charges of killing protesters, in yet another dark twist, two more protesters were killed while protesting the verdict. The 25 January Revolution seems an increasingly hazy historical relic in an era of extreme political dichotomies. Such is a refusal that any narrative outside the government line exists that, two weeks ago, a man was arrested for possession of magic markers in the bathroom of a mosque: accused of writing anti-regime messages. The world stands idly by, for various reasons, and watches the ‘Sisification’ of Egypt in 2014.”

+972’s Story of the Year: Gaza’ (Samer Badawi, +972 Magazine)

“I blame this on a growing gap between Gazans’ perceptions of their reality and those of outside observers. Most people I met in Gaza view their struggle as part of a larger Palestinian resistance, forcing Israelis and the rest of the world to reckon with the realities of a brutal military occupation. That its brutality is more extreme in Gaza — after all, no Israeli commander could order the strafing of Jerusalem or of settlement-bound Ramallah — is a source of pride. It is pained, to be sure, but not at all defeatist. No, there is a palpable sense of defiance in Gaza, despite the killing, despite the siege.

But this is hardly the narrative the rest of the world hears or propagates. No matter your take on Hamas, chances are you view the people of Gaza as hapless, powerless victims: at best, they are hostage to ‘ruthless’ militants; at worst, they are militants themselves, hell-bent on lobbing rockets at Israel — and for seemingly no reason at all. Either view is cynical, for it denies agency to the very people at the heart of Gaza’s story.”

Sisi Is Persecuting, Prosecuting, and Publicly Shaming Egypt’s Gays’ (Bel Trew, The Daily Beast)

“Since the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, the authorities have launched the harshest crackdown on the LGBT community since the days of toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak, as the country’s ‘morality police’ look to boost their popularity ratings with the conservative Egyptian public.

There have been at least 50 cases similar to the bathhouse raid in the last 18 months, human-rights groups estimate. This means more than 150 gay and transgender people are languishing in the country’s jail cells despite the fact that, technically, homosexuality is not illegal in Egypt.”

— Mary Casey-Baker

Kena Betancur/Getty Images

<p>Mary Casey-Baker is the editor of Foreign Policy’s Middle East Daily Brief, as well as the assistant director of public affairs at the Project on Middle East Political Science and assistant editor of The Monkey Cage blog for the Washington Post. </p> Twitter: @casey_mary