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01 Jan

News and Analyses, A Foreign Perspective

French peace push is a new ‘Dreyfus trial’, says Israel’s Lieberman

© Gali Tibbon, AFP |Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman addresses a press conference at the Knesset in Jerusalem on May 4, 2015.

Text by NEWS WIRES

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Monday criticised an upcoming Middle East peace conference organised by France, calling it a new “Dreyfus trial” and urged French Jews to move to Israel.

Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Monday criticised an upcoming Middle East peace conference organised by France, calling it a new “Dreyfus trial” and urged French Jews to move to Israel.

Representatives of around 70 countries are due to attend the January 15 conference aimed at restarting long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.

Israel has strongly opposed it, instead calling for direct talks with the Palestinians.

Representatives of around 70 countries are due to attend the January 15 conference aimed at restarting long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.

Israel has strongly opposed it, instead calling for direct talks with the Palestinians.

s is not a peace conference. It’s a tribunal against the state of Israel,” Lieberman told members of his Yisrael Beitenu party, according to a recording released by the party.

“A conference whose whole point is to harm the security of Israel, its good name — a trial against Israel.”

“It’s a Dreyfus trial in a modern version, what they’re preparing there in Paris for January 15, with one difference. Instead of one Jew being on trial, it will be the entire Jewish people and the state of Israel.”

Alfred Dreyfus was a French Jewish army captain wrongly convicted in 1894 of espionage and treason whose ordeal became a symbol of injustice and anti-Semitism.

On Sunday, Lieberman also urged French Jews to move to Israel, saying it would be the most appropriate and “only answer we can give that plot (conference)”.

After naming recent attacks in France targeting Jewish residents, he said the conference “adds to that atmosphere, and it might be time to tell the Jews of France: ‘That’s not your country, it’s not your land, leave France and come to Israel’.”

“If you want to stay Jewish and keep your children and grandcildren Jewish, leave France and move to Israel.”

Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat, a former peace negotiator, told AFP that France aims through the conference to revive the peace process and throw its weight behind “a two-state solution”.

The conference will follow Friday’s UN Security Council resolution demanding that Israel halt settlement building in Palestinian territory, a vote that has deeply angered the Israeli government.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials have responded with especially harsh language to the resolution which passed after the United States abstained from voting.

By deciding not to veto the move, the United States enabled the adoption of the first UN resolution since 1979 to condemn Israel over its settlement policy.

Peace efforts have been at a standstill since a US-led initiative collapsed in April 2014.

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US politics >>

Washington DC and London among 30 cities rallying against ‘politics of fear’ on day after inauguration

Women protest against Donald Trump outside the president-elect’s tower in New York city.

Women protest against Donald Trump outside the president-elect’s tower in New York City. Photograph: Erik McGregor/Barcroft

| Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman addresses a press conference at the Knesset in Jerusalem on May 4, 2015.Text by NEWS WIRES Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Monday criticised an upcoming Middle East peace conference organised by France, calling it a new “Dreyfus trial” and urged French Jews to move to Israel.

Representatives of around 70 countries are due to attend the January 15 conference aimed at restarting long-stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts.

Israel has strongly opposed it, instead calling for direct talks with the Palestinians.

s is not a peace conference. It’s a tribunal against the state of Israel,” Lieberman told members of his Yisrael Beitenu party, according to a recording released by the party.

“A conference whose whole point is to harm the security of Israel, its good name — a trial against Israel.”

“It’s a Dreyfus trial in a modern version, what they’re preparing there in Paris for January 15, with one difference. Instead of one Jew being on trial, it will be the entire Jewish people and the state of Israel.”

Alfred Dreyfus was a French Jewish army captain wrongly convicted in 1894 of espionage and treason whose ordeal became a symbol of injustice and anti-Semitism.

On Sunday, Lieberman also urged French Jews to move to Israel, saying it would be the most appropriate and “only answer we can give that plot (conference)”.

After naming recent attacks in France targeting Jewish residents, he said the conference “adds to that atmosphere, and it might be time to tell the Jews of France: ‘That’s not your country, it’s not your land, leave France and come to Israel’.”

“If you want to stay Jewish and keep your children and grandcildren Jewish, leave France and move to Israel.”

Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat, a former peace negotiator, told AFP that France aims through the conference to revive the peace process and throw its weight behind “a two-state solution”.

The conference will follow Friday’s UN Security Council resolution demanding that Israel halt settlement building in Palestinian territory, a vote that has deeply angered the Israeli government.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli officials have responded with especially harsh language to the resolution which passed after the United States abstained from voting.

By deciding not to veto the move, the United States enabled the adoption of the first UN resolution since 1979 to condemn Israel over its settlement policy.

Peace efforts have been at a standstill since a US-led initiative collapsed in April 2014.

After a year of seismic shocks comes the protest and fightback. At least that is what activists plan with the first major demonstration of the year – the women’s march – planned for 30 cities around the world on 21 January, the day after Donald Trump’s inauguration as president of the US.

The women’s march on Washington has been given permission by state authorities to go ahead. Tens of thousands of women (and men, who are also welcome to join it) have already pledged to take part and plans for a sister rally in London are gaining support from writers, musicians and politicians.

Organisers say the US election proved a “catalyst for a grassroots movement of women to assert the positive values that the politics of fear denies”.

In the UK the Women’s Equality party has thrown its weight behind the march. “I am a dual national and voted for Hillary Clinton in Wisconsin,” said the party co-founder, Catherine Mayer.

“I will march with my father, a US citizen, who during his time as a conscript in the US army came under investigation by Senator Joseph McCarthy for supposed un-American activities. In fact he was and remains a US patriot who will march to promote the values essential to the US: democracy and the human rights of the whole population,” she said.

“For me the march is also important because it recognises how interconnected our world is. What happens in America impacts all of us. The rights of women and of minority populations and vulnerable and low-income people are under threat and we must do everything we can to protect these rights and fight for true equality.”

Musician Pixie Geldof, writer Stella Duffy, activist Jack Monroe and US rock musician Thurston Moore are supporting the London march, while in the US organisers claim that many of the musicians who have refused to play at Trump’s inauguration will join them.

“I’m supporting this march because I don’t want to be a bystander to the politics of fear, division and aggression that defined crucial votes in the UK and the US in 2016,” said Geldof.

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Security council passes resolution welcoming effort to end five-year civil war brokered by Moscow and Ankara

Russian ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin (top, centre) addresses the security council

Russian ambassador to the UN Vitaly Churkin (top, centre) addresses the security council at UN headquarters on 31 December. Photograph: Jason Szenes/EPA

The UN security council has unanimously adopted a resolution welcoming efforts by Russia and Turkey to end the nearly six year conflict in Syria and jump-start peace negotiations.

The resolution approved on Saturday afternoon also calls for the “rapid, safe and unhindered” delivery of humanitarian aid throughout Syria. It anticipates a meeting of the Syrian government and opposition representative in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana, in late January.

The resolution’s final text dropped an endorsement of the Syria ceasefire agreement reached on Thursday, as western members of the council sought changes to the circulated draft resolution to clarify the UN’s role and the meaning of the agreement brokered by Moscow and Ankara.

Turkey and Russia say the talks in Astana aim to supplement the UN’s peace efforts, rather than replace them. They want to involve regional players such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan.

Washington is conspicuously absent from the new process, but Moscow has said it hopes to bring Donald Trump’s administration on board once he takes office in January.

Syrian rebel groups said they would consider a ceasefire deal brokered by Russia and Turkey “null and void” if government forces and their allies continued to violate it.

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Planned Parenthood supporters clash with an anti-abortion demonstrator in Kansas City.

Planned Parenthood supporters clash with an anti-abortion demonstrator in Kansas City. Photograph: John Sleezer/AP

Planned Parenthood has asked a federal judge to stop Texas from cutting it from the state’s Medicaid program, which the country’s largest abortion provider says would reduce health services for nearly 11,000 low-income women.

The request to US district judge Sam Sparks was filed late on Friday in Austin and is part of an ongoing lawsuit filed last year.

Texas is one of several Republican-controlled states that have sought to deny Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood following the release of secretly recorded and heavily edited videos by an anti-abortion group last year.

Investigations by 13 states into those videos, which claimed to show Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of fetal tissue, have concluded without criminal charges, and Planned Parenthood officials have denied any wrongdoing.

A Houston grand jury indicted two activists behind the videos over how they covertly gained access inside a Planned Parenthood clinic. A judge later dismissed the charges.

Federal judges have stopped Arkansas, Alabama, Kansas and Mississippi from similarly excluding Planned Parenthood from Medicaid reimbursements in wake of the videos. Texas is set to cut off Planned Parenthood as early as 21 January, unless Sparks grants an injunction.

Sparks had previously set a hearing in the case for 17 January.

“Courts have unanimously prevented these terminations and agreed that preventing Medicaid enrollees from obtaining care from the qualified provider of their choice violates federal law,” attorneys for Planned Parenthood wrote in their request for an injunction.

Aides to Republican Texas attorney general Ken Paxton did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

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