"According to international law, Israel holds the property of more than four million Palestinian refugees in custodianship, until a final peace deal determines whether some or all of them will be allowed back to their 400-plus destroyed Palestinian villages or are compensated for their loss. But last week, in a violation of international law and the refugees’ property rights that went unnoticed both inside Israel and abroad, Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, forced through a revolutionary land reform."
A Jewish-born Israeli has been elected to the governing body of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party. Uri Davis, 66, an academic who is married to a Palestinian, is an outspoken critic of what he calls Israel's "apartheid policies".
As the only Israeli member of the Revolutionary Council he says he wants to represent non-Arab people who support the Palestinian cause.
The US has won a ruling at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) against China's restrictions on the import of American DVDs and other media products. The WTO ruled that China's current policy of only allowing the goods to be imported by state-run organisations broke global trade agreements.
However, the WTO upheld China's limits on the distribution of US films, and made no ruling on Chinese censorship.
A settlement is expected to involve the disclosure to U.S. authorities of thousands of names of wealthy American clients suspected of using offshore accounts to conceal assets and evade taxes. Authorities had sought the names of 52,000 people, but it is unclear how many names might be revealed.
"The ugly Israeli" in the guise of the arms dealer (mostly former intelligence and military officials), who promotes weapons sales on behalf of Israeli military industries, with the backing of the defense establishment, have given Israel a bad name world-wide. Israelis have been involved in civil wars (in Angola, Liberia, Sierra Leone and the Ivory Coast) and in aiding dictatorial regimes such as in Equatorial Guinea and the two Congo republics.
Israel has been placed a dismal 141st out of 144 on a list of the world’s most peaceful countries, beating just Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia.
Countries which ranked higher in the 2009 Global Peace Index included Sudan, Zimbabwe, Lebanon, North Korea, and Iran.
Israel scored poorly for a high level of “organised conflict”, and poor relationships with its neighbours. It was also given a very low score for the perceived level of “respect for human rights.” Israelis were also given low marks for their “perception of distrust in others”.
Israel has always fared poorly in this particular index: it ranked fifth from last in 2008, and just third from last in 2007.
Britain has accused Israel of allowing extremist Jewish settlers to disrupt attempts at relaunching the peace process after police evicted more than 50 Palestinians from their homes in Jerusalem.
As Jewish settlers moved into the Palestinian homes, the British consulate said it was appalled by the evictions, which took place a few hundred yards from the diplomatic mission, after an Israeli court decided in favour of the settlers.
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