In Brief: PA expects first vaccine shipment as Israel aims for 250,000 jabs a day

The Palestinian Authority said on Tuesday that the first shipment of covid vaccines – which had been expected “within days” – had been delayed until mid-February for “technical reasons”. Last week, the PA health ministry granted emergency approval for the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine. It is one of four providers with which the PA has signed contracts. Israel has already approved Ramallah’s request for the[…]

In Brief: Labour calls for new approach to Iran and tougher nuclear deal

A new tougher nuclear deal with Iran is needed, the shadow Middle East minister Wayne David has argued. In a piece for The House Magazine, David calls for the incoming Biden administration to rejoin the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and offer Iran relief from the crippling sanctions imposed by Donald Trump, arguing that the US has approach has[…]

In Brief: Abbas announces Palestinians will vote in new elections this year

Mahmoud Abbas has fired the starting gun on presidential and parliamentary elections in the West Bank and Gaza – 15 years after Palestinians last went to the polls. The Palestinian president signed a decree on Friday scheduling parliamentary elections for 22 May. Presidential elections will follow two months later on 31 July, with a vote for the Palestinian National Council  – the PLO’s elected[…]

In Brief: US bill with $250m boost to Israel-Palestine peacebuilding becomes law

The US Congress has passed a historic bill which will provide a $250m boost to coexistence work in Israel-Palestine, as well as Palestinian economic development. The legislation, which received bipartisan support, was signed after days of prevarication by Donald Trump between Christmas and the new year. It is a major victory for the Alliance for[…]

In Brief: Outgoing Labor leader Amir Peretz won’t stand in new Israeli elections

The outgoing Labor leader Amir Peretz announced today that he won’t stand in the Israeli general election scheduled for 23 March. Peretz announced he was quitting as Labor leader shortly after new Knesset elections were triggered last month following the government’s failure to pass an annual budget. Peretz controversially broke a pledge last spring not[…]

Analysis: How Israel came to lead the global vaccination drive

Israel continues to lead the world in the speed of its coronavirus vaccine rollout programme. Less than one month after Benjamin Netanyahu became the first Israeli to receive the covid-19 immunisation jab, the country has vaccinated over 22 percent of its population. By the start of this week, nearly three-quarters of Israelis over the age of 60 had been[…]

Analysis: After Israel’s Morocco deal – what next?

Morocco last week became the fourth Arab country in as many months to announce it would be normalising its relations with Israel. The announcement formalises relations between the two countries which the Moroccan foreign minister described over the weekend as “already normal”, and, given the ancient ties between the Jewish people and the North African[…]

In Brief: Hezbollah member gets five life terms for murder of former Lebanese PM

A United Nations special tribunal last Friday sentenced a member of Hezbollah to five life sentences for his role in the 2005 assassination of Lebanese prime minister Rafiq al-Hairi. Hairi (pictured), who was murdered in a bomb attack on his motorcade, had been attempting to curtail Syrian influence in Lebanon. The Iranian-backed Hezbollah terror group,[…]