May 10 to 12, 2010

– Lieberman dismisses Arab threat to boycott Mediterranean summit(11/5/2010) – Haaretz

The Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Lieberman announced he would attend the Mediterranean Summit on June 8 in Barcelona, despite the threat of an Arab boycott in case of his presence. According to Haaretz, European diplomats see this as a stronger Arab position against Israel. Indeed, A. Lieberman will not be at the head of the Israeli delegation since Prime Minister Netanyahu will also be present. The Spanish Foreign Minister who goes this week to Israel and Syria will try to change the Arab positions in order to prevent a predicted failure of the summit.

– International consensus against Iran? (Consensus international contre l’Iran ?) (10/5/2010) – Nouvelles d’Orient, blog of Alain Gresh from Le Monde Diplomatique

Alain Gresh analyzes the « international consensus » on sanctions that would be taken against Iran in June. He shows that many non-permanent members of the Security Council as Turkey but also Brazil, Lebanon, Syria and Qatar are currently engaged in active negotiations to reach a compromise before the deadline . Tehran has so far proved quite favorable to the mediation of Turkey and Brazil on the issue. China is trying for its part to minimize the scope of sanctions while the European Union and especially the United States supports tough sanctions against Iran.

– Bikini ban: Lebanon’s archaic legal system means wearing bikini a no-no(10/5/2010) – Telegraph

In Lebanon, some laws still date from the Ottoman and French periods. So is the a law from 1941 which prohibits women from wearing two-piece bathing suits or from going to the beach. The fine is 250 Syrian-Lebanese pounds, a currency that no longer exists. While this prohibition could be issued in accordance with certain conservative tendencies at work in Arab societies today, it reveals above all the static nature of the Lebanese legal system, especially regarding the laws on personal status.

– The proximity talks in the Middle East open on a misunderstanding (Les pourparlers indirects au Proche-Orient s’ouvrent sur un malentendu ) (9/5/2010) – Le Monde with AFP and Reuters

The United States has warned that Israeli and Palestinian sides that they would be held responsible for any attempts to undermine the negotiations. The State Department’s spokesman Philip Crowley has ensured that both sides had made efforts, Mahmoud Abbas not to play the provocation and Benjamin Netanyahu to halt construction in Ramat Shlomo – an Israeli settlement in the outskirts of East Jerusalem. But an Israeli official immediately denied this supposed commitment of the Prime Minister, showing from the beginning the weakness of the process.