A new diplomatic row between the United Nations and Israel has erupted, albeit over an old issue. In a briefing to the UN Security Council on Tuesday, Mideast envoy Nicolay Mladenov called Israeli building on land conquered in the 1967 war, colloquially “settlements,” the primary obstacle to peace between Israel and the Palestinians, who claim the land for their future state. Israelis, meanwhile, rile at the suggestion that what they see as neighborhoods in its capital, Jerusalem, are being labeled as settlements, which a growing number of Israelis fail to see as problematic in any case. Mladenov’s comments triggered angry responses from Israeli officials who insist, as did Prime Minister Netanyahu through a spokesman, that “Jews have been in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria for thousands of years and their presence there is not an obstacle to peace…The obstacle to peace is the unending attempt to deny the Jewish People’s connection to parts of their historic land.” The Palestinians, though, see the ongoing development of post-1967 lands as the dwindling of the area that will, at some point, be home to the Palestinian state. In another maelstrom of angry response, livid Israelis across the political spectrum have condemned the comments by Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh which were seen as disparaging to the Ethiopian immigrant community and to Arab Israelis. Speaking to the Israeli Bar Association, Alsheikh said of the two population sectors that, “When a police officer encounters a suspect, it’s natural for his brain to suspect him more than he would have if (the suspect) were someone else, it’s natural.” He went on to explain that, “In all criminological studies worldwide, it has been proven that immigrants are more involved in crime than others, it shouldn’t surprise.”
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