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Israel

Palestinians Eager For Statehood, But Doubt UN Can Solve Their Problems

In the towns of the West Bank, Palestinian residents are cautiously optimistic about negotiations at the UN, which could recognize Palestine as an independent state. But even if the vote does go their way, will things actually change? “Will the Israelis l

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Serge Dumont

RAMALLAH – "Do you want a flag?" young street vendors ask passersby. The campaign for independent statehood is in full swing in Ramallah and in other big Palestinian cities of the West Bank. At the crossroads, teams of T-shirt wearing youth distribute pennants and stickers to drivers. In various squares, giant boards claim this is "a historic moment" for the country. Palestine, the signs optimistically suggest, "is finally going to be recognized internationally."

The campaign symbol is a blue velvet armchair on the back of which the name "Palestine" has been embroidered in silver letters. Activists carry it around from one meeting to another, hoping it will raise public awareness about the current state of things. "Independence is within our reach," declares Hussein Nusseibeh, one of the leaders of the street protests. "According to the polls, 92% of Palestinians think our independence request to the UN will succeed. People understand that the Palestinian Authority (PA) is about to acquire a new position."

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Sergey Lavrov, Putin’s Decoy-In-Chief

The Russian Foreign Minister, among the country’s most recognizable figures, embodies both the corruption and confusion of the Putin regime. Not everything is what it seems — and that’s the point.

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov attends a diplomatic reception for heads of African diplomatic missions

Anna Akage

From the outside, one might have the impression that the Russian Federation is run through a highly complex and well-coordinated apparatus that ensures that any single cog in Vladimir Putin’s system is by definition both in synch with the other cogs — and utterly replaceable. The Kremlin appears to us through this lens as an impregnable citadel with long arms and peering eyes that are literally everywhere.

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And yet, this is a completely false picture — and there’s no greater proof than in looking more closely at one of Russia's most prominent figures, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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