Jerusalem: Is the two-state solution dead?

We ask Ambassador Husam Zomlot about the future of the peace process, and debate the rise of the far right in Europe.

In this week’s UpFront, we speak with the head of the Palestinian General Delegation to the US, Husam Zomlot, about the announcement on Jerusalem by US President Donald Trump and its effect on the Palestinian Authority’s ties with the US. 

In Reality Check, we look at the disparity between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.   

And in the Arena, we debate how serious a threat the rise of the far right poses to liberal democracy in Europe.

Headliner: “Jerusalem is the make it or break it”

This week US President Donald Trump formally recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, breaking with decades of US policy and disregarding warnings from the international community.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas rejected the announcement and said the US could no longer be a mediator in peace talks.

So, what effect does this have on the two-state solution?  And what does this mean for the US as a mediator between the two parties? 

“They [the Trump administration] aimed a shot at the heart of the two-state solution, which is Jerusalem,” says Husam Zomlot, the head of the General Delegation of the Palestine Liberation Organisation to the US. “The two-state solution, from the US point of view and mediation, is dead.” 

In this week’s Headliner, the leader of the Palestinian US delegation, Husam Zomlot, discusses the ramifications of Trump’s Jerusalem announcement. 

Reality Check: Australia – are some more equal than others?

Australia was recently elected to join the United Nations Human Rights Council. But with that victory came criticism from human rights organisations over the treatment of the country’s indigenous communities. 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians have long suffered under discriminatory policies, and unlike the US, Canada and New Zealand, the Australian government does not have an official treaty with its first peoples. 

In this week’s Reality Check, we look at how Australia has some of the best human and economic indicators, but also examine the disparities within the country and the harsh realities for many of Australia’s Indigenous peoples. 

Arena: Is Europe’s far right a threat to democracy?

From France’s National Front to Germany’s Alternative for Germany (AfD), to the neo-Nazis of Golden Dawn in Greece, far-right populists are grabbing the headlines and seem to be on the rise across Europe. 

In November, tens of thousands of people, including both Islamophobes and anti-Semites, joined a nationalist march in Poland that erupted in violence. So, are Europe’s liberal values under assault, at risk from the far right, or is that an exaggeration? Are some on the left guilty of crying wolf?

“There is absolutely no threat to liberal democracy in Europe,” says David Goodhart, author of The Road to Somewhere: The Populist Revolt and the Future of Politics.

“I think there is such a tendency among the kind of, the liberal moral panickers, as I would call them, to regard all expressions of cultural and social loss as some form of xenophobia and racism, and I think this is extremely destructive. And let’s talk about, though, what is the legitimate delineation. I mean, I think racism is the obvious delineation. And I think mainstream populist parties are not racist.” 

Sasha Polakow-Suransky, author of Go Back to Where You Came From: The Backlash Against Immigration and the Fate of Western Democracy, believes a real threat exists. 

“I’m not arguing that liberal democracy has disappeared or is disappearing tomorrow, I’m arguing that there’s a dangerous trend throughout Europe, and we need to pay attention to it,” Polakow-Suransky says.

He adds: “I would argue that white nationalists are a threat to this country, the United States, and to many European countries because they can present themselves as natives who are valiantly defending the homeland against the invading hordes.” 

In this week’s Arena, David Goodhart and Sasha Polakow-Suransky debate whether the rise of the far right in Europe is real and if the future of liberal democracy is at risk. 

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