• irvsafdieh

U.N Got Nothin’ on Me, Teva on Life Support, Ni Hao Technion


U.S. Vetoes U.N. Resolution Condemning Move on Jerusalem

Michael Schwartz and Rick Gladstone, New York Times, December 18th 2017

Recap:

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) demanded the Trump administration rescind its decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. American Ambassador Nikki Haley vetoed the resolution and criticized the UNSC for forcing America to “defend its sovereignty.”

The Context:

  • Last Month, US President Donald Trump announced his intentions to move the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, reversing decades of American policy and angering Palestinians as well as the majority of the UN. The administration said the move “recognizes the obvious” and Israel praised the United States for the decision.

  • The one-page resolution did not identify the US by name but reiterated the UNSC view that no country should establish an embassy in Jerusalem until Israeli and Palestinians achieve peace. Palestinians seek eastern Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

  • 14 UNSC members backed the resolution [1] including Britain, France, Italy, Japan and Ukraine [2]. In response, America cast its first veto in six years saying “we do it with no joy, but we do it with no reluctance [3].”

  • British Ambassador Matthew Rycroft called the US Jerusalem stance “unhelpful to the prospects for peace,” while French Ambassador Francois Delattre argued that “without an agreement on Jerusalem, there will be no peace accord” between Israel and the Palestinians [4]. The Palestinian Authority’s (PA) President, Mahmoud Abbas canceled a meeting with Vice President Mike Pence and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) announced it would no longer accept the US as a partner in the peace process.

  • The US is the primary Palestinian benefactor, providing over $5 billion in assistance since 1994. The US also funds 30% of the UNRWA budget, a Palestinian aid organization [5].

  • Along with the UK, France, Russia, and China, the US is a permanent member of the UNSC, with the power to block any resolution from passing with the use of a veto [6].

Conversation Points:

  • Is Jerusalem’s status the central impediment to peace in the region? If so, why did Palestinian leaders reject East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital in previous peace negotiations?

  • Is the draft resolution against the Jerusalem decision a stance against Israel or a stance against Trump?

  • Will the Trump administration tolerate the PA biting the hand that feeds?

Teva Rejects Netanyahu’s Request to Keep Jerusalem Plants Open

Shoshanna Solomon, Times of Israel, December 19th 2017

Recap:

Israeli drugmaker Teva rejected a government request to keep its Jerusalem plants open. The company’s restructuring will result in the reduction of 14,000 positions worldwide and the loss of 1,750 jobs in Israel –25% of Israel’s Teva workforce [7]. “For Teva to remain an Israeli company and continue to prosper in Israel, we must first and foremost save our company,” said CEO Kåre Schultz.

The Context:

  • Teva is one of the world’s largest generic drug makers and one of Israel’s largest employers. Its stock, which has lost more than half of its value since January, was once known as “the people’s share” because of its prominence in Israeli pension funds [8].

  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon beseeched Teva to close a manufacturing plant in Ireland instead of one in Jerusalem that employs 800 people [9]. Schultz rejected the request but said he would work alongside the Israeli government to find new work for fired employees.

  • Protestors demanded that the government halt the tax breaks it grants Teva, which total $6.3 billion since 2006 [10]. The government will not punish Teva for its cost-cutting plan.

  • An investor group emerged this week that could buy part of the company’s Israel operations and preserve hundreds of jobs [11].

Conversation Points:

  • Should a government exert pressure on a non-governmental company? Does the answer change if a business receives financial incentives from the government?

  • As the head of an international company headquartered in Israel, does Schultz have a heightened responsibility to preserve jobs on Teva’s home turf?

  • Would Schultz have had more difficulty executing Teva’s cost cutting plan if he were Israeli? (Schultz is Danish)

Technion Becomes First Israeli University to Open Campus in China

Shiri Moshe, Algemeiner, December 19th 2017

Recap:

The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology became the first Israeli university to inaugurate a campus in China. The Guangdong Technion Israel Institute of Technology (GTIIT) is the result of a 2013 partnership between Technion and Shantou University.

The Context:

  • The campus is the brainchild of Hong Kong investor and philanthropist Li Ka-Shing, who donated $130 million to launch the school. The Chinese government also contributed $147 million.

  • Over 200 undergraduate students are currently enrolled in their first year at GTIIT, studying chemical engineering, materials engineering, biotechnology and food engineering. The site includes 13 buildings, 29 classrooms, and over 60 laboratories. 3,000 students are expected to attend over the next decade [12].

  • In September, the Technion, in collaboration with Cornell University, opened a high-tech teaching and research center on New York’s Roosevelt Island [13].

Conversation Points:

  • Why did Technion choose to open its school in Shantou instead of Shanghai, Beijing or Hong Kong?

Notes:

  1. Palestinians slam US veto on Jerusalem resolution, Al Jazeera, December 18th 2017

  2. US vetoes Security Council bid to reverse Jerusalem recognition, RAPHAEL AHREN, TIMES OF ISRAEL, DECEMBER 18TH 2017

  3. US VETOES UNSC RESOLUTION CALLING ON TRUMP TO WITHDRAW J'LEM RECOGNITION, HERB KEINON, JERUSALEM POST, DECEMBER 18th 2017

  4. US vetoes Security Council bid to reverse Jerusalem recognition, RAPHAEL AHREN, TIMES OF ISRAEL, DECEMBER 18TH 2017

  5. US VETOES UNSC RESOLUTION CALLING ON TRUMP TO WITHDRAW J'LEM RECOGNITION, HERB KEINON, JERUSALEM POST, DECEMBER 18th 2017

  6. Palestinians slam US veto on Jerusalem resolution, Al Jazeera, December 18th 2017

  7. Teva CEO turns down PM's demands, Tal Schneider, Shiri Habib-Valdhorn, and Yuval Azulai, Globes, December 19th 2017

  8. Israel's Netanyahu to Try Persuading Teva Chief to Limit Firings, Yaacov Benmeleh, Bloomberg, December 19th 2017

  9. Ibid.

  10. Ibid.

  11. Teva in Crisis: Group of Investors May Offer to Buy Part of Teva’s Israel Operations, Yoram Gabison, Hagai Amit and Zvi Zrahiya, Haaretz, December 19th 2017

  12. Technion opens Israel’s first university campus in China, JTA, December 19th 2017

  13. Ibid.