Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

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Tunnels provide yet more evidence of Hamas’ use of ostensibly civilian buildings for military purposes

Tunnels provide yet more evidence of Hamas’ use of ostensibly civilian buildings for military purposes Author: Robert Ellenhorn Categories: Israel, Palestinians, Terrorism, Updates    

As the war in Gaza moves into its fourth week, additional information about Hamas' extensive network of underground tunnels is beginning to surface. One thing that has become increasingly clear is that, in keeping with Hamas practice, the entrances to many tunnels are located in clinics, homes, and mosques (Some evidence of this Hamas policy was discussed by Sharyn Mittelman in a previous post). Meanwhile my post yesterday contained additional video evidence of sniper fire and rocket storage at Gaza's al-Wafa hospital - which is also alleged to have contained a terror tunnel complete with fake IDF uniforms to carry out terror attacks.

Videos and photos everyone should see if they want to understand the Gaza conflict Author: Robert Ellenhorn Categories: Israel, Multimedia, Updates    

Both footage released by the Israeli Defence Forces and reporting by other outlets in recent days have exposed plainly Hamas' strategy of firing and storing rockets in civilian areas - particularly schools, hospitals and mosques. Also coming to light through the release of video clips are the efforts Israel has tried to take in order to minimise civilian casualties.

AIR

More evidence Gaza casualty figures are unreliable Author: Or Avi-Guy Categories: Israel, Palestinians, Terrorism, Updates    

My recent blog post pointed out how casualty data from Gaza is unreliable, noting that the Hamas-controlled Health Ministry is the main source of information about casualties in Gaza. In yet more evidence that commonly employed casualty claims are unreliable, it has now been shown that the al Jazeera casualty list includes numerous duplicate names.

Hamas’ other terror tactic: intimidating foreign journalists

Hamas’ other terror tactic: intimidating foreign journalists Author: Gabrielle Debinski Categories: Anti-Zionism, Israel, Media/ Academia, NGOs, Palestinians, Terrorism, Updates    

As the conflict between Israel and Hamas enters its third week, foreign journalists are increasingly flocking to the region, reporting from both Gaza and within Israel. In addition, more and more accounts of intimidation and abuse towards foreign journalists stationed in the Strip, both via social media as well as from Hamas operatives on the ground, are emerging.

In recent weeks several foreign journalists have released details of threats, intimidation and blackmail directed against them in the wake of their reporting on the reality as they see it in Gaza. Much of this abuse has stemmed from journalists' coverage of Hamas' tactic of firing rockets into Israel from civilian institutions or highly populated civilian areas. At the same time, reports relating to Hamas' use of Gaza's Shifa hospital - the largest and most important in the Gaza Strip - as a ‘hotbed' for storing weapons and launching rockets has also elicited intimidation from Hamas operatives in Gaza - as well as threats and abuse from pro-Palestinian advocates online.

The Last Word: Propagation of Poison

The Last Word: Propagation of Poison Author: Jeremy Jones Categories: Antisemitism, Australasia, Europe, Israel    

In a march through Sydney streets which I had the misfortune to encounter, I saw children waving banners which both accused Jews of being as bad as Nazis and implying the Nazis were not so bad after all, observed Greens and Labor Party activists associating with placards and slogans supporting Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad, witnessed a Christian clergyman and self-described Jews walking in front of placards asserting that Islam will one day triumph over all non-believers and heard vocal calls for an existential battle which would end Jews once and for all.

Updates

Media Microscope: Foreign correspondents Author: Allon Lee Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians    

It is far from scientific, but the quality of local television and radio coverage of the latest Hamas-Israel war seemed to dip when it relied upon foreign news services.

Two reports from Jeremy Bowen, a long time senior BBC reporter, were yet further reminders of why his anti-Israel reporting has long generated controversy.

The Murder Game

The Murder Game Author: Liel Leibovitz Categories: Israel    

If you've been following global reporting out of Israel recently, you know that, on July 2, a Palestinian youth was burned alive after three young Israeli yeshiva students were found murdered two days earlier, as the demons of nationalism and violence have plunged the bearded zealots on both sides into a grim whirl of death and bereavement.

British Commander: "Israel had no Choice"

British Commander: "Israel had no Choice" Author: Arsen Ostrovsky Categories: Israel, Palestinians    

Col. Richard Kemp is a former commander of British Forces in Afghanistan and one of the most highly decorated and respected officers in the British army. He has spent over 30 years fighting terrorism in the UK and around the world, including serving in overseas missions with NATO and the United Nations, commanding troops in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, and Macedonia, and participating in the Gulf War.

That makes him amply qualified to comment on the current hostilities between Israel and Hamas, which entered a new phase with an Israeli ground incursion into Gaza on July 18.

The Implications of Hamas' Attack Tunnels

The Implications of Hamas' Attack Tunnels Author: Jonathan D. Halevi Categories: Palestinians    

Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas Prime Minister, delivered a revealing speech on March 23, 2014, in which he stressed the strategic importance of the Hamas attack tunnels, which, he argued, have changed the balance of power with Israel, when taken together with his organisation's military build-up. In the meantime, the IDF's war against the tunnels continues. On July 21, IDF forces thwarted another terror attack after two groups of Hamas operatives (numbering about ten) infiltrated from Gaza to Israel through a tunnel, apparently on their way to carry out a mass casualty attack at Kibbutz Erez and/or Kibbutz Nir Am.

Why Hamas wanted a war

Why Hamas wanted a war Author: Harel Chorev Categories: Palestinians    

Unlike in the past, the latest escalation of violence between Hamas and Israel is not another tactical and limited round. It is instead part of a new strategic direction taken by Hamas in an effort to capitalise on the circumstances created by the July 2 murder of a Palestinian youth, apparently by Jewish extremists, in Jerusalem. In so doing, Hamas intended to create a meaningful change in its difficult geopolitical, economic, and intra-Palestinian position.

Gaza War - Again

Gaza War - Again Author: Amotz Asa-El Categories: Israel, Palestinians    

Escalation was quick. What began with the abduction on June 12 of three Jewish teenagers, and the discovery of their bodies on June 30, resulted in the arrests of Hamas activists throughout the West Bank and intensified rocket barrages from Gaza on Israel - while Jewish extremists kidnapped and murdered a Palestinian boy on July 1, thus unleashing riots in east Jerusalem.

Scribblings: Proportionality Again
Boko Haram's brutal attacks get little attention

Scribblings: Proportionality Again Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Africa, Iraq, Israel, Palestinians    

In Nigeria, on July 19, the Boko Haram terror group reportedly took the town of Damboa, gunned down everyone they saw and burned most of the town to the ground. At least 100 people were killed - but the death toll may actually be considerably higher. Know about that one?

Further, more than 15,000 people were displaced over a few days around July 19-20 by Boko Haram attacks. It is estimated that at least 2,000 civilians have been killed in Boko Haram attacks this year.

Of course none of these tragic situations lessens the suffering of Gazans, or are themselves, a justification for Israel's action there (however, there are ample others).

Editorial: Hamas’ War Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: Israel, Palestinians    

With the decision on July 22 by most airlines to suspend services to Tel Aviv, the stakes of Israel's military confrontation with Hamas were taken to an unprecedented level.

With the termination of this vital lifeline for Israel, no longer can it be claimed, even by those most cynical of Israel, that the missile defence system Iron Dome - as revolutionary and life-saving as it is - has neutralised Hamas' rocket threat and obviated the need for Israel to use force to respond to Hamas' rocket strikes.

Such arguments were always weak.

Letter in The Age: Under threat Categories: Israel, Op-eds, Palestinians    

Your editorial (''Might overwhelms the right to defend'', 23/7) was inflammatory. Hamas, a terrorist organisation proscribed by many nations, including Australia, initiated this conflict by escalating rocket attacks across Israel. It rejected Israel's overtures to de-escalate, as well as three Arab ceasefire proposals Israel accepted. Hamas positions its military assets - rockets, launchers, weapons, command centres and tunnel entrances - amid civilian homes and buildings, even mosques, schools and hospitals; a war crime.

Hamas makes civilian casualties a tragic certainty
Hamas rocket damage in Israel

Hamas makes civilian casualties a tragic certainty Author: Glen Falkenstein Categories: Israel, Op-eds, Palestinians    

More than 2,200 rockets have been fired by Hamas and other terrorist groups from the Gaza Strip into Israel since July 8, and the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) have responded by attacking terrorist targets in Gaza.

Israel initially countered the rocket fire by telling Hamas, "quiet will be met with quiet", yet Hamas continued to fire rockets. Israel also accepted a ceasefire proposal by Egypt, backed by the Arab League and the Palestinian Authority (PA), which on July 15 was rejected by Hamas.

Hamas Accepting Ceasefire is Key

Hamas Accepting Ceasefire is Key Author: Glen Falkenstein Categories: Israel, Op-eds, Terrorism    

THE difference between Israeli and Hamas tactics in the current Gaza conflict has been acknowledged by no less an authority than the Palestinian Ambassador to the UN Human Rights Council, Ibrahim Khraishi, who recently stated: "I am not a candidate in any Palestinian elections, so I don't need to win popularity among the Palestinians. The missiles that are now being launched against Israel, each and every missile constitutes a crime against humanity, whether it hits or misses, because it is directed at civilian targets."

AIR
Hamas’ targeting of Ben Gurion airport has large implications

Hamas’ targeting of Ben Gurion airport has large implications Author: Robert Ellenhorn Categories: Israel, Terrorism, Updates    

Reports emerged on Wednesday of a Hamas rocket, fired into Israel that landed within 2 kilometres or so of Israel's Ben Gurion International airport. This prompted a US Federal Aviation Association (FAA) ban on American based airlines flying to the airport just outside of Tel Aviv as well as the cancellation of flights by other international airlines. Air traffic to and from Israel was reduced almost exclusively to El-Al flights, which continued operating - leaving thousands of travellers stranded. While the FAA ban was lifted today, the closure has both immediate and longer-term implications.

The Tunnel Dilemma

The Tunnel Dilemma Categories: Israel, Palestinians, Updates    

Tonight’s Update focuses solely on Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in the wake of Israel's ground penetration into Gaza and, more specifically, the need to destroy the extensive Hamas tunnel network, snaking into Israel, that is at the heart of the Israeli incursion.

Why Gaza "civilian casualty" numbers should be taken with a grain of salt Author: Or Avi-Guy Categories: Israel, Palestinians, Terrorism, Updates    

One of the most often cited criticisms of Israeli military operations is the supposedly disproportionate civilian death toll, which is all too often based on unreliable or heavily biased sources.Several detailed analyses of the actual casualty figures confirm that it is clear that Israel is definitely not indicriminately targeting Gazans - despite the rhetoric one often hears about the Palestinian casualties.

Updates
Memo to ABC, SBS: Al-Jazeera has a conflict of interest

Memo to ABC, SBS: Al-Jazeera has a conflict of interest Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: Gulf states, Israel, Palestinians, Updates    

The integrity of coverage of the current fighting between Hamas and Israel by Australia's national broadcaster, ABC, and its sister organisation SBS, has been compromised by their problematic and repeated use of reports by al-Jazeera, an organisation owned by the government of Qatar.

Biased against Israel in its coverage even at the best of times, al-Jazeera must be seen as having an egregious conflict of interest when it comes to the Israel-Hamas conflict, because Qatar is currently the biggest funding source for Hamas, and, together with Turkey, had been actively shilling a ceasefire plan that transparently serves Hamas' interests.

In first interview Netanyahu explains to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Israel’s war aims

In first interview Netanyahu explains to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Israel’s war aims Author: Gabrielle Debinski Categories: America, Israel, Middle East, Palestinians, Terrorism, United Nations, Updates    

On July 20, Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, gave his first formal media interview since Israel launched ‘Operation Protective Edge' in response to incessant Hamas rocket fire just over two weeks ago.

The full interview can be viewed here.

Speaking to CNN reporter, Wolf Blitzer, Netanyahu talked extensively for almost fifteen minutes about the objectives of Israel's operation, which has seen over 40,000 Israeli soldiers and reservists called up to deter Hamas from continuously firing rockets at Israeli cities from what has become a terrorist enclave in the Gaza Strip.