Australia/Israel Review


Behind the News – November 2022

Oct 26, 2022 | AIJAC staff

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas meets Russian President Vladimir Putin at a conference in Astana, Kazakhstan (Image: Twitter)
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas meets Russian President Vladimir Putin at a conference in Astana, Kazakhstan (Image: Twitter)

Rocket and Terror report

No rockets were fired into Israel between the end of Operation Breaking Dawn on Aug. 8 and late October. A drone operating from Gaza was shot down over Israel on Oct. 11. 

Multiple shootings targeting both Israeli security forces and civilians have taken place in the West Bank and Jerusalem, including on Sept. 14, 15, 19, 27 and 28 and Oct. 2, 7, 8, 9, 11, 14 and 15. Car rammings took place on Sept. 24 and Oct. 2. Staff Sgt. Ido Baruch was killed in the Oct. 11 attack and 18-year-old female Military Police officer Noa Lazar was killed in the attack on Oct. 9. Several other Israeli soldiers, policemen and civilians were wounded in these attacks.

Multiple Palestinian assailants have been killed, wounded or detained in these attacks or subsequent IDF raids to arrest suspects. 

According to data from Israel’s Shin Bet security agency, shooting attacks increased overall by about 47% in September compared to the previous month. 

An 85-year-old woman was beaten to death in the central Israeli town of Holon in a suspected terrorist attack on Sept. 20.

Major Arab rioting occurred in Jerusalem in mid-October, employing both Molotov cocktails and fireworks, resulting in injuries to at least two police officers. 

 

Election deal between Palestinian factions 

On Oct. 13, the two main rival Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas, reached a reconciliation agreement. Signed in Algiers and mediated by the Algerian Government, the understanding is supposed to result in elections for the Palestinian parliament next year. However, several previous similar agreements failed to result in either reconciliation or new elections, and no elections have been held in the Palestinian Authority since 2006, when Hamas won a majority of parliamentary seats. 

Also in the PA, on Oct. 5, 25-year-old Palestinian Ahmad Abu Murkhiyeh was beheaded in Hebron, with footage of his execution being uploaded to social media. Murkhiyeh was part of the LGBTQI+ community and, following threats on his life, had fled to Israel and lived there and in Jordan for two years, while trying to immigrate to Canada. It is suspected he was kidnapped from Israel and taken to Hebron.

 

Mahmoud Abbas meets, praises Putin

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas used the occasion of a summit in Astana, Kazakhstan, to have a personal meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Oct. 13. Abbas told the Russian leader that he has no faith in Washington as a Mideast peace broker, saying “We don’t trust it, we don’t rely on it, and under no circumstances can we accept that America is the sole party in resolving a problem.” Abbas said that the Palestinians would only consider US mediation as part of the “Quartet”, a grouping of nations that includes Russia, adding that “Russia stands by justice and international law and that is enough for us.” Abbas is one of only a few world leaders to sit down with Putin since Russia launched its war on Ukraine in February. 

A US Administration spokesperson responded, “We were deeply disappointed to hear President Abbas’s remarks yesterday to President Putin. Russia does NOT stand for justice and international law.” 

Meanwhile, Russia hosted a several-day visit by a Hamas delegation led by leader Ismail Haniyeh in late September – a move analysts said appeared to be part of Russian efforts to pressure Israel over its stance on Ukraine.

 

Israel treats wounded Ukrainians, provides intelligence 

Israel has reportedly been sharing some intelligence with Ukraine regarding the hundreds of Iranian drones now being deployed by Russia as part of its invasion of Ukraine. 

Meanwhile, at least two severely wounded Ukrainian troops have begun to undergo advanced treatment at Israel’s Sheba hospital, part of an agreement between Israel and Ukraine to treat at least 20 wounded Ukrainian soldiers in need of prosthetics and advanced care.

Israel has come under increasing criticism from the Ukrainian Government over its ongoing refusal to provide weapons to Ukraine. 

 

Iran adds missiles to Russia aid

On top of the hundreds of drones it has sold to Russia, which reports confirm have caused havoc in Ukrainian cities, Iran reportedly finalised a deal on Sept. 18 to transfer Fateh-110 and Zolfaghar ballistic missiles to Russia. 

Western officials have also confirmed that Iranian advisers are on the ground in Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine to help train the Russians in drone use and oversee attacks on civilian infrastructure. 

 

Iran installs more advanced centrifuges

A confidential report issued in early October by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) revealed that Iran has accelerated the pace of its installation of advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges in a new underground hall at Natanz. When inspectors last visited the site on Aug. 31, the Iranians were setting up a cascade of six IR-2m and one IR-4 centrifuges, meaning 12 advanced cascades were now installed there. Teheran also told the IAEA it would introduce three additional IR-2m centrifuges. 

In recent weeks, Teheran has also renewed historical claims that the nation of Bahrain is in fact a part of Iran. State-controlled media in Iran has repeatedly been calling the small Gulf sheikhdom “Iran’s 14th province”. 

 

Israel OKs PA’s Gaza gas field export deal

After months of negotiation, Israel has reportedly reached an agreement with Egypt to allow the latter to extract natural gas from a field off the coast of Gaza on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA). The field in question, discovered in 2000, is located about 30 kilometres west of the Gaza coast, and is believed to contain more than 28 billion cubic metres of natural gas. In Feb. 2021, the Palestinian Authority and Egypt signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly develop the gas field, but Israeli agreement was required for the plan to go ahead. Reports say the deal will see production begin in 2024, and gas both sent to Egypt and exported to Europe, with the PA to receive the revenue from the exports.

Meanwhile, on Oct. 6, UK-Greek exploration and production company Energean announced a new commercial gas discovery in Israeli waters, estimated to yield 7-15 billion cubic metres. 

 

Spanish Court finds BDS inherently discriminatory 

On Sept. 20, the Supreme Court of Spain ruled that the Israel boycott movement is discriminatory and infringes basic rights. The judgment, published on Oct. 4, came after a pro-Palestinian not-for-profit association appealed a lower court ruling that had called a specific action to boycott Israel discriminatory.

While other lower courts in Spain had handed down similar decisions, the specific nature of those cases meant the rulings were of limited significance in deciding other matters. This new judgment by Spain’s highest court now sets a precedent for all future cases in that country.

 

Israeli population reaches 9.6 million

According to an annual report released in late September by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, the nation’s population has grown to 9,593,000, a growth of 187,000 or 2%, over the last 12 months. Seventy-four percent, or 7,069,000, registered as Jewish, with 21%, or 2,026,000 Arab, and the remaining 5% from neither group. New immigrants made up 60,000 of the figure, the largest number in 20 years. 

 


Stranger than Fiction

A Right Royal Conspiracy

The passing of Queen Elizabeth II was met mostly with sadness. Even people who are not particularly fond of the monarchy or Britain conceded she seemed a decent, kind person who performed her duties with great diligence and dignity.

As is often the case, however, a notable departure from civilised norms was Iran. On Iran’s Channel 1, Pejman Karimi, host of a special about the Queen’s death on Sept. 9, the day after she died, said the Queen had “left a grade sheet full of crime, abomination and filth.” Academic Foad Izadi of Teheran University’s Global Studies Department concurred, saying the Queen was “one of the greatest criminals in the history of mankind,” and perhaps “should be included in the same list with Hitler.” 

Meanwhile, that night on Iran’s Ofogh TV, Mohammad-Hassan Ghadiri-Abyaneh, a former Iranian Ambassador to Australia, took the opportunity to also air an antisemitic conspiracy theory with a royal twist. 

After repeating normal Iranian tropes about Zionists controlling the West, he claimed that according to the Talmud, Jewish women may only marry non-Jewish men if those men are wealthy and powerful, so they can transfer the wealth and power to their Jewish children. 

This, he explained, is why Kate Middleton, who he falsely claimed is Jewish, married Prince William. He warned that when they get married, Jewish women “start to have children, so that their cut of the inheritance will be bigger,” and then “hatch schemes” so “the mortality rate in the family rises.” He added that Prince Harry marrying a “somewhat coloured American woman” was also “part of their plan,” because they want William to replace Harry. Apparently, he didn’t realise William has always preceded Harry in the line of succession (All translations from the Middle East Media Research Institute).

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