Australia’s 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper
December 4, 2017 | Sharyn Mittelman
The 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper seeks to navigate Australia’s great uncertainties and challenges in international relations – from China’s rise to the perceived US retreat, regional interests, forces of protectionism and nationalism overseas, and the weakening of the international rules based order. Regarding areas of particular interest to AIJAC, the White Paper discusses issues including Australia’s support for Israel and the two state outcome, multiculturalism, the Iran nuclear deal known as the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), the threat of Islamist terrorism and Australia’s role at the United Nations.
How to Understand John Lyons’ “memoir” Balcony Over Jerusalem
November 17, 2017 | Ahron Shapiro
The recently published book by John Lyons, Balcony Over Jerusalem: A Middle East Memoir (co-written with Lyons’ wife, Sylvie Le Clezio) is being billed as a “memoir” of Lyons’ six years as Middle East correspondent for the Australian newspaper, from 2009 until January 2015…
However, on anything to do with Israel and the Palestinians, it becomes very unlike a memoir. Lyons’ book goes far beyond simple reporting and reminiscences and instead sets out to make arguments and judgments that nearly uniformly are devoted to criticising Israel, its Jewish citizenry and the country’s national character.
Follow the money: Counter-terrorism and terror financing
November 9, 2017 | Shmuel Levin
A new book co-authored by Nitsana Darshan-Leitner and Samuel M. Katz reveals that Israeli security services have made attacking terror finance a major part of their counterterrorism efforts for more than 15 years under the codename “Operation Harpoon”…
The terror tunnels are back
November 1, 2017 | Shmuel Levin
The Israel Defence Forces have discovered several new terror tunnels emanating from Gaza and crossing into Israel.
Australia joins UNHRC: Can Canberra help catalyse badly needed UN reform?
October 18, 2017 | Sharyn Mittelman
Australia has achieved a significant international win in being elected to join the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for a three-year term starting in January 2018. However, Australia may face great challenges in promoting its agenda for human rights at the UNHRC, as the Council has long been marred by politicisation and undermined by the election of members who are serial human rights offenders, and not human rights advocates.
Ha’aretz reveals claims about major settlement expansion are wrong
October 17, 2017 | Ahron Shapiro
Talking about building settlements and actually building them are two different things. It’s an important distinction that isn’t made often enough.
Conspiracy theories about the Kurds and the Mossad
October 11, 2017 | Shmuel Levin
In the wake of Kurdistan’s recent independence referendum, all manner of creative accusations have emerged alleging that the referendum was part of a secretive Israeli and/or Jewish conspiracy. Admittedly, Israel has been supportive of an independent Kurdistan, but Kurdish national aspirations predate Israel’s existence. The Kurds were first promised an independent state in the 1920 Treaty of Sevres, following World War One.
The Kurdistan referendum – the aftermath
October 4, 2017 | Shmuel Levin
As discussed here on FreshAIR a few weeks ago, despite significant opposition, Iraq’s Kurds proceeded on 25 September with an independence referendum resulting in an overwhelming ‘yes’ vote of 93%. The referendum was opposed with near-unanimity from multiple countries, including most prominently, Turkey, Iraq, and Iran. Now these countries are threatening retaliation.
Settlement housing construction plummets to five-year low
September 15, 2017 | Ahron Shapiro
In January, coinciding with the inauguration of US President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s government advanced plans for thousands of new homes in Jewish neighbourhoods of east Jerusalem as well as the West Bank (the vast majority within settlement blocs.)
Yet since then – according to the latest figures released by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, actual housing starts have dropped to its lowest point in five years.
Strangely, the media has been silent about this disparity.
The crackdown on Palestinian freedom of speech – and why you probably haven’t heard about it
September 14, 2017 | Shmuel Levin
In the last few months, the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza have been busy. In the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority has introduced a new “ban on websites”. Like all laws passed since 2007, the new Electronic Crimes Law was passed in July 2017 by presidential decree without consultations with Palestinian civil society or the public.