On construction within settlements, Israel maintains policy
February 14, 2017 | Ahron Shapiro
In a follow-up to my previous blog on Israel’s West Bank settlements from late last month, I examine a second round of approvals for around 3,000 more housing units in the settlements that was announced approximately a week later.
What’s of particular note is that, although this announcement from January 31, like the previous one from January 24, occurred after the inauguration of Donald Trump, it remained consistent with Israel’s settlement policy for over a decade – largely avoiding significant expansion of construction in settlements outside of the settlement blocs Israel is expected to retain in any future peace agreement through the use of land swaps with the Palestinians.
Freedom in the World 2017: Israel a leader in a dismal and worsening Middle East region
February 8, 2017 | Shmuel Levin
The US based Freedom House think-tank has released the initial findings of its annual Freedom in the World report. The report analyses the state of political and civil freedoms, as well as the state of governance frameworks, in each country around the world, based upon a “combination of on-the-ground research, consultations with local contacts, and information from news articles, nongovernmental organizations, governments, and a variety of other sources.”
When historical facts become unacceptable – the effects of UNESCO Resolutions on Jerusalem
February 2, 2017 | Shmuel Levin
“It’s clear as the sun is clear that the Temple [in Jerusalem] which was demolished by the Romans, is a Jewish temple.”
Seems straightforward, doesn’t it?
Yet, in today’s post-truth world, such historical facts are no longer acceptable in some official Palestinian circles.
Fatah and Hamas announce unity – for at least the eighth time
February 1, 2017 | Shmuel Levin
In recent weeks, much has been reported about a proposed Fatah-Hamas unity government. “Fatah and Hamas to form unity government” reads the headline from Al-Jazeera. However, this headline falls short on two accounts. First, this new reconciliation attempt is only the latest of multiple similar reconciliation attempts – we count eight previous times in all, below. Second, it is very unclear that any real and meaningful reconciliation agreement has in fact been reached this time round.
How the Middle East has reacted to Trump
January 27, 2017 | Shmuel Levin
President Trump’s first days in office have been met with a wide range of responses from Israel and the broader Middle East.
ABC crosses the line on settlements again
January 27, 2017 | Ahron Shapiro
Over the course of several years, I’ve blogged on several occasions about how the Australian media has exaggerated on a variety of issue related Israeli settlements in the West Bank (see here, here and here). Now, the ABC has provided some classic examples of such distortion with recent stories and an analysis piece that appeared on their website in recent days.
Hanan Ashrawi’s problems with truth and consistency
January 13, 2017 | Gareth Narunsky
Last year, I accompanied a group of journalists on a study tour of Israel and the West Bank. One of our engagements was a meeting in Ramallah with Palestinian spokeswoman and founder of the organisation Miftah, Hanan Ashrawi.
Australia and historical revisionism at Turtle Bay
December 13, 2016 | Allon Lee
Over many decades, Australian governments, of both political persuasions have shown great leadership in looking at the merits of United Nations General Assembly resolutions, opposing or abstaining on the most pernicious and one-sided anti-Israel ones, rather than falling into line with the majority.
So it is disappointing that one resolution called “Jerusalem” (A/RES/71/25), which cries out for Australia to vote “no”, has seen us choosing to abstain.
‘Palestinian children’ petition just more Israel-bashing
December 9, 2016 | Ahron Shapiro
A recent Parliamentary petition regarding the Israel Defence Force’s handling of arrests of Palestinian minors is fundamentally wrong for its misleading allegations and its self-serving omissions, but especially because it exploits Palestinian youth for political gain.
This is ironic, because it represents another form of immoral exploitation of Palestinian youth – that of the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank – that motivates the youth involved to commit the violence that gets them arrested in the first place.
Senators in glass houses
November 29, 2016 | Tzvi Fleischer
When an attempt by a member of the Jewish community to book a council venue for an event featuring One Nation Senators Pauline Hanson and Malcolm Roberts was rebuffed by the Council for operational reasons, Senator Roberts accused the Council of antisemitism, of all things, in a post on his Facebook page. Not only was this claim bizarre, what is even more worrying is that this post, and others on his page about the event and the Council decision, attracted many comments that were themselves blatantly antisemitic, and that the Senator was content to let most of these remain on his page, without even a comment.