Behind the 'Palestine' vote

Behind the ‘Palestine’ vote, a paradox

December 6, 2012 | Ahron Shapiro

In order to fully understand all the implications of the upgrade of Palestinian status to non-member observer state at the United Nations, it is worthwhile to begin by revisiting their more ambitious first attempt to bring Palestinian UN membership to a vote in the United Nations Security Council last year.

At the time, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas rejected the notion of bringing a resolution to the General Assembly naming “Palestine” a “non-member state” as too weak a gesture – not worth the damage such a move would cause the PA, especially regarding US aid.

Palestine's spurious UN bid relied on some unsavoury supporters

Palestine’s spurious UN bid relied on some unsavoury supporters

December 4, 2012 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

“Mr President: independence, freedom, the right to self-determination; these are principles that have been enshrined in the United Nations Charter.” Those words were spoken by Daffa Alla Elhag Ali Osman, the Sudanese Ambassador to the UN as he introduced the draft resolution at the General Assembly to recognise the non-member state of Palestine.

Nothing could better signify the absolute farce taking place before the representatives of the international community than the government of Sudan pontificating about justice and human rights. As Osman spoke, the government that he represents was busy waging a brutal campaign to deny the Nuba people the rights to independence, freedom and self-determination.

Voting for "lawfare"

Voting for “lawfare”, not Palestinian statehood

November 30, 2012 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

It appears that Australia chose to abstain from the UN General Assembly’s vote to upgrade the status of the Palestinian delegation from “observer” to “non-member state”. This was reportedly due to lobbying from within the Labor Party – particularly by former foreign minister Gareth Evans – to the effect that Australia would be on the “wrong side of history” if it were to “resist the tide of international sentiment now in favour of recognising Palestinian statehood”.

Palestine's future lies in negotiations with Israel

Palestine’s future lies in negotiations with Israel, not UN

November 28, 2012 | Mark Leibler

BARRING a last-minute change of heart, tomorrow the UN General Assembly will vote on upgrading Palestine’s representation in the forum to the status of non-member “observer state”.

On these pages, former foreign minister Gareth Evans (November 24) encouraged Washington, and by implication Australia, to support the measure.

Evans notes, correctly, that the resolution will certainly pass, given the automatic pro-Palestinian majority in the General Assembly, and that it contains little extreme language.

Yet no matter how you sugar-coat it, this resolution is a poison pill for the peace process. It should not be supported by any country that supports the creation of an independent Palestinian state living in peace alongside a secure Israel.

Hamas the real villain in attacks on friends and foe

Hamas the real villain in attacks on friends and foe

November 23, 2012 | Sharyn Mittelman

Now the terms of a ceasefire have been agreed upon, Israel hopes this means the rockets from the Gaza Strip will stop, despite the fact rockets have already been fired into Israel from Gaza since the ceasefire came into effect.

But, when a ceasefire was negotiated between Israel and Hamas in 2009, it did not bring an end to rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza. In fact, even before this conflict hundreds of rockets were launched at southern Israel this year alone, disrupting and terrifying the lives of Israelis who had to flee to bomb shelters on a regular basis.

US Election: The International Puzzle

US Election: The International Puzzle

November 1, 2012 | Colin Rubenstein

US voters are presented with a stark contrast between the foreign policies of the two candidates. Each has pros and cons, but what is the best approach for Australia and Israel?

Israel poll misleads

October 29, 2012 | Colin Rubenstein

As anyone acquainted with Israel and its people can attest, the conclusions of the poll of Israelis reported on in the Herald seem puzzling (”Poll finds Jewish Israeli support for segregation”, October 25). However, detailed scrutiny of the poll data and questions reveals that, in fact, the poll itself is methodologically questionable, and the interpretation being placed on its data even more so.

As in every other country with minorities, social gaps and some discrimination exist in Israel. But the government, high court and civil society are achieving much to reduce both…

Carr gives Middle East process a shot in the arm

Carr gives Middle East process a shot in the arm

September 6, 2012 | Colin Rubenstein

During his recent visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority, Australia’s Foreign Minister Bob Carr showed true statesmanship by giving the moribund Middle East peace process a shot in the arm.

Stressing the need to ”bring the two parties together”, Carr met with Israeli and Palestinian leaders in Jerusalem and Ramallah, nudging the Palestinian Authority back towards the negotiating table and emphasising the need for a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians negotiated directly between themselves.

We still need race hate laws

We still need race hate laws

September 3, 2012 | Colin Rubenstein

OUR society is founded on civility, tolerance and fair opportunity for all people, regardless of religion, racial or ethnic origins, to achieve their maximum potential.

This is why it is a fundamental concern that Australia’s laws against public expressions of racial hatred are being targeted for dilution or even repeal.

Shameful rejection betrays the Olympic ideal

Shameful rejection betrays the Olympic ideal

August 10, 2012 | Sharyn Mittelman

The London Olympic opening ceremony should have commemorated the 40th anniversary of the murder of 11 Israeli Olympic athletes, killed by the Palestinian terrorist group ”Black September” at the 1972 Munich Olympics. Shamefully it did not. An official Olympic commemoration was rejected despite a global petition to hold a minute’s silence at the opening ceremony to remember the Munich victims, a campaign supported by world leaders including Prime Minister Gillard and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott, and numerous national parliaments, including Australia’s.

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