A No vote at the UN is a Yes vote for Israeli-Palestinian peace

A No vote at the UN is a Yes vote for Israeli-Palestinian peace

September 2, 2011 | Allon Lee

Australia should vote against any United Nations resolution that attempts to replace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians as the only route to Palestinian statehood.

If a “Yes” vote produced a Palestinian state that resolved all the issues of borders, refugees, settlements, and Jerusalem, Israel would be the first to support it.

Unfortunately, as it stands, the resolution the Palestinians are seeking absolutely will not help end the conflict and will almost certainly exacerbate it.

 

Boycotters' free expression costs businesses plenty

Boycotters’ free expression costs businesses plenty

August 27, 2011 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

If the boycotters had been peacefully promoting their cause to the public, however concerning their beliefs, they would not have broken any laws. However, this was not the case. They have repeatedly chosen to act riotously and aggressively, screaming hateful slogans, illegally blocking the entrance to Max Brenner, scuffling with police and creating a scene that would deter any reasonable person from entering — not for political reasons but because any sensible person would tend to steer clear of an aggravated mob clashing with police outside a cafe.

In fact, footage from the protests shows an entirely empty food court in what is normally a busy shopping centre: the boycotters were not only scaring customers away from Max Brenner but from the other shops and restaurants in the area.

The City of Peace is the subject of a Conference of Hate in Doha

‘Virtual’ Palestinian state could lead to actual disaster

August 22, 2011 | Colin Rubenstein

THE Palestinian Authority’s plan to unilaterally seek United Nations recognition of nominal statehood cannot lead to anything good for either Palestinians or Israelis.

It is unlikely to result in significant progress towards a genuine Palestinian state, and could produce several highly negative consequences.

 

To mediate Middle East peace, Obama must first regain trust

July 25, 2011 | Geoffrey Levin

It appears that for the first time, neither Arabs nor Israelis trust the President of the United States to advocate their interests. A recent poll by the Arab American Institute has recorded a significant decline in support for Obama’s Middle East policies. In all six of the Arab countries surveyed, Obama’s ratings were at 10% or less, making Obama’s policies less popular than those of George W. Bush or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, largely due to disappointment Obama has failed to keep the promises of his 2009 Cairo Speech in the context of the Arab Spring. In addition, majorities in all six countries surveyed said “Obama’s handing of the Palestinian issue had worsened US-Arab relations”, and many consider him to be too pro-Israel. Conversely, a May 2011 poll showed only 12% of Israeli Jews believe that President Obama is pro-Israel, while 40% labeled him pro-Palestinian, as many Israelis have grown more suspicious of the American leader.

UN call will not end this crisis

UN call will not end this crisis

June 27, 2011 | Sharyn Mittelman

The Palestinian Authority is busily lobbying European nations to support a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state by the United Nations this September. The reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah appears to be targeted towards the same end. As such, it is worth considering what the outcome of such a move would be. Would it create a Palestinian state in accordance with international law? Would it end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

Gaza flotilla blind to Hamas

Gaza flotilla blind to Hamas

June 24, 2011 | Arsen Ostrovsky

NEXT week a flotilla carrying so-called activists from various countries under the guise of “humanitarian concern” will set sail for the Gaza Strip, determined to break what they call “the siege of Gaza”. Four Australians, including former Greens MLC Sylvia Hale, will be aboard.

This latest anti-Israel provocation comes on the anniversary of last year’s ostensibly “humanitarian” flotilla which, likewise, sought to breach Israel’s legal naval blockade of Gaza.

During that incident, nine Turkish passengers on board the Mavi Marmara died following a premeditated and vicious attack on Israeli soldiers by a group of shipboard activists.

Last year’s flotilla was organised by the Turkish group IHH, which has extensive links to Islamist terror groups, including Hamas. Although IHH has now pulled out of the upcoming flotilla, citing “technical reasons”, it has nonetheless been extensively involved in its preparations.

In a press release a few weeks ago, the Australian contingent said their goal was to “break the Israeli blockade of Gaza”.

They believe that “Gaza will not be free so long as the Israeli siege destroys the territory’s economy”.

No, Gaza will not be free so long as Hamas continues to control the Gaza Strip. But then again, there was not a single mention of Hamas in their press release. Why?

 

Where is the compromise

Where is the compromise, Mr Abbas?

May 30, 2011 | Arsen Ostrovsky

On May 24, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a historic address to a joint meeting of the US Congress, saying he was willing to “make painful compromises”, including relinquishing “parts of the ancestral Jewish homeland”, in pursuit of peace with the Palestinians.

Netanyahu acknowledged that, “a Palestinian state must be big enough to be viable, independent and prosperous”. However, as US President Obama recently noted, the border will have to be different to the 15-kilometre ceasefire line that existed prior to Israel’s defensive war of June 1967.

Simply put, Israel cannot return to those indefensible borders.

 

Reality missing in Obama map

Reality missing in Obama map

May 21, 2011 | Colin Rubenstein

US President Barack Obama’s speech outlining US Middle East policy in the wake of the Arab Spring movements was a watershed, detailing US support for reforms and democratisation.

However, its section on Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts unfortunately weakened several important points with flaws that may impede peace prospects.

 

Gillard shouldn't give our money to terrorists

Gillard shouldn’t give our money to terrorists

May 13, 2011 | Arsen Ostrovsky

ASKED in July 2009, in the aftermath of the Gaza War, if Australia would deal with the Palestinian government if Hamas were to be included, Julia Gillard was unequivocal in her response: “Hamas obviously is a terrorist organisation that has been engaged in violent actions against the Israeli people, and in order to be part of any process it needs to completely renounce that violence.”

So it should stand to reason that following the announcement last week that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah group and rival Hamas had agreed to end their long-standing feud and form a unity government, the Australian government must re-assess its relations with the Palestinian Authority.

But in Tuesday night’s budget, it was announced that “Australian aid to the Palestinian territories and Palestinian refugees in surrounding regions will double to around $70 million per annum by 2012-13”.

Included within that, is money that will go directly to the PA to “improve its operations and assist in the delivery of services”.

 

Hamas and the Ceasefire Failure/Proportionality and Gaza

The Fatah-Hamas agreement is no “peace pact”

May 10, 2011 | Arsen Ostrovsky

Professor Amin Saikal’s one-sided ode to Hamas, published on The Drum, overlooks one issue – that Hamas is a terrorist organisation which refuse to recognise Israel’s right to exist.

Saikal would have us believe that “Hamas has emerged as a pragmatic Islamist movement” and that therefore Israel and the international community should embrace Hamas as a negotiating partner.

If Hamas is pragmatic, then I would not like to imagine what an extremist group looks like. Perhaps a brief reminder as to Hamas’s raison d’être is in order.

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