Union sanctions not helping the Palestinians

October 18, 2010 | Bren Carlill

The upcoming BDS resolution at the ACTU is both sad and absurd. All Australian unionists in favour of Israeli-Palestinian peace will either vote against the resolution, or unwittingly prolong the conflict.

Creativity and realism required for success in Middle East talks

September 3, 2010 | Colin Rubenstein

YESTERDAY in Washington, President Barack Obama formally launched the resumption of direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians after a 19-month hiatus. International expectations for the talks are low because there appear to be a number of factors that make peace breakthroughs seem unlikely. Yet other factors offer room for cautious optimism for modest progress.

Iran “vulnerable” to sanctions

July 29, 2010

IRAN is much more vulnerable to pressure than the West realises, and ratcheting up the pressure with sanctions may halt its nuclear weapons program, according to an Israeli specialist on Iran. The European Union’s history with Iran taught it that it could mock the West, but sanctions passed on Monday had real teeth, Emanuele Ottolenghi of the Foundation for the Defence of Democracies said in Melbourne yesterday.

Broken dreams in the promised land

July 24, 2010 | Bren Carlill

EHUD Barak and Yasser Arafat, smiling broadly, jostled before the world’s cameras to see who could enter the door last. It was Camp David, the US presidential retreat in Maryland, and the world waited as the Israeli and Palestinian leaders attempted to conclude a permanent peace agreement. This weekend marks 10 years since those talks ended in failure, and when measured against the thousands of lives since needlessly lost, it’s hard to remember that people were actually hopeful about their success.

How to Support – and Improve – Israel

July 22, 2010 | Colin Rubenstein

Julie Szego’s column entitled “The Need for a Critical Diaspora” (July 2) placed entirely too much uncritical faith in the arguments of American author and journalist Peter Beinart. She fails to take adequate account of the outcome of the intense and interesting debate that has ensued in America since Beinart’s essay, “The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment” was first published in mid-May. In particular, Szego seems unaware that critics have shows that much of the empirical basis of Beinart’s key claim is just plain factually wrong.

The Truth about Gaza… and its wider significance

June 16, 2010 | Colin Rubenstein

The tragic events of May 31 – when 9 Turkish blockade runners were killed in a clash with Israeli troops at sea – has focused attention on the current situation in Gaza. Unfortunately, much that is being said about the history and current reality of that unhappy territory is poorly informed. Crowded, resource-poor Gaza has never been a particularly pleasant place to live. Slated to be part of a Palestinian state under the 1947 UN partition plan, when the Arab states followed up their rejection of the plan with a military attack, Gaza ended up under neglectful Egyptian military rule. When Israel captured it in the 1967 war, the area was dirt poor, with unemployment topping 40%, and average GDP per capita around US$150 per year.

Of Blockades and Blockheads

June 15, 2010 | Allon Lee

Why are supposed human rights activists so quick to attack Israel but never make a squeak against the anti-peace Hamas regime that persecutes women, Christians and homosexuals? Why does the Gaza flotilla bloodshed automatically cancel out the moral and legal imperative of maintaining Israel and Egypt’s blockade of the Hamas-ruled Strip? These are the two questions that must be answered by those seeking to rollback the internationally sanctioned blockade of the Gaza Strip of materiel that can be used for military purposes. Fuel, medicines, gas, electricity and food have never stopped flowing into Gaza.

Blockade will end when Hamas wants peace

June 8, 2010 | Bren Carlill

If Israel is forced to lift the blockade, the unintended result will be the death of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. If Hamas “beats” Israel and successfully arms like Hezbollah, ordinary Palestinians will believe violence (the Hamas path) is better than negotiations (the Fatah path). Fatah will either collapse or return to wholesale violence, putting peace efforts back 30 years.

Israeli videocams show the naked truth of what happened

June 7, 2010 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

There are lessons to learn from the flotilla incident beyond the geopolitical fallout and legality of blockades. This incident vividly demonstrates the next step in 21st century warfare.

Violent stunts prolong Gaza’s suffering

June 4, 2010 | Colin Rubenstein

A blockade [of Gaza] to prevent the re-arming of an enemy is an absolutely legitimate and recognized method of armed conflict – and Israel has provided all the required notifications to comply with international law.

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