What does Hamas really believe?

What does Hamas really believe?

January 11, 2012 | Sharyn Mittelman

Recently Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas claimed that Khaled Meshaal, the Hamas leader in Damascus, agreed during reconciliation talks between Fatah and Hamas on December 22, that “there will be no military resistance” and also agreed that “the permanent solution is on the ‘67 borders.” Abbas and Meshaal also agreed to a new temporary leadership for the PLO, for the first time in tandem with Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

However, it is unclear both the extent to which Meshaal accepts what Abbas said they agreed to and more importantly, whether Meshaal is speaking for Hamas – as many in Hamas have openly denied this new strategy, suggesting a rift between the Hamas leadership in Syria and the Gaza strip.

Palestinian rights activist confirms Hamas puts terror bases in civilian areas

Palestinian rights activist confirms Hamas puts terror bases in civilian areas

January 10, 2012 | Allon Lee

A Palestinian human rights activist has inadvertently confirmed what Israel has always insisted, that terrorist groups live, train, operate and run riot throughout the Gaza Strip’s residential neighbourhoods.

In a piece written for the Palestinian website Maan, Gaza human rights activist Mahmoud Abu Rahma reveals that the “resistance movements” are so entrenched and widespread in residential areas that civilians are suffering frequent injuries because of their activities.

 

Israel – a leader in disaster planning

Israel – a leader in disaster planning

January 9, 2012 | Sharyn Mittelman

Israel has assumed the unwanted role as a world leader in developing medical technology and planning to prepare for disasters, and its innovations are being studied and disseminated to other countries to save lives.

In one example, American politician Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head and almost killed a year ago, but an Israeli-made bandage is credited with stopping her bleeding. Today she is alive and on the road to recovery.

Dr. John Cohn, a Professor of medicine and assistant professor of pediatrics at Thomas Jefferson University, recently wrote about his visit to Israeli medical centres to learn about their medical disaster management plans on a program now in its eighth year run by the Disaster Management Division of Israel’s Ministry of Health…

Observing the massacres in Syria/ Understanding the Muslim Brotherhood

“Observing” the massacres in Syria/ Understanding the Muslim Brotherhood

January 6, 2012

Today’s Update features two pieces on the situation in Syria, where 20 civilians were reportedly killed yesterday, bringing the death toll close to 6,000 according to rebel leaders, despite the presence of a team of Arab League observers in the country.

First up is David Kenner of Foreign Policy, detailing the fact that the head of the Arab League observers mission, Sudanese Gen. Mohammad Ahmed Mustafa al-Dabi, is himself alleged to have been involved in genocide in Darfur. The allegations are that General al-Dabi was responsible for creating the Arab “Janjaweed” militias responsible for most of the massacres there. Kenner makes it clear that given this and other problems with the Arab League mission, which he discusses, “Syrians are still very much alone.”

Turkey admits to massacre

Turkey admits to massacre, world yawns

January 6, 2012 | Sharyn Mittelman

A news story which received little coverage in Australian media surrounds the tragic news that Turkey committed a massacre that killed 35 civilians in an air strike into Iraq near a Kurdish village along the Turkish border on 28 December 2011.

Turkey has admitted that the attack was an error. Turkey claimed that it intended to target suspected Kurdish militants, but that the victims turned out to be civilians not terrorists. The victims of the attack are believed to have been villagers involved in smuggling cigarettes into Turkey from Iraq.

The attack was one of the deadliest attacks since the PKK took up arms in 1984 in a conflict in which more than 40,000 people have been killed.

Naama brings into focus the debate about gender and religion in Israel

Naama brings into focus the debate about gender and religion in Israel

January 5, 2012 | Sharyn Mittelman

The issue of public gender discrimination and harassment in Israel has received significant media coverage both in Israel and abroad.

It began with recent controversies over women singing in a ceremony for the Israeli army, which was boycotted by religious soldiers, and the informal gender segregation on some buses in ultra-Orthodox (haredi) areas. (See a previous blog post on these issues.)

It has now been compounded by an interview with an eight year old Orthodox girl from Beit Shemesh, Naama Margolis, who was visibly shaken when she talked about her fear of walking to school due to the harassment she has been subjected to by some ultra-Orthodox Jews who have insulted and harrassed her for being dressed ‘immodestly’.

Naama said: “When I walk to school in the morning, I used to get a tummy ache because I was so scared that they were going to stand and start yelling and spitting”.

The harassment that Naama experienced has rightfully been strongly condemned by both Israeli political and religious leaders.

The Media is the Message

The Media is the Message

January 4, 2012 | Tzvi Fleischer

A young Italian journalist named Ruben Salvadori has prepared a film about how he and other photojournalists reporting from the West Bank not only report what they see but help to create the clashes and dramatic scenes which helps them sell photographs…

Don't throw stones!

Don’t throw stones!

December 23, 2011

Two recent stories in the Australian newspaper by Middle East correspondent John Lyons – “Stone cold justice” (Weekend Australian Magazine, Nov. 26) http://tinyurl.com/6puavp9 and “Rudd seeks action on torture allegations involving Palestinian children” (Australian, Dec. 17) http://tinyurl.com/6rdzqjr – have generated a degree of controversy about Israel’s judicial treatment of Palestinian minors in the West Bank accused of using stones and rocks as weapons.

On Dec. 3, the Australian published an opinion piece from NGO Monitor’s Gerald Steinberg that provides context for the treatment of Palestinian minors and largely disputes the substance of the claims made in Lyons’ stories. Steinberg’s article can be read here – http://tinyurl.com/7m6j3wf

Antisemitism in the Middle East in 1835

Antisemitism in the Middle East in 1835

December 22, 2011 | Tzvi Fleischer

In the editorial in the current January edition of the Australia/Israel Review, Colin Rubenstein takes on the false belief that antisemitism in the Middle East comes almost solely from the conflict with Israel and will disappear if there is an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal

In the course of the editorial, Colin noted:

It is true that, in medieval times, Jews in Muslim societies tended on the whole to be better off than in Christian Europe, but this is hardly to suggest that their human rights were fully respected.

Now, some material has come to light which illustrates this point brilliantly.

PA continues to glorify terrorists

PA continues to glorify terrorists

December 22, 2011 | Sharyn Mittelman

Despite its claimed opposition to terrorism, the PA continues to glorify terrorists.

This was reinforced again when Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas met with freed Palestinian terrorist Amna Muna in Turkey on December 21, along with ten other Palestinians freed and exiled to Turkey as part of the deal to release kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in October.

Muna is a 35-year-old West Bank woman who was serving a life sentence for using an Internet promise of romance to lure 16-year-old Israeli Ophir Rahum to the West Bank, where he was killed by waiting militants in 2001.

According to a PA statement Abbas “praised the prisoners for remaining steadfast in the face of Israeli wardens’ mastery.”

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