Darshan-Leitner takes on Gaza flotillas

Darshan-Leitner takes on Gaza flotillas

July 18, 2011 | Allon Lee

Israeli civil rights organisation director Nitsana Darshan-Leitner has written a good primer in the Jerusalem Post on why the blockade of Gaza is legal and how flotilla activists are likely breaking US law.

Pursuant to the Oslo Accords … the Palestinians agreed that the Gaza coastline would be placed under Israeli control and that no foreign ships would be allowed closer than 12 nautical miles from the shore.

Israel demanded this out of concern over widespread import of conventional and unconventional weapons into Gaza.

 

Military works to maintain control as Egyptian democracy hangs in the balance

Military works to maintain control as Egyptian democracy hangs in the balance

July 18, 2011 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

Following renewed unrest and a large public outcry against what is perceived as reluctance to dismantle the old regime, the Egyptian interim government is set to announce a major reshuffling of its cabinet today, with several senior ministers – including the Finance Minster and the Foreign Minister – resigning over the weekend. This comes shortly after the Government backed-down from an attempt to postpone elections. As The Washington Post‘s Ernesto Londono reports:

The expected exit of more than half of the Egyptian cabinet’s members comes amid complaints that the interim military rulers have been slow to enact meaningful reforms. Activists say that the generals have failed to dismantle the power structure that remained largely intact when President Hosni Mubarak was ousted in February…

Flotilla to Syria a reality

“Flotilla to Syria” a reality, but not what you think

July 18, 2011 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

Sometimes, a news item comes along that seems far too convenient to actually be true. For a Middle East commentator, it’s very rare to have clear-cut proof of something that you have been saying all-along. Today, however, is one of those occasions.

As noted in this post, the organisers of the (now mostly defunct) flotilla have worrying links to Hamas in Gaza. While there is undoubtedly suffering in Gaza, much of this can be attributed to its Hamas regime, which maintains control through torturing and murdering dissenters and censoring the press, while forcing Gazans to live in a perpetual state of war by refusing to negotiate with Israel or even recognise Israel’s existence and renounce violence. It was, therefore, a no-brainer to point-out the hypocrisy of a group trying to make a political statement against Israel while cavorting with a far less savoury regime and ignoring much greater suffering elsewhere.

As a result many commentators – from Australian comedian Sandy Gutman to yours truly – have called for the flotilla activists to prove their self-proclaimed “humanitarian” intentions by going to Syria…

Palestinians' message quashed by media bias

Palestinians’ message quashed by media bias

July 15, 2011 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

Writing in Foreign Policy, Rachel Shabi has interviewed a number of Palestinian activists and, unbeknownst to her, unearthed some startling and oft-overlooked views. Shabi found the activists to be disillusioned with the current Palestinian leadership and the direction in which they are headed – particularly on the upcoming UN statehood bid which, as they point out, is purely symbolic and will achieve few practical outcomes.

“September is a moment of truth for us,” says Diana Alzeer, a 23-year-old social activist from Ramallah who cites the revolution in Egypt as inspiration. “We see that a dictatorship of over 30 years was gone in two weeks. So why not for Palestinians?”

Different Voices

Different Voices

July 15, 2011 | Jeremy Jones

On Monday, ABC Radio’s The Spirit of Things  broadcast a fascinating interview with Sharon Rosen and Suheir Rasul from the Jerusalem offices of a peace initiative called Search for Common Ground

Sharon Rosen: Search for Common Ground is an international conflict transformation organisation that was founded 29 years ago by an American; his name is John Marks. It has now developed into the largest conflict transformation organisation in the world, with 37 offices in 25 countries. And the Middle East program, which was basically focussing on Palestinian-Israeli relations, began in 1990 and the actual office in situ on the ground in Jerusalem was opened in the year 2000. I became the acting director of the Jerusalem office in 2008 and Suheir joined me as co-director in 2009.

 

Syria’s Iraqi refugees flee Syria

Syria’s Iraqi refugees flee Syria, highlighting regional changes

July 15, 2011 | Geoffrey Levin

While Turkey has attracted much media attention for its willingness to take in Syrian refugees in the camps it has set up near the border, many Syrians have fled to other neighbouring countries such as Iraq. Thousands of Iraqi refugees who fled Iraq for Syria due to the war are now fleeing Syria, heading back to their home country. Agence France-Presse reports:

Hayat Saad, legal officer at the Baghdad Refugee Centre, said “every day we deal with between 60 to 70 cases of families who have returned to the country…Daily, about 20 come from Syria — the largest contingent — followed by Egypt, Jordan, Yemen and Libya,” she added.

 

AIJAC UPDATE - How the 2011 flotilla flopped/The controversial "anti-boycott" law

AIJAC UPDATE – How the 2011 flotilla flopped/The controversial “anti-boycott” law

July 15, 2011

AIJAC’s latest email Update looks at why and how the 2011 Gaza flotilla gambit fizzled out. In contrast to 2010’s headline-grabbing political stunt that acted as a Trojan Horse for the Turkish Islamist IHH charity resulting in needless deaths and injuries, this was no replay.

AIJAC UPDATE - US foreign policy on Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood

AIJAC UPDATE – US foreign policy on Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood

July 14, 2011

AIJAC’s latest email Update looks at US foreign policy positions in the Middle East that many analysts describe as alarmingly passive and which will effectively deliver the region into the anti-Western clutches of Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

More scrutiny needed on Egypt's Islamist extremists

More scrutiny needed on Egypt’s Islamist extremists

July 14, 2011 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

The prolific and insightful Dr Barry Rubin has written today on the Elephant in the Egyptian Parliament: namely, the overwhelming complicity that Egyptians seem to show towards Islamists and the worrying influence that extreme groups seem to be gaining.

Think about it. There is a powerful Muslim Brotherhood, openly seeking state power and Egypt’s fundamental transformation into an Islamist state. Then there are the Salafists-a new label applied to even more radical Islamist groups-that were in the past simply called by the name of the individual organization…

Mumbai Terror Attack kills at least 21 people

Mumbai Terror Attack kills at least 21 people

July 14, 2011 | Sharyn Mittelman

Three bombs rocked crowded districts of Mumbai during rush hour on Wednesday, killing at least 21 people and injuring at least 141 people in the biggest attack on India since the November 2008 terrorist attacks also in Mumbai which were perpetrated by the militant Pakistani group Lashkar-e-Taibe.

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