Saudi proliferation fears as Iran tests missiles

Saudi proliferation fears as Iran tests missiles

June 30, 2011 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

One of the strongest arguments in favour of preventing Iran from gaining nuclear weapons at all costs is the fear that, were Iran to develop a neclear arsenal, the balance of power in the Middle East would be severely undermined and as a result, other countries in that region would quickly start working on their own programs. This would lead to a far more dangerous world – where unstable regimes are in possession of the most devestating weapons known to humanity.

At a recent meeting in the UK, a Saudi diplomat has confirmed that…

Gaza Realities/ The Settlement Obsession

Gaza Realities/ The Settlement Obsession

June 30, 2011

This Update features two pieces which describe the reality of the situation in Gaza – in contrast to the way it is often described by activists and even in general media reports.

First up is recent visitor to Australia Dr. Michael Rubin, who compares Gaza to a whole variety of countries around the world on a whole variety of statistical measures – and finds Gaza better off than a very large percentage of them. For instance, Gazans have a life expectancy both higher than the global average, and higher than in dozens of countries, many far from the poorest in the world. The same applies to infant mortality, while Gazans are also far from comparatively very badly off in terms of unemployment – and they actually outstrip many countries in terms of cell phone and internet use.

Taliban show Obama what they think of the troop withdrawal

Taliban show Obama what they think of the troop withdrawal

June 29, 2011 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

Just a few days after US President Barack Obama controversially announced a major withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, the Taliban have struck the Intercontinental Hotel in the heart of Kabul.The ABC has reported that at least 6 gunmen and one suicide bomber attacked the hotel and holed-up for several hours, before they were eventually taken-out by NATO helicopters. The death toll currently sits at a minumum of 10. 

Witness Sayed Hussain said he was inside the hotel compound when the attack started.

“I saw five to six men in civilian clothing armed with rifles who started shooting when they entered,” he said, speaking close to the scene. “I lay down on the ground and soon after the police arrived.”

Can Iran’s nuclear ambitions be halted?

June 29, 2011

Dr. Michael Rubin was interviewed for ABC Radio’s “PM” by Stephen Long about Iran and the wider Middle East.

Peace polling improves in Post-Revolutionary Egypt

June 29, 2011 | Geoff Levin

A new study has indicated that two-thirds of all Egyptians support maintaining the Arab republic’s 1979 peace agreement with Israel.

The poll, conducted by the Egyptian government’s Information and Decision Support Centre (IDSC), showed that 67% of those responding want to uphold the historic Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty signed between Anwar Sadat and Menacham Begin. Of the 1,062 respondents, only 11% want the deal entirely scrapped, 2% want some clauses removed, and 20% declined to respond. Among those surveyed, 56% said they were satisfied with the country’s current situation, and 87% plan to vote in the upcoming presidential election.

The Flotilla: Much ado about very little?

The Flotilla: Much ado about very little?

June 29, 2011 | Tzvi Fleischer

There has been a great deal written and said about the second flotilla of activists supposed to be departing for Gaza very shortly in defiance of Israel’s naval blockade.

However, an internal document from flotilla organisers published by an Israeli newspaper suggests the whole event may be something of a fizzer. According to the document, the flotilla is expected in the end to carry fewer than 300 passengers – possibly much fewer…

 

Jordan bashes Israel at UN for construction it approved - Australia abstains

Jordan bashes Israel at UN for construction it approved – Australia abstains

June 29, 2011 | Allon Lee

Jerusalem has always been used as a pretext for conspiracy theories and propaganda campaigns against Israel in the Arab world. A perennial claim throughout the Arab-Israel conflict is that something Israel is doing presages the destruction of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem.

Egyptian Education and the attacks on Coptic Christians

June 29, 2011 | Sharyn Mittelman

In post-revolutionary Egypt, Coptic Christians have been increasingly attacked in aseries of bloody clashes. In March, armed thugs bulldozed a church allegedly over an illicit relationship between a Coptic man and a Muslim woman. This led to riots and clashes that left thirteen people dead and 140 wounded. No arrests were made and no one was charged.

Egypt’s Christian minority community accounts for some 10 percent of the country’s 82 million people and they fear further incidents of violence and persecution.

A new report by the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-SE), suggests that the attacks against Egyptian Coptic Christians are largely fuelled by the Egyptian school curricula, which is laden with anti-Semitic and anti-Christian sentiment. IMPACT-SE is calling for Egypt to reform its curricula in order to comply with UNESCO standards.

“Narratives” and what happened in 1948

June 28, 2011 | Tzvi Fleischer

One of the key questions that always comes up in debates on the Middle East are the details of what happened during the 1948 war. Among Palestinians and their advocates, the whole war is generally presented as a Zionist plot to steal the land and expel its indigenous inhabitants – which was understandably resisted by both Palestinian militias and the armies of neighbouring Arab states. This is the Palestinian “narrative” and more or less what is meant by the common use of the word Nakba, “catastrophe”, for the events of 1947-48.

But as US statesman Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously quipped, everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but no one is entitled to their own facts…

An Australian Hamas operative?

An Australian Hamas operative?

June 28, 2011 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

An Australian man who was arrested in Israel recently has now been formally charged with spying for Hamas, a proscribed terrorist organisation both in Australia and in Israel, and has faced an initial court hearing.

As reported by the ABC:

Eyad Abu Arja was arrested along with his wife when he arrived at Tel Aviv airport in March, and has been in custody ever since.

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