The demise of Hezbollah's terror chief / Chemical weapon red-lines

The demise of Hezbollah’s terror chief / Chemical weapon red-lines

May 19, 2016

Last week saw the death in an explosion of Mustafa Amine Badreddine, Hezbollah’s most senior military commander and terrorist organiser, in unclear circumstances, near Damascus. Badreddine was the successor to Imad Mughniyeh, killed near Damascus in 2008, and is believed to have orchestrated the murder of former Lebanese PM Rafiq Hariri in 2005. This Update deals with the implications of Badreddine’s death – but also includes a comment on the growing normalcy of the use of chemical weapons during Syria’s civil war.

The death of a Palestinian activist exposes some brutal realities

The death of a Palestinian activist exposes some brutal realities

May 17, 2016 | Gareth Narunsky

PALESTINIAN activist Baha Nababta was passionate about helping his community in the Shuafat refugee camp in east Jerusalem. In addition to being the head of the local volunteer fire department, he helped to pave roads, remove garbage and set up emergency medical services. For this service to his people, he was brutally murdered last week.

The two faces of Abbas

The two faces of Abbas

May 13, 2016 | Ari Wenig

With negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) seemingly at a stand-still, an analysis suggests there are not two parties to the conflict, but three – Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu, and two versions of PA President Mahmoud Abbas: the version experienced by the Arab world, and the one witnessed by the West.

French PM Valls repudiates offensive UNESCO resolution on Jerusalem

French PM Valls repudiates offensive UNESCO resolution on Jerusalem

May 13, 2016 | Allon Lee

Following up on our blog post last week about our disappointment with French Prime Minister Manuel Valls – who has a sterling record on fighting antisemitism, yet presided over France recently backing a vile UNESCO resolution on Jerusalem which effectively denied any Jewish connection to any of the Jewish holy sites in Jerusalem including the Western Wall and Temple Mount – we are happy to report that Mr. Valls has now strongly distanced himself from that vote.

Dilemmas of hopes for a future Palestinian state

May 13, 2016

While a two-state solution remains the only realistic hope for long-term resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, this Update features some recent pieces highlighting some of the barriers to creating a Palestinian state that will both be humane toward its inhabitants and able to exist in peace alongside Israel. It also includes a new article highlighting how the Israeli military is shaping Israel’s approach to conflict management until serious peace negotiations can resume.

Questions in Washington over the selling of the Iran Nuclear Deal

Questions in Washington over the selling of the Iran Nuclear Deal

May 12, 2016

This Update offers a small taste of a debate occurring in the US about the means by which the Obama Administration sold their nuclear deal with Iran, following a piece in the New York Times focussed on and featuring some quotes from deputy national security advisor for strategic communications Ben Rhodes, the Administration’s point man for public relations on the deal. These seem to imply that the Administration essentially fabricated elements of their narrative to help their public relations campaign.

68 Years Young

68 Years Young

May 12, 2016 | Sharyn Mittelman

This year Israel celebrates its 68th birthday – with much to be proud of. Israel’s existence is the realisation of the self-determination of the Jewish people in their ancient homeland. Israel has provided a safe-haven for Jews fleeing antisemitism, including for Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, and those fleeing the repression of the Soviet Union, famine in Ethiopia, and expulsion and exclusion in Arab lands. 

Vale to French PM Valls’ efforts to combat French antisemitism?

Vale to French PM Valls’ efforts to combat French antisemitism?

May 6, 2016 | Allon Lee

This week’s surprise visit to Australia by French Prime Minister Manuel Valls in the wake of his country winning a $50 billion contract to build our next generation of submarines is a sign that the Franco-Australian relationship is at a high watermark.

But sadly, the Franco-Israel relationship is well and truly waterlogged with Valls’ government on April 16 voting for a disgraceful UNESCO resolution omitting any link between Judaism and its holiest sites in Jerusalem.

Crisis in Baghdad/ ISIS in Libya

Crisis in Baghdad/ ISIS in Libya

May 6, 2016

This Update deals with two major crisis areas in the Middle East, both with profound effects on the fight against ISIS.

One is the major political crisis in Iraq, where the government of Prime Minister Abadi seems paralysed and under threat from radical Shi’ite groups opposed to his reforms designed to reduce corruption and provide a role for the disaffected Sunni minority in government. This led radical militias to storm the Iraqi parliament last week – with major implications for the fight against ISIS in Iraq.

The other is the consolidation and extension of an ISIS emirate in Libya, just 320 kilometres from Europe.

Zarif's charm offensive continues - with a deceptive defence of the regime's Holocaust Denial

Zarif’s charm offensive continues – with a deceptive defence of the regime’s Holocaust Denial

May 3, 2016 | Sharyn Mittelman

Zarif’s public relations campaign is in full swing, as seen from his interview with Robin Wright of the New Yorker on April 25. The New Yorker interview highlights Zarif’s excuses and cover-ups for Iranian terrorism and Holocaust Denial. He also suggests the nuclear deal is fraying, blaming the US for the reluctance of Western banks to do business with Iran, while ignoring Iran’s poor banking regulations.

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