Is there "no alternative" - other than war - to the recently announced Iran deal?

Is there “no alternative” – other than war – to the recently announced Iran deal?

July 17, 2015

US President Barack Obama gave a long media conference on Wednesday (Washington time) on the Iran nuclear deal announced Tuesday, in which he defended the deal, while admitting it had some shortcomings and would have some negative consequences, such as boosting Iranian support for Hezbollah and the Assad regime in Syria. His key point was this, ““There really are only two alternatives here. Either the issue of Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon is resolved diplomatically through a negotiation, or it’s resolved through force, through war” while insisting that no better deal than the one reached was achievable. This Update is devoted to some replies to that claim (which is also the key claim generally made by most advocates of the agreement.)

One year after Operation Protective Edge

One year after Operation Protective Edge, Hamas is to blame for Gaza’s delayed reconstruction

July 16, 2015 | Miriam Smallman

The one-year anniversary of Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s war to stop Hamas’ rockets, saw the Australian media run stories that paint a bleak picture of the current state of the Gaza Strip. The stories tend to disproportionately focus on Israel’s blockade as the key reason for Gaza’s plight, ignoring Palestinian divisions that have undermined the transfer of aid.

…However, this past March, officials from the EU’s five largest countries – Germany, France, Italy, the UK, and Spain – criticised the Palestinian Authority for not doing more to expedite Gaza’s reconstruction. “There is positive movement on the Israeli side in everything regarding Gaza,” one EU diplomat said.

The Iran Nuclear Deal: The day after

The Iran Nuclear Deal: The day after

July 16, 2015

As readers are no doubt aware, after years of negotiations a final nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 powers (US, UK, Russia, China, France and Germany) was announced yesterday.  A White House summary of the key provisions of the deal is here, while the full 160-page agreement can be read here. This Update offers some analysis of the deal’s provisions and its implications, as well as a piece on the Israeli perspective of the deal.

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton, BDS and the Anti-Normalization Campaign Against Israeli-Palestinian Co-operation

July 10, 2015 | Glen Falkenstein

“Breaking down barriers of anger and prejudice, facilitating friendships, and inspiring action to promote peace.”

Sound promising, doesn’t it? The leaders of Creativity for Peace, an NGO with the stated goal of “preparing young Israeli and Palestinian women to pave the way for peace in their communities and across borders with compassion, courage and an understanding of the story of the other” tried to follow through on their mission statement last month with a conference in East Jerusalem.

Another deadline passes in Iran nuclear negotiations

Another deadline passes in Iran nuclear negotiations

July 10, 2015

The extended deadline for finalising a nuclear deal in the P5+1 talks with Iran, scheduled to end yesterday after being extended from June 30 (and having previously been extended twice), has been extended again. While some reports say it is only for 72 hours, the White House is also apparently preparing public opinion for a third option: ongoing indefinite talks while keeping in place the November 2013 interim agreement.

Iran’s most recent new demand is reportedly that all arms embargoes on Iran must be ended as part of the deal.

This Update analyses this reality as well as some of the concessions that the US-led P5+1 has offered Iran to get to this point.

One year on

One year on, is the international fight against ISIS working?

July 8, 2015 | Sharyn Mittelman

It has been over a year since Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared an “Islamic State” caliphate on June 29. It was the declaration that finally grabbed the world’s attention, and led to an international effort to fight ISIS. But one year on, the “Islamic State” continues to expand.

India abstains as UNHRC adopts anti-Israel resolution embracing biased Gaza report

India abstains as UNHRC adopts anti-Israel resolution embracing biased Gaza report

July 8, 2015 | Miriam Smallman

The UN Human Rights Council closed out its 29th session on July 3 by passing its 62nd resolution against Israel, more than it has passed for every other country combined. This resolution, in which the Council adopted its Commission of Inquiry’s misleading Gaza report, saw ‘yes’ votes from 41 of 47 Council members, including countries Israel has traditionally considered allies such as Germany and France (although there may have been tactical considerations behind the European vote.) The sole ‘no’ vote came from the United States, and five countries abstained, including Kenya, Ethiopia, Macedonia, and Paraguay.

But Israel saw perhaps a surprising diplomatic victory in the fifth abstention: India.

New Zealand takes its turn at the UN Security Council Presidency - with a Middle East-oriented agenda

New Zealand takes its turn at the UN Security Council Presidency – with a Middle East-oriented agenda

July 3, 2015 | Miriam Smallman

July 1 marked the start of a one-month presidency for New Zealand at the UN Security Council, an opportunity the country has no intentions of squandering. The small Asia-Pacific island nation has announced an ambitious agenda, one that includes tackling the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and convincing the five permanent members of the Council to discuss surrendering their veto privilege.

Foreign Minister Murray McCully has said that his country’s goal is simply to get the Israelis and Palestinians around the negotiating table again, not to impose a time limit on those negotiations. France is currently attempting to bring forth a UN resolution to not only restart talks but to reach an agreement within 18 months; that resolution would dictate many of the key outcomes of the talks, something Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu have argued would harm Israel’s security.

Palestinian voices for peace – and the problems they face

July 3, 2015

This Update focuses on a number of Palestinian individuals pushing for peace, as discussed in a variety of articles, and the obstacles they face, particularly from the Palestinian Authority (PA) of Mahmoud Abbas.

Israel offers Australia New Opportunities for Venture Capital Investment

Israel offers Australia New Opportunities for Venture Capital Investment

June 30, 2015 | Glen Falkenstein

The Australian recently reported on important developments in Australia’s economic relationship with Israel, namely with regard to venture capital investment and future prospects for technological innovation…

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