Evidence mounts that Hamas is profiting from aid being sent to rebuild Gaza

Evidence mounts that Hamas is profiting from aid being sent to rebuild Gaza

December 10, 2014 | Sharyn Mittelman

Foreign donors have pledged around US$5.4 billion for the reconstruction in the Gaza Strip. Yet Hamas still controls the Strip, and therefore has control over the supplies that come into Gaza. Many are concerned that the cement and other building supplies that Gaza receives for its reconstruction will again be diverted to enable Hamas to restore its tunnels that are built to smuggle goods/weapons, and to attack Israelis. Raising new alarm bells are reports that Hamas is stealing medicines and taxing all goods that enter Gaza

Israel goes to the polls on March 17

Israel goes to the polls on March 17

December 5, 2014

Israel’s Knesset voted Wednesday to dissolve itself and call new elections on March 17. While a second and third reading are still required – scheduled to take place on Monday – early Israeli elections now look like a done deal. This Update deals with why the government was unable to complete even half its four year term and what might happen over coming months.

Not Child's Play: The role of teens in recent Palestinian unrest

Not Child’s Play: The role of teens in recent Palestinian unrest

December 4, 2014 | Allon Lee

Over the past few years some in the media, most notably the Australian‘s Middle East correspondent John Lyons, have waged a high profile campaign accusing Israel of arresting, intimidating, harassing, and imprisoning hundreds of innocent Palestinian children each year, presumably for non-existent or minor crimes.

Yet, a series of reports, looking at violent protests in Jerusalem over the past few months is offering clear evidence they are primarily the handiwork of hundreds of teens, some as young as 12, from five or six Palestinian neighbourhoods. Moreover, this clearly shows a well-organised campaign of Palestinian minors being recruited, incited or serving in the front lines of conflict with Israel.

The latest extension to the Iranian nuclear talks

The latest extension to the Iranian nuclear talks

December 3, 2014

This Update deals with the implications and background to the announcement last week of an extenstion to the Iranian nuclear talks, between Iran and the so-called P5+1 (US, UK, France, Russia, China and Germany) for another seven month past the original Nov. 24 deadline established by an interim agreement late last year (and then extended in June). 

Israel's controversial proposal for a "Basic Law: Israel– the National State of the Jewish People"

Israel’s controversial proposal for a “Basic Law: Israel– the National State of the Jewish People”

November 27, 2014

Much is being written about a controversial Israeli cabinet decision on Sunday to send to the Knesset a “Basic Law” – that is a special law with constitutional status in Israel – that will enshrine into law Israel’s existing identity as the “nation-state of the Jewish people.” (A first vote on the bill in Israel’s Knesset is now scheduled for next Wednesday) Moreover, much of what is being written, both in Israel and internationally, including in Australia, appears to be riddled with factual inaccuracies  and contradictions about key elements of the proposal. This Update is intended to provide background and analysis on what the cabinet decision actually means, the history of the proposal, and why there are both strong supporters and strong opponents of it in Israel. 

Revival of demolitions as terror deterrent sparks Israeli debate

Revival of demolitions as terror deterrent sparks Israeli debate

November 25, 2014 | Ahron Shapiro

The Israeli government’s decision to demolish the homes of terrorists involved in the recent spate of terror attacks has been strongly criticised in the media.

Opinion on the policy is sharply divided in Israel, and it’s true – as many journalists including the Australian Financial Review‘s Tony Walker here in Australia have noted – that in 2005, then-Chief of Staff (today Defence Minister) Moshe Ya’alon advised then-Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz to end the practice, after a committee established to evaluate the practice concluded that, in the words of Jerusalem Post reporter Margot Dudkevitch “failed to serve as a deterrent.”

However, what most international journalists, including Walker, have failed to mention is that the report was not terribly conclusive. The committee actually did find that it worked in some cases – though it was believed its effectiveness was cancelled out by the resentment the policy spawned among other Palestinians.

There's no place for BDS within Australia

There’s no place for BDS within Australia

November 21, 2014 | Glen Falkenstein

Sustainable peace between Israelis and Palestinians will only be achieved through ongoing talks and economic cooperation, which is why we must reject the BDS movement, writes Glen Falkenstein.

The Jerusalem tinderbox in the wake of the Har Nof attack

The Jerusalem tinderbox in the wake of the Har Nof attack

November 21, 2014

Much is being written about the potentially explosive situation in Jerusalem in the wake of the bloody synagogue terror attack in the west Jerusalem neighbourhood of Har Nof on Tuesday, which left four rabbis and a Druze policeman dead. This Update features some particularly insightful contributions.

The first comes from noted Israeli author and intellectual Yossi Klein Halevi (who recently visited Australia). Halevi begins by comparing the reaction to the latest attack – cheered by large segments of Palestinian society – with the reaction in Israel to the comparable actions of the Jewish mass murderer Baruch Goldstein…

The Fictional basis of Carr’s Palestine pivot

The Fictional basis of Carr’s Palestine pivot

November 18, 2014 | Gabrielle Debinski and Ahron Shapiro

In a speech to the Australian Friends of Palestine Association, reproduced in part in the Australian, Bob Carr justifies his pivot on the Middle East by referring to “apartheid,” one of many factual and wholly irrational errors in the claims he has made against Israel as part of his push for Australia to support unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state.

Mahmoud Abbas and the Jerusalem disturbances

Mahmoud Abbas and the Jerusalem disturbances

November 14, 2014

This Update contains material providing additional background to and analysis of the ongoing clashes in Jerusalem, which have led to several terror attacks, and left more Israelis dead from terrorism in the last month than in the past two years. The unrest has ostensibly been tied to claims about a supposed “threat” to the Temple Mount, holy to both Jews and Muslims, which houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock. A good general summary of the situation was provided by Jamie Hyams in a blog earlier this week – this Update provides supplemental historical context and more up to date political analysis and background.

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