Strategies for dealing with ISIS

Strategies for dealing with ISIS

September 10, 2014

With US President Obama scheduled to make a speech overnight detailing his strategy for dealing with the spread of ISIS (the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq) – and having recently signed up some Middle Eastern and Western allies – this Update is devoted to expert advice about what a successful strategy for dealing with this problem from the US and its allies might look like.

A map essential to understanding Israel’s decision to declare 1000 acres of land in the Etzion bloc “state land”

A map essential to understanding Israel’s decision to declare 1000 acres of land in the Etzion bloc “state land”

September 9, 2014 | Gabrielle Debinski

There has been fierce debate and confusion regarding the recent decision of Israel’s civil administration to declare 988 acres of land in the West Bank Gush Etzion area as “state land.” The decision, announced by the Israeli government on August 31, is reportedly the precursor for the expansion of the small Gva’ot settlement into a much larger town.

Almost immediately after making the pronouncement, the Israeli government came under fire from the US, the EU and the Palestinian Authority, with such condemnations reverberating throughout the international press. Yet, as Dr Tzvi Fleischer highlighted in an AIJAC blog post last week, much of the critique circulating in the press omits essential background information regarding where this land is and what this move actually means.

Israel's Post-Gaza War Debate/ New Golan Threat

Israel’s Post-Gaza War Debate/ New Golan Threat

September 5, 2014

This Update features some comment from Israel from the intense debate currently swirling there about the outcome of the Gaza war. It also includes some new analysis of the strategic implications of the fact that the al-Qaeda-linked group, the al-Nusra Front, now controls Israel’s Golan border with Syria, and has kidnapped or chased off the UN peacekeepers there.

The truth about the Gaza war (hint: it's not what Ruth Pollard tells you)

The truth about the Gaza war (hint: it’s not what Ruth Pollard tells you)

September 5, 2014 | AIJAC staff

Over the past couple of months, readers of the Fairfax papers the Age, Sydney Morning Herald and Canberra Times have been subjected to Middle East correspondent Ruth Pollard’s coverage of the Gaza conflict.

In our opinion, her general coverage – especially her feature article in the Saturday August 30 editions of the papers – has been full of misrepresentations, omissions and lack of context. The August 30 article appears intended to portray Israel as the villain, and the party that has come out of the conflict in the worst possible light, as compared to Hamas.

Below is the article, with our comments inserted where relevant.

Welcome to Sderot

Welcome to Sderot, a resilient town that won’t be bowed

September 5, 2014 | Ahron Shapiro

A week after Hamas agreed to an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire plan, bringing an end to over two months of rocket attacks and drawing to a close Israel’s 50-day Operation Protective Edge, life for residents of southern Israel is slowly returning to normal.

On Wednesday, AIJAC Policy Analyst Ahron Shapiro visited the border town of Sderot – which in this escalation, as in previous ones, was the target of massive amounts of rocket and mortar fire from Gaza – surveyed some of the damage caused by the war and spoke to some of the residents about the situation.

Media Week - Gallant Knight; RN's anti-Israel twofer

Media Week – Siege mentality; False flags; Labor pains; Hopeless headlines

September 4, 2014 | Allon Lee

Fairfax Middle East correspondent Ruth Pollard’s roll call of one-sided reporting continued last week…

What should be understood about Israel's controversial decision to zone 1000 acres as state land in the Etzion bloc

What should be understood about Israel’s controversial decision to zone 1000 acres as state land in the Etzion bloc

September 3, 2014 | Tzvi Fleischer

On August 31 Israel made a controversial decision, announcing that it would designate around 988 acres of land in the West Bank Gush Etzion region as “state land”. According to reports, the decision will pave the way for the expansion of a small existing settlement known as Gva’ot into a much larger town. This has been controversial within Israel, with even Justice Minister Tzipi Livni criticising the move. However, some Australian media coverage of the issue has lacked basic context.

Some maps of Gaza, based on UN data, that everyone should see

August 29, 2014 | Gabrielle Debinski

On August 15, OCHA- the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, released its 100-page report called the “Gaza Crisis Atlas.” Its key findings should be essential reading for anyone interested in what happened in Gaza. While it seems doubtful that this is what was intended by OCHA – which has a reputation for pro-Palestinian activism – the data the UN supplies destroys a lot of myths and misconceptions about Israel’s military actions in Gaza.

Three experienced journalists critique media coverage of Gaza

Three experienced journalists critique media coverage of Gaza

August 29, 2014

There has been much criticism of the media’s performance during the recent Gaza conflict (where, happily, the ceasefire agreed to on Tuesday seems to be holding.) Examples from AIJAC include the Australian piece by Gabrielle Debinski, Tzvi Fleischer and Or Avi-Guy last month and Israeli academic Eytan Gilboa’s piece in the latest edition of the Australia-Israel Review. This Update features detailed critiques of aspects of the media’s performance by three senior, experienced journalists who appear to be in a good position to know what they are talking about – including two former Middle East correspondents for major international wire services. 

The prospects of the latest Gaza ceasefire

The prospects of the latest Gaza ceasefire

August 27, 2014

A new Gaza ceasefire, brokered by Egypt, came into effect last night at 7:00pm Israel time. Unlike all previous ceasefire, this one is indefinite in duration and many commentators are treating it as likely ending the Gaza conflict for the time being – although of course Hamas has broken numerous previous ceasefires. It is being celebrated in Gaza as a supposed victory. This Update deals with the terms of the ceasefire, evaluations of why Hamas agreed to a deal which looks very similar to previous offers they turned down, and what might happen from here.

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