Clinton reveals some vital peacemaking home truths

Clinton reveals some vital peacemaking home truths

June 23, 2014 | Allon Lee

It has not received much coverage in Australia, but Hillary Clinton’s new book “Hard Choices” chronicling her time as US Secretary of State in President Barack Obama’s first administration, upends the oft-made assumption that Israeli-Palestinian peace talks were stillborn between 2009-2012 because of the stances of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Australia's Jerusalem stance welcomed in Israel

Australia’s Jerusalem stance welcomed in Israel, Washington, mostly ignored in Arab world

June 19, 2014 | Ahron Shapiro

Attorney General George Brandis’ and Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s recent terminological clarification – that the Abbott Government would not refer to east Jerusalem with any pejorative descriptor, and explicitly not “Occupied East Jerusalem” – was welcomed in the Israeli press but drew limited attention elsewhere, including, tellingly, in most Arab and Muslim countries.

Fatah Gloats: Kidnapping and Palestinian Discourse

Fatah Gloats: Kidnapping and Palestinian Discourse

June 18, 2014 | Or Avi Guy

Immediately after reports emerged that three Israeli teens, Eyal Yifrach, Gil-Ad Shaer and Naftali Frenkel, had apparently been abducted last Friday, speculation began as to who was responsible, and where blame lay for this crime. There is one aspect though, in the background of this event, which also deserves our attention – the disturbing reaction of official outlets of the Palestinian Authority (PA), and the Fatah movement.

The Kidnapping of three Israeli Teens and the Fatah-Hamas Unity Deal

June 18, 2014

Israeli security forces are engaged in an operation to find three Israeli teenagers apparently kidnapped in the West Bank last Thursday night. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has said Israel has strong evidence Hamas was responsible and it is clear that Israeli security forces are engaging in a broader crackdown on Hamas in the West Bank, as well as searching for the three missing teens. This Update looks at both Israeli efforts and the implications for the Hamas-Fatah unity deal of the kidnapping and Israeli response.

Sweden: Surveying Antisemitic Attitudes

Sweden: Surveying Antisemitic Attitudes

June 17, 2014 | Glen Falkenstein

The recent survey on worldwide antisemitism conducted by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) labelled Sweden as one of the world’s least antisemitic countries and as the least antisemitic country in Europe, with just 4% or those surveyed classified as having “antisemitic attitudes.”

The Crisis in Iraq

The Crisis in Iraq

June 13, 2014

This Update is devoted to analysis of the crisis in Iraq, where this week an extremist Islamist group, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), took control of the second largest city, Mosul, and then moved to take other major towns, with the Iraqi Army apparently doing little to stop them. (The ISIS success is illustrated in maps here.) Moreover, reports say the ISIS not only captured major weapons stockpiles in the process, but as much as US$425 million from the Iraqi central bank and other banks in Mosul.

At crucial point in #AJtrial

At crucial point in #AJtrial, al-Jazeera provokes Egypt

June 12, 2014 | Ahron Shapiro

Many Australians have been following the lamentable plight of Peter Greste, the Australian journalist working for al-Jazeera who has been jailed along with two other al-Jazeera colleagues in Egypt since December on charges of conspiring with the banned Muslim Brotherhood to harm Egypt’s reputation.

They should now be doubly worried about both their fate and about the judgment of al-Jazeera which published an inflammatory report this week alleging wrongdoing in Egypt’s energy trade with Israel that could only serve to fan the flames of Egyptian anger against the Qatari-owned news organisation.

ABC breaks the silence on inanity

ABC breaks the silence on inanity

June 12, 2014 | Ahron Shapiro

ABC Newsradio Drive host Tracey Holmes is an accomplished journalist with Middle East experience. As such, it was puzzling that she would use the controversial NGO Breaking the Silence – an organisation dealing exclusively with IDF conduct in the West Bank – as her source for a lengthy interview regarding Australian policy towards east Jerusalem, a territory both she and her subject should be well aware is covered by Israeli law and not subject to military administration.

Modi and Israel: Both winners in the Indian election?

Modi and Israel: Both winners in the Indian election?

June 10, 2014 | Glen Falkenstein

Last month saw the biggest electoral victory in India for 30 years. Narendra Modi, a proven state Minister and the face of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), ousted the Congress Party on the promise of major reforms to revive the Indian economy, despite controversy over his role in ethnic violence in Gujarat state in 2002. The victory and the record 66.38% voter turnout have been attributed to the ‘Modi effect’ and widespread support for a candidate previously dismissed by many pundits.

Hamas still committed to Israel’s destruction

Hamas still committed to Israel’s destruction, despite unity deal

June 3, 2014 | Sharyn Mittelman

A new Palestinian unity government was sworn in on Monday, following an agreement struck between Fatah and Hamas on April 23 to end years of division. Israel is reportedly disappointed that the US has said it will work with the Palestinian unity government, despite the fact that Hamas is considered a terrorist group in the US, and remains committed to Israel’s destruction through violent “resistance”.

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