Woodside-Leviathan deal moves ahead in a milestone for Australia-Israel ties

Woodside-Leviathan deal moves ahead in a milestone for Australia-Israel ties

February 12, 2014 | Michael Thurin

AIJAC has previously reported on the proposed purchased by Australia’s Woodside Petroleum of a share in Israel’s Leviathan gas field development.

Finally after months of protracted negotiations, partners in Leviathan signing a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Woodside last Thursday, making it more likely than ever that the deal will go ahead. If it does, it will be a major milestone in Israeli-Australia relations, backed by governments on both sides.

Here is what you need to know about the deal and its implications.

Four Corners "Stone Cold Justice" - links to useful sources

Four Corners “Stone Cold Justice” – links to useful sources

February 11, 2014 | Sharyn Mittelman

On February 10 ABC “Four Corners” broadcast an episode titled “Stone Cold Justice”, in cooperation with John Lyons from the Australian, which looked at Israel’s policies regarding the treatment of Palestinian minors arrested in the West Bank.

While the episode raises important issues regarding the treatment of Palestinian minors, the ABC’s report failed to provide adequate background and its approach was sensationalised and one-sided. In addition, Israel has already publicly committed to changing its practices as a UNICEF report in October 2013 confirmed, which the program only mentioned in passing.

We recommend that those interested in the problems with the ABC Four Corners report read the following sources…

Syria chemical weapons deal in difficulties

Syria chemical weapons deal in difficulties

February 7, 2014

This Update is focussed on growing signs the Russia-brokered deal signed between Syria and the West last September may be faltering – after the Geneva conference on Syria last week failed to achieve any substantive progress. It also includes other material on the Syrian foreign policy problem.

We lead with a Washington Post editorial, complete with links, remonstrating with policymakers to do more about Syrian stalling on meeting its chemical weapons obligations.

Settlements: What Israeli lawyers really think

Settlements: What Israeli lawyers really think

February 5, 2014 | Jamie Hyams

Contrary to the impression that might be given by some media reporting, there are many Israeli jurists who support the legality of Israel’s settlements.

Israeli home education system helps Australia's Indigenous children

Israeli home education system helps Australia’s Indigenous children

February 4, 2014 | Ahron Shapiro

The Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY), an Israeli designed early learning program which has been operating in Australia, federally funded and under licence by the Brotherhood of St. Laurence since 1998, is back in the news.

The federal government has announced its latest expansion of the program, which has been making strides in improving the education of Indigenous children.

Scarjo stands up for SodaStream's Palestinian workers

Scarjo stands up for SodaStream’s Palestinian workers

January 31, 2014 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

It is not unusual for Superbowl advertisements to spark controversy in America and around the world. This year, before it has even gone to air, an advert for SodaStream starring Scarlett “Scarjo” Johansson has caused considerable hysteria. …

Ordinarily, a leading Hollywood actress appearing in a Superbowl advertisement to promote a company that sells machines to carbonate water would seem unremarkable. SodaStream, however, happens to be Israeli. … After the BDS activists were riled up, it did not take long for Johansson’s position as an ambassador for global charity Oxfam to be thrown into the spotlight….

US "Framework" for peace document on the way?

US “Framework” for peace document on the way?

January 31, 2014

Today’s Update deals with reports that the US is only weeks away from issuing a “framework” document outlining broad principles for Israeli-Palestinian peace that it is hoped both sides can adopt with reservations.

We lead with a news report based on off-the-record briefings given by former Australian Martin Indyk, the American mediator, about the content of, and plans for, the “framework document.” Indyk reportedly told US Jewish leaders in the phone hook-up that the document will be released within a few weeks and will contain few surprises for either side, because it is based on extensive consultations with them.

Iran and the State of the Union

Iran and the State of the Union

January 29, 2014

Today’s Update looks at some initial reactions to US President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address, which he delivered before Congress earlier today. (The full text of the President’s remarks can be found here.)

Of particular interest to our readers would be two issues Obama touched on during his speech with regard to foreign policy. First, his succinct but important comments about the current negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians – where he implicitly backed Israel’s demand to be recognised as a Jewish state. Secondly, Obama vigorously defended his interim agreement with Iran as a peaceful step towards defusing its rogue nuclear program, warning Congress that he would veto any legislation for new sanctions during the interim period.

Assessing the prospects of success for the Syrian peace talks

Assessing the prospects of success for the Syrian peace talks

January 24, 2014

This Update looks at the “Geneva II” indirect talks between representatives of Syria’s government and some opposition groups. The talks, to nobody’s surprise, have not started off well, and practically all analysts have doubted they will result in any meaningful outcome.

UN strikes expose Palestinian internal tensions

UN strikes expose Palestinian internal tensions

January 24, 2014 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

To those who follow events in the West Bank, the reports coming out of the “refugee camps” administered by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) would sound quite familiar. ...

Indeed, the image of the refugees throwing stones at police and receiving tear gas in response has to some extent defined Israeli/Palestinian relations at least since the eruption of the First Intifada in 1987.

This incident however, has one caveat. … The police who were firing tear gas at, and apparently lobbing rocks back at, the protestors were Palestinian Authority police.

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