Hamas-Fatah dispute causes major Gaza blackouts - why no coverage?

Hamas-Fatah dispute causes major Gaza blackouts – why no coverage?

November 22, 2013 | Sharyn Mittelman

A dispute between Hamas and the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority (PA) over the price of fuel has resulted in Hamas shutting down the Gaza Strip’s power plant, which has left Gazans with blackouts lasting between 12 to 18 hours a day. It has also caused a sanitation crisis, with raw sewage flooding the streets of a southern Gaza City neighborhood after a pump station flooded.

This dire situation is getting almost no coverage in Australia – though you could bet if Israel was responsible, it would likely be major news.

Even a UN interpreter has had enough with UN’s Israel bias

Even a UN interpreter has had enough with UN’s Israel bias

November 21, 2013 | Or Avi Guy

A video of a UN interpreter caught on a hot mic criticising the UN obsession with Israel is going viral since it was uploaded last week. It occurred during a session of the Fourth Committee of the UN General Assembly, in which nine motions criticising Israel were passed. The blogosphere is abuzz, and commentators are congratulating the interpreter for a rare, and surprisingly candid, statement, even if it was never intended to be made public.

The Risks of Easing Sanctions for an Interim Iran deal

The Risks of Easing Sanctions for an Interim Iran deal

November 21, 2013

With talks between Iran and the P5+1 (US, UK, France, Russia, China and Germany) resuming in Geneva last night, this Update deals with a key aspect of the six-month interim deal that is reportedly being discussed in Geneva – namely, the proposal to ease sanctions as the “carrot” to lure Iran to agree to a partial freeze on its nuclear weapons program.

One woman’s story illustrates some Gaza realities

One woman’s story illustrates some Gaza realities

November 13, 2013 | Or Avi Guy

Sara Rogers’ story sounds like the plot of a Hollywood blockbuster. While living in New Mexico she met Hatem Abu Taha. Hatem proposed three days after they met, and they went on to get married and have three kids together. Then the plot thickened: in 2001, when Sara was pregnant with their fourth child, Hatem decided they should all visit his family, in Rafah in the Gaza Strip. Upon arrival, Sara was forced to stay in Gaza, trapped in her husband’s family home for four years, until she finally managed to escape with her children across border to Israel, and then back to the US.

Now living in Boston, she recounts her story, and her experiences shatter some of the most prevalent misperceptions about the Gaza Strip

Almost a nuclear deal in Geneva?

Almost a nuclear deal in Geneva?

November 12, 2013

As readers are probably aware, in last weeks Geneva talks between the “P5+1” (US, UK, France, Russia, China and Germany) and Iran, the parties at one point appeared close to an interim agreement, with Foreign Ministers flying in to join the talks, but then broke up without reaching one. While France publicly objected to elements of the deal initially, and were blamed by Iran for the talks failure, the reasons the talks ended without agreement was because the Iranians walked away from the terms on offer according to the diplomats involved.  Talks are set to resume on Nov. 20, with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and other senior Israeli officials making it amply clear that the Israeli government is not at all happy with the terms being discussed (Netanyahu’s comments on the subject on US television are here.) This Update deals with analysis of the reported proposed terms of the Geneva “deal” and where the negotiators can go from here.

The truth behind the wrecking ball

The truth behind the wrecking ball

November 10, 2013 | Ahron Shapiro

The Palestinian Authority-aligned news agency Ma’an is hardly ever used as the primary source for an article in major international outlets, and for good reason. They produce advocacy journalism for the Palestinian cause, and have a pattern of one-sided and sometimes wildly inaccurate, biased and misleading reporting.

On November 2, however, John Lyons did just that in a story for the Weekend Australian. The story, “New wave of demolitions in Jerusalem”, was based on a story published online by Ma’an on October 31. In his story, Lyons uncritically parroted a claim by a Palestinian official that 200 buildings were threatened with demolition, potentially displacing 15,000 Palestinians.

Arafat polonium-poisoning story returns

Arafat polonium-poisoning story returns

November 8, 2013 | Allon Lee

So the question of whether Yasser Arafat was poisoned with the radioactive element polonium-210 has lurched forward again…

Egypt's future/ Israel's Bedouin policies

Egypt’s future/ Israel’s Bedouin policies

November 7, 2013

This Update deals with the situation in Egypt – where the military government of General Abd el Fattah el-Sisi seems to be consolidating power as it continues its relentless crackdown on the deposed Muslim Brotherhood and has just placed former President Mohammed Morsi on trial. On a separate matter, it also includes some important information about the controversial policies in Israel to resolve long standing land and housing issues affecting Bedouin communities in the southern part of the country.

Hamas faces isolation and its own domestic "resistance" movement

Hamas faces isolation and its own domestic “resistance” movement

November 6, 2013 | Allon Lee

As the Palestinian Authority (PA) receives international plaudits for participating in peace talks with Israel and a domestic fillip for securing the release of a second batch of long-term Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, Hamas, its Islamist rival in Gaza is at a low ebb, battling declining popular support and regional influence.

The deterioration in its fortunes is described in the Times of Israel by Avi Issacharoff who writes that “This isn’t the same terror organization – it’s now a movement more occupied with its survival as a ruling government.”

Changing US Mideast Policy/ More on Negotiating with Iran

Changing US Mideast Policy/ More on Negotiating with Iran

November 1, 2013

The US Administration has announced a new more “modest” approach to the Middle East, heralded first by President Barack Obama in a speech at the UN last month, and laid out in more detail by National Security Advisor Susan Rice in interviews over the weekend. The new policy focuses primarily on three issues – the Iranian nuclear program, Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking and Syria. This Update includes analysis of the significance and prospects of this new policy – as a well as a new discussion of the Iranian negotiations from three senior, veteran American policy experts.

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