French decision sheds light on legality of West Bank settlements

French decision sheds light on legality of West Bank settlements

May 24, 2013 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

On 23 March this year, the Versaille Court of Appeal in France delivered a very significant judgment in a case brought by the Association France-Palestine Solidarité (France-Palestine Solidarity Association, or ‘AFPS’) and joined by the Palestine Liberation Organisation (‘PLO’), against French companies Societé Alstom and Veolia Transport. The ruling sparked some debate within the Jewish media and — more recently — the international law blogosphere, but seemed to pass by the rest of the world largely unnoticed. Yet it was the first significant decision in a domestic court on many issues of international law that have been hotly debated for years, and the results may be important in the development of international law….

Israeli-Palestinian Peace Proposals

Israeli-Palestinian Peace Proposals, Past and Present

May 24, 2013

Today’s Update features some new revelations concerning an old Israeli-Palestinian peace proposal – the Olmert offer of 2008 – as well as the revised Arab League Peace plan, as brought to Washington by the Qatari Foreign Minister early this month.

First is a scoop offering new details on the 2008 Olmert peace proposal to the Palestinians, with details obtained in part from Olmert himself, as written up by Haaretz’s highly-regarded Palestinian affairs reporter Avi Issacharoff  and published in The Tower, a new online magazine.

A Teen's Life in Gaza - Terrorism training

A Teen’s Life in Gaza – Terrorism training, with beatings for anyone sporting “cool” haircuts or skinny jeans

May 20, 2013 | Or Avi Guy

Much of the attention regarding Israeli-Palestinian peace prospects have been focused on “hard” policy issues. Yet over-emphasising “hard” policy questions means that crucial precursors for both making peace and for the long term sustainability of any peace agreement end up being overlooked.

One such crucial aspect is the willingness of each side’s general public to view the other side as a legitimate entity, and to engage in interaction with it by peaceful means. This is a key element in building stable and lasting peace. such a change in perceptions starts with education.

Education in the Palestinian territories has long been a major source of concern for analysts and commentators, who emphasised the dangers of ‘teaching hate,’ and thus perpetuating the conflict. Nowhere is this ‘teaching hate’ trend more troubling than in Gaza.

Media Week - Hack by Name...

Media Week – Hack by Name…

May 20, 2013 | Allon Lee

ABC Radio “Triple J”‘s Sophie McNeill is probably quite proud of a half hour “special” aired on the “Hack” program she hosts dedicated to a recent visit she made to Gaza (May 2). But she really shouldn’t be.

Iranian Election dramas/ Western Apologists for Iran

Iranian Election dramas/ Western Apologists for Iran

May 17, 2013

Western governments will be closely observing the Iranian election process in the leading up to the Presidential poll on June 14 in the hopes that the outcome may encourage a change that will allow a diplomatic resolution to the impasse over Iran’s nuclear program – though of course, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei is actually the key decisionmaker and is unaffected by the poll. The contest – which looked likely to be dominated by conservative Khamanei loyalists – was on May 11 rocked by the last minute entry of two candidates; former President Rafsanjani, and a top aide to current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad named Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei. The next drama will be the decision of a clerical body called the Guardianship Council about which of the candidates are allowed to run – it has reportedly already ruled that all of the 30 registered female candidates are disqualified by virtue of their gender – and is expected to issue a ruling shortly, though there will likely be a further round of appeals.

A vote of confidence in Israel from Warren Buffett

A vote of confidence in Israel from Warren Buffett

May 13, 2013 | Or Avi Guy

Israeli industry has received another vote of confidence, this time from near-legendary American business mogul and philanthropist Warren Buffett, the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.

Buffett recently completed the acquisition of the last 20% of the Israeli company Iscar (IMC) for US$2 billion – twice the value of the shares offered during the first stage of the transaction in 2006.

The End of the Era of Arab States?

The End of the Era of Arab States?

May 10, 2013

This Update deals with a worrying trend some distinguished scholars are beginning to to identify in the aftermath of the so-called “Arab Spring” – the decline of unified Arab nation-states in the Middle East.

Australia’s first honorary citizen: Raoul Wallenberg

Australia’s first honorary citizen: Raoul Wallenberg

May 9, 2013 | Sharyn Mittelman

AIJAC welcomes the Australian Government’s decision to honour Raoul Wallenberg as Australia’s first honorary citizen at a Canberra ceremony on Monday. The tribute not only pays respect to Wallenberg’s heroic legacy of moral courage but it also makes a tremendous statement about Australian values.

Media Week - A sprinkle of BDS;  Minority report

Media Week – A sprinkle of BDS; Minority report

May 9, 2013 | Allon Lee

In a bizarre move, the hardcopy edition of the Daily Telegraph failed to run any coverage before or after a BDS protest on April 30 at the University of NSW against a planned Max Brenner outlet set to open on campus in June.

However, in the paper’s “They Said It” section (May 1) which highlights quotes of the day, this appeared:

“‘These brigades have committed war crimes against Palestinians in Gaza and are involved in Israel’s continual ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Students and staff of conscience demand that the Max Brenner be shut down! We don’t want companies that endorse the apartheid state of Israel and it’s apartheid practices.’ A Facebook page set up by UNSW students opposes a campus chocolate shop.”

Red lines and calculated risks for Israel in Syria

Red lines and calculated risks for Israel in Syria

May 9, 2013 | Ahron Shapiro

A pair of apparent Israeli cruise missile strikes on Syrian military targets this month brought with it near-unanimous public criticism from the regime of Bashar Assad, Syrian rebels and opposition groups, and Arab and Islamist countries in the region (although scattered Syrian opposition voices were quietly observed supporting the move).

While both Israeli and Syrian officials were reluctant to discuss details, it appears that, like a previous strike on January 30, these strikes were intended to enforce a red line Israel had laid out to Syria against the transfer of advanced weaponry to Hezbollah – reportedly in this case the highly-accurate Fatah-110 missile, which could pinpoint targets over most of Israel.

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