The state of Israeli/Palestinian relations

The state of Israeli/Palestinian relations

December 13, 2012

This Update deals with three pieces of analysis on the state of Israeli-Palestinian relations in the wake of the UN  vote on “non-member state” status and other recent events.

First up is noted Israeli academic analyst and former UN Ambassador Dore Gold, offering some advice on Israeli diplomacy in the wake of the UN vote. He notes that, despite hints to the contrary prior to the UN vote, there is no sign that the Palestinian Authority (PA) is at all prepared to drop its preconditions and resume peace negotiations with Israel – and indeed the long-standing pre-conditions for talks have now been publicly re-affirmed by PA President Abbas.

Getting inside the head of Khaled Meshal

Getting inside the head of Khaled Meshal

December 12, 2012 | Or Avi Guy

December 7th was a big day for Khaled Meshal, head of Hamas political bureau. Hamas marked its 25th anniversary, and on the occasion Meshal made his first ever visit to Gaza, which was not only a personal experience, but also his opportunity for a political resurrection.

In his speech, Meshal proved once again that he is just as committed to the “resistance” and “liberation” of Palestine as the most extreme voices. He also proved that not much has changed in the 25 years since Hamas first emerged, with its hateful, antisemitic charter and the call for the annihilation of Israel.

E1 "cutting the West Bank in half"?

E1 “cutting the West Bank in half”?

December 11, 2012 | Ahron Shapiro

In an update to my blog post from December 4 on the controversy surrounding Israel’s decision to allow the planning of a new neighbourhood for the Jerusalem suburb of Ma’ale Adumim in an area known as E1, we look at some new developments to the story.

Journalist or terrorist? Why choose when you can be both!

Journalist or terrorist? Why choose when you can be both!

December 9, 2012 | Or Avi Guy

Recently it has been reported that the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) sent a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, blaming Israel for allegedly targeting Palestinian journalists during operation “Pillar of Defence” in the Gaza Strip. New York Times journalist David Carr went even further, as he accused Israel of intentionally targeting journalists.

Two main issues are mixed up in the story. Firstly, the use of journalists and press as human shields for terrorist activity, further endangering journalists reporting from conflict zones. And secondly, terrorists’ use of journalist status to cover up for their violent activities.

UN discusses Syrian conflict for an hour

UN discusses Syrian conflict for an hour, spends five hours condemning Israel

December 7, 2012 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

After the current conflict in Syria had commenced, observations quickly began piling-up that it was receiving noticeably less coverage than it would if it were taking place just over Syria’s eastern border in Israeli territory … Occasionally, something comes up that really illustrates the extent to which the international community treats the mass murder in Syria as completely insignificant in comparison to even the most marginal allegations against Israel.

A perfect example is the recent UN General Assembly (‘GA’) discussion on Syria — the first since last August — as depicted in…

Egyptian opposition leaders to be investigated for bizarre ‘Zionist plot’

Egyptian opposition leaders to be investigated for bizarre ‘Zionist plot’

December 7, 2012 | Sharyn Mittelman

On December 5 Egyptian Prosecutor General Talaat Ibrahim Abdallah – who was just appointed by Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi a few days ago – referred for investigation a complaint accusing three former presidential candidates – Mohammed ElBaradei, Hamdein Sabahy and Amr Moussa of engaging in a “Zionist plot” of espionage and sedition to overthrow the Morsi government.

The aftermath of the PA UN bid and the debate over Israeli building in settlements

December 7, 2012

This Update deals with the aftermath of the UN vote to upgrade Palestine to “non-member state” status last week, the Israeli response in terms of announcements of preparations to build new housing units in east Jerusalem and settlements, and the strong reaction this decision has promoted from many foreign governments, including Australia’s.

Australia’s Woodside Petroleum goes to Israel

Australia’s Woodside Petroleum goes to Israel

December 6, 2012 | Sharyn Mittelman

Australia’s biggest oil and gas firm, Woodside Petroleum has announced it is buying a 30 percent share, valued up to $2.5 billion, in Israel’s Leviathan natural gas field.

Israel, a nation once thought to be devoid of natural resources in recent years has found vast amounts of natural gas deep under its Mediterranean waters.  The gas finding may not only make Israel energy self-sufficient for decades but also a world leader in energy exports – including possibly to Europe and Asia.

The Woodside deal also highlights the changing political and economic ramifications of the new gas fields in the East Mediterranean.

Egypt's new Islamist constitution

Egypt’s new Islamist constitution

December 5, 2012

On Friday, following an all night session, Egypt’s constitutional assembly rushed through a new constitution, which was promptly approved by Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi, and will be put to a referendum on Dec. 15. The rushed constitutional process follows increasing political unrest there after Morsi published on Nov. 22 a decree giving himself near absolute powers, not subject to judicial review, to take measures he judges necessary ” to protect the country and the goals of the revolution.” But the unrest shows little sign of ending anytime soon.

E-1: Beyond the myths and hype

E-1: Beyond the myths and hype

December 4, 2012 | Ahron Shapiro

An international furore has arisen over Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s decision to move forward with the long-stalled planning of a new Jewish neighbourhood in the area between Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim known by the name E-1. Construction on the project itself would not begin for, at the earliest, one or two years, and would require additional political approvals…

Beyond the exaggerated rhetoric, however, evidence shows that the reality of the E-1 plan, which was originally developed by the Rabin government in the early 1990s, is far less sinister than these reports would suggest.

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