Operation Amud Anan ("Pillar of Defence")

Operation Amud Anan (“Pillar of Defence”)

November 16, 2012

Following on from Daniel Meyerowitz Katz’s news roundup yesterday, this Update looks at the reasons for and the possible trajectory of the current round of violence sparked by Gaza rockets, which the IDF has dubbed Operation Amud Anan (“Pillar of Defence”).

Since the targeted killing of Hamas’ military commander in Gaza on Wednesday, there are now reported to have been around 340 strikes by Israel on targets in Gaza – reportedly killing 15 Palestinians (it is unclear how many are combatants versus civilians) – and 305 rockets fired into Israel, killing three civilians, including a pregnant woman. This also included perhaps four rocket attacks on the Tel Aviv area – the first since the 1991 Gulf War – which fortunately caused no damage or injuries. Israel claims to have neutralised most of Hamas’ medium range Iranian-made Fajr-5 missiles capable of hitting Tel Aviv in its initial strikes.

Military operation in Gaza: News round-up

Military operation in Gaza: News round-up

November 15, 2012 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

Last night’s Update dealt with the escalating violence between Israel and Hamas over Israel’s border with Gaza, and included a number of analyses predicting that if the constant rocket fire on southern Israel did not cease, Israel would launch a large-scale military operation to destroy terrorist infrastructure there associated with Hamas and other violent groups.

The operation was actually launched very shortly after. This post rounds-up all of the important information that has been coming out since the Israeli airstrikes began…

Major human rights abusers again elected to UN Human Rights Council

Major human rights abusers again elected to UN Human Rights Council

November 14, 2012 | Sharyn Mittelman

On Monday the UN General Assembly elected 18 countries to serve on the United Nations Human Rights Council. Sadly, as is the usual pattern, at least six of those elected are major human rights abusers who do not meet the criteria the UN itself set for membership of the Council.

“Pakistan, Venezuela, Kazakhstan, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Gabon, and UAE systematically violate the human rights of their own citizens,” said UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer, “and they have consistently voted the wrong way on U.N. initiatives to protect the human rights of others.”

Gaza powder keg flares up again

Gaza powder keg flares up again

November 14, 2012

This Update deals with the latest major outbreak of violence from Gaza – resulting in more than 140 rocket hits on Israel since Saturday, a number of Israeli retaliatory strike on Gaza targets, and rocket attacks still occurring as of a few hours ago, despite claims of an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire. Details of the rockets and the injuries that they have caused are summed up in this pdf document prepared by Israeli security officials.

In Arafat exhumation

In Arafat exhumation, Abbas digging for dirt to use against Israel

November 13, 2012 | Ahron Shapiro

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas says he is determined to go forward with an exhumation of the remains of Yasser Arafat for forensic tests following a controversial investigation by al Jazeera earlier this year. 

According to reports, French investigators, Swiss experts and a Russian government team will take part in the probe following the November 26 exhumation of the former Palestinian leader, who died in France in 2004.

The original al Jazeera documentary on the subject, which reignited the controversy over Arafat’s death, was shown here in Australia for the first time on free-to-air channel ABC 24 this week.

UNRWA’s double standards in Syria

UNRWA’s double standards in Syria

November 12, 2012 | Sharyn Mittelman

Five UNRWA employees have been killed in the Syrian conflict and shells have hit and damaged both an UNRWA health centre and an UNRWA school. However, UNRWA has only issued weak statements deploring the deaths and calling for “all sides must refrain from conducting the conflict in civilian areas…” This significantly contrasts with the condemnations and calls for war-crimes investigations that occurred when an Israeli shell struck outside an UNRWA school during the 2009 Gaza conflict. Analysts Asaf Romirowsky and Alex Joffe explore UNRWA’s obvious “double standards”.

Palestinians finally submit draft statehood request: analysis and implications

Palestinians finally submit draft statehood request: analysis and implications

November 9, 2012 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

Last night, the long-awaited Draft Resolution for the Palestinian UN statehood bid was filed by the Permanent Observer Mission of Palestine. The Draft’s most substantive point is the request to alter Palestine’s status in the UN General Assembly (UNGA). This is contained in the third paragraph, which reads that…

Australia and the Massacre in Syria

Palestinians killed in Syria receive little attention

November 9, 2012 | Sharyn Mittelman

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad once painted himself and his father as the champion of the Palestinian cause. But now the situation appears to have changed, as Assad’s army reportedly fired on the Palestinian refugee camp Yarmouk killing 20 on November 4, raided Hamas offices and there are fears of mass Palestinian deportations from Syria.

Over 400 Palestinians have been killed in the Syrian civil war, with little to no coverage by the Australian media. The self-proclaimed Palestinian advocates have also been all-but silent.

The Middle East in President Obama's Second Term

The Middle East in President Obama’s Second Term

November 9, 2012

With the US election finally decided on Tuesday, and President Barack Obama returned to office reasonably comfortably, this Update looks at his Middle East challenges over the next four years.

An excellent starting place is the Washington Institute for Near East Policy forum on the subject, held yesterday, which is available for online viewing here (no transcript yet available).

A divided Palestine makes for a hopeless peace process

Mixed Palestinian reactions to Abbas refugee concession

November 5, 2012 | Ahron Shapiro

Palestinian debate has been touched off by comments Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas made on Thursday appearing to accept concessions on the Palestinian “right of return” to pre-1949 Israel.

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