Sketching out a red line for stopping Iran's nuclear program

Sketching out a red line for stopping Iran’s nuclear program

September 28, 2012

This Update takes us to New York, at the 67th session of the United Nations General Assembly. Taking centre stage is a headline grabbing speech by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu following the predictably defiant, caustic and offensive anti-Israel speech by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas once again announced a renewed effort to upgrade the status of the Palestinian Authority at the UN to non-member observer state. The gathering also offered US President Barack Obama an opportunity to speak out on US foreign policy ahead of November elections, while Egypt’s President Mohammed Morsi had his first turn at a UN podium. Finally, for Australia, this session was fraught with import, with Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s speech before the plenum culminating her government’s intensive effort to secure Australia’s first temporary seat on the UN Security Council since the 1980s.

Hamas admits: Gaza is not occupied

Hamas admits: Gaza is not occupied, nor under siege

September 27, 2012 | Or Avi Guy

The summer of 2005 was especially hot in Israel, but not just because of the high temperatures and Middle-Eastern climate. That summer the heat was political, as Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip. It wasn’t long before Hamas took over the strip. The showers of rockets into Israel proper never stopped.

Seven years later, Mahmoud al-Zahar, co-founder of Hamas finally admitted the obvious. In a recent (18.9.2012) interview to the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency he declared that “Gaza is free of occupation.”

Media Week - And they called it Pappe love; Randa does the rounds

Media Week – And they called it Pappe love; Randa does the rounds

September 27, 2012 | Allon Lee

Anti-Zionist historian Ilan Pappe told Geraldine Doogue on ABC Radio National‘s “Breakfast” program  (17/9) that the “mainstream Zionist leadership from the very beginning understood that… they could not have a Jewish state as long as the Palestinians remained in Palestine”.

The fact is that the mainstream Zionist leadership accepted and still accepts partitioning the disputed territory into Jewish and Arab states – in 1922 (when Jordan was created), 1937, 1947, 2000, and 2008.

Moreover, Zionist documents have always discussed the expectation that the Jewish state would have a non-Jewish minority.

Media Week - Ruthlessly uninformed; Where there’s a will

Media Week – Ruthlessly uninformed; Where there’s a will

September 20, 2012 | Allon Lee

Sydney Morning Herald/Age correspondent Ruth Pollard’s report (10/9) on protests by West Bank Palestinians angry at increases in the cost of fuel essentially offered up a one-word explanation – Israel.

The wider context of the violence sparked by an anti-Islamic film

The wider context of the violence sparked by an anti-Islamic film

September 20, 2012

It has been a week of often violent protests worldwide (including some in Australia’s region  as well as in Australia), leaving dead at least 30 demonstrators and the four American diplomatic staff in Libya,  and sparked, ostensibly, by an amateurish and offensive trailer for a movie about the prophet Muhammed posted on YouTube. This Update looks at the wider context of such reactions to an ugly and bigoted but insignificant movie clip.

Media Week - Sound off; Clear as mud

Media Week – Sound off; Clear as mud

September 13, 2012 | Allon Lee

ABC Radio National‘s “360documentaries” series (9/9) featured a 50-minute program from Australian anti-Zionist activist Peter Slezak with interviews he recorded on a recent trip to Gaza and the West Bank.

The program’s producer was Cathy Peters – the Marrickville Councillor from the NSW Greens party who was instrumental in proposing the notorious BDS motion in 2010.

Despite this pedigree, ABC presenter Kirsti Melville meekly introduced Slezak as a “Jewish writer and commentator” without mentioning his activism.

The program itself is the equivalent of “the best of the worse of the anti-Israel” NGO and UN brigade featuring the usual array of one-sided claims. Neither Hamas nor any Palestinian violence was so much as mentioned.

For propaganda purposes: Palestinian children in Australian media spark Israeli criticism

For propaganda purposes: Palestinian children in Australian media spark Israeli criticism

September 13, 2012 | Or Avi Guy

Recently two Israeli commentators have focussed on a disturbing trend in Australian media, and its problematic coverage of the delicate issue of the role of Palestinian children in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Attacks on the US Diplomatic Missions in Cairo and Benghazi

Attacks on the US Diplomatic Missions in Cairo and Benghazi

September 13, 2012

This Updates deals with the implications of yesterday’s mob attack on the US Embassy in Cairo  (see video here) and the armed attack of the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which left US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead. While these attacks have been reported as a response to a crude and objectionable anti-Islam film “Innocence of Muslims” made by some Americans and previewed on Youtube, there is growing evidence that the Cairo demonstration was scheduled for Sept. 11 weeks ago to call for the release of the blind Sheikh Omar abdel Rahman, convicted for his role in the first World Trade Centre bombing. Meanwhile US officials say the Libya attack looks like it was also pre-planned, (see also here), possibly by an al-Qaeda-linked group, before the film issue ever surfaced.

Unrest in the PA and the Arab Spring

Unrest in the PA and the Arab Spring

September 12, 2012

This Update features material on the growing demonstrations – sometimes violent –  in the West Bank against both cost of living pressures and against the Palestinian Authority (PA) more generally. (A report on the demonstrations yesterday, which left 50 injured is here. PA PM Salam Fayyad response in withdrawing unpopular austerity measures is discussed here.)

UNWRA

UNWRA, Hamas and the plight of refugees

September 11, 2012 | Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

Israel came under some criticism lately when Israeli authorities were refusing to allow entry to a group of Eritrean asylum seekers stuck at the Egyptian border. The Israelis eventually relented after one week and permitted some of the asylum seekers to cross the border.

One of the most prominent critics of this incident was William Tall, the local representative from the UN High Commission for Refugees (‘UNHCR’), one of the two UN bodies tasked with catering to the world’s refugee populations.

The other body is, of course, the UN Relief and Works Agency For Palestine Refugees — which regularly goes by the acronym ‘UNRWA’.

The omission of the ‘FPR’ from the acronym makes it sound as though UNRWA were simply another arm of the UN, rather than an organisation established soleley to cater to one population. Unfortunately, the ‘FPR’ is a part of UNRWA’s name and mandate, which must be glaringly apparent for the unfortunate Africans who attempt to find refuge in Israel…

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