Home Ed: 34: April/2009

Ed: 34: April/2009

Editorial: The Rules of Engagement

First, it's important to note – as demonstrated by the West's attempts to improve relations with Iran under Khatami – that Obama's approach is not actually a new policy. To the contrary, for the past 30 years every US administration has tried to use diplomacy and "engagement" to resolve the West's conflicts with Iran

Scribblings: Inventing International Law

In terms of the legal argument, the Geneva Conventions are not a suicide pact. They do set forth the fundamental ideal that both sides of a conflict should distinguish both their own and enemy combatants from civilians, but are also very clear that when civilian facilities are used for military purposes they become legitimate military targets.

Europa Europa: Antisemitism without Antisemites

Rowan Laxton was watching news of Israeli military activity in Gaza on television while working out on an exercise bike at his central London gym. What happened next unnerved fellow gym patrons: "F-ing Israelis. F-ing Jews," he screamed repeatedly, interspersing his rant with demands for Israeli troops to be "wiped off the face of the earth."

Barak bolsters Bibi

Binyamin Netanyahu has changed. Thirteen years ago, when he was elected Israel's youngest-ever prime minister, Netanyahu hastily patched together a narrow, right-wing coalition, and thus deprived himself of potential allies on both right and left.

Love’s Labor’s Loss?

By joining the coalition, Barak reinforces the negative view most Israelis have of his personal qualities, and might jeopardise Labor's future. But as legitimate as it is to question Barak's motives, a coalition with Labor as an active member is better for the country.

Yes, We Can

Fears of impending disaster are hard to sustain, however, if you actually spend some time in Afghanistan, as we did recently at the invitation of General David Petraeus, chief of US Central Command. We spent eight days travelling from the snow-capped peaks of Kunar province near the border with Pakistan in the east to the wind-blown deserts of Farah province in the west near the border with Iran.

“Economic Peace” and the West Bank

As the security situation stabilised, more border crossings were opened and road blocks were removed to encourage the flow of people and goods. Today, there are no Israel Defence Force (IDF) road blocks inside Palestinian cities.

Essay: Ballistic Blitz

Furthermore, it seems that the Israeli Home Front Command's alarm system, together with public compliance, prevented the loss of many lives. For example, in two cases of direct Grad hits on multi-story buildings in Ashdod, residents only suffered from anxiety and minor injuries, since most successfully reached safe cover beforehand.

Media Microscope: Close Encounter of the Worst Kind

They did not just choose Jews who make reasoned criticisms of Israeli policies. Instead, they scoured Australia and the globe for some of the most extreme critics they could find.

The Last Word: Many Faiths – Many Challenges

At the London conference, it was encouraging, even inspiring, to hear Christian, Muslim, Jewish and other parliamentarians from Europe, the Americas, Turkey and North Africa express their revulsion at antisemitism in its multiple manifestations, including the pernicious Nazi/Israeli analogy.