Ed: 40: July/2015
All signs indicate that the Palestinians are planning to step up their efforts to force Israel to comply with their demands. But as the Palestinians are not united, they are working on two fronts to achieve their goal.
One party, headed by the Palestinian Authority (PA), believes that, with the help of the international community, Israel will be forced to fully withdraw to the pre-1967 lines... The second party, represented by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and several other terror groups, continues to reject any form of compromise...
When a high profile London-based conspiracy theorist publicly claimed that Mossad had snuck into his home, in a sophisticated mission to steal a simple shoe from his otherwise secure footwear collection, he inspired laughter, a flurry of jokes on social media, and encouragement from his comrades to, well, put a sock in it.
While many commentators were confident putting the boot into the self-outed obsessive, very few observed the context of his seemingly insane paranoia.
Pundits and politicians whose introduction to the Middle East comes from Middle Eastern studies programs in Australian or United States universities might be surprised by the current shape of the region. After all, after preaching for decades that Israel and perhaps the United States were at the root of regional problems, it now is evident that Israel is the only truly stable oasis in the greater Middle East and North Africa.
My conversation on June 17 with Knesset Member and former Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren lasted for about an hour and a half. We were interrupted by the bell - calling Oren to cast a vote - but that was somewhat useful. The conversation dealt mainly with the US-Israel relationship and what Oren says in his new book Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide (Random House, 2015) about US President Obama.
Had it not been too busy fighting itself, Syria would this month have been celebrating the 15th anniversary of Bashar Assad's rule.
Tragically, Assad and his citizenry have no cause to celebrate, as the country haemorrhages and its president's future looks increasingly grim. As diplomats seek clarity through war's fog, the dilemmas with which the Syrian crisis challenge Israel are becoming ever more complex - with the current focus on Syria's embattled Druze minority.
Last year's fifty-day Gaza War, known in Israel as "Operation Protective Edge", has returned to the fore recently as the subject of several internal and external inquiries.
The media has focused on the very questionable United Nations Human Rights Council's (UNHRC) commission's report released on June 22 - the mandate for which was a UNHRC resolution that openly declared Israel, and Israel alone, guilty of war crimes before any investigation had taken place. Yet two other recent reports (both of which can be found through links on AIJAC's website) are actually much more valuable to anyone truly interested in learning the reliable facts about this conflict.
It seems worthwhile to again revisit the issue of incitement in the Palestinian media because some people seem to doubt that this is really a serious problem. Anyone who cares about peace should care about the blatantly antisemitic, pro-terrorist or insanely conspiratorial things ordinary Palestinians are being told by their official media.
This June the American Jewish Committee (AJC) hosted its annual Global Forum conference in Washington DC, bringing together leaders and commentators to grapple with the defining challenges of our time in Jewish and Israel affairs - including rising antisemitism, the anti-Israel boycott, prospects for a two-state resolution and Iran's nuclear threat. I had the pleasure of not only attending the conference but of liaising with AJC's Communications team in the month leading up to the Global Forum - a product of AIJAC's long-standing relationship with AJC, a leading organisation in international Jewish advocacy.