Home Ed: 41: February/2016

Ed: 41: February/2016

Behind the News - February 2016

Behind the News – February 2016

On Dec. 14, a Palestinian driver rammed passengers at a bus stop in Jerusalem, critically injuring a baby and injuring ten other people. On Jan. 1, Israeli Arab Nashat Milhem carried out a shooting attack in central Tel Aviv, killing Shimon Ruimi, 30, and Alon Bakal, 24, and wounding seven others. Milhem then hailed a taxi and subsequently killed the driver, Amin Shaaban, a Bedouin father of 11.

On Jan. 17, a 16-year-old Palestinian terrorist entered the West Bank settlement of Otniel and stabbed to death 39-year-old mother of six Dafna Meir outside her home, as some of her children watched. On Jan. 25, two Palestinians stabbed two Israeli women and threw pipe bombs at a grocery store in the West Bank settlement of Beit Horon, killing Shlomit Krigman, 23.

Biblio File: Rabin's Revenge

Biblio File: Rabin’s Revenge

Over the past two decades, though, something strange has happened. The two camps have switched sides. Israel's left bitterly credits Rabin's assassin, Yigal Amir, with victory; the two-state solution is dead, they say, and its death throes began that night in 1995. Meanwhile, many of the leaders on Israel's right, including its past two prime ministers, now essentially express their agreement with the goal of Oslo. The fulfilment of Rabin's peace process, they say, will be necessary in the long term to secure a viable future for the Jewish state.

Noted and Quoted – February 2016

An Australian delegation including Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science Christopher Pyne, Attorney-General George Brandis, Bronwyn Bishop MP, Senator Glenn Sterle and Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson recently visited Israel... ABC correspondent Sophie McNeill, however, initially chose to focus on an at times disharmonious West Bank visit by some of the delegation. In a story on the ABC website, (Dec. 16), McNeill wrote, "An Australian-led delegation to the West Bank... has been criticised by a Minister in the Palestinian Authority, who said the group had ‘false information' and were ‘not well educated'... Palestinian Minister for Education Dr Sabri Saidam described the meeting as ‘very explosive and very challenging' and said the group had asked ‘rude and blunt' questions."

Tim Wilson responded, in a post on Facebook, "Complete rubbish. Utter and complete rubbish. The article doesn't say what ‘facts' were wrong. Do you want to know what the key point of contention was?: should the Palestinians name schools after teenage suicide bombers. The Education Minister accepted it occurred and then called one of the suicide bombers a ‘national hero'."

Deconstruction Zone: Farewell…

My first interview for AIR lasted barely ten minutes. That was in 1978, shortly after the Camp David Agreement was signed in Washington in September by Egypt's President Anwar Sadat and Israel's Prime Minister Menachem Begin. 

Those were heady days, brightened by hope for subsequent peace agreements with each of Israel's neighbours. I'd lined up an interview with Hebrew University Middle East specialist Professor Amnon Cohen to talk about the ramifications of peace with Egypt...

Asia Watch: On the Crest of a Wave?

Asia Watch: On the Crest of a Wave?

The explosions that rocked downtown Jakarta in broad daylight on Jan. 14 surprised only those who were unlucky enough to be in the vicinity at that time. There had been hints of what was to come for weeks.

After the coordinated attacks across Paris in November, Bahrun Naim, a former Internet café employee in Solo now based in the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, published a blog in which he explained to his followers how it was easy to move jihad from "guerrilla warfare" in Indonesia's equatorial jungles to a city.

Madaya and an empowered Iran

Madaya and an empowered Iran

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted on Saturday, Jan. 16, that "it's now time for all - especially Muslim nations - to join hands and rid the world of violent extremism. Iran is ready." 

That assertion coincided with the latest report that another resident of Madaya, the Syrian city besieged by the forces of (Iranian ally) President Bashar al-Assad, had died of starvation... About 250,000 people have been killed in the Syrian civil war, the vast majority of them by Assad's Iran-assisted forces.

NZ Icon takes on Antisemitism

AIR New Zealand: NZ Icon takes on Antisemitism

Back in 2014, at the height of the Israel-Gaza conflict, I wrote about the extreme nature of anti-Israel protests and public pronouncements. I pondered whether there might perhaps be a stream of antisemitism, disguised as anti-Israel sentiment, growing in New Zealand.

These concerns are shared by other New Zealanders, non-Jewish as well as Jewish.

One prominent example is Sir James McNeish, a critically acclaimed novelist, playwright and biographer. 

Judicial jujitsu awaits Israel's new A-G

Judicial jujitsu awaits Israel’s new A-G

Politics and the law, wrote Israeli jurist Haim Cohen, must be separated because the one thrives on partiality and the other on impartiality.

At the same time, the legislative and executive branches must also interface routinely and intensely, a dynamic that in most democracies happens, one way or another, through the office of the Attorney-General (A-G).

However, whereas most countries, including Australia, assign this office to a politician, Israel's 13 Attorneys-General have all been unelected career jurists, seven of whom, including Cohen, proceeded from that position to the Supreme Court.

Religious Zionism and "price tag" terrorism

Religious Zionism and “price tag” terrorism

In addition to ongoing Palestinian terror attacks, Israel has been rocked over the past year by a series of attacks against Palestinian individuals and property, presumably committed by members of the religious Zionist community. The attacks, known as "price tag" attacks, led to the administrative detention of a group of young religious nationalists from the small ultra-nationalist/religious movement known colloquially as the "hilltop youth", following an arson attack last July on a home in the Palestinian village of Duma.

Media Microscope: A Farewell to Sanctions

The significance of lifting economic sanctions on Iran under the P5+1 nuclear deal was given appropriate media coverage in mid-January.

On ABC Radio National "Breakfast" (Jan. 18), Teheran University's Professor Mohammad Marandi told Fran Kelly Iran has "done everything they were supposed to do and probably a bit more. But unfortunately as soon as the announcement was made... the United States... expanded the sanctions regime."