Ed: 41: November/2016
While the death of Shimon Peres was met with tributes from around the globe, one of his most significant legacies - Israel's burgeoning relationship with China - was brought into focus in the days following his state funeral.
This year's "Women's Boat" contained a New Zealand Green Party MP, Marama Davidson. Davidson, a relatively new MP, has a background in grassroots activism and, as such, is well-versed in gaining coverage for her political campaigns.
While next year marks 25 years of bilateral ties between the two countries, and Chinese officials were unreservedly gushing over Israeli innovations in technology and modern weaponry, the Chinese are stumbling over their ideological commitments. As a Communist country sworn to a non-aligned vision of global social justice, Beijing is concerned about being viewed as too pro-Israel at the expense of the Palestinians.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu provoked a storm of diplomatic disapproval recently when he pointed out that "the Palestinian Authority actually demands a Palestinian state with one precondition: no Jews." The Obama Administration responded that it is "inappropriate" to speak of demands for a removal of settlers in such terms. Removing the settlers, Netanyahu's critics say, is natural and appropriate: their presence in a Palestinian state would cause tension and problems, and in any case, they should not have been there in the first place.
Arab leaders from around the world sent condolences and envoys to the funeral of former Israeli President and PM Shimon Peres, with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas also attending to pay his respects.
Abbas shook hands with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu at the event. It was the first time the two had come face to face since 2015.
Had Mr. Obama had the chance to read Ike's Gamble, Michael Doran's account of President Dwight D. ("Ike") Eisenhower's statecraft before, during and after the Suez Crisis of 1956, he might have saved his breath. Mr. Doran, a scholar and former State and Defence Department official in the George W. Bush Administration, describes a seasoned, wily and prudent President who aligned the United States with what he understood to be the legitimate hopes of Arab peoples, even at the cost of damaging relations with America's closest allies - and made a hash of things.
Israel's interception of a boat of all-female activists from the Freedom Flotilla Coalition that attempted to break the Gaza naval blockade made waves largely because the vessel's captain was Tasmanian resident Madeleine Habib.
Australian reporter Jennine Khalik's online story (Oct. 7) implied the naval blockade of Gaza was illegal, because the boat was "intercepted in international waters... once they entered what Israel deems a ‘military exclusion zone'."
But as the UN's 2011 Palmer Report found, Hamas' declaration of war and acts of terrorism legally entitle Israel to enforce a naval blockade, including in international waters.
With the prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace dim, Shimon Peres' passing was inevitability refracted through the prism of today's geo-political environment.
In the Australian (Sept. 29), foreign editor Greg Sheridan wrote Peres' death "may well mark the death of the modern Arab-Israeli peace process, which has promised so much, and delivered so little, these past 25 years."
"I'm over God", Peter Goers wrote in a column in Adelaide's Sunday tabloid in October.
Whether or not Goers actually now is "over God" is far less of a concern, or even interest, than the fact he appears to be "over" some other things - such as truth, decency, dignity and civil discourse.
In a column two years ago, he had compared himself to Jesus, in the course of a manic and malevolent attack on Israel (and Jews).
On Oct. 13, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin hosted a quiet gathering of Jewish and Muslim religious leaders to try to defuse some of the religious tensions which permeate the Arab-Israeli conflict...