Ed: 42: September/2017
At the close of three years since the announcement of the "Islamic State", it is clear that al-Baghdadi's gamble in declaring his establishment of an Islamic empire has failed, but his influence on the Salafi-Jihadi movement in the Middle East theatre and other regions has grown.
While some of the claims one often hears about Gaza from UN and aid agencies are exaggerated, it is not a pleasant place to live and likely to get worse. The biggest problem is water - Gaza's water table has been over-pumped, allowing salt to creep into it and making most of the water unfit for domestic consumption.
The Australian Government has an innovation agenda, and Israel, a small country halfway around the world may be the key to the goals of that agenda coming to fruition.
An article in the Sydney Morning Herald (May 16, 2016) noted that, "it might not be a well-known fact in Australia, but Israel has one of the highest concentrations of start-ups in the world and is widely recognised as a global leader in research and development."
I've heard people in Australia, including people of former prominence, offering the suggestion that if you do not run with the pack on a pro-Palestinian agenda, you're running against the tide of history.
The exact opposite is the case.
In reality, Israel is now running through a fairly incredible sequence of diplomatic achievements which are part of a broader pattern.
Let me be quite clear - whether or not Jews had been an issue, the far-right demonstrators were repulsive, repugnant and reprehensible. Amongst my personal acquaintances who I have discovered attended the counter protest were Muslims, Christians and Jews, international students and locals, the young and not so young. What they had in common was a belief that racist thugs needed to be aware that decent people oppose them.
But the antisemitism was neither accidental nor incidental.
In June, the South Australian Legislative Assembly passed a one-sided resolution, proposed by Labor MP Tony Piccolo, calling on the Australian Government to recognise the State of Palestine.
The resolution pointed the finger at settlements as being a "major obstacle to peace", and said not a word about the Palestinian Authority's refusal to return to negotiations or its continued incitement and delegitimisation of the Jewish State.
Shortly after the horrific terror attack in Barcelona on August 17, which claimed the lives of 14 people including seven-year old Australian Julian Cadman, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said terrorism is Europe's main problem "right now"...
Jihadists have been waging terror in Europe for years now and "enough" was enough after the first attack. But European leaders have largely been in denial, only now beginning to concede there is a problem, and even still, many refusing to identify and confront the radical Islam at the root of this war.
Barcelona is not just any other city in Europe. It's not London, Paris or Berlin, where ISIS terrorists have already carried out mass attacks claiming the lives of dozens of innocent civilians. Barcelona is part of Spain, which holds special status in the eyes of the Islamic State group.