Ed: 43: February/2018
If I were compiling a foreign policy wish list for 2018, high on the list would be ending the fiction that Lebanon is an independent country rather than an Iranian satrapy governed by Iran's foreign legion, Hezbollah.
The details of the long-awaited US Mideast peace plan are deliberately scant. The plan is being formulated by a disciplined team led by senior advisor Jared Kushner, and no information pertaining to the proposal has been released or leaked.
In October, the US State Department notified the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) that America would be withdrawing from the UN body. The US cited the need for fundamental reform, mounting arrears and "continuing anti-Israel bias" at the organisation. But the problem is much deeper: UNESCO denies Israel's very right to exist...
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu lifted that veil for a tantalising moment in Jerusalem last month when he told a group of ambassadors from NATO member-states what many might have already known: that Israel's intelligence services provided information that had thwarted "several dozen major terrorist attacks, many of them in European countries."
It seems that officially partnering with pro-jihadists was not off limits for the once great and greatly-admired Amnesty International, yet hosting Israeli speakers with whom they disagree is.
If ever there was proof that the regressive left rot is spreading into the core of our liberal culture, look no further than the way it has politicised this once bright beacon of human rights.
I have written before about the affinity among many in Palestinian society for what I call the "ethnic cleansing solution". This is not a two-state resolution with Palestine and Israel coexisting alongside one another, nor even a "one-state solution", where a single state would be the homeland of both Israelis and Palestinians. It is a belief that the conflict should be resolved by an outcome whereby all or most Israeli Jews will leave, be expelled or be killed, and thus give Palestinians exclusive control over the whole land.
In the words of a veteran Washington hand, the problem of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the main UN agency dealing with Palestinians, is always important but never urgent.
Well, it just became urgent.
Teheran's costly policy of regional interference formed a focus for the protesters' rage. Slogans such as "Leave Syria, think about us!" and "Death to Hezbollah!" were heard. More general anti-regime slogans, including "We don't want an Islamic Republic" and "Death to the dictator" were also chanted by demonstrators.
Anti-Jewish posters plastered across a popular tourist destination, cars parked near synagogues vandalised with swastikas, racist stereotypes alleging people who were untrustworthy or miserly are likely to be Jewish, not just spoken but published online.
All of the above, and more, occurred in the last weeks of 2017 and the first weeks of 2018 in Australia.
The idea that the status quo in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is unsustainable has become something of a mantra, yet rarely with a focus on the policies of Palestinian leadership and key institutions that constitute major obstacles to peace.
This is regrettable, because without considering these factors, it is impossible to fully understand why Palestinian leaders have walked away from at least three offers of statehood...