Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

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Israeli PM calls UNESCO Hebron resolution “delusional”

Israeli PM calls UNESCO Hebron resolution “delusional” Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Israel, United Nations, United States, Updates    

The United Nations Educational, Scientific, Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is at it again, this time passing two anti-Israel resolutions last week.

The first resolution was not new and it continued a UNESCO tradition of denying Israeli claims to the Old City of Jerusalem.  The second resolution was new in that it listed the old city of Hebron including the Cave of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs as an endangered world heritage site.

The resolutions are being seen as attempts to undermine the Jewish peoples' connection to their most holy sites - the Old City of Jerusalem containing the Western Wall and Temple Mount, and Cave of Patriarchs and Matriarchs - which is believed to be the resting place of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and their wives.


Print edition
Amb. Dennis Ross: Premature Palestinian state recognition should be discouraged

Amb. Dennis Ross: Premature Palestinian state recognition should be discouraged Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: Israel, Middle East, Palestinians, United States, Updates    

At an exclusive AIJAC press briefing in Melbourne, Anti-Defamation Commission guest and veteran former US Middle East peace envoy and Ambassador Dennis Ross spoke out against calls for the immediate recognition of a Palestinian state, saying such gestures place ‘symbols over substance' and makes peacemaking harder.

Biblio File: Immoral Equivalence
The authors treat Israeli security concerns as a mere ruse to abuse Palestinians

Biblio File: Immoral Equivalence Author: Daniella Greenbaum Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians    

Kingdom of Olives and Ash, a new collection of essays edited by Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman, features 26 different writers - all of whom visited Israel on delegations organised by Breaking the Silence. The book is a latticework of propaganda, pieced together by distortions and half-truths. The writers are talented, so there are no misplaced commas even though there are plenty of misguided ideas. 

Noted and Quoted - July 2017

Noted and Quoted - July 2017 Categories: Australasia, Media/ Academia    

In the Hobart Mercury (June 5), anti-Israel pundit Greg Barns called Hamas comparatively "a cuddly kitten" and questioned why it is a "criminal offence in Australia" to support it, yet "it is not a criminal offence for the Australian Government to sell arms to Saudi Arabia, which is the most prolific state sponsor of terrorist activity globally."

Saudi Arabia's activist heir/ Salafi-jihad ideology after ISIS

Saudi Arabia's activist heir/ Salafi-jihad ideology after ISIS Categories: Islamic Extremism, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, Updates    

With the Saudi led stand-off against Qatar continuing, changes in Saudi leadership hierarchies, and challenges to ISIS domination, this Update takes a look at what impact the changes in internal and external power dynamics of leading Arab nations can have on the region. This is coupled with what can be expected after the downfall of ISIS-which may not be too far off.

Recognising Palestine ignores need for peace

Recognising Palestine ignores need for peace Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: Australasia, Israel, Op-eds, Palestinians    

Those supporting a motion at the upcoming ALP NSW State Conference calling for recognising a Palestinian state argue they are aiming to advance prospects for Israeli-Palestinian peace. Yet an informed look at the current situation would make it clear that premature recognition of "Palestine" as a state would actually have the opposite effect.

Deconstruction Zone: Which Way To Turn?

Deconstruction Zone: Which Way To Turn? Author: Paul Gardner Categories: Islamic Extremism, Palestinians    

An important concept for religious Muslims is qibla, the direction in which one should face during salah, the five-times-daily prayer that all Muslims are commanded to observe.

The traditional Islamic view is that the original qibla was in the direction of what they called Haram esh-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary), located in the heart of old Jerusalem on the site of Har ha-Bayit, (the Temple Mount), where the Jewish temple destroyed by the Romans in 70 C.E. had stood.

Afghanistan on the brink?

Afghanistan on the brink? Author: Michael Rubin Categories: Afghanistan/ Pakistan    

On June 13, US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis told Congress that the United States was "not winning" in Afghanistan. That is the understatement of the year. While President Trump has authorised Mattis to call up some additional troops, there remains no comprehensive strategy for victory, let alone stability, and the numbers of troops available seems the equivalent of addressing a sucking chest wound with a band-aid. Both the Taliban and the Islamic State are resurgent in vast sections of the country. Many NATO partners are quietly giving up and the mood in Congress ranges from impatient to defeatist.

The Palestinian Arena and Qatar Crisis
Former Emir of Qatar Hamad bin Khalifa visits Gaza in 2012

The Palestinian Arena and Qatar Crisis Author: Kobi Michael and Yoel Guzansky Categories: Gulf states, Middle East, Palestinians    

The foreign policy of the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) members - Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Kuwait, and Oman - has never been a model of cooperation and unity. Even the dramatic severing of relations with Qatar and closing the aerial, territorial, and naval spheres to it - as initiated by Saudi Arabia and the UAE - is not indicative of a change.

Asia Watch: A New Front Opens
Marawi: The scene of intense fighting between army and IS-aligned fighters

Asia Watch: A New Front Opens Author: Michael Shannon Categories: Asia, Islamic Extremism    

After weeks of fighting, Philippine security forces still face stiff resistance from militant fighters spread across the sprawling city, which now lies in ruins. Government troops have suffered heavy casualties due to improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and snipers...

Although the fighting has now been contained to a limited area, a knockout blow appears impossible in an area awash with weapons and where militants can dissolve into jungle hideaways.

Behind the News - July 2017
Israeli PM Netanyahu visits the family of slain Israeli border policewoman Hadas Malka

Behind the News - July 2017 Categories: Hamas, Iran, Israel, Palestinians    

On June 16, Israeli border policewoman Hadas Malka, 23, was fatally stabbed near Jerusalem's Damascus Gate in a co-ordinated gun and knife attack. Seconds earlier, two other assailants attacked Israeli border police troops nearby with a homemade gun and knives, injuring four people. All three attackers, allegedly members of Palestinian terror groups, were killed. The response from Fatah, the political party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, was to accuse Israel of a war crime for killing the three attackers.

There were numerous other attacks and attempted attacks in late May and June by Palestinians using knives, Molotov cocktails and rocks.

Essay: After Victory
Moshe Dayan with Prime Minister Levi Eshkol, September 1967

Essay: After Victory Author: Yaakov Lozowick Categories: Israel, Middle East, Palestinians    

When the guns fell silent on the evening of June 10, 1967, the Middle East and Israel were forever changed. The discussion Israel's cabinet ministers began on June 14 forged the conundrum we live in now. Reading through transcripts of some 20 hours of discussions held the week after the Six Day War demonstrates that, recent as they were, the past the ministers lived in was startlingly foreign. They held ideas that seem strange today to be self-evident, and never thought of things that we find obvious.

Palestinians as Tactical Moderates, Strategic Militants

Palestinians as Tactical Moderates, Strategic Militants Author: David Pollock Categories: Palestinians    

Surprising results from a highly credible new survey in the West Bank and Gaza conducted May 16-26, 2017, demonstrate that Palestinians are often more moderate than their leaders on short-term political issues - such as "pay for slay" bonuses for terrorists, a US embassy move to Jerusalem, or Hamas attacks on Israel. However, many continue to hold maximalist aspirations against Israel in the long term, while rejecting its right to exist.

Print edition
ISIS and the Terrorism in Teheran

ISIS and the Terrorism in Teheran Author: Michael Segall Categories: Iran, Middle East, Terrorism    

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the coordinated simultaneous terror attacks on Iran's parliament (Majlis) building and on the tomb of Iran's first Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, on June 7. The group issued a statement in its media arm, as well as a short video from a camera carried by one of the assailants at the parliament. Indeed, it took responsibility even before the attack on the parliament building had ended. The coordinated attacks killed 13 people and wounded more than 40.

AIR New Zealand: Back on Track
NZ PM Bill English: Letter of “regret” to Netanyahu

AIR New Zealand: Back on Track Author: Miriam Bell Categories: Australasia, Israel    

It's official: diplomatic ties between New Zealand and Israel are back on. In June, after six months of discussions, Israel announced that it was sending its Ambassador Itzhak Gerberg back to New Zealand and restoring full diplomatic relations.

"Bottom-up" peacemaking?/ The NGO problem

"Bottom-up" peacemaking?/ The NGO problem Categories: Europe, Israel, Middle East, NGOs, Palestinians, Updates    

With the Trump Administration reportedly exploring efforts to re-start Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking, and Administration envoys Jason Greenblatt and Jared Kushner in Israel this week to meet both sides, this Update offers advice from some veterans of Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking suggesting the best way forward is to pursue a so-called "bottom-up approach" - building institutions of Palestinian statehood and making other changes on the ground, before moving to achieve a final peace deal. It also includes a critique of the way Europe is making peace harder by funding NGOs involved in incitement and promoting extremist views.

Qatar and the Mideast "Game of Camps"
Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad

Qatar and the Mideast "Game of Camps" Author: Eran Lerman Categories: Gulf states, Middle East    

In the Middle East "game of camps", the Qataris have been playing a dangerous game for years. They have provocatively supported the Muslim Brotherhood and actively promoted the destabilisation of existing regimes, using huge sums of money as well as the pernicious influence of Al Jazeera TV. The dramatic steps taken against them over recent weeks are thus hardly surprising, but they shed some light on the present stage in the struggle for regional hegemony.

Scribblings: Hope yet for the UN?

Scribblings: Hope yet for the UN? Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Anti-Zionism, Israel, Palestinians, United Nations    

Are some people at the UN finally starting to get how unhelpful and unfair the approach of UN bodies to Israel and the Palestinians has been? US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley has certainly been outspoken about this problem, for instance, saying in February, "The outrageously biased resolutions from the Security Council and the General Assembly only make peace harder to attain by discouraging one of the parties from going to the negotiating table."