Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

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Hamas’ other terror tactic: intimidating foreign journalists

Hamas’ other terror tactic: intimidating foreign journalists Author: Gabrielle Debinski Categories: Anti-Zionism, Israel, Media/ Academia, Middle East, NGOs, Palestinians, Terrorism, Updates    

As the conflict between Israel and Hamas enters its third week, foreign journalists are increasingly flocking to the region, reporting from both Gaza and within Israel. In addition, more and more accounts of intimidation and abuse towards foreign journalists stationed in the Strip, both via social media as well as from Hamas operatives on the ground, are emerging.

In recent weeks several foreign journalists have released details of threats, intimidation and blackmail directed against them in the wake of their reporting on the reality as they see it in Gaza. Much of this abuse has stemmed from journalists' coverage of Hamas' tactic of firing rockets into Israel from civilian institutions or highly populated civilian areas. At the same time, reports relating to Hamas' use of Gaza's Shifa hospital - the largest and most important in the Gaza Strip - as a ‘hotbed' for storing weapons and launching rockets has also elicited intimidation from Hamas operatives in Gaza - as well as threats and abuse from pro-Palestinian advocates online.


The Last Word: Propagation of Poison

The Last Word: Propagation of Poison Author: Jeremy Jones Categories: Antisemitism, Australasia, Europe, Israel    

In a march through Sydney streets which I had the misfortune to encounter, I saw children waving banners which both accused Jews of being as bad as Nazis and implying the Nazis were not so bad after all, observed Greens and Labor Party activists associating with placards and slogans supporting Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad, witnessed a Christian clergyman and self-described Jews walking in front of placards asserting that Islam will one day triumph over all non-believers and heard vocal calls for an existential battle which would end Jews once and for all.

Media Microscope: Foreign correspondents Author: Allon Lee Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians    

It is far from scientific, but the quality of local television and radio coverage of the latest Hamas-Israel war seemed to dip when it relied upon foreign news services.

Two reports from Jeremy Bowen, a long time senior BBC reporter, were yet further reminders of why his anti-Israel reporting has long generated controversy.

The Murder Game

The Murder Game Author: Liel Leibovitz Categories: Israel    

If you've been following global reporting out of Israel recently, you know that, on July 2, a Palestinian youth was burned alive after three young Israeli yeshiva students were found murdered two days earlier, as the demons of nationalism and violence have plunged the bearded zealots on both sides into a grim whirl of death and bereavement.

British Commander: "Israel had no Choice"

British Commander: "Israel had no Choice" Author: Arsen Ostrovsky Categories: Israel, Palestinians    

Col. Richard Kemp is a former commander of British Forces in Afghanistan and one of the most highly decorated and respected officers in the British army. He has spent over 30 years fighting terrorism in the UK and around the world, including serving in overseas missions with NATO and the United Nations, commanding troops in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, and Macedonia, and participating in the Gulf War.

That makes him amply qualified to comment on the current hostilities between Israel and Hamas, which entered a new phase with an Israeli ground incursion into Gaza on July 18.

The Implications of Hamas' Attack Tunnels

The Implications of Hamas' Attack Tunnels Author: Jonathan D. Halevi Categories: Palestinians    

Ismail Haniyeh, the Hamas Prime Minister, delivered a revealing speech on March 23, 2014, in which he stressed the strategic importance of the Hamas attack tunnels, which, he argued, have changed the balance of power with Israel, when taken together with his organisation's military build-up. In the meantime, the IDF's war against the tunnels continues. On July 21, IDF forces thwarted another terror attack after two groups of Hamas operatives (numbering about ten) infiltrated from Gaza to Israel through a tunnel, apparently on their way to carry out a mass casualty attack at Kibbutz Erez and/or Kibbutz Nir Am.

Why Hamas wanted a war

Why Hamas wanted a war Author: Harel Chorev Categories: Palestinians    

Unlike in the past, the latest escalation of violence between Hamas and Israel is not another tactical and limited round. It is instead part of a new strategic direction taken by Hamas in an effort to capitalise on the circumstances created by the July 2 murder of a Palestinian youth, apparently by Jewish extremists, in Jerusalem. In so doing, Hamas intended to create a meaningful change in its difficult geopolitical, economic, and intra-Palestinian position.

Gaza War - Again

Gaza War - Again Author: Amotz Asa-El Categories: Israel, Palestinians    

Escalation was quick. What began with the abduction on June 12 of three Jewish teenagers, and the discovery of their bodies on June 30, resulted in the arrests of Hamas activists throughout the West Bank and intensified rocket barrages from Gaza on Israel - while Jewish extremists kidnapped and murdered a Palestinian boy on July 1, thus unleashing riots in east Jerusalem.

Scribblings: Proportionality Again
Boko Haram's brutal attacks get little attention

Scribblings: Proportionality Again Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Africa, Iraq, Israel, Palestinians    

In Nigeria, on July 19, the Boko Haram terror group reportedly took the town of Damboa, gunned down everyone they saw and burned most of the town to the ground. At least 100 people were killed - but the death toll may actually be considerably higher. Know about that one?

Further, more than 15,000 people were displaced over a few days around July 19-20 by Boko Haram attacks. It is estimated that at least 2,000 civilians have been killed in Boko Haram attacks this year.

Of course none of these tragic situations lessens the suffering of Gazans, or are themselves, a justification for Israel's action there (however, there are ample others).

Editorial: Hamas’ War Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: Israel, Palestinians    

With the decision on July 22 by most airlines to suspend services to Tel Aviv, the stakes of Israel's military confrontation with Hamas were taken to an unprecedented level.

With the termination of this vital lifeline for Israel, no longer can it be claimed, even by those most cynical of Israel, that the missile defence system Iron Dome - as revolutionary and life-saving as it is - has neutralised Hamas' rocket threat and obviated the need for Israel to use force to respond to Hamas' rocket strikes.

Such arguments were always weak.

Letter in The Age: Under threat Categories: Israel, Op-eds, Palestinians    

Your editorial (''Might overwhelms the right to defend'', 23/7) was inflammatory. Hamas, a terrorist organisation proscribed by many nations, including Australia, initiated this conflict by escalating rocket attacks across Israel. It rejected Israel's overtures to de-escalate, as well as three Arab ceasefire proposals Israel accepted. Hamas positions its military assets - rockets, launchers, weapons, command centres and tunnel entrances - amid civilian homes and buildings, even mosques, schools and hospitals; a war crime.

Why Gaza "civilian casualty" numbers should be taken with a grain of salt Author: Or Avi-Guy Categories: Israel, Palestinians, Terrorism, Updates    

One of the most often cited criticisms of Israeli military operations is the supposedly disproportionate civilian death toll, which is all too often based on unreliable or heavily biased sources.Several detailed analyses of the actual casualty figures confirm that it is clear that Israel is definitely not indicriminately targeting Gazans - despite the rhetoric one often hears about the Palestinian casualties.

Memo to ABC, SBS: Al-Jazeera has a conflict of interest

Memo to ABC, SBS: Al-Jazeera has a conflict of interest Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: Gulf states, Israel, Palestinians, Updates    

The integrity of coverage of the current fighting between Hamas and Israel by Australia's national broadcaster, ABC, and its sister organisation SBS, has been compromised by their problematic and repeated use of reports by al-Jazeera, an organisation owned by the government of Qatar.

Biased against Israel in its coverage even at the best of times, al-Jazeera must be seen as having an egregious conflict of interest when it comes to the Israel-Hamas conflict, because Qatar is currently the biggest funding source for Hamas, and, together with Turkey, had been actively shilling a ceasefire plan that transparently serves Hamas' interests.

In first interview Netanyahu explains to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Israel’s war aims

In first interview Netanyahu explains to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Israel’s war aims Author: Gabrielle Debinski Categories: America, Israel, Middle East, Palestinians, Terrorism, United Nations, Updates    

On July 20, Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, gave his first formal media interview since Israel launched ‘Operation Protective Edge' in response to incessant Hamas rocket fire just over two weeks ago.

The full interview can be viewed here.

Speaking to CNN reporter, Wolf Blitzer, Netanyahu talked extensively for almost fifteen minutes about the objectives of Israel's operation, which has seen over 40,000 Israeli soldiers and reservists called up to deter Hamas from continuously firing rockets at Israeli cities from what has become a terrorist enclave in the Gaza Strip.

Many Arab commentators “get it” with respect to Hamas

Many Arab commentators “get it” with respect to Hamas Author: Robert Ellenhorn Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Updates    

In the past, whenever there was violence between Israel and the Palestinians or other Arab groups, the Arab media have generally been pretty uniform and predictable in denouncing whatever Israel is doing as an evil crime, and defending whatever the side fighting with Israel is doing as completely justifiable, even heroic. This seems to be changing in the current Gaza conflict.

Hamas' rocket attacks provoked Israel's ground offensive into Gaza Strip

Hamas' rocket attacks provoked Israel's ground offensive into Gaza Strip Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Israel, Op-eds, Palestinians    

Israel is currently under attack as Hamas and other jihadist groups have fired more than 1600 rockets into its territory this month. The rockets have sent millions of Israeli citizens - Jews, Muslims, Christians, Druze - sprinting into bomb shelters. They have as little as 15 seconds to run for cover. It is not a situation any county would tolerate.

Why Hamas does not want Gazans to heed Israel warnings

Why Hamas does not want Gazans to heed Israel warnings Author: Robert Ellenhorn Categories: Palestinians, Updates    

While many Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and other terror groups seek shelter in a network of fortified underground tunnels, the civilian population of Gaza is denied access to this shelter and is instead being encouraged to act as human shields against Israeli airstrikes intended to target terror infrastructure intentionally embedded in civilian areas.

Proof positive that Hamas hiding military assets in civilian infrastructure - 20 rockets found in an UNRWA school

Proof positive that Hamas hiding military assets in civilian infrastructure - 20 rockets found in an UNRWA school Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Israel, Palestinians, Updates    

While some commentators have been claiming that Hamas' placing of military assets in civilian areas can be explained by the small dense nature of the Gaza Strip, there is in fact overwhelming evidence that these claims are wrong. It is not simply a situation of Hamas fighters shooting rockets from in or near residential buildings but of Hamas using civilian infrastructure including hospitals, mosques and, even UN administered schools to hide or store its weaponry.  Just this Wesdnesday, rockets were found in a school in Gaza operated by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).

Hamas and the Ceasefire Failure/Proportionality and Gaza

Hamas and the Ceasefire Failure/Proportionality and Gaza Categories: Israel, Palestinians, Updates    

With Hamas having rejected an Egyptian ceasefire deal on Tuesday (the full text of the proposal is here), even after Israel unilaterally ceased fire for several hours (some excellent coverage from Gaza of how Gazans felt about the ceasefire is here) this Update explores what Hamas is trying to achieve via its continued rejection of an end to the fighting. Plus, it also discusses the legally incorrect and counter-productive nature of the focus of so many in the media on the "disproportion" in this conflict between Israeli and Palestinian casualties.

Israel continues to try to provide humanitarian aid to Gaza, Hamas blocks it
Gazan child treated at the Rambam campus

Israel continues to try to provide humanitarian aid to Gaza, Hamas blocks it Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Israel, Palestinians, Updates    

Hamas' disregard for the suffering of civilians can also be seen in its recent orders to deprive Gazans of Israeli humanitarian assistance. On Tuesday, Hamas closed the Erez border crossing into Israel, which stranded a group of around 20 Palestinians planning to travel to Israel for medical treatment.  Despite the current conflict, Israeli hospitals continue to regularly provide medical care to patients from Gaza and the West Bank.

How did the latest Gaza War start? Despite the claims of some, it is no mystery

How did the latest Gaza War start? Despite the claims of some, it is no mystery Author: Or Avi-Guy Categories: Israel, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Terrorism, Updates    

Ruth Pollard, while reporting on operation "Protective Edge", claimed that "Any attempt to mark a starting point in the latest hostilities is a fraught process."
Apparently the obvious idea that this war was caused by Hamas' decision to shoot rockets at Israel in vastly greater numbers is one that some reporters are simply unwilling to consider.

Israel-Hamas hostilities prompt surge of antisemitic incidents

Israel-Hamas hostilities prompt surge of antisemitic incidents Author: Robert Ellenhorn Categories: Anti-Zionism, Antisemitism, Updates    

As has been the case in the past - amid hostilities between Israel and her enemies, attacks on Jews around the world have proliferated. Both physical attacks and blatantly antisemitic rhetoric at rallies and on social media have been evident - despite the routine claims by Israel's critics that they are targeting Israel and its policies, not Jews.