Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

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The Syrian situation and policy alternatives Categories: Syria, Updates    

This Update contains some recent information on the ongoing, bloody Syrian civil war. It also contains some analysis suggesting Western policy, led by the US, is not working - with some proposed alternatives provided by knowledgeable sources.

Print edition

Noted and Quoted - August 2016 Categories: Australasia, Israel, Media/ Academia, Middle East    

Many in the media noted the similarities between the horrific Islamist terror attack in Nice involving the use of a truck to kill more than 80 people and the use of vehicles in recent Palestinian terror tactics.

In the Australian (July 16), a Wall Street Journal report quoted former CIA agent Bruce Riedel saying, "we've seen similar vehicle attacks by individual Palestinians against Israelis, which have gotten enormous attention in jihadi circles, and al-Qaida has called for people to imitate them."

Behind the News - August 2016

Behind the News - August 2016 Categories: Iran, Israel, Palestinians, Syria    

Meanwhile, on July 17 the Izz a-Din Qassam Brigades, Hamas' military wing, announced that it had opened its annual summer camps which incorporate military training, and that this year's theme is "soldiers of Jerusalem". More than 30,000 Gaza youths are expected to attend the camps, which, the Brigades say, will "prepare an army of victory for the liberation of Palestine."

Opposition to protections from racist harassment and bullying “is ill-conceived, ill-informed and ill-timed”
At Federal Court after Jones v Toben judgement

Opposition to protections from racist harassment and bullying “is ill-conceived, ill-informed and ill-timed” Author: Jeremy Jones Categories: Antisemitism, Australasia, Immigration/ Multiculturalism, Interfaith Dialogue, Updates    

Jeremy Jones, Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council's Director of Community and of International Affairs, who has unparalleled experience in the operation of the Federal Race Discrimination laws, has responded to comments by a number of cross-bench senators who have called for the abolition of that federal legislation which gives recourse to victims of racist intimidation, harassment and vilification.

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Hamas again largely missing from Sophie McNeill's latest Gaza expedition
Hamas' terror tunnels are professionally built.

Hamas again largely missing from Sophie McNeill's latest Gaza expedition Author: Allon Lee Categories: Israel, Middle East, Palestinians, Terrorism    

On ABC TV, Radio and the national broadcaster's website (July 30), Middle East correspondent Sophie McNeill returned to what is clearly her favourite type of story - a one dimensional narrative focusing on Palestinians suffering in Gaza, where only Israel is deemed culpable for their plight.

Essay: The IDF's other soldiers

Essay: The IDF's other soldiers Author: Sara Toth Stub Categories: Israel    

Basic training at facilities like this is a rite of passage for most Israeli teenagers. Young men serve three years in the IDF and women two. Exemptions are given to those who study in ultra-Orthodox yeshivas (religious seminaries), the country's Arab citizens, and young women who opt for civilian national service...

But one of the units running drills today, the 585th or Desert Reconnaissance Battalion, has a different story. It is an infantry unit made up mainly of Bedouins, a semi-nomadic Muslim minority that makes up about 2% of Israel's population. Bedouins are not required to serve in the army, but, for decades, many have chosen to do so.

Iran's Support for Terror under the JCPOA
Iran-sponsored Hezbollah agent arrested in Israel

Iran's Support for Terror under the JCPOA Author: Matthew Levitt Categories: International Security, Iran, Terrorism    

When the JCPOA was implemented in January, terrorism-related sanctions remained in place against Iran, and US officials promised they would hold Teheran accountable for any such activity despite the lifting of nuclear sanctions. As Secretary of State John Kerry noted on January 21, "If we catch them funding terrorism, they're going to have a problem with the United States Congress and with other people, obviously." And yet, in the year since the deal was signed, Iran's threatening behaviour has not diminished.

Asia Watch: King-pin down

Asia Watch: King-pin down Author: Michael Shannon Categories: Asia, Islamic Extremism, Terrorism    

Santoso and his men from the MIT have been behind numerous attacks on police since 2012, particularly the anti-terror unit Detachment 88. By the time he was shot, he was responsible for the deaths of more than a dozen police and had tried to kill many more.

Having pledged allegiance to Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in 2014 - the first Indonesian to publicly do so - Santoso's terror cell reportedly received funding from ISIS although it is unclear how much ISIS had given the group...

Diverting humanitarian aid is despicable

Diverting humanitarian aid is despicable Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: Australasia, Israel, Op-eds, Palestinians    

Diverting humanitarian aid is despicable. Diverting it to a militant organisation that carries out attacks against civilians is simply evil.

It is now common knowledge that Hamas - the designated terrorist organisation which rules the Gaza Strip - has for years been diverting cement and other materials meant for the reconstruction of Gaza and the benefit of Palestinian civilians.

The serious terror-funding allegations against the World Vision head in Gaza
Mohammed El-Halabi in an Israeli court

The serious terror-funding allegations against the World Vision head in Gaza Author: Jamie Hyams Categories: Islamic Extremism, Israel, NGOs, Palestinians, Terrorism    

Israeli authorities announced on August 4 that they had arrested Mohammed El-Halabi, the manager of operations in the Gaza branch of the international charity World Vision on suspicion of using his position to funnel millions of dollars to the terrorist organisation Hamas.

What's in a Name: Jahbat al-Nusra, the Syrian Civil War and Israel
Israeli soldiers treat Syrian civilians and rebels

What's in a Name: Jahbat al-Nusra, the Syrian Civil War and Israel Author: Aaron Torop Categories: Iran, Israel, Middle East, Syria, Terrorism, Updates    

On 28 July Jahbat al-Nusra (also known as the Nusra Front) voted to officially sever ties with al-Qaeda and change its name to Jabhat Fatah al-Sham ("Front for the Conquest of the Levant"). Since mid-2015, JN has controlled a majority of the Israel-Syria border in the Golan, with relative quiet to this day. What does this name change mean for Israel's security along the border?

ISIS in the Palestinian refugee camps
Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp in Lebanon

ISIS in the Palestinian refugee camps Author: Khaled Abu Toameh Categories: Islamic Extremism, Lebanon, Palestinians, Terrorism    

ISIS is on the mind of the Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership. Top PA officials have expressed concern that jihadi groups, including ISIS, have managed to infiltrate Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.

Lebanese authorities are also worried - so worried that they have issued a stiff warning to the Palestinians: Stop the terrorists or else we will take security into our own hands.

Compliance Costs

Compliance Costs Author: Emily B. Landau Categories: International Security, Iran    

Observers of the Iran deal will note that since the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) "Implementation Day" in mid-January 2016, two International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reports have been released that appear to offer a somewhat rosy view of Iran's behaviour, concluding that Iran has so far complied with the terms of the nuclear deal... Yet, as ever with the current regime in Teheran, all is not as it seems. Several crucial problems can be observed over the past year that might call into question that simple conclusion of compliance.

Israel’s diplomatic spring

Israel’s diplomatic spring Author: Amotz Asa-El Categories: Africa, Egypt, Israel, Turkey    

Israel, in short, had always had at any given time at least two friends within the Turkish-Iranian-Egyptian triangle. In 2012, however, all three were at odds with the Jewish state.

Four years on, the tables have turned.

Europa Europa: Brexit and Israel

Europa Europa: Brexit and Israel Author: Douglas Davis Categories: Europe, Israel, United Kingdom    

The British decision to uncouple from the EU, expected to take effect by 2019, was not unqualified good news for Israel: Britain, along with Germany, has been among Israel's most stalwart diplomatic allies in the EU and its voice within the decision-making forums of the EU will be missed, particularly on the vexatious question of the "Middle East Peace Process"...

Print edition
Scribblings: How to Handle a Martyrdom-Seeking Stabber

Scribblings: How to Handle a Martyrdom-Seeking Stabber Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Europe, Iran, Islamic Extremism, Israel, Palestinians, Terrorism    

What happens when a terrorist, armed with a knife or other sharp implement, sets out to stab random people or security forces, and in the process achieve martyrdom for him or herself?

Take Riaz Khan Ahmadzai, the teenage Afghan refugee who, on July 18, stabbed five people with a knife and a hatchet on a train near Würzburg in Germany in what the Bavarian authorities said was probably an "Islamist attack."

Qatar aid to Hamas/ PA losing West Bank control Categories: Gulf states, Palestinians, Updates    

This Update discusses the recent provision by Qatar of US$31 million to pay the salaries of civil servants in Hamas-controlled Gaza - and what it reveals about the reality of the situation in Gaza. It also includes the key findings of a new study indicating the Palestinian Authority (PA) appears to be losing control over the key cities of the West Bank.

Riyadh's diplomatic dance with Israel
Saudi Maj.-Gen. Anwar Eshki with Dore Gold

Riyadh's diplomatic dance with Israel Author: Simon Henderson Categories: Israel, Saudi Arabia    

In late July, retired Saudi Major-General Anwar Eshki led a delegation to Israel, where he met with various officials and made public statements about the Palestinian issue and other matters. The visit was highly unusual, unexpected, but not completely surprising - the General had revealed his contacts with Israel in June 2015 when he appeared in Washington alongside Dore Gold, the former Israeli Ambassador to the UN, confidant of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and soon to be appointed Director-General of the Foreign Ministry, the institution's top bureaucrat.

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Back into Africa
Netanyahu with African heads of state in Uganda

Back into Africa Author: Aaron Torop Categories: Africa, Israel    

In February Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced, "Israel is coming back to Africa." In July, he followed through on this commitment by visiting Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia and Rwanda...

Interestingly, each country Netanyahu visited has a unique connection with Israel: Uganda and Ethiopia have historic Jewish communities; Rwanda experienced genocide; Kenya and many others are battling Islamist extremist forces. By understanding the complexities and uniqueness of each nation, Israel is hoping to reap the benefits of improved relations.

Editorial: PM Turnbull’s mandate Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: Australasia, Immigration/ Multiculturalism, Israel, Terrorism    

Following the razor-thin re-election of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in a rare double dissolution election, the composition of both the House of Representatives and Senate, with new personalities pulling in new directions, is coming into focus.

While Australia's senior leadership has not changed, the policies and priorities of the new Turnbull Government and the Parliament as a whole will certainly shape the character and fortunes of Australia as a nation in the coming years.