Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

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New Hamas tunnels raise questions about UNRWA

New Hamas tunnels raise questions about UNRWA Author: Ross Beroff Categories: Hamas, Palestinians, Terrorism, United Nations, Updates    

On June 9, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) announced that on June 1, it had discovered a tunnel built by Hamas under some of its schools located in Gaza. Specifically the tunnel was found under the Maghazi Elementary Boys A&B School and the Maghazi Preparatory Boys School, both located in a compound containing additional schools.

Print edition
New Zealand and Israel make amends

New Zealand and Israel make amends Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Australasia, Israel, United Nations, Updates    

Israel announced on Tuesday that it will restore full diplomatic relations with New Zealand, and that its Ambassador Itzhak Gerberg will return to Wellington in the coming days.  Israel downgraded its diplomatic ties with New Zealand in response to New Zealand's co-sponsoring of UN Security Council resolution 2334 in December last year.

End of the 40-year "Likud era"?
Menachem Begin with two future Likud PMs, Ariel Sharon and Yitzhak Shamir

End of the 40-year "Likud era"? Author: Amotz Asa-El Categories: Israel    

"Thank God who heard our pleas," said Israel's Prime-Minister-elect to his euphoric followers on the night of 17 May 1977, as the unthinkable became fact: Menachem Begin, Leader of the Opposition for 28 consecutive years and the loser of eight straight general elections, was elected to lead the Jewish state.

Begin's triumph would transform Israel politically, culturally, and socially, heralding a 40-year era that may now be drawing to a close.


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

The Australian (May 20) ran two articles from the Economist magazine looking at the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War with a subtext that accused Israelis of living the good life whilst Palestinians suffer...

Although the main article noted that Israelis wrongly expected the Arabs would sue for peace in 1967, bizarrely nowhere was there any background given to the war's origins as a defensive war for Israel or the fact that Israeli offers to negotiate the return of the territories immediately in exchange for peace were formally rebuffed.

Video/Audio: Colin Rubenstein on Qatar/Arab States row and use of Al-Jazeera in Australian media Categories: Australasia, Gulf states, Hamas, Iran, Israel, Media/ Academia, Multimedia, Saudi Arabia, Updates    

Executive Director Dr Colin Rubenstein appeared on The Bolt Report on Sky News Australia, discussing why seven Arab countries to have cut ties with Qatar and why the ABC and SBS are wrong to use content sourced from Al-Jazeera, among other topics.

This post contains two short video excerpts and audio of the entire segment.

Gulf splits with Qatar: What this means for the region – and for the love affair Australia’s ABC and SBS have with Al-Jazeera

Gulf splits with Qatar: What this means for the region – and for the love affair Australia’s ABC and SBS have with Al-Jazeera Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Gulf states, Islamic Extremism, Media/ Academia, Saudi Arabia, Updates    

In a dramatic move, on June 5 Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Libya, Yemen and the Maldives announced they were all severing diplomatic relations with Qatar over its support for terrorist groups including the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, as well as for its close ties to Iran, with which it co-owns the largest natural gas field in the world.

A blessing and a curse
An Israeli military vehicle drives towards the Dome of the Rock at Al-Aqsa Mosque compound

A blessing and a curse Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Israel, Middle East, Op-eds    

This month marks 50 years since the Six Day War - which is pivotal to understanding the modern Middle East, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While it did not start that conflict, which began with Arab rejection of Israel's existence prior to its establishment in 1948, it has drawn the map from which proposals for two states must be carved out.

The Six Day War is viewed by many Israelis as both a blessing and a curse.

Europa Europa: Mutual Mistrust
German President Franz Walter Steinmeier at Yad Vashem

Europa Europa: Mutual Mistrust Author: Douglas Davis Categories: Europe, Israel    

After the horror of the Holocaust and the creation of Israel, relations between the two nations would not, could not, ever be "normal". Like it or not, Israel and Germany would be forever locked in a unique diplomatic embrace.

So, it was not altogether surprising that Frank-Walter Steinmeier, on his first visit to Israel as German president last month, should include a stop at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust remembrance centre in Jerusalem.

Asia Watch: The high price of religious sensitivities
The increasing use of blasphemy laws reflects the growing undercurrents of Islamism in Indonesia

Asia Watch: The high price of religious sensitivities Author: Michael Shannon Categories: Asia, Islamic Extremism    

When the North Jakarta District Court sentenced outgoing Jakarta Governor Basuki "Ahok" Tjahaja Purnama to two years in prison for blasphemy for suggesting that some people had misused a Koranic verse to block his re-election bid, it added dramatic confirmation of the paradox surrounding South East Asia's relationship with Islam. While Islamist terrorism in the region has been largely subdued, Islamist-inspired identity politics and intolerance are arguably posing a growing challenge to civil freedoms.

Essay: Inside a War Cabinet

Essay: Inside a War Cabinet Author: Yaakov Lozowick Categories: Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Middle East, Syria    

The security cabinet of 1967 appears in these never-published transcripts as a group of serious, professional and responsible decision-makers. While the ministers brought their worldviews to the table, they often didn't vote on party lines, often did listen to one another, and generally managed to make decisions, albeit slowly and through compromises.

Print edition
The strategic burden of a great victory

The strategic burden of a great victory Author: Efraim Inbar Categories: Israel, Middle East    

The swift and decisive victory of 1967 became the standard to which the IDF aspired - and the kind of victory expected by Israeli society in future engagements. This is problematic, considering the ways Israel's opponents have changed and the means they now deploy.

Another win for the system in Iran

Another win for the system in Iran Author: Eyal Zisser Categories: Iran    

The Iranian tragedy is that it is entirely uncertain whether Rouhani is even capable of ushering in the desired change. After all, Iran is not a democracy, and the elections are far from expressive of the public's true wishes. The election race was limited to establishment insiders who were vetted and approved by the Supreme Leader and his clerical cohorts.

Trump wins friends in Israel

Trump wins friends in Israel Author: David Horovitz Categories: Israel, United States    

Surely nobody but Donald J. Trump could get a warm laugh from an audience of Israeli notables within seconds of highlighting the Iranian regime's desire to destroy our country. That's what happened deep into the main speech of the President's May 22-23 Israel visit, at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

Beyond "50 Years of Occupation"
The Palestinians hold to a narrative which sees their resistance and patience being ultimately rewarded with Zionism’s disappearance

Beyond "50 Years of Occupation" Author: Einat Wilf Categories: Israel, Middle East, Palestinians    

A simple counting of 50 years of military occupation might lead reasonable people to believe that it can no longer be considered temporary. But that fails to take account of an alternative time frame: the Arab and Muslim countdown until the end of Zionism and the State of Israel.

Scribblings: Was 1967 an Accident?
Egyptian President Nasser knew his escalation would likely lead to war in 1967

Scribblings: Was 1967 an Accident? Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Egypt, Israel, Middle East, Palestinians    

This special edition of the AIR contains several different essays and articles looking back on the historical watershed that was the 1967 Six Day War from the perspective of half a century. However, I would strongly like to recommend one more important essay that we simply could not fit in this edition, but which provides an important analysis on what actually happened back in 1967.