Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

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Essay: What do Palestinians want?

Essay: What do Palestinians want? Author: Daniel Polisar Categories: Israel, Palestinians    

The most recent wave of Palestinian terror attacks, now entering its second month, has been mainly the work of "lone wolf" operators running over Israeli civilians, soldiers, and policemen with cars or stabbing them with knives. The perpetrators, many in or just beyond their teenage years, are not, for the most part, activists in the leading militant organisations. They have been setting forth to find targets with the expectation, generally fulfilled, that after scoring a casualty or two they will be killed or badly wounded. What drives these young Palestinians, experts say, is a viral social-media campaign centred on claims that the Jews are endangering the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and that Israel is executing Palestinian children.

Biblio File: Fine Wine from a Free Mind
Paul Monk

Biblio File: Fine Wine from a Free Mind Author: Amotz Asa-El Categories: Australasia, Media/ Academia, Middle East    

One of Australia's most versatile public intellectuals, Monk's unique background as literary critic, China expert, author, poet and founder of the Austhink consultancy, has fed an exceptionally erudite writer's journalistic crop while history journeyed from the Cold War's passage to the Islamist threat's ascendency.

Mounting Incitement and Denial

Mounting Incitement and Denial Author: Andrew Friedman Categories: Israel, Palestinians    

There is a sense of trepidation walking into the guard station at the foot of the Mughrabi Bridge, the non-Muslim entrance to the Temple Mount. Having lived in and around Jerusalem for most of the past 20 years, there aren't many parts of the city I haven't seen. Personal interest, and my work as a journalist have taken me to nearly every site of religious, national or cultural interest in the city.

But going to the Temple Mount is different...

Print edition
Scribblings: Paris and Palestinian polls
This cartoon appeared in Fatah's Facebook page

Scribblings: Paris and Palestinian polls Author: Tzvi Fleischer Categories: Europe, Israel, Palestinians    

This edition contains an important new article by Daniel Polisar, which is a pretty comprehensive look at reputable polling of Palestinians over many years. It's not a pretty picture in terms of what Palestinians believe about Jews and Israel or support for terrorism - and goes a long way toward explaining why the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains insoluble, despite years of international mediation efforts and several reasonable two-state peace offers from Israel.

The New Normal?

The New Normal? Author: Walter Russell Mead Categories: Europe, Islamic Extremism, Middle East, Terrorism    

Regardless of what kind of response the West ultimately launches, military efforts in the wake of Paris will not spell an end to terrorism. There is no chance for a cure for the causes of terrorism anytime soon, no matter how much Paris may have stiffened Europe's resolve. Across the Middle East, democracy isn't taking hold, economic development is further away than ever, and bad governance is still endemic...

ISIS’s Terror Strategy

ISIS’s Terror Strategy Author: Oded Eran & Adam Hoffman Categories: Europe, Islamic Extremism, Middle East, Terrorism    

The Islamic State cited two justifications for the attacks. The first was ideological. Paris was described by the jihadist organisation as "the capital of prostitution and vice, the lead carrier of the cross in Europe." It appears that France's liberal values - including strong secularism, democracy, and freedom of expression - aroused and aggravated the anger of the Islamic State. But in addition to this general ideological justification, which marks France as the "enemy of Islam" due to its liberal values, lay a strategic consideration. France was targeted because of its military involvement in the international coalition fighting against the Islamic State strongholds in Syria. 


Editorial: “Containing” ISIS Author: Colin Rubenstein Categories: Europe, Islamic Extremism, Middle East, Terrorism    

The barbaric, coordinated attacks in Paris by Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terrorists on November 13, which claimed the lives of over 130 people, may well be more than just the latest barbaric atrocity carried out in the name of extremist Islamism. It may signal that ISIS has decided on a shift in tactics to a new emphasis on terrorism against the home front of its perceived enemies.

Abbas admits he rejected "out of hand" Olmert’s offer for a Palestinian State

Abbas admits he rejected "out of hand" Olmert’s offer for a Palestinian State Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Israel, Palestinians, Updates    

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas has finally admitted what has long been known, that in 2008 he rejected an offer from Israel's then Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to create a Palestinian State that would have fulfilled all reasonable expectations from the international community for a two-state peace.

The admission came during interviews with Abbas and Olmert regarding the 2008 peace negotiations, which aired on Israel's Channel 10 TV.

Statement on Paris terror attacks

Statement on Paris terror attacks Categories: Europe, Islamic Extremism, Media Releases, Terrorism    

We are appalled by the barbaric atrocities perpetrated in Paris on Friday night. Our sympathies and prayers are with the families and friends of those so brutally murdered, and we wish a speedy recovery to all those injured.

It is important that the terrorist attacks are recognised for what they are - further manifestations of a fundamentalist Islamist ideology that victimizes Muslim and non-Muslim alike...

Israel and Palestine: Too many barriers still prevent a two-state solution

Israel and Palestine: Too many barriers still prevent a two-state solution Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Israel, Op-eds, Palestinians    

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with United States President Barack Obama on November 9 following a year of tension between the two leaders. Differences over Iran were largely put aside as the meeting focused on Israel's security needs and how it will stabilise relations with the Palestinians...

The Obama administration has had to recognise that trying to prevent a slide into intensified Israeli-Palestinian violence appears to be more important at the minute than to pursue an unlikely peace breakthrough.

Iran's Anti-American Backlash/ Syria Diplomacy

Iran's Anti-American Backlash/ Syria Diplomacy Categories: America, Iran, Syria, Updates    

This Update leads with the reality that, contrary to likely expectations of the US Administration, the Iran nuclear deal appears not only troubled in terms of Iran trying to re-write its terms prior to implementation, but appears also to be doing the opposite of creating a rapprochement between Teheran and the US. It also features some intelligent comment on recent efforts to seek a diplomatic resolution on Syria, including inviting Russia and Iran to join the talks in Vienna a couple of weeks ago.  

The Upcoming Obama-Netanyahu meeting/ Misremembering Rabin's Legacy Categories: America, Israel, Palestinians, Updates    

This Update features two previews of the upcoming Netanyahu-Obama meeting on Sunday - the first between the two leaders in more than a year marked by often bitter disagreement about the nuclear deal with Iran. It also features a piece correcting some myths which have appeared in some of the numerous comments about the legacy of murdered Israeli PM Yitzhak Rabin written to mark the 20th anniversary of his death.

Israeli innovation inspiring Australians
Wyatt Roy with Israel's Chief Scientist Avi Hasson

Israeli innovation inspiring Australians Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Australasia, Israel, Updates    

"Innovation" is a centrepiece of Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's agenda for Australia - and the government is looking to Israel for inspiration.

At the forefront of planning this agenda is Assistant Minister for Innovation Wyatt Roy, who together with Robogals founder and 2012 Young Australia of the Year Marita Cheng, led an Australian delegation of 44 entrepreneurs, industry representatives and government envoys on a week-long expedition to Israel (Oct. 29 to Nov. 5), to inspire Australia's innovation agenda.

Will the deal to preserve the Temple Mount "status quo" hold?

Will the deal to preserve the Temple Mount "status quo" hold? Categories: Israel, Palestinians, Updates    

Last weekend, US Secretary of State John Kerry met with Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian leaders and came up with an understanding to preserve the religious status quo on Jerusalem's Temple Mount, as well as a Jordanian proposal, accepted by Israel, to place 24-hour surveillance cameras there to clarify any controversies about what has been occurring. The Israeli government for its part affirmed in a televised statement that it will "continue to enforce its longstanding policy: Muslims pray on the Temple Mount; non-Muslims visit the Temple Mount." The Palestinians, however, have rejected the idea of security cameras, calling them a "trap", reportedly angering the Jordanians.

The Israeli Consensus for Peace is Rabin's Legacy

The Israeli Consensus for Peace is Rabin's Legacy Author: Allon Lee Categories: Israel, Op-eds    

It remains the most traumatic day in recent Israeli history.

Yitzhak Rabin, as Chief of Staff, had saved Israel at its darkest hour in 1967. He had served with distinction in the War of Independence and opened the road to besieged Jerusalem.

He was assassinated by an extremist who saw him not as a hero of the State of Israel but a traitor - because he dared to take risks for peace.

Print edition
Adopting Out

Adopting Out Author: Michael Makovsky Categories: International Security, Iran, Middle East    

Sunday, October 18, wasn't just a day of baseball playoffs and football games. It was "Adoption Day," when all parties to the Iran nuclear deal must have begun preparing to implement its terms. And while the Obama Administration took another opportunity to pat itself on the back for its achievement, Iran has offered the international community a clear signal of what it thinks about its obligations under the deal, as well as its strategic intentions.

Who is really challenging the “status quo” in Jerusalem?

Who is really challenging the “status quo” in Jerusalem? Author: Sharyn Mittelman Categories: Israel, Palestinians, Updates    

This past month Israel has faced a wave of Palestinian terror attacks, with many attacks incited by the false claim that Israel is changing the status quo on Jerusalem's Temple Mount/Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. But a quick look at recent events reveals that it is not Israel but the Palestinian leadership that has been seeking to change the "status quo" in Jerusalem's Old City.

90 years of Al-Aqsa incitement

90 years of Al-Aqsa incitement Author: Petra Marquardt-Bigman Categories: Israel, Palestinians    

You may think, that almost 90 years ago, rumours of threats to Al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock due to evil "Zionist" plots to rebuild the Jewish Temple there would have been dismissed as ridiculous. After all, the Zionists of the 1920s were mostly secular, lacking both the motivation and the means, not to mention the power, to pursue such a project. But facts mattered as little back then as they matter now.

The ISIS ‘Whitewash'
ISIS: Brazen violations of Western norms

The ISIS ‘Whitewash' Author: Yoram Schweitzer Categories: Islamic Extremism, Middle East, Terrorism    

A side result of the horrors perpetrated by IS is the whitewashing of the crimes of totalitarian regimes and other terrorist groups, who have brutally murdered thousands around the world even before IS was created, and continue to do so today.

Biblio File: Masters of Their Own Fate Author: Joshua Muravchik Categories: Media/ Academia, Middle East    

Karsh challenges the received wisdom... among Western commentators and leaders that the agonies of the Middle East are traceable to the rough handling of the region by the Western powers - first European colonialists, then American cold warriors.