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Rewriting history

Rewriting history Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: Israel, Jordan, Media/ Academia, Palestinians, Updates    

Pro-Palestinian propagandists often allege that measures such as checkpoints and the Security Barrier are not necessary for security but are rather there merely to subjugate Palestinians. They also claim that Israel never seriously considered returning the land to Jordanian control or, alternatively, weighed the possibility of the creation of a Palestinian state. Such claims ignore mountains of evidence to the contrary - dating back to 1967, including the eyewitness accounts of journalists which form part of the historical record of the period.

Part two of a two-part blog.

Whispered Compassion

Whispered Compassion Author: Debra Kamin Categories: Israel, Jordan, Syria    

Sultana is 23 years old and very hungry. She grew up in the suburbs east of Damascus, but when her house was firebombed by an airplane belonging to the Syrian regime, she fled the city in the night along with her husband and their five children.

Together, the group trekked south toward safety across the Jordanian border, adding their numbers to the hundreds of thousands of refugees who have swarmed this remote, impoverished corner of the Hashemite Kingdom while Syrian President Bashar Assad's reign of terror shows no signs of abating.

AIR
The regional decline of the Muslim Brotherhood?

The regional decline of the Muslim Brotherhood? Categories: Egypt, Islamic Extremism, Jordan, Middle East, Tunisia, Updates    

This Update deals with increasing signs across the Middle East that - independently of the overthrow of the Egyptian government by the military in July -  the Muslim Brotherhood, the parent organisation for all modern Islamists, is on the skids. If this trend persists, it would be a major reversal of what once seemed to be the primary direction of the "Arab Spring" instability which has been rocking the region since late 2010 - and seemed previously to be mostly benefiting Islamists.

The Six Day War and the changing face of journalism: The view from Australia

The Six Day War and the changing face of journalism: The view from Australia Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Middle East, Palestinians, Reference, Syria, Updates    

The recent passing of the Associated Press' acclaimed journalist Hal McClure at the age of 92 coincides closely with the event that brought him his greatest fame - his coverage of the 1967 Six Day War, which began 46 years ago yesterday.

His passing is yet another reminder of a bygone era when a journalist took pride in reporting the news, rather than acting as a partisan advocate for or against the newsmakers themselves.

Before refecting on that, however, the anniversary of the Six Day War offers us an opportunity to review some of the coverage of the war at the time in two of Australia's leading newspapers - the Sydney Morning Herald and the Age.

 Israel offers positive water policy example to the region - the Palestinians, sadly, offer the opposite

Israel offers positive water policy example to the region - the Palestinians, sadly, offer the opposite Author: Or Avi-Guy Categories: Israel, Jordan, Palestinians, Updates    

Through resource management, innovation and planning, the Israeli water authorities ... have now beaten the intense drought which has gripped the country for several years. Now, the Israeli example stands ready to help others in the region to do the same. Unfortunately, not everyone is ready to take advantage of this opportunity.

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King Abdullah Wins a Round

King Abdullah Wins a Round Author: Oded Eran Categories: Jordan    

The parliamentary elections in Jordan on Jan. 23, 2013 failed to produce a clear answer as to the impact of the Arab uprisings on the Kingdom's real balance of power between the establishment, headed by King Abdullah, and the opposition, led by the Muslim Brotherhood. Both sides stayed deeply entrenched in their initial positions, with the King insisting on holding the election within the limited changes he agreed to, and the Brotherhood insisting on boycotting it given the government's refusal to accept its demands regarding amendments to the election law.

Pew Survey of Middle East reveals complex and sometimes conflicted feelings about democracy

Pew Survey of Middle East reveals complex and sometimes conflicted feelings about democracy Author: Andrea Nadel Categories: Afghanistan/ Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Middle East, Tunisia, Turkey, Updates    

The Pew Research Centre's Global Attitudes Project has just released the results of surveys it conducted throughout the Middle East in the wake of the "Arab Spring." The surveys reveal some interesting insights about attitudes in the Middle East in the wake of the recent uprisings, including how Middle Easterners weigh democracy, Islamism, economic strength and political stability in their own societies.

Declassified documents from '67 show Israel's willingness to trade land for peace

Declassified documents from '67 show Israel's willingness to trade land for peace Author: Ahron Shapiro Categories: Egypt, Jordan, Palestinians, Syria, United Nations, Updates    

Did Israel's government covet the land it captured as part of the defensive war of June 1967, which ended with Israeli forces in control of the Sinai Peninsula, Golan Heights, West Bank and Gaza?

For the most part, not at all, according to 200 pages of newly declassified transcripts from cabinet and committee meetings in the days following the war, released by Israel's National Archive this month.

"Pro-Palestinian" in name only

"Pro-Palestinian" in name only Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Jordan, Palestinians, Updates    

Jerusalem Post Palestinian affairs correspondent Khaled Abu Toameh has recently been writing prolifically on the oppression of the Palestinian people. Unusually for an Arab writer broaching this subject matter, while he does have some criticisms of Israel, the Israelies are not the primary objects of his criticism. In fact, the oppression that he is exposing comes at the hands of the Jordanians, the Syrians and even fellow Palestinians.

One of these pieces noted the redoubled efforts by the Jordanian King to marginalise Jordan's Palestinian population -- which he sees as a threat to his hold on power:

In 2009, Amman quietly began revoking the Jordanian citizenship of thousands of Palestinians, triggering strong protests from human rights organizations and pro-Palestinian groups around the world. ...

Incitement watch:  Palestinian death penalty for selling land to Jews and Jordan expelling the "prophet killers" from Jerusalem

Incitement watch: Palestinian death penalty for selling land to Jews and Jordan expelling the "prophet killers" from Jerusalem Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Antisemitism, Jordan, Palestinians, Updates    

The recent controversy over a house in the West Bank city of Hebron is having severe consequences for one unfortunate Palestinian. There was an outcry when Israeli settlers purchased and moved into a house in the "Arab" section of Hebron, ending with their eviction in a controversial move by Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak. While the evicted settlers are unhappy about the result, the man who sold them the house is facing a far worse outcome.

[Muhammad Abu] Shahala  reportedly was sentenced to death for his part in selling what has become known as the Machpela House to a group of Jews. He reportedly confessed to the sale after...

Aussie ex-pat brings Murray-Darling spirit to Israelis, Palestinians and Jordanians

Aussie ex-pat brings Murray-Darling spirit to Israelis, Palestinians and Jordanians Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Australasia, Israel, Jordan, Palestinians, Updates    

On a family rip back to Australia, Gidon Bromberg, an Australian environmental activist now living in Israel, picked up a copy of Chris Hammer's book The River: A Journey Through The Murray-Darling. Bromberg was inspired by Hammer's description of the process that led to the Federal Government passing legislation in 2007 to protect the river basin; so inspired, in fact, that he decided to bring Hammer to Israel and attempt to replicate the feat and help the long-suffering Jordan River.

Bromberg has written about this in today's Jerusalem Post...

A divided Palestine makes for a hopeless peace process

A divided Palestine makes for a hopeless peace process Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: Jordan, Palestinians, Turkey, Updates    

An AFP report yesterday indicated that, as predicted, Hamas and Fatah are dragging their feet on actually implementing the latest reconciliation deal.

This suggests that the current deal will go the way of the three previous deals: all have been introduced to much fanfare and then quietly lapsed as, once away from the public eye, no agreement could be reached on how to actually implement the requirements. The reason for this is that while "Palestinian unity" as an idea is appealing to both factions, they...

Hard Choices for Hamas

Hard Choices for Hamas Author: Pinhas Inbari Categories: Jordan, Palestinians, Saudi Arabia    

In December 2011, reports from several directions converged to suggest that Hamas is abandoning the sinking ship of Syria: that many senior cadres have already settled in Gaza and only the upper echelon of leadership that bears symbolic meaning still remains in Damascus. By and large those reports are correct. At the same time, Iran has cut its subsidy to Hamas, which now relies mostly on revenues from commerce through the smuggling tunnels, which can hardly support the Gazan economy.

Worsening Middle East instability

Worsening Middle East instability Categories: Egypt, Jordan, Middle East, Syria, Updates    

This Update provides analysis of the increasingly "Arab Spring" instability which seems to be developing across the Middle East - in Egypt, Syria and Jordan.

First up are Washington Institute experts David Schenker and Eric Trager on the background and implications to the re-ignition of significant violence between Egypt's military SCAF goverment, and protestors gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square over the weekend - which has led to the death of upwards of 24 people and hundreds of injuries.

The Shalit prisoner swap agreement - The Arab reaction

The Shalit prisoner swap agreement - The Arab reaction Author: Or Avi-Guy Categories: Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestinians, Syria, Terrorism, Updates    

Many reactions in the Palestinian street and media to the release of prisoners in exchange for the release of abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit reveal a worrying and disturbing narrative of glorification of the returning terrorists and support for their heinous crimes and violent ways. Calls for future abductions of Israeli soldiers as bargaining chips for future prisoner releases were also common.

AIR
In 1949, who wanted a Palestinian state? Only Israel!

In 1949, who wanted a Palestinian state? Only Israel! Author: Allon Lee Categories: Anti-Zionism, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Middle East, Palestinians, United Nations, Updates    

It won't stop the revisionist propaganda underpinning the Palestinian unilateral declaration of independence campaign, but newspaper accounts from 1949 prove that the nascent State of Israel supported the establishment of a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza and opposed the land being absorbed by surrounding Arab countries.

Can the PA (or Europe) Afford Palestinian Independence?

Can the PA (or Europe) Afford Palestinian Independence? Author: Geoffrey Levin Categories: Europe, Israel, Jordan, Middle East, Palestinians, Saudi Arabia, United Nations, Updates    

The Palestinian Authority (PA) "is broke", and according to a recent New York Times article, "the immediate cause of the crisis is the failure of foreign - especially Arab - donors to fulfill promises of aid." According to AP, Arab donations have decreased dramatically over the past couple years, as "in 2009, the Arab countries gave $462 million, a contribution that dropped to $287 million in 2010 and $78.5 million this year."

The predicament has led even the usually optimistic PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to declare that "this is, without doubt, the worst financial crisis the Palestinian Authority has ever faced", noting that there could not be a worse time for this, with the PA's planned unilateral declaration of independence (UDI) coming up at the United Nations in September.

More than 150,000 state employees, whose salaries support a million people, had their wages cut in half this month. Palestinian banks have lent the government more than $1 billion and do not want to lend more. Some ministries have temporarily lost electricity because they have not paid their bills. Last week, the government ordered a reduction in the price of bread, leading to bakery strikes. Garbage is piling up.

The Arab Spring remains mild in Jordan

The Arab Spring remains mild in Jordan Author: Geoffrey Levin Categories: Jordan, Middle East, Updates    

Despite mass violence in Libya, Syria, and Yemen, and leadership changes occurring in Egypt and Tunisia, Jordan has remained relatively quiet, with only limited protests and few deaths. As the Guardian points out:

Jordan has seen sporadic unrest since January but only on a small scale. Opposition demands - supported by youth groups, civil society organisations and Islamists - are for changes within the framework of the Hashemite monarchy. King Abdullah has pledged to pursue reforms that would allow the formation of future governments based on an elected parliamentary majority but gave no date. The slogan "the people want the reform of the regime" was in striking and deliberate contrast to demands elsewhere for the "overthrow" of rulers.


But does a recent act of police brutality signal a shift in Jordan?

Textbook antisemitism for Arab children

Textbook antisemitism for Arab children Author: Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz Categories: America, Antisemitism, Holocaust/ War Crimes, Jordan, Lebanon, Middle East, Palestinians, Saudi Arabia    

Hannah Rosenthal, the US State Department's Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat anti-Semitism, has just completed a visit to Lebanon, Jordan and Saudi Arabia in a bid to reduce the antisemitic content of their education syllabuses. As she told JTA, the State Department has found the textbooks produced in these countries to be replete with extremely offensive material regarding Jews, as well as Christians and women. The antisemitic subject matter included references to Jews as the "spawn of monkeys and pigs", as well as material from The Protocols of The Elders of Zion...

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