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Analysis and Comment (18)

Foreign minister Julie Bishop made news in Israel by declaring Australia would like to see which international law made settlements in occupied Palestinian territories illegal. Foreign minister Julie Bishop made news in Israel by declaring Australia would like to see which international law made settlements in occupied Palestinian territories illegal. Times of Israel

Settlements illegal under what law? Take your pick, minister

The Australian government has become an apologist for Israeli war crimes and a wrecker of sacred international humanitarian law principles. Last week, Australia’s foreign minister Julie Bishop asked to…
Ariel Sharon, right, with Menachem Begin. Ariel Sharon, right, with Menachem Begin. Israeli GPO

Ariel Sharon dies at 85 after decades as polarising presence

To his critics he will forever be the “Butcher of Beirut”, the master of Israel’s disastrous invasion of Lebanon in 1982 and the man responsible for the horrendous massacre of hundreds of Palestinians…
Land under threat: Palestinian shepherds in the Jordan valley. Land under threat: Palestinian shepherds in the Jordan valley. AP Photo/Oded Balilty

Latest Israel-Palestine talks likely to falter over land swap

When US secretary of state John Kerry returned to the Middle East last week, it was with the assurance from senior officials that “nobody has an intention of sticking a finger in Kerry’s eye” on the issue…
Barrier to peace: Israeli settlements occupy 40% of the land area of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Barrier to peace: Israeli settlements occupy 40% of the land area of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Creative Commons

US is the real obstacle to peace between Israel and Palestine

United States secretary of state John Kerry is in the Middle East this week. Among other tasks, he is attempting to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. Undoubtedly, Israel’s recent approval…
A Palestinian farmer and Israeli soldier clash in an olive grove. Can academics in other countries affect this situation by boycotting one side or the other? A Palestinian farmer and Israeli soldier clash in an olive grove. Can academics in other countries affect this situation by boycotting one side or the other? AAP/Abed Al Hashlamoun

Academics and activism: Stephen Hawking and the Israel boycott

The news that famous physicist Stephen Hawking has decided to join the academic boycott of Israel has attracted some heated commentary. Hawking pulled out of attending an Israeli conference in June, explaining…
Palestinians from Fatah (yellow flags) and Hamas (green flags) celebrated the reconciliation agreement between the factions in 2011, but little progress in the region has been made since. Palestinians from Fatah (yellow flags) and Hamas (green flags) celebrated the reconciliation agreement between the factions in 2011, but little progress in the region has been made since. EPA/Mohammed Saber

Burning bridges: Hamas and reconciliation

Recently, Musheer al-Masri, a Hamas member and spokesperson, blamed his Palestinian political rivals Fatah yet again for hindering the implementation of the Palestinian Reconciliation Agreement. The agreement…
Opposition leader Tzivi Lipni and Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu face off in the impending Israeli election. Opposition leader Tzivi Lipni and Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu face off in the impending Israeli election. EPA/Abir Sultan

Israeli elections: no matter who wins, the Palestinians lose

In all the language used to discuss the Israel-Palestine situation, “dilemma” is surely the most redundant. A dilemma implies that there are two equal alternatives to opt for and that one must be foregone…
Boycotting the Hebrew University of Jerusalem is not Anti-Semitic; it’s a recognition of violations of international law. Boycotting the Hebrew University of Jerusalem is not Anti-Semitic; it’s a recognition of violations of international law. Flickr/delayed gratification

Establishing the facts about the boycott of Israeli academic institutions

The last weeks of 2012 saw a great amount of criticism levelled at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies at Sydney University and its director Jake Lynch following their boycott of an exchange program…
Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian delegation applaud after the vote on a resolution to upgrade Palestine’s status in the UN. Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian delegation applaud after the vote on a resolution to upgrade Palestine’s status in the UN. EPA/Andrew Gombert

The art of the possible: recognising Palestinian statehood

The road of history is a pot-holed one. But that doesn’t mean, despite the crashes and stutters, that we don’t eventually get past them. The UN vote over upgrading the Palestinians to non-member observer…
Palestinians gather around what is left of a destroyed house after an Israeli air strike this week. Palestinians gather around what is left of a destroyed house after an Israeli air strike this week. EPA/Ali Ali

Israel, Gaza and the tragic justifications for war

Gaza, ostracised, enclosed and pummelled, is being levelled – again. Israel’s case against Hamas, expressed both via air strikes and a social media war, is one of self-defence. Article 51 of the United…
Mitt Romney’s comments about Israel parroted the US Zionist lobby. Mitt Romney’s comments about Israel parroted the US Zionist lobby. EPA/Abir Sultan

A one-state solution is the only way forward for Israel and Palestine

How should the world react when a supposedly democratic state can’t acknowledge a 40-year-old occupation? When US Presidential candidate Mitt Romney declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel during a visit…
Muslim democrat Mohammed Morsi with protesters following the Mubarak verdict last weekend. Muslim democrat Mohammed Morsi with protesters following the Mubarak verdict last weekend. EPA

The irresistible rise of Muslim democrats in the Middle East

Whatever the outcome of the Egyptian presidential runoff scheduled for 16-17 June, Middle Eastern electoral politics are now conforming to a remarkable rule. When elections are held in a free and fair…
President Obama and French leader Nicolas Sarkozy were caught speaking of Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in unflattering terms at the G20 summit. President Obama and French leader Nicolas Sarkozy were caught speaking of Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in unflattering terms at the G20 summit. AAP/Stefan Rousseau

Careless whisper: what Obama and Sarkozy’s slip means for Israel

The recent Cannes G20 meeting was ostensibly about saving Europe from falling into economic oblivion. But a frank exchange between US President Barack Obama and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, caught…
The Palestinian delegation to UNESCO await the outcome of the vote on membership. The Palestinian delegation to UNESCO await the outcome of the vote on membership. AAP

Palestine vote: America the loser as it withdraws funding from UNESCO

The United States announced last Monday that it would refuse to pay its 2011 funding commitment to the United Nations' lead cultural and educational body following that organisation’s decision to admit…
Gilad Shalit speaks to his family following his release from captivity after five years. Gilad Shalit speaks to his family following his release from captivity after five years. AFP/IDF

One against a thousand: The politics of the Gilad Shalit deal

When Gilad Shalit was dragged away in a cross-border raid in June 2006, it’s doubtful he or his captors would have imagined five years’ of negotiations lay ahead. Nor in their most fevered imaginings would…
A Palestinian girl in Gaza atop a destroyed house on the day President Abbas formally requested UN recognition of Palestine. A Palestinian girl in Gaza atop a destroyed house on the day President Abbas formally requested UN recognition of Palestine. AAP

UN recognition: Palestine, Israel and the path forward

President Mahmoud Abbas has formally submitted Palestine’s application for full member status of the United Nations. The United States has already promised to veto the application at the Security Council…
Palestinian civilians outside a United Nations installation in the West Bank city of Hebron. Palestinian civilians outside a United Nations installation in the West Bank city of Hebron. AAP

State of play: why Palestine’s bid for UN recognition might be counter-productive

Some hypothetical situations just aren’t worth investing too much thought in. What would I serve the Queen if she turned up for dinner? What sort of private jet would I buy if I inherited a billion dollars…
Palestinian medics attend to an elderly woman in the shadow of the Israeli wall. Palestinian medics attend to an elderly woman in the shadow of the Israeli wall. AAP

Explainer: The upcoming UN Palestinian sovereignty vote

The United Nations is set to vote on recognising Palestine as an independent state next month. What the chances of the Palestinian initiative succeeding? What implications would recognition of Palestinian…