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Analysis and Comment (52)

Where to start rebuilding? UN Photo/Shareef Sarhan

Rebuilding Gaza needs freedom and normality – not just aid

In the near three decades that I have been involved with Gaza and her people, I have never seen the kind of physical and psychological destruction that I see there today. In all Gaza’s long and tormented…
Mosques, houses, people, Israel’s reputation destroyed. Hamas military capability intact. EPA/Mohammed Saber

Problems ahead for Israel after Pyrrhic victory in Gaza

With a tenuous five-day ceasefire now underway, the pause in the Gaza War allows each side to consider its position. The Israeli Embassy in London reported on August 11 that: All known tunnels, 32 in total…
The United Nations Security Council’s primary responsibility is maintaining international peace and security – a task aided by the veto power. Francois Proulx/Flickr

Don’t be too quick to condemn the UN Security Council power of veto

Recent events in Gaza and Ukraine and the ongoing gridlock in Syria have dominated newspapers and airwaves – and debate in the United Nations Security Council. Despite UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon…
With the Palestinian peace camp among the casualties of the bombardment of Gaza, what does Israel expect to emerge from the ruins? AAP/Newzulu/Eloise Bollack

The world’s most tragic, long-running farce: the Gaza conflict

If we apply Karl Marx’s dictum that “history repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce”, then the Gaza Strip is one of the longest-running tragicomic productions in the world today. It is not hard…
Injured child in Gaza before last week’s ceasefire: Israel is a State Party to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. EPA/Stringer

Beyond the ceasefire: securing safety for Palestinian children

Amidst the cycle of fighting and ceasefire between the Israeli military and Hamas the safety of children remains severely threatened. Young Israelis are vulnerable to the trauma of frequent air raids that…
Overdue for reform: UN Security Council. EPA/Jason Szenes

UN Security Council veto is killing people

The conflicts in Ukraine, Gaza and Syria are symptomatic of deeper problems in the international system. If the Security Council were to fulfil its role under the UN Charter, tackling many of these tragic…
Israel advocacy campaigns, seen recently in the context of the conflict in Gaza, are typically fought in Australia on two fronts: Jewish community mobilisation and media engagement. AAP/Nikki Short

Zionist advocates in Australia keep faith with Israel – for now

Jewish communal and Zionist organisations in Australia have taken the unusual step of staging mock air-raid sirens to show solidarity with Israel amid its ongoing conflict with Hamas and to build support…
Bombardment of the Gaza Strip is having devastating effects. Mohammed Saber/EPA

The Israeli assault on Gaza: a public health perspective

It is three weeks since the current Israeli offensive against Gaza began on July 8. But it is now eight years since Israel began its blockade of Gaza. Since then unemployment has risen, public infrastructure…
A strike on the UN school in Jabalia killed at least 17 people. Epa/Mohamed Saber

Attacks on UN schools in Gaza clearly breach international law

The shelling of Jabalia Elementary Girls' School in Gaza on July 30 by Israeli forces was a shocking example of modern military action. The shelling was the sixth time a United Nations school has been…
An Israeli Iron Dome missile is fired to intercept a rocket from Gaza. EPA/Abir Sultan

Explainer: Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system

The breakdown of an initial ceasefire between Israeli forces and Hamas last weekend played out to a familiar soundtrack: the wail of air-raid sirens and the menacing hiss of incoming rocket fire, followed…
Not looking good: exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal. EPA/Mohammed Saber

The Hamas government in Gaza has always been a tragic mess

Writing about conflict is always difficult because of the romantic Western need for good guys and bad guys. That makes it difficult to make sense of things when everyone’s hands are dirty. Writing for…
The fresh outbreak of violence between Israel and Hamas has not emerged out of a vacuum, and may yet worsen. EPA/Atef Safadi

Here we go again – Israel and Hamas resume their war

The prospect of another Israeli-Gazan conflict is upon us with the beginning of Israeli ground operations in Gaza. There have been suggestions that the Israeli action will be limited to the destruction…
Day of catastrophe: but little is being done to heal the wounds. EPA/Abed Al Hashlamoun

Nakba day in Palestine – past catastrophe, future conflict?

This year Nakba Day marks 66 years since the displacement of Palestinians prior to the establishment of the state of Israel. The passing of an-Nakbah (literally, “the Catastrophe”) arrives amidst failed…
PLO representative Azzam Al Ahmad with Hamas prime minister Sheikh Ismael Haneiya and Ahmad Nahar. EPA/Mohammed Saber

Fatah reconciliation with Hamas necessary for Middle East peace

At a ceremony in Gaza on Wednesday, representatives of the two main rival Palestinian political factions, Fatah and Hamas, signed a reconciliation agreement. Predictably, the news was met with stern criticism…
You’ve come a long way, baby: David Cameron signs Shimon Peres’s visitors book. EPA/Dan Balitly

Tory attitudes to Israel have a tangled history

Addressing the Israeli Knesset recently, David Cameron proclaimed himself “a British prime minister whose belief in Israel is unbreakable, and whose commitment to Israel’s security will always be rock…
Keep calm and Cameron: PMs in the Knesset. EPA/Jim Hollander

Cameron’s Israel trip trumped by regional insecurities

David Cameron’s long-planned visit to Israel was overshadowed in the UK by Ed Miliband’s Europe speech but Cameron did have an opportunity to address the Knesset. Cameron made a strong plea for Israel…
Brutal interrogations of Palestinian children by Israeli forces have the apparent aim of obtaining a confession that the child engaged in stone-throwing. EPA/Mohammar Awad

Does Israel’s interrogation of Palestinian boys violate human rights?

Anyone who watched the ABC Four Corners episode Stone Cold Justice last night could not help but be moved by its vivid portrayal of the plight of many Palestinian boys at the hands of the Israeli army…
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…
Positive moves: The Elders at Chatham House last week (l-r: Maati Ahtisaari, Lakhdar Brahimi and Jimmy Carter. Jeff Moore/The Elders

Elders bring backing for Kerry’s peacemaking efforts

When US Secretary of State John Kerry announced that talks about talks to revive peace negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians would begin soon in Washington, veteran commentators greeted the…
Shut out: EU states have been banned from any investment in Israeli settlements. Helga Tawil Souri via Creative Commons

EU ban on Israeli settlements could be a game changer

After years of declarations, warnings and internal bickering, the European Union has finally done it. On Friday, Brussels is expected to announce that future agreements between the EU (or any of its member…
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? 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…
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu may now deal with centrist parties rather than right wing parties. EPA/Darren Northside

Israeli elections: the doomsday merchants proven wrong

The dust is settling after the election in Israel, and the efforts to establish a stable coalition are well underway. Prior to the election, concerns were raised in the global media and the blogosphere…
Benjamin Netanyahu will remain Israel’s prime minister, but the rise of centrist parties have made his choices for coalition partners far more difficult. EPA/Oliver Weiken

Israeli elections: the return of the centre

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s bruising victory in Israel’s election was costly. The hawkish atmosphere over electing members of the 19th Knesset saw the highest voter turnout since 1999 and some…
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. 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…

Columnists (2)

Gaza: when words fail

The continuing slaughter of women and children in Gaza is a painful reminder of the inadequacy of international institutions and our collective inability to impose order, let alone justice, in the world…

Eyeless, brainless and heartless in Gaza

While there is violent disagreement about who is to blame for the unfolding catastrophe in Gaza, there is less argument about its consequences. A rapidly rising – primarily civilian – death toll is difficult…