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Analysis and Comment (39)

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…
What did this summer’s Israeli offensive amount to? EPA

Gaza: why Operation Protective Edge was not genocide

When, in armed conflict, civilians are killed on a large scale, when schools are attacked and children are orphaned, charges of genocide are often not far behind. In discussions about Operation Protective…
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…
Hamas has built an elaborate network of tunnels but not civilian bomb shelters in Gaza. EPA/Jack Guez

Civilian deaths in Gaza conflict are not automatically a war crime

Inevitably, the United Nations Human Rights Council has expressed its condemnation of Israel and launched a war crimes inquiry. The vote on July 23 followed the usual political lines that have previously…
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…
Until George Brandis' comments last week, Australia’s position has been to recognise East Jerusalem as ‘occupied by Israel’. AAP/Alan Porritt

Brandis out of step with international consensus on East Jerusalem

Under questioning at a Senate estimates hearing, federal attorney-general George Brandis revealed that the Abbott government does not consider East Jerusalem to be “occupied”. Brandis later put out a statement…
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…
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…
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. 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…
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. 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…
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. 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…
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. 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…
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. 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 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…

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