tip off

‘The children cry and scream’ as violence in Gaza escalates

The murder of three Israeli teenagers and the retaliatory killing of a Palestinian teen have sparked a crisis in Gaza, with rocket and mortar attacks and a ground invasion possible. Freelance writer Nigel O’Connor talks to people on the ground.

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In Palestine, a question for Australia: are we on ‘the right or wrong side of history’?

Australia has decided to stop referring to Palestinian territories in East Jerusalem as “occupied”, which has won it friends in the Israeli government but has outraged Palestinians. Freelance writer Nigel O’Connor reports from Ramallah.

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Crikey Blogs | LINKS|

At last, Israel has a new government

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has used the full amount of time available but appears to have finally put together a new right-wing coalition, writes Charles Richardson.

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Israelis don’t much like Netanyahu, but they’re stuck with him

Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition looks likely to scrape a victory of perhaps 62 seats in the 120-seat Israeli parliament. He faces some tough decisions about who to bring into the fold — and whether to change direction.

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Middle East nuclear stand-off needs regional solution

Nuclear proliferation in the Middle East is still a key element for the hopes of a peaceful settlement, writes Antoun Issa. The view is a solution cannot be imposed from outside.

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Reuters | LINKS|

Netanyahu: Israel will remain ‘master of its fate’

Barack Obama and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu sought to present a united front during White House discussions but revealed different approaches to the Iranian nuclear threat, reports Jeffrey Heller and Matt Spetalnick.

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The Iran question: a ‘good cop, bad cop’ scenario

The drums of war can again be heard beating across the Middle East, writes Nigel O’Connor, a freelance writer in Ramallah.

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Come in Spinner: framing the Middle East

Amid all the turmoil within the Middle East, diplomats, governments, communities and political advisers spend an enormous amount of time trying to frame the turmoil and events in ways that best suit their own aims.

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Palestinian unity plan met with scepticism in West Bank

A unity agreement between the two major Palestinian political parties, Fatah and Hamas, has been greeted with scepticism from Palestinian youth activists, writes Nigel O’Connor, a freelance journalist in Ramallah.

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Israeli soldier’s release a win-win

As Israel celebrates, and the world welcomes, the release of soldier Gilad Shalit, Hamas, the Islamist party controlling the Gaza Strip, has emerged with a significant victory in its push for Palestinian political supremacy, writes freelancer Nigel O’Connor.

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The vexed Palestine question facing Rudd and Gillard

Don’t be surprised if the Gillard government also bends in the wind when it comes to Palestine.

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Israel’s leaders have more doubts about democracy

It’s reported today that, as expected, a range of Israeli civil rights organisation’s will file legal challenges against that country’s new law against boycotts.

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New York Times | LINKS|

Scramble to save Middle East peace talks

Despite the US proudly launching peace talks with Palestinian and Israeli leaders just a month ago, no resolution could be reached before the end of Israel’s freeze on West Bank settlement construction. What will Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas do now?

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Israel’s PR war on ‘hate boat’

This wasn’t a Love Boat,” Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu says in the face of growing condemnation of the deadly commando raid on the flotilla of activists. This is a PR campaign being waged on Facebook and Twitter.

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Huffington Post | ASIA-PACIFIC|

Japan PM resigns, Obama to blame?

Has Japan PM Yukio Hatoyama — who announced he’s stepping down as PM — crumbled under Barack Obama’s icy glare? Steve Clemons examines Obama’s very different relationships with the PMs of Japan, Israel and China.

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New York Times | LINKS|

Netanyahu: “This was no love boat”

Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu has come out in defence [video]of the deadly flotilla attack, saying that Israel had to defend Gaza from weapons smuggling. The UN Security Council is now investigating.

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Washington Post | THE REST|

Obama’s next project: peace in the Middle East?

Washington Post columnist David Ignatius claims Obama is “seriously considering” proposing a peace plan for the Middle East. Ditto the NYT. As Politico says: it may be BS, but it’s clearly what the White House wants Netanyahu to think.

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Settlers rally against Netanyahu, peace, whatever

Israeli policy seems to be stuck in a sphere of unreality where a two-state solution is officially proclaimed as the goal, but there is a taboo on any discussion of measures.

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More reflections from Gaza: Keep off the grass

The American International School in Gaza was bombed on 3 January, completely destroying the institution . Today it is a twisted wreck of concrete, metal and burnt vans.

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Christian Science Monitor | THE REST|

Netanyahu’s speech receives a mixed reception

Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech giving support for a Palestinian state has been praised by The White House, but has drawn fire from Palestinians.

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New Matilda | UNITED STATES|

Obama played Israel situation perfectly

Obama is right when he puts the settlement issue ahead of everything else, even ahead of the peace negotiations, argues Uri Avnery.

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Israel Policy Forum | THE REST|

Cool Capitol reception for Netanyahu

Washington is no longer a welcoming the Israeli PM with open arms

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Obama, Netanyahu and a Palestinian State

Netanyahu thinks that if Israel gives the Palestinians something they want, such as land, the Palestinians should give Israel something Israelis want, such as peace, writes Bren Carlill.

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New York Times | UNITED STATES|

When Barack met Benjamin

Obama has met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, agreeing to continue talks with Iran over their nuclear weapons program, but calling for an end to construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

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Haaretz | UNITED STATES|

Obama warns Netanyahu: Don’t surprise me with Iran strike

The message from the American envoy to the Prime Minister reveals US concern that Israel could lose patience and act against Iran.

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