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Why the UN should send peacekeepers into Gaza

The UN has consistently declined to intervene in Gaza because Palestine is not a state and Gaza is a non-government terrorist organisation. But that is not good enough — peacekeepers are needed to keep civilians safe, on both sides, writes military ethicist Matthew Beard.

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Egypt’s distrust of Hamas strains Palestinian ties

Could Egypt be doing more to broker a peace deal between Israel and Gazan militants? Rachel Williamson, freelance journalist in Cairo, says although Egypt used to support the Palestinian cause, its fear of Hamas has caused it to take a step back.

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Ariel Sharon is still dead, like the Israel he controlled

Lionised by Israelis, loathed by Palestinians, Ariel Sharon’s archaic political vision was a disaster for both. From London, Crikey’s writer at large looks at the legacy.

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Defence bill mounts for Israel when it can least afford it

Both sides of the latest military conflict in the Middle East are spending big to defend their turf, despite promises from Israel to cut spending to pay for social reforms. Crikey intern David Donaldson reports.

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Israel’s Gaza offensive: how will Egypt, Syria and Iran react?

How will the key regional powers react to the escalating conflict between Israel and Hamas? Deakin University’s Damien Kingsbury examines the options.

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War by social media: ‘we’re coming for you Gaza!’

As the conflict between Israel and Hamas heats up again, Crikey intern David Donaldson traces war by social media.

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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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Egypt’s Islamists prepare to govern

Results of Egypt’s phenomenally complex election are now more or less complete.

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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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Syria: counting the cost of the West’s stability fetish

By the standards of past Assad family repression, the last fortnight’s bloodshed in Syria has been relatively mild. But things are clearly not getting any better.

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Richardson: where to now for mid-East peace?

The fact that some members of the aid convoy had been filmed singing pro-Hamas songs is being treated in all seriousness as a justification for killing them.

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Huffington Post | LINKS|

Chomsky: Why the US won’t allow peace in the Middle East

Israel and Palestine could reach a settlement, but the United States is unwilling to agree to it. It is the US who are continuing to fuel the Gaza war, writes Noam Chomsky.

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Jerusalem Post | THE REST|

Defeat terrorism with good old fashioned family values

Young men with strong social and family supports are far more likely to drop-out of terrorist organisations, says Michael Jacobson… before less-helpfully suggesting Israel should therefore recruit terrorists from good homes as spies.

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GQ | THE REST|

“My father founded Hamas; now I work for Israel”

A fascinating interview with Mosab Yousef, the Christian, former Israeli spy son of Hamas founder Sheikh Hassan Yousef, who has just released a tell-all book about growing up in the world of Islamic extremism.

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LA Times | THE REST|

How Dubai cracked the Mossad assasination case

A fascinating look at how Dubai police used “a mixture of high-tech razzle-dazzle and old-fashioned investigative work” to identify the spies behind the now infamous assassination of a Hamas commander.

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New tensions for Australia and Israel

Diplomatic relations between Israel and Australia are under new pressure, with news that three Australian passports were used in the Mossad assassination of a Hamas official. What now for Australia and Israel?

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The Guardian | EUROPE|

Meet a Mossad hit squad

Like something out of Le Carre: Dubai has released the details of an alleged 11-person Mossad-controlled hit squad it believes is responsible for the assassination of Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.

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GFM claims success in flying the flag for Gaza

1400 people from 43 countries descended on Cairo on December 27 and aimed to travel into Gaza to “break the siege”. Antony Loewenstein was there.

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The New Yorker | THE REST|

What really happened during the Gaza War

Lawrence Wright looks at life in Gaza, especially during the 2008 Israeli attacks, through the eyes of its young people. While Israel fights for the return of captured young soldier “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilad_Shalit”>Gilad Shalit, many locals feel they are no less imprisoned.

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New York Times | THE REST|

UN: Israel and Hamas guilty of war crimes

A UN fact-finding mission has accused both Israel and Palestine of committing war crimes in Gaza, with the former shelling civilian hospitals with white phosphorus and the latter wreaking terror with rockets.

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Jerusalem Post | THE REST|

Fatah conference a failed opportunity for peace

Despite the best intentions at the Fatah convention in Bethlehem, negotiations and peaceful coexistence between Fatah and Hamas seems unlikely, writes The Jerusalem Post.

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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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Foreign Policy | THE REST|

To embrace Palestine, embrace Sharia Law

Israel and the US can peacefully coexist with Palestine, say Osama Abu-Irshaid and Paul Scham, but to do so, they must understand Sharia Law, which is at the heart of Hamas’ every move.

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Foreign Policy | UNITED STATES|

Obama’s problem with Jimmy Carter

Former US President Jimmy Carter is planning to urge Obama to take Hamas off the US terrorist list. The administration is “very pissed with him”, says one Washington Middle East hand.

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Only Benjamin Netanyahu can go to Palestine

Israeli PM Netanyahu agreed to talk, but he gave no hint of the shape of a political settlement he might be willing to accept. Still he’s the best hope for peace.

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