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Media briefs: Media Watch EP … Cory v tyranny … vale Sharon …

The ABC’s Media Watch has a new executive producer. That and other media tidbits.

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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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Coalition takes a pro-Israel turn, no one notices for weeks

The Abbott government has changed tack on the Middle East, taking a more strident pro-Israel approach at the UN in the past fortnight. So why have they kept so quiet about it, and why aren’t questions being asked?

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Crikey Blogs | LINKS|

Obama magic still works: Israel, Turkey breakthrough

Those who thought US President Barack Obama had failed to deliver on his Middle East tour spoke too soon. The rapprochement between Israel and Turkey is a significant step, says Charles Richardson.

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Terrorism hotspots: they’re not in Afghanistan, or the West

Try as it might, Afghanistan doesn’t even make the podium for the most dangerous places in the world by number of terrorism attacks. Syria and Iraq share that dubious prize — while there are very few attacks in the West.

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Fallout from Israeli elections: peace at last?

Change might just be afoot in the Middle East, following Israeli elections and comments by new US Secretary of State John Kerry. Analyst Jack Georgieff asks if peace is on the way — or will it be more of the same.

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Protester’s death in Israeli custody sparks Mid-East revenge

Thousands of Palestinians attended the funeral of Arafat Jaradat, who died in Israeli custody, with some political factions promising bloody vengeance. Nigel O’Connor reports from Ramallah.

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Zygier scandal: the journo in a deadly game of spy v spy

Not much is known about how Australian Ben Zygier ended up dead in a cell in Israel. But some of what we do know comes from a Fairfax journo unwittingly entangled in the spy scandal, writes Tom Hyland.

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Prisoner X, Mossad and how the Israeli state censors its media

For now the Prisoner X revelations are creating more questions than those being answered, writes freelance journalist Nigel O’Connor, particularly with relation to the exercise of state power.

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Richard Farmer’s chunky bits: election 2013 — year of the angry political ads?

Evidence from last year’s US presidential election showed a strong increase in the use of negative and angry political advertising. Will the same thing happen in Australia this year?

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Like Cambodia, Syria is increasingly turning into a proxy war

Syria is now starting to look like such a multi-faceted contest, but perhaps with even greater potential for complication. Cambodia might provide some clues.

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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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Tectonic shift on the two-state solution?

After a senseless exchange of rockets and shells and now a vote in the UN, the world has seen a tectonic shift in how the Israel-Palestine conflict is viewed.

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Crikey Calling #2: history of a PM and Palestine

In the latest episode of the Crikey Calling podcast, Jason Whittaker and Bernard Keane go through the AWU slush fund scandal/smear and the final question time for the year, as well as the issue of the Palestine UN vote.

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Abstention sends a strong message to both sides

Crikey readers weigh in on the big issues of the day.

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PM’s Palestine problem bad start to our UN stint

The Prime Minister needs to take advice from people who understand international relations. On Israel it looks like she has done the opposite, writes retired diplomat Bruce Haigh.

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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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Gaza conflict re-opens debate: should junkets be junked?

At least two Australian journalists are reporting on the current Middle East conflict thanks to a lobby-funded study tour, but only one of them is declaring it in their articles. Is that ethical?

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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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Life under an Israeli watchtower: postcard from South Hebron

As the Palestinian Authority prepared to apply to upgrade its status at the UN, Rick Smith, a humanitarian volunteer in Palestine, describes the reality of daily life for thousands of people.

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Crikey Blogs | COMPANIES|

US rehabilities Israeli air safety, a lesson for Australia

The US Federal Aviation Agency’s rehabilitation of Israel as a Level 1 state in relation to air safety ought to be read as the clearest of warnings to Australia to get its act together without delay, writes Ben Sandilands.

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Walking the streets of Hebron, a city cleaved in two

Hebron is an experience like no other — the most striking and terrible manifestation of Israel’s occupation that one is likely to encounter — but the halting journey is ultimately worth it.

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‘Making beer is a form of resistance’: brewing West Bank tensions

Beer brewers in Palestine lost many of their customers when the Israeli walls went up. But one defiant ale maker says it’s all part of a resistance fight for freedom.

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‘What is a Jewish state?’ The view from the Golan Heights

Reuven Shalev asks the big question: what is a Jewish state? The resident of Kfar Haruv at the southern end of the Golan Heights reflects on the dim prospect of peace in his homeland.

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