Analysis

How the Palestinians stoked, then stopped, a new intifada

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 15, 2009

Everything seemed to be in place for a third intifada. A bogged-down peace process, extreme politicians eagerly egging on their cohorts, rumours of Zionist plots to destroy the Temple Mount mosques, huge piles of rocks aimed at the heads of Jews at the Western Wall and all the religious fervour of Ramadan and the High Holy Days.

But in the end, the Jerusalem riots of the past couple of weeks petered out. Despite dire warnings from some former police officers and defence experts, a third uprising against Israel failed to ignite.

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How $500 million was lost down Gaza's tunnel network

By Mordechai Kedar, October 15, 2009

Much has been published in Israel and around the world on the motorway of underground tunnels connecting Gaza to Egypt. Our natural inclination is to think that the tunnels are run by a few poor, hungry people bringing a little food into Gaza, and a few poor families making a living by smuggling weapons, food and goods into the besieged Strip. This image has helped bring many international donations to Gaza, from governments, organisations and individuals.

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Analysis: Israel's main Muslim ally is switching sides

By Sami Kohen, October 15, 2009

Turkey’s decision to bar Israel from a joint air force drill is part of the Turkish government’s new anti-Israel policy.

Turkey, which was the first Muslim country to recognise Israel as a state, has for many years been Israel’s closest Muslim ally. The countries do more than $3 billion in trade a year, co-operate on defence issues, and Turkey is a favoured destination for Israeli tourists.

However, the government has essentially launched an anti-Israel campaign since the Gaza offensive in January.

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Analysis: UK sanctions on Iran are welcome

By Emanuele Ottolenghi, October 15, 2009

The new sanctions that Britain slapped on Iran this week are a welcome first step for renewed pressure on the Islamic republic.

The government did not wait for the UN to arouse from its slumber or its EU colleagues to find a suitable time — in between the Lisbon Treaty distraction and the apres-Solana lottery — to agree on which sanctions they would apply if Barack Obama fails to engage Iran (don’t hold your breath!).

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Analysis: Kaminski's opinions should ring loud alarm bells

By Martin Bright, October 9, 2009

Michal Kaminski was extremely frank in his interview with the JC. Perhaps too frank. After talking to him I have no reason to believe he is an antisemite or to doubt his commitment to the state of Israel. But I also have a much clearer idea of precisely what he is: a socially conservative east-European Catholic nationalist with all the unfortunate baggage this entails.

There is nothing very appealing about a man who began his political life on the extreme right of Polish politics, went on to heap praise on General Pinochet and was, until recently, happy to casually insult homosexuals.

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Analysis: Kaminski is our friend - this is a smear campaign

By Stephen Pollard, October 9, 2009

The real story behind the accusations against Michal Kaminski has nothing to with antisemitism. It has nothing to do with his accusers’ oft-proclaimed concern to stamp out racism. It is, rather, a grubby story about the EU and base politics.

For nearly eight years before joining the JC, I worked in Brussels. It is not a place associated with friendliness towards Israel. Few MEPs accept Israel’s right to defend itself, let alone argue its case in public. One of that rare group is Michal Kaminski.

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Gilad Shalit prisoner swap deal favoured by Israeli cabinet

By Anshel Pfeffer, October 8, 2009

There is a clear majority in the Israeli cabinet for approving a prisoner deal with Hamas, although there is opposition within the intelligence services.

The current deal being discussed between Israel and Hamas through Egyptian and German intermediaries is essentially similar to the one turned down by the Olmert government six months ago. Hamas has presented Israel with a list of 450 prisoners to be released in a direct exchange for Shalit. As a second stage, Israel will release hundreds more at an unspecified date.

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Analysis: Situation has explosive potential

By Shmuel Rosner, October 8, 2009

Winter in Jerusalem is not a good time for protest. The winds are too strong, the weather too cold, and days are much too short for people to gather after work for demonstrations. Summer is good, especially for the strictly-Orthodox, bored in the afternoons of a long Shabbat. And autumn is good for the Palestinians.

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Analysis: Hamas play for power

By David Hazony, October 8, 2009

This week was not the first time Arabs were called upon to “defend Al-Aqsa”. The sudden spreading of false rumours about Israeli attempts to Judaise Jerusalem, to destroy the Dome of the Rock, or to plant false antiquities showing an ancient Israelite provenance — without any obvious provocation from Israel — happens occasionally.

Of course, had Israel wanted to exert its sovereignty over Temple Mount, it has no need for such secretive steps. To begin with, it could have allowed Jews to pray there.

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Analysis: Not going to extremes with £60m

By Martin Bright, October 1, 2009

Chris Grayling’s interview puts significant blue water between the Conservatives and Labour on extremism and anti-terror policy. The Shadow Home Secretary could not be clearer in his rejection of multiculturalism and the policy of “engagement for the sake of engagement”.

Mr Grayling has taken some time to come to these conclusions — he was appointed in January — but at least he cannot be criticised for rushing to judgment.

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