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Update – 11 July 2007

Dear Advocates,

Today’s Age features three stories relating Israel. Not surprisingly, the only one written by a staff reporter is Ed O’Loughlin’s “UN stops relief projects in Gaza”, which talks about Israel’s “blockade that has cut off the 1.4 million people in the Palestinian enclave”. O’Loughlin places the blame solely on Israel, ignoring the violent takeover by Hamas in recent weeks. O’Loughlin also continues to ignore the fact that due to factional fighting and other elements, approximately 485 Palestinian Arabs have violently killed each other (including around 27 women and 30 children) in just 2007 alone.

For a counterbalance to O’Loughlin’s article, please click here to read about the flow of humanitarian supplies being transferred into the Gaza Strip since 15 June. Similarly, click here to read the “Beyond Images” report from last month on how an Israeli ambulance team saved a Gaza Palestinian child’s life.

The Age also reports that ‘Hamas rescues captive robbed of her pride’, a story about a lion that was stolen from Gaza Zoo over two years ago and saved by Hamas during a raid a Gazan clan’s compound. That’s two hostages now freed by Hamas. If Hamas wants to show that they are serious in their leadership of Gaza, they need to release Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit as well.

Over in The Australian, there is a short article entitled ‘Abbas calls for foreign force in the Gaza Strip’. I do not know how a foreign force would go in Gaza – it certainly would not be welcomed by Hamas – but it will be interesting to see if this idea gains any momentum.

Yesterday’s Age featured an article entitled ‘Arabs to talk peace in Israel’ by Amy Teibel (interestingly Ed O’Loughlin is also reporting from Jerusalem – though stories about cooperation between Israel and the Arab world are of no interest). The article highlights the fact that it is a top priority for Arab governments to deal with Islamic extremism.

I received an email today from UN Human Rights Watch that contained a very interesting video on the UN Human Rights Council’s decision to single Israel out for permanent indictment. This video highlights the support that the Council has showed for countries such as Sudan, Cuba and Belarus, as well as its attempt to make Israel the sole country under review. To view the video, click here.

As war looms in Lebanon, with the possibility of Israel being dragged in on two fronts, an article from Ynet suggests that Ehud Olmert is willing to open up channels for negotiation with Syria in the article entitled “Olmert to Assad: I am ready to hold direct talks with you”.

Tomorrow, 12 July, marks exactly one year since Israeli soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were kidnapped by Hezbollah while on a routine patrol of Israel’s northern border with Lebanon. To this day, the families of the soldiers have been given no sign of life from their loved ones. As the SZC continues its ongoing awareness campaign for Ehud and Eldad, as well as Gilad Shalit, we ask that you keep the plight of these three boys in your minds and in your letter writing.

Two articles of interest on the issue:
Talks on captured soldiers ‘amateurish’
‘Releasing captives in French people’s duty’

In the meantime, please post your messages of support for the families of the soldiers by visiting the SZC’s blog – . There you will also find various resources relating to the soldiers, including a recent program that was run by Habonim Dror for their Junior and Senior camps right across Australia.

Best wishes,

Emily Chrapot
State Zionist Council of Victoria
9272 5507