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Update – 31 January 2008

Dear Advocates,

Today’s Age features an article by Ed O’Loughlin entitled ‘Lebanon report steps up tension’, which consists of O’Loughlin’s assumptions of what the final findings of the Winograd Report will be. Interestingly, the Australian chose to hold off on assumptions, and therefore, an article, entitled Israel war report spares Olmert, was only featured in the online edition of the Australian once the report was released.

To read more articles about the findings of the Winograd report, read a transcript of the Winograd Commission’s remarks from JTA, ‘BICOM Analysis: Winograd Commission finalreport from BICOM’ and ‘The Final Winograd Report: Special Coverage’ by the Jerusalem Post. To read about the effect of the report on the government, please read ‘Kadima ralliesaround Olmert, urges Barak to stay in government’ from Haaretz and Winograd: Israel failedin war, but Olmert acted in good faith from JTA.

What I find fascinating is how O’Loughlin and others can file report after report that are critical of Israel, and then completely ignore other issues. For example, just yesterday Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad went on state television and appealed to world powers to “abandon the filthy Zionist entity which has reached the end of the line”. While this story was carried on, it did not feature in our papers today. Read ‘Israel’s days are numbered’ from and ‘Ahmadinejad tells West: “accept Israel’simminent collapse”’ from Haaretz.

Ahmadinejad’s statements are particularly worrying based on two articles I have read recently. The first is from today’s Australian, entitled ‘Iran and Egypt to restore relations’, which talks about Iran and Egypt moving closer to restoring diplomatic ties. A close relationship between the two countries could be disastrous for Israel as “the presence of Iranian officials, including intelligence officers, on Egyptian soil in close promixity to Israel could significantly enhance the support provided to Hamas.” Secondly, last week the website Memri posted ‘Iranian Website: In response to an Israeli attack, Iran can, with Syria’s help,wipe out half of Israel’. This article states that “in the event of a conflict with Israel, Iran would use its strategic alliance with Syria to fire missiles at Israel from strategic territory”. Improved relations with Egypt places Iran in another strategic position and could make the situation even worse.

The latest news about the power supply situation in Gaza is that the High Court of Justice has given Israel the go-ahead to reduce supply of power and fuel to the Gaza Strip “ruling that the reductions are legal as they still meet the humanitarian needs of the population”. To read more, see ‘High Court okays reducing fuel and power supply to Gaza Strip’ from Haaretz.

Our local papers have been printing stories about the situation over the last week, and it is possible that the latest decision could lead to more coverage locally. If you are thinking of responding in the media, there are plenty of good resources out there to assist you. For example, MFA has a statement from earlier last week entitled Supply of electricity to Gaza continues which not only outlines exactly what is and is not effected by the power cuts, but also outlines the fact that it was a Hamas decision to divert the fuel from domestic power generators, apparently for propaganda purposes. One of the most concise statements that I have read about the crisis comes from Binyamin Ben Eliezer (Minister of National Infrastructures) who declared, “we are the only state where the consumer aims its missiles every morning towards the country that provides most of its energy.”

Please read ‘We’re supplying electricity to Gaza under Kassam fire’ from Ynet, which has statements from the Israel Electric Corporation worker’s committee. For two more interestingarticles from different perspectives please read ‘Blame Hamas for the suffering’ from the Miami Herald and ‘Arab editor blames Hamas for Gaza crisis’ from Jerusalem Post. On theissue of Gaza, Al-Jazeera has posted a story entitled ‘Abbas rules out deal with Hamas’ in relation to the dispute over who controls the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.

Ending on a positive note, please read Israel’s Electric Car Plan to Reduce Oil Dependence by the Israel Project.

Best wishes,

Emily Chrapot
Research Officer
State Zionist Council of Victoria
9272 5507