Update – 17 September 2008

Dear Advocates, 

On Monday, the Age carried a story by Middle East correspondent Jason Koutsoukis entitled ‘Stabbing ignites Jewish rampage’, which reported on an incident in which a Palestinian youth came into a home in the West Bank and stabbed an Israeli, which led to a subsequent rampage by Israeli settlers in Palestinian towns. At least eight Palestinians were injured. Please read ‘Security officials vow tougher line against settler violence’ for further information.

I believe that any sort of rampaging, by either side, should be condemned in the highest terms. No citizen of Israel should feel that they have the power to take the law into their own hands, and they must trust that there is a system in place that will punish perpetrators of violence.

That being said, I find it interesting that Koutsoukis filed this story (which by the way had a very O’Loughlin-esque feel to it by the continued use of the world “Jewish” instead of “Israeli”), but failed just two days later to report on clan violence in Gaza. 11 Palestinians were killed in Gaza in a street-fighting battle between Hamas forces and the Doghmush clan, who one journalist described as the “Sopranos of Gaza City” because of their involvement in organised crime. To see more about the story that The Age ignored (instead Koutsoukis filed ‘Livni poised to win party ballot and lead Israel’), please read ‘11 killed as Hamas forces battle against armed clan in Gaza’ from Haaretz.

In fairness to our local daily newspapers, The Australian did publish one sentence about the clashes in Gaza, at the end of an article entitled ‘Chief Hamas aide assassinated in Syria’ by Martin Chulov. Chulov writes, “After several months of relative quiet, due to a tenuous truce brokered between Israel and Hamas, central Gaza again erupted in violence yesterday, with Hamas operatives attempting to storm a compound housing the strip’s most militant clan, the Dogmush family.”

For those that are not aware, the military wing of the Dogmush clan is believed to be the Army of Islam, which is loosely linked to al-Qaeda and who were responsible for the kidnapping of BBC reported Alan Johnston. They are also believed to have had some involvement in the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

A British reporter from the Sunday Times went to the Gaza Strip in search of answers to the question of who is holding Gilad Shalit captive and where he is being held. Please read ‘On the trail of Gilad Shalit, the lost soldier’ – it is a must for any advocate who has been following the plight of Gilad Shalit over the last 815 days that he has spent in captivity. Gilad recently passed the third birthday that took place whilst in captivity. Please read ‘Did anyone tell Gilad Shalit it’s his birthday’ from Haaretz.

Finally, in positive news for Beatles fans, Paul McCartney will be going with ahead with his planned concert in Tel Aviv on 25 September 2008, despite pressure, and even death threats, from various groups for him to cancel. McCartney stated, “I was approached by different groups and political bodies who asked me not to come here… I refused.” He also said, “I’ve heard so many great things about Tel Aviv and Israel, but hearing is one thing and experiencing it for yourself is another.” Please read ‘Come Together’ from the Wall Street Journal.  

Best wishes, 

Emily Chrapot
Research Officer
9272 5507
State Zionist Council of Victoria