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Inside Israel and the Palestinian Territories

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On the rocks



A new primetime drama series called “Ayrılık” (meaning ‘separation’ or ‘farewell’ in Turkish) recently made its début in Turkey on the state-run TRT 1 television channel. Israel’s Channel Two aired a scene from the fictional show, showing a Palestinian father holding a baby above his head and an Israeli soldier in full combat gear taking aim and shooting the infant. Since the broadcast, Israel-Turkey relations have been put under more strain. The heated debate about the show has further influenced previously close ties between the Jewish state and Muslim Turkey that have deteriorated somewhat since Israel’s December-January Gaza offensive. At the same time, Turkey has strengthened its relations with neighbouring Syria. (Read more here.)

Leading Israeli daily newspapers Yedioth Ahronoth, Maariv and Haaretz have reported extensively on the show, wondering whether it pointed to growing anti-Semitism in Turkey. Tourism agencies said Israeli vacation bookings in Turkey have fallen steeply since the show was aired. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed his disappointment in “the incitement on Turkish TV”. Netanyahu aides said Turkey, which has mediated indirect Israeli-Syrian talks, could not be an honest broker in any future peace negotiations. Commenters on Israeli web portal sites have called on Turkey to look in the mirror and take responsibility for what they termed its genocide against the Armenians.

Professor Efraim Inbar, director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, believes Turkey is “not clean of anti-Semitism”.

“Anti-Semitism is not only in Arab countries, we can see now growing anti-Semitism even in Europe and unfortunately Turkey is not clean of anti-Semitism,” he told Reuters. “Basically we see a long term development in Turkish foreign policy, which is distancing itself from the West. We’ve seen the Turks deviate from European behaviour, for example accepting (Iranian) President Ahmadinejad in Istanbul, even inviting President Bashir of Sudan, who was indicted for war crimes. Just recently, the Turks announced they would not join sanctions against Iran as their American allies desire. So we see basically Turkey giving in to the Islamic impulses of the AKP Party (Turkish Prime Minister’s Tayyip Erdogan Justice and Development Party).”

Israel’s Chosen Weapon Against Iran– memory sticks?


IRAN-ELECTION/FACEBOOKYesterday Reuters reported US President Barack Obama emphatically stating that Joe Biden’s comments this week on ABC were not a “green light” to Israel to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities. Yet he did reiterrate Biden’s argument that Washington cannot “dictate to other countries what their security interests are.”

If Israel were to decide to try to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities, how might it do that? It sounds almost like something from a spy novel, but Reuters’ Dan Williams reports that Israel may use “cyber warfare” to accomplish that goal.

Vacation with a difference


Modern vacation tastes have long-since evolved from the ‘sun, sea and sangria’ beloved of our forebears. 

Niche holidays are all the rage these days and a cursory browse of the web quickly throws up an eclectic mix of possibilities from this Elvis Presley-themed trip to the United States,  to a pleasant vacation in Germany looking at tractors and other farm machinery, right through to this combination “boat trip on the Seine/making a quilt” holiday. (And those are all from just one web site).

Wanted: an ethical code of war



    International law governing the conduct of war is based on the traditional model of two armies on a battlefield. It fails to apply effectively to ‘terrorist conflicts’ and provides insufficient response to the ethical dilemmas that arise.

    Until effective international law is developed to regulate the ‘war on terror’, no decisive ethical code will exist. This is not only a challenge for the Israeli military. It is shared by all Western armies fighting to preserve core democratic values.

Breaking Ranks



Its been two months since Israel ended its 22-day offensive in Gaza – two months during which Israel has been weighing up the costs and the benefits of what was achieved in the fierce fighting.

Strong international condemnation of the offensive – and the slew of boycotts, bans and blunt dioplomacy that have followed – has been met with a mix of incredulity, anger and resignation in Israel.

Send in the drones


Israel’s economy is, in large part, mirroring what is happening elsewhere in the world – with job losses, factory closures and all the other symptoms of the global financial meltdown. 

One sector though is defying all the odds.

Elbit Systems – an Israeli company that makes electro-optics, airborne systems, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and command and control systems – announced this week a record 4th quarter with profits rising 32.6 percent and strong forecasts for continued growth in the year ahead.

from Global News Journal:

Twittering from the front-lines

Who remembers the Google Wars website that was doing the viral rounds a few years back – a mildly amusing, non-scientific snapshot of the search-driven, internet world we live in?

It lives on at where you can enter two search terms, say ‘Lennon vs. McCartney’ or ‘Left vs. Right’, and let the internet pick a winner by the number of search hits each word gets.