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Apartheid's legacy lives on: South Africans polarized over Israel

In South Africa’s highly polarized debate on Israel-Palestine, the organized Jewish community’s refusal to acknowledge the unequal treatment of Palestinians at the hands of the Israelis is seen as emblematic of all that apartheid stood for.

By Heidi-Jane Esakov

In what is being touted as one of the biggest demonstrations in Cape Town since Nelson Mandela’s release from prison, South Africans took to the streets last Saturday in their thousands in opposition to Israel’s ongoing assault on Gaza. Estimates vary, with some reports suggesting tens of thousands and others over 100,000 marchers taking part in the protest. A day later, Cape Town’s organized Jewish community held a modest rally of between 3,000 and 5,000 in solidarity with Israel.

For many South Africans this conflict feels deeply personal. Across religion and race many identify with the Palestinian cause and see the conflict as an extension of their own struggle against apartheid. In turn, for many Jewish South Africans, Zionism is central to their identity. The relevance for South Africans is further heightened with South Africa’s apartheid experience playing a significant role in how the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is being framed and understood at the global level.

South Africans march in solidarity with Gaza, in Cape Town, South Africa, on march 9, 2014. Some contend that this was the biggest protest in South Africa history with estimates ranging from 10,000 to 100,000 (photo: BDS South Africa)

South Africans march in solidarity with Gaza, in Cape Town, South Africa, on August 9, 2014. Some contend that this was the biggest protest in South African history, with estimates ranging from 10,000s to 100,000 (photo: Che Erasmus Nche/Eras Media Productions)

I am a South African non-Zionist who supports the Palestinian civil society call for BDS. My husband-to-be is an active Zionist and is deeply committed to the Zionist project in South Africa and Israel. Despite the deeply polarized nature of the discussion here, we have muddled our way through our often painful differences to develop a profound respect for each other. In doing this, we have had to recalibrate our language so that we can hear the other. When describing to him how I understand the situation, I now avoid words like ‘ethnic cleansing,’ ‘racist’ and ‘apartheid.’ They simply shut him down.

Yet, since the commencement of Israel’s latest assault...

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Were Gaza tunnels built to harm Israeli civilians?

For weeks we’ve been hearing about the threat the Gaza tunnels pose to Israeli civilians. In reality, every tunnel so far has been used against military targets alone.

By Emanual Yelin (translated by Sinewave)

The existence of the tunnels in Gaza was well-known to Israel’s Defense Ministry, although their scope was only revealed to the general public in the latest round of fighting. The tunnels were described as a strategic threat against Israeli civilians. Tunnel openings, so we were told, were found near dining halls and kindergartens, and the fighting we were ostensibly dragged into prevented a terrible disaster in the form of mass terrorist attacks against Gaza-perimeter communities. The prime minister and the media declared unilaterally that Israeli civilians are the targets. The fact that, time after time, victims of tunnel attacks were soldiers was painted as coincidental. Was it? We must ask ourselves some questions on the matter.

An IDF soldier walks through the tunnel the IDF uncovered underneath the Gaza-Israel border earlier this week. (Photo: IDF Spokesperson)

An IDF soldier walks through the tunnel the IDF uncovered underneath the Gaza-Israel border earlier this week. (Photo: IDF Spokesperson)

Was there a plan to simultaneously send 200 terrorists from dozens of tunnels to six Israeli towns on the border of Gaza on Jewish New Year? Was it only prevented by the kidnapping of the three Israeli youths and Operation Protective Edge, as Ariel Kahane claimed in his article on NRG [Hebrew]?

No. Not only does this story make no sense – if Hamas had such a genius plan, why didn’t they hold off on shooting rockets for another three months? Eventually the “plot” was revealed to be a rumor that gained traction in the ultra-Orthodox press that got some traction, with intelligence personnel denying the claim [Hebrew]. If such a horrific story was realized, it would have been a terrible disaster. But contrary to the nonsense Avri Gilad wrote in his Facebook post [Hebrew], with a similar story that got hundreds of thousands of views, Israel did not “face its first threat to its existence since the 1948 war” much like the U.S. did not face a threat to its existence on 9/11.

Was Benjamin Netanyahu right in his national address when he said “we will not end the mission, we...

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'Living with political depression in Tel Aviv is harder than dying in Gaza' [satire]

The images pouring in from Gaza obscure the true victims of the conflict: Israel’s liberal opposition. Celebrated fictional author Amos Yehoshua-Shavit explains why war was necessary and how bad it makes him feel.

By Adam Shatz

Dove of Peace, Don Sutherland, Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

In a recent essay in the New York Review of Books, Jonathan Freedland argued that liberal Zionists “are better placed than most to move Zionist, including Israeli, opinion.” In a follow up blog post published just after the latest Gaza war broke out, Freedland added that as hopes for a two-state settlement recede, these liberal Zionists “will have to decide which of their political identities matters more, whether they are first a liberal or first a Zionist.”

Eager to find out how liberal Zionists in Israel were wrestling with this question, I turned to Amos Yehoshua-Shavit, one of Israel’s best-known writers. Yehoshua-Shavit is the author of several award-winning books, including the novel In Search of Lost Space, which won the Israel Prize for literature, and a memoir, Partition and Its Discontents: A Liberal Israeli’s Journey, praised by Leon Wieseltier as “a modern-day Kaddish”; he is also a frequent contributor to the New Republic and the New York Times op-ed page. A veteran of three wars, Yehoshua-Shavit is a leader of Peace Now, and the chairman of Israelis for Darfur. Raised on a kibbutz, he divides his time between Tel Aviv and Berlin, where his son, a former fighter pilot, runs a software company. I spoke to him at his large and airy Tel Aviv flat, elegantly appointed with modernist furniture and sculptures he acquired on his travels in Goa and Dakar. He sat on his sofa beneath a photograph of himself with Yitzhak Rabin.

You published a piece entitled ‘War: A Painful Necessity’ when Israel began its most recent bombing campaign in Gaza. Why ‘painful’?

Shouldn’t you be asking me “why necessary”? But OK, I’ll answer your question. “Painful” because war hurts; people die. We lost some of our best young men, more than 60 of them. Many Palestinians also died, in no small part thanks to Hamas, our more than willing partner in this...

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Don't cry for me: A letter from a little girl in Gaza

With Palestinian children in Gaza bearing the brunt of Israel’s offensive on the Strip, this is what one little girl may have written to us – had she the chance.

By Sam Bahour

As the latest horrific obscenity of Israel’s aggression against the Gaza Strip continues, the death toll mounts. Palestinian children are paying the highest price, both those who are killed and wounded, and, maybe even more so, those who survive.

Since I have written for decades about how Israel’s prolonged military occupation and endless violations of international law – let alone its blatant disregard for its very own self-interests – would get us to this very point, fresh analysis and fresh vantage points are difficult to find. The only words I can muster now, while the images of the carnage are freshly etched into my mind, are the words that may have come from one of the child victims whose life was cut short by a U.S.-supplied Israeli F-16 fighter jet missile.

A child of Diab Bakr is seen amidst the rubble of his home which was destroyed last night by Israeli missiles, in As-Shati refugee camp, Gaza city, July 22, 2014. Another home from the extended Bakr family was also destroyed and another one damaged. Hassan Khader Bakr, was killed during the attack in the street. Their cousins, Bakr family who live in the same area, lost four children, Ahed (10), Zacharia (10), Mohamed (9) after they were targeted by two Israeli missiles while playing at the beach on 16 July, 2014. (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

A child of Diab Bakr is seen amidst the rubble of her home, which was destroyed by Israeli missiles, in A-Shati refugee camp, Gaza City, July 22, 2014. Another home from the extended Bakr family was also destroyed and yet another one damaged (Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Below is the imagined letter from the victim:

Dear Humankind,

Hi. My name is Eman; it means ‘faith’ in Arabic. I doubt you will have seen or remember me; only particular photos make it to your TV screen, those are the ones you will remember. I’m a Palestinian child from Gaza. I like my dolls, playing with my sister and swimming. I was told that many of you are crying for me, but please don’t cry for me. I just...

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Debunking Gaza war lies

The lies generated by the IDF spokesperson and the media on the Gaza war are still being endlessly quoted for the purposes of propaganda.

By John Brown (translated from Hebrew by Sol Salbe)

1. “Hamas is forcing residents to stand on rooftops, leading to their deaths.” The claim originated with the killing of six members of the Kware’a family and two others at 2:30 p.m. on July 8. According to the investigation, the family evacuated the house after receiving a phone call from the army, but returned after the “knock on the roof” missile was erroneously assumed to have been the missile intended to demolish the house.

The Israeli Air Force maintains that it knew that the family had begun to return but could not divert the missile off course. In any case, this argument no longer holds any water since the IDF has attacked other families in a similar manner without any warning. There are abundant examples such as the killing of 26 members of the Abu Jame’ family and 18 members of the Al Batsh family, as well as the widespread bombardment of civilian populations in Rafah.

Mourners fill the mosque during the funeral for 24 members of the Abu Jame' family, who were killed the previous day during an Israeli attack over the Bani Suhaila neighborhood of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, July 21, 2014. Reports indicate that 15 of the 24 killed were children of the Abu Jame' family.

Mourners fill the mosque during the funeral for 24 members of the Abu Jame’ family, who were killed the previous day during an Israeli attack over the Bani Suhaila neighborhood of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, July 21, 2014. Reports indicate that 15 of the 24 killed were children of the Abu Jame’ family.

2. The IDF spokesperson rushed to announce that there was an attempted infiltration into Kibbutz Nahal Oz on July 28 through a tunnel. The spokesperson also stated that at Kibbutz Ein Hahslosha, Hamas fighters were on their way to the local kindergarten. In both these cases the claims are based on a lie; all incursions have been aimed at soldiers. The tunnel exits and sites of attack were a long way off from the sites mentioned in the IDF reports. An Eshkol Council spokesperson requested that a correction be made...

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Reporting the war from Gaza: Two takeaways

With the media turning all its attention to Gaza, two important conclusions can be drawn about the role of social media, and censorship by Hamas and Israel during times of war.

By Abeer Ayyoub

1. How social media broke the siege

Regardless of whether the Israeli operations of 2008, 2012 and 2014 may feel the same for residents of Gaza, anyone following the news, and specifically social media, can see the profound differences. Perhaps it is because social media activists were more active in 2012 than in 2008. During this last assault on Gaza, however, we saw social media play a major role in spreading the news from Gaza to the rest of the world.

The younger generation is using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram more frequently, and has begun translating and disseminating breaking news in different languages.

I am no exception. As a journalist who must go out into the field for her reporting, I am always either taking and publishing photos of every place I go, or posting the latest news that I hear from friends or local radio stations. No matter what, these days I give priority to social media, as it has begun to eclipse mainstream media outlets.

My sister, Fatin, who speaks Hebrew well, never thought of using Twitter before I pushed her to. Gradually she began tweeting in Hebrew, but was followed only by users in Israel. She gave up fairly quickly after being attacked by Israelis for her updates.

A member of the media holds his arm after being injured from a live bullet while covering Palestinian clashes with Israeli army, following a protest supporters by Hamas against the Israeli attack on Gaza,on July 25, 2014, in the DCO checkpoint near Ramallah, West Bank.

A member of the media holds his arm after being injured from a live bullet while covering Palestinian clashes with the Israeli army following a protest supporting Hamas against the Israeli attack on Gaza, on July 25, 2014, in the DCO checkpoint near Ramallah, West Bank.

I cannot deny that comments from Israelis who are misled about what happens in Gaza stress me out, especially when they attack me for doing nothing more than providing news updates. Enduring this part of the conflict is no different from enduring non-stop violence for nearly a month.

Social media has...

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IDF soldier: Artillery fire in Gaza is like Russian roulette

During Operation Protective Edge the IDF has shot thousands of artillery shells into Gaza, the impact location of which are uncontrollable. As an ex-combat soldier in the artillery corps, I feel obligated to explain how artillery fire on a civilian population can be both dangerous and lethal.

By Idan Barir (translated by Hadas Leonov)

Amid the stream of terrible reports from Operation Protective Edge, two especially painful events captured my attention: The bombardment of an UNRWA school in Jabaliya that served as a shelter for families that had fled their homes due to the fighting, which resulted in the deaths of at least 20 people and injured dozens more; and the bombardment of a crowded market in Shejaiya that killed 17 people and injured roughly 160.

In response to fierce criticism directed at Israel following the school’s bombardment, Israeli spokespeople claimed, as usual, that the strike was directed at an area from which shooting was directed at IDF forces. Against reports that hundreds of the casualties in Gaza are innocent civilians, Israel repeatedly argues that it is doing all it can to avoid harming innocent civilians.

During my military service in the Israeli army I served in the artillery corps, and thus learned a thing or two about using shells. From the testimonies I have read and heard from the school and the marketplace bombardment, I am not sure if these were mortar or artillery shells that struck, but what’s clear from the photos and reports published by the IDF is that there was massive use of artillery fire. Artillery fire is statistical fire. It is the absolute opposite of precise sniper fire. The power of the sniper lies in the accuracy that his weapon provides him, while the power of the artillery shells being used in Gaza is based on both the extent and possibility of causing damage (impact).

An Israeli artillery fires a shell towards the Gaza Strip from their position near Israel's border with the Gaza strip on July 24, 2014. (Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

An Israeli artillery fires a shell towards the Gaza Strip from their position near Israel’s border with the Gaza strip on July 24, 2014. (Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

As someone who served as a combat soldier in the IDF I feel obligated to explain what is behind the numbers we hear about...

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Gaza truce ends as Cairo negotiations hit deadlock

A 3-day truce between Israel and Palestinian factions comes to an end after negotiating parties fail to reach a deal in Cairo ceasefire talks.

UPDATE: At about 10:30 a.m. Friday morning, the Israeli Air Force began striking targets in the Gaza Strip, following rockets fired by Palestinian militants into Israel from the Strip. The rocket barrage brought to an end a 3-day truce that was set to expire early Friday morning.

Haaretz reported that there were disruptions to flights to and from at Ben-Gurion International Airport, following the resumption of rocket attacks from Gaza. Israeli airspace was shut for 30 minutes, from 7:30 a.m., leading to the delay of 19 flights.

***

A 72-hour ceasefire agreed between Hamas and Israel came to an end at 8 a.m. Friday morning with reports of a rocket barrage fired from Gaza into Israel. The Iron Dome shot down two rockets over Ashkelon, as warning sirens sounded in Gaza border communities.

The decision not to extend the truce came as the Cairo talks between Israel and the Palestinians remain deadlocked, without an agreement reached.

At the time of publication it was not clear if the IDF had responded to the rocket barrage. A correspondent for the The National reporting from Gaza tweeted a photo of what looked to be smoke rising from an Israeli attack in Gaza, however it was not clear whether it came from an IDF strike or a Hamas rocket launch. The Time of Israel reports that military reporters in Israel say Israel is holding its fire for the moment as its leaders contemplate their response.

Israel had said it was ready to “indefinitely” extend the ceasefire, however Palestinian factions in Gaza had decided not to extend the truce.

Quoting a senior Palestinian official involved in the talks between Israel and Hamas in Cairo, Haaretz said the negotiations stalled Thursday as Israel’s proposals to extend the ceasefire failed to meet Palestinian expectations. Just hours before the temporary ceasefire was scheduled to end, no agreement had been reached between Israeli and Palestinian representatives in Cairo.

The primary points of contention continue to be the full lifting of the Israeli-imposed blockade on the Strip, the release of about 125 prisoners and Gaza’s demilitarization.

Just hours before the scheduled end of the truce, two mortar shells were...

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The time is ripe for a UN resolution on Gaza

With a ceasefire now in effect between Israel and Hamas, diplomacy can begin to take root.

By Lolita Brayman

A 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire between Israel and Hamas seems to be shakily holding, with a lull in rocket attacks and the deployment of the Israeli military to positions outside of Gaza. The IDF spokesperson officially announced on Tuesday that Operation Protective Edge’s goal – to destroy all known terrorist tunnels leading into Israel – was complete. What was looking like a unilateral Israeli withdrawal from Gaza a few days ago, a surprising move that forced Hamas to change its strategy and provided some international legitimacy to Israel’s military objectives, could become an opportunity to change the status quo.

The situation is now ripe for a diplomatic track to replace the repeated failed policy of conflict management via deterrence. In a move that would surely catch all parties off guard, Israel can take advantage of this moment and initiate a United Nations resolution draft.

An Israeli soldier sit on top of Merkava tanks near the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip while returning from the Gaza strip, August 5, 2014, after Israel announced that all of its troops had withdrawn from Gaza (photo: Activestills)

An Israeli soldier sit on top of Merkava tanks near the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip while returning from the Gaza strip, August 5, 2014, after Israel announced that all of its troops had withdrawn from Gaza (photo: Activestills)

A unilateral declaration by Israel of an end to its operation is likely to erupt into another round of violence in the coming days, weeks or months. A multilateral settlement, on the other hand, will put pressure on Hamas to adhere to its outline. Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad are back at the negotiating table in Cairo, desperately trying to achieve Israeli concessions to their political survival demands via Egypt and the Palestinian Authority’s influence.

Meanwhile, a quickly closing window may now exist for relevant international parties to help Israel draft an exit strategy that goes beyond halting the violence and rocket attacks and sets the stage for more permanent stability. This diplomatic opportunity can only occur if Israel alters its lofty and impractical goal of completely “demilitarizing” Hamas by also proposing a rehabilitation plan for Gaza, and changes...

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COMIC: Gaza exit interview

By Eli Valley

Eli.Valley.Netanyahu.Gaza.Exit.Interview

Eli Valley is a writer and artist whose work has been published in The Nation, The Daily Beast, The Forward, Gawker, Saveur, Haaretz and elsewhere. He is currently finishing his first novel. Eli’s website is www.EVComics.com and he tweets at @elivalley.

Previous work by Eli Valley on +972 Magazine:
Consensus in the conference
Dershowitz preps for Goldstone II
Google Glass for the Gaza gaze
What if Mahmoud was named Jonah?





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How money vanishes into thin air during a West Bank raid

When Murad Albaden was woken up one morning by Israeli soldiers and police officers, he had no idea they were going to raid his home, destroy his furniture and take his money.

By Yossi Gurvitz for Yesh Din

One of the issues the Israeli army hardly ever discusses is looting. In the IDF’s early days, it was considered to be a grave felony. Ben-Gurion dismissed a valued officer, Uri Ben Ari, following the 1956 Sinai War, after the colonel’s driver – not the colonel himself – was caught with a looted sack of sugar. In another case during the same war, an officer by the name of Aryeh Biro threatened to shoot a fellow officer on the spot after Biro caught him looting. Journalist Nahum Barnea once documented a paratrooper captain during the First Lebanon War who ordered his soldiers to turn over their loot, lest he severely punish them. He then burned the booty before their eyes.

But that was a long time ago, when the IDF still fought regular armies, rather than an occupied population. Along the years of occupation there were quite a few reports of looting, and the IDF’s latest large operation in the West Bank, Operation Brother’s Keeper, supplied Yesh Din with a series of such reports. Yesh Din recently reported a case of looting from ‘Aqraba; here is a story from Tuqu.

Israeli soldiers blindfold and arrest a young Palestinian man in Hebron. The Israeli army rounded up hundreds of Hamas members, including journalists and parliament members, while searching for three kidnapped Israeli teens. (photo: Activestills.org)

Israeli soldiers blindfold and arrest a young Palestinian man in Hebron. The Israeli army rounded up hundreds of Hamas members, including journalists and parliament members, while searching for three kidnapped Israeli teens. (photo: Activestills.org)

In the town of Tuqu, southeast of Bethlehem, lives Murad ‘Ayish Khamdan Albaden, who works as a tax collector for the municipality. Early one morning at the end of June, Albaden was awakened by strong knocking on his door. A large group of soldiers was outside, accompanied by several police officers who were not in uniform, but had police hats on.

The soldiers ordered Albaden to concentrate the family members, including three children, in one room, and then began causing massive damage to the house. They carried out an intensive...

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How will Gaza's children carry their scars into adulthood?

The children who survive Operation Protective Edge will emerge to find their previous lives almost unrecognizable, as the families, schools, hospitals and mosques that framed their world are systematically destroyed.

By Olivia Watson

Israel’s ground invasion of the Gaza Strip has seen the child death toll climb so rapidly – at the rate of one child killed every hour – that the exact circumstances of each killing are now barely mentioned in reports. But lists of fatalities, 329 and rising, obscure the reality that awaits Palestinian children in Gaza. Those who survive will emerge to find their previous lives almost unrecognizable, as the families, schools, hospitals and mosques that framed their world are systematically destroyed.

Three-year-old Firas Farhat lives with his brother, father and mother in a makeshift tent on a sidewalk outside Shifa Hospital. Their home in Gaza's Shejaiya neighborhood was destroyed by Israeli shelling. (photo: Samer Badawi)

Three-year-old Firas Farhat lives with his brother, father and mother in a makeshift tent on a sidewalk outside Shifa Hospital. Their home in Gaza’s Shejaiya neighborhood was destroyed by Israeli shelling. (photo: Samer Badawi)

Ahmad Tawfiq Ahmad Abu Jami’, an 8-year-old boy from Khan Younis, lived through five previous Israeli military offensives in the Gaza Strip. In 2006, two Israeli military operations claimed the lives of 143 children; in 2008 and 2009, two more assaults killed 385; in 2012, yet another led to 33 more deaths. A total of 561 children killed in six years, according to evidence collected by Defence for Children International Palestine. After surviving five attacks, Ahmad did not survive the most recent one: He died in an airstrike that killed 25 members of his family, 18 of whom were children.

Had he survived, he would have become one of thousands more suffering from the effects of the bombardment. More than 326,000 children, according to the latest UN figures, need immediate, specialized psycho-social support after experiencing the deaths of family members, injury or homelessness. This figure includes children fleeing indiscriminate attacks on residential buildings, driven to UN refugee shelters where intense overcrowding exposes them to potential abuse, exploitation and violence. More than 260,000 people – or 15 percent of the total population of Gaza – are taking shelter in UNRWA schools.

There is no safe space now for...

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On Gaza, differences between Labor and Likud are superficial

When it comes to Israeli policies, Labor likes to paint itself as the complete opposite of Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud party. That is, unless we’re talking about Gaza.

By Aaron Magid

In the wake of the 2013 elections, Israel’s Labor Party was consistently critical of Netanyahu’s performance as prime minister. Just last month, Labor Chairman Isaac Herzog slammed Netanyahu for isolating Israel from the international community. “Netanyahu speaks [but] the world doesn’t listen,” exclaimed Herzog. Yet during the recent conflict in Gaza, the Labor Party’s usual critical approach towards Netanyahu shifted dramatically, with influential Labor lawmakers sounding eerily similar to their Likud counterparts.

In an interview, Labor MK Omer Barlev, expressed strong support for the Gaza operation. A former IDF commander of the prestigious Sayeret Markal unit, Lt. Gen. Barlev is considered one of the Labor Party’s experts on security issues. In fact, Bar Lev’s main criticism of Netanyahu was not that the government should have pushed for an earlier ceasefire, but rather that Israel needed to have launched the operation earlier.

Labor MK Omer Barlev. (יוסיוס/CC BY SA 3.0)

Labor MK Omer Barlev. (יוסיוס/CC BY SA 3.0)

When asked about the mounting Palestinian civilian death toll, including the attack on the UNRWA school, any Likud official including the hawkish MK Danny Danon would have felt comfortable with Barlev’s response. “You should ask Hamas. It is in their hands. They could have accepted the Egyptian cease-fire,” he said.

It is true that Barlev called for increased coordination with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas after the war in Gaza ends. But Netanyahu’s own policy towards Abbas has shifted. After Abbas condemned the kidnappings of the three Israeli teens in June, Netanyahu praised Abbas, “I do appreciate the statement against the kidnapping. It’s important.”

Bar Lev’s comments reflects the spirit of his party’s leader on the Gaza war. Three weeks into the operation, Herzog praised Netanyahu’s handling of the crisis, calling the prime minister’s decisions “responsible and focused,” and blamed Hamas for the continued rocket fire.

Labor’s support for Netanyahu’s actions in Gaza exemplifies its distance from Meretz, the other leftist party in the opposition. Meretz’s Chairwoman Zehava Gal-On condemned Netanyahu for sending ground troops into Gaza, saying “force cannot eradicate terrorism. There is no such thing as a deluxe ground invasion. It...

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+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

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