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Analysis

  • Who will care about Israel's south when the rockets stop flying?

    Ever since the beginning of the war, jobs have evaporated in Be'er Sheva. Those who could afford to have left the city. And the worst part? The moment the rockets stop, the journalists and commentators will pack up their things and leave. Then what? By Daniel Beller I can't stand seeing cynical politicians, those with easy access to a microphone or camera, speaking about the "strong home front" in Israel's south. People have been living from siren to siren for more than a month, and earlier this week someone on the radio called for an end to the Home Front…

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  • Gaza dispatch: When tanks shell refugee camps

    In Jabaliya sustained Israeli shelling has obliterated entire families, leaving them homeless and with few options to rebuild. Scenes of destruction abound along Gaza's eastern border. From its northern tip to the southern town of Rafah, entire blocks along this 25-mile-long strip have been flattened, displacing hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, overwhelming the makeshift shelters of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, and threatening to delay the beginning of the school year here. But for all the trauma felt by the newly displaced, residents of Gaza's refugee camps have suffered an especially cruel fate since Israel began its ground…

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  • Why Palestinian citizens of Israel are no longer safe

    Despite institutionalized discrimination, in recent years Palestinian citizens of Israel have increasingly integrated into the economy, political life, academia and general society. The nature of the current assault on Israeli-Arabs launched from both the Knesset and the street is, in fact, a reaction to this integration. By Ron Gerlitz About a month ago I wrote here that the fabric of relations between Palestinian and Jewish citizens of Israel was worsening, and that this was not just an escalation but a frightening new era of Jewish-Arab relations in Israel. In retrospect, we were just at the start of the deterioration and…

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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,…

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  • How journalists become complicit in Gaza's suffering

    Reporters seize upon the list of Gaza's most recent victims, only to parse their death certificates for proof that they, too, did not deserve to die. "Journalism," wrote the Swedish war correspondent Stig Dagerman, "is the art of coming too late as early as possible." The dictum resounds in Gaza, where an eight-year Israeli siege – which has left this land all but unlivable – went woefully underreported well before Gaza was is in the throes of war. As Palestinian families again count their dead, that journalistic negligence, say human rights workers, leaves much of the reporting here dangerously devoid of context. One…

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  • The battle over numbers: Gaza conflict is about quality not quantity

    While it may be tempting for those of us who are against Operation Protective Edge to stress the lopsided casualty statistics as a way to promote our criticism, this war should not focus on the numbers. One of the most painfully obvious aspects of the current warfare between Israel and Gaza (and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on a whole) is the stark disparity in the number of casualties: 1,928 Palestinians killed compared with 67 Israelis, based on the latest figures recorded by each side. Both the Hamas-run Ministry of Health in Gaza and the UN claim the majority are civilians, whereas…

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  • The world is letting Israel get away with it again

    The assault on Gaza has hurt this country’s image, and it doesn’t care. There’s no doubt that this past month of heavily televised overkill in Gaza – well, heavily televised everywhere but here – has hurt Israel’s standing in the world. The IDF has killed too many civilians, wiped out too many families, bombed too many UN shelters. Even Washington has used words like “indefensible” and “disgraceful” to describe some of Israel’s acts. And while the world’s powers-that-be don’t like Hamas, they do like the Palestinian Authority and its leader, Mahmoud Abbas, and they know very well that the Netanyahu government…

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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…

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  • IDF spokesperson expresses regret over killing of single Palestinian child

    You really have to give credit where credit is due. Even if it is to the IDF. Soldiers killed 12-year-old Muhammad al-Anati during clashes with local youth in the Hebron area on Sunday. According to reports, al-Anati was killed after being struck by a bullet in the back, and was not involved in the clashes. However, it seems that the IDF is willing to learn from past mistakes. This time, unlike recent similar events, the IDF Spokesperson's Unit immediately released a message [Hebrew] saying an inquiry had been launched and that the army expressed its regret over al-Anati's death. One can hope…

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  • Likud is no longer the largest party in the Knesset

    Netanyahu now has the same number of seats as his main coalition partner, Yair Lapid. This leaves him at the mercy of his arch-rival, President Reuven Rivlin, if the coalition would need to be reshuffled without new elections being called.  Up until mid last month, Netanyahu's coalition enjoyed a reasonably obvious hierarchy. The Likud-Beitenu list led with 31 seats; Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid followed with 19; Naftali Bennett's Jewish Home barely caught up with 12; and Tzipi Livni's Hatnua closed the list with 6. This classical enough arrangement suffered its first blow in mid- July, when Avigdor Liberman unilaterally broke…

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  • This is what life in Gaza sounds like

    I have heard the sounds of war before. In Iraq, I was jolted from sleep by the sound of incoming rockets, massive truck bombs, and exploding IEDs. In Afghanistan, I temporarily lost my hearing when an explosives-packed SUV detonated meters from my office. I have heard windows shatter and bystanders scream. And I have seen the aftermath: sinewy flesh, bone shards, jaw fragments. But I have never heard the discord of sounds, the cacophony of violence, that Gaza's Palestinians – all of them – know so well. Here, the ever-present drone of machines overhead mingles with the scream of jet…

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  • 'Captive soldier would have been better off if we shot him'

    New testimonies emerge from soldiers who believe that the capture of a soldier is too strategically risky to be allowed, at any price. The real risk that the botched rescue operation was trying to avert, however, could well be more political than strategic.  There has been some controversy during the war about the meaning of the Hannibal Directive, a once-classified order meant to prevent the capture of Israeli soldiers by enemy forces - notoriously, by allowing Israeli troops to fire in their direction, even at risk of injury or death to the captive. Some have taken the interpretation of the…

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  • Why the Gaza port matters

    While prospects for a negotiated end to the Israeli blockade of Gaza remain bleak, making use of the existing sea passage to Gaza could offer a way forward for all parties, including Egypt. As negotiations to end the bloodshed in Gaza continue in Cairo, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) said today that some 65,000 homes had been destroyed by Israeli bombing, leaving more than a quarter of the Gazan population seeking shelter – half of them at UNRWA schools. Aid organizations say the recovery effort will take years and, even then, only if Gaza has unfettered access to the…

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