With or without a ceasefire, the brutality of the last week will be revisited upon the Palestinians of Gaza – a fact that, unsurprisingly, leaves no room for diplomacy. It should come as no surprise that Hamas Tuesday de facto rejected what by all accounts was an Israeli diktat – disguised as an Egyptian ceasefire proposal – to end Israel's relentless assault on the organization and its base of operations, Gaza. Following a week of near-constant Israeli bombing, the brunt of which has been borne by Palestinian civilians, the Egyptian proposal featured none of the demands on which Hamas had been most vocal, chief…Read More... | 38 Comments
The Israeli cabinet voted to accept an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire Tuesday morning. Hamas, who was not consulted, is in direct discussions with Cairo but has criticized the initial proposal. What does all this mean? 1) Israel is willing to return to the status quo, a status quo that serves Israeli interests. Sure there is occasional rocket fire from Gaza but Israel has the Iron Dome and, in the sparsely populated south of the country, the rockets usually fall in open spaces. The occasional rocket from Gaza actually helps Israeli hawks strengthen their case for continuing the "occupation" of the West Bank…Read More... | 19 Comments
Like the failed peace process or the policy of severing Gaza from the West Bank, the plight of the Bedouin in Israel is one more long-term problem that there is just no time to solve. Two Israeli sisters, 10 and 13, were wounded yesterday by Hamas rocket fire in the Negev. One of them is in critical condition with stomach wounds and underwent emergency surgery in Be'er Sheva, according to Israeli news. Maram and Atir Wakili are Bedouin; their grandfather Ibrahim, interviewed on Channel 10, explained that they live in far-flung areas where they are unable to hear sirens. And if…Read More... | 6 Comments
An Israeli leadership truly interested in a peace agreement would not have driven its partner to the point of lacking any leadership authority among his people. But that is exactly the point. Israel is not really interested in peace or in a partner who can bring about peace. By Idan Landau (Translated from Hebrew by Ofer Neiman) In January 2011 the winds of the Arab Spring blew through Gaza and the West Bank, and the four-year rift between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas came to an end. Reconciliation talks took three months, and were boosted by mass demonstrations of Palestinians…Read More... | 23 Comments
When Hamas banned Palestinians in Gaza from working with Israeli media, I understood why, but could not stay silent. If we Gazans stay silent, a large part of the truth will be lost, and I don’t want the truth to be lost. By Abeer Ayyoub Since Operation Protective Edge started earlier last week, I haven’t stopped receiving calls from Israeli television and radios channels asking me to go on air to talk about the current situation in Gaza. I never thought twice about accepting all of these offers because I believe it’s my responsibility to speak up and reach the Israeli…Read More... | 1 Comment
To pretend as though the events of recent days are extraordinary is to ignore the context that led to this ‘flare-up’ and is disrespectful to the millions of Palestinians who wrestle with the occupation every day, in both the West Bank and in Gaza. It’s Wednesday. The death toll in Gaza is in the dozens and rising as Layla*, a Christian Palestinian, gets into my car. We live in Bethelehem. She needs a ride to pick up her tasrich (permit) from the Civil Administration’s office in Gush Etzion, where Israel and the Western media claim that the current “flare-up” began.…Read More... | 21 Comments
In Be'er Sheva, there are two kinds of people: those who sit protected in their shelters, calling for the occupation of Gaza, and the thousands of people who, living in buildings that crumble around them and with nowhere to run, just wait for the end. I live in such a building. Conversations with residents who have no refuge from the rockets. By Daniel Beller (translated from Hebrew by Noam Shemtov) The city of Be'er Sheva on Friday night got a reminder of why it needs a little less pride and lot more protection, especially for the weak: a rocket hit a…Read More...
Over a 160 people killed, entire neighborhoods which receive arbitrary warnings, entire families that have been bombed using hundreds of tons of explosives, shooting at a journalists' car and hitting hospitals and schools. No, we do not only shoot at Hamas targets. (Translated from Hebrew by Sol Salbe) On Saturday evening, Hamas issued a warning, saying it was going to bomb Tel Aviv at 9 p.m. It did, and luckily the rockets were intercepted by Iron Dome. Sunday morning the IDF issued a similar warning to all residents of "the northern Gaza Strip," saying it will attack the entire area…Read More... | 4 Comments
Israel says that 'no country in the world' would agree to live under the threat of Gaza's rockets, but ignores its own culpability in its 100-eyes-for-an eye spiral of violence. Text and photos by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org One of the common talking points used to defend Israel’s pummeling of Gaza is that “no country in the world" would agree to live under the threat of rockets. (Robert Fisk gives at least one historic example to the contrary.) But thin as the argument may be, it begs the question: Why single out Israel for criticism? Here’s one guess: has any other self-declared…Read More... | 18 Comments
Netanyahu might have taken his 'gloves off,' but Palestinians in Gaza have long since been hardened by their bare-knuckle existence. In the three days beginning on March 19, 2003, Baghdad endured just over a thousand bombing runs, all aimed at cowing the Iraqi capital -- a city of nearly four million people -- through what the U.S. military called "shock and awe." As of Friday, Israel had already conducted more than 1,000 air sorties over Gaza as part of its so-called "Operation Protective Edge" -- this upon a population of two million with no army, no command-and-control structure, no sophisticated…Read More... | 5 Comments
Turns out most Israelis support the establishment of a Palestinian state - until they read the fine print. There is a natural obsession with short-term, immediate details of the situation in Israel and Palestine: where is the siren or rocket or bomb? How many bodies are piling up in Gaza? Israelis’ memory at present seems to go back only a few weeks, to the murder of three teens that they believe set off this cycle. But for Palestinians, there was life before the Israeli kids were murdered, and it wasn’t good. Many are seething under a reality of no prospects,…Read More... | 4 Comments
Attacks by Jewish hooligans on Arabs, unprecedented incitement by right-wing politicians and clashes between Israeli Police and Arab youth. We've been here before, but never like this. By Ron Gerlitz This article is written at the height of an extensive, violent escalation in the Jewish-Arab conflict, both within Israel and between Israel and the Palestinians in the territories and the Gaza Strip. Regarding the events inside Israel, it is important to note the dramatic difference between the events of October 2000 and those of the past week. In October 2000, it was Arab citizens of Israel confronting the police. In…Read More... | 6 Comments
When Abbas joins the next UN body and signs the next international treaty or makes his next move aimed at advancing statehood, remember why he is doing so. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday put to rest any lingering speculation or hopes that the long-comatose two-state solution might ever be revived. All of a sudden, the prime minister’s refusal to discuss borders or maps in negotiations with the Palestinians makes sense. After all, why negotiate over a map you have no intention of ever compromising on? “I think the Israeli people understand now what I always say: that there…Read More... | 31 Comments
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