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  • Gaza war: It's about keeping the Palestinians under control

    Israel has been waging a single war since the mid-70s. Its goal is to avoid sharing power or assets with the other people living on this land. The Gaza war wasn't about creating a new order, but about maintaining the old one.  At the time of this writing, Operation Protective Edge has come to an end and the ceasefire between Hamas and Israel is delicately holding. Though indirect talks are taking place in Cairo, reports from the negotiations indicate an Israeli refusal to lift the siege on Gaza. Hamas has vowed to fight on if the ceasefire doesn't hold, but…

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  • Who are the Israelis refusing the call of Protective Edge?

    On Saturday evening, another anti-war demonstration was held in Tel Aviv. A few hundred people marched and chanted and hoped that rumors of a drawdown were true. With minimal numbers and attention, the demonstrations have had little impact. But there doesn’t seem much else that those opposed to the war can do. Soldiers and reservists have another option: civil disobedience, refusal to participate. It is a huge taboo. The idea of avoiding IDF service in a society whose mythical founding narrative is about protection from existential destruction is anathema even in normal times. To refuse a draft order in wartime…

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  • How can you possibly oppose this war?

    Someone asked me an innocent question: “What is the position of Israelis who are against the war?” There are obvious answers. First, this is a disproportionate war that harms huge numbers of civilians. The IDF is bombarding an area that it has already imprisoned by occupation from 1967, and then through suffocating border, movement, import and export control since 2007. Its residents have been stateless since 1948. It is attacking by air, land and sea, while Hamas attacks civilians in Israel through rockets and now through terrorist infiltration, at an increasingly frenzied pace. Second, escalation breeds escalation. The south of…

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  • 'Wars on Gaza have become part of Israel's system of governance': An interview with filmmaker Yotam Feldman

    In his new documentary, 'The Lab,' Yotam Feldman explores how Israel's weapons industries interact with the country's politics, economy and military decision-making. Israeli weapons, military technology and know-how become more valuable because they have been field-tested in its wars and combat against Palestinians and neighboring countries. A conversation with Yotam Feldman about his film, arms dealers and Israel's war economy. By Ofri Ilani, translated from Hebrew by Ofer Neiman Perhaps we should start with the question of Israel's international standing. In recent years it is often termed as "growing global isolation." This isolation may diminish at times, but there is…

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  • Israel gives up white phosphorus, because 'it doesn't photograph well'

    By Idan Landau A certain air of nostalgia dominated Maariv’s headline last Thursday: “Due to criticism in the world, IDF parts ways with white phosphorus”: just like the old Galil assault rifle and the old two-way radios that generations of soldiers grew familiar with. A couple of years ago we learned the IDF was giving up its cans of preserved meat (the kosher version of SPAM). Now, it’s white phosphorus that we say goodbye to. [Twilight. The IDF and white phosphorus exchange a final gaze. A sad violin tune is heard. Curtain down.] So the IDF is looking for a…

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  • The real winner of Hamas-Israel ceasefire: Justice Richard Goldstone

    By Jeremiah Haber There is now a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, thank God. The senseless military operation initiated by a blundering Israeli overreaction, and resulting in death, destruction, and fear in civilian populations, was only the latest in a series of such operations. And an examination of the ceasefire "understandings," virtually identical with those after Cast Lead, shows that Israel's over-arching strategy in assassinating Chief of Staff  Jabari was of the "We've-got-to-DO-something" variety. It is unlikely that the ceasefire will hold, but it is sufficient to worry later about future troubles, as the saying goes. Who won? Ask the Israelis, most of…

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  • Cut off from everywhere: When Gaza feels like another world

    The transformation of Palestinians into objects and the attempt to undermine the relationships they have with one another form the context in which this latest assault on Gaza must be understood. By Vicky Hosker Although less than three hours away from Bethlehem, Gaza often feels like another world to me. The distinguishing feature of Israel’s long-term policy towards Palestinians is not simply displacement, but dismemberment: separate ID cards for West Bank and Gaza residents have forced married couples to choose between leaving the country entirely or living apart, while economic, educational, and cultural ties have been severed with clinical efficiency.…

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  • Politicians line up behind Israeli assault on Gaza

    Israel launches a fresh operation on the Gaza Strip, killing Hamas leader Ahmed Jabari and several civilians. In the meanwhile, the opposition has never seemed so haggard. The assassination of Ahmad Jabari, the architect of both the recent Gilad Shalit prisoner swap and, more importantly, the détente that prevailed between Israel and Hamas for the past several years, is an uncharacteristically high-risk gamble by the Netanyahu and Barak duo. It's uncharacteristic not only because Netanyahu, in the past, has been extremely careful not to upset the apple cart and has repeatedly dialed up the violence in the Gaza Strip and…

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  • IDF general: Goldstone 'nothing' compared to next Lebanon clash

    Israelis are ever so sensitive to threats from "the other side," be it Palestinian militant groups or Iran's leaders. It's understandable; nobody likes vows to wipe his or her country off the map. Yet for some reason, the same people become tone-deaf when it's Israel that threatens its neighbors. A well-known example is Israel's current foreign minister's offer - made in a meeting with foreign ambassadors! - to bomb the Aswan Dam in case of a confrontation with Egypt, causing the flooding of vast areas around the Nile. Except for some feeble condemnations, Lieberman paid no political price for his words, and Binyamin…

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  • Int'l court rejects Palestian appeal - and Palestinian statehood

    The International Criminal Court released a statement on Tuesday rejecting Palestine's petition to investigate allegations of Israeli war crimes in the 2009 Gaza war, known as Cast Lead. With the fairly predictable decision, Israel avoids another round of international opprobrium. But there is also a symbolic meaning: another failure for Palestine's unilateral statehood bid. The decision is a clear political signal, not just a purely legal decision reflecting "objective" international norms. The Palestinians appealed to the Court over three years ago, immediately following the war, based on a provision that even states that are not members of the ICC can…

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  • Why I am proud of my work for J Street

    By Max Socol In 2010, less than a year after returning to the United States from Israel, I helped establish J Street DC Metro. Like Moriel Rothman, I was deeply disturbed by Cast Lead, which had defined my time in Israel. I felt strongly that an American initiative would be needed for the bloodshed to stop, and I also felt that, for better or worse, that initiative would have to be midwifed by the American Jewish community – the only American voting bloc with the credibility to speak about Israel, the political power to make a difference, and the generally liberal…

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  • Planning the next Gaza massacre - and celebrating the last one

    Despite the worldwide condemnation of the devastation of Gaza, Israel remains unrepentant. Next to the Gazan population, the biggest loser of the war was the international human rights community.  By Jerry Haber Three years ago, the Israel Defense Forces launched a massive attack on the Gaza Strip that reportedly left over 1400 hundred dead, thousands more wounded, and devastation of an unprecedented scale - with very little damage to the attacking army, and a handful of deaths on the Israeli side. One cannot say that the world was silent. But one can say that the large noise effected virtually nothing.…

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  • Three years since Gaza: Why should Kadima replace Likud?

    We are now marking three years since the day the centrist Kadima party, with the cheerleading of the left-wing Labor party, embarked on a murderous and completely unnecessary war in Gaza, which saw nearly 1,500 people killed. Some 18 months earlier the same liberal parties went to a similarly unnecessary war in Lebanon, which saw nearly 1,300 people killed. In-between the two wars, the two parties engaged in every kind of political debauchery, including smaller incursions into Palestinian Territories, extrajudicial executions, artillery and aerial bombings, spectacular corruption and  rampant settlement construction, all the while enjoying the international aura of a…

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