Israel and Hamas announced Tuesday evening that they had agreed to an Egyptian-brokered, open-ended ceasefire, after seven weeks of fighting left more than 2,200 people dead and tens of thousands wounded, the vast majority Palestinians. Although the ceasefire went into effect at 7 p.m., both sides engaged in violence until the last minute. In Israel, a mortar attack killed two men in Kibbutz Nirim. Palestinians reported that an airstrike destroyed a seven-story building in Beit Lahiya. Officials from both Hamas and Islamic Jihad stated that the ceasefire included an Israeli agreement to ease its blockade of Gaza to allow relief…Read More... | 2 Comments
My colleagues at 'Let Us Build Pakistan' and I have discovered various overlapping interests on certain issues and we occasionally cross-post material that we think our audiences would find relevant. Here is one such article I found interesting. Against the background of a fresh wave of violence in the Middle East, a Muslim writer calls for introspection. By Asif Zaidi The following book review in The Telegraph addresses two recently published books mainly defending British Muslims. A friend sent me the article, hoping that it will help me “see the light.” But I believe the review downplays some significant problems.…Read More... | 46 Comments
Israel continued to bombard Gaza overnight, as the Palestinian death toll rose to more than 70 after the collapse of Friday's UN and U.S.-brokered 72-hour ceasefire that was supposed to lead to negotiations to end the Israel-Hamas war. Rockets continued to be fired from Gaza into Israel early Saturday morning, with the Iron Dome intercepting some over Tel Aviv and Be'er Sheva. Hamas' armed wing stated Saturday that missing soldier Hadar Goldin may have been killed in Israeli air strikes following the incident in which he was captured and two other soldiers killed Friday. The group claims it has lost contact…Read More... | 4 Comments
Wednesday saw a particularly deadly day of violence in the Gaza Strip, while diplomatic efforts to reach a ceasefire continued with urgency. According to officials at the Palestinian Health Ministry, 129 people were killed and more than 200 wounded in Gaza throughout Wednesday. Israel's Operation Protective Edge has killed a total of 1,400 Palestinians and wounded more than 7,500. The high death toll comes after a bloody day on Tuesday, which saw more than 120 people killed by Israeli airstrikes in the Strip. The Israeli army announced that three of its soldiers were killed on Wednesday afternoon, pushing the military…Read More... | 16 Comments
A fair ceasefire would bring major relief for Gaza, which would mean Hamas wins the war. The ceasefire that the world is now pushing for – one that, as UN chief Ban Ki-Moon put it, not only ends the fighting but also ends Israel’s “chokehold on Gaza” – is one that the Netanyahu government will not accept. It should accept it, because Gazans have the right to be free, but it won’t. Its rejection of John Kerry’s offer on Friday – which reportedly would have allowed the Israeli army to go on destroying Gazan tunnels even during a week-long ceasefire…Read More... | 47 Comments
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... | 39 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
Unlike previous efforts, the current Palestinian reconciliation agreement appears to have been cemented from within; and it might just offer a lifeline to Gaza. By Samer Badawi Just as word emerged early Wednesday of an imminent unity accord between rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seized upon the news to issue his Palestinian counterpart an ultimatum: Make peace with Hamas, and you can forget about peace with Israel. In lockstep, Netanyahu’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman immediately dubbed any intra-Palestinian reconciliation a veritable “termination of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.” If that was a…Read More... | 25 Comments
Egypt's newest candidate for president could be the perfect test case for Egyptian democracy and a lightening rod for opposition to the military. Following the unfolding Egyptian revolution is not often rewarded with good news. Today was a little different: Hamdeen Sabbahi, one of the surprise stories from Egypt's first post-revolution presidential election, has announced his candidacy for the office, once again. Sabbahi, who came in third place after Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood candidate who was ousted from power last July, and Ahmed Shafiq, the former commander of the Air Force who was considered by many as faloul, or…Read More... | 2 Comments
Three years after the revolution that set the benchmark for the Arab Spring, Egypt is now coming full circle, and the promise of the mass movement with it. On the first anniversary of Egypt’s momentous 18-day revolution, the country was still in a state of flux. A powerful military council remained in charge of a transitional government and the outcome of the revolution was unclear, but people were cautiously optimistic of what the future might hold if they kept pushing. By the second anniversary, the Muslim Brotherhood was in power, the country was polarized and in upheaval over the Islamists’…Read More... | 7 Comments
Ankara's strong stance on the Syria conflict helped bolster its status as a rising leader in the region. But its approach to the coup in Egypt could undo that. By Ilhan Tanir In early 2012, I visited Damascus and its suburbs and stayed there for two weeks. I met with Syrians of diverse professions, from shoe repairmen and teachers, to college students. I interviewed half a dozen commanders of the then-nascent Free Syrian Army local battalions, who sometimes hosted me at their family homes. Neither civilians nor FSA members had any difficulty explaining why they rose up against the Assad…Read More... | 10 Comments
In one of the more insightful comments on the Egyptian military coup, The New Yorker’s George Packer wrote back in July on the political culture of “winner takes all” that dominates the country in the post-Mubarak era. Islamists and secular-minded Egyptians regard one another as obstacles to power, not as legitimate players in a complex game that requires inclusion and consensus. Versions of this mutual negation can be seen across the region, from the liberal mini-uprising in Istanbul’s Taksim Square to the brutality of Syria’s sectarian civil war. Clearly, today’s massacre (is there any other fitting word to describe what…Read More... | 9 Comments
Two incidents in three days, in which Israel’s military was caught with its hand beyond its borders, raise questions of sovereignty and what it means to Israel. Sovereignty is a funny thing. Some countries claim more of it than they really have, some don’t have full control over their sovereign territory or airspace, and others willingly cede some of their sovereignty for a number of reasons. Two cases of Israel violating the sovereignty of its neighbors made headlines in the past few days. The first incident involved Israeli combat soldiers infiltrating Lebanon’s borders on Wednesday. Israeli violations of Lebanon’s airspace, maritime…Read More... | 13 Comments
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Liberman to Sweden: Mideast is more complex than assembling IKEA furniture http://t.co/58gn5uRs1t by @MikeOmerMan
RT @MikeOmerMan: .@AvigdorLiberman: Sweden needs to understand that Mideast is more complex than IKEA self-assembled furniture
RT @ngomonitor: Here's the link from @972mag abt @jeffreygoldberg http://t.co/uE7AKYtSHw
RT @ngomonitor: If u wanted more proof how off the wall @972mag is: "@JeffreyGoldberg was as pro-Bibi a journalist as one could find among …
RT @MikeOmerMan: Recognition of Palestine is “in support of negotiations,” @SwedeninIL says http://t.co/q5JLWkSd0D