This is the watchword in Israel today, no matter the price. Late last night (Monday), I was driving home from work and listening to the talk show hosted by Jojo Abutbul, who is sort of an old-time folk hero in this country – a Mizrahi Jew with down-to-earth wisdom. An Israeli common man. He speaks mainly to an older, Likud-oriented Mizrahi crowd, which is still very reflective of Israeli mainstream views, and is disproportionately represented in Sderot and some of the other towns near the Gaza border that have taken the brunt of Hamas’ rockets. Jojo Abutbul and his callers…Read More... | 32 Comments
I know of many Palestinians who do not like Hamas. Yet for them, the Gaza war is about the siege - part of their own war of independence. Israelis refuse to get that. In The Fog of War, Errol Morris’ excellent documentary, former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara speaks about a certain inability to understand the enemy – one that stems from a lack of empathy. In the film, McNamara, a brilliant systems analyst, who is today associated more than anything with the Vietnam War, says that part of President Kennedy’s successful management of the Cuban Missile Crisis was his…Read More... | 65 Comments
There were non-lethal ways to preempt Hamas’ underground attacks, but the Netanyahu government rejected them all. Here is the current, ostensibly airtight rationale for whatever the IDF chooses to do in Gaza: armed Hamas militats are coming up out of tunnels that start in Gaza and end not far from kibbutz and moshav communities on the Israeli side. So if the IDF doesn’t go as far into Gaza as necessary to destroy the last of these underground passages, sooner or later Hamas will succeed in carrying out “catastrophic” terror attacks, as Netanyahu puts it. The army has stopped several of…Read More... | 47 Comments
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…Read More... | 47 Comments
The real aim was to annihilate anything within marching distance of the border - including, it turns out, a hospital housing elderly patients and international activists there to protect them. When he launched his war on Gaza 10 days ago, Benjamin Netanyahu instructed his military commanders to "take the gloves off." Yesterday, they put on brass knuckles. Shedding even the pretense of "precision" - a lie that has so far left at least 45 Palestinian children dead - Israeli tanks and warships shelled Gaza indiscriminately ahead of a ground incursion that Netanyahu claimed was aimed at destroying tunnels along the border…Read More... | 39 Comments
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the Israeli army to begin a ground incursion into Gaza on Thursday night. According to a statement released by the Prime Minister's Office, both Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon called for the ground operation in order to damage underground tunnels leading into Israeli territory. The move came just hours after the Israeli army thwarted an infiltration attempt by armed Palestinians through a tunnel from Gaza. According to the statement, the order was "approved by the security cabinet, after Israel agreed to the Egyptian cease-fire proposal which Hamas rejected and proceeded to fire rockets at…Read More... | 4 Comments
No amount of Tweeting, tagging, posting or liking will save Gazans from an Israeli ground invasion. So why bother? By Corey Sherman Recent political upheavals in the Middle East tend to have a social media subplot, whether it's how savvy youth use it to subvert harsh authority, or how states manipulate access to it so as to stop such subversion. There’s the story about how State-Department-Official-cum-Google-Ideas-Chief, Jared Cohen, requested that Twitter delay a scheduled maintenance of their network to enable Iranians to continue to use the platform to organize during the harsh crackdown on post-election protests in 2009. Or how…Read More... | 10 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
In these frenzied days, I look for routine and find it in the task of translating names. Not that anyone reads all of them, but here's another child, and another, and a last name that gets repeated again and again. And then I realize that a whole family has been wiped out. By Michal Rotem (Translated by Sol Salbe) For several days now I've been translating the names of those killed in Gaza to Hebrew. It was not my idea, and I'm not an expert in literary Arabic, but I volunteered my meager translation skills to help John Brown, because…Read More... | 2 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
Sorting through the propaganda war. The main outrage now, in the fourth day (Friday) of Operation Protective Edge, as Israel calls it, is the rising number of killings of Palestinian civilians by Israeli airstrikes, mainly as a result of attacks on residential buildings where militants live or are thought to live. Haaretz reported that the Palestinian Health Ministry said that of the 86 Gazans killed by Wednesday night, most were children (22), women (15) and the elderly (12). And that didn’t count the five members, at least, of the Ghaneem family in Rafah who were killed when their four-story building,…Read More... | 33 Comments
His antagonism to all Palestinians – to Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority no less than to Hamas – started and steadily fueled the chain reaction that led to the current misery. On Monday of last week, June 30, Reuters ran a story that began: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Hamas on Monday of involvement, for the first time since a Gaza war in [November] 2012, in rocket attacks on Israel and threatened to step up military action to stop the strikes. So even by Israel’s own reckoning, Hamas had not fired any rockets in the year-and-a-half since “Operation Pillar of Defense”…Read More... | 38 Comments
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UN shelter shelled. Reports of 'multiple dead and injured' http://t.co/qstwXTZVZL by @samwithaner
Palestinian SodaStream workers fired after complaining of receiving too little food to break Ramadan fast http://t.co/UXgo94qoKg
Israel during wartime: Loving our soldiers to death http://t.co/mda4598bZ5
RT @bencnn: BREAKING: Medical services reporting at least 30 dead in school where 1000+ had taken refuge in Bait Hanoun. +200 wounded. #Gaza
RT @haaretzcom: 10 killed in shelling of #UNWRA school in #Gaza, #Hamas says http://t.co/0E6pUAVcZh