How long can Israel's luck hold out? How many more times can it attack Syria without Assad or Hezbollah hitting back? People in this country have been worried that the fighting in Syria is going to "spill over the border," and now Israel, unprovoked, unattacked, has gone and bombed Syria twice in the last 72 hours. Is anyone in this vibrant democracy protesting? I haven't heard it. That's because the missiles from Syria and/or Hezbollah haven't started falling here. So far so good, people figure. As long as we get away with it, hooray. If, however, our neighbors to…Read More... | 38 Comments
Sending armies or air forces to stop jihadists from grabbing Syria's chemical weapons would be inordinately daunting and dangerous - and inconclusive. I, too, would like to neutralize the threat of the jihadists in Syria, and Hezbollah, and the possibility that they will take control of Assad's chemical weapons (and worse, much worse, his possible biological weapons). But how is that going to be accomplished? Here, according to Haaretz's Amos Harel, is what the Americans think it will take. In briefings recently for American media representatives, administration officials have said that removing the chemical weapons threat in Syria would…Read More... | 10 Comments
Under pressure over the issues of Iran and Israel at his Senate confirmation hearing, Obama's nominee for defense secretary caves in completely. Thursday's Senate confirmation hearing of Chuck Hagel was something out of Arthur Miller's "The Crucible," or the 1950s House Un-American Activities Committee sessions. "Senator Hagel, are you now or have you ever been a realist?" "Your soul is in peril, Senator - recant!" And Hagel recanted, over and over again. Under pressure on Iran and Israel (among other taboo subjects), he apologized to his inquisitors for referring to the "Jewish lobby" ("I should have said 'pro-Israel lobby'"), apologized…Read More... | 36 Comments
What will the third Netanyahu government look like, and how will it deal with the Palestinian issue?
Netanyahu would like to include some centrist elements in his government in order to present a more moderate face to the world. However, any meaningful effort to end the occupation is not very likely. The Israeli post-election routine is under way, and tomorrow (Saturday) night, President Shimon Peres will officially ask Benjamin Netanyahu to try and form a new government. Netanyahu will have 28 days for his coalitions talks (which are already underway), and he may ask for an extension of 14 days. While I do not have high hopes from the new government regarding the Palestinian issue, it is enough…Read More... | 9 Comments
Yesterday morning's air strike in Syria was apparently the latest instance of Israeli aggression posing as self-defense. No Israeli public figure I'm aware of has spoken out against yesterday morning's attack on an arms convoy transferring weapons (reportedly not chemical ones) from Syria to Hezbollah, which, according to foreign news agencies, was carried out by the Israel Air Force. Everybody here is scared - look what's happening in Syria, there's chemical weapons up there, the country's breaking up. "The entire area is raging and we must be prepared and strong and determined in the face of any possible development," Netanyahu…Read More... | 74 Comments
Twenty-five years ago this past weekend, a large-scale popular uprising by Palestinians began against Israel's then 20-year-old military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza. Sparked by an incident in which four Palestinians were hit and killed by an Israeli driving in Gaza on December 8, 1987, Palestinian frustration at living under repressive Israeli military rule and Israel's growing colonial settlement enterprise erupted, grabbing international headlines and drawing attention to the plight of Palestinians living in the occupied territories. On this 25th anniversary, the IMEU offers the following fact sheet on the First Intifada. By The Institute for…Read More... | 14 Comments
There is a proven road to security for the people of the Negev: a total end to Israeli rule over the people who are shooting at them. Here is my suggestion for how Israel can bring peace and quiet to the people living within rocket range of Gaza: lift the blockade of the Strip entirely (they get all the weaponry and fighters they want through the tunnels anyway); announce that in one year Israel will have no military or governmental presence whatsoever beyond the security barrier ("the wall") in the West Bank (the settlers will then leave of their…Read More... | 33 Comments
The investigation into the Burgas terror attack barely got underway when Prime Minister Netanyahu already announced that it was carried out by Iran through its proxy Hezbollah. Whether or not it in fact was, it is the public's duty to refuse to accept the government's claims, until they are backed up with solid evidence. Returning to his halcyon days as the national inciter, standing near the blood pools of suicide attack victims, the Prime Minister was quick to announce – before the sooty bus in Burgas was even removed – that the responsibility for the attack lies with Iran or its…Read More... | 17 Comments
Larry Derfner gets dangerously close to blaming Israel for the Burgas attack. When Israel assassinated Hezbollah’s Imad Mughniyeh and five Iranian nuclear scientists, it was picking a fight, and the payback – or part of it – was Wednesday’s bus bombing. I agree that when Israeli leaders decided to assassinate Iranian scientists, they increased the probability of an attack on Israeli citizens. I think that this point needs to be present in the Israeli debate following the attack. For me, this is another reason to fear the judgment of the odd couple, Barak and Netanyahu. Yet when raising this issue,…Read More... | 24 Comments
When Israel assassinated Hezbollah's Imad Mughniyeh and five Iranian nuclear scientists, it was picking a fight, and the payback - or part of it - was Wednesday's bus bombing. It says something about Israeli society's fear of facing hard truths when the only public figure who dares to state the obvious about the Burgas attack is Dr. Uzi Arad, who used to be known as "Dr. Strangelove" before he fell out of grace with Netanyahu over Iran. While everybody else here either doesn't believe or is afraid to say that Israel's all-but-confirmed assassinations of five Iranian nuclear scientists and Hezbollah military chief Imad…Read More... | 74 Comments
Richard Silverstein reports on his blog that the aircraft that crashed in central Israel today was a "booby-trapped" foreign drone flown into the country, and that it crashed not in a field, but in a top-secret missile base (which I am not naming it here because I'm not entirely sure about my position vis-a-vis Israel's military censors on this bit). Richard goes on to speculate the only enemy of Israel's that can conceivably produce an aircraft such as this one is Iran, but that it's unlikely Iran could control a drone from so far away, so it must've been Hezbollah,…Read More... | 17 Comments
Israeli policy (unlike Hamas or Hezbollah) is not intended to maximize civilian casualties. Yet it does intentionally target civilians: it is intended to produce maximal civilian distress, while avoiding mass civilian casualties. In discussions about the Israeli-Arab conflict, one of the perennial issues is the targeting of non-combatants. The reactions to the brutal murders in the settlement of Itamar, and the collective punishment of the nearby Palestinian village Awarta (where the alleged killers live) have exemplified the concern many feel about the lack of distinction between those involved in hostilities and uninvolved civilians. Even more attention has been given to…Read More... | 17 Comments
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'Wars on Gaza have become part of Israel's system of governance': An interview with filmmaker Yotam Feldman http://t.co/7dMiksBo9t
Israel officially drank the Kool Aid on the al-Dura affair http://t.co/MF3x14NKe4
On visiting the victims of occupation in the south Hebron Hills http://t.co/YO37AXd75k by @MairavZ (via @haaretzcom)
Court questions law enabling confiscation of Palestinian land in Jerusalem http://t.co/4oGUPJYILt
Israel's A-G laments: Nobody criminally investigates settlers for illegal building http://t.co/O6zmeYz8M1
On the al-Dura affair: Israel officially drank the Kool Aid http://t.co/MF3x14NKe4 (By Larry Derfner)
#Israel Extends Zone for Fishing Off #Gaza http://t.co/aQkRdGvs60 via @nytimes