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  • Diplomacy or armed struggle? Palestinian factions look ahead

    Against the backdrop of a crisis of governance in Palestine and the brewing battle of succession, Palestinian Islamic Jihad is proposing a return to armed struggle. But is that what the Palestinian people want? By Ronit Marzan On October 21 of this year, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) leader Ramadan Shalah gave a speech marking 29 years since the movement’s founding. Shalah’s speech largely resembled those he has given in the past, but the historical and geopolitical context has changed. Twenty-three years have passed since the failure of the Oslo Accords and changes are taking place in the Palestinian, Arab-Muslim and international…

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  • Israel arrests Palestinian journalist en route to int'l conference

    Omar Nazzal, a well-known journalist in Ramallah, has been in custody since Saturday on terror charges, based on secret evidence. His lawyer says that his alleged contact with militants was an integral part of his job. Israel arrested a Palestinian journalist on Saturday while he was trying to leave the West Bank en route to Sarajevo for a meeting of the European Federation of Journalists. Omar Nazzal, a Ramallah-based independent journalist and a member of the board of the Palestinian Journalists' Syndicate, was arrested before crossing Allenby Bridge into Jordan and has since been detained on "security charges," Israel claimed.…

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  • The Long Road to Bethlehem: Part five

    Read the previous chapters of The Long Road to Bethlehem here. Israel’s “Operation Protective Edge” begins in Gaza. I am consumed by the news. I scroll through Twitter with the television on, flipping between Al Jazeera and CNN. Horrifying images stream out of the Strip. Rubble. Bodies. Crowds around hospitals. People running, carrying limp loved ones. Shujaiyah. When I can’t take it anymore, I turn off the TV, leave my phone inside, and go to the garden. I realize how fortunate I am to be able to “take a break” from the war — even if that break is somewhat…

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  • Is Israel negotiating with Palestinian hunger striker Khader Adnan?

    As he enters his 50th day of hunger strike, Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan's health is rapidly deteriorating rapidly. Now it seems like the Israeli government may try to negotiate his release from administrative detention. By Yael Marom and Noam Rotem Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan's health deteriorated significantly Wednesday as he reached his 49th day of hunger strike. According to Attorney Jawad Bulus, who is the only person aside from members of the Israel Prison Service (IPS) to have access to his hospital room, Adnan's health is deteriorating from day to day. Since the beginning of Adnan's hunger strike, which he…

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  • No one left for Bibi to blame – except, of course, Abbas

    Israel is in a crisis – the heaviest Palestinian street violence in a decade, the threat of a full-blown third intifada – and here’s how Netanyahu is managing it: by seizing on the last available scapegoat. Outside of the Netanyahu government and its supporters, does anyone believe that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) is inciting the rioting and terror in East Jerusalem? Does anyone think the gunmen and killer drivers and adolescent stone-throwers are taking their cues from Ramallah’s 79-year-old bureaucrat-in-chief? Conversely, does anyone think that if Abbas were to call publicly and repeatedly for an end to…

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  • The battle over numbers: Gaza conflict is about quality not quantity

    While it may be tempting for those of us who are against Operation Protective Edge to stress the lopsided casualty statistics as a way to promote our criticism, this war should not focus on the numbers. One of the most painfully obvious aspects of the current warfare between Israel and Gaza (and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on a whole) is the stark disparity in the number of casualties: 1,928 Palestinians killed compared with 67 Israelis, based on the latest figures recorded by each side. Both the Hamas-run Ministry of Health in Gaza and the UN claim the majority are civilians, whereas…

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  • Israeli army scales back forces from Gaza; air strike kills 10 in UN-run school

    The Israeli army announced Sunday that it had withdrawn most of its troops from Gaza, although no official announcement has been issued to end the 29-day Operation Protective Edge. According to Haaretz, Israeli forces that remain in Gaza are working on destroying one more tunnel near Rafah, while other units are operating in Beit Hanoun. The IDF has decided to keep some forces within Gaza to protect Israeli communities near the border. The decision comes hours after the IDF declared the death of Hadar Goldin, an Israeli lieutenant who was previously believed to have been captured by Hamas militants on…

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  • What does Israeli 'acceptance' of ceasefire really mean?

    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…

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  • Blame Israel and Hamas both for Gaza’s civilian deaths

    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,…

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  • After indicting Hamas, Netanyahu declares war on all Palestinians

    From arrests to home invasions to airstrikes, the repercussions of Bibi's finger pointing are being felt throughout the West Bank and Gaza. Reports surfaced yesterday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is considering "expelling" Hamas leaders from the West Bank, ostensibly as punishment for the alleged kidnapping of three Jewish teenagers. The scheme harkens to December 1992, when then Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin famously banished 415 Palestinians to what was considered a no-man's-land just over the Lebanese border. Literally dumped on a hilltop and stateless, these accused members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad set up camp in the harsh winter --…

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  • The Tel Aviv bubble has burst - the status quo should go with it

    The Tel Aviv bubble has burst - or it is in denial. Or a bit of both. Whatever the diagnosis may be, the fact that rockets from Gaza have reached the city for the fifth time in four consecutive days (rockets were just fired at around 18:45 while I was writing this), even if they have mostly not made impact, is shocking, and it is certainly a wake-up call. As Amir Oren said in Haaretz's opinion pages today: The significance of rockets fired on Tel Aviv and Jerusalem should not be underestimated. Since 1948, no Arab country, except Iraq in…

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  • On display in Gaza: The true Israeli narrative

    Islamic Jihad or Fatah, terrorists or guerillas, post-Oslo or pre-Oslo, the Palestinians have no right to resist our control, which we impose by full right. Here we are again, fighting for our survival, fighting in self-defense, killing Islamic Jihad terrorists who deliberately fire rockets at innocent Israeli civilians, and all this after we got out of there completely, and after all the peace offers we made since Oslo that they rejected. You see? We have no choice. The above is the Israeli narrative for our current targeted assassination campaign, the same one we used for Operation Cast Lead and every other onslaught we’ve visited on the Strip over the last decade: Our enemies are jihadists who won’t accept anything less than our deaths; they target innocent civilians,…

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