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mahmoud abbas

  • 129 Palestinians, 3 Israeli soldiers killed; U.S. approves Israeli request for ammunition

    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…

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  • This is a war of choice. Netanyahu's choice

    Netanyahu is no hero, and the tragedy is our own. Prime Minister Netanyahu fired Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon on Tuesday, after the latter criticized Netanyahu for holding fire, and even called him "a lefty," which is probably the worst thing you can say to someone in the current political atmosphere. Sacking Danon is not a risky move (Danon is a far-right politician with little parliamentary support), but firing him helped Netanyahu present himself as “moderate” and “restrained” leader. Yossi Verter says similar things in Haaretz, as does Ron Ben-Yishai in Ynet; even I wrote a few good things about this aspect of Bibi's…

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  • Why is Mahmoud Abbas negotiating on behalf of Gaza?

    When they emerge from the rubble, as they always do, who among Gaza's Palestinians will look to Abu Mazen as their legitimate leader? The Fatah chief is reportedly in Cairo today to meet with Egyptian strongman Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, whose "ceasefire proposal" to end the bloodshed in Gaza was promptly rejected as "a joke" by the Hamas leadership on Tuesday. Today's Haaretz affirms why: Senior Israeli officials and Western diplomats said the reason the Egyptian ceasefire initiative was so short-lived is that it was prepared hastily and was not coordinated with all the relevant parties, particularly Hamas. Why, then, had Abbas…

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  • How Netanyahu provoked this war with Gaza

    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”…

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  • There is no war of images, only occupation

    The right-wing Israel crowd is on a mission to delegitimize every Palestinian activity that goes beyond silent submission to permanent foreign military rule. Post-modern madness has Israelis very excited, for years now, about the notion that if Israel just “explains” its side of the matter, the world will come to its senses. There is a deep and pervasive myth that Israel is hopelessly incompetent at communications. Israelis speak of Palestinian propaganda as a well-oiled machine, with tentacles in every news media, lobby groups in the halls of power and pressure groups controlling the minds of students and faculty in universities…

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  • Why isn’t the West Bank rioting, too?

    And why doesn’t anyone in Israel seem to notice this? Answer: for the same reason that the Palestinian riots started in the first place. With Palestinians protesting violently in East Jerusalem and the Israeli north, and with Palestinians in Gaza, or some of them anyway, firing rockets into Israel’s south, who are the only Palestinians in this land who are not raising hell these days? The Palestinians of the West Bank. They threw a lot of rocks when the Israeli army invaded the Hebron area gunning for Hamas and looking for Eyal Yifrah, Naftali Fraenkel, Gil-Ad Shaar and their kidnappers,…

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  • Beyond mission creep: Why Operation Brother’s Keeper isn’t working

    Eleven days later, Israel’s latest operation has been a costly, disruptive rampage that seemingly aims to incite rather than stabilize. By Julie M. Norman Israel’s "Operation Brother’s Keeper" is not working. It is also exploitative, legally questionable, and strategically absurd. Launched 11 days ago, the operation has yielded no new information regarding the location or well-being of Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel, the three teenagers who were kidnapped while hitchhiking in the West Bank last Thursday night. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu maintains that Hamas is responsible for the abduction, yet no evidence has been made public, and…

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  • Kidnapping is proof the occupation can't protect Israelis

    Israelis deserve a leadership that is capable of interrupting the cycle of violence; they deserve more than juvenile assurances of retaliation. By Nathan Hersh Last month MKs Yariv Levin (Likud) and Orit Strock (Jewish Home) submitted a series of bills seeking to annex Area C of the West Bank to Israel. What would things look like today had the government agreed? Such a vote would have been a victory for the Jewish Home party and the rest of the Greater Israel crowd, but it would result in a security nightmare. The kidnapping of Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Frenkel…

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  • Is Israel trying to force a third intifada?

    Israeli incursions in the West Bank are the largest since the Second Intifada, while airstrikes over Gaza continue for a fifth consecutive night.  "The 'party' tonight is lasting longer than usual," says my friend from Gaza. He recently married, and he and his wife moved to the top floor of an apartment building with panoramic views of Gaza City. For the last five nights, those views have given him a reporter's vantage point on a sustained Israeli bombing campaign - the longest since Operation Pillar of Defense, the nine-day attack on the 25-mile-long strip in November of 2012. At the…

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  • West Bank kidnapping: Israel's crackdown moves beyond Hamas militants

    By arresting Hamas-affiliated journalists, charity workers and parliament members, Israel is going way beyond any attempt at trying to find the kidnapped teens. Someone's gotta say it: what Israel has been doing in the West Bank over the past several days goes way beyond any attempt at trying to find the kidnapped teens. It is a military and political attack on Hamas intended on serving the government's agenda, with no connection to the attempts to find the teens, and no clear connection between Hamas and the kidnapping. Let me clarify: I am sure that the army is making efforts to…

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  • Analysis: How Israel taught Hamas that violence is effective

    The Islamic group has good reason to believe that violence will work for it, and maybe even set the stage for diplomatic engagement with Israel: it has in the past, both for itself and the PLO. It is ironic that Israel rushed to point to the kidnapping of three Israeli teens as the reason it cannot negotiate with a Palestinian leadership affiliated with Hamas. Indeed, in the wake of the kidnapping -- regardless of the outcome -- Israel will very likely use the event as an excuse to stay away from the already comatose peace talks with the Mahmoud Abbas’s…

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  • Is Israel recognizing the Palestinian national unity government after all?

    If the Israeli government insists on boycotting the new Palestinian unity government, how can it also insist on pouring money into the Palestinian Authority? By the end of June, Israel is expected to once more sit at the same table as the Palestinian Authority - the same Palestinian Authority that it has been so adamant on boycotting following the formation of the new national unity government. The two parties will sit together with the Ad-Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC), a coordinating body formed in 1993 to regulate donations from various states to the PA, with Israel as a monitoring party, at…

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  • Who will protect Palestinian journalists?

    Between shootings, beatings and arrests, Palestinian journalists are subject to violence and restrictions that their Israeli counterparts generally avoid. Last week at a protest in the West Bank city of Beitunia, a group of Palestinian protestors attacked Israeli journalist Avi Issacharoff and photographer Daniel Book. According to Issacharoff, he was told to leave the protest by Palestinian journalists, and when he refused he was surrounded by a group of angry Palestinian protesters, who he says wanted to "lynch" him. Eventually, he was escorted out of the area with the help of two Palestinian officers. Such incidents are depressing, especially for…

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