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pillar of defense

  • Gaza quiet shows Hamas' pragmatism

    Despite violence in Jerusalem and the West Bank, for the past three months Hamas has maintained calm on the Gaza border — curbing rocket-fire against Israel. By Aaron Magid Opponents of Hamas often accuse the Islamist organization of acting irrationally. In a National Review article titled, “Hamas’ Suicidal Tendencies,” the author writes, “[w]hy is Hamas pursuing such a self-destructive strategy? Ideology.” Yet, in the months since the Gaza war, Hamas’ leadership in Gaza has repeated its pragmatic approach by not launching rockets into Israel, instead choosing to downgrade its ideology so that it may fight Israel more effectively in the…

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  • Who are the Israelis refusing the call of Protective Edge?

    On Saturday evening, another anti-war demonstration was held in Tel Aviv. A few hundred people marched and chanted and hoped that rumors of a drawdown were true. With minimal numbers and attention, the demonstrations have had little impact. But there doesn’t seem much else that those opposed to the war can do. Soldiers and reservists have another option: civil disobedience, refusal to participate. It is a huge taboo. The idea of avoiding IDF service in a society whose mythical founding narrative is about protection from existential destruction is anathema even in normal times. To refuse a draft order in wartime…

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  • What Israel's 'precision bombing' of Gaza looks like

    The kind of violence visited upon the people of Gaza is designed to strafe armies, not refugee camps or city blocks. In the aftermath of Israel's last major assault on Gaza -- nine days of round-the-clock bombing and shelling which began on November 14, 2012 -- I visited the scene of one of its most horrific tragedies. Here's the Human Rights Watch description of what happened: An Israeli airstrike that killed 12 civilians – the largest number of civilians killed in a single attack during the Gaza fighting in November – was a clear violation of the laws of war.…

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  • 'If you hear the bombs, you're still alive'

    This Father's Day, as the Israeli military is once again operating throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Samer Badawi reflects on loss, fatherhood and the last major Israeli assault on Gaza. I had intended today to write a reflection on what it means to be a father to three Palestinian children, how raising them has taught me to be humble about the limits of my own influence, and how heavy the weight of their inherited history. But that history, as it is forged, has a way of interrupting introspection, bringing the present into sharp -- and sharply real --…

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  • 'Wars on Gaza have become part of Israel's system of governance': An interview with filmmaker Yotam Feldman

    In his new documentary, 'The Lab,' Yotam Feldman explores how Israel's weapons industries interact with the country's politics, economy and military decision-making. Israeli weapons, military technology and know-how become more valuable because they have been field-tested in its wars and combat against Palestinians and neighboring countries. A conversation with Yotam Feldman about his film, arms dealers and Israel's war economy. By Ofri Ilani, translated from Hebrew by Ofer Neiman Perhaps we should start with the question of Israel's international standing. In recent years it is often termed as "growing global isolation." This isolation may diminish at times, but there is…

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  • Investigating Gaza flotilla deaths would sacrifice International Criminal Court's legitimacy

    The violent takeover of the Mavi Marmara simply does not stack up to other violent mass executions of passive civilians. Referring a relatively minor incident to the ICC in the context of a highly politically charged conflict would confirm the suspicions that the court is no more than a political wolf camouflaged in the neutral trappings of criminal justice. By Noam Wiener On May 14, the Union of Comoros, represented by Turkish attorneys, sent the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) a referral requesting it commence an investigation into Israeli conduct, due to alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity. The…

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  • Helpless: Notes of a Gaza teacher

    One Gazan's war diary, November 14-21. By Ahmed G. Ferwana November 14 I wished my colleagues and students a nice weekend, and left the American International School of Gaza (AISG), where I work as a Language and Literature teacher, for my apartment on Al-Shuhada Street, which I consider to be one of the most beautiful streets in the Gaza Strip. It was a lovely Wednesday, to be followed by a three-day vacation, and I had plans to meet some friends for a barbeque. Then, time and date was all that mattered once I had that moment of silence as a…

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  • A week in photos: Gaza escalation, ahead of ceasefire

    Palestinians in Gaza celebrated the ceasefire yesterday evening, but the destruction and grief left in the wake of Israeli airstrikes are enormous. Activestills documented the Israeli operation from beginning to end, capturing its effects in Israel, the West Bank and, most acutely, the Gaza Strip.                                              

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  • Operation 'Cast Ballot': Post mortem

    As yet another military campaign ends, the IDF turns out to be, as usual, the weakest link in the chain. Operation Cast Ballot, or as it is formally known, "Pillar of Defense," has come to an end. Childish to the end, the Palestinians and Israelis managed to miss a ceasefire on Tuesday, as they quarreled over who would fire the last shell. The practice of announcing a ceasefire in advance, so as to make certain that all troops know of it in time and observe it, has been perverted into a competition of who can fire more in less time.…

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  • Searching for meaning in the deaths of innocents

    Using cold logic to explain the killings of civilians is an attempt to deaden our emotions and detach us from inexplicable tragedy. By Jake Meth When I was younger, I always hoped that my older self would have a great explanation for why innocent civilians kept getting killed in violent conflicts. But as Israel began another air campaign against the Gaza Strip last week, I suddenly realized that this explanation for which I had waited so long was nowhere to be found. I was 15 when the U.S. invaded Iraq, when it seemed as if every other headline in the…

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  • Photos: Bus bombing in central Tel Aviv; at least 17 wounded

    At least seventeen people were wounded, two of them seriously, when a bomb blew up in a bus in central Tel Aviv earlier today. This was the first bus bombing in the city since 2006, and although several armed groups voiced support for the bombing, Israeli police were cautious not to assign direct responsibility even hours after the attack. Uncharacteristically for a conflict area more than accustomed to suicide bombings, the bomb appears to have been left on the bus and set off some time after the bomber or bombers left the vehicle. Police described the attack as "amateur-like." In…

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  • WATCH: Palestinian journalists protest attacks on Gaza media buildings

    Members of the Palestinian Union of Journalists and their supporters gathered in Ramallah's Al-Manara Square on Sunday to demonstrate against an Israeli attack on two media buildings in Gaza.   Ramallah, West Bank - Dozens of Palestinians in the West Bank - territorially separated from the Gaza Strip - protested in the territory's administrative center Ramallah on Sunday, accusing Israel of directly targeting journalists in an attempt to stifle the flow of information out of Gaza. Media NGOs, including Reporters Without Borders, have condemned the strike, which wounded six Palestinian journalists and damaged the equipment of foreign media covering the…

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  • Israel suppresses Gaza protests in West Bank; two Palestinians killed

    Rushdi Tamimi, 31, was shot by Israeli soldiers during a protest in Nabi Saleh on Saturday; he died today in a Ramallah hospital. 22-year-old Hamdi Falah died today after being shot four times by soldiers at a Hebron protest. In the past several days, Israeli forces have violently repressed demonstrations in East Jerusalem and the West Bank against the army's 'Operation Pillar of Defense.' Abir Kopty of the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee reported that protests held on Saturday and Sunday at Nabi Saleh, Ofer Military Prison, Hebron, Nablus, Jenin, and Bethlehem were put down through the use of tear gas, rubber…

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