There has been a lot of nationalism, warmongering and even racism in the Israeli media this past week, and inflammatory militaristic statements are still heard everywhere. So I thought it would be a good opportunity to post this video by filmmaker Itamar Rose. Several months ago, Rose traveled with a Palestinian friend to Sderot, which has been hit by rockets more than any other Israeli town, and asked locals to play the role of Palestinians in front of the camera. The outcome is worth watching. (If you cannot properly see the video, click here to watch it.) Some people might wonder how…Read More... | 70 Comments
Prime Minister's Netanyahu's announcement of a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas, which was also posted on his official Facebook page, received this evening an uncharacteristic number of angry comments by citizens demanding the government continue the assault on Gaza, among them: "Puppet for the U.S."; "You have surrendered to terrorism, shame!"; and so on. The Israeli media has been in "war mode" in the last few days, extensively covering the preparation for what seemed to be an inevitable ground invasion, with some commentators sounding like cheerleaders for the army. The somber tone of the last day – despite the attack on a…Read More... | 14 Comments
As attacks from both sides come to a halt, Hamas claims victory while Prime Minister Netanyahu faces criticism at home. The Palestinian Authority seems more irrelevant than at any other point since the Oslo Accords. An agreement over a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas went into effect at around 9:00 p.m. local time today (Wednesday). Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a press conference at 8:30, after which the IDF was to stop all offensive activities. Shortly after 9:00, 12 more rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel, but since then, it seems Hamas is holding up its end…Read More... | 15 Comments
By +972 and Activestills At least 23 people, among them 14 women and children, were killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza on Sunday, November 18th, bringing the total number of Palestinian casualties since the assassination of Ahmad Jabari to 69. Three Israelis were killed last week when a rocket hit a house in the southern town of Kiryat Malachi. Air strikes on Gaza continued throughout the day, as did rocket launches toward Israeli towns, including several rockets which were intercepted above Tel Aviv by the Iron Dome. At the time of writing, there hasn't been a breakthrough in the effort to reach…Read More... | 3 Comments
The Israeli government's insistence on maintaining the political and diplomatic status quo in Gaza and the West Bank guarantees many more years of violence and suffering - especially for the Palestinians. Three days into the Israeli attack on Gaza, it seems that a political window for a ceasefire could have emerged. Israeli casualties are still limited, and unlike in previous rounds of escalation, there isn’t a public demand to remove Hamas from power, nor other unrealistic goals (like the promise to release Gilad Shalit during Operation Cast Lead). Netanyahu can claim victory today, stop the bombing and save much suffering from both sides. As…Read More... | 37 Comments
Some interesting quotes via the Iranian media roundup at Tehran Bureau (my emphasis). In his sermon for the Eid al-Fitr prayer in Qom, Grand Ayatollah Yousef Sanei, known as a supporter of the Green Movement, addressed the recent reports that Israel may be preparing to attack Iran. "I did not intend to discuss this issue," he said, "but we see that the occupying and stubborn Zionist regime has spoken about attacking Iran, and has become so fearless that it has not backtracked from its threats." After rebuking Israel for its treatment of the Palestinians and threats against Iran, Sanei declared,…Read More... | 1 Comment
The rhetoric of Israel’s prime minister and defense minister stands at odds with what seems like a growing recognition that Israel will not attack the Iranian nuclear facilities on its own. There is an absolute consensus in the Israeli security establishment that striking the Iranian nuclear facilities now, without the support or the approval of the United States, is complete madness. Despite a massive campaign on this issue, the public is still split – with a slight majority for those opposing the war - and so is the political system. Under these conditions, which haven’t really changed in the last…Read More... | 2 Comments
Most Israelis do not back the Prime Minister and Defense Minister's call for a pre-emptive strike on Iran, but most won't do much to oppose it either. Here are some numbers and thoughts on why. Just one-quarter of the Jewish public (27 percent) in Israel supports a unilateral Israeli strike on Iran, according to a new Peace Index survey from August 7-8, focused mainly on Iran. Fully 61 percent of the 516 Jewish respondents are against such a strike, with over one-quarter strongly opposed - even a majority on the right is opposed (51 percent). If Prime Minister Netanyahu and…Read More... | 28 Comments
The top stories in all Israeli dailies this weekend discuss a coming strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. Thirty-seven percent of Israelis think President Obama would stop Iran from developing a bomb, while only 29 percent doubt it. The front page headlines in all major daily papers in Israel deal with the increased likelihood of a war with Iran. Yedioth Aharonoth has an important expose: the paper's diplomatic correspondents, Nahum Barnea and Shimon Shiffer, report that Defense Minister Ehud Barak has gathered senior army generals twice (the latest meeting took place at Mossad headquarters) in order to obtain their support for…Read More... | 7 Comments
With 94 out of the Knesset's 120 members behind him, the prime minister might have enough political support to launch war with Iran despite the opposition within the security establishment. This was the shortest election cycle in history: On Sunday, Likud brought to a Knesset vote a bill moving elections up to September 4, officially launching a four-month campaign season. Less then 48 hours later, the elections were cancelled. Kadima, it was announced, will join Netanyahu's coalition, and Israelis will only go to the polls a year and a half from now, in October 2013. Since the legislation of the…Read More... | 14 Comments
Creators of "Iran - The Exhibition," a new art project at The Spaceship gallery in Tel Aviv, wanted to examine "Israeli hysteria and fear of destruction, and the never-ending quest for a new Hitler-Nasser-Saddam." Among other works, the exhibition includes a miniature missile (made of an empty pipe). It was placed on the roof of the gallery, which incidentally, overlooks the American Embassy in Tel Aviv. What followed was a form of inadvertent performance art. On Wednesday, no less than five members of the Embassy's security team, accompanied by a soldier, entered the gallery, saying that if the missile –…Read More... | 1 Comment
In an op-ed on Ynet, Israel's most popular news site, Rabbi Donniel Hartman of the Hartman Institute demonstrates the moral bankruptcy of Jewish thinking on Israel: Targeted killings of known terrorist leaders, those with blood on their hands and the self-expressed desire and capacity to spill more blood, are not morally ambiguous, but rather acts of tikkun olam, repairing the world. (...) I recognize that evil exists, and that it is our responsibility as Israelis and moral duty as Jews to see this evil, and even if we cannot destroy it completely, to do everything in our power to limit…Read More... | 37 Comments
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