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Pillar of Cloud

  • 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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  • Why did the IDF assassinate two Palestinian journalists?

    The Israeli army still refuses to comment on several incidents in which journalists affiliated with Hamas, but with no connection to military activities, were targeted. In response to an inquiry by an Israeli journalist, an IDF Spokesperson representative wondered why he cares about a couple of Palestinians that died 'a million years ago.' On November 20, during the Israeli army’s last operation in Gaza ("Pillar of Defense"), the IDF targeted a car on a Gaza City street with two cameramen from al-Aqsa TV - Mahmoud al-Kumi and Hussam Salama - killing them both. Al-Aqsa is the official television station of…

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  • Israel gives up white phosphorus, because 'it doesn't photograph well'

    By Idan Landau A certain air of nostalgia dominated Maariv’s headline last Thursday: “Due to criticism in the world, IDF parts ways with white phosphorus”: just like the old Galil assault rifle and the old two-way radios that generations of soldiers grew familiar with. A couple of years ago we learned the IDF was giving up its cans of preserved meat (the kosher version of SPAM). Now, it’s white phosphorus that we say goodbye to. [Twilight. The IDF and white phosphorus exchange a final gaze. A sad violin tune is heard. Curtain down.] So the IDF is looking for a…

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  • WATCH: Soldier uses live ammunition on unarmed protesters, injuring teen

    This footage was taken by B'Tselem during a protest against Israel's Pillar of Defense operation against Gaza (November 19, 2012). The protesters - Palestinian high-school boys from Tuqu', in the West Bank - are seen chanting and occasionally throwing stones at soldiers near Route 356. Neither the soldiers nor any passing car seemed to have been under threat. At 1:53, you can see a soldier opening live fire, from a great distance, at the children. One boy, who was injured in his stomach, is carried away by other protesters. The shooter is immediately pushed away by another soldier. B'Tselem has asked the army to investigate the incident.

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  • Human Rights Watch condemns targeting of Israeli civilians during Pillar of Defense

    Previous report from the human rights organization examined the Israeli airstrike that took the lives of 12 Palestinian civilians, ten of them from the same family. Human Rigths Watch has condemned the targeting of the Israeli civilian population by Palestinian militants during the week-long "Pillar of Defense" military operation, which took place last month. A piece posted on the HRW site states that: The rocket attacks, including the first from Gaza to strike the Tel Aviv and Jerusalem areas, killed three Israeli civilians, wounded at least 38, several seriously, and destroyed civilian property. Rockets that fell short of their intended…

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  • Polls show Israelis rational about policy, misguided on elections

    It’s easy to disagree with Israelis about many things. But two new polls show that on key current issues, the public is at least thinking rationally and seeing clearly: *On Gaza, the majority know that Israel is no better off after the war in Gaza, and that the ceasefire won’t hold. *On the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the majority supports negotiations, supports the basic outlines of the Arab peace initiative and knows that the Palestinians cannot simply be beaten. *The majority acknowledges discrimination against Arabs in Israel, and a strong majority believes democracy is either more important than Jewishness of the state,…

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  • What Palestinians really want (A Western-Israeli obsession)

    If you follow Israeli and American mainstream logic, all it takes for the occupation to end are a few nice words from Palestinian leaders.   We have been asking the wrong questions: A popular debate in the days following the military escalation between Israel and Hamas had to do with the prospect of negotiations with Hamas, and whether the organization "has moderated." In this conversation, evidence is tossed around from both sides in the forms of quotes from political figures, militants, supporters and spiritual leaders, followed by heated arguments over their meaning, context, quality of translation, status of the person…

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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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  • Netanyahu answers Facebook comments criticizing ceasefire with Hamas

    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…

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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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  • Photos: Deadliest day yet in Gaza

    Each days brings new horrors. Sunday was the deadliest day since the beginning of this escalation, and the deadliest day since Operation Cast Lead. The level of destruction all over the Gaza Strip is appalling. Bulldozers were working in different places to dig under the rubble to find bodies. The Al-Dalou family was almost entirely wiped out, with 11 members, including four women and four children, killed when an Israeli missile destroyed their home in the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood of Gaza City on Sunday afternoon. Israel clearly targeted Gaza's media, with the two towers which host many TV channels and agencies…

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  • Teaching the Palestinians a lesson

    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…

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  • IDF sends text message to Gaza mobile phones: 'The next phase is on the way'

    The Israeli army is sending text messages to mobile phones in Gaza with a warning in Arabic: "The next phase is on the way. Stay away from Hamas elements." Using Instagram, Twitter user @RanaGaza tweeted a photo of the message on her father's mobile phone. During the 2008-9 Israeli military assault on Gaza, the army sent thousands of similar messages to mobile phones in Gaza. But according to several friends and acquaintances who were there, the messages were often either false alarms or designed to sow panic. "What do you do if you receive a message warning you to go…

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