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Commentary

TitleDescriptionDate
Carter says Hamas must be includedLink to Al-Jazeera video31/1/2009
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Mitchell`s Challenge: After Gaza, Five Questions about Palestinian and Israeli RealitiesSandy Tolan - Tom Dispatch31/1/2009
Release soldier and we`ll end Gaza blockade, says IsraelDonald Macintyre - The Independent - In a short statement after his lunch with Mr Olmert, Mr Mitchell said that entrenching the ceasefire would include a "cessation of hostilities", an end to arms smuggling across Gaza`s border with Egypt – which had been a central aim of Israel`s 22-day offensive – and the re-opening of the Gaza crossings in line with the 2005 agreement brokered by the previous US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice. 29/1/2009
Anti-Arab sentiment swells among youth in aftermath of Gaza warPatrick Martin -Globe and Mail-"student chants of "Death to the Arabs." ...that sentiment is swelling, and the controversial former cabinet minister Avigdor Lieberman and his Yisrael Beitenu party are riding the wave. They have emerged as the biggest political winners from the recent war on Gaza. Their unequivocal anti-Arab policies have never been more popular."30/1/2009
A pointless war has led to a moral defeat for IsraelEditorial-The Guardian-"The notion that the country`s security problems can be resolved by the unilateral use of extreme force is a persistent delusion among Israeli politicians. In this case, the problem was perceived to be Hamas rocket fire into southern Israel; the solution was judged to be a war against Hamas. That analysis did not allow for the vital, humane recognition that, in densely populated Gaza, an all-out war against Hamas is, by necessity, an attack on the civilian population...the status of Hamas as the preferred vehicle for Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation has been enhanced by the indiscriminate brutality of the military assault."30/1/2009
NOTES ON A CONFLICT #3-WHEN WILL THEY EVER LEARN/WHO WON THE WARZalman and Daphna Amit-Newsletter-"As Mao said, a war in which guerillas enjoy the support of the population is not winnable. ..the world is still fighting many such wars (as in Iraq, Afghanistan, Sri-Lanka, Columbia, Pakistan and more). .. Although they are incredibly costly in human lives as well as in property and infrastructure, the forces conducting these wars are quite willing to destroy more lives and resources. Conventional forces currently involved in such conflicts seem to follow a dictum that we think was actually coined by Israelis: “In a conflict, if force doesn’t work, use more force.” In response one wants to scream the words of the famous anti-war song: “When will they ever learn?” "30/1/2009
The Continuity of Obama’s ChangeMouin Rabbani and Chris Toensing - Middle East Report - On January 21, a mere 24 hours after his inauguration, Obama placed phone calls from the Oval Office to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, Egyptian President Husni Mubarak and Jordanian King ‘Abdallah II. The next day, together with Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, he visited the State Department to announce the appointment of former Sen. George Mitchell as the new special envoy for the Middle East. 29/1/2009
Paying Lip Service to Unity Joharah Baker - MIFTAH - Our leaders, no matter how well intentioned they claim to be, are leading us down a vicious spiral of division and despair. Today, the Gaza Strip is in desperate need of reconstruction. Hundreds of thousands of Gazans have been made homeless by Israel`s 22-day bombing and are in dire need of shelter, food and basic supplies. The reported bickering between the West Bank government run by Abbas and the deposed Hamas authority in the Gaza Strip over the mechanisms for Gaza`s rebuilding have only deepened the fissure. If nothing else, this has been the opportunity for the Palestinians to unite. 28/1/2009
Obama: Sending The Right SignalsMuqtedar Khan - Countercurrents - Obama on the contrary spoke not only of Israel`s right to defend itself, but demonstrated unprecedented courage (or stupidity) as he let slip in this sentiment: "Our hearts go out to Palestinian civilians who are in need of immediate food, clean water, and basic medical care, and who`ve faced suffocating poverty for far too long." This one sentence went a long way in assuring the world that he was different from Bush and that indeed American had undergone a real change. 28/1/2009
Time to take responsibility Boaz Okon - Ynet - "The announcement we could expect from the government and from the attorney general is as follows: Leave the soldiers alone; they were just doing their job. If someone is responsible here, it’s only us." 28/1/2009
The settlement-terrorism equation Aluf Benn - Haaretz - "It can be assumed that Obama and Mitchell will show understanding for Israeli actions against terrorists, but not for the collective punishment of millions of Palestinians, or for the natural growth of settlements that Benjamin Netanyahu is promising to encourage if he is elected." 28/1/2009
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The settlement-terrorism equation Aluf Benn - Haaretz - "It can be assumed that Obama and Mitchell will show understanding for Israeli actions against terrorists, but not for the collective punishment of millions of Palestinians, or for the natural growth of settlements that Benjamin Netanyahu is promising to encourage if he is elected." Full text: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1059436.html id 28/1/2009
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Gaza crisis threatens outlook for MubarakDaniel Williams - IHT - ""Egypt is being asked to deliver victory to both sides," said Said of Al Ahram. "That`s very hard to do."" 28/1/2009
Criticism of Israel`s war crimes mountsJonathan Cook - "`We are very violent`, says Israeli commander"9/1/2009
Molten leadUri Avnery - Gush Shalom - This war is a writing on the wall: Israel is missing the historic chance of making peace with secular Arab nationalism. Tomorrow, It may be faced with a uniformly fundamentalist Arab world, Hamas multiplied by a thousand.3/1/2009
Obama`s deadly silenceAli Abunimah - The Electronic Intifada - "I would like to ask President-elect Obama to say something please about the humanitarian crisis that is being experienced right now by the people of Gaza." Former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney made her plea after disembarking from the badly damaged SS Dignity that had limped to the Lebanese port of Tyre while taking on water.3/1/2009
More oddities in the U.S. "debate" over Israel/GazaGlenn Greenwald - Salon - Even for those insisting that Israel`s attack on Gaza is both wise and just, what possible interest does the U.S. have in involving itself so directly in this dispute? 3/1/2009
Palestine all alone againMichael Harris - Ottawa Sun - The first turkey shoot against people with no defences took place on April 26, 1937, when the fascist powers laid waste to Guernica during the Spanish Civil War. "Terror bombing" was then new to the world, which decried it. Today, newspapers like the National Post offer their editorial support for it -- along with, of course, their deepest sympathies to Palestinians.3/1/2009
They hate us for our bombsRick Salutin - Globe and Mail - A letter I received last year rebuked me for calling George Bush`s explanation of 9/11 – They hate us for our freedoms – “doltish.” Its writer said leaders must speak concisely and simply. “What would you say?” he challenged. I`ve chewed on this and chosen: “They hate us for our bombs.”3/1/2009
Resistance is not futileDennis Perrin - the more I read about Israel`s assault on Gaza, the more I`m convinced that the Zionist enterprise is in serious trouble. With each fresh round of bombing, Israel`s reputation gets worse, allowing growing numbers of people who might never have said a critical word about that country to finally speak up, if only to friends and family.3/1/2009
Israel`s Insane War in GazaPatrick Seale - Al-Hayat - "Israel has never liked Palestinian moderates, for the simple reason that concessions might have to be made to them. To avoid being drawn into negotiations, it has always preferred Palestinian radicals - and when they were not there it has done everything it could to create them... It may be that the war was launched precisely because Hamas has recently shown signs of moderation. Its key spokesmen - including Khaled Mish`al, head of its political bureau - have expressed their readiness to accept a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders."4/1/2009
The Aggression towards Gaza and the Official European DiscourseNassar Ibrahim - AIC - "Suddenly, as we watched the flowing blood in Gaza, we awoke from the illusion to discover that we are nothing; we are just numbers in the calculations of those killed and wounded, numbers that have nothing to do with the principles of democracy and human rights. It is enough that Barak, Olmert, or even Livni declare that we are terrorists in order to utterly mute the European moral teachers" 5/1/2009
Keeping out the cameras and reporters simply doesn`t workRobert Fisk - The Independent - "That the Israelis should use an old Soviet tactic to blind the world`s vision of war may not be surprising. But the result is that Palestinian voices – as opposed to those of Western reporters – are now dominating the airwaves. The men and women who are under air and artillery attack by the Israelis are now telling their own story on television and radio and in the papers as they have never been able to tell it before, without the artificial "balance", which so much television journalism imposes on live reporting"5/1/2009
Gaza, Tribal Politics and Collective GuiltJoseph Levine - The Palestine Chronicle - "Thus, supporters of the action in Gaza ask how else but with deadly military force can Israel protect its citizens from rocket attacks, while the critics insist that the bombing, with its high human costs, is anyway a poor means of ensuring Israel`s security. The critics, of course, are correct. But in their tacit endorsement of the ‘clash-of-cultures’ frame, they let Israel off the moral hook. The current assault is not governed by a painful recognition of conflicting demands of human rights; rather it is animated by profound racism, tribalism, and the ancient doctrine of collective guilt"5/1/2009
The myth of Israel`s strategic geniusStephen M. Walt - walt.foreignpolicy.com - "The moral of this story is that there is no reason to think that Israel always has well-conceived strategies for dealing with the problems that it faces. In fact, Israel`s strategic judgment seems to have declined steadily since the 1970s -- beginning with the 1982 invasion of Lebanon -- perhaps because unconditional U.S. support has helped insulate Israel from some of the costs of its actions and made it easier for Israel to indulge strategic illusions and ideological pipe-dreams. Given this reality, there is no reason for Israel`s friends -- both Jewish and gentile -- to remain silent when it decides to pursue a foolish policy."24/1/2009
Winners and losers in GazaDaoud Kuttab - Ma`an - "Unlike times of tranquility, wartimes bring the best and worse in many people. Wars also are an opportunity for people to shine or to fail."24/1/2009
The next stepGideon Levy - Haaretz - "Not since the summer of 1967 have we had such a uniform, brainwashed chorus - and back then it was not so nationalist and bestial, insensitive and blind... Now it is time to elaborate on the alternative to the cruelest and most brutal war in Israel`s history, and one of the most unnecessary. "24/1/2009
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Israel’s LiesHenry Siegman - London Review of Books - "Western governments and most of the Western media have accepted a number of Israeli claims justifying the military assault on Gaza... Middle East peacemaking has been smothered in deceptive euphemisms, so let me state bluntly that each of these claims is a lie."24/1/2009
White flag, black flag Akiva Eldar - Haaretz - "The question that must be asked, therefore, is how many Palestinians and Israelis must die before the Israeli public wakes up from its new-old illusion that tanks and planes can perpetuate the occupation. The answer: As long as Israelis expect Palestinians to raise white flags, a black flag will fly over their own head"6/1/2009
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`Price of stubborness over Gaza exit is dead soldiers`Amos Harel & Avi Issacharoff - Haaretz - (...) with the defense minister and the foreign minister both beginning their days trying to figure out how to thwart the success of the other, and the (outgoing) prime minister toying with the idea of smashing Hamas, it`s little wonder that a diplomatic solution is still far off. 6/1/2009
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Turkey chooses sidesJerusalem Post Editorial - Defying the Arab League, Turkey signed a military cooperation pact with Israel in 1996. Nowadays, however, Israeli-Turkish relations are strained, with 200,000 anti-Israel demonstrators in a main Istanbul square and PM Erdogan, who cordially hosted Olmert just before the Gaza War started, stating: "Hamas abided by the truce. But Israel failed to lift embargoes. In Gaza, people seem to live in an open prison. In fact, all Palestine looks like an open prison…" 6/1/2009
Israel`s New War EthicNeve Gordon - The Nation - Not unlike raising animals for slaughter on a farm, the Israeli government maintains that it is providing Palestinians with assistance so that it can have a free hand in attacking them.6/1/2009
Israel`s blonde bombshells and real bombs in Gaza Yosefa Loshitzky - The Electronic Intifada - The name "Operation Cast Lead", chosen by Israel for its murderous and criminal attack on Gaza, is borrowed from a nursery rhyme in which a father promises to his child "a cast lead sevivon." Sevivon (dreidel in Yiddish) is a four-sided spinning top, played with during Hanukkah. Somebody, in the Israeli army, who apparently feels nostalgic about his childhood, decided that if Israeli kids would enjoy a sevivon cast from lead there is no reason why Palestinian children would not appreciate it too... 6/1/2009
Interview with Nurit Peled-ElhananYuval Hyman - Maariv-Kol ha-Zman - “Enough with ‘the other way round’. It is the strong who decide. Israel always says ‘our pilots returned safely’. Truly amazing that Hamas’ F-16 didn’t get them. Come on, really, enough. Children with scarves and homemade bombs. There is a limit.”6/1/2009
The Israeli Media and the War in Gaza: Second ReviewKeshev Publications-"the Israeli media’s coverage of the first days of the fighting were characterized by feelings of self-righteousness and a sense of catharsis following what was felt to be undue restraint in the face of attacks by the enemy, along with support for the military action and few expressions of criticism. "16/1/2009
How to beat Hamas Akiva Eldar - Haaretz - "Fatah needs to return on the construction cranes that will rebuild the ruins. The Palestinian Authority must be the one that leads this move, before billions flow from the Iranians to Hamas, as in Lebanon the day after the war against Hezbollah." 14/1/2009
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Judging IsraelGeoffrey Wheatcroft - IHT - "Democratic voters oppose the Israeli attack by a margin of 22 percent, and a Democrat is, after all, about to be inaugurated as president."14/1/2009
Israel says main goals in Gaza still unfulfilledSteven Erlanger and Michael Slackman - IHT - ""Tragically, the horror continues overnight," he said. "Nineteen children killed and 52 injured last night. I would hope that would motivate those who can help."" 14/1/2009
Hard Questions, Tough Answers Yossi Alpher - Americans for Peace Now - Israel`s political and military leadership clearly did not envisage the inclination in some quarters in Europe and elsewhere to accuse IDF combat officers and senior staff of war crimes. 27/1/2009
Israel Faces the Gaza Aftermath :: From self-deception to self-destructionDan Lieberman -Media Monitors Network - The attack on Gaza cannot remain an isolated incident that slowly fades into history. This attack has been etched into the psyche of an embittered Arab world. Sympathy for the Palestinians has been extended worldwide. These phenomena have dictated a new look at the Middle East contestants and a new approach to resolving the conflict. It’s possible we will witness more talk of defending the Palestinians and less of securing Israelis, more efforts by Arab nations of uniting the Arab world and its factions and less efforts by the western world to dictate a path to unification, more attempts to resolve Middle East problems and less considerations to Israel’s agendas. 27/1/2009
Saudi patience is running out ( Highly Recommended) Turki al-Faisal - FT - " Unless the new US administration takes forceful steps to prevent any further suffering and slaughter of Palestinians, the peace process, the US-Saudi relationship and the stability of the region are at risk...America is not innocent in this calamity. Not only has the Bush administration left a sickening legacy in the region – from the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis to the humiliation and torture at Abu Ghraib – but it has also, through an arrogant attitude about the butchery in Gaza, contributed to the slaughter of innocents. "23/1/2009
Change Gaza Can Believe In: Tearing Up Washington`s Middle East PlaybookTony Karon- truthout- " Restricting the peace process to proposals that fall within the comfort zone only of the Israeli government is the diplomatic equivalent of allowing investment banks to regulate themselves - and we all know where that landed us... A two-state solution, if one is to be achieved, will have to be imposed by the international community, based on a consensus that already exists in international law (UN Resolutions 242 and 338), the Arab League peace proposals, and the Taba non-paper that documented the last formal final-status talks between the two sides in January 2001. "23/1/2009
A `Police State` CelebratesNora Barrows-Friedman - Inter Press Service - According to Israeli police reports, at least 763 Israeli citizens, the majority of them Palestinian and 244 under 18 years old, have been arrested, imprisoned or detained for participating in such demonstrations. Most have been held and then released, but at least 30 of those arrested over the past three weeks are still being held in prison. 22/1/2009
So, I asked the UN secretary general, isn`t it time for a war crimes tribunal?Robert Fisk - The Independent - After killing hundreds of women and children, Israel was the good guy again, by declaring a unilateral ceasefire that Hamas was certain to break. But Obama will be smiling on Tuesday. Was not this the reason, after all, why Israel suddenly wanted a truce? 21/1/2009
A decisive loss for Israel Mousa Abu Marzook - EI - "Israel must accept the reality that it is incapable of breaking the Palestinian resistance. Similarly, Europe must accept that bringing back Abbas on an Israeli tank is not an option."26/1/2009
No moderates leftGideon Levy - Haaretz - Tzipi Livni, like Ehud Barak, is a true extremist. Bibi Netanyahu more extremist in rhetoric only.25/1/2009
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Gaza on Hold as Arabs Bicker Nadia W. Awad - MIFTAH - Arab leaders bandied about Marshall-like reconstruction plan ideas in a summit held in Kuwait earlier this week. The Arab League summit regrettably began and ended in dissonance. Israel’s war on Gaza has not only further divided internal Palestinian factions, it has managed to cause friction amongst Arab states. The summit pledged $2 billion to help reconstruct Gaza, but discord reared its ugly head when member states began arguing about how the money would actually reach Gaza. 21/1/2009
Israel`s right to defend itself Joseph Massad - EI - "Israeli history tells us that as students of racial supremacy, Zionists have always failed the test of universal humanism." 21/1/2009
ANALYSIS / Aside from Iraq, Obama`s plans for the Mideast are still vague Akiva Eldar - Haaretz - "The people behind the Geneva Initiative, who are encouraged by the appointment of Rahm Emmanuel - who supports the peace plan as Obama`s chief of staff, will have to postpone their party." 21/1/2009
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ANALYSIS / Aside from Iraq, Obama`s plans for the Mideast are still vague Akiva Eldar - Haaretz - "The people behind the Geneva Initiative, who are encouraged by the appointment of Rahm Emmanuel - who supports the peace plan as Obama`s chief of staff, will have to postpone their party." 21/1/2009
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Gaza success proves Israel is strong, not right 20/1/2009
Gaza success proves Israel is strong, not right David Grossman - Haaretz - Like the pairs of foxes in the biblical story of Samson, tied together by their tails, a flaming torch between them, so Israel and the Palestinians - despite the imbalance of power - drag each other along. Even when we try hard to wrest ourselves free, we burn those who are tethered to us - our double, our misfortune - as well as ourselves. 20/1/2009
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As Obama is sworn in, Israelis and Palestinians will be thinking `no we can`t` 20/1/2009
His mother said: Meir Wieseltier - Haaretz20/1/2009
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A Message to Israel: Time to Stop Playing the Victim RolePHILIP SLATER - THE HUFFINGTON POST - Yes, Arab states deny your right to exist, threaten to drive you into the sea, and all the rest of their futile, helpless rhetoric. The fact is, you have the upper hand and they don`t. You have sophisticated arms and they don`t. You have nuclear weapons and they don`t. So stop pretending to be pathetic. It doesn`t play well in Peoria. 19/1/2009
A return to square one : Despite the ceasefire, the sources of the conflict in Gaza are unresolved and peace is unlikely to hold Alastair Crooke - The Guardian - The uncompromising use of firepower by Israeli forces, the resolve to use this overwhelming power at the expense of huge numbers of civilian casualties and of infrastructure, has come against a backdrop of almost universal Israeli domestic approval. The war has touched on deep impulses, evoking strong convictions of Israeli righteousness among the public, and with it, a thirst for unequivocal images of defeat in Gaza.19/1/2009
What really brought EU leaders to the Middle East? Akiva Eldar - Haaretz -The Europeans have always yearned for a central role in world diplomacy in general and the Middle East in particular. Two things stand in their way. First, American dominance, which forces the other international players onto the bench. The twilight hours in Washington, when one administration is packing its bags and the other has yet to move in - is a once in four or even eight-year opportunity for the Europeans to take center stage....Second, a simple and easy-to-digest initiative such as a cease-fire is one of those rare occasions when Europe can manage to formulate a coherent policy involving the Arab-Israeli conflict. Such an opportunity must not be missed, even at the price of embracing Israeli politicians 19/1/2009
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Rethinking victory and defeat Nasser Laham - Maan News Agency - So there is really no harm done declaring our victory over Israel and its onslaught on Gaza, but our real defeat is in our division and the differences among our stances toward the occupier, rather than us as Palestinians. Israel’s victory is in tearing apart our nationalistic principles. 19/1/2009
`Tungsten bombs` leave Israel`s victims with mystery woundsRaymond Whitaker - The Independent - Although Mr Olmert`s announcement was only a first step towards halting the conflict in Gaza, the UN is not the only international body insisting that inquiries must be held as soon as possible into the tactics and weapons used by Israel. Erik Fosse, a Norwegian doctor who worked in Gaza`s hospitals during the conflict, said that Israel was using so-called Dime (dense inert metal explosive) bombs designed to produce an intense explosion in a small space.19/1/2009
Sacrificing Gaza to revive Israel`s Labor party Smadar Lavie - The Electronic Intifada - How cynical are Israeli politicians that they have chosen to sacrifice the lives of innocent Gazan families to seek political advantage in the elections that will happen on 10 February. Not only has the Israeli regime sent its military machine to commit genocide in Gaza, it has also endangered the lives of its own citizens and soldiers.19/1/2009
How to sell `ethical warfare` Claim moral superiority, intimidate enemies and crush dissent Neve Gordon - The Guardian - the Israeli media has been toeing the government line to such a degree that no criticism of the war has been voiced on any of the three local television stations. Indeed, the situation has become so absurd that reporters and anchors are currently less critical of the war than the military spokespeople. In the absence of any critical analysis, it is not so surprising that 78% of Israelis, or about 98% of all Jewish Israelis, support the war. 19/1/2009
Unanimous support for Israel in US CongressGlenn Greenwald - The American Conservative - What makes this transpartisan consensus so notable is not merely the improbability of 510 ideologically diverse lawmakers all looking at this perplexing and contentious war and just happening to decide that Israel is fully in the right. Beyond the abstract question of whether Israel`s attack is justified lies the weightier question of whether the United States should incur the wrath of much of the world, and virtually the entire Muslim world, by involving itself in this war. Remarkably, the consensus extended not only to the view that Israel was right to attack Gaza, but that the U.S. should formalize its support for Israel`s offensive.18/1/2009
Undermining GazaNoam Chomsky - Foreign Policy in Focus - There`s a theme that goes way back to the origins of Zionism. And it`s a very rational theme: "Let`s delay negotiations and diplomacy as long as possible, and meanwhile we`ll `build facts on the ground.`"18/1/2009
Gideon Levy: Reply to A.B. YehoshuaGideon Levy - Haaretz - Thank you for your frank letter and kind words. You wrote it was written from a "position of respect," and I, too, deeply respect your wonderful literary works. But, unfortunately, I have a lot less respect for your current political position. It is as if the mighty, including you, have succumbed to a great and terrible conflagration that has consumed any remnant of a moral backbone. 18/1/2009
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Israel Bombs University Teachers Association in Gaza: Boycott Now!PACBI learned today from its Steering Committee member, Dr. Haidar Eid, that the headquarters of the University Teachers Association-Palestine, in Gaza, was bombed by the Israeli occupation forces during their indiscriminate, willful destruction campaign in the Tal el-Hawa neighborhood of Gaza City on Friday.18/1/2009
Is Israel using illegal weapons in its offensive on Gaza?Amira Hass - Haaretz - The earth shaking under your feet, clouds of choking smoke, explosions like a fireworks display, bombs bursting into all-consuming flames that cannot be extinguished with water, mushroom clouds of pinkish-red smoke, suffocating gas, harsh burns on the skin, extraordinary maimed live and dead bodies. 18/1/2009
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Hamas and Gaza: slave revolts and passionate evasionsMichael Neumann - Counterpunch - Hamas fires rockets which it knows can harm only innocent civilians, including children, who certainly bear no responsibility for Palestinian woes. Even the adults often bear little if any responsibility - some are Israeli Arabs, others are opposed to Israel`s occupation, others are apolitical, which may be reprehensible but probably isn`t deserving of violent death.18/1/2009
Seeing through the liesNorman Finkelstein - Counterpunch - The record is fairly clear. You can find it on the Israeli website, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. Israel broke the ceasefire by going into Gaza and killing six or seven Palestinian militants. At that point � and now I�m quoting the official Israeli website�Hamas retaliated or, in retaliation for the Israeli attack, then launched the missiles.18/1/2009
An open letter to the writer A. B. Yehoshua, in response to his open letter to Gideon Levy by V. Buch, Occupation Magazine17/1/2009
Statement that Sir Gerald Kaufman made in the House of Commons on January 15"My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza. The current Israeli Government ruthlessly and cynically exploit the continuing guilt among gentiles over the slaughter of Jews in the holocaust as justification for their murder of Palestinians. The implication is that Jewish lives are precious, but the lives of Palestinians do not count."17/1/2009
The plot against GazaJonathan Cook - on the goals of Israeli government - " Israel’s first is to seal off Gaza properly this time... The second goal is “de-developing” Gaza...In addition, Gazans living close to the enclave’s northern and southern borders may be progressively “herded” into central Gaza ... The third and related goal is to cut off all Israeli responsibility for Gaza... Slowly, the hope is, Gaza’s physical and political separation from the West Bank will be cemented, with the enclave effectively being seen as a province of Egypt... The regime of Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank, meanwhile, will be further isolated and weakened, improving Israel’s chances of forcing it to sign a deal annexing East Jerusalem and large swaths of the West Bank on which the Jewish settlements sit. "17/1/2009
The Boss Has Gone MadUri Avnery - "The 2009 war may bring about the fall of the current crop of Arab regimes and the ascent of a new generation of leaders – Islamic fundamentalists who hate Israel and all the West.. In coming years it will become apparent that this war was sheer madness. "17/1/2009
NOTES ON THE CONFLICT #2Zalman Amit and Daphna Levit-Newsletter-"In the 1970’s, at the time of increasing tension in Gaza, Israel began establishing settlements in Gaza. The Palestinians naturally found settlements abhorrent, but doubly so in Gaza. These settlements were given the best of the very limited agricultural land in The Strip; land previously farmed by the Palestinians and now taken from them. The same happened to the water. As the occupying government of Gaza, Israel took over control of water resources whose distribution was anything but equitable. The settlers received unlimited amounts of nearly free water while the Palestinians farmers received limited amounts and very costly water."16/1/2009
Resolution 1860: fig leaf to Arab failure Hasan Abu Nimah - The Electronic Intifada - Israel rejected outright the weak UN Security Council`s "call" for "an immediate, durable and fully respected ceasefire." What the Arab foreign ministers hailed as a triumph for their mission to New York was no more than a fig leaf to cover their failure before their increasingly angry and restive peoples who are ever more boldly denouncing Arab leaders` inaction or complicity as Israel butchers Palestinians in Gaza.15/1/2009
Grieving Over GazaAnat Biletzki - The Nation - we are urged by most conventional media, buttressed by "experts" on Israel, that no nation on earth would tolerate the rocketing of its civilians. That might be true. But such legal posturing, deriving from supposed expertise in the laws of war, seems to forget that the option of going to war, not to mention bombing indiscriminately from on high, is prescribed as a last resort after all other alternatives have been tried and exhausted. Refusing to engage with Hamas, Israel has, instead, put Gaza under blockade. To quote Michael Walzer, who taught us long ago about just and unjust wars--siege is the oldest form of total war.15/1/2009
Tin-pot rockets won`t open a second frontRobert Fisk - The Independent - A blaze of outdated rockets on northern Israel – "about 1944, I date them", as one Palestinian put it in Beirut – is not going to ignite another conflict for Hamas in Gaza. In Lebanon, the guns are silent – and when they are not, the world will know about it. 15/1/2009
Israel continues offensive in Gaza while truce talks provide optimism. Air and ground assault encircles Gaza City as negotiations in Egypt moot ceasefire proposal Rory McCarthy - The Guardian - A senior Israeli defence ministry official, Amos Gilad, was due in Cairo to assess an Egyptian proposal for an initial 10-day ceasefire. Hamas reportedly agreed in principle to a ceasefire but last night, the Islamist movement submitted its own conditions. 15/1/2009
Israel Gives War Crimes a New Face Joharah Baker - MIFTAH - It is literally mindboggling for Palestinians to see how some people still need convincing that what Israel is perpetrating in the Gaza Strip is nothing short of war crimes. What more needs to happen for this to be an indisputable fact? It can`t be the death and injury of more civilians – dead mothers and children, young girls with their legs blown off, babies with bandaged heads and little boys with no eyes.15/1/2009
U.S. may cut $1 billion in loan guarantees to Israel over West Bank settlements Aluf Benn - Haaretz - Washington has not officially informed Jerusalem of the cut. The assumption is that the announcement, and the decision over the exact extent of the cut, will come only after Barack Obama is sworn in as president next Tuesday. 15/1/2009
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Sderot War DiaryNomika Zion - The Villages Group - Not in my name and not for me you went to war. The current bloodbath in Gaza is not in my name and not for my security. Destroyed homes, bombed schools, thousands of new refugees - are not in my name and not for my security. In Gaza there is no time for burial ceremonies now, the dead are put in refrigerators in twos, because there is no room. Here their bodies lay, policemen, children, and our nimble reporters play acrobatically with Hasbara strategies in view of “the images that speak for themselves”.15/1/2009
Compared to previous wars, Gaza op is child`s play Gideon Levy - Haaretz - The fighting in Gaza is "war deluxe." Compared with previous wars, it is child`s play - pilots bombing unimpeded as if on practice runs, tank and artillery soldiers shelling houses and civilians from their armored vehicles, combat engineering troops destroying entire streets in their ominous protected vehicles without facing serious opposition. A large, broad army is fighting against a helpless population and a weak, ragged organization that has fled the conflict zones and is barely putting up a fight.15/1/2009
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Encountering Peace: The sun will come out tomorrow - or maybe notGershon Baskin- J-lem Post - "The continuation of building and expanding settlements and bypass roads for settlers confirms for Palestinians that there never was an intention to withdraw from the West Bank." 14/1/2009
Gaza: a moral maze?Tony Klug - Statement at Panel in London - "A peace strategy would have entailed Israel responding positively to Hamas`s perfectly reasonable demand to end the strangulating blockade of Gaza as part of a renewed ceasefire, which hitherto it had more or less observed." 14/1/2009
This Is Not a Test THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN- NYT - "...what you will have is an Israel hiding behind a high wall, defending itself from a Hamas-run failed state in Gaza, a Hezbollah-run failed state in south Lebanon and a Fatah-run failed state in Ramallah. Have a nice day." 26/1/2009
Who will save Israel from itself? Mark LeVine - Al Jazeera - "With each new family, 10, 20 and 30 strong, buried under the rubble of a building in Gaza, the claim that the Israeli forces have gone out of their way to diminish civilian casualties - long a centre-piece of Israel`s image as an enlightened and moral democracy - is falling apart"12/1/2009
With goals unmet in Gaza, Israel military wants more timeDion Nissenbaum - McClatchy Newspapers - "Israel has vowed to end the military campaign when two major goals are met: Ensuring that Hamas is not able to use tunnels between Gaza and Egypt to smuggle in more weapons, and bringing an end to incessant rocket fire from Gaza militants that have killed four Israelis in the past two weeks. But neither of those two goals has been met"12/1/2009
Things one sees from The Hague Gideon Levy - Haaretz – “When the cannons eventually fall silent, the time for questions and investigations will be upon us. The mushroom clouds of smoke and dust will dissipate in the pitch-black sky; the fervor, desensitization and en masse jump on the bandwagon will be forever forgotten and perhaps we will view a clear picture of Gaza in all its grimness. Then we will see the scope of the killing and destruction, the crammed cemeteries and overflowing hospitals, the thousands of wounded and physically disabled, the destroyed houses that remain after this war” 12/1/2009
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No Other Option?!Sam Bahour - "The vast majority of Jewish Israelis has apparently bought into the state-sponsored line that Israel was under attack and had no other option available to stop Hamas` rockets. More frightening is the revelation that many Israelis--including one person who self-identifies as a former "peace activist"--are speaking of accepting the killing of 100,000 or more Palestinians, if need be. I have a problem with this logic."11/1/2009
Drawing the Lessons of Israel’s Gaza War Patrick Seale - Agence Global11/1/2009
Robert Fisk: Why do they hate the West so much, we will askThe Independent11/1/2009
How many divisions?Uri Avnery - Gush Shalom - Every baby metamorphosed, in the act of dying, into a Hamas terrorist. Every bombed mosque instantly became a Hamas base, every apartment building an arms cache, every school a terror command post, every civilian government building a “symbol of Hamas rule”. Thus the Israeli army retained its purity as the “most moral army in the world”. 10/1/2009
Twilight Zone / A different drummerGideon Levy - Haaretz - One could go to the sources and quote Leo Tolstoy, for example: "Patriotism in its simplest, clearest, and most indubitable signification is nothing else but a means of obtaining for the rulers their ambitions and covetous desires, and for the ruled the abdication of human dignity, reason, and conscience, and a slavish enthrallment to those in power."10/1/2009
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War in Gaza: Egypt to pull the chestnuts out of the fireYacov Ben Efrat - Challenge Magazine - In the long run, Egypt will pay a high price for placing itself on a single front with Israel against Hamas. ... Mubarak`s position vis-à-vis the Palestinians shows how afraid he is of his own people.10/1/2009
Israel`s onslaught on Gaza: criminal, for sure; but also stupidAlexander Cockburn - Counterpunch Weekend Edition - "Today Israel, with all its military capabilities – conventional and unconventional – are not enough to guarantee Israel’s security. Today, with all these capabilities, they can’t stop a simple rocket from being launched from Gaza." 10/1/2009
Gaza seen from Paris: three simple proposalsDiana Johnstone, Jean Bricmont - Counterpunch - There are surely millions of us, invisible to each other, enraged and powerless as we watch the massacre of Gaza and listen to our media describe it as a "retaliation against terrorism", "Israel’s right to defend itself".10/1/2009
The time of the righteousGideon Levy - Haaretz - This war, perhaps more than its predecessors, is exposing the true deep veins of Israeli society. Racism and hatred are rearing their heads, as is the impulse for revenge and the thirst for blood.10/1/2009
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An Unnecessary WarJimmy Carter - Washington Post - " I know from personal involvement that the devastating invasion of Gaza by Israel could easily have been avoided. "9/1/2009
Bombing to make the Gaza prison even more secure for Israel Jonathan Cook - Electronic Intifada - it is a gross misunderstanding of what is unfolding in Gaza to believe Israel`s motives are capricious. The politicians and generals have been preparing for this attack for many months, possibly years -- a fact alone that suggests they have bigger objectives than commonly assumed. Israel seized this particular moment -- with western politicians dozing through the holidays and a changeover of administrations in Washington -- because it ensured the longest period to implement its plan without diplomatic interference. 8/1/2009
Israel Puts Media Clamp on Gaza ETHAN BRONNER - The New York Times - At the same time that reporters have been given less access to Gaza, the government has created a new structure for shaping its public message, ensuring that spokesmen of the major government branches meet daily to make sure all are singing from the same sheet. 8/1/2009
One last roll of the diceGideon Levy - Haaretz - The intoxicating sensation of this move is known to every gambler: Just one more roll of the dice, another hand, another spin of the roulette wheel, and we will be winners. At a time when there is talk about an Israeli agreement to the French-Egyptian proposal for a cease-fire, air force aircraft dropped fliers over Rafah, in which the civilians were called to evacuate their homes before yet another air attack. 8/1/2009
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How Israel brought Gaza to the brink of humanitarian catastrophe Avi Shlaim - The Guardian - No amount of military escalation can buy Israel immunity from rocket attacks from the military wing of Hamas. Despite all the death and destruction that Israel has inflicted on them, they kept up their resistance and they kept firing their rockets. This is a movement that glorifies victimhood and martyrdom. There is simply no military solution to the conflict between the two communities.8/1/2009
ramallah day 2Shourideh C. Molavi-email-"The israeli soldiers were also joking (!!) about making the palestinians "dance" with the number of bullets they would shoot by their feet. it was really disgusting to listen to and watch....people here express feelings of relief when they hear about solidarity work overseas, especially since abu mazen`s incredibly infuriating comments; placing blame fully on what he called hamas` failure to keep the ceasefire. Unbelievable"2/1/2009
Gaza and Israel: Interview with Amira HassAngel Ricardo Martinez-PalestineChronicle.com.-"Look, people are interested when there are Palestinian attacks, but only interested in the form of "Oh, see how Palestinians attack us", but they don`t pay attention to the permanent attack that is involved in occupation. This goes largely unnoticed. You know, this is not a question of journalism. Is a question of activism, a question for the world."2/1/2009
Israel Rejects Cease-Fire, but Offers Gaza Aid ETHAN BRONNER - The New York Times - Meanwhile, overwhelmed hospital officials in Gaza said that of the more than 390 people killed by Israeli fighter planes since Saturday, 38 were children and 25 women. The United Nations, which has estimated the number of dead to be between 320 and 390, said 25 percent of those killed were civilians. Israel said that it was still checking the numbers. 1/1/2009
The rotten state of Egypt is too powerless and corrupt to actRobert Fisk - The Independent - The true disgrace of Egypt, however, is not in its response to the slaughter in Gaza. It is the corruption that has become embedded in an Egyptian society where the idea of service – health, education, genuine security for ordinary people – has simply ceased to exist. It`s a land where the first duty of the police is to protect the regime1/1/2009
Cast Lead in the FoundryMERIP - Editorial - Obama appears poised to content himself with more energetic US engagement in the sort of flawed negotiations of the Clinton years, the sort that put ending the occupation last, as if the developments of the Bush years had not rendered that approach utterly untenable. Please, Mr. President-elect, surprise us. 1/1/2009
Gaza And The World Ramzy Baroud - Countercurrents - ‘Rising up to the occasion’ some Arab governments declared, with much hype their intention to send an airplane or two of medicine and food to Gaza, a few boxes clad with the donor country’s flag, flashed endlessly on local media. Meanwhile, news reports spoke of Palestinians attempting to flee the Gaza prison into the Sinai desert. They were met with decisive Egyptian security presence at the border. 1/1/2009
Israel`s `victories` in Gaza come at a steep price : The Jewish ethical tradition means embracing Palestinians, too.Sara Roy - The Christian Science Monitor - The religious scholar Marc Ellis challenges us further by asking whether the Jewish covenant with God is present or absent in the face of Jewish oppression of Palestinians? Is the Jewish ethical tradition still available to us? Is the promise of holiness – so central to our existence – now beyond our ability to reclaim? 1/1/2009
Palestine`s Guernica and the Myths of Israeli VictimhoodMustafa Barghouthi - The Washington Note - What has and is occurring is nothing short of a war crime, yet the Israeli public relations machine is in full-swing, churning out lies by the minute. Once and for all it is time to expose the myths that they have created. 1/1/2009
In Gaza, the Occupation Is An Unimaginable Horror Joharah Baker - MIFTAH - For one, a major point that is often overlooked or swept aside is the fact that Israel remains an occupying power in the Gaza Strip, even though it "withdrew" from the coastal area in 2004. There are no more Jewish settlements there, granted. However, Israel is still the boss, wielding complete control over the borders, the airspace and the entry and exit of goods into the Strip. For the past year and a half, it has imposed a crippling blockade on Gaza`s 1.5 million inhabitants, which has pushed the already impoverished Strip to the brink of a massive humanitarian disaster.1/1/2009
`DIRECT HIT`: Israeli Newspaper Coverage of the First Two Days of Operation “Cast Lead” Yizhar Be`er - Keshev - the Israeli media’s coverage of the first days of the fighting were characterized by feelings of self-righteousness and a sense of catharsis following what was felt to be undue restraint in the face of attacks by the enemy, along with support for the military action and few expressions of criticism. As in the Second Lebanon War, the current confrontation involves significant numbers of civilians on both sides, and as in the Second Lebanon War, this time as well, an Israeli soldier is being held captive by the enemy. 1/1/2009
On Palestinian Question, Tough Choices for Obama STEVEN ERLANGER - The New York Times - With the rule of Hamas in Gaza apparently unchallenged and its popularity growing in the West Bank, the new Obama administration faces an immediate policy choice: support a Palestinian unity government, as Egypt and the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, want, or continue to isolate Hamas and concentrate on building up the West Bank as a political alternative to radical Islam. 22/1/2009
Obama`s Middle East policy could take cues from Northern Ireland experience Jonathan Freedland - The Guardian - If the rumours prove founded, and Barack Obama appoints former US senator George Mitchell as his Middle East envoy, he will not only have chosen one of the few international figures with a proven record as a peacemaker: he will also have signaled that he sees the Northern Ireland experience as relevant to, even a model for, the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 22/1/2009
A case of moral complexityLeading article - Independent - "But however much we support the appeal`s cause, it does not follow that the BBC is bound by some moral imperative to broadcast it."26/1/2009
In Israel, detachment from reality is the normPatrick Cockburn - Israeli society was always introverted but these days it reminds me more than ever of the Unionists in Northern Ireland in the late 1960s or the Lebanese Christians in the 1970s. Like Israel, both were communities with a highly developed siege mentality which led them always to see themselves as victims even when they were killing other people.25/1/2009
On the wrong sideUri Avnery - Gush Shalom - Between Israel and the United States a gap has opened this week – but it may widen into an abyss. In his inaugural speech, Obama proclaimed that “We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus – and nonbelievers.” Since when? Since when do the Muslims precede the Jews? What has happened to the “Judeo-Christian Heritage”? 25/1/2009
Understanding Gaza: how to inflame the entire Muslim worldGabriel Kolko - ZNet - Israel will now have to live with the geo-political consequences in the region. It has, perhaps irreparably, imperiled its relations with the neighboring Arab states and other Muslim nations less because the ruling classes of these nations want to penalize it but because the Arab masses demand it, imperiling their own positions as rulers. 25/1/2009
Gaza: the mean, mean neighbourRolf Verleger - Why is Gaza being so mean to its nice Israeli neighbour? Why is it repaying Israel`s kindness with Qassams?25/1/2009
London Review of Books` contributors react to events in GazaTariq Ali, David Bromwich, Alastair Crooke, Conor Gearty, Eric Hobsbawm, R.W. Johnson, Rashid Khalidi, Yitzhak Laor, Yonatan Mendel, John Mearsheimer, Ilan Pappe, Gabriel Piterberg, Jacqueline Rose, Eliot Weinberger, Michael Wood24/1/2009
Israel’s doctrine of destruction: Bombs to ‘send Gaza back decades’Jonathan Cook - "This is known as the “Dahiya Doctrine”, named after a suburb of Beirut that was almost levelled during Israel’s attack on Lebanon in summer 2006... Gadi Eisenkot, the head of Israel’s northern command, clarified in October..: “What happened in the Dahiya quarter of Beirut in 2006 will happen in every village from which Israel is fired on. We will apply disproportionate force on it and cause great damage and destruction there. From our standpoint, these are not civilian villages, they are military bases. This is not a recommendation. This is a plan.”`24/1/2009
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