Operation Pillar of Defense Rolling Thread

I imagine that Operation Pillar of Defense will go on for a while so I am having a rolling thread with anything I read, hear or think relevant.

Firstly, John Cook at Gawker puts his foot in it with Israel Names Its New War After Biblical Story About God Terrorizing Egyptians.

The Tablet takes him down a peg or two:

“But don’t tell that to John Cook. Writing at Gawker in a post subtly titled “Israel Names Its New War After Biblical Story About God Terrorizing Egyptians,” Cook—who admits he does not know Hebrew (let alone, one can safely assume, midrash)—lists a few Googled biblical verses in which the pillar of cloud appears…”

Over at Foreign Policy the depressing, Israel Defense Forces live blogs Gaza offensive.

Aluf Benn has a piece entitled, Israel killed its subcontractor in Gaza, which even I found to be incredibly cynical, but on reflection I think he might have a point.

This is a backgrounder by B’Tselem on Gaza.

Reuters explains what it sees:

Hussien Ibish presents a different perspective:

“During most of the period since Cast Lead, the Hamas rulers in Gaza have refrained from attacks against Israel and tried to prevent other militant groups from launching attacks as well. But as 2012 has progressed, that policy has changed — largely due to internal transformations within the group itself.

The internal dynamic of Hamas has traditionally been that leaders in its Politburo, which is based almost entirely in neighboring Arab countries, were more militant than their compatriots inside Gaza. It was the leaders in exile who maintained close relations with the radical regimes in Iran and Syria, while the Hamas government in Gaza was more restrained because it had more to lose from violence with Israel.

That calculation has been inverted in recent months as Hamas’s foreign alliances have undergone a dramatic transformation and its domestic wing has made a bold attempt to assert its primacy. Hamas’s relationship with Damascus completely collapsed when the group came out in opposition to President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. The Politburo had to abandon its Damascus headquarters, and is now scattered in capitals throughout the Arab world. This has also created enormous strains with Iran, which is apparently supplying much less funding and material to Hamas than before.

Hamas leaders in Gaza, meanwhile, have increasingly been making the case that the Politburo does not represent the organization’s paramount leadership — but rather its diplomatic wing, whose main role is to secure aid and support from foreign governments. It is the Hamas government and paramilitary force in Gaza, they argue, that are in the driver’s seat, because they are actually involved in fighting Israel. “

Emily L. Hauser’s contribution, I have one question about Israel and Gaza.

One noticeable characteristic of this conflict is how it has ignited passions not seen in the past 18 months. By that I mean, the likes of the Stop the War Coalition are organising a demonstration outside the Israeli Embassy in London, yet for the last 18 months they have been almost silent concerning Assad’s slaughter of Syrian civilians.

That’s worthwhile comparing and contrasting when it comes to Western attitudes to people in the Middle East.

Simon Tisdall in the Guardian touches upon a real danger, the longer term consequences of this conflict:

“Ironically, Netanyahu’s uncontrollable new Gaza war could also tip the scales in an internal power struggle within Hamas, strengthening the faction gathered around Gaza political chief Ismail Haniyeh at the expense of those Hamas leaders in exile who hope to succeed Khaled Meshaal. Netanyahu’s war may actually end up bolstering Hamas in Gaza, or alternatively cause it to splinter and lose ground to more violently confrontationalist jihadi groups. Neither outcome would serve the all but forgotten cause of peaceful co-existence. “

Brent E. Sasley is astute:

“Given the emphasis on short-term tactical goals, it’s more likely the military operation won’t end neatly, which will in turn cause considerable electoral problems for Netanyahu and Likud-Beiteinu—who are otherwise persistently polling at less seats than they currently have. If this happens, perhaps Kadima—whose otherwise tired image doesn’t bode well for it in January—will have been proven prescient after all: that Bibi really is bad for Israel. In this case, the bad decision-making will become the politics. “

The Daily Kos (which is excellent for US election coverage) has a speculative report, which is based on the word of one individual, Israeli newspaper: Israel attacked Gaza knowing truce was in the works.

According to an informed journalist, Hamas have access to some serious hardware including the Fajr-5 rocket. It is over six metres in length and has a potential destructive distance of about 70 kilometres. What a terrible waste of human resources, building armaments the fire at Israeli civilians.

Laura Rozen is an observant journalist and covers the Middle East with a sympathetic eye. She reports:

“Western defense sources expressed concern about the potential for the conflict to rapidly escalate.

An Israeli diplomatic source, noting the relatively low death toll to date, expressed the same concern, that a mistaken strike that killed many civilians could rapidly escalate the conflict.

Separately, Hamas on Thursday permitted some 39 Italian, Norwegian, Swedish & USAID diplomats and aid workers who had been in Gaza when the conflict began to leave. “They crossed safely into Israel a few minutes ago,” the Israeli diplomat said.”


“As air raid sirens went off in Tel Aviv after nightfall Thursday, there was confusion about what had happened with the rocket or rockets that had triggered the alarm. Some Israeli media reported Gaza media reporting that a rocket had hit Tel Aviv, and the claim was soon retweeted around the world, even by experienced foreign media. But no rocket hit Tel Aviv, Israeli officials said. The rocket fell into the sea.

The closest a rocket came to Tel Aviv as yet was 10 KM, Haaretz’s Barak Ravid (@BarakRavid) told the Back Channel early Friday Israel time. “

This is the original Gershon Baskin story about the truce, but I would like to see the hardcopy before I give it much credence.

Hussein Ibish looks at the conflict and Egypt:

“Even the limited conflict thus far between Israel and Gaza has put Morsi in an exposed and difficult position. The kind of intensified conflict being provoked both by Israel’s high profile assassination and efforts to attack Tel Aviv itself by Gaza militants will quickly make his position untenable. His party’s ideology and Egyptian public opinion will inevitably collide with Egypt’s national interests and the traditional policies he has so far been rather scrupulously maintaining.

He can always try to play the role of broker, and negotiate cease-fires and truces. But it’s clear that Hamas and other militant factions in Gaza, and their international backers, are no longer willing to wait for the Morsi victory dividend. They want Egypt to move in Hamas’s direction, right away.

Alternatively, those targeting Tel Aviv might be seeking to outflank both Morsi and Hamas, and ultimately strengthen the small but growing “Jihadist” movements in Gaza. Chief among these is Islamic Jihad, which is still tied to Iran, and which has claimed “credit” for the attack on Tel Aviv, but there are other much smaller and much more extreme “Jihadist” groups gaining ground in Gaza. “

Whenever there is a conflict in the Middle East you’re always left wondering, just when will the racism come out. It took only a day and we have the Guardian to thank.

Steve Bell, renowned cartoonist and historical illiterate has produced a suitably crude representation, with an obvious motif: Jews control events and people.

I apologise to readers, but I think it is important to put this racism on record:

A racist motif

Finally, when thinking about the current conflict I would recommend readers peruse the Friends of the Bereaved Families Forum.

This morning hasn’t been terribly edifying but Jonathan Freedland is spot on:

“The risks go far beyond the small matter of Netanyahu’s career. If Cairo translates its solidarity with Hamas into concrete action, Israel’s post-1979 peace with Egypt will be imperilled. Since no one else is about to take over in Gaza, Hamas will remain in charge, very possibly strengthened – all the more so if the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority is seen to fail in its nonviolent attempt to win quasi-statehood at the UN general assembly.

Above all, the pain and anguish inflicted by yet another round of civilian deaths and injury will sow hatred in the hearts of another generation, who will grow up bent on revenge and yet more bloodshed. This keeps happening, decade after decade, for one simple reason: there can be no military solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Both sides will say the action they have taken is necessary. But it will solve nothing.

Thankfully, Steve Bell’s racism hasn’t gone unnoticed. The CST ably clarifies the issues, Jews, puppets and the Guardian.

But my feeling is that these Tweets do more to explain things.

Firstly, Stephen Pollard’s comment, then Giles Coren and Tim Marshall, the latter two have been deleted for some strange reason.

Stephen Pollard

Giles Coren

Tim Marshall

Even Brendan O’Neill spotted it, and asks:

“What is the message of this cartoon in the Guardian this morning? (See screen grab above.) That Jews are the puppet-masters of Western politicians? Do people still believe in that old, poisonous conspiracy theory?”

The Washington Post makes a point concerning Egypt:

“Now that Morsi is in the driver’s seat, the complex reality of navigating Israel and Gaza’s newest conflict has presented a critical challenge for the new Egyptian leader. On Wednesday night, Morsi recalled Egypt’s ambassador to Israel and called for an emergency meeting of Arab League foreign ministers.

But many politicians and activists, including some from the Morsi-allied Muslim Brotherhood, said Thursday that his moves were inadequate.

“What he did was withdraw the Egyptian ambassador and kick out the Israeli ambassador. But what we need is to have all ties cut completely,” said Mahmoud Ghozlan, a high-ranking official in the Muslim Brotherhood, echoing a popular call to annul the countries’ long-standing treaty.

The Brotherhood and other parties called for a nationwide protest outside mosques on Friday to demonstrate Egyptian solidarity with Gaza.

If popular pressure mounts, Morsi could be compelled to reconsider the terms of Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel and provide at least indirect support to Gaza, analysts said.

“He can make a real nuisance out of Gaza for the Israelis, without getting implicated — in the same way the Syrians made southern Lebanon a big nuisance [for Israel] without getting directly involved,” Kazziha said. “You arm people, you open the borders, you offer support.” “

Mystical Politics has an informative range of posts, the map of the rocket’s range was alarming.

The JC’s coverage of Bell’s cartoon.

The CST’s follow-up probably flew over most Guardian reader’s heads:

“CST accepts that Steve Bell is not an antisemite and this is why our letter specified antisemitic imagery “may well be inadvertent on the part of the user”. Crucially, however, we also stated that such imagery could still retain “its offensive power”. Bell’s cartoon is likelier to have emboldened antisemitism than to have reduced it; and it certainly offended many people who saw it. We voiced our concerns and now, for daring to do so, we have been offended some more in the pages of the paper. Antisemites will enjoy seeing that.” [My emphasis.]

I would refer readers to the perceptive comments from Bob from Brockley:

“This week, the tragic situation in Gaza has been rarely out of the news headlines in the UK, and I presume in America and elsewhere too. Meanwhile, there has been almost no attention to Syria, where the slaughter has meanwhile intensified, and in fact far outstrips what’s going on in Gaza. Syria saw something like 111 deaths yesterday, 78 Saturday, around 100 on Friday, 63 on Thursday. Today the Syrian government has itself claimed to have killed 230 “terrorists” in one operation in Aleppo. In other words, the death toll per day exceeds the whole death toll so far in Gaza.

Meanwhile, London and other Western cities have already seen marches and rallies denouncing Israel’s actions, supported by many left parties – sharply contrasting to a lack of solidarity action from the left or peaceniks in relation to Syria.

Every life is precious, and we should mourn and protest every civilian death in Gaza, southern Israel, Syria. It is perverse to measure them against each other. I am not devaluing what’s going on in Israel/Palestine by saying “what about Syria”. But there’s something very wrong when Arabs getting killed by Jews gets so much attention compared to Arabs getting killed by non-Jews. “

Global Voices highlights somethine not covered by much of the Western media, Israelis Protest Military Operation against Gaza.

The NY Times points out the discernible idiocy of Netanyahu’s strategy:

“Robert M. Danin, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington and a former senior State Department official, said Israel has contributed to Hamas’s rise in stature by holding it responsible for rocket fire from more radical groups in Gaza.

“In calling upon Egypt to rein in the Gaza leaders, Hamas’s centrality grows rather than diminishes,” Mr. Danin said. “It is this that draws leaders from throughout the Middle East rushing to Gaza while skipping Ramallah to court the Hamas leadership. Yet by bypassing Ramallah and President Abbas, they further marginalize the moderate leaders as the proper address for resolving problems.” “

Bernard Avishai illustrates some of the issues:

“So the question on every mind, and every headline, is whether Israel should forget deterrence and invade Gaza with ground forces—as Prime Minister Netanyahu is threatening, and for which the IDF is manifestly preparing. The chances for it, Israeli leaders say, are 50-50. But while 90 percent of Israelis support the operation, 70 percent oppose invasion, and not just because they fear the losses. In a way, they are intuitively more afraid of the losses they will inflict—and for good reason.

Sure, Israel has the moral authority to “defend its citizens,” as President Obama automatically (and quite properly) put it. The thing is, no Israeli offensive on the ground can reimpose occupation without using what even Americans will see as disproportionate force. The thing Goldstone could never quite grasp was that no Israeli officer will fail to use tank shells against a sniper in an apartment window if this means minimizing the risk to his troops—and damn the children in the adjacent apartment.

This was the real lesson of Cast Lead in 2009, and the second Lebanon war in 2006, too. It has sunk in. The most disquieting feeling Israelis have comes from listening to generals and Likud cheerleaders repeating threats that have come to seem not wrong, exactly, but unimaginative, even tedious. If the game is chess, can you respond like checkers? What happens after you move?

So imagine an invasion, which cannot but evolve into a bloodbath like the 1982 invasion of Lebanon. Mubarak is gone. Morsi will not tolerate the slaughter of civilians projected all over YouTube and from there to Al-Jazeera. Meanwhile, the Jordanian throne could fall. Assad could try to save his skin by entering the war; Syria might prod Hezbollah to launch missiles of its own. An Intifada could then take hold in the West Bank. Israeli Arab citizens begin mass demonstrations. What chance will there be for turning back from a fight to the finish? What general has a PowerPoint slide with an answer? “

Similar points are made at the Atlantic’s Is Israel Inadvertently Legitimating Hamas Rule in Gaza?

A step to the Left? A fair argument from Samuel Lebens:

“What’s more, the leaders of the opposition also lacked imagination. What they need to point out is this: Hamas wants us to vote rightwards; they’re bombing us to the ballot box in the hope that we’ll vote in the most reactionary right-wing government possible. The leaders of the left must tell the electorate that the best way to give Hamas a bloody nose is to vote in a government that they’d really hate: a peace-loving, pragmatic government. The left should argue that Netanyahu has, in many ways, strengthened Hamas and weakened Abbas. ‘If we want to beat Hamas,’ they need to be urging us, ‘we all need to take a step to the left.’ “

Not forgetting that they came to power in a coup d’etat and throwing people off of buildings, Hamas kills suspected collaborators:

“GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Masked gunmen publicly shot dead six suspected collaborators with Israel in a large Gaza City intersection Tuesday, witnesses said. An Associated Press reporter saw a mob surrounding five of the bloodied corpses shortly after the killing.

Some in the crowd stomped and spit on the bodies. A sixth corpse was tied to a motorcycle and dragged through the streets as people screamed, “Spy! Spy!”

The Hamas military wing, Izzedine al-Qassam, claimed responsibility in a large handwritten note attached to a nearby electricity pole. Hamas said the six were killed because they gave Israel information about fighters and rocket launching sites. “

B’Tselem on the latest body count in Gaza:

“Initial B’Tselem investigations indicate that 105 Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip between the launch of the Israeli military’s “Pillar of Defense” operation on the afternoon of November 14, 2012 and the night of November 19. Initial investigations indicate that at least 41 of those killed were civilians, among them 19 minors, and 11 women.

B’Tselem will continue to investigate the incidents in which civilians have been killed in Gaza, and to review reports coming in even now regarding additional incidents in which civilians have been killed or injured.

Three Israelis were killed in the course of the operation up to the night of the 19th, as a result of rocket fire from Gaza by Palestinian militant organizations. “

Spiegel on Hamas’s arsenal:

“The Islamists are believed to have had some 100 Iranian Fajr 5 rockets and rocket launchers. The Fajr 5 is six-and-a-half to seven meters long and the warhead weighs over 175 kilos. It has a range of up to 75 kilometers, which puts Tel Aviv and Jerusalem within range.

Several Chinese WS-1E rockets are believed to have been in its arsenals as well. They have a range of some 40 kilometers.

Hamas is also known to have several hundred Grad rockets of various types. They can be equipped with different warheads and have a range of 20 to 40 kilometers. The Grads too are believed to have come from Iran.

In addition to the imported weapons, Hamas has thousands of rockets produced in Gaza. The mortar rounds and primitive Qassam rockets made with fertilizer and explosives smuggled into Gaza have a range of just 10 to 15 kilometers. Iranian engineers are believed to have been advising the weapons builders for some time, and better models with bigger ranges are being built. “

Rob Marchant at Labour List put a different perspective, but even he has to admit the obvious:

“On the other hand, Netanyahu seems to be the most disastrously unsuccessful leader for securing peace that Israel has had in recent years, and his unpleasant coalition partner and foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, is known for his inflammatory, anti-Arab outbursts. Their encouragement of the building of settlements in occupied areas is bafflingly counter-productive. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that, with abler statesmen in office, it might not have come to a virtual state of war. “

Finally, Hussein Ibish’s reflection:

“I’m focusing here on Israeli voices, but similar attitudes abound on the Arab side. And they are to be found in every conflict. The longer any conflict drags on, the deeper ingrained and more bitter they will become.

But they are a symptom of conflict. Not a cause. The substitution of an effect for a cause is an old technique and trick of classical sophistry. Indeed, it is the most common form of metalepsis, designed to confuse the audience. In this case, it’s designed to trick you into thinking that killing civilians or other war crimes are somehow okay because, for whatever reason, it’s the other side’s fault.

But it’s never okay. Not when Hamas, or any other Arabs or Muslims, commit crimes against Israelis, settlers included. And not when Israelis or their military commit crimes against Palestinians, or any other Arabs, including the innocent civilian population of Gaza.

No amount of hate speech or demonization relieves anyone of their moral responsibilities or justifies war crimes, even if Israelis and Palestinians, and their friends, are presently clambering over each other to try to prove Dr. Johnson correct. “

Netanyahu’s criminal decision to employ aircraft attacks in densely populated parts of Gaza is beyond cynical, but then again I can’t help feeling that Hamas’s use of 6.5 meter (21 foot) rockets hardly help matters either.

Still, I can’t but disagree with this nonsense from Alan Johnson at the New Statesman, as he singularly seems to have missed the point. There is no military solution, only a political one and quibbling about proportionality is distasteful in the extreme.

Dahlia Lithwick’s reflections are a good antidote to the above:

“You want to hear about what it’s like here? It’s fucking sad. Everyone I know is sad. My kids don’t care who started it and the little boys in Issawiya, the Arab village I see out my window, don’t care much either. I haven’t met a single Israeli who is happy about this. They know this fixes nothing. The one thing we learned this week is how quickly humans can come to normalize anything. But the hopelessness seeps right into your bones as well.

I am worried about our friends here who are being called up. I am worried about my friends here who are war correspondents. I am worried about terrified children in Gaza. I am also worried about how I will explain to my sons why we are staying, but I’m more worried about what I would tell them if we left. I am crazy-worried about my parents who live in the south, where 1400 rockets have been fired since January. I am worried about how this can possibly ever end if just tweeting about peace is an international act of aggression. “

A bigot at Amnesty International surfaces. I doubt he will be the first or the last, but it’s rather revealing that the conflict in Syria didn’t provoke a similar response amongst the British.

NY Times looks at Hamas and Statehood:

“Hamas, which took control of Gaza in 2007 and is backed by Iran, is so consumed with hatred for Israel that it has repeatedly resorted to violence, no matter the cost to its own people. Gaza militants have fired between 750 to 800 rockets into Israel this year before Israel assassinated one of its senior leaders last week and began its artillery and air campaigns. That approach will never get Palestinians the independent state most yearn for, but it is all Hamas has to offer.”

Americans for Peace Now talk a lot of sense:

“Fundamentally, the current paroxysm of violence, like the one in 2008-2009, is symptomatic of failed policies, irresponsible actions, and a lack of strategic thinking on all sides. What has been true for 45 years remains true today: the fate of Gaza and the West Bank will not be determined either by Israeli military action or by terrorism.

After all this time, it should be clear to everyone that violence will not achieve Hamas’ goals. Rockets can sow fear and suffering inside Israel, but they won’t destroy Israel, won’t buy Hamas international legitimacy, and can’t force Israel to end the occupation or even lift the Gaza blockade. Indeed, Hamas’ current actions are rallying Israelis from across the political spectrum in support of the Israeli government and its policies – even many Israelis who are deeply supportive of peace and oppose the Gaza blockade and settlements.

Likewise, Israel’s military offensive against Gaza may, once again, achieve short-term tactical gains in terms of decreasing Hamas’ military capacity and restoring Israel’s deterrent in the immediate term. However, once again, it cannot destroy Hamas, won’t stop rockets from falling in the future, and will, by killing and injuring many civilians and destroying civilian infrastructure, build even greater hatred of Israel among Gazans and stoke anti-Israel sentiment around the world. Similarly, the Israeli and international policy of trying to pressure Hamas by squeezing the people of Gaza has failed to oust the party from power or stop rocket fire from Gaza into Israel. Rather, it has created a situation in Gaza that has fed harsh criticism of Israel throughout the world and has been seen by many as a legitimate basis for Hamas attacks. “

I disagree with some elements of the Tablet’s article but the comparison with a football match bears thinking about:

“For the sake of argument, let’s say that the number is evenly split. Given the aforementioned dynamic in Gaza, that means that Israel is (partially) responsible for 65 Palestinian deaths in the course of the last week. Those are unintentional deaths. Some pretty mainstream public intellectuals have failed to grasp this. In the past few days alone, Nick Kristof of the Times has taken leave of writing his after-school-special-style columns to tweet things like this to his 1.3 million followers:

Since 2004, 26 in Israel killed by Gaza rockets (h/t @ArarMaher) http://ow.ly/fqlhc . Now in 6 days, 100 Gazans killed

And this:

Hamas shelling is appalling.But remember: since 09, 16 times as many Palestinians killed by Israelis as other way around

Meanwhile, in Syria yesterday, Reuters claims that 100 people died in the violence there, including 64 civilians. Consider that nearly 40,000 people have died in the last 20 months in Syria with the blessing of the Assad regime. Compare that to reports of the 81 *public executions* carried out by Iran in the past 10 days for minor crimes.

Where is the outrage? Where are the calls for proportionality or for tactical reassessment? How is it that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is seemingly the only battle where the casualties are tallied like a football game? It doesn’t make a lot of sense. “

Bus bomb in Tel Aviv, +972 covers it.

Since last night a ceasefire of sorts has been in place and the text of the agreement is here:

  • “Israel shall stop all hostilities in the Gaza Strip land sea and air, including incursions and targeting of individuals. All Palestinian factions shall stop all hostilities from the Gaza Strip against Israel, including rocket attacks and all attacks along the border.
  • Opening the crossings and facilitating the movement of people and transfer of goods and refraining from restricting residents’ free movements and targeting residents in border areas.
  • Procedures of implementation shall be dealt with after 24 hours from the start of the ceasefire.
  • Other matters as may be requested shall be addressed.

Implementation mechanism

  • Setting up the zero hour understanding to enter into effect.
  • Egypt shall receive assurances from each party that the party commits to what was agreed upon.
  • Each party shall commit itself not to perform any acts that would breach this understanding. In case of any observations, Egypt as a sponsor of this understanding, shall be informed to follow up.”

Brent E. Sasley is an intelligent commentator on the Middle East with no discernible chip on his shoulder and normally worth a read:

“Some short-term losers: Turkey and Egypt, both of whom claimed to be staunch supporters of Hamas but failed to press for anything that might resemble a Hamas victory. Turkey was at first extraordinarily quiet, pretty much abdicating any responsibility for Hamas and Gaza after spending a few years damaging relations with Israel for their sake and thus undermining its effort to enhance its appeal to the Arab world. Then, once he got going, Prime Minister Erdoğan ruined any chance in the near future for a reconciliation with Israel by calling it a “terrorist state” and condemning the US for supporting it. (See Michael Koplow’s excellent discussion of this.)

For its part, Egypt, despite President Morsi’s declarations, didn’t do anything that hadn’t been done under the Mubarak regime. It’s true that Morsi’s rhetoric was far more supportive of Hamas, and reports are that his ideas for a ceasefire annoyed the Israelis because it so overtly favored Hamas. But the outcome was the same as under Mubarak: the status quo ante, with Hamas getting no promises from Israel to lift the blockade (though Israel seems to have said it would ease up on attacks on Hamas). “

I find such geopolitics rather distasteful, give them the death toll among Palestinians and Israelis. I think his earlier piece, Unite, Don’t Divide, The Palestinians, was better:

“Finally, it’s also more likely that Israel would choose to privilege Hamas over Fatah—at least until the right is no longer dominant in Israeli politics. Because the right doesn’t want to give up the West Bank, either for security reasons or because it’s considered an integral part of Israeli identity, the incentive to deal with hardliners in Hamas and dress it up as a peace process with the Palestinians will be stronger than engaging in genuine compromise with Fatah over the difficult question of the settlements.

I’ve suggested, instead, that Israel work with others to tie Fatah and Hamas together. There is, as Koplow notes, a danger that Hamas will swallow up Fatah. But giving both a stake in the same system will make it less likely either would feel it beneficial to jump ship and go it alone. It will give outside actors more incentive to deal with the whole rather than the individual parts, which in turn would strengthen the entire PA. And it will strengthen the idea that violence and threat don’t work, but negotiation and compromise do.

None of this will be easy—any plan would require major concessions by all sides and heavy pressure from outsiders. But long-term stability and mutual recognition would be best served by making Israel, Hamas, and Fatah more dependent on each other’s successes than by completely separating them.”

Whilst I have my disagreements with Emily L. Hauser she is sincere and heartfelt in her writing and someone who should be read.

The Times of Israel, although far from perfect, has provided reasonable coverage and its, After eight days of fighting, ceasefire is put to the test, tracks events with deftness.


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