August 22, 2014

Egypt - Gaza smuggling continues

On the main street of Al-Sarsouriya, a Bedouin town in Egypt, a third of the houses look derelict, but inside tunnel smugglers still pursue a flourishing trade. Reuters reports.

August 21, 2014

Qatar makes demands

Qatar has sought to block efforts by Egypt to mediate between Israel and Hamas. Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal resides in Qatar. Arabic daily Al-Hayat reports that Qatar is demanding a seat at the negotiating table in Cairo, and threatened to expel Mashaal if Hamas agreed to ceasefire terms put forth by Egypt.

August 20, 2014

Media manipulation in Gaza

The Foreign Press Association has protested against the blatant, incessant and forceful  intimidation of journalists in Gaza.  Hamas uses threats, expulsions and a “vetting” procedure to influence press coverage, and deliberately misrepresents militants as civilians when reporting casualties.

August 18, 2014

Kibbutz attack awakens a new generation

Terrorists attacked Kibbutz Nahal Oz in 1956.  They attacked again this July, reviving Israeli memories.

New York and New Zealand

U.S. politicians visit Jerusalem ... and a Maori woman summarizes the case for Israel (video).

Technological advantage

Israel is developing a system to stop tunnels, reports al-Arabia.

In favour of elections

It's fashionable to say that democracy won't work for the Palestinians. Reuel Marc Gerecht disagrees -- let the Palestinian people choose

Still fighting the 1948 war

The most recent conflict between Israel and Hamas is just one more round in the unresolved Arab-Israeli war of 1948-49 -- so writes New York Times columnist Steven Erlanger.

August 13, 2014

Understanding conflict

Reservists in the Israel Defense Forces spoke to journalist Yuval Avivi about war, politics and their personal response to being called up for the recent conflict with Hamas.  Their point of view is not the same as the younger, regular soldiers in the IDF.

“You see the soldiers in the regular army and they look like kids to you,” says one, only 29 years old himself. “They are not really adults who can cope with the emotional state brought on by the war. Most if not all of them don’t understand anything about the trauma and emotional fallout that this causes them.”

Another speaks in more personal terms, “Today, I live for three people; I have a family. I’m not a young soldier who only worries about himself and is only responsible for himself. I have to be an adult, responsible for myself and my environs. You have to take care of yourself also for the sake of your family.”

Another says this: "In the reserves, you hear a lot more people saying that the conflict won’t be resolved without a diplomatic process. In other words, I waged the war that the state sent me to wage, now it’s the turn of the politicians to fight for a diplomatic process.”

Read more.

August 12, 2014

Gaza's Egyptian heritage

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi is a called a traitor in Gaza.  Why "traitor" which implies he is a countryman, rather than "enemy"? Because many Gazans see themselves as Egyptian. Lawrence Solomon explains.

First reflections on the war in Gaza -- three views

Victor Davis Hansen argues that Israel won the war.  He defines victory as 4-5 years of peace from Hamas, and, he says, Europe’s anti-Israel position is looking even more indefensible.

Uriel Heilman says Israel dealt a strong military blow to Hamas, but will find it difficult to separate its image from the scenes of destruction in Gaza.

Despite the damage done to Hamas, their leadership and a large rocket supply remain intact in underground bunkers, writes David Horovitz.

Is demilitarization of Gaza possible?

Israel should offer reconstruction in return for demilitarization, says Zvi Hauser in an op-ed in

Terrorist do not disarm, says analyst Herb Kenon in the Jerusalem Post.

"Anyone who believes that Hamas’ current fundamental beliefs are flexible enough to recognize Israel or that the organization will ultimately give up arms as a long-term political concession is simply na├»ve," writes blogger Ken Stein.

Grim statistics

Has Israel made efforts to target combatants in Gaza and avoid civilians?

A New York Times analysis of 1,431 deaths finds "that the population most likely to be militants, men ages 20 to 29, is also the most overrepresented in the death toll: They are 9 percent of Gaza’s 1.7 million residents, but 34 percent of those killed whose ages were provided. At the same time, women and children under 15, the least likely to be legitimate targets, were the most underrepresented, making up 71 percent of the population and 33 percent of the known-age casualties."

A BBC analysis is here.

August 11, 2014

Arab leaders stay silent

No voices are heard from Israel's Arab neighbours to end the fighting in Gaza. Egypt has led a new coalition of Arab states — including Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — that has effectively lined up with Israel against Hamas. The Egyptian fight against the forces of political Islam and the Israeli struggle against Palestinian militants are nearly identical.“Whose proxy war is it?” asks Khaled Elgindy, a former adviser to Palestinian negotiators.

August 6, 2014

How Hamas assembles and fires rockets

A reporter from NDTV India captures the process on camera, just meters away from his hotel "bang in the middle of what is a residential area".

Update: NDTV reporter Sreenivasan Jain, after departing from Gaza to Israel, produced this follow up report.