Posts tagged Gaza Strip

Honest, ugly discourse: Gilad Sharon and John Stewart Mill

1

One of the responsibilities of the news media is to set the parameters of acceptable discourse in society. But while media outlets have the unique ability to demarcate what is and isn’t acceptable to print, in doing so, they walk a fine line and risk masking the ugliest – but real – faces of society.

Last week, in the midst of the latest round of deadly violence between Israel and Gaza, The Jerusalem Post printed an op-ed penned by Gilad Sharon, a man who has pushed himself into the public eye solely by virtue of the name and legacy of his father, former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon.

In a hyper-nationalist tone, Sharon advocated escalating the limited military operation into what would be the 21st century’s first instance of genocide:

“We need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans didn’t stop with Hiroshima – the Japanese weren’t surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too.”

There is no need to delve into the plethora of reasons Sharon’s words and ideas are appalling. If he were a man of any influence, his writings might be considered criminal under the Genocide Convention; a cursory reading (more…)

Gaza: New rules in an old war

1

There’s something different about the most recent flare-up between Israel and Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip. The Palestinians’ modus operandi appears to have changed, and Israel seems to be unsure of how to respond.

In the past month, armed Palestinian groups in Gaza launched a string of three, seemingly well planned and ultimately successful attacks against IDF forces along the border. Planted explosive devices, a massive and unprecedented tunnel detonation and an anti-tank missile left a total of eight Israeli soldiers injured, some seriously.

Already there was something strange. Hamas’s armed wing, the Izzedin al-Qassam Brigades, has declared for some time that it was focusing on military targets, a change from its rocket attacks on Israeli civilian centers. Nevertheless, to have nearly a month go by without rocket attacks on civilians is almost unheard of in recent years.

The IDF’s responses to the attacks were also uncharacteristically restrained considering the Israeli casualties, limited to immediate defensive fire and late-night airstrikes on empty buildings and tunnels. Following the (more…)

‘Down with Oslo’ (and the PA?)

0

Nearly two decades have passed since the Oslo Accords first gave the world hope for Mideast peace and an end to Israeli rule over the Palestinian territories; in the West Bank, the failed framework for peace talks has become directly associated with the occupation itself. When hundreds of Palestinians took to the streets last week to protest a (subsequently canceled) visit to Ramallah by Israeli Vice Premier Shaul Mofaz, their chants targeted the former IDF chief, but the calls for an end to Oslo were even louder – an indirect attack on President Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority.

Eighteen years after the Palestinian Authority’s creation, some Palestinians are questioning whether the Oslo-designed Palestinian quasi-government, which was only ever meant to exist as a five-year interim body, has outlived its raison d’être of achieving Palestinian independence and ending the occupation through diplomatic channels.

As far as a growing number of people are concerned, the Oslo accords, and their byproduct, the Palestinian Authority, have done little more than act as a political and security buffer for maintaining Israel’s (more…)

One state, two state, three state, four – Part II

1

Read part one of this series here

Many supporters of the two-state solution are apprehensive that its failure would eventually lead to one state, bringing to an end its Jewish character. However, there are several well-articulated alternatives that should be examined.

The two-state solution has faced a number of problems that appear to be becoming more and more insurmountable. The question of territory and geographic boundaries lies at the heart of many of those concerns. Israel’s continued settlement enterprise eats away at the territory slated for a future Palestinian state. Furthermore, much of mainstream Israeli thought says that withdrawing to the 1949 Armistice Lines (the Green Line) would leave Israel with “indefensible borders.”

Equally important is the question of whether an independent Palestinian state within the Green Line would actually be viable. The lack of territorial contiguity between the West Bank and (more…)

Why Netanyahu is wrong about Fatah-Hamas unity

1

“You can either have peace with Hamas or peace with Israel,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in a public statement Monday, hours after Abbas signed an agreement to form an interim government with Hamas ahead of Palestinian elections. The ultimatum, however, is fundamentally flawed; even if peace with Israel was around the corner, it would not be possible for the Palestinian president to reach a deal with Israel before mending ties with Hamas.

The only solution to the conflict currently on the table – although many others are lurking in the background – is the two-state solution, which by definition necessitates one unified Palestinian leadership. The goal of the two-state framework is the establishment of the State of Palestine, not two separate states in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

But there are other more important issues involved. Mahmoud Abbas is not Yasser Arafat. Abbas’s credibility on the Palestinian street has been consistently waning. Currently entering the seventh year of a four-year (more…)

Israel’s response to terror: Intelligence failure or blatant lies?

1

In the early afternoon of August 18, 2011, terrorists launched a three-pronged attack on Israeli civilians and soldiers, shooting at civilian cars and buses, blowing up another bus, and launched cross-border shooting attacks. The violence along the Israeli-Egyptian border caused the deaths of eight Israelis, a number of the attackers and a handful of Egyptian security personnel.

At around 3 p.m. that afternoon, with shooting still audible in the background of a live press conference in Eilat, Defense Minister Ehud Barak told the world that the attack (and attackers) originated in Gaza and vowed to respond “forcefully and decisively.” Minutes later, Israeli Air Force jets took off from their nearby bases and bombed the Gaza-based Popular Resistance Committees’ leadership. Six people were killed in that initial strike.

A few hours after the air strikes began, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu held a dramatic press conference at the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv. He presented a new doctrine of immediate, harsh response to any attack against Israelis and lauded his security services for (more…)

Flotilla 2011: Dueling narratives of the Gaza blockade

0

The blockade on Gaza is oversimplified by those most active in supporting and protesting against it. Public relations branches of the Israeli government argue that the land and sea blockade on the coastal strip is necessary to prevent weapons smuggling into Gaza that would threaten Israeli civilians living near the Strip. Those protesting the blockade, including participants in the upcoming flotilla, say that the blockade on Gaza is an illegal form of collective punishment on the citizens and civilians who live there, unnecessarily and painfully harming every aspect of life in the Strip. Both sides are correct, but neither is willing to allow the entire picture to enter their narrative.

From the time that Israel first occupied the Gaza Strip in 1956 and for more than three decades after its continuous occupation began in 1967, there was near freedom of movement for Palestinians and goods between the Strip, Israel and the West Bank. In 1991, that started to change as Israel implemented (more…)

False victories: ‘Mavi Marmara’ and the flotilla

0

As result of Israel’s diplomacy, in combination with completely unrelated circumstances, the Turkish-flagged “Mavi Marmara” will not participate in the next flotilla, the Turkish IHH organization announced on Friday. Israel, however, should not be celebrating – it is a false victory.

Last year, in the violence that broke out between a small core group of violent Turkish activists and Israeli commandos aboard one of the six ships in the “Freedom Flotilla” making their way to Gaza, nine people were killed, including one American citizen. In the event’s aftermath, Israel expended great legal and diplomatic efforts to vilify Turkey’s IHH, placing blame for the entire incident on the group, calling it a terrorist organization.

Indeed, some activists on the IHH’s boat were responsible for instigating the violence that took place on the “Mavi Marmara.” But this narrative ignores the other five boats that the Israeli navy prevented from breaking (more…)

How can Israel defeat Gandhi?

1

How can Israel defeat Gandhi? That is the question Israeli political and military planners are asking themselves as thousands of unarmed activists – perhaps willing to die for their cause – prepare to converge on Israeli military lines in the coming days, weeks and months. Palestinians, having long ago learned that going up against Israel’s military might with conventional means is a losing proposition, have tried several methods of gaining the upper hand over the course of the conflict. Today, they are adopting an adaptation of Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence – unarmed resistance.

Exactly one year ago, six ships attempted to break the Israeli naval blockade on Gaza and nine Turkish nationals were killed in a commando raid gone awry onboard one of the ships. Earlier this month, over a dozen people were killed and at least dozens injured when thousands of unarmed civilians attempted (more…)

What drove Hamas and Fatah into each others’ arms?

0

Various commentators have speculated that a soon-to-be-signed Palestinian reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah was spurred by a fear shared by both Palestinian leaderships that they’ve lost all legitimacy among their constituencies. Others have suggested that the deal represents a Hamas willingness to support Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s (Fatah) efforts to achieve de jure statehood in the United Nations this September. But the fact of the matter is that nobody outside of the two parties’ leadership circles knows what the deal actually entails, let alone what prompted it.

The lack of available information combined with the steady flow of new developments prevents any authoritative analysis of what the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation means. Therefore, here are several key points to be considered when attempting to make sense of the new unknown reality, without any authoritative conclusions.

Part I of this post will focus on possible causes and catalysts for Hamas-Fatah reconciliation. Part II will deal with the possible consequences and implications of the move.

Fear of the Arab Spring – Hamas’ forceful takeover of the Gaza Strip and the Palestinian Authority’s (Fatah) subsequent decision to cancel elections have left both parties without traditional democratic legitimacy. Against the backdrop of the Arab Spring, where popular movements have demanded and to some extent succeeded in ousting non-representative governments, neither Fatah nor Hamas can or should be compared (more…)

Go to Top