Gaza

What the Hell, Hamas?

By on 8.1.14 | 4:31PM

There was never any doubt that, for Hamas, continued violence in Gaza was the real path to victory. A mere 90 minutes into a three day ceasefire, as Israeli forces moved to destroy a tunnel—an activity permitted by the truce—Hamas militants emerged from the tunnel and engaged. Two soldiers were killed, one was captured, and the ceasefire was ended.

Palestinian authorities contest the timeline set forth by Israel, asserting that renewed Israeli attacks began before the kidnapping of the IDF soldier. Israel has dismissed these claims completely and vowed to rescue their man. The violation of the ceasefire has been condemned by the White House, and prompted the UN to question Palestinian good faith in the pursuit of peace.

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The Stupidity of Hash Tag Activism

By on 7.30.14 | 4:00PM

The World Cup ended weeks ago, but the next competition that has captured the spirit of voyeurism is midway through another round—the Israeli-Palestinian conflict!

It's convenient, in a way, this affair with Gaza coming so close on the heels of the World Cup. Soccer and football fans alike had a few days to rest their vocal chords with some hot tea and lemon before the bellowing started up again. A few reporters probably relocated from South America to the south of Israel, but most viewers didn't even have to change the news channel to get​ near-continuous coverage of the next international contest. 

For those without front-row seats, media fall-out awaits, and with it comes #hashtagactivism. During the World Cup, #USA was automatically followed with an American flag on Twitter. Perhaps we could do the same thing now, using Israeli and Palestinian flags. That way, even the illiterate could decide which team to support. Better yet, this quick system of icons would make it easier to check which side your favorite celebrity is on. Here are a few to get us started.

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Israelis Call Kerry’s Ceasefire a Betrayal

By on 7.29.14 | 5:28PM

John Kerry's most recent trip to the Middle East earned him such discouraging reviews in the local papers, not to mention receptions from Israeli politicians, that American officials have made their diplomatic displeasure known—diplomatically, of course.

Kerry spent last weekend in Cairo negotiating the latest ceasefire in missile exchanges between Hamas and Israel, but the Knesset rejected the plan outright as giving too much to Hamas and too little to them. They leaked their non-support through the media to avoid a diplomatic stand-off, and the media took off. The Times of Israel referred to the whole episode as "the betrayal," and that's only in the headline:

Leaked comments from unnamed senior government sources to Army Radio, Channel 2 and other Hebrew outlets have described the secretary as amateurish, incompetent, incapable of understanding the material he is dealing with — in short, a blithering fool.

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Anti-Semitism Marches Across Europe

By on 7.28.14 | 3:41PM

As Operation Protective Edge continues in Gaza, the Jews of the European diaspora are looking about and seeing an increasingly hostile home. A pair of particularly violent outbreaks of anti-Semitism in France and the Netherlands seems to foreshadow a future conflagration fueled by moral relativism and sparked by Europe’s growing Islamic slums. Muslims spouting Sharia and jihad have no room for Israel and Jews in their future world, and post-Christian Europe offers little resistance to those who promise hate and violence.

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Israel Wants to Buy Peace With Gaza

By on 7.23.14 | 5:33PM

John Kerry has made a surprise visit to Jerusalem to negotiate a cease-fire between Gaza and Israel, but since the conflict thus far has served only to unify Gazans and Israelis alike in mutual dislike, a more creative solution will be needed.

There is a certain appeal to this image of Kerry flying in unannounced to Israel's airport—which was recently closed to Americans for safety reasons—perhaps with a red, white, and blue cape fluttering in the breeze created by passing missiles. It is not terribly realistic, though. Both Israelis and Gazans view Egypt and the Obama administration—the powers that negotiated the ceasefire in 2012—with suspicion, and that will make a repeat deal challenging. 

Besides that, neither side would gain much from a return to the tense, non-violent hostility of a month ago. For Israel, it would be a matter of time before war began again. And besides thatexplained Jerusalem Post reporter Gil Hoffman, Israelis are almost unanimously behind the ground invasion: 

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The War on Terror Spectator

Kerry Shows His True Colors on Israel—Again

By 7.23.14

It should come as no surprise to anyone that our secretary of state, John Kerry, was caught on a hot mic bashing Israel during a commercial break while in an interview with Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday. Kerry sarcastically characterized the IDF’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza as a “hell of a pinpoint operation” while on speaker-phone with an adviser. 

After all, it was less than three months ago that Kerry said Israel could become an Apartheid state if a Palestinian state were not established. This comment, made behind closed doors during a sitting of the Trilateral Commission, put Kerry on the defensive for a few days before he issued a classic non-apology apology.  

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The Obama Watch

The Gang That Couldn’t Speak Straight

By 7.22.14

Great piece by former colleague Alyssa Mastromonaco who defines smart, savvy and fashionable.

Thus began a tweet on Thursday by Jen Psaki, the execrable State Department spokeswoman who thought it would be a good idea to depart from that day’s shooting down of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH-17 over the Ukraine by Russian separatists, if not actual Russian military operators, using a SA-11 missile system.

It was the second Psaki gaffe of the day, as she had already opened her daily briefing not with reaction to the downing of the plane, but rather a series of minutiae so insignificant that Fox News’s Shepard Smith angrily denounced her as “highly inappropriate” for wasting airtime.

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Polls Give a Nod to Non-Interventionists

By on 7.21.14 | 3:12PM

As politicians across the country continue to fight amongst themselves over wedge issues that the average voter does not care about—specifically birth control—Ukraine, Iraq, Israel, and several other countries are on fire. As foreign policy continues to come to the forefront, a debate is raging over what involvement the United States should have in helping settle these crises. One thing, however, is clear: the McCains and Grahams of the Senate are losing popularity.

According to a poll done by Politico, while Republicans have a seven-point advantage on foreign policy, the hawks are losing their edge by a wide margin:

In the big picture, two-thirds of respondents agreed with the statement that U.S. military actions should be “limited to direct threats to our national security.” Only 22 percent agreed with the statement that as a “moral leader,” the United States “has a responsibility to use its military to protect democracy around the globe."

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A Tribute to the Onion

By on 7.21.14 | 11:41AM

Let the world take note of the Onion and its incredible commentary on the Middle East. On Friday, it tackled the escalating conflict in Gaza with the headline: “Palestinians Starting To Have Mixed Feelings About Being Used As Human Shields.” The piece employs sarcastic understatement with aplomb, pointing out the lunacy of human action.

It would ruin the humor to try and summarize the deceptively mundane “news” article that follows that title. It’s the truth artfully concealed as a lie, however. Whether or not Palestinians have awoken to the reality that it is their leaders who put them in the line of fire and give Israel cause to retaliate, the Onion points out that truth for anyone who gets their news on the Internet.

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Palestinian Groups Unite to Israel’s Dismay

By on 6.2.14 | 5:54PM

The reunion was highly unexpected, but governments can form quickly in the Middle East. The West Bank and the Gaza Strip are back together for now, at least politically speaking. According to the AP:

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas swore in a national unity government Monday, formally ending a crippling seven-year split with his Islamic militant Hamas rivals but drawing Israeli threats of retaliation.

The formation of the unity government and Israel's tough response are part of a wider competition between Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for international support since the collapse of U.S.-led peace talks between them in April. 

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