Showing posts tagged as "israel"

Showing posts tagged israel

22 Sep
Israel & the US: The Delusions of Our Diplomacy | Nathan Thrall
In the early days of the Gaza war that took the lives of some 2,100 Palestinians and seventy-two Israelis, a number of officials in Washington, Ramallah, and Jerusalem began to speak of renewing Israeli–Palestinian negotiations mediated by the United States. As the fighting dragged on, this talk intensified, again showing that the “peace process” gains greatest urgency from the threat of Israeli–Palestinian violence.
There is little reason to believe that renewed talks would succeed. The obstacles that caused the failure of the negotiations led by Secretary of State John Kerry have not disappeared. Many of them have grown larger. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his political program of nonviolence and negotiation have been weakened by Hamas’s strategy in Gaza, which impressed many Palestinians, although the costs were enormous. Hamas sent thousands of rockets into Israel, killing seven civilians, while Israeli air strikes and artillery killed hundreds of children, devastated large parts of Gaza, and left tens of thousands of people homeless. Reconstruction will cost many billions and take years.
Still, Hamas demonstrated that its militancy and its willingness to endure a ferocious Israeli attack could achieve more in weeks than Abbas’s talks have achieved in years. During the Gaza war, Israel did not announce a single new settlement in the West Bank. Although Israel did not agree to some of Hamas’s most important requests—for example, the opening of a seaport and the release of recently arrested prisoners—it showed eagerness to negotiate with the Palestinians and willingness to make significant concessions, including the easing of some border crossings, extending fishing rights, and facilitating the supply of construction materials.
FULL ARTICLE (The New York Review of Books)
Photo: U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv/flickr

Israel & the US: The Delusions of Our Diplomacy | Nathan Thrall

In the early days of the Gaza war that took the lives of some 2,100 Palestinians and seventy-two Israelis, a number of officials in Washington, Ramallah, and Jerusalem began to speak of renewing Israeli–Palestinian negotiations mediated by the United States. As the fighting dragged on, this talk intensified, again showing that the “peace process” gains greatest urgency from the threat of Israeli–Palestinian violence.

There is little reason to believe that renewed talks would succeed. The obstacles that caused the failure of the negotiations led by Secretary of State John Kerry have not disappeared. Many of them have grown larger. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his political program of nonviolence and negotiation have been weakened by Hamas’s strategy in Gaza, which impressed many Palestinians, although the costs were enormous. Hamas sent thousands of rockets into Israel, killing seven civilians, while Israeli air strikes and artillery killed hundreds of children, devastated large parts of Gaza, and left tens of thousands of people homeless. Reconstruction will cost many billions and take years.

Still, Hamas demonstrated that its militancy and its willingness to endure a ferocious Israeli attack could achieve more in weeks than Abbas’s talks have achieved in years. During the Gaza war, Israel did not announce a single new settlement in the West Bank. Although Israel did not agree to some of Hamas’s most important requests—for example, the opening of a seaport and the release of recently arrested prisoners—it showed eagerness to negotiate with the Palestinians and willingness to make significant concessions, including the easing of some border crossings, extending fishing rights, and facilitating the supply of construction materials.

FULL ARTICLE (The New York Review of Books)

Photo: U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv/flickr

16 Sep
Violence and Kidnappings Lead UN to Relocate Golan Heights Peacekeepers | Samuel Oakford
After weeks of violent confrontations and the kidnapping of 45 peacekeepers by Syrian rebel groups, the UN said Monday that members of their observation force in the Golan Heights will be evacuated to Israeli-controlled territory.
"Armed groups have made advances in the area of UNDOF [United Nations Disengagement Observer Force] positions, posing a direct threat to the safety and security of the UN peacekeepers along the "bravo" line and in Camp Faouar," where the mission is headquartered, UN spokeswoman Stephane Dujarric told reporters. "All the UN personnel in these positions have thus been relocated to the "alpha" side."
FULL ARTICLE (VICE NEWS)
Photo: UN Photo/Mark Garten/Flickr

Violence and Kidnappings Lead UN to Relocate Golan Heights Peacekeepers | Samuel Oakford

After weeks of violent confrontations and the kidnapping of 45 peacekeepers by Syrian rebel groups, the UN said Monday that members of their observation force in the Golan Heights will be evacuated to Israeli-controlled territory.

"Armed groups have made advances in the area of UNDOF [United Nations Disengagement Observer Force] positions, posing a direct threat to the safety and security of the UN peacekeepers along the "bravo" line and in Camp Faouar," where the mission is headquartered, UN spokeswoman Stephane Dujarric told reporters. "All the UN personnel in these positions have thus been relocated to the "alpha" side."

FULL ARTICLE (VICE NEWS)

Photo: UN Photo/Mark Garten/Flickr

12 Sep
How not to demilitarize Hamas  | Ofer Zalzberg 
In a few weeks, indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas are to take place in Cairo with the aim of consolidating a durable ceasefire. The problem is that the two sides have two quite different agendas – while Hamas chiefly seeks the removal of the siege over Gaza, the Israeli government is primarily interested in demilitarizing Gaza.
But is pushing for demilitarization of Hamas in Gaza alone really in Israel’s interests?
FULL ARTICLE (CNN)
Photo: Dale Spencer/flickr

How not to demilitarize Hamas  | Ofer Zalzberg 

In a few weeks, indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas are to take place in Cairo with the aim of consolidating a durable ceasefire. The problem is that the two sides have two quite different agendas – while Hamas chiefly seeks the removal of the siege over Gaza, the Israeli government is primarily interested in demilitarizing Gaza.

But is pushing for demilitarization of Hamas in Gaza alone really in Israel’s interests?

FULL ARTICLE (CNN)

Photo: Dale Spencer/flickr

25 Aug
Explained: What will it take for the Gaza crisis to finally end? | AFP
Future developments in the Gaza conflict — attrition warfare, a ground incursion or a ceasefire — depend on events on the ground, the status of the forces on both sides and internal dynamics, analysts say.
What is the current balance of power in the conflict?
Israel has dealt a heavy blow to Hamas by eliminating three of its senior military commanders, with the outcome of its attempt to assassinate the Palestinian movement’s military chief Mohammed Deif unclear.
Israel has also destroyed around two-thirds of the 10,000 rockets Hamas was believed to possess, killing some 900 “terrorists” and destroying their network of underground attack tunnels, army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner told AFP.
"Hamas no longer has the same capabilities as before, there is a gap between the reality on the ground and the military and political statements," said Mukhaimer Abu Saada, a professor of political science at Gaza’s Al-Azhar University.
FULL ARTICLE (Agence France-Presse via First Post)
Photo: Kashfi Halford/flickr

Explained: What will it take for the Gaza crisis to finally end? | AFP

Future developments in the Gaza conflict — attrition warfare, a ground incursion or a ceasefire — depend on events on the ground, the status of the forces on both sides and internal dynamics, analysts say.

What is the current balance of power in the conflict?

Israel has dealt a heavy blow to Hamas by eliminating three of its senior military commanders, with the outcome of its attempt to assassinate the Palestinian movement’s military chief Mohammed Deif unclear.

Israel has also destroyed around two-thirds of the 10,000 rockets Hamas was believed to possess, killing some 900 “terrorists” and destroying their network of underground attack tunnels, army spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner told AFP.

"Hamas no longer has the same capabilities as before, there is a gap between the reality on the ground and the military and political statements," said Mukhaimer Abu Saada, a professor of political science at Gaza’s Al-Azhar University.

FULL ARTICLE (Agence France-Presse via First Post)

Photo: Kashfi Halford/flickr

21 Aug
Israeli airstrikes kill 3 top Hamas commanders in Gaza Strip | William Booth and Ruth Eglash
JERUSALEM — Israeli airstrikes killed three top Hamas commanders in Gaza early Thursday, marking the most significant blow to the leadership of the Palestinian militant group’s armed wing in six weeks of fighting in the battle-scarred enclave.
Hamas spokesmen confirmed that Israel killed the three men, whose bodies were pulled from a demolished building in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.
The killings came a day after an assassination attempt on Mohammed Deif, the top commander of the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the Hamas military wing. Hamas leaders mocked Israel for failing to kill Deif, although Israeli analysts said it was possible that the organization was withholding information on his death to maintain morale.
The al-Qassam Brigades said in a statement that Mohammed Abu Shamala, Raed al-Attar and Mohammed Barhoum were killed in the al-Sultan neighborhood of Rafah.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri called the targeted killings “a despicable crime for which Israel will pay dearly.” He vowed, “The strike won’t break the resistance of the Palestinian people,” according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
FULL ARTICLE (The Washington Post)
Photo: RafahKid Kid/flickr

Israeli airstrikes kill 3 top Hamas commanders in Gaza Strip | William Booth and Ruth Eglash

JERUSALEM — Israeli airstrikes killed three top Hamas commanders in Gaza early Thursday, marking the most significant blow to the leadership of the Palestinian militant group’s armed wing in six weeks of fighting in the battle-scarred enclave.

Hamas spokesmen confirmed that Israel killed the three men, whose bodies were pulled from a demolished building in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

The killings came a day after an assassination attempt on Mohammed Deif, the top commander of the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the Hamas military wing. Hamas leaders mocked Israel for failing to kill Deif, although Israeli analysts said it was possible that the organization was withholding information on his death to maintain morale.

The al-Qassam Brigades said in a statement that Mohammed Abu Shamala, Raed al-Attar and Mohammed Barhoum were killed in the al-Sultan neighborhood of Rafah.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri called the targeted killings “a despicable crime for which Israel will pay dearly.” He vowed, “The strike won’t break the resistance of the Palestinian people,” according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

FULL ARTICLE (The Washington Post)

Photo: RafahKid Kid/flickr

20 Aug
Hopes of Prolonged Truce Dashed as Gaza Conflict Reignites | David Stout 
Fighting in Gaza continued into the early hours of Wednesday morning after talks between Israel and Hamas over a cease-fire collapsed in Cairo.
The negotiations in the Egyptian capital came to an abrupt end after three rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel eight hours before the latest truce was set to expire. Hamas denied launching the initial barrage of artillery on Tuesday night, but later claimed responsibility for rockets fired at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
Israel responded to the salvos with renewed airstrikes into the Gaza Strip and pulled its negotiation team from Cairo, where it had been engaged in talks with Palestinian representatives over the establishment of a prolonged truce.
FULL ARTICLE (TIME)
Photo: Iyad al Baba/Oxfam International/flickr

Hopes of Prolonged Truce Dashed as Gaza Conflict Reignites | David Stout 

Fighting in Gaza continued into the early hours of Wednesday morning after talks between Israel and Hamas over a cease-fire collapsed in Cairo.

The negotiations in the Egyptian capital came to an abrupt end after three rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel eight hours before the latest truce was set to expire. Hamas denied launching the initial barrage of artillery on Tuesday night, but later claimed responsibility for rockets fired at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Israel responded to the salvos with renewed airstrikes into the Gaza Strip and pulled its negotiation team from Cairo, where it had been engaged in talks with Palestinian representatives over the establishment of a prolonged truce.

FULL ARTICLE (TIME)

Photo: Iyad al Baba/Oxfam International/flickr

12 Aug
Dream of a Gaza Seaport Is Revived in Truce Talks | Jodi Rudoren
SHEIK EJLEEN, Gaza Strip — An unmarked dirt lot about the size of a football field, on a cliff above the crashing waves of the Mediterranean, could be a crucial element in ending the monthlong battle between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.
It was here that a European contractor began building a commercial seaport back in July 2000, only to have its work destroyed by Israeli tanks and bombs within three months. Now, Palestinian leaders trying to negotiate terms in Cairo for a durable truce have made the revival of the seaport project a prime demand.
The port has become the embodiment of Palestinian aspirations to break the siege of Gaza, at once a symbol of independence and a potential economic engine that would reduce the territory’s reliance on increasingly hostile neighbors. First promised by the Oslo Accords in 1993, the seaport — or at least an interim proposal for a floating pier under international supervision — has won some backing from Europe, Egypt and the United Nations, albeit with caveats to address Israeli security concerns.
FULL ARTICLE (The New York Times)
Photo: Mohammed Al Baba/Oxfam International/flickr

Dream of a Gaza Seaport Is Revived in Truce Talks | Jodi Rudoren

SHEIK EJLEEN, Gaza Strip — An unmarked dirt lot about the size of a football field, on a cliff above the crashing waves of the Mediterranean, could be a crucial element in ending the monthlong battle between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.

It was here that a European contractor began building a commercial seaport back in July 2000, only to have its work destroyed by Israeli tanks and bombs within three months. Now, Palestinian leaders trying to negotiate terms in Cairo for a durable truce have made the revival of the seaport project a prime demand.

The port has become the embodiment of Palestinian aspirations to break the siege of Gaza, at once a symbol of independence and a potential economic engine that would reduce the territory’s reliance on increasingly hostile neighbors. First promised by the Oslo Accords in 1993, the seaport — or at least an interim proposal for a floating pier under international supervision — has won some backing from Europe, Egypt and the United Nations, albeit with caveats to address Israeli security concerns.

FULL ARTICLE (The New York Times)

Photo: Mohammed Al Baba/Oxfam International/flickr

7 Aug
How cement could de-rail the Gaza peace talks | Christopher Woolf
The Israeli goal in the Tunnel War was purportedly to destroy the massive network of ‘invasion’ tunnels built by the Palestinian militant group, Hamas. The tunnels allowed the militants to move under the border and launch raids into Israel proper. The ability of the militants to re-build those tunnels could now be a critical factor in negotiating a lasting truce.
Israel will want to prevent Hamas from re-building the tunnels. One way to do that is to control the flow of building materials, such as cement, gravel and re-bar, into the Gaza Strip.
But those same building materials are essential for civilian reconstruction as well. At least 10,000 buildings were damaged or destroyed in the month of fighting that ended Monday.
Hence, the battle for cement.
FULL ARTICLE (Public Radio International)
Photo: Marius Arnesen/flickr

How cement could de-rail the Gaza peace talks | Christopher Woolf

The Israeli goal in the Tunnel War was purportedly to destroy the massive network of ‘invasion’ tunnels built by the Palestinian militant group, Hamas. The tunnels allowed the militants to move under the border and launch raids into Israel proper. The ability of the militants to re-build those tunnels could now be a critical factor in negotiating a lasting truce.

Israel will want to prevent Hamas from re-building the tunnels. One way to do that is to control the flow of building materials, such as cement, gravel and re-bar, into the Gaza Strip.

But those same building materials are essential for civilian reconstruction as well. At least 10,000 buildings were damaged or destroyed in the month of fighting that ended Monday.

Hence, the battle for cement.

FULL ARTICLE (Public Radio International)

Photo: Marius Arnesen/flickr

6 Aug
Is Another Intifada Possible in the West Bank? | Dalia Hatuqa 
Ramallah, West Bank—The bullet was still lodged in Ahmad Kittaneh’s right lung when he arrived at Ramallah Hospital late on a Thursday night. The 22-year-old went into cardiac arrest twice, but miraculously pulled through after having been shot by Israeli soldiers at the Qalandia checkpoint, which separates the West Bank from Jerusalem.
On July 24, about 10,000 Palestinians, many of them young men like Kittaneh, turned out in full force to show solidarity with their Gaza compatriots who had been pounded by Israeli artillery for approximately three weeks. Today Gazans are breathing a sigh of relief as a three-day Egyptian-sponsored truce appears to be holding up, while Cairo talks to Palestinian and Israeli delegates separately on ways to end the war.
The July 24 demonstration, which appears to have been the largest since the second intifada, included Palestinians from all walks of life– elderly men, women with strollers, people in wheelchairs. They marched from Al Am’ari refugee camp in Ramallah towards Qalandia. Many had Palestinian flags in tow, but the factional banners of Hamas and Fatah were largely absent. The march was eventually met with Israeli fire.
Kittaneh was one of three critically injured that day—the other two were separately shot in the left eye and right atrium of the heart—but his close encounter with death seems to have not deterred him. “I would go back to protests again,” said Kittaneh, who studies journalism at a university near Jerusalem. “This is a national duty for every one of us.”
FULL ARTICLE (The Nation)
Photo: Mustafa Hassona/flickr

Is Another Intifada Possible in the West Bank? | Dalia Hatuqa 

Ramallah, West Bank—The bullet was still lodged in Ahmad Kittaneh’s right lung when he arrived at Ramallah Hospital late on a Thursday night. The 22-year-old went into cardiac arrest twice, but miraculously pulled through after having been shot by Israeli soldiers at the Qalandia checkpoint, which separates the West Bank from Jerusalem.

On July 24, about 10,000 Palestinians, many of them young men like Kittaneh, turned out in full force to show solidarity with their Gaza compatriots who had been pounded by Israeli artillery for approximately three weeks. Today Gazans are breathing a sigh of relief as a three-day Egyptian-sponsored truce appears to be holding up, while Cairo talks to Palestinian and Israeli delegates separately on ways to end the war.

The July 24 demonstration, which appears to have been the largest since the second intifada, included Palestinians from all walks of life– elderly men, women with strollers, people in wheelchairs. They marched from Al Am’ari refugee camp in Ramallah towards Qalandia. Many had Palestinian flags in tow, but the factional banners of Hamas and Fatah were largely absent. The march was eventually met with Israeli fire.

Kittaneh was one of three critically injured that day—the other two were separately shot in the left eye and right atrium of the heart—but his close encounter with death seems to have not deterred him. “I would go back to protests again,” said Kittaneh, who studies journalism at a university near Jerusalem. “This is a national duty for every one of us.”

FULL ARTICLE (The Nation)

Photo: Mustafa Hassona/flickr

5 Aug

Searching for a Middle East solution | CNN | August 4, 2014

ICG’s Nathan Thrall says Israel must treat West Bank and Gaza as single political entity to reach long-term solution