Browsing Posts in Media

Here’s a thoughtful piece by Meron Benvenisti in Haaretz.  In his work, he suggests that the situation in the West Bank is worth contemplating, even if it doesn’t make the newspapers all the time.

The accepted dictum is that the situation in the occupied territories interests Israelis only when something violent takes place there and when the events fit with the standard narrative about the settlers, the roadblocks and the injustices of the occupation. The truth of this maxim is proven again in that change for the better in the security situation and the economy and the general atmosphere in the West Bank merits very little interest and negligible reporting.

So what’s the best way forward?  Benvenisti doesn’t fully answer that question.  But he does say there is potential for progress; we just need to keep our eyes open.

Iran’s nuclear program has been the subject of public discourse for some time, but the results of international pressure have been slow in coming.  Last week’s Washington Times features an op-ed piece discussing the urgent need for results on the diplomatic front against Iran.  The issue, he notes, should not concern only Israel and other Middle East countries:

A military nuclear capability underwriting Iran’s support of terror in the region will threaten moderate Arab countries and enable Iran to project its power in a more dangerous way as well as expand its footprint in the region.

Remember, of course, that Iran acts through a number of proxies (see Hamas and Hizbullah, for some examples) who would also benefit from Iran’s increased strength.  Suffice it to say, a stronger Iran will not bring peace to the region.

President Shimon Peres eloquently set forth the outlines of Israel’s hopes for the Middle East in today’s Washington Post.  We bring you here a short excerpt to pique your interest:

The difficulties of a two-state solution are numerous, but it remains the only realistic and moral formula to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Those not committed to this solution argue that, after the creation of a Palestinian state, Israel’s waist would be too narrow — some six miles — to ensure security for its citizens.

Indeed, six miles will be too narrow to guarantee full security, which only reinforces our belief that Israel’s safety is not embedded only in territorial defense but in peace. Peace provides breadth of wings, even when the waist is narrow.

You can find the rest of the article through the Washington Post website.

Israel Television’s (Channel 33) IBA News will have a special live English newscast on election eve, February 10th. The 30-minute broadcast will begin at 11 PM Israel Time (GMT +2), just one hour after the release of exit polls, and will be available for viewing online at the IBA website.

The election night broadcast will feature veteran reporters, coverage from the headquarters of the major parties, and analysis of the poll results.

Iran announced today that it had launched its own satellite into orbit, making it one of the few countries in the world capable of doing so.  As the New York Times reports, the world is looking on with a bit of worry.  The biggest question is what else Iran is planning to launch–especially if its nuclear-weapons program begins to bear more results.  We also wonder what signals Iran is sending, even as other countries call for cooperation with the Islamic Republic.

Several weeks ago, 40 Palestinians were tragically killed in Jabalya by Israeli fire.  News reports at the time indicated they had been targeted inside a UN-run school.  Now, that case isn’t so clear.

This, from the Globe and Mail:

JABALYA, GAZA STRIP — Most people remember the headlines: Massacre Of Innocents As UN School Is Shelled; Israeli Strike Kills Dozens At UN School.

They heralded the tragic news of Jan. 6, when mortar shells fired by advancing Israeli forces killed 43 civilians in the Jabalya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip. The victims, it was reported, had taken refuge inside the Ibn Rushd Preparatory School for Boys, a facility run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.

The news shocked the world and was compared to the 1996 Israeli attack on a UN compound in Qana, Lebanon, in which more than 100 people seeking refuge were killed. It was certain to hasten the end of Israel’s attack on Gaza, and would undoubtedly lead the list of allegations of war crimes committed by Israel.

There was just one problem: The story, as etched in people’s minds, was not quite accurate.

See the Globe and Mail for more.

The deaths of these civilians, like all Palestinian and Israeli civilian deaths, is a tragic fact.  We learn that we ought not rush to conclusions in these matters, and that perhaps a full investigation might uncover a fuller version of events.

Palestinians attacked an Israeli patrol this morning ina cross-border raid, killing one soldier and wounding two others.  As the body controlling Gaza, Hamas bears direct responsibility for violating the ceasefire and for the consequences of this action.

For further information and analysis, see the Christian Science Monitor.

Much has been made of Hamas’s use of tunnels to smuggle arms and fighters into the Gaza Strip.  They also used these tunnels to shoot Qassam rockets and hide from the IDF.  The following, from Newsweek (emphasis added):

“They [the Israelis] were claiming there are tunnels under here,” she said. Hamas fighters use tunnels, often short ones that are little more than bunkers, to pop out and launch attacks and then get back in, hiding from Israel’s ubiquitous surveillance drones, reemerging in a house or backyard as an unarmed civilian. “There aren’t any tunnels around here, we are not resistance,” she said. Yet not more than 20 feet away from Najah, there was just such a tunnel, which Israeli troops had unearthed. Right in the middle of the road, it had a convincingly camouflaged roof that matched the rest of the road. Inside it was shored up with timbers and concrete.

In similar news, the Associated Press reports today that Palestinians are reopening their smuggling tunnels, some of which were damaged during the recent operation.  While smuggling Iranian weapons may not have restarted, this may be a sign of things to come.

A report in today’s Corriere della Sera (in Italian) profiles some Gaza residents who say Hamas used some strong arm tactics to keep them in harm’s way.  For example, Hamas gunmen forced residents to stay at home while they fired at Israeli troops (rather than telling the civilians to run away).  You can read an English-language summary in Haaretz.

Bret Stephens, in the weekend’s Wall Street Journal (subscription required), analyzes the results of Operation “Cast Lead” in the wake of the recent Israeli ceasefire and troop withdrawal.  Israel, he says, has learned a great deal from these past three weeks–but so has Hamas.  And while Israel hopes for peace, it’s not clear that Hamas shares that feeling–and peace can’t come about in that environment.

An excerpt:

All wars eventually end. The question most Israelis are asking is whether this one has merely gone on vacation.

So why are the top echelons of Israel’s political and military establishment delighted by the war’s result? Long answer: They think that Israel has re-established a reputation for invincibility tarnished in the 2006 war with Hezbollah; that they bloodied and humiliated Hamas while taking few casualties; that they called overdue international attention to the tunnels Hamas uses to smuggle its arsenal; and, with the unilateral cease-fire, that they put the onus to end the violence squarely back on Hamas’s shoulders.