Cease-Fire Holds in Gaza - Asa Fitch, Joshua Mitnick and Mohammed Najib (Wall Street Journal)
A five-day truce, agreed upon by Israeli and Palestinian negotiators late Wednesday, was largely holding Thursday. A rocket was fired from Gaza at 8:20 a.m. local time, but fell short of Israeli territory, Israel's military said.
The Egyptian-mediated talks in Cairo between Israel and the Palestinians will resume on Monday.
"The public in Gaza wants the war to stop, so any restart of fighting is a burden for Hamas," said Ghassan Khatib, vice president of Bir Zeit University in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
"At the same time, its end without the accomplishment of any goals will be a problem for Hamas."
Maliki Steps Aside, Easing Iraq's Political Crisis - Loveday Morris and Karen DeYoung (Washington Post)
Iraqi leader Nouri al-Maliki stepped aside Thursday, clearing the way for a new prime minister, his rival Haider al-Abadi, and an expansion of U.S. military assistance at a moment when a raging insurgency threatens to tear the country apart.
Maliki had become a deeply divisive figure but had clung to his position in the face of a growing consensus that only a new leader would have a chance of unifying the country.
Report from the Gaza War: Palestinians Fired from Behind Children - Shmuley Boteach (Times of Israel)
At an IDF base near the Gaza border, a Golani Brigade commander said: "We saw Hamas fighters moving...holding 5-year-old children in front of them as human shields. I am a father. I cannot even begin to understand the mentality of a fighter who would use a child to protect himself."
He recounted how his soldiers in Gaza had spotted a Hamas rocket about to be launched. He was about to order the soldiers to open fire when suddenly children started walking toward the soldiers right in front of the rocket.
"My soldiers are eighteen and they're making life and death decisions, trying to decide, 'Should I allow children in Sderot to be bombed today by not firing on the rocket? But if I fire I may hurt a Palestinian child.'"
He told his soldiers to stand down. The rocket was fired.
U.S. Brought Down Syria's Internet in 2012 - Oded Yaron (Ha'aretz)
The U.S. National Security Agency unintentionally brought down the Syrian Internet once in 2012 in an attempt to gain access to the country's online traffic, including email, leaker Edward Snowden told Wired magazine.
At the NSA, Snowden said, they joked that "If we get caught, we can always point the finger at Israel."
Iran's Favorite Palestinian Terrorists - Ladan Salami (IranWire-Daily Beast)
Qassem Suleimani, commander of the Revolutionary Guards Quds Force who is known as the point man for Iran's military and covert operations outside its borders, publicly pledged support for Palestinian fighters on July 30. Then he named five specific groups.
The Qassam Brigades are the military wing of Hamas. The Al-Quds Brigades are the armed wing of Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The Nasser Salahuddin Brigades are a breakaway faction from Fatah that refused to accept the Oslo Peace Agreement.
The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades are the official military wing of Fatah. The Abu Ali Mustapha Brigades are the armed wing of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
By spreading support across the different groups, Iran's leaders may hope to incite a continued war of attrition against Israel.
Indeed, several reports suggest that the latest Gaza war did not begin with Hamas, but with other groups firing rockets until Israel retaliated and Hamas was forced to join in.
Israeli Forces Praise UAVs in Gaza Op - Barbara Opall-Rome (Defense News)
The Gaza war marked the first time the soldier-launched Skylark (SkyRider) mini-UAV was used in quantities for high-tempo support of ground forces, said Brig. Gen. Roy Riftin, IDF chief artillery officer.
"Every brigade - even the reserves - got at least two air vehicles and flew them nonstop, at the same time," he said.
Some 18 systems flew hundreds of hours, generating intelligence and streaming target-acquisition data to myriad shooters on the ground.
"It was phenomenal; a real asset," Riftin said.
They also "served up targets of opportunity for Tammuz," the officer said of the electro-optic, precision strike system operated by IDF gunners.
Using the Language of Human Rights - Rachel Azaria (Times of Israel)
We need to talk in the same language that is used against us, the rhetoric of human rights.
We need to explain that supporting Hamas means forcing women to cover from head to toe, it means giving carte blanche for husbands to beat up their wives, it means forcing young girls to marry, it means excluding women from any significant positions in society.
Supporting Hamas means condoning the use of children as human shields; their exploitation for political use; the firing from their schools and orphanages.
The Gaza situation is not about Israel, it's about human rights, crimes against women and children by their own leadership.
Supporting Hamas is supporting the annihilation of basic human rights for their people.
The writer is Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem.
Survey: 74 Percent of French Don't Take Sides in Israeli-Palestinian Conflict (Ynet News)
A poll conducted last week by the Ifop Institute
showed that 74% of French citizens don't sympathize with either Israelis or Palestinians in the current conflict in Gaza.
17% said they support the Palestinians, while 9% back Israel.
The institute concluded, "Despite the expansive coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the media...the views in France don't lean substantially to one side or the other."
IDF Medical Corps Improved Survival Rate of Soldiers in Gaza War - Yoav Zitun
The IDF's Medical Corps said that 64 soldiers were killed and 714 were injured. For the first time in Israel's military history, the total number of fatalities was less than 10% of the number wounded.
The figures represent a significant improvement in the capabilities of field medics treating severe wounds immediately after an incident.
There were significant upgrades in the emergency medical equipment supplied to every soldier. The kit included an advanced arterial tourniquet for self-use, protective goggles, and a special coagulant-coated bandage.
Hundreds of wounded soldiers were given pain-relieving candy instead of morphine.
Five of the 400 doctors and paramedics who operated in Gaza were injured.
NASA Chooses Israeli Micro-Camera for International Space Station (Globes)
NASA has incorporated the Micro ScoutCam 1.2, the world's smallest camera produced by Israeli medical device company Medigus Ltd., into its VIPIR robotic inspection tool at the International Space Station.
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- Islamic State Now Threat to West, Says U.S. - Siobhan Gorman, Tamer El-Ghobashy and Nour Malas
The gains made in recent months by the Islamic State have bolstered its long-term ambitions to attack the West, including the U.S., and the group has become such a potent force that traditional counterterrorism tactics aren't sufficient to eliminate it, U.S. intelligence officials said on Thursday.
(Wall Street Journal)
See also U.S. Intelligence Officials Assess Islamic State Threat - David Ignatius
The Obama administration's Iraq policy seems premised on the idea that the terrorist Islamic State is so toxic that it will be self-limiting and ultimately self-defeating. But in a briefing for journalists Thursday, five U.S. intelligence officials said the organization has shown remarkable durability. Under the leadership of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the group has rebounded from about 1,500 fighters in 2010 to more than 10,000 today - becoming a global jihadist organization.
"We don't assess this as something that will collapse on its own," said one official. The intelligence experts cautioned that counterterrorist tools, such as drone strikes and other air attacks, wouldn't be sufficient "to defeat it rather than just ratchet it back."
The officials expressed skepticism that Baghdadi could be deterred from striking the U.S. "We assess that the group sees conflict with the U.S. as inevitable," said one official. Another noted a chilling Internet statement several months ago: "America, we have not turned our gaze away from you."
Under its original name, al-Qaeda in Iraq, the Islamic State ferociously battled U.S. forces. Most of its leading fighters were imprisoned by U.S. occupation troops, but incarceration was a school for jihad, and they emerged tougher, better connected and more dedicated.
The global reach of the Islamic State is boosted by the several thousand foreign fighters from Europe, the U.S., and Asia who have moved through the group's camps, mostly by going across the Turkish border into Syria.
"Some of them are going home, with or without orders, to start cells," an official warned.
My takeaway from this unusual briefing was that the Obama administration needs a broad strategy that gradually degrades this group back to its earlier size. The Islamic State won't implode because of its own mistakes. It will have to be fought, patiently and subtly. (Washington Post)
- Israel Finds Silent Backing by Arab Nations Hostile to Hamas - Gwen Ackerman and Caroline Alexander
As Israel seeks to sideline Hamas in any accord on Gaza's future, it's finding quiet support among Arab nations where antagonism toward the Islamist group eclipses their enmity toward the Jewish state. Egypt is now ruled by an army chief who presided over a crackdown on Hamas' Islamist patrons. Saudi Arabia's king didn't explicitly criticize Israel for civilian deaths in Gaza. The United Arab Emirates is also hostile to political Islam.
Israel has had greater contact in recent weeks with Arab governments opposed to radical Islamists, according to an Israeli official.
There's an "alignment of interests" between nations that have "common adversaries," said Martin Indyk, vice president of the Brookings Institution in Washington and a former U.S. negotiator in the Middle East. "As they see that the U.S. is less engaged than it was before, it's natural that they look to each other...to find a way to help each other." (Bloomberg)
- Arab Bank Called Hamas "Paymaster" as Trial Opens in New York - Bernard Vaughan
Arab Bank served as "paymaster" of funds supporting Hamas, lawyers for a group of Americans suing the bank for compensation stemming from attacks by the Palestinian militant group told a jury on Thursday as a long-anticipated civil trial got under way.
In U.S. federal court in Brooklyn, lawyers for the plaintiffs said the Amman, Jordan-based bank provided "extensive and substantial" material support to Hamas.
Close to 300 U.S. citizens who were the victims or the family members of victims of 24 attacks carried out by Hamas in Israel and the Palestinian territories between 2001 and 2004 sued the bank in 2004. They accuse Arab Bank of violating the U.S. Anti-Terrorism Act, which allows victims of U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organizations to seek compensation.
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations in Cairo Aim for Long-Term Gaza Truce - Zvi Bar'el
The goal of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations in Cairo is a long-term truce - and its achievement is a "done deal," Ziad al-Nahla, Islamic Jihad's representative to the Cairo talks, said Thursday. "There are guarantees for the lifting of the siege on Gaza, and the construction of a seaport and airport will be discussed within a month after the truce is signed," he said. Hamas' delegate to the talks, Khalil al-Hayya, likewise said the agreement is meant to bring about a long-term truce.
"The emerging agreement will be the most detailed that has been signed between Israel and the Palestinians since the Oslo Accords," a senior Egyptian official said Thursday. "We speak with the Palestinian government, not with any separate Palestinian faction. Hamas is going to have to view the Palestinian government as the forum for its political activity, and stop seeing itself as a faction or organization." (Ha'aretz)
See also Palestinians Say Permanent Cease-Fire Imminent - Elior Levy
Palestinian delegation chief Azzam al-Ahmad said Thursday that there had been "significant progress" toward a final agreement, but that disagreements remained over the wording on security arrangements, reconstruction efforts and the permissible fishing zone for Gazans.
See also Israel: Hamas' Mashaal Torpedoing Long-Term Truce
Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal has been the central force preventing a long-term truce between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza, Israel Channel 2 TV quoted an Israeli diplomatic source as saying on Thursday.
A long-term deal could have already been reached, but Mashaal "was and remains the source of friction that is torpedoing a deal," the Israeli official said.
See also Israel: No Concessions to Palestinians without Gaza Demilitarization - Herb Keinon
No Israeli government will consider any concessions unless Gaza is demilitarized, Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz said on Wednesday. He added that the weapons buildup in Gaza was a gross violation of the Israeli-Palestinian interim agreement signed 20 years ago.
- Israel Trying to Resolve Weapons Transfer Issue with U.S., Officials Say - Barak Ravid
Israel in recent days has been holding discussions with the American administration, including at the very highest levels, in an attempt to remove limitations placed by Washington on weapon shipments to Israel as a result of the fighting in Gaza, senior officials in Jerusalem said. "We are speaking with them to try and return the situation to its previous [state]," said one senior official.
The White House instructed the Pentagon to put on hold a transfer of Hellfire missiles for Apache attack helicopters that Israel had requested. According to a senior U.S. official, the decision to tighten oversight and require approval of higher-ranking officials over shipments was intended to make it clear to Israel that there is no "blank check" from Washington in regards to the U.S.-made weapons the IDF makes use of in Gaza. (Ha'aretz)
- Israel: UN Funds Organization that Seeks to Prosecute IDF Soldiers - Yoni Hirsch
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor revealed Wednesday that the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs helps fund the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), an NGO that works to put Israeli army officers on trial and to delegitimize Israel.
Prosor called the transfer of funds to the PCHR a clear breach of the UN's behavioral code.
Also Wednesday, a delegation of 11 Jewish organizations met with UN chief Ban Ki-moon over his handling of the Gaza crisis. In addition to presenting a letter listing violations of international law by Hamas, they called
for the UN to investigate rocket attacks by Hamas on Israel's civilian population, and Hamas' abuse of UN schools in Gaza.
See also Jewish Leaders Tell UN Secretary-General about Hamas War Crimes - Joshua Levitt
On Wednesday, Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper, directors of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon about 19 abuses by Hamas in Gaza of the international rules of warfare. (Algemeiner)
See also Hamas' 19 Violations of the Rules of War (Simon Wiesenthal Center)
- IDF Investigating Palestinian Civilian Deaths in Gaza - Amos Harel
The IDF is investigating incidents in which Palestinian civilians were killed during the hostilities in Gaza.
Besides drawing conclusions and clarifying whether some decision-making was negligent, the quick investigative process, which was launched early in the current round of fighting, was meant to help head off claims that Israel committed war crimes.
Israel has said it does not have faith in the UN Human Rights Council and the international commission of inquiry it appointed this week, headed by Prof. William Schabas. The IDF believes its operational and legal authorities are capable of investigating the exceptional incidents independently and thoroughly without international intervention. The intent is to also provide reports on these incidents to international bodies.
The Gaza War
- Gaza Conflict Is Just the Latest Round in a Long War - Steven Erlanger
The round of warfare between Israel and Hamas is really just another round in the unresolved Arab-Israeli war of 1948-49. A permanent peace treaty seems far away. Israel wants to disarm Hamas to end the attacks and indiscriminate rockets that now reach most of Israel. But how, without a permanent peace?
Hamas claims the whole of the British Mandate of Palestine as land granted by Allah, which cannot be ceded. In other words, Israel is illegitimate and its occupants should "go home." The most any senior Hamas official ever offered was a "hudna," a cease-fire, which the Prophet Muhammad offered enemies to restore his strength. But a hudna is not a peace treaty.
(New York Times)
- Hamas in the City: Invisible, But Not Gone - Monique van Hoogstraten
Since the war started, one population group in Gaza has disappeared from the streets: people in uniform. Army green uniforms, blue-grey uniforms, black uniforms, they were all over the place. From one day to the next they are gone.
"He does not dare to talk to you," says the wife of someone who has been placed under house arrest because he is known for criticizing Hamas. She too does not dare to tell his story, because "we are being watched." This is the case for most people who are no friends with Hamas.
Although the uniforms might have disappeared from the streets, Hamas has not. High-ranking members monitor in civilian clothes. Whoever talks about Hamas critically on the streets is immediately spoken to. But this does not mean that most residents of Gaza do not support Hamas.
- The Gaza Water Crisis - Pinhas Inbari
The latest round of fighting in Gaza has shown that Israel cannot risk the threat of Gaza chock-full of missiles threatening its citizens and constantly disrupting the country's routine. Israel's strategic goal is to disarm Hamas.
Unlike its provision of electricity, Israel currently provides only negligible quantities of water to Gaza. Gaza's water crisis was created completely by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority before it, and was not caused by any Israeli action. On the contrary, Israel is the only actor capable of extricating Gaza from the crisis, meaning that it has a lever to help achieve strategic objectives.
Israel must avoid being drawn into the water issue as a "humanitarian" concern; it must instead present it as a political issue, expressing willingness to supply the residents of Gaza but only in return for the dismantling of the terror infrastructure. (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
The Gaza War in the Eyes of the World
- Hamas Cheerleaders: Professional Failures of the Western Media in Gaza - Eytan Gilboa
The continuous dissemination of inaccurate data on civilian casualties by the Western media represents a major professional failure. Interestingly, Chinese and Indian networks exposed the relevant context so missing from the Western media coverage - the unprecedented Israeli efforts to minimize civilian casualties and the systematic use of civilians as human shields by Hamas. Who would believe that CCTV, the communist-run Chinese television network, would cover Gaza in a more balanced way than the British BBC? This suggests that the Western media is biased against Israel.
The distorted and misleading coverage of the Gaza conflict contributed to the hasty calls made by political leaders, UN officials and NGOs to prosecute Israel for war crimes. It also contributed to the mass hate demonstrations in Europe and to the sharp rise in anti-Semitic incidents. Given the systematic, biased and inaccurate coverage of Gaza in the Guardian and the Independent, it is not surprising that Britain has become the world center for hatred and anti-Israel demonstrations and boycotts.
The Western media betrayed their audiences who deserve to receive accurate information on Gaza. They should be held accountable for their skewed coverage.
Prof. Eytan Gilboa is Director of the School of Communication and Director of the Center for International Communication at Bar-Ilan University.
(Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)
- Occupation Hypocrisy: Gaza vs. Cyprus - Victor Davis Hanson
Cyprus has never recovered from the Turkish invasion of 1974. Turkish troops still control nearly 40% of the island - the most fertile and formerly the richest portion.
Some 200,000 Greek refugees never returned home after being expelled from their homes and farms in Northern Cyprus.
Thousands of settlers were shipped in by the Turkish government to occupy former Greek villages and to change Cypriot demography. Not a single nation recognizes the legitimacy of the Turkish Cypriot state. Why, then, is the world not outraged at an occupied Cyprus the way it is at, say, Israel?
The West stays silent while Muslims butcher each other by the thousands in Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya and Syria. Only when a Westernized country like Israel inflicts far less injury to Muslims does the West become irate.
The writer is a historian with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. (Washington Times)
- Hamas Manipulated and Intimidated the Media in Gaza. Why Was That Kept from Us? - Alan Johnson
The Foreign Press Association (FPA) has issued an astonishing protest about "blatant, incessant, forceful and unorthodox" intimidation of journalists in Gaza by Hamas. "Foreign reporters working in Gaza have been harassed, threatened or questioned over stories." This amounted to "denying readers and viewers an objective picture from the ground."
Hamas has a long record of shutting down news bureaus, arresting reporters and cameramen, confiscating equipment and beating journalists. Journalists from India, America, Norway, Italy, Spain, Australia, Canada and elsewhere are complaining. The writer is a senior research fellow at the Britain Israel Communications and Research Centre (BICOM).
- The Harsh Realities Behind the Death of Innocents in Gaza - Paul Monk
When Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, it offered the Fatah leaders a deal: make your peace with us and we will help you develop Gaza into a thriving commercial hub. Infrastructure was left in place and investment offered. What happened? Fatah was ousted by Hamas in a brutal coup, the Israeli offer was spurned, the infrastructure torn up because it was Jewish, and the metal from torn-up pipes was used to make rockets to fire into Israel.
In the wake of World War II, the UN proposed a two-state settlement in Palestine that would have given the Arabs a more than equitable share of the territory. The Jewish leadership accepted the offer. The Arab leaders flatly rejected it. They then launched a three-pronged attack on the nascent state of Israel, to destroy it in its cradle.
The Palestinian Arabs in Gaza and the West Bank are deemed refugees because half a million Arabs fled their homes during the Arab war against Israel in 1948. Yet in the years after 1948, some 600,000 Jews were expelled from Arab lands and their property confiscated. None of them, nor any of their descendants, is considered a refugee now; nor do they claim a right of return and they have certainly not been compensated for their property. The writer is a former senior intelligence analyst.
(Sydney Morning Herald-Australia)
- The Fallacies of Western Peace-Making in Gaza - Gerald M. Steinberg
The fallacy of "mirror imaging" is the assumption that the terrorists and their supporters are just like us.
Mirror imaging involves Westerners projecting their own experiences, cultural frameworks and perceptions onto other societies around the world. In a speech in Jerusalem last March, President Obama noted that some Palestinians seek the same bright futures for their children as Israelis want for theirs. But many do not. The evidence clearly shows that a large number of Palestinians teach their children to hate and prepare them for "martyrdom."
The mirror imaging fallacy assumes that if the people of Gaza were able to thrive economically, they would act to protect their investments and adopt middle class values, like Americans and Europeans. Yet the massive economic aid to Gaza was funneled off into terror tunnels and rockets to attack Israel, and not to develop jobs and economic growth. The values, culture and collective goals of Hamas are very far removed from those of modern Western liberal societies.
Mirror imaging and projecting Western cultural values onto the leaders of jihadist terror groups are dead ends.
The writer is professor of political science at Bar-Ilan University and president of NGO Monitor.
(Times of Israel)
- The International Media's Hypocrisy - Yossi Levy
In the summer of 1999 more than 2,000 civilians were killed by NATO air forces which bombed cities and villages in the former Yugoslavia.
Unintentionally, hospitals, schools, libraries, and even a train over a bridge were bombed, even though Serbia had not launched a single missile towards any NATO capital city. The media in the countries involved in the military operation did not start their daily broadcasting with updates on the number of civilian dead; they did not even send camera crews.
It is the same today with regard to the women and children killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, who have been killed in massive numbers over the past decade, the tragic victims of Western air forces bombing terrorist targets in both countries. Nobody bothers to count how many innocents have been victims of Western pilots in the last decade.
Western media know full well that in war, innocent people do unfortunately die. But when it comes to the war between Israel and Hamas, the tragic victims dominate practically every news outlet. Meanwhile, innocents are dying in Syria, Iraq, Nigeria, Libya, and Kenya, usually on a vaster scale than in Gaza, but the media is uninterested in those people. Israel didn't kill them, so the world doesn't care. The writer is the Israeli ambassador to Serbia and Montenegro.
- The West Is Ignoring the Practitioners of "Disproportionate" Violence - Charles Moore
If you walk by St. James's Church, Piccadilly, you see a replica of the security wall that guards Israel against the West Bank, erected in protest against it. Mightn't you expect a Christian church to cry out more loudly against Boko Haram, which burns Christian girls in churches in Nigeria, or ISIS, which believes that the only good Christian is an ex-Christian or a dead one?
The British Government has some sense of the relationship between a man who fires a rocket in Gaza, a man who slaughters a Christian in Iraq, an imam who preaches hate online from the safety of Qatar, a Muslim "charity" that is actually raising money for politics and conflict, and an Islamist school governor or teacher in Birmingham, Bradford or Luton who is trying to bring up British children to detest their own country.
Hamas is a child of the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood are huge disseminators of the poisonous global message of which hatred of Israel is a lead-indicator.
- U.S. Has a Chance to Stop the Islamic State - Joseph I. Lieberman
It would be wrong to view President Obama's decision to order airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq and to give weapons to Kurdish fighters as a continuation of the war in Iraq. It is more accurate to see it as a mission to prevent a repetition of the war in Afghanistan. We have a chance to stop the Islamic State before it creates a sanctuary in Iraq and Syria that it could use to strike the U.S., just as al-Qaeda used its sanctuary in Afghanistan to kill thousands of Americans on Sept. 11, 2001.
The shockingly rapid and violent spread of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, its declaration of an extremist Islamist caliphate and the stream of explicit threats it has made against the U.S. demonstrate that it is a clear and present danger to us and our allies. In a world ablaze with conflict and bloodshed, the threats we face from violent Islamist extremism remain the most dangerous. Former Sen. Lieberman (I-Conn.) is co-chairman of the American Internationalism Project at the American Enterprise Institute.
See also Why ISIS Is More Dangerous than Al-Qaeda - Col. Clint Hinote
I know of no one who relishes a return to Iraq. But if the alternative is the establishment of a well-resourced Islamic pseudo-state that enjoys sanctuary from which to export terrorism to the West, the wise choice is the hardest one: To take on the group now, before they grow more powerful and capable.
Col. Clint Hinote, USAF, is a Military Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.
- Gaza and the Rise of Anti-Semitism - Editorial
The board of London's Tricycle Theater delivered an ultimatum to the organizers of the UK Jewish Film Festival, which it has hosted for the last eight years: either cut your ties with the Israeli embassy or find another venue.
The theater has made a bad error of judgment.
The Israeli embassy in London represents Israel itself, its society and its people. It was this connection with Israel that the UK Jewish Film Festival refused to give up. That reflects something crucial about contemporary Jewish identity: that most Jews feel bound up with Israel. To demand that Jews surrender that connection is to tell Jews how they might - and how they might not - live as Jews. Such demands have an ugly history. They are not the proper business of any public institution, least of all a state-subsidized theater.
U.S. Livid with Israel? Hamas Can't Believe Its Luck - David Horovitz (Times of Israel)
- After the UK promised to limit arms sales to Israel if Hamas restarts its attacks on our civilians, we now learn that the U.S. is already restricting arms sales to Israel, having halted a planned supply of Hellfire precision missiles that enable Israel to strike at the rocket launchers set up by Hamas in the heart of Gaza's residential areas.
- It becomes ever harder to understand what the U.S. administration thinks it is doing in the Middle East. Its influence is waning across the region. It appears insufficiently robust - to put it mildly - when dealing with the region's most dangerous regimes, notably Iran. Its ill-judged lack of enthusiasm for el-Sissi is pushing Egypt ever closer to Russia.
- It is frankly astounding to the overwhelming majority of Israelis that Israel is being blamed for and pressured to end a war it manifestly sought to avoid - against a terrorist-government sworn to its destruction that repeatedly breaches the cease-fire efforts Israel consistently accepts.
- Hamas has fired more than 3,000 rockets into Israel. It exploited periods of calm to build a network of tunnels under the border into Israel through which it planned major terrorist attacks. It seeks to lift "the siege of Gaza" so that it can build a still more potent offensive capability.
- Rather than criticizing Israel for seeking to protect its civilians from Hamas, and moving now to limit its capacity to do so, the U.S., UK and the rest of the international community should be emphatically backing Israel in its struggle against Hamas - for the sake, too, of the civilians of Gaza. They should be insisting that Hamas disarm.
From Hamas' point of view, it must be a source of immense delight to witness the strains and practical fallout as the international community condemns Israel, the UN sets up inquiries into Israeli war crimes, and Israel's allies limit its arms supplies.
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