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August 29, 2014

In-Depth Issues:

Islamic State Said to Kill 150 Captured Syrian Troops - Ben Hubbard (New York Times)
    Fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria are said to have killed 150 captured soldiers from the Tabqa air base in northern Syria in the last two days, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said on Thursday.
    Video images posted online appeared to show men being marched through the desert in their underwear by the extremists and then lying dead in the sand.
    IS has often distributed graphic images of its dead adversaries, to enlarge its reputation and terrify its enemies.
    The video sent shock waves through Syrian communities that support Assad. Walid al-Moallem, Syria's foreign minister, had conceded that the base had been lost but claimed that all troops and aircraft had withdrawn successfully.

    See also Report: Syria Airstrike Kills Islamic State Commanders (Reuters)
    A Syrian government airstrike killed commanders of the Islamic State group in the eastern province of Deir al-Zor on Thursday, including Syrians, Arabs and foreigners, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
    It said Syrian war planes had struck a building used as a headquarters by Islamic State while a meeting of its commanders was underway.

U.S. Identifies Citizens Joining Rebels in Syria, Including ISIS - Michael S. Schmidt and Eric Schmitt (New York Times)
    American intelligence and law enforcement agencies have identified nearly a dozen Americans who have traveled to Syria to fight for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, said by the Obama administration to be the greatest threat to the U.S. since al-Qaeda.
    ISIS has become more attractive to would-be militants because, unlike al-Qaeda, it has seized territory that it rules by strict Islamic law.
    American intelligence officials said the number of Americans who have joined rebel groups in Syria had nearly doubled since January. More than 100 Americans have fought alongside groups there since the civil war began three years ago.

UN Peacekeepers Caught in the Crossfire in Syria - Rick Noack (Washington Post)
    43 Fijian peacekeepers serving in the Golan Heights along the Syrian-Israeli border were detained by Syrian rebels on Thursday, according to the UN. An additional 81 peacekeepers from the Philippines were trapped by the fighting.
    Peacekeeping missions always come with risks and over the years many confrontations have had deadly outcomes. Here are the countries whose soldiers have suffered the most casualties while serving as UN peacekeeping forces.
    There are currently 16 UN peacekeeping operations and one special political mission spread over four continents.

Found: The Islamic State's Terror Laptop of Doom - Harald Doornbos and Jenan Moussa (Foreign Policyi)
    Abu Ali, a commander of a moderate Syrian rebel group, shows a black laptop. "We took it this year from an ISIS hideout," he says.
    Buried in the "hidden files" section of the computer were 146 gigabytes of material, including practical training on how to carry out the Islamic State's deadly campaigns.
    They include videos of Osama bin Laden, manuals on how to make bombs, instructions for stealing cars, and lessons on how to use disguises.
    The documents also suggest that the laptop's owner was teaching himself about the use of biological weaponry. The ISIS laptop contains a 19-page document in Arabic on how to develop biological weapons and how to weaponize bubonic plague from infected animals.
    Nothing on the ISIS laptop, of course, suggests that the jihadists already possess these dangerous weapons.

Poll: More Express Sympathy for Israel than the Palestinians (Pew Research Center)
    As a cease-fire ends more than seven weeks of fighting in Gaza, 66% of Americans express sympathy for Israel while 27% do not, and 46% express sympathy for the Palestinians while 47% do not, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted Aug. 20-24.
    34% say they sympathize with Israel "a lot," while 11% sympathize with Palestinians "a lot."

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Natural Gas Power Generation in Israel Reaches Peak - Sharon Udasin (Jerusalem Post)
    On Wednesday, natural gas accounted for 57% of the country's electricity consumption, the Israel Electric Corporation announced Thursday.
    Ever since natural gas from Israel's Tamar reservoir began to flow in March 2013, there has been a considerable change in the fuel mix for the country's electricity production, with a major reduction in the use of polluting fuel oils.

Who's Afraid of the Big, Bad Boycott? - Adam Reuter (Ynet News)
    It's time to calm down. Israeli exports are not affected by the present economic boycott, nor will they be affected in the future.
    This is not because certain European consumer groups are not trying - it is because the unique nature of Israel's exports simply does not allow for it.
    Many Israeli companies operate in niche areas. Moreover, 95% of Israel's exports do not involve individual end consumers but rather business-to-business trade, with firms that are only interested in the best product or service at the most competitive price.

The Continuing Menace of Anti-Semitism - Michael Gerson (Washington Post)
    Many seem to think that traditional anti-Jewish attitudes have faded and that the memory of the Holocaust is overplayed. Few take note of the genocidal promises of the Hamas charter or of Iranian clerics.
    If you live entirely in the present, the State of Israel may seem more Goliath than David. If you have some sense of the past, it is a beleaguered island in a historical and geographical sea of violence.
    Detached from its story, Israel is a quarrelsome, flawed democracy on the edge of the Mediterranean. But Israel is its story - the story of slavery, statehood, expulsion, scattering, near-extermination and return - after having been unfairly chosen for more than 2,000 years for persecution and murder.

An Israeli Ambassador in an "Israel-Free Zone" (Jewish News-UK)
    Israeli UK Ambassador Daniel Taub travelled to Bradford after MP George Galloway declared it an "Israel-free zone."
    Taub said: "I feel I've had the chance to hear the real voice of Bradford....This real Bradford has a great deal to teach the world about a multicultural city where Christians, Muslims, and Jews live, work, and cooperate together. Here, the historic synagogue thrives thanks to the support of the Muslim community."

Israel to Build Water Desalination Plants in Tanzania - Sylivester Domasa (Guardian-Tanzania)
    Water authorities in Dar es Salaam will work with an Israeli consortium in constructing two desalination plants to alleviate water shortage, the Dar es Salaam Water and Sewerage Corporation (Dawasco) Chief Executive Officer, Eng. Jackson Midala, said Sunday.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israel Stakes Out Firm Stance for Upcoming Gaza Negotiations - Diane Desobeau
    Millions in and around Gaza enjoyed a welcome day of peace on Wednesday during which there were no strikes on Gaza, nor Palestinian rockets fired at Israel, the Israeli army said. Under the cease-fire deal, negotiators will return to Cairo within the coming month. Ahead of the Cairo talks, Israel staked out a firm stance on how it will approach the upcoming negotiations.
        "There will be no port, no airport and no entry of materials that could be used to produce rockets or build tunnels," said deputy foreign minister Tzahi Hanegbi. "That will be our position which we will present at the negotiations in Cairo." Former national security adviser Yaakov Amidror said Hamas must choose. "Either they will give up reconstruction, or if they want it, they have to give up the dream of being a military force on the ground."  (AFP)
  • In Israel's South, Families Worry about the Future of Life near Gaza - Isabel Kershner
    Some parents of young children are questioning whether they want to continue living in Kibbutz Nahal Oz next to the border with Gaza, and in Israel's traumatized south. Nahal Oz was founded in the early 1950s, soon after the establishment of the State of Israel, as the first line of defense. In this latest Gaza conflict, the third in less than six years, thousands of rockets paralyzed life and the local economy, while residents bore the psychological brunt.
        Though the physical damage from rockets was minimized by Israel's Iron Dome antimissile defense system, there is no technological solution yet for the short-range mortars that took a much heavier toll on soldiers and civilians. The mortars now pose an existential threat to communities like Nahal Oz, closest to the border fence. (New York Times)
        See also Gaza Border Kibbutzim Fear for Their Future in Wake of Truce - Danna Harman and Judy Maltz
    Residents of communities along the border with Gaza - the majority of them kibbutzim - said they welcomed the cease-fire, but at the same time expressed concern that it was a stopgap measure that would provide only temporary quiet. (Ha'aretz)
  • Gaza Begins to Pick Up Pieces after "Worst War" - Harriet Sherwood
    Gaza began the long process of picking up the pieces of shattered lives and homes on Wednesday after 50 days of bloodshed and destruction. In the neighborhood of Shujai'iya, the Musabeh family was picking through the debris of their home. "There is nothing left, we lost everything," said Naima Musabeh, 49. "Where is the good from this?" Her son Ali, 29, was bitter about the outcome of the conflict. "This war was for nothing. Yesterday they were giving out sweets in the street and shooting [in celebration], but I was crying when they said it was a victory."  (Guardian-UK)
  • With Gaza War, Movement to Boycott Israel Gains Momentum in Europe - Steven Erlanger
    The war in Gaza and its aftermath have inflamed opinion in Europe and, experts and analysts say, are likely to increase support for the movement to boycott, disinvest from and sanction Israel, known as BDS. But for all the new attention around the BDS movement, the economic impact has been small, experts say.
        The EU does not support the idea. Instead, the Europeans are drawing a legal distinction between Israel within its 1967 boundaries and Israeli towns and settlements that are beyond them. Israel says its settlement activity is consistent with international law, and that all will be resolved as part of a final deal with the Palestinians. (New York Times)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Hamas Leader: We Will Go Back to War Against Israel If Upcoming Truce Talks Fail - Jack Khoury
    Hamas leader Khaled Meshal said Thursday that Hamas still has rockets and tunnels at its disposal, and will not hesitate to use them against Israel again if the negotiations for a long-term truce fail. "This military campaign revived resistance as a realistic possibility for the Palestinian people," he added. "This is not the end of the battle to liberate the land."  (Ha'aretz)
  • 62 Soldiers Wounded in Gaza Still Hospitalized - Meital Yasur Beit-Or
    62 IDF soldiers wounded during the Gaza war remain hospitalized, 7 in serious condition. 5 injured civilians are still hospitalized as well, 1 in serious condition. Magen David Adom emergency services paramedics treated 842 civilians during the war. The MDA blood bank provided civilian and military hospitals nationwide with 58,156 units of blood. (Israel Hayom)
  • Video: How a Father Shielded His Wife and Child from Hamas Rockets
    Jehan Berman immigrated to Israel from Belgium and now lives on Israel's border with Gaza. Last week, during a birthday party for his 3-year-old son, a mortar landed just outside the kindergarten where they were celebrating. Unable to make it to the bomb shelter, Jehan shielded his wife and child with his body as the rocket fell, and was wounded by shrapnel. (Israel Defense Forces)
  • Hamas Rounds Up 15 More Suspected Collaborators - Justin Jalil
    15 Gazans accused of spying for Israel were rounded up Wednesday morning by Hamas internal security. Over 50 suspected Palestinian collaborators with Israel have been killed by Hamas in the past two months. (Times of Israel)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):

    The Gaza War

  • Israel Gained Upper Hand in Final Days of Gaza War - Asmaa al-Ghoul
    The Gaza war took a different course during its last four days as Israeli aircraft started targeting middle- and upper-class neighborhoods. Aug. 26 ended with a cease-fire; its beginning was completely different. Gazans were traumatized as Israeli forces targeted two residential buildings - the Italian Complex and Basha Tower - in the early morning hours, in the most vital areas of Gaza. The headquarters of Sawt El Shaab radio station in Basha Tower, as well as several other press offices, turned into rubble.
        The radio station's editor, Shady Abu Shadak, said Israeli forces warned everyone to get out because they were going to strike in 20 minutes. "We started calling all the well as all journalists to leave the building and we ran as far as we could." He added that the aircraft launched two guided rockets as they stood and watched.
        The Italian Complex in al-Nasr neighborhood is considered one of the highest towers in Gaza. Part of the tower is still standing. Planes launched two rockets at the foundations of the 14-story Zafer 4 tower in the modern neighborhood of Tal al-Hawa in broad daylight on Aug. 23, and no Gazan could ever forget the image of it crumbling.
        Political analyst Akram Atallah sees the targeting of residential towers as a wakeup call for the Palestinians to realize what Israel is capable of doing and as a message. "The destruction of the towers did not affect the battle as much as it affected Palestinian public opinion," he said.
        "When the ground battles stopped, Israel started to regain the upper hand....This affected the Palestinians and the resistance factions' morale." "When Israel carried out the ground operation, coffins were being sent out to Israel on a daily basis. However, after the ground withdrawal, there were no coffins anymore, which made people sense that the resistance was witnessing a setback, after initially advancing."
        Referring to the targeted killing of the southern leadership of Hamas' Al-Qassam Brigades, he added, "The fact that Israel received such accurate information concerning Qassam leadership allowed it to gain ground in the battle." Atallah confirmed that impressions changed after that moment; Israel was more prone to use aircraft and it multiplied its strikes, which led to the decrease of the number and range of the resistance's rockets as the battle dragged on and reinforcement potential weakened. "In the end, Israel became the decision-maker in the truce agreement," he concluded. (Al-Monitor)
  • IDF Intelligence: In Hamas' Bunkers, They Talk About Defeat - Ben Caspit
    A member of the IDF's General Staff, who took part in building up the army's forces and in directing Operation Protective Edge, said that Hamas "counted on the assumption that Israel wouldn't touch a 14-story residential building filled with civilians on floors three to 14, while the three lowest floors are occupied by Hamas headquarters. In this, they erred. We felled nine such high-rises in the last days of the operation. We evacuated the population, the civilians understood that we were serious about this, and we downed those towers so that it would be clear that we would not accept terror in any form."
        "Hamas emerges from this story with their hands on their heads, without a single achievement....According to all our intelligence reports, the atmosphere around them is gloomy. In their bunkers, they talk about defeat, about damage. They know that it will be hard for them to explain to their nation, for what purpose did they destroy Gaza? What exactly did they receive in exchange?"  (Al-Monitor)
  • Is the Gaza War Really Over? - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Many foreign journalists who came to cover the war in Gaza were under the false impression that it was all about improving the living conditions of the Palestinians by opening border crossings and building an airport and seaport. These journalists really believed that once the demands of Hamas and Islamic Jihad are accepted, this would pave the way for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
        Yet they failed to take into consideration the context of the conflict. Hamas and Islamic Jihad stated both before and after the war that their real goal is to "liberate all Palestine." It is obvious that Hamas and Islamic Jihad are now more determined than ever to pursue their fight to eliminate Israel.
        The Egypt-brokered cease-fire may achieve some calm for the foreseeable future. But Hamas and its allies will continue to raise new generations of Palestinians on glorification of terrorism and jihad. Only days before the war, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said: "We will continue to educate and call for the liberation of all Palestine and the establishment of a Palestinian state on all the land of Palestine." What Hamas and its allies are actually saying is, "Give us open borders and an airport and seaport so we can use them to prepare for the next war against Israel."  (Gatestone Institute)
  • Israelis Know that the IDF Does Not Deliberately Kill Civilians - Yossi Klein Halevi
    Israelis know that the IDF does not deliberately kill civilians. We know this because we are the IDF - because our sons, our neighbors' sons, have been fighting in Gaza. We know that dead Palestinian civilians serve the interests only of Hamas, not Israel, whose military operations in the past were either curtailed or halted altogether by an errant shell that exploded in a classroom or a refugee shelter.
        We know that houses in Gaza were booby-trapped, that schools and mosques concealed arms caches and entrances to tunnels and were repeatedly used as launching pads for rockets. And we knew, from previous experience, that the Hamas figures of civilian casualties would turn out to be lies. The good news is that we've once again surprised ourselves with our resilience. The writer is a senior fellow of the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. (New Republic)
  • Why Israel Has an Absolute Right to Defend Its People - Leo McKinstry
    In the twisted narrative of the anti-Israel brigade, the Hamas rulers of Gaza are battling for their oppressed people against a brutal, racist military regime. But this is a complete moral inversion of reality. In truth, Israel is a bulwark of democracy forced by the lethal forces of anti-Semitic Islamism to fight for survival.
        Far from representing liberation and progress, as many progressives absurdly claim, Hamas is a brutal organization that aims to impose totalitarian Islamic rule. Along with other jihadist outfits like the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Boko Haram in Nigeria, or the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, it forms part of a monstrous theocratic death cult that wants to destroy our civilization. Genocidal aggression towards the non-believer is a key element of this cult.
        Visceral loathing for the Jewish state is the central impetus behind Hamas, reflected in its relentless barrage of indiscriminate rocket attacks against civilian targets in Israel. But it is Hamas, in all its Islamist addiction to persecution, violence, misogyny and racial hatred, that should be the real pariah. (Express-UK)
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren Defends Israeli Shelling of Gaza Schools, Hospitals - Ryan Grim and Zach Carter
    The Israeli military has the right to attack Palestinian hospitals and schools in self-defense if Hamas has put rocket launchers next to them, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said last week at a local town hall, according to the Cape Cod Times. Warren said she thinks civilian casualties are the "last thing Israel wants. But when Hamas puts its rocket launchers next to hospitals, next to schools, they're using their civilian population to protect their military assets. And I believe Israel has a right, at that point, to defend itself."
        Warren argued that Israel's use of force was justified: "Israel lives in a very dangerous part of the world, and a part of the world where there aren't many liberal democracies and democracies that are controlled by the rule of law. And we very much need an ally in that part of the world."  (Huffington Post)

  • Military Lessons from the Gaza War

  • The IDF's "Canopy of Fire" System - Lilach Shoval
    The IDF Gaza Division's Canopy of Fire offensive system, combining intelligence and aerial capabilities, struck between 40 and 50 terrorists in Gaza in the past week. According to a Gaza Division officer, Canopy of Fire is "a system that combines intelligence with firepower, and was created to hit every type of high-trajectory threat against Israel."
        An officer with the rank of lieutenant-colonel is always present in the operations center for the purpose of authorizing a strike. Under extraordinary circumstances, when sensitive structures such as schools are located in the vicinity of a target, a series of authorizations are required. "There is quite a bit of fire from places such as schools or cemeteries. What is unique is the ability to do this very quickly and hit as few uninvolved bystanders as possible along the way. The moment that people who are shooting are identified, they are kept under observation and we decide on what means to employ - from the air or ground."  (Israel Hayom)
  • IDF Wants More Namer APCs and Trophy Protection Systems - Yaakov Lappin
    Senior army officials hope that the IDF will acquire better-protected Namer APCs and more active protection systems (APS) such as the Trophy, which they credit with defending Merkava Mk 4 tanks against more than a dozen anti-tank missiles. "There are no armored vehicles like them in the world," a source said.
        The officer said that the IDF's current armor inventory was sufficient for an "unstoppable" offensive in Gaza, but "we will need large quantities of [new] armored vehicles [to take on Hizbullah]." He said that in Gaza the Trophy system had "pleasantly surprised us with its extreme precision, and unique operational capability. It answered the threat. Of course we will want to expand this."  (IHS Jane's Defence Weekly)
  • Israel - A Weapons Research Lab - Markus Becker
    Israel has been in a perpetual state of conflict with its neighbors since the country's founding. It feels threatened from all sides; it is small and doesn't possess a massive army. "Innovative military technologies, rather than a massive army, have been viewed as strategically crucial for Israel given its relatively small size," says Dan Peled, a business professor at the University of Haifa.
        Data from the Stockholm institute SIPRI shows that Israeli weapons exports more than doubled between 2001 and 2012. "'Proven combat performance' is still one of Israel's strongest military technology sales promotions," says Peled. The label "combat proven" translates directly into healthy global sales of firearms, drones and rockets "Made in Israel."
        The vast majority of Israelis view the development of new weapons as a simple necessity in order to ensure their safety and their country's very existence. Defense industry officials even present their technologies as promoting peace. They argue that precise weaponry can prevent collateral damage, and that the Iron Dome rocket defense system makes milder responses to missile attacks from Gaza possible.
        Jane's reported that Israel sold more drones than the U.S. in 2013. It is estimated that it will export twice as many as the U.S. in 2014. "Surprisingly, given its modest resources, Israel's defense R&D community succeeds in developing state-of-the-art weapon systems, often the first of their kind in the world," a study conducted by the University of South Wales in Australia concluded. (Der Spiegel-Germany)

  • Other Issues

  • When It Comes to ISIS, Iranian Help Is Useless and Dangerous - Abdulrahman Al-Rashed
    A U.S. alliance with Shi'ite Iran against ISIS would push Sunni moderates to align with terrorist organizations. This would be the worst possible scenario because Sunnis are the majority of the 1 billion Muslims across the world. It would make the U.S. a target in a sectarian war, and it would bolster the position of terrorist groups.
        During the previous war against the Sunni al-Qaeda between 2001 and 2010, the U.S.'s major allies were Sunni-majority countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Pakistan. This represents a logical approach in international relations. The writer is general manager of Al-Arabiya television. (Asharq al-Awsat-UK)
  • Don't Forget Iran's Ballistic Missiles - Behnam Ben Taleblu
    Last month, the P5+1 and Iran extended for four months the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA), the interim nuclear deal that was agreed to in Geneva, as the parties continue to seek a comprehensive solution. Remarkably absent from the text of the JPOA, however, is a reference to the status of Iran's ballistic missile program. The omission of ballistic missiles from the current P5+1 negotiations runs contrary to numerous UN Security Council resolutions which deliberately target the missile program and those who seek to aid it.
        By not openly pursuing limits on Iran's ballistic missile progress - with a focus on design, payload, or range - negotiators risk sweeping these UN resolutions under the rug. Consequently, the West risks making the entire issue subject to Iran's interpretation. The writer is an Iran research analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (War on the Rocks)
  • The Barrier to Peace - Mortimer B. Zuckerman
    The Palestinians won't accept any land-for-peace deal. They want the land without the peace. They want sovereignty for themselves without a reciprocal recognition of the sovereignty of the Jewish state. They want statehood without negotiation and an independent Palestine that can continue its war with Israel. Palestinians believe the West will always offer more if they are intransigent, and so their leadership radicalizes public opinion. The barrier to peace is a Palestinian Authority that still dreams of annihilating Israel, and Hamas, which is committed to its pledge to murder Jews. (New York Daily News)
  • Declare Yom Kippur a UN Holiday - Daniel S. Mariaschin and David J. Michaels
    The UN charter affirms the "equal rights" of "nations large and small." But in the "family of nations," some members are more equal than others. The State of Israel was created, in the Jewish ancestral homeland, as a result of a UN resolution. Israel tries to contribute to international peace in every area in which it can help, from disaster relief to medical innovation to agricultural technology. But over time, Israel has been a target for exceptional mistreatment at the UN and is routinely condemned by the body's Human Rights Council more than any other member state.
        The UN is headquartered in New York City, which has the single largest Jewish population in the diaspora. In 1997, the General Assembly added two Muslim holidays (Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr) to the official calendar of the UN headquarters. Two of the 10 holidays are Christian (Good Friday and Christmas) and the other six are American federal holidays. None is Jewish. Important UN events - even, sometimes, meetings related to Israel - have repeatedly been scheduled on major Jewish holidays.
        Last month, 32 nations - including Argentina, Canada, Israel, Nigeria and the U.S. - declared their support for adding Yom Kippur to the UN calendar. The Yom Kippur proposal is a nonpolitical one and a test of inclusiveness. All 193 UN members should support it. Daniel S. Mariaschin is executive vice president, and David J. Michaels is director of UN and intercommunal affairs, at B'nai B'rith International. (New York Times)
  • What Makes Some British Muslims Become Jihadis? - Daniel Hannan
    An alarming number of our young men - born and brought up in the UK - are involved with extremist paramilitaries in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. There are credible estimates that more British Muslims are fighting with Islamic State than serving in the British Armed Forces.
        Experts who have studied Western-born Islamic militants say each has found a cause that validates his anti-social tendencies - a doctrine that teaches him that he is angry, not because there's something wrong with him, but because there's something wrong with everyone else. Islamic State thugs, like Baader-Meinhof gangsters, IRA gunmen, Red Brigaders or 19th century anarchists, are convinced that they can see things more keenly than others, and that this clarity of vision elevates and ennobles their aggression.
        For a start, we can stop taking these losers at their own estimation. Let's treat them, not as soldiers, but as common criminals. Instead of making documentaries about powerful, shadowy terrorist networks, let's laugh at the pitiable numpties who end up in our courts. Let's mock their underpants bombs and their attempts to set fire to glass and steel airports by driving into them and their tendency to blow themselves up in error. At the same time, let's stop teaching the children of immigrants to despise the British state. (Telegraph-UK)

Israel Has Emerged Stronger from the Gaza War - Daniel Polisar (Times of Israel)

  • Though there was uncertainty as to when the fighting between Israel and Hamas would end, there was little doubt what would happen immediately afterwards: Hamas leaders would declare victory and bring Gazans into the streets to celebrate, and Israelis would engage in public hand-wringing over whether our situation had become bleaker - as we have done following every military conflict since the Yom Kippur War four decades ago.
  • Israel emerged from the war strengthened in the areas that matter most. Despite sadness at our losses and concern about uncertainties that remain, Israelis and those who support us should face the future with a sense of accomplishment and heightened confidence.
  • First and foremost, Israeli society was strengthened over the last seven weeks. The unity, solidarity, and resolve Israelis showed during the war was of an unprecedented nature. Israelis in the millions maintained normal lives in the most abnormal of circumstances, showered soldiers with moral and material support, demonstrated gritty determination to continue the ground war despite the large number of IDF casualties, and bolstered the spirits of those most in need. One symbol was the sign placed near the grave of ex-Californian infantry fighter Max Steinberg, "There is no such thing as a lone soldier in Israel."
  • Such acts etched into the hearts of Israelis that we are a people capable of great courage, compassion, and commitment when it matters most. When the dust settles, it will be this sense that will remain and will instill in Israelis the conviction we have what it takes to survive and thrive, come what may.

    Dr. Daniel Polisar is provost of Shalem College in Jerusalem.
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