UN ceasefire call goes unheeded

Israel is to keep up its offensive in the Gaza Strip despite a UN call for an immediate end to nearly two weeks of conflict involving Hamas militants.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said the latest firing of rockets into Israel showed the resolution was “unworkable”. [continued…]

Israel’s weeklong turning point

The Israeli commentator Aluf Benn has a name for the moment at which a “good” war goes bad. He calls it the “euphoria point”.

Answering his own question on what turns a bold military operation into a depressing war of attrition, he defines the moment thus: “Rapid success at the start of a campaign boosts the leaders’ spirits and encourages them to continue the fighting ‘until victory is achieved’ … [They] scornfully reject proposals for ceasefires … the enemy regroups … What began as a walk in the park ends in pointless attrition, or even in searing defeat.” [continued…]

Israeli rejection of Gaza deal may topple Abbas

At midnight Friday, according to Hamas’ interpretation of the Palestinian constitution, the tenure of Mahmoud Abbas as President of the Palestinian Authority comes to an end.

The confrontation in the Gaza Strip has granted Israel the opportunity to decide whether Abbas will lose his legitimacy before some of his nation, or will secure continued Fatah rule in the West Bank.

The decision to adopt the Egyptian-French-American compromise may bring an end to the fighting in the Strip and create the conditions for the resumption of the peace process. A decision to reject it may, instead of causing the collapse of Hamas rule in Gaza, bring about the crash of Abbas’ rule in the West Bank. And that will, by extension, destroy the road map. [continued…]

The lessons of Gaza

The Israeli military action in Gaza raises both moral questions and strategic ones. The moral issues are more complex than partisans on either side are prepared to admit. Not so the strategic issues: here the verdict is clear. Israel’s return to Gaza constitutes a tacit admission of strategic failure now stretching back four decades. As Barack Obama prepares to take office, that record of failure deserves careful consideration.

However deeply the Israeli army penetrates into Gaza and however long it stays, this much is certain: Operation Cast Lead will not put an end to violence between Israelis and Palestinians. No matter what this particular round of fighting may achieve, the conflict will continue. Indeed, the punishment inflicted on the residents of Gaza all but ensures its perpetuation.

Ever since it seized Gaza and the West Bank at the time of the 1967 War, Israel has assumed that allowing Palestinians to freely exercise their right of self-determination is incompatible with Israeli security. With expulsion infeasible and absorption unacceptable, a succession of Israeli governments set out to dictate the conditions under which Palestinians would live. This effort provoked intense resistance, manifested in a bloody chronicle of uprisings, incursions, invasions, and tit-for-tat retaliation. As the costs of occupation mounted, Israel began searching for ways to shed its Palestinian problem altogether, either through negotiation (the so-called peace process) or through unilateral action (partition). Here again, success proved elusive. [continued…]

What you don’t know about Gaza

Nearly everything you’ve been led to believe about Gaza is wrong. Below are a few essential points that seem to be missing from the conversation, much of which has taken place in the press, about Israel’s attack on the Gaza Strip. [continued…]

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