The looming war in Gaza: Can Obama stop it before it starts?

The looming war in Gaza: Can Obama stop it before it starts?

Next week, or the week after, Barack Obama may well see intelligence reports of tank battalions moving south and west along Israeli highways, and whole infantry brigades setting up camp in the western Negev.

The countdown to the Second Gaza War has begun in earnest. Date it, if you like, to Sunday, and a coolly terrifying analysis by Yom Tov Samia, former overall Israeli military commander of the Gaza Strip and the adjacent Negev.

Or date it, if you prefer, according to axiom of contemporary Israeli history which reads: A future war becomes practically inevitable the moment a key IDF reserve major-general declares it so.

Alternatively, date it from the moment that selective amnesia allows Israeli political figures to court the illusion that Hamas can be invaded to death.

All this and more was to be had from an interview Samia gave Army Radio this week, which should give pause not only to the Palestinians and Israelis who may fall victim to a Second Gaza War, but to Washington as well. [continued…]

Israel’s crisis

Just back from Israel/Palestine, the overwhelming sense I carry away is that the present state cannot last. Just how it goes down I have no idea. But conditions are so obviously discriminatory, and the knowledge of these conditions now so widespread– among the Christian pilgrims in my Jerusalem guesthouse, among European leaders, and now too among the Israeli elite and American left–that the situation is reminiscent of the delegitimizing of communism in the 70s and 80s. The period of apartheid struggle that Ehud Olmert warned of two years ago is upon us. So too his warning of possible “national suicide.”

The surprise for me is that the indifference of American Jews to this injustice is more than matched by that of the mass of Israelis: They live inside the bubble of their opinion that Israeli society is fair. So this trip has left me pretty depressed, even as it has renewed my sense of ethnocentric purpose: I will do what I can to bring the American Jewish community into the world conversation about the reality of Israel/Palestine.

This will happen. A few weeks back Israeli activist Micha Kurz said that a war had begun between one part of Israeli society and another; and I come home knowing that that war is about to erupt inside American Jewish life. You might say that it has already erupted: J Street’s emergence and all the liberal Zionists in the New York Review of Books attacking the occupation are signs. But we ain’t seen nothing yet. We are on the verge of a Jewish intifada, and about time too. [continued…]

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