Violence between Israel and the Palestinian refugees in Gaza have
calmed somewhat since Israel's major offensive over a year ago, but it
is far from peaceful. Over the weekend, an Israeli air strike killed three gunmen in Gaza. Also over the weekend, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu approved plans
to build a wall along the Israel-Egypt border, where Gaza is located,
to keep out migrants and promote border security. Israel's Gaza policy
may have also had recent repercussions outside the region, as the
Jordanian suicide bomber who killed seven CIA agents in Afghanistan may was reportedly 'enraged' by the Gaza war. Should Israel rethink Gaza?
- Yes, 'Before It's Too Late' Haaretz explains, "There is no easy solution to the troubles of 1.5 million poor Palestinians under double blockade, by Israel and Egypt, and whose government is being boycotted by countries around the world. A renewal of rocket fire shows that even a major military operation that brought death and destruction cannot ensure long-term deterrence and calm." They write, "Instead of erring by invoking the default solution of more force, which does not create long-term security or ease the distress of the Palestinians in Gaza, the crossings between Israel and the Gaza Strip should be opened and indirect assistance rendered to rebuild its ruins."
- CIA Bomber and Gaza Juan Cole explores what may have flipped al-Balawi. "What is fascinating is the way al-Balawi's grievances tie together the Iraq War, the ongoing Gaza atrocity, and the Western military presence in the Pushtun regions-- the geography of the Bush 'war on terror' was inscribed on his tortured mind," he writes. "[F]rom a social science, explanatory point of view, what we have to remember is that there can be a handful of al-Balawis, or there can be thousands or hundreds of thousands. It depends on how many Abu Ghraibs, Fallujahs, Lebanons and Gazas the United States initiates or supports to the hilt. Unjust wars and occupations radicalize people."
- Hamas's 'Nerve-Racking Game' The Jerusalem Post quotes a Hamas official, "Anyone who thinks Hamas is in a weak position in the prisoner exchange negotiations is wrong. Israel will eventually lose the nerve-racking game, and will accept all of the conditions set by Hamas for Schalit's release." Gilad Schalit is a captured Israel Defense Force soldier who has been held by Hamas in Gaza since 2006.
- Only Gazans Can End War The Weekly Standard's Rachel Abrams argues that Israel can never really stop Hamas on its own. "Only ordinary Gazans themselves have the power to do that," she writes, pleading with Gazans to "ask themselves why they've been sentenced by [Hamas leader] Khaled Meshaal and his masters in Damascus and Syria to live lives as less than humans, as pawns in Hamas's own very nerve-racking game; and, feeling all the horror of what they've become, begin to contemplate taking a stand against it. The moment they do will be the moment Hamas's power over them--and the Israelis--ends."
- Israel Listening to Global Opinion? Global Post's Ben Lynfield thinks the "decision by Israel to take legal advice during combat marks a belated acknowledgment that its international standing has been badly wounded by last year's bombardment of Gaza." He report, "According to the decision, legal officers will be involved in battle decision-making and a greater emphasis will be placed on educating officers in the rules of war and international law." The move comes after "Israeli officers were forced to cancel an official visit to Britain because London could not guarantee they would not face arrest under universal jurisdiction provisions for alleged war crimes in Gaza."