Friday, November 23, 2012

Pastrami & The Gaza War

Pastrami -Etgar Keret

The air-raid siren catches us on the highway. My wife, Shira, pulls over to the side of the road and we get out of the car. Lev holds my hand; he's seven. Following Home Front Command instructions, Shira lies down on the side of the road. I tell Lev that he has to lie down, too. But he keeps standing there.

"Lie down already," Shira says, raising her voice to be heard over the blaring siren. "How'd you like to play a game of Pastrami Sandwich?" I ask Lev. "What's that?" he asks, not letting go of my hand. "Mommy and I are slices of bread," I explain, "and you're a slice of pastrami, and we have to make a pastrami sandwich as fast as we can." 
The author is a well-known Israeli writer.
(New Yorker)

Why was there war in Gaza? -Charles Krauthammer

Seven years ago, in front of the world, Israel pulled out of Gaza. It dismantled every settlement, withdrew every soldier, evacuated every Jew, leaving nothing and no one behind. Except for the greenhouses in which the settlers had grown fruit and flowers for export. These were left intact to help Gaza’s economy — only to be trashed when the Palestinians took over.
Israel then declared its border with Gaza to be an international frontier, meaning that it renounced any claim to the territory and considered it an independent entity.

In effect, Israel had created the first Palestinian state ever, something never granted by fellow Muslims — neither the Ottoman Turks nor the Egyptians who brutally occupied Gaza for two decades before being driven out by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War.

It gave the land. It got no peace.

Israel has once again succeeded in defending itself. But, yet again, only until the next round, which, as the night follows the day, will come. Hamas will see to that.
[The Washington Post]

Iran Escalates Executions and Amputations -Hugh Tomlinson   

Iran has increased the number of public executions and amputations it carries out, taking advantage of the international focus on Gaza to reduce prison overcrowding.

At least 81 people have been hanged in the past ten days. "Every time the international community's attention is elsewhere we see a spike in executions across Iran," said Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam from Iran Human Rights.       

For Israel, Gaza Conflict Is Test for an Iran Confrontation -David E. Sanger & Thom Shanker

Michael B. Oren, the Israeli ambassador to the U.S. and a military historian, noted: "In the Cuban missile crisis, the U.S. was not confronting Cuba, but rather the Soviet Union." In the Gaza operation, "Israel was not confronting Gaza, but Iran."
(New York Times)

Israel's Iron Dome Shield

Israel's five Iron Dome batteries shot down 421 rockets launched from Gaza. The military put Iron Dome's success rate at 90%. To lower costs, the system engages only rockets that threaten populated areas. Israel says it needs 13 batteries for satisfactory nationwide defense. 
(Reuters-NBC News)

Israel Arrests Hamas, Islamic Jihad Cell Behind Tel Aviv Bus Bomb -Gili Cohen

Israeli security forces apprehended the perpetrators of a bombing attack on a Tel Aviv bus that wounded at least 30 people. Operatives linked to Hamas and Islamic Jihad admitted in their interrogation to preparing the bomb used in the attack, as well as purchasing the cell phone used to remotely detonate the device.

Will Israel Take the PA to the International Criminal Court? -Herb Keinon

 [D]uring the height of the Gaza crisis, Netanyahu, during numerous talks he held with various world leaders, asked his interlocutors why they were not calling on Abbas to stop the rockets from Gaza. "They would tell him to 'get serious,' and that Abbas has no control, to which Netanyahu would reply, 'So what is all the talk about statehood recognition at the UN,'" one government source said. The idea was to demonstrate how divorced from reality the whole UN proposal was.

The source asked, "If the Palestinians go to the UN and get recognition, next time there is a rocket attack from Gaza, why can't we attack Ramallah, and why can't we take them to the International Criminal Court and accuse them of war crimes?"
(Jerusalem Post)

Hamas' Gaza Victory -Editorial

Regarding America's war in Vietnam, Henry Kissinger once noted that "the guerrilla wins if he does not lose. The conventional army loses if it does not win." Regarding Israel's latest war against Hamas in Gaza, the same considerations apply.
The leaders of Hamas understand that they have emerged politically intact and strategically stronger after eight days of inconclusive fighting. The terrorist group fired more than 1,500 rockets at Israel - forcing millions of Israelis into bunkers and bomb shelters - but suffered no decisive military defeat.

Israel lives in a bad neighborhood that has become more dangerous since the Arab Spring. Israel has at least degraded Hamas' ability to attack if there is a war with Iran next year.
(Wall Street Journal)

Is Israel's Gaza Campaign Laying the Groundwork for an Attack on Iran?
-Moran Stern

In October a mysterious blast occurred at the Yarmouk military base on the outskirts of the Sudanese capital, Khartoum. Yarmouk was a base camp to receive arms shipments from Iran that were smuggled to Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Satellite images indicate that the bombing of Yarmouk was executed from the air. The Israeli Air Force (IAF) is the only one in the region with the capabilities to execute such a strike.

The operation in Sudan sent two clear messages to Tehran: First, that Israeli intelligence follows Iran's whereabouts in the region. Second, if the IAF can safely reach and destroy a target some 1,120 miles from Israel, it can make the 1,000-mile journey to Iran's nuclear facilities. Israel's Gaza operation was not aimed at destroying the Hamas regime in Gaza, but rather at paralyzing it militarily. Aside from the immediate respite it would provide Israel from rocket fire, this would also ensure that Hamas and Islamic Jihad stay out of the conflict in case Israel strikes Iran.

Furthermore, the heavy exchange of fire with Gaza is an excellent opportunity for the Israeli authorities to examine the preparedness of its home front, emergency infrastructure, and defensive military capabilities. A responsive public, who closely follows the instructions of the home front authorities, is an important element in minimizing the number of potential victims in case of an Iranian strike. While it is difficult to imagine that Israel launched its current offensive primarily to gauge these factors, it certainly provides important ancillary benefits toward that end.

Israel's actions also send a strong message: it is ready to act against its enemies and to bear the consequences.


Lessons from Gaza -Jackson Diehl

[T]his Gaza episode may finally finish off the stubbornly persistent notion that Israel should negotiate a peace settlement with the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority without Hamas' involvement.
(Washington Post)

More at Stake than You Think in Gaza -Daniel Taub 
  • If the negotiations do restart and the international community urges Israelis to make significant territorial withdrawals from the West Bank as part of a peace package, it should be aware that Israelis will naturally think back to the last time they were urged to pull out of land for peace, and the value of the reassurances they were given at that time.
  • When Israelis face rocket and missiles onslaught from territory they were urged to leave, the international community needs to stand by its assurance that Israel would be entitled to respond with the force and for the time necessary to protect its civilians.

    The writer is Israel's Ambassador to Britain.

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