Gaza Reading [UPDATED]

Just sharing some of my own reading/watching from last night and this morning:

Max Fischer tells the heartbreaking story behind yesterday’s front page Washington Post photo of BBC journalist Jihad Misharawi carrying the body of his 11 month-old son Omar, killed by an Israeli strike in Gaza.

Michal Vasser writes in “A Message to Israeli Leaders: Don’t Defend Me — Not Like This,” via Haaretz: “If you are interested in stopping the hostile actions from the other side – open your ears and start listening. If we are important to you – please stop defending us by means of missiles, ‘pinpoints’ and ‘aeronautical components.’ Instead of Operation Pillar of Defense embark on Operation Hope for the Future. This is more complicated, you need more patience and it is less popular – but it is the only way out.” 

At the Daily Beast, Gershom Gorenberg examines the politics: “The initial response of the Israeli public when the IDF is ordered into a major offensive is to rally around the government, to see the action as essential. Later, after the deaths on both sides, after an ambiguous resolution, neither victory nor defeat, a political hangover often sets in. If regret comes this time, no one knows whether it will take less than two months or more. Meanwhile, the unbearable problem in the south may recede—until the next bout.”

In Foreign Affairs, Daniel Byman questions the strategic gamble Israel has embarked on: “Israel’s latest campaign in Gaza, which began on Wednesday with the killing of Hamas’ military commander, Ahmed Jabari, and air strikes on the group’s long-range rocket launchers, is a gamble — and one that Israel might lose.” 

Gershon Baskin, who was negotiating a cease fire with Ahmed Jabari before he was assassinated, was on Democracy Now this morning, during which he lucidly explained the civilian fear on both sides. (Starts 20 mins in):



Israeli journalist Mya Guarnieri reports from Kiryat Malachi, where three Israelis were killed by a rocket strike this week. Worth a read for Israeli reaction to Operation Pillar of Defense, including one resident waiting for messiah, and others supporting an Israeli reoccupation of Gaza.

At +972, Dahlia Scheindlin finds the IDF poster declaring Jabari “eliminated” “an insult to all victims of the conflict and the current escalation,” and argues there might have been another way. 

+972 also covers an Israeli protest of the military operation in Gaza, from Tel Aviv.

Emily Hauser asks why she can’t love Israel deeply and still be critical of it. “Israel is a party to this madness. Israel is one of its authors. And the power that Israel wields is almost incalculably greater than that of the Palestinians it fights. We can say that, we can call Israel to account for its actions, even as we love it, even as we fear for our loved ones.”

UPDATE: Air raid sirens are going off in Jerusalem, and there are unconfirmed reports that three rockets have fallen nearby. [Later update: they reportedly have fallen near the Gush Etzion settlement bloc, no injuries.] A tweet from Daniel Seidemann, founder of Terrestrial Jerusalem:

More political reading:

Matt Duss at The American Prospect on why the military attack on Gaza was a gamble for Israel, and one that won’t solve the problem it purports to address.

Daniel Levy at Open Zion with a very detailed look at the role of Israel’s electoral politics and regional geopolitics. He concludes: “every time Israel prioritises military solutions over political solutions, views the Palestinians through the framework of occupation rather than human dignity, and strengthens an ethnocratic Israel over a democratic Israel, it is generating greater problems for its own future. By continuing to shut its eyes in the face of this reality the West is certainly doing neither Israelis nor Palestinians any favors. It is also fatally undermining its own ability to successfully navigate, build relationships and promote its own interests in a rapidly changing Middle East by ignoring Gaza and Palestinian disenfranchisement.”