Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Israel and Gaza: Required Reading for January 14

Here are today's "Required Reading" selections. We seem to be headed toward a very complicated end game, with some key decisions ahead for the Israeli leadership, which seems divided on the short term goals. Stay tuned....


Myths and Facts Online
“The UN’s human rights reporter is an objective source on conditions in Gaza.”
“Hamas rocket attacks on Israel are a legitimate tool to resist the occupation.”
“Israel withdrew from Gaza and imposed a blockade to intentionally create a humanitarian crisis.”

Israel is well within its rights- Alan Dershowitz (Jpost)Under int'l law, it has the right to declare all-out war against Hamas.

Video: Anti-Aircraft Gun and Rockets in Gaza Mosque (Israel Defense Forces)

An unsung hero rescuing lives at the Gaza-Israel checkpoint

Hamas has agreed to a ceasefire in Gaza based on Egypt's proposal, Arab sources told Ynet Wednesday....Full story

International Red Cross: Israel's Use of White Phosphorus Not Illegal - Bradley S. Klapper- The International Red Cross said Tuesday that Israel has fired white phosphorus shells in its offensive in Gaza, but has no evidence to suggest the incendiary agent is being used improperly or illegally. In response to accusations by human rights organizations, Peter Herby, head of the ICRC mines-arms unit, said: "It's not very unusual to use phosphorus to create smoke or illuminate a target. We have no evidence to suggest it's being used in any other way." Herby said that using phosphorus to illuminate a target or create smoke is legitimate under international law. (AP)

ANALYSIS / Hezbollah seeking to change the rules of the game
Group wants to create situation in which it can freely fire rockets into Israel without sparking all-out war.

Harel & Issacharoff: Is Hamas waiting on Obama for Gaza truce?

'No ceasefire without Shalit'
Hundreds of teenagers rally in Tel Aviv, demand soldier's release be made part of any truce deal

American Public Backs Israel Firmly in War with Hamas - William Douglas (McClatchy) The American people are squarely behind Israel and overwhelmingly think that using force against Hamas is appropriate, according to a new McClatchy/Ipsos poll. 44% of Americans support Israel's use of force, while only 18% considered Hamas' use of force appropriate. 57% think that Hamas is using excessive force, while only 36% said Israel was. When it comes to who's to blame for the latest Middle East crisis, 44% said Hamas, 14% said Israel. When asked whether the U.S. should favor a Palestinian state, 45% said it shouldn't, 31% said it should. Americans aren't sure that President-elect Obama will be able to achieve peace between Israelis and Palestinians. 51% said they weren't confident that he could, 32% said they were somewhat c onfident and 10% very confident.

48 Hours after Wedding, IDF Soldier Critically Wounded in Gaza - Nadav Shragai, Dana Weiler-Polak, and Nir Hasson -Two weeks ago, 2nd Lt. Aharon Karov got leave from his paratroop unit so he could attend his own wedding. Less than 48 hours after marrying Tzviya Mordechai, he was called back to his unit, and on Monday night he was critically wounded in an explosion in a booby-trapped house in northern Gaza. (Ha'aretz)

When the Gaza Dust Settles - Robert Satloff- Once the immediate crisis comes to an end, the Obama-Clinton team will face a choice in how to fulfill the new president's commitment to invest heavily and early in the Arab-Israeli peace process. On the Israeli-Palestinian track, there are two principal schools of thought, reflected in two sets of studies produced by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and a joint effort by the Council on Foreign Relations/Brookings Institution. The Washington Institute studies call for a combined top-down/bottom-up approach toward strengthening the Palestinian Authority and enhancing prospects for Israeli-PA negotiations; the relevant chapter in the CFR/Brookings study calls for findings ways the U.S. can engage Hamas. It is important to recognize that these are "either/or" options. It is not possible to engage Hamas and build up the PA a t the same time. Engaging Hamas would undermine whatever popular support remains for the Mahmoud Abbas-Salam Fayad government, bring an abrupt end to the Dayton (U.S. security coordinator, Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton) effort to "train and equip" PA security forces, compel Egypt and Jordan to change course in terms of their own approach toward the PA, and buoy radical actors from Gaza to Beirut to Tehran. Given both personnel choices and strategic imperatives, it is unlikely that the Obama-Clinton team will choose to engage Hamas. The writer is executive director of The Washington Institute. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)

To Deter or to Defeat Hamas - Moshe Arens - It does not seem likely that a terrorist organization could be deterred from pursuing its aims. Terrorist organizations do not generally own substantial assets that are vulnerable to attack, and striking them seems to increase their support from their fanatical fans. Their leaders, if killed, are quickly replaced by others. Al-Qaeda cannot be deterred; it has to be defeated. Hamas, a terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel, cannot be deterred. It attaches no value to life, whether Muslim or Jewish. Israel is concerned over the loss of life in Gaza during the current round of fighting, but Hamas is not. If a cease-fire is established before Hamas' rocket capability has been eliminated, the group will be seen as the victor. If rockets cease falling, it will be clear who won this conflict. The writer served as Israel's M inister of Defense three times. (Ha'aretz)

The Gaza-Egypt Smuggling Tunnels Must Be Closed - Dore Gold (Wall Street Journal)
When Israelis look back on what caused the current conflict in Gaza, they point to their government's decision in September 2005 to leave the narrow "Philadelphi Route" that runs along the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. More than Israel's disengagement from the Strip as a whole, the abandonment of this strategic area made full-scale war inevitable.
Anticipating the end of the Gaza war, there is already talk that the peace process can simply be picked up where it was left off and pursued with new determination. But the crisis over the Philadelphi Route has taught Israel a bitter lesson about relinquishing critical territory: It was a cardinal error to leave this strategic zone at the perimeter of Gaza, even if Israel wanted to get out of the Strip in its entirety. Israeli leaders including Yitzhak Rabin have warned that Israel must never leave the Jordan Valley, the equivalent perimeter zone in the West Bank.

Why you should come to Israel- Israel 21C, By Benji Lovitt Do you remember me? I lived in your fine city just a few years ago. When I arrived, you were still "HOTlanta" and anybody who was anybody ...

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