Monday, January 19, 2009

Israel and Gaza: Required Reading for January 19

With the crisis (hopefully) abating, I've disabled the Jerusalem Online news report that has been appearing on top of this blog. You can now access it directly at

While it is very difficult to measure victory in the Middle East, where, as the old saying goes, "to the victim belongs the spoils," Israel seems to have acheived its primary goals in this go-round, and all in time to be out of Gaza before Barack Obama takes the oath of office tomorrow. Yossi Klein Halevi. The general feeling is that the Israeli public mood will determine for the world whether Israel has "won" or "lost" this round, and that mood is vastly comlicated by the election campaign that has suddenly swung into full gear. The right wing, which has gained ground in the polls, will claim that not all those goals were acheived. But the soldiers leaving Gaza today are in a far better mood than they were when leaving Lebanon two years ago.

But the best news coming out of Israel yesterday may have been the announcement that an enormous natural gas field has been discovered just off the Israeli coast, holding enough gas, it seems, to enable Israel to become an energy exporter.

To see an update of "Gaza by the numbers" go to the Israel Project website and scroll down.

With the dust now settling, while we examine the rubble that was much of institutional Gaza, we also need to re-explore must of the rabble that was supposed to be objective reporting. A look at the website of CAMERA,, helps us to do that. Much attention, for example, has been given to Bill Moyers' Rants Against Israel — And Jews, along with NPR Gaza Coverage. You might want to take a look at these before making your annual pledge to public TV and radio. CAMERA also has its own Myths and Facts about the Fighting in Gaza.

Here is an interesting and introspective Reuters commentary aiming to explain how hard it is to achieve objectivity and fairness in the fog of war. At least this commentator tried to explain the alleged bias, which other news outlets refuse to acknowledge.

For further analysis of the military situation as it now stands, see:

ANALYSIS / Israel preparing for Iran bid to restock Hamas rockets Ha'aretz

Analysis: The operation is over but the war continues Jerusalem Post

Analysis: Sharm e-Sheikh summit gives needed boost to Egypt and ...Jerusalem Post

ence enabled calm'
Barak visits injured soldiers, says 'our troops dealt Hamas a blow it's never known before' (YNet)

'Back Abbas in Gaza crisis' Arab League leaders meeting at Kuwait economic summit voice opinions on recent Israel-Hamas conflict. UN chief Ban says Arab unity is crucial, Egypt's Mubarak questions efficiency of violent struggle against Israel (YNet)

In his commentary, Marc Shulman, at, is cautiously optimistic: "When the ceasefire was announced yesterday, Israeli Minister of Defense Barak stated that this will not be the last war. Nobody can doubt the truth of that statement, but without jumping to any conclusion too quickly, it is possible that something may have changed fundamentally in the world of Palestinian resistance. This is the first time since 1967 that Israel has clearly won a one sided victory at a very low cost."

And finally, a prayer for peace from Ritualwell:

Our Divine Guardian, Rock and Redeemer of Israel, bless the State of Israel, the beginning of our redemption. Shield it beneath the wings of Your steadfast love and spread over it the shelter of Your peace. May a spark of Your spirit inspire the actions of its President, Prime Minister, officials, judges and advisors that they may follow the path of righteousness, liberty and freedom. Strengthen the hands of those who build and protect our Holy Land and grant them salvation and life. Grant peace to this land and everlasting joy to its inhabitants.

Be near to all the people of Israel throughout the lands of their dispersion. Plant within their hearts the love of Zion, and may those of our people are so inspired come to Jerusalem, Your city, which bears Your name. Spread Your spirit over all the inhabitants of our land. Uproot hatred, jealousy and evil; plant in our heart love and brotherhood, peace and friendship. And speedily fulfill the version of Your prophet: Nation will not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn more any more.

Lo yisa goi el goi cherev, vi-lo yilmidu od milchamah.

And let us say: Amen

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