A letter to friends who want to understand what is happening in Gaza | Times of Israel

I want to say a few words to my friends who are not particularly biased one way or the other (and perhaps somewhat uninformed) about what is happening in Gaza.

First, I am in favor of a Palestinian State. The question of the borders and militarization of the future Palestine is a thorny one, but I think it can be resolved. Second, I don’t hate Arabs, Muslims or Palestinians. Over my life, I have talked, had meals with or wrestled (literally, on the mat) with many. I can’t remember one bad moment. I love the conversation, the food and they are talented and dedicated fighters. [Read more]

In Gaza-Israel Coverage, The New York Times Purveys Pro-War Propaganda on Page One | truthout

The July 23 article “Hamas Gambled on War as Its Woes Grew in Gaza” by New York Times reporter Anne Barnard wrongly states, “When Hamas sent a barrage of rockets into Israel, simmering hostilities, and back and forth strikes, erupted into war.” That statement about the war’s origin is pro-war propaganda. It has no basis in fact.

The statement contradicts the report issued by the authoritative “Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center” (ITIC), a private Israeli think tank that “has close ties with the country’s military leadership,” according to The Washington Post. [Read more]

Hiding War Crimes Behind a Question | Consortiumnews

Doesn’t Israel have a right to defend itself? Though it is hard for a question to be wrong, this is a dead wrong question even though it is the heart and soul of Israel’s defense of its attack on little Gaza.

It is also the basis of the U.S. assessment of the ongoing moral disaster. The Senate voted unanimously to answer the question in the affirmative while ignoring all other piercingly relevant circumstances. Never has a misplaced question had such prestige and high-level cachet. [Read more]

Gaza as Sarajevo | truthdig

Strange the things that stick in the craw.

After the publication earlier this week of my Truthdig commentary about Israel’s repetitively compulsive and rabid behavior (“Israel Has Been Bitten by a Bat”), I got a lovely note from a dear longtime friend who was in general and quite anguished agreement with much of what I’d written. But, perhaps not surprisingly, given that he is considerably more of a Zionist than I’ve ever been (a longtime theme in our relationship), he took particular umbrage at my suggestion that the nearly 2 million Palestinians bottled up in Gaza were living in what was for all intents and purposes a concentration camp—not a death camp, mind you, but hardly different from the notorious sorts of conditions Japanese-Americans had been subjected to in World War II, or Boers during the Anglo-Boer wars, or Sowetans under apartheid, or (and this is clearly what got to him), for that matter, the kinds of conditions Jews and gays and gypsies and the like were subjected to at Dachau and Theresienstadt in the years before the Nazis themselves settled on their Final Solution. [Read more]

Iraq Picks New President to Confront Militant Threat | New York Times

Trying to piece together a new government to confront a Sunni militant offensive and growing internal strains, Iraqi leaders on Thursday selected a well-regarded Kurdish politician to be the country’s new president.

Though the post is largely ceremonial, Iraqi officials said the choice was a vital step to try to ease the growing distrust between the country’s northern Kurdish population and the Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad and present a more united front against the militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. [Read more]

Iraq: Isis warns women to wear full veil or face punishment | The Guardian

Islamic State (Isis), the al-Qaida offshoot that seized large swathes of northern Iraq last month, has warned women in the city of Mosul to wear full-face veils or risk severe punishment.

The Sunni insurgents, who have declared a caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria and have threatened to march on Baghdad, also listed guidelines on how veils and clothes should be worn, part of a campaign to violently impose their radical brand of Islam. [Read more]

Islamic State fighters capture military base in Syria, behead soldiers | LA Times

Militants with the Al Qaeda breakaway group Islamic State seized control of a military base in northern Syria late Thursday night, beheading dozens of soldiers and displaying their headless bodies, activists said.

It is only the latest victory for the extremist group that has made rapid advances in both Iraq and Syria in recent months as it pursues its goal of creating an Islamic caliphate. [Read more]

Obsessing About Gaza, Ignoring Syria (and Most Everything Else) | The Atlantic

The responses to what I write about the Hamas war fall into several categories. My least favorite sort of response is the kind that invokes Hitler in some way. Here is an e-mail that is representative: “I hope Hitler kills you and your family.” (Yes, it was written in the present tense.) Then there are the messages from those who seek the elimination of Israel. These run along the lines of, “Jeffrey wants blood, give him more Palestinian blood!” (I’m not sure if this tweet was riffing off the blood libel or not.) Like many people, I am legitimately shocked (not “shocked, shocked” but actually shocked) by the level of grotesque anti-Jewish invective seemingly (though not actually) prompted by the war, particularly in Europe. I’ve been getting mail like this for a long time, so it is the intensity and volume, rather than the content, that is so surprising. [Read more]

A nation of refugees: Jordan struggles with those fleeing regional crises | Al Jazeera

Mohand Qasim’s family has been seeking asylum for four and a half years, but they’ve never lived in a camp. Qasim was a poor Iraqi man making clothing during the American-led invasion of his country. Then his neighbor started working with U.S. forces as an interpreter and said they paid well. Qasim followed and became a janitor.

One day, Qasim was attacked by armed men on his way home. His skull was beaten with guns until his whole face bled, and he’s had schizophrenia ever since. He and his family fled to Syria, only to have conflict break out within a year. They returned to Baghdad in 2011, but were threatened again. When their neighbor was shot in the head and killed, the family fled once more, this time to Jordan. [Read more]

Egypt sides with Israel in conflict with Hamas | USA Today

An echo of the anti-Hamas rhetoric coming from Israel during its conflict with Gaza is resonating from what many would consider a surprising corner since fighting erupted July 8: Egypt.

A country whose leader just over a year ago had been a close Hamas ally is now one of its principal antagonists. It is stirring up public opinion against the militant group because Hamas is the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, which Egypt has outlawed. [Read more]

Understanding ‘the other:’ My travels from Egypt to Ethiopia | Al Arabiya

Egypt and Ethiopia issued a joint statement a few weeks ago, confirming their mutual commitment to the principles of cooperation, mutual respect and good neighborly relations as well as to the principles of respecting international law and achieving common interests.

The statement was issued by Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn following discussions they held in Malabo during the recent African summit. [Read more]


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