En roundup om sammenstødet mellem Israel og militante grupper i Gazastriben. 
Borgerretsadvokat og journalist Glenn Greenwald skriver om den amerikanske rolle i den seneste eskalation i Guardian, og giver en række links til nyttige kontekstanalyser og tidlinjer:

[…]

Meanwhile, most US media outlets are petrified of straying too far from pro-Israel orthodoxies. Time’s Middle East correspondent Rania Abouzeid noted this morning on Twitter the typical template: “Just read report in major US paper about Gaza/Israel that put Israeli dead in 1st sentence. Palestinian in 6th paragraph.” Or just consider the BBC’s headline. Worse, this morning’s New York Times editorial self-consciously drapes itself with pro-Israel caveats and completely ignores the extensive civilian deaths in Gaza before identifying this as one of the only flaws it could find with the lethal Israeli assault: “The action also threatens to divert attention from what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly described as Israel’s biggest security threat: Iran’s nuclear program.”

In what I know will be a fruitless attempt to avoid having this discussion subsumed by that tired script: I will recommend several outstanding, truly must-read pieces written by others over the last 24 hours in lieu of my own reciting of the various arguments. Begin with this article by Yousef Munayyer in the Daily Beast setting the crucial context for the rocket attacks from Gaza; then read this Daily Beast news-breaking account from Gershon Baskin, who details how the provocations from the Israelis were geared toward disrupting an imminent peace deal with Hamas (“The assassination of Jaabari was a pre-emptive strike against the possibility of a long term ceasefire”); also vital is this time-line of events leading up to the rocket attacks from Gaza, with ample documentation from Ali Abunimah; and finally, there is this very succinct but poignant summary of what Israel has done over the last three weeks.

I want to focus on the US response to all of this. US policy always lies at the heart of these episodes, because Israeli aggression is possible only due to the unstinting financial, military and diplomatic support of the US. Needless to say, the Obama administration wasted no time expressing its “full-throttled support” for the Israeli attacks. […]

Tjek også denne tidlinje produceret af mellemøstmagasinet Jadaliyya.

En gruppe videnskabskvinder og mænd (heriblandt lingvisten Noam Chomsky) udsteder en fordømmelse af massemediernes sædvanlige lortedækning.

Chomsky udtaler sig i Democracy Now:

Gershon Baskin, en israelsk fredsaktivist, som stod bag handlen mellem Israel og Hamas om frigivelsen af den israelske soldat Gilad Shalit, i Ha’aretz::

[…] Baskin told Haaretz on Thursday that senior officials in Israel knew about his contacts with Hamas and Egyptian intelligence aimed at formulating the permanent truce, but nevertheless approved the assassination [of Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari]

I think that they have made a strategic mistake,” Baskin said, an error “which will cost the lives of quite a number of innocent people on both sides.”

This blood could have been spared. Those who made the decision must be judged by the voters, but to my regret they will get more votes because of this,” he added.

[…]

According to Baskin, during the past two years Jabari internalized the realization that the rounds of hostilities with Israel were beneficial neither to Hamas nor to the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip and only caused suffering, and several times he acted to prevent firing by Hamas into Israel.

He said that even when Hamas was pulled into participating in the launching of rockets, its rockets would always land in open spaces. “And that was intentional,” clarified Baskin.

In recent months Baskin was continuously in touch with Hamas officials and with Egyptian intelligence as well as with officials in Israel, whose names he refused to divulge. A few months ago Baskin showed Defense Minister Ehud Barak a draft of the agreement and on the basis of that draft an inter-ministry committee on the issue was established. The agreement was to have constituted a basis for a permanent truce between Israel and Hamas, which would prevent the repeated rounds of shooting.  […]

Ulrike Putz argumenterer i Der Spiegel, at eskalationen skyldes det israelske valg:

[…]Indeed, one can conclude that the most recent offensive against militants in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip – which started Wednesday with the killing of Jabari — has been conceived as more of a show fight for the Israeli public than the beginning of a decisive battle.

Dangerous Gambling
Both Netanyahu and Barak would have good reasons for wanting to use a successful mini-campaign to score points before parliamentary elections are held on Jan. 22. Netanyahu is undoubtedly afraid that ex-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert could snatch votes away from his Likud party if he decides to throw his hat in the ring. In fact, there are rumors that Olmert was planning to announce his candidacy precisely on Wednesday evening. But the military action codenamed “Pillar of Defense” upset his plans.

Defense Minister Barak can also no longer assume that his “Independence” party, which broke off from the Labor Party in January 2011, will win enough votes to keep seats in the country’s parliament, the Knesset. However, a successful offensive could boost its waning popularity enough to guarantee it some parliamentary seats. An offensive that gets the population to close ranks behind the military would also divert attention away from pressing social problems in Israel. Doing so would take the wind out of the sails of groups such as the Labor Party and cost them votes, thereby helping Netanyahu’s and Barak’s respective parties.

Still, even if the offensive might give the two some political advantages, it also entails massive risks. If the violence gets out of hand and the conflict between Israel and Hamas escalates into something like the three-week war that broke out between the two in December 2008, it could have drastic consequences for the men who orchestrated it. […]

Eli Bardenstein skriver i den israelske avis Maariv, at angrebene på Gaza-striben sætter det i forvejen tyndslidte israelske forhold til Egypten i fare. Bl.a. har Egypten trukket sin ambassadør til Israel hjem. (oversat i tidsskriftet al-Monitor)

[…] Yet the issue of garnering international legitimacy for launching an operation in Gaza isn’t the greatest problem facing Netanyahu and his government. The real price is the relations with Egypt. In fact, Israel has already started paying that price following the announcement from the presidential palace in Cairo that the ambassador had been recalled for consultations. Today [Nov. 15], Tel Aviv will wake up without an Egyptian ambassador. The Israeli Ambassador to Cairo, Yaakov Amitai, and the rest of the diplomatic corps also returned to Israel, with the official explanation of a general holiday in Egypt. In this case, too, his status remains unclear.

For four years Netanyahu has avoided launching a large-scale military operation in Gaza. Ever since Hosni Mubarak’s ouster, the Egyptians applied heavy pressure to Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak not to do it because of hostile public opinion in Egypt. Last August, the Egyptians resorted to real threats — that helped. Netanyahu’s advisor, Yaakov Amidror, admitted to the Egyptian ambassador at the time that “Egypt averted a war in Gaza.”

This time, the Egyptian issued a warning as well. However, now sensitivity is much more heightened because neither Mubarak nor General Tantawi are at the helm but rather the Muslim Brotherhood, whose president refuses to mention Israel by name.

The Egyptians didn’t wait. Less than five hours after the assassination of Hamas’ military leader, Ahmed Jabari, the presidential palace announced the recall of the Egyptian ambassador. How much damage have Israeli-Egyptian relations sustained? We’ll find out shortly. […]

Gaza-ekspert Nathan Thrall fra The International Crisis Group interviewes i det jødiske tidsskrift Tablet Magazine:

[…]What is the biggest takeaway from what’s happened today?

It looks like it’s going to be a large escalation; it seems very likely that Hamas is going to retaliate strongly. They’ll probably use longer-range weapons than they’ve ever used. The real question is whether any of this is going to change the basic status quo in relations between Israel and Gaza, and I think the answer to that is probably ‘no’ unless it escalates to the point that Israel reoccupies parts of Gaza, which is always a possibility. […]

Gershon Baskin kalder likvideringen af Hamas’ militærchef for “total insanity” på sin Facebook-profil:

The Israeli decision to kill Ahmed Jaabri was total insanity. Jaabri was behind enforcing all of the recent ceasefire agreements. He sent his troops out to stop the rockets and was prepared to reach a long term ceasefire. Jaabri was also the main interlocutor of the Egyptian intelligence service in reaching ceasefire understandings. Now who are they supposed to talk to? Who can expect the Egyptians to continue to mitigate our relationship with Gaza? Now the government and people of Israel will face a massive barrage of rockets and they bought the entrance card to Cast Lead II. God help us all. This is what I will say on London Kirschenbaum on Zissels television.

En mere dybdegående øjebliksanalyse af mordet på Hamas’ militærchef leveres af mellemøstenekspert Paul Mutter på Arabist:

[…] In undertaking Operation Pillar of Cloud, Israel is undermining Hamas’s efforts to keep smaller groups like Islamic Jihad, opportunists from the Sinai and the dissenting “Popular Committees” from launching attacks on civilians in southern Israel out of Gaza. By broadening the operational target list to include Hamas members once again, the group is going to have an extraordinarily difficult time managing its members’ anger, not to mention public opinion since tens of civilian casualties have been reported. But for Netanyahu, he’s scored an important boost to his image ahead of the Israeli general election in 2013 by taking out Jaabari, who is best-known to Israelis as the architect of Gilad Shalit’s abduction, which only ended when Netanyahu traded over 1,000 prisoners for Shalit’s release. […]

Journalist David Harris-Gershon skriver om Netanyahus motiver i det jødiske tidsskrift Tikkun:

[…] The truth is this: Israel has engaged in its current, escalating military campaign not to protect Israelis from a militant Hamas, but in order to ensure that Hamas in Gaza remains militant. See, while Jaabari was a known terrorist who had his hand in the Gilad Shalit kidnapping, he was also the Hamas leader both willing and capable of enforcing ceasefire agreements. In fact, as Gershon Baskin writes in “Assassinating the Chance for Calm,” Jaabari was considering a ceasefire proposal the moment he was assassinated. And Baskin should know, for he was working closely with Hamas officials on the proposal itself.

So why would Israel assassinate a Hamas official, a move guaranteed to provoke extreme outrage and revenge, at a time when Hamas leaders were working on a ceasefire? The answer is simple and twofold: a) Netanyahu’s government wants a militant Hamas in Gaza; it wants a situation in which Gaza becomes isolated from the West Bank, hoping eventually Greater Israel will be obtained with Gaza becoming a separate entity, and b) with Israeli elections set for January, electoral motivations are undeniably in play with regard to this sudden military barrage.

This has happened before, this tactic to destroy a cease fire and stoke militant extremism. And it’s a tactic I know intimately. See, in 2002, my wife was injured in the bombing of Hebrew University in Jerusalem. The bombing, carried out by Hamas, was a revenge attack for Israel’s targeted assassination of a top Hamas terrorist, Sheikh Salah Shehada. The rub? This assassination came 90 minutes after Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Palestinian Authority’s Tanzim had agreed on a long-term ceasefire agreement that included a historic call from all organizations to end all terror attacks on civilians.

In 2002, Ariel Sharon launched an Israeli offensive when Palestinians were on the cusp of an historic ceasefire. Today, Netanyahu has done something similar. Both moments share a singular motivation: ensuring that Hamas remains a militant enemy. It is a desire Hamas has been all too willing to oblige for its own political gain, willing to accept the self-destructive, symbiotic relationship Israel offers repeatedly. […]

Anyone with even a limited understanding of what life in Gaza is like right now knows that Palestinian suffering is intense and overwhelming. Millions of people are being terrorized by one-ton bombs falling incessantly in residential areas, and scores of civilians – including young children – have been injured and killed so far. And those injured are unable to receive proper medical attention due to medicine and supply shortages caused by Israel’s blockade of Gaza, itself a brutal and ever-present stranglehold.

John Glaser spekulerer på hjemmesiden Antiwar.org, om Israel bevidst eskalerer for at afspore amerikanske forhandlinger med Iran:

So, is Netanyahu knowingly escalating military tensions in order to avoid a successful diplomatic overture? I’m speculating, but it isn’t far fetched. We know from extensive reporting, mainly in Israeli media, that in 2010 – just as President Obama requested a freeze on Jewish settlements in the West Bank with the aim of resuming peace talks – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tried to provoke Iran into a war with Israel that would eventually drag in the United States.

It reminds me of what former CIA Middle East analyst Paul Pillar referred to this week as“Netanyahu’s tension-stoking brinksmanship: to divert attention from continued Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory and inaction on the festering Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”“[T]he Iran issue,” Pillar has previously written, provides a “distraction” from international “attention to the Palestinians’ lack of popular sovereignty.” Now the situation seems reversed: Israel is escalating war with Gaza to maintain deadlock with their favorite scapegoat, Iran.

Lara Friedman skriver i Open Zion om forskellen mellem USA’s støtte til Israel ved forrige krig mod Gaza i 2008–9 og USA’s nuværende støtte. Hun argumenterer, at støtten er skærpet:

The fact that the Senate wants to weigh in to express support for Israel during a conflict is, in itself, neither inappropriate nor especially notable. What is notable is the ways in which the current resolution (at least the draft that is circulating this afternoon) differs from the resolution passed by the Senate in the context of the last Gaza war. That resolution, S. Res. 10, was adopted January 8, 2009, by unanimous consent. Two major differences between the current resolution and S. Res. 10 bear mentioning.

First, the Gillibrand-Kirk resolution contains no mention of any aspiration to see hostilities end and includes no exhortation for the President to in any way to engage to try to calm the violence or bring about a ceasefire.

This is in contrast to S. Res. 10, which included a resolved clause encouraging the President “to work actively to support a durable, enforceable, and sustainable cease-fire in Gaza, as soon as possible, that prevents Hamas from retaining or rebuilding the capability to launch rockets and mortars against Israel and allows for the long term improvement of daily living conditions for the ordinary people of Gaza.”

Second, the Gillibrand-Kirk resolution doesn’t even pay lip service to, or offer even canned language feigning concern for, civilian life on both sides—or even on either side. This is bizarre, given that innocent civilians, including children, have already been killed and injured on both sides, and these numbers are almost certain to grow.

In contrast, S. Res. 10 included a resolved clause stating that the Senate: “believes strongly that the lives of innocent civilians must be protected and all appropriate measures should be taken to diminish civilian casualties and that all involved should continue to work to address humanitarian needs in Gaza.”

Some might suggest that these omissions weren’t deliberate. This suggestion hits a wall, however, given that much of the Gillibrand-Kirk text appears to be drawn directly from S. Res. 10. Indeed, Gillibrand and Kirk include in their resolution a “resolved” clause clearly drawn from the clause in S. Res. 10 dealing with a ceasefire, but with the language about a ceasefire (and about improving the daily lives of Palestinians in Gaza) cut out.

In short, this pared-down version of S. Res. 10, as presently drafted, sends the message that the Senate isn’t concerned about harm (already done or potential) to civilians, and that the Senate is in no hurry to see a ceasefire—consistent, perhaps, with recent remarks by Israel officials to the effect that “We’re in no hurry to receive messages about a cease fire from Egypt or other states” and “We’ll continue the pressure and the attacks on Gaza until Hamas begs for a cease-fire.” Such a message seems both politically shortsighted and morally dubious.

Udvekslinger mellem Hamas og Israel er også at finde i de sociale medier. Her er et eksempel på propagandakrigen på netværket Twitter:

Noah Shachtman og Robert Beckhusen skriver om mediekrigen i Wired:

On day one of the fight between Israel and Hamas, the Israeli Defense Forces executed a top leader of the militant group — and took to Twitter and YouTube to brag about it. On day two, the Palestinian group hit back, launching its most sophisticated rockets and announcing every new barrage on social media.

The counteroffensive is a major change from the last time the IDF and Hamas battled, during 2009′s “Operation Cast Lead.” […]

When the Israeli Defense Forces began on Wednesday “Operation Pillar of Defense” — the largest assault on Gaza in more than three years — the IDF aggressively liveblogged, tweeted and uploaded a stream of updates to social media sites. In particular, the IDF instantly boasted on social media about the slaying of Ahmed al-Jabari, one of Hamas’ best-known leaders. […]

Not to be outdone, Hamas has also taken to social media to publicize its rocket and mortar attacks, which it is calling “Operation Shale Stones.” And just like the IDF and Jabari, the al-Qassam brigades tweet when Israeli casualties are reported. “Enemy admits of killing 3 Zionists and injuring 3 others by Palestinian resistance shelling,” the Brigades tweeted at 4:29 a.m.

On Twitter, Israel sought to sway global public opinion with the hashtag#IsraelUnderFire. Hamas and their supporters responded with #GazaUnderAttackalong with variations in different languages. These hashtags are also sometimes combined with #FreeGaza and the more militant #Resistance hashtag, and Hamas adds the hashtag #ShaleStones for military updates. And both sides are fighting over control of #Gaza.

It’s important to note that – like Israel’s social media offensive – Hamas’ version is intended as propaganda. […]

I andre nyheder fremgår det, at Israel er verdens mest militariserede stat. Som jeg selv har skrevet i RÆSONi en anden sammenhæng:

Selvvalgte krige 

Israel forsvarer sin besættelse af de palæstinensiske områder med henvisning til dets sikkerhedsbekymringer. Den israelske sikkerhedsdoktrin er i høj grad baseret på landets evne til at skræmme sine naboer fra at handle imod det. I sine spæde 64 år har Israel ført i hvert fald syv krige, og haft mere end 150 militære sammenstød med sine naboer. Israel er således den mest konfliktramte stat i moderne historie. I en udtømmende publikation fra University of Michigan Press konkluderer den israelske militærhistoriker Zeev Maoz, at ”de fleste af de israelske krige helt kunne have været undgået.” De var et resultat af ”bevidste israelske aggressioner, defekte politikker og fejlfortolket konfliktstyring.” De var alle ”selvvalgte krige”, og har konsekvent gjort sikkerhedsbehovet større.

Læs resten af denne round-up på poyapakzad.blogspot.com.

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