Here are the two takes from the Israeli military on the Gaza border clashes on Monday, during which soldiers killed at least 60 Palestinians: “We won.” And, “Well, not so much.”
“We won” is my abbreviation of the banner headline in the daily Yediot Ahronot. As the paper’s military commentator explained, the army kept demonstrators from crossing the border and entering Israeli communities, and no Israelis were hurt. If you measure victory by whether you held your territory, and by the relative body count, that’s a win.
“Not so much” is the very short version of what an Israel Defense Forces spokesman reportedly said during a briefing organized by the Jewish Federations of North America on Tuesday.… Seguir leyendo »
It was a strange protest rally, ambivalent in message, ambiguous in the numbers it drew. A thousand people, by the most generous estimates, showed up Saturday night at Zion Square in central Jerusalem, a traditional venue for right-wing demonstrations. It was more than a handful, less than a movement.
The main organizer, a former adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, insisted it was a rally “for” — not “against” — clean government, for the rule of law. Never mind that the reason for protesting was the corruption allegations against Netanyahu, his attacks on the police and his attempts to change laws to save himself.… Seguir leyendo »
“Clearly, there’s a war here, sometimes even worse than the one in Samaria,” the yeshiva student said. “It’s not a war with guns. It’s a war of light against darkness.”
We were sitting in the mixed Jewish-Arab town of Acre in Israel. The war he described was another front in the struggle he knew from growing up in a settlement in the northern West Bank, or Samaria: the daily contest between Jews and Palestinians for control of the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.
The explicit reason that his yeshiva had been established in Acre was to serve as a bridgehead in that struggle, just as West Bank settlements are built to bolster the Jewish hold on land there.… Seguir leyendo »
It has become a fixed feature in the Israeli media, almost like the weather forecast. Nearly every day come reports that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s government is on the verge of a deal with President Obama to avoid a full freeze on construction in West Bank settlements. The sources are normally Israeli government officials, with an occasional American source speaking very far off the record.
What changes from one rumor to the next is the reason that the Obama administration has purportedly decided to let the concrete mixers keep churning: One day it’s that Netanyahu has explained that he can’t legally stop construction underway.… Seguir leyendo »