July 24, 2014


Hamas is not about to fold; like Israel, it's sure it's winning (AVI ISSACHAROFF, July 24, 2014, Times of Israel)

Wednesday's speech by the head of the Hamas political bureau, Khaled Mashaal, in Qatar, did not constitute good news. One way or another Mashaal made clear that the fighting is likely to continue for a considerable time. The stance he presented, which is accepted by all wings of Hamas -- military and political, in Gaza and overseas -- is that there will be no ceasefire without the full lifting of the blockade on the Strip.

This reality isn't easy for Israel to deal with. Among a fair proportion of Israel's political and security leadership, the hope, even the assumption, has been that Hamas is about to halt its fire, surrender, or moderate its demands. This does not reflect the reality. Hamas is adamant that it will continue to fight until Egypt and Israel accept its demands, in part because the Gaza public insists upon it. Given the very heavy price paid by Gaza, residents insist on real change and not a return to the status quo.

Mashaal set out a notably tough negotiating position, but the simple fact is that Hamas has not been sufficiently damaged and does not feel its future is existentially threatened, and therefore is not seeking compromise, much less surrender.

Israel bans radio advert listing names of children killed in Gaza (Harriet Sherwood, 24 July 2014, The Guardian)

The Israeli Broadcasting Authority has banned a radio advertisement from a human rights organisation which listed the names of some of the scores of children killed in Gaza since the conflict began 17 days ago.

B'Tselem's appeal against the decision was rejected on Wednesday. It intends to petition Israel's supreme court on Sunday in an effort to get the ban overturned.

The IBA said the ad's content was "politically controversial".

Israel vs Hamas, a war of surprises (PAUL ROGERS, 24 July 2014, Open Democracy)

[H]amas, though facing great problems in Gaza, does not appear to be losing support among the population as a whole. There, Israel and of course the United States are being blamed for the destruction. There is also an upsurge in public support for Hamas across the region, enhanced by coverage of the war on Al-Jazeera and other TV channels and the many social-media outlets. These show the human suffering and destruction in Gaza at a much starker level that the largely self-censoring western media.

The second is that aspects of the conflict are very troubling to Binyamin Netanyahu's government in ways that are just becoming apparent. Israel's great projection of power, for example, is not stopping rockets from being fired; one even evaded the missile-screen to land in the Yehud suburb of Tel Aviv close to Ben Gurion airport. The airport was then closed on safety grounds to some of the major carriers (including Delta, US Airways, Lufthansa, Alitalia and Air France). 

Posted by at July 24, 2014 4:21 PM

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