Israel shoots down drone near Syria

By Shelby Lin Erdman, CNN

updated 7:45 AM EDT, Mon September 1, 2014

An Israeli soldier walks near a border crossing Sunday in Quneitra. Israel shot down a drone over the area with a Patriot missile.


(CNN) — Israel has shot down an unmanned aerial vehicle that entered Israeli airspace near the Syrian border on Sunday, the Israel Defense Forces confirmed.

The drone was destroyed by a Patriot surface-to-air missile over Quneitra in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said.

“In spite of the IDF’s sensitivity to recent occurrences in the proximity of the border, we have repeatedly stated that we will respond to any breach of Israel’s sovereignty and will continue to act to maintain safety and security to the civilians of the State of Israel,” Lerner added.

This is the first drone from Syria that Israel has shot down, although the IDF has shot down UAVs from Hamas and Hezbollah before.

Syrian civil war in 2014

Syrian civil war in 2014

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Israel shoots down drone near Syria

Israel under fire for 'land grab'

By Ben Wedeman, and Susannah Cullinane CNN

September 1, 2014 — Updated 2311 GMT (0711 HKT)


(CNN) — Israel came under fire Monday for claiming close to 1,000 acres of land in the Palestinian West Bank.

Israel announced Sunday that the land in and around the Wadi Fukin valley, would become “state land,” clearing the way for the development of a new Israeli settlement. The affected land lies near Bethlehem and close to Bitar Ilit — one of the biggest Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Farmers in the area have 45 days to appeal Israel’s decision to claim the land.

“The seizure of such a large swathe of land risks paving the way for further settlement activity, which — as the United Nations has reiterated on many occasions — is illegal under international law and runs totally counter to the pursuit of a two-state solution,” United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement Monday.

UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond issued a similar statement, criticizing the move.

“This is a particularly ill-judged decision that comes at a time when the priority must be to build on the cease-fire in Gaza. It will do serious damage to Israel’s standing in the international community,” he said. “Our position on settlements is clear: they are illegal under international law, present an obstacle to peace and take us further away from a two state solution at a time when negotiations to achieve this objective urgently need to be resumed.”

Hammond said efforts should be focused on securing a durable cease-fire in Gaza and lasting peace. “We strongly urge the government of Israel to reverse this decision,” he said.

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Israel under fire for 'land grab'

Is Israel Bad for the Jews?

Israels new plan for appropriating nearly 1,000 acres of West Bank land for more Jewish housing underscores the trend toward accelerated ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, a strategy that is stirring revulsion in much of the world and tarnishing the noble principles of Judaism, as Lawrence Davidson observes.

By Lawrence Davidson

If you are over 50 and were raised in a Jewish household, you either heard the question but is it good for the Jews? explicitly asked numerous times or were subtly encouraged to think the question to yourself.

It reflects a group-centered concern born of the memory of anti-Semitic hostility and a seemingly unending vulnerability, and it can apply to almost any public action: federal or local legislation, cultural trends, foreign policy decisions, etc.

A scene from inside Berlins Holocaust memorial. (Photograph by Robert Parry)

I do not know how many of the younger generation of American Jews, known to be very secular and prone to religious intermarriage, still ask this question, but there can be no doubt that it is still there on the tips of almost every Jewish tongue of that generation for whom World War II is still well remembered.

After World War II, most Jews assumed that the Zionist movement and the Israeli state were good for the Jews. Indeed, they assumed that they were necessary goods necessary for the very survival of the Jewish people. To that end, it was alleged, Israel would provide a haven from the anti-Semitism that so devastated the Jews of Europe.

There were those who took issue with this perspective, but they were few in number and without influence. Zionism triumphed and in 1948 the State of Israel was proclaimed.

Today we have 66 years of history to judge Zionism and Israeli nationalism. So, after these six-and-a=half decades, it is time we ask the question once more. Can we still assume that Zionism and Israel are good for the Jews?

Looking for the Answer

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Is Israel Bad for the Jews?

The ugly return of anti-Semitism


Editor’s note: Timothy Stanley is a historian and columnist for Britain’s Daily Telegraph. He is the author of the new book “Citizen Hollywood: How the Collaboration Between L.A. and D.C. Revolutionized American Politics.” The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN) — On Sunday, there was a rally in London to protest something I never thought would need protesting in modern Britain: the rise of anti-Semitism.

The rally was in reaction to a series of strange, unsettling incidents that took place during the recent demonstrations against Israeli military actions in Gaza. In one case, the manager of a supermarket in London decided to take all the kosher food off the shelves. He apparently feared that demonstrators outside might trash the shop; one member of the staff reportedly said, “We support free Gaza.” The supermarket chain called it “an isolated decision … in a very challenging situation.”

Isolated it may have been, but it is part of a bigger picture. There have always been people in the West who disagree with aspects of Israeli foreign policy and there has always been a peace movement ready to protest Israel’s actions. But what has made the 2014 protests different is the growing conflation of Israel in particular with Jews in general.

Timothy Stanley

Not all kosher food comes from Israel, not all Jews who eat it agree with the assault on Gaza. Yet such an important distinction between state and racial identity has begun to erode. The result: a return of low-level anti-Semitism to public life.

Of course, some of it has never gone away. Just two years after the end of the Second World War, there were anti-Semitic riots across Britain. Europe has an insidious history of Holocaust denial, and even a multicultural haven like New York has seen racial tensions flare.

But in 2014, anti-Semitism went global all at once. In July, an anti-Israeli demonstration in Paris broke into racist rioting: Jewish-owned shops and synagogues were targeted. In Berlin, they were chanting: “Jew, Jew, cowardly pig, come out and fight alone.”

In New York, just last week, a Jewish couple were roughed up by thugs waving Palestinian flags, according to the New York Post. In my native Britain, anti-Semitic attacks have risen and we’ve seen the return of old prejudices on anti-war marches.

The ugly return of anti-Semitism

Israel claims West Bank land for possible settlement use, draws U.S. rebuke

By Jeffrey Heller JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel announced on Sunday a land appropriation in the occupied West Bank that an anti-settlement group termed the biggest in 30 years, drawing Palestinian condemnation and a U.S. Some 400 hectares (988 acres) in the Etzion Jewish settlement bloc near Bethlehem were declared "state land, on the instructions of the political echelon" by the military-run …

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Israel claims West Bank land for possible settlement use, draws U.S. rebuke

Israel Shoots Down Unmanned Aircraft as Tensions Flare in Golan

Israel said it shot down an unmanned aircraft over the Golan Heights as the volatility on its frontier with Syria mounted.

The plateau, whose southern section Israel captured from Syria in 1967, grew tense last week after Islamic rebels wrested control of a key crossing and assaulted United Nations peacekeepers monitoring a buffer zone between the countries. The developments threaten the quiet that has prevailed on the Golan since Israel and Syria last warred four decades ago.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, having just wound up a 50-day conflict with Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip, warned that his country was also ready to parry threats on the Golan.

What Does the World Make of Hamas?

We are ready for any scenario on fronts including the Golan, Netanyahu said yesterday at a cabinet meeting, hours before the aircraft was downed. Afterward, Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon warned that Israel — which annexed the Golan in 1981 in a move that isnt internationally recognized — would respond aggressively if attacked.

Neither Yaalon nor the military said who may have dispatched the aircraft. An Israeli military official, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with regulations, said the army hasnt changed its deployment in the north since the Islamist gains.

On Wednesday, groups linked to al-Qaeda, including the al-Nusra Front, seized the Syrian side of the Quneitra crossing into the Israel-held section of the Golan, according to the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Since then, rebels have seized about 45 UN peacekeepers and attacked dozens of others. Yesterday, al-Nusra said the peacekeepers it captured were safe and had been seized because the UN hasnt protected rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. It didnt issue terms for their release.

While Israel reinforced the security fence along its northern frontier because of more than three years of fighting in Syria, its clear that once the border on the other side is controlled by a radical group, its a new reality, Amos Gilad, a senior Defense Ministry official, told Israel Radio before the aircraft was shot down. The threat to Israel isnt immediate because Israel prepared for it, though we obviously have to be on alert, Gilad said.

Over the weekend, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, writing in the New York Times, called for a global coalition against Islamist extremists who are perilously close to Israel. In an interview with Channel 2 TV, Netanyahu said he decided not to invest all my resources in Gaza at a time when Israel faced challenges from other Islamist groups.

Netanyahu has faced criticism at home from detractors who said he should have struck harder at Gazas Hamas militant rulers. Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, in an interview on CNN yesterday, said Israel must deliberate its position regarding Hamas. I think that we have enough force to finish this story and to topple this terrorist organization, he said.

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Israel Shoots Down Unmanned Aircraft as Tensions Flare in Golan


Miko Peled talks of Changing the Conversation on Palestine.

“Connecting Gaza back to Palestine”

He began by saying: To understand what happened in Gaza recently, you must go back to Balfour and to 1947

It is impossible to talk about Gaza, without talking about 1947 and 1948 and so on

He notes an attempt is being made to isolate Gaza from the rest of Palestine. Which is what Israel, the U.S. and the Europeans have been doing. By isolating it, they are stopping the solution.

Palestine is not Gaza and the West Bank. Palestine is the Galilee, it is Jerusalem, it is Jaffa and it is Haifa, it is the entire country, he notes.

The Peace talks and all these so-called efforts is an attempt to bring the Palestinians to surrender. But, the Palestinians will not surrender. And Hamas will not go away.

Hamas is an resistance organization. It was established as a result of a brutal Oppression and Occupation.

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Letters to the editor, Sept. 1, 2014

The action of the Presbyterian General Assembly to divest in certain companies that do business with Israel supporting illegal settlements has drawn mixed response. Several Jewish organizations, like Jewish Voice Peace, have praised that decision. But the Anti-Defamation League, for the first time ever, has called the Presbyterian Church anti-Semitic.

There seems to be a formula operating: criticism of the policies of Israel equals criticism of Israel equals anti-Semitism. Are we anti-Semitic? Ask the congregation Beth Shalom, where members met when their building was too small for the high holy days. It was in the First Presbyterian Church. Ask the congregation Beit Tikva, where members met before they had a building. It was in the First Presbyterian Church. Ask Rabbi Nahum Ward-Lev, who attends his Beit Midrash class. About half are Jews, the rest Presbyterians.

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Letters to the editor, Sept. 1, 2014

International Criminal Court Prosecutor: 'Palestine' Can Join Rome Statute

Membership Enables Filing War Crimes Charges Against Israel

Getty Images

Published August 31, 2014.

Palestine is now eligible to join the Rome Statute and file war crimes charges against Israel, the International Criminal Court prosecutor said.

ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on Aug. 29 wrote an op-ed in the British newspaper The Guardian to answer charges that the ICC has avoided opening an investigation into alleged war crimes in Gaza due to political pressure.

The Palesitnian Authority sought to join the court in May 2009. After three years of research and analysis, the ICC Prosecutors Office determined in April 2012 that since Palestine was an observer entity, it could not sign on to the Rome Statute.

Several months later, in November 2012, Palestines status was upgraded in the United Nations to non-member observer state, which gives it legitimacy to join the Rome Statute, Bensouda told the Guardian.

Membership in the ICC would grant Palestine the right to file war crimes against Israel and Israeli figures with the court.

I have made it clear in no uncertain terms that the office of the prosecutor will execute its mandate, without fear or favor, where jurisdiction is established and will vigorously pursue those irrespective of status or affiliation who commit mass crimes that shock the conscience of humanity. My offices approach to Palestine will be no different if the courts jurisdiction is ever triggered over the situation, Bensouda wrote.

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International Criminal Court Prosecutor: 'Palestine' Can Join Rome Statute

Prominent Montreal philanthropist dies at 78

By Joel Goldenberg, August 27th, 2014

Prominent Montreal philanthropist and businessman Irwin Beutel died Tuesday Aug. 19 in his 78th year after a brief illness. Mr. Beutel, whose funeral was held this past Friday at Paperman & Sons, was held in great esteem in the community not only for his philanthropy, but for his community leadership and dedicated pro-Israel stance. Mr. Beutel was president of the Montreal National Office and Eastern Region of Canadian Friends of Tel Aviv University (CFTAU) , and was also Montreal president of the Jewish National Fund; national president of Canadian Friends of Magen David Adom; national chair of the Canadian Institute of Jewish Research (CIJR); long serving board member of Ville St-Laurents United Talmud Torah, whose campus was named after Beutels parents, and past president of Kiwanis Montreal, St. George Club. Tributes poured in for Mr. Beutel. Tel Aviv University lauded him as a longstanding friend and generous supporter who will be greatly missed. The Canadian Friends of Tel Aviv University stated that in his gentle and elegant way, Irwin touched the lives of many. He loved children, youth and young adults, and they gravitated to him. His meaningful contributions to Jewish and university education were both legendary and transformative. His passion for Israel was unequalled. Irwin will be profoundly missed by his CFTAU family, and his many friends in Montreal and Israel. Mr. Beutel was an executive member of CFTAU and became president in 2011. His most recent gift enabled the full renovation of the entrance hall to the universitys Sackler Faculty of Medicine, a world renowned faculty. Mr. Beutel was also a member of Prime Minister Stephen Harpers delegation to Israel in January. A message from CIJRs Prof. Frederick Krantz, Baruch Cohen and Jack Kincler said: The generous and resourceful head of our board for well over a decade, Irwin was a key force in helping to build CIJR into the world-class pro-Israel academic think-tank which it is today. Irwin was a truly good man and an unfailing friend,a real Mensch in the deepest and best sense of the term. Chabad of Westmont posted a message that Mr. Beutels passing leaves a void in our hearts and our community. He was dedicated to Jewish education and continuity, and supported a myriad of Jewish schools and outreach projects, including the acclaimed Chabad of Westmount Irwin Beutel Lecture Series. Mr. Beutel is survived by brother Austin and sister in law Nani, sister Harriet, brother Morty and sister-in-law Judy, and many nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews.n

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Prominent Montreal philanthropist dies at 78

No neutrality between extremism and democracy: Kenney

By Joel Goldenberg, August 27th, 2014

Federal Employment Minister Jason Kenney received a warm welcome Saturday morning at Cte St. Lucs Or Hahayim Synagogue, where he spoke about his governments principled support of Israel. On hand at the Sephardic community synagogue were Israeli Consul Avi Lev-Louis, DArcy McGee MNA David Birnbaum, Cte St. Luc mayor Anthony Housefather and councillors Dida Berku and Mitchell Brownstein. Rabbi Moise Ohana started the proceedings by praising Prime Minister Stephen Harpers Israel stance and denouncing the global incitement against Israel and Jews around the world in general. Kenney, who delivered his speech entirely in French, said his government adopted its position on Mideast affairs not for political or domestic electoral reasons. We took these positions, often against our political interests here in Canada, he told the congregation. Our critics have said we changed Canadas traditional position radically, and thats true. We have gained the attention of certain forces around the world that do not share our civilizational values of peace. Kenney added that there are those who want Canada to have a moderate and balanced position between Israel and its neighbours, a position of honest broker. An honest broker, between what? the minster said. Balanced between terrorism and anti-terrorism? Balanced between extremists, and democracy and civilization represented by Israel? An honest broker between Hezbollah, Hamas , Al Qaeda and ISIS in one corner and the only Jewish nation in the history of the world in the other corner, a democratic country that profoundly respects human rights? With a country that respects civilizational values, the dignity of the person, and the sanctity of human life, how can Canada be neutral between these two forces? Kenney said Canada understands that the terrorist group Hamas, which is in control of Gaza and engaged in conflict with Israel, has no interest in a peace process, negotiations, respect for a Jewish state or a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians. Canada, under the leadership of Stephen Harper, understands that the enemies of Israel are interested in just one goal, the destruction of the Jewish state and, even more, the destruction of the Jewish people, he added. Thats why we have taken our position. Kenney was also guest of honour at a kiddush lunch sponsored by Alex Bouhadana and Elliot Lifson. n

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No neutrality between extremism and democracy: Kenney

Israel News, Photos and Videos – ABC News

AP ANALYSIS: A Grim Stalemate at War’s End in Gaza

for this in Israel , however ….. backed by both Hamas and the moderate ….. even though Hamas itself may not, yet Netanyahu launched ….. teens in the West Bank , an Israeli crackdown ….. violence. Now Israel seems less ….. have the Palestinian Authority back in Gaza , running at ….. keeping Hamas in check ….. the bigger Israeli – Palestinian ….. feared a total West Bank pullout that

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Israel News, Photos and Videos – ABC News

Israel calls on Arab nations to rebuild Gaza, takes 1000 acres of West Bank land

JERUSALEM Israel and several Arab countries should work together to rebuild the Gaza Strip while disarming Hamas militants who rule the territory, Israel’s finance minister said Sunday.

The remarks by Yair Lapid come almost a week after Israel and Hamas militants reached a truce after almost two months of fighting that devastated parts of Gaza.

“We need a regional conference, with the Egyptians, the Saudis, the Gulf States,” Lapid, a member of the centrist Yesh Atid party, told reporters in Jerusalem. “That conference should focus on one thing, ensuring the rehabilitation takes place alongside demilitarization,” he said.

It is unclear how he foresaw the group demilitarizing Gaza as Hamas has vowed it will never give up its weapons. Nor was it clear how responsive Arab countries, some of whom like Saudi Arabia have no formal ties with Israel, would be to such a conference. Lapid did not say if any countries had been consulted about the idea.

“This is a stupid demand, and no one among the Palestinian people would agree to such a thing … our weapons are used to defend our people, and this right was granted by heaven and human laws,” said Mushir al-Masri, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza.

Hamas and other Gaza militants fired 4,591 rockets and mortars at Israel during the fighting. Israel’s military says it struck 5,226 “targets” in Gaza. The two sides are set to hold indirect talks in Egypt next month on key disputes that remain unresolved.

Meanwhile Sunday, Israel announced the expropriation of about 1,000 acres ofWestBankland in a step that could help clear the way for construction of a new Jewish settlement.

The Israeli military made the announcement Sunday in accordance with a government edict. It said the directive was made at the end of a military operation in June that searched for three Israeli teens who were abducted and killed by Hamas militants. The Hamas kidnapping and murder of the teens sparked a chain of events that led to the 50-day war.

The expropriated land is in Gush Etzion, an area near Jerusalem where the teens were abducted. Israel hopes to keep the area under any future peace deal with the Palestinians.

Nabil Abu Rdeneh, spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, condemned the Israeli move and called for the decision to be revoked. He told the Palestinian news agency WAFA that it “leads to deterioration in the situation.”

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Israel calls on Arab nations to rebuild Gaza, takes 1000 acres of West Bank land

War leaves Israel, Palestine entrenched

”Hope lost and fear won,” said Udi Segal, the diplomatic correspondent for Israel’s Channel 2 News. Referring to Secretary of State John Kerry’s nine-month negotiations whose collapse in April contributed to the escalation, Mr. Segal added, ”I don’t think the people in Palestine or in Israel feel more confidence in those Western, American Kerry-like ambitions to solve our problem with those peace slogans.”

Read MoreGaza cease-fire begins between Israel, Palestinian groups

Sami Abdel Shafi, a Gaza-based political consultant, said, ”A very thin line separates between this being taken as an opportunity versus this latest round resulting in further disaster.”

He continued: ”It has just been demonstrated that military conflict will not present solutions. The only trouble is it doesn’t look like at least the present government of Israel is interested in a political solution.”

After a cease-fire agreement this week finally appeared to halt the hostilities, leaders on both sides rushed to claim victory, pointing to their specific battlefield achievements and the other’s weaknesses.

But Hamas, the militant Islamist group that dominates Gaza, stood down without winning the concessions it repeatedly said it would require to halt the fighting. Many Israelis complain that their campaign lacked clear, ambitious goals, and even Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu acknowledged in a television interview Friday that there was ”not a certainty but a chance for us to have an extended period of quiet.”

Read More Gaza truce collapses, Israel orders negotiators home

In terms of the big picture, long-term aspirations of people on both sides of the fences that divide the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, analysts see a bleaker terrain than before this latest battle began.

The vast majority of Israeli Jews want, most of all, to feel safe, physically, and to secure the future of Israel as a Jewish democracy. Polls and interviews in recent days suggest most now feel more vulnerable.

The repeated attacks through tunnels from Gaza raised the specter of similar underground operations on other borders. Hamas rockets reached all over Israel, and there is no protection from the mortar shells that killed two men and a 4-year-old boy in the war’s final chapter. (On Friday, an off-duty soldier injured in a rocket attack a week before died, bringing the toll on the Israeli side to 71 — 64 of them soldiers killed in action.)

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War leaves Israel, Palestine entrenched

Historical perspective of the Gaza massacre

People in Gaza and elsewhere in Palestine feel disappointed at the lack of any significant international reaction to the carnage the Israeli assault has left behind it in the Strip. The inability, or unwillingness, to act seems to be first and foremost an acceptance of the Israeli narrative and argumentation for the crisis in Gaza. Israel has developed a very clear narrative about the present carnage in Gaza. It is a tragedy caused by an unprovoked Hamas missile attack on the Jewish State, to which Israel had to react in self-defense. While mainstream Western media, academia and politicians may have reservations about the proportionality of the force used by Israel, they accept the gist of this argument. This Israeli narrative is totally rejected in the world of cyber activism and alternative media. There it seems the condemnation of the Israeli action, as a war crime is widespread and consensual. The main difference between the two analyses from above and from below is the willingness of activists to study deeper and in a more profound way the ideological and historical context of the present Israeli action in Gaza. An historical evaluation and contextualization of the present Israeli assault on Gaza and that of the previous three ones since 2006 expose clearly the Israeli genocidal policy there. This context should be insisted upon, since the Israeli propaganda machine attempts again and again to narrate its policies as out of context and turns the pretext it found for every new wave of destruction into the main justification for another spree of indiscriminate slaughter in the killing fields of Palestine. The Israeli strategy of branding its brutal policies as an ad hoc response to this or that Palestinian action is as old as the Zionist presence in Palestine itself. It was used repeatedly as a justification for implementing the Zionist vision of a future Palestine that has in it very few, if any, native Palestinians. The means for achieving this goal changed with the years, but the formula has remained the same: Whatever the Zionist vision of a Jewish State might be, it can only materialize without any significant number of Palestinians in it. And nowadays the vision is of an Israel stretching over almost the whole of historic Palestine where millions of Palestinians still live. This vision ran into trouble once territorial greed led Israel to try and keep the West Bank and the Gaza Strip within its rule and control ever since June 1967. Israel searched for a way to keep the territories it occupied that year without incorporating their population into its rights-bearing citizenry. All the while it participated in a peace process charade to cover up or buy time for its unilateral colonization policies on the ground. With the decades, Israel differentiated between areas it wished to control directly and those it would manage indirectly, with the aim in the long run of downsizing the Palestinian population to a minimum with, among other means, ethnic cleansing and economic and geographic strangulation. Thus the West Bank was in effect divided into Jewish and Palestinian zones a reality most Israelis can live with provided the Palestinian Bantustans are content with their incarceration within these mega prisons. The geopolitical location of the West Bank creates the impression in Israel, at least, that it is possible to achieve this without anticipating a third uprising or too much international condemnation. The Gaza Strip, due to its unique geopolitical location, did not lend itself that easily to such a strategy. Ever since 1994, and even more so when Ariel Sharon came to power as prime minister in the early 2000s, the strategy there was to ghettoize Gaza and somehow hope that the people there would be dropped into eternal oblivion. But the Ghetto proved to be rebellious and unwilling to live under conditions of strangulation, isolation, starvation and economic collapse. The Israelis were unable to West Bank the Strip, so to speak. So they cordoned it as a Ghetto and when it resisted the army was allowed to use its most formidable and lethal weapons to crash it. The inevitable result of an accumulative reaction of this kind was genocidal. The killing of three Israeli teenagers, two of them minors, abducted in the occupied West Bank in June, which was mainly a reprisal for killings of Palestinian children in May, provided the pretext first and foremost for destroying the delicate unity Hamas and Fatah have formed in that month. A unity that followed a decision by the Palestinian Authority to forsake the peace process and appeal to international organizations to judge Israel according to a human and civil rights yardstick. Both developments were viewed as alarming in Israel. The pretext determined the timing but the viciousness of the assault was the outcome of Israels inability to formulate a clear policy toward the Strip it created in 1948. The only clear feature of that policy is the deep conviction that wiping out the Hamas from the Gaza Strip would domicile the Ghetto there. Since 1994, even before the rise of Hamas to power in the Gaza Strip, the very particular geopolitical location of the Strip made it clear that any collective punitive action, such as the one inflicted now, could only be an operation of massive killings and destruction. In other words: An incremental genocide. The particular timing of this wave is determined, as in the past, by additional considerations. The domestic social unrest of 2011 is still simmering and for a while there was a public demand to cut military expenditures and move money from the inflated defense budget to social services. The army branded this possibility as suicidal. There is nothing like a military operation to stifle any voices calling on the government to cut its military expenses. The Israeli media toed loyally the governments line, showing no pictures of the human catastrophe Israel has wreaked and informing its public that this time, the world understands us and is behind us. That statement is valid to a point as the political elites in the West continue to provide the old immunity to the Jewish state. The recent appeal by Western governments to the prosecutor in the international court of Justice in The Hague not to look into Israels crimes in Gaza is a case in point. Wide sections of the Western media followed suit and justified by and large Israels actions. This distorted coverage is also fed by a sense among Western journalists that what happens in Gaza pales in comparison to the atrocities in Iraq and Syria. Comparisons like this are usually provided without a wider historical perspective. A longer view on the history of the Palestinians would be a much more appropriate way to evaluate their suffering vis–vis the carnage elsewhere. TRANSCEND Media Service

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Historical perspective of the Gaza massacre