The war on Gaza and the collapse of the Arab regimes

Political assessment for the Central Committee, Sept. 7, 2014

daam_LogoThe war against the Gaza Strip lasted 52 days and ended as it had begun: the siege on the Strip continues, and both Israel and Hamas declared they had won, though in fact neither achieved victory. Like previous rounds in this destructive war, the people pay the price, particularly the Palestinian people who lost more than 2,000 lives, half of them civilians, as well as tens of thousands wounded and hundreds of thousands made homeless.

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Operation “Protective Edge” and the Left’s beautiful friendship with Netanyahu

[Published in Hebrew on July 30, 2014, before Hamas captured an Israeli soldier]

?????????????????????????The war between Israel and Hamas has been raging for three weeks already, and no one knows when it will end. It has killed more than 1,100 people in the Gaza Strip, of whom 80% were civilians, including 220 children and 120 women. It has wounded thousands and displaced some 400,000. It has destroyed water and electricity infrastructures and hundreds of homes. But like most wars, it did not begin when the first shot was fired. We may take as its starting point June 15, when Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared Hamas to be responsible for the abduction of three yeshiva students in the Hebron area, although Hamas denied all involvement. Netanyahu used the abduction as a pretext to make war on Hamas, re-arresting Palestinians who had been released from Israeli prisons as part of the 2011 deal freeing Gilad Shalit. Netanyahu provoked Hamas, and now he is requesting help from the US, Egypt, and even Abu Mazen to get him out of the hole he dug.

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Netanyahu cooked it, the people eats it

צוק איתןIt is like a film rerun: less than two years have passed since Operation Pillar of Defense, we are in the middle of Operation Protective Edge, and once again Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promises quiet for years to come. Many people are asking what happened to the pillar that was supposed to ensure happiness and prosperity. The missiles and the “code red” sirens muddle thoughts, and it is not easy to understand why and how we have again stumbled into war, and how we can get out of it. At the end of Pillar of Defense, both sides claimed victory. In Cairo, Hamas leader Khaled Mashal crowed over his achievement, while Netanyahu and the then Defense Minister Ehud Barak assured us that the operation’s objectives had been met. This time too both sides will claim victory.

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ISIS in Israel

קבינטAs Israel’s media began marathon broadcasts on the three abducted Jewish youths, the world was busy with just one event: the fall of Mosul into the hands of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the disintegration of the Iraqi army. There is no apparent connection between the two, but one man dreamt up a connection and made full use of it for his own political ends. That man was Israel’s imaginative prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.

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Sisi gets 95% of votes. Surprise?

סיסיOn the last night of Egypt’s elections the April 6 movement posted a message on its Facebook page: “Notice for tomorrow: huge surprise – the independent candidate Abdel Fatah al-Sisi wins in the three-day theatrical elections.” As can be surmised from the post, the movement did not take part in the elections and called for a boycott. The post deserves attention because every word has deep political import.

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No VAT, but plenty of racism

ישיבת יש עתיד בכנסת“We are not prepared to apologize for being Zionist,” Finance Minister Yair Lapid said to justify the blatant discrimination against Arabs in the new law which grants full VAT exemption to those buying a first home. Lapid’s declaration takes us back to 1975 when Israel’s UN representative, Yitzhak Herzog, standing on the General Assembly platform, ripped up the UN resolution equating Zionism with racism. In 1991, the UN rescinded the 1975 resolution, but Israel of 2014, led by the Netanyahu-Bennett-Lapid triumvirate, is again confirming that Zionism is indeed an ideology that discriminates on racial, religious and national grounds. According to Lapid, whoever serves in the army is a better and more worthy citizen. If we were to hear such a sentence from a holder of such a high office in any other country, from Eritrea to Germany (where Jews are exempt from military service), it wouldn’t take long for Lapid and others like him to conclude what kind of regime was in power there.

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Israeli workers committees shoot themselves in the foot

alon hasan - pic amir meiri - globesThe heads of several workers committees organized in the Histadrut recently announced their support for Israel’s right-wing Likud party, arguing that they could form a counterforce within that party against privatization schemes. Rather than stepping up to head a social movement and lend the weight of organized labour to the struggle for peace and equality, and in favour of a new social agenda, as unions do in Britain and in several Western countries, these short-sighted leaders prefer to support Likud, thus giving a hand to a party that is right-wing, war-mongering and anti-labour.

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