Gaza, July 30 2014 (photo: Oliver Weiken/EPA/Landov)
Voilà the latest links.
Nathan Thrall of the ICG’s MENA program has a must read piece in the LRB (August 1st) on “Hamas’s chances.” This is one of the best analyses I’ve seen of the Hamas side of the current equation. Read it. The whole thing. Now.
For the record, Ariel Ilan Roth, Executive Director of The Israel Institute in Washington, had a piece in Foreign Affairs, dated July 20th—that I was going to post earlier but forgot to—, on “How Hamas won.” It thus begins
No matter how and when the conflict between Hamas and Israel ends, two things are certain. The first is that Israel will be able to claim a tactical victory. The second is that it will have suffered a strategic defeat.
The JDF’s always interesting J.J. Goldberg has an essay (August 1st) on “How Israel refuses to learn [the] lessons of ground invasions past.” The lede: Israel is reliving mistakes of Lebanon and [past wars in] Gaza.
Hussein Ibish, who is also invariably interesting, has an op-ed (August 2nd) in The National on how “For Hamas, [the] war in Gaza is a step[ping stone] towards the West Bank.” Thus the imperative need—for Israel, the US, everyone—to increase the “clout, credibility, [and] centrality” of the PA.
Lefty journalist Haim Har-Zahav has an account (with video) of a far right-wing demonstration in Tel Aviv on the 26th that he witnessed and in which horrible slogans were chanted. The demo, he stresses, was far smaller—albeit much louder—than the left-wing, anti-war demo held in TA the same day. That’s good to know, I suppose.
BTW, there’s a good movie on the type of persons who attend such far rightist demos—i.e. lowlife Jewish hooligans—, ‘God’s Neighbors’, which I wrote about last year.
On the diplomatic front, all sorts of people have been beating up on John Kerry lately, among them Adam Garfinkle, who, writing on his blog on the The American Interest website (July 29th), wonders if the Secy of State is guilty of “Malice or incompetence?” The lede: John Kerry’s ceasefire proposal for Gaza has probably destroyed what remained of the United States’ influence in the Middle East, at least for the duration of this administration’s tenure.
Garfinkle is being a little harsh here and no doubt excessive, but he’s fun to read. And I like his sens de la formule, e.g. here
Then it got worse. By ministering to Qatar, where the head of the Hamas political wing lives at the invitation of the Al-Thani, Kerry strengthened that troublemaking little pissant of a country.
That little pissant of a country Qatar. I love it! Garfinkle continues
Then worse still: Kerry ministered to arguably the world’s foremost anti-Semite, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. (Richard Cohen’s piece today, “Erdogan’s anti-Semitic fetish”, also leaves me bereft of criticism in the face of another Washington Post columnist who also regularly irritates me.)
Garfinkle gets it exactly right on both RTE (anti-Semite) and Richard Cohen (irritating but sometimes on the mark).
Re US diplomacy and the I-P conflict: For those who haven’t seen it, Jerusalem-based journalists Ben Birnbaum and Amir Tibon have an essential, must read enquête in TNR (July 20th) on “The explosive, inside story of how John Kerry built an Israel-Palestine peace plan—and watched it crumble.” It was a fool’s errand but Kerry really tried. And it could have maybe, possibly worked—if Israel had had different leadership. The article is long—25 pages printed out—but well worth the read.
UPDATE: Yedioth Aharonot editor Sever Plocker has an op-ed in Ynetnews.com (August 8th) asking “What if John Kerry was right?” The lede: US secretary of state’s ceasefire outline was not driven by hostility towards Israel, but rather by concern. He realized that Hamas would drag Israel into an entanglement with unimaginable results.