More links to informative and/or interesting analyses/commentaries read over the past few days.
Israeli journalist Meron Rapoport, writing in Middle East Eye, says that “New boundaries [are being] drawn in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” with Israel, “[a]s its deterrence operations become increasingly futile…indicat[ing] its readiness to reoccupy Gaza, even at huge human cost.” Rapoport’s conclusion
We are still very far from full reoccupation of Gaza by Israel. There is little doubt that such a move could lead to terrible bloodshed. But what is interesting in this change of heart of the Israeli establishment towards Gaza, in this readiness to reoccupy it even at the cost of many Israeli lives, represents an understanding that Israel cannot keep on running away from Gaza, hat Gaza will not drown itself in the sea of its own free will. After years of negation, Israel finally admits that Gaza could not be separated from the West Bank, that there will be no solution to the Palestinian problem without a solution to the problems of Gaza. Is this not what the people of Gaza, and even Hamas, wanted all along? Is this not the reason they didn’t settle for the Egyptian “quiet against quiet” formula? What is sure is that the Gaza war is changing the map of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Walter Russell Mead—a geopolitical analyst I alternately find interesting and smart or irritating and stupid—has a commentary (interesting, smart) in The American Interest (July 25th) on the Gaza war and “When strategies collide.” The lede: Many wars are fought over accidents and misunderstandings. This is not one of those times. With key interests at stake, the conflict in Gaza is likely to continue.
Dennis Ross, who requires no professional identification, explains, in Politico Magazine (July 30th), “How to think about the new Middle East [and w]hat the Obama administration gets wrong about [it].” However one feels about Ross, he’s worth the read here.
The Times of Israel’s Avi Isaacharof, writing on the “Earthquake in Gaza” (July 27th), recounts the story of his fixer in Gaza of years past—until, as an Israeli journalist, he could no longer travel there—, with whom he stayed in touch and what has happened to him in the current war. Devastating and tragic. Isaacharof rhetorically asks if the destruction being wreaked on Gaza will “achieve deterrence or a thirst for revenge?” Poser la question c’est y répondre…
A piece in TOI (July 29th) asks if those Hamas tunnels may have been burrowed into Israel not to carry out heinous terrorist attacks against civilians but to abduct soldiers—which, as abhorrent an eventuality as this may be to Israelis, cannot, stricto sensu, be labeled terrorism.
And also in TOI—a webzine I have come to find as interesting as Haaretz, if not more—is a blog post (July 29th) by the Council on Foreign Relations’s Steven A. Cook, who regretfully concludes that it may be too late to salvage Mahmoud Abbas.
Nahum Barnea, in an in-depth piece (July 29th) on Ynetnews.com, “Tumbling into Gaza, and climbing out again“—in which he focuses on the tunnels—evokes the World War I/March of Folly parallel that has occurred to more than one in regard to the latest Israel-Gaza war, i.e. a war that neither side wanted but that both blundered into.
Peter Beinart has an on target piece (July 30th) in Haaretz—and that’s making the rounds on social media—on “Gaza myths and facts: what American Jewish leaders won’t tell you.”
Colorado College political science prof David C. Hendrickson has a sharp essay (July 29th) in The National Interest on “The Thrasybulus syndrome: Israel’s war on Gaza.” The Thrasybulus syndrome, FYI, is another way of saying “mowing the lawn.”
And political science MENA specialist Marc Lynch, writing on the Monkey Cage blog (July 29th), says that “political scientists are about to get a whole lot of interesting new research questions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” I doubt I’ll be doing any of that research myself, though I’ll certainly report on it.