In a recent, controversial interview with Al-Quds newspaper, Israeli defence minister Avigdor Lieberman vowed that the next war on the Gaza Strip would be the last. Was this just bluster, or does it represent a shift in Israeli strategy towards Gaza and Hamas?
Analysts are divided. “No one has a clear-cut answer about this,” Adnan Abu-Amer, political commentator and Dean of the Faculty of Arts at Gaza’s Al-Ummah University, told Al Jazeera. But if there is a war, he continued, “it will be fiercer than ever, and Israel won’t let it last 51 days”. Read more
Late on Sunday night, the Israeli Air Force launched dozens of airstrikes against targets in the Gaza Strip – as many as 50, according to an official source – after a single rocket had struck Sderot earlier in the day, causing no damage or injuries.
The airstrikes, which primarily struck sites used by Hamas’s al-Qassam Brigades (AQB), constituted, in the words of one analyst, a “deliberate escalation” by Israeli authorities. Read more
There were grimly familiar headlines last week, as a new United Nations report warned that Gaza could be uninhabitable by 2020 if present trends continue. This latest warning arrives three years after the UN similarly predicted that the Gaza Strip would not be “a livable place” by 2020 without drastic action to improve basic infrastructure and services.
The new report, published by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), is a thorough analysis of the economic reality of the occupied Palestinian territory. The report lays blame with Israel’s “discriminatory policies”, describing how Israel’s attacks on the Gaza Strip in 2014 led to a 15 percent drop in the latter’s gross domestic product, sending the Palestinian economy into its first recession since 2006, with unemployment shooting up to 44 percent. Read more
Wednesday marked one year since the ceasefire that ended Israel’s unprecedented seven-week assault on the Gaza Strip. On the occasion of this week’s anniversary, an international coalition of 35 NGOs issued a new call for the end of Israel’s blockade.
“For a whole year the Israeli government has restricted basic and essential construction materials from entering Gaza,” stated the aid groups, who noted that “not one of the 19,000 homes that were bombed and destroyed has been fully rebuilt”.
A petition launched by the NGOs on the Avaaz online community – “World Leaders: Lift the Gaza Blockade” – had, at the time of writing, already attracted 538,000 signatures. Read more
In 2011, and in response to accusations of war crimes during the final months of conflict with the Tamil Tigers two years previously, the Sri Lankan government convened a conference where then-Minister of External Affairs G. L. Peiris declared that “the entire body of international law must be revisited.” Human Rights Watch called the event “a public relations exercise to whitewash abuses.”
This week, a new conference will take place in Israel on a familiar-sounding theme: “Towards a New Law of War.” According to conference organisers Shurat HaDin, the goal of the event “is to influence the direction of legal discourse concerning issues critical to Israel and her ability to defend herself.” Read more
Leading NGOs have heavily criticised attempts to link the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip with its demilitarisation, ahead of a debate about the issue in Westminster today.
Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) will this afternoon urge “disarmament for development”, as the Israel lobby group launches a new campaign focusing on the Gaza Strip and Hamas.
In their supporters’ briefing, LFI claims: “Reconstruction, lifting the ‘blockade’ of Gaza by Israel and Egypt and demilitarisation are intimately linked: the first two are dependent on the last.” Read more
A report by UNESCO has documented the “material, human and educational damage” sustained by Gaza’s higher education institutions (HEIs) during Israel’s assault last summer. The UN agency’s conclusion: that “higher education institutions were directly targeted during the hostilities.”
Israel’s “failure to treat learning environments as safe spaces and protect universities from attack”, UNESCO states, constituted “a serious violation of the right to education and is prohibited under international law.” Read more
Over the last couple of weeks in Israel, in what has been called an “exceptionally widespread attack”, politicians, op-ed writers, and reservists have urged the IDF Military Advocate General (MAG) Danny Efroni to end investigations into a number of incidents that occurred during the recent assault on the Gaza Strip (so-called ‘Operation Protective Edge’)
Out of dozens of alleged incidents of wrongdoing, Efroni has in fact so far ordered the opening ofjust 13 criminal investigations (a number of which are for cases of looting). Yet even this is too much for those who, like Naftali Bennett, believe Israel’s “brave warriors” are being unfairly attacked. Read more
“Heard about the guy who fell off a skyscraper? On his way down past each floor, he kept saying to reassure himself: So far so good…so far so good…so far so good…” La Haine (1995)
Writing in the Journal of Strategic Studies at the beginning of this year, Bar-Ilan University-based academics Efraim Inbar and Eitan Shamir discussed the Israeli military’s concept of ‘mowing the grass’, a “new term” that “reflects the assumption that Israel finds itself in protracted intractable conflict with extremely hostile non-state entities.” Read more