Daily Read on the Gaza War
Egypt Cites Progress Toward Truce As Gaza Toll Exceeds 1,000 [New York Times] The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Jakob Kellenberger, who spent Tuesday in Gaza City, agreed that the situation with civilians was dire but … Read More
Egypt Cites Progress Toward Truce As Gaza Toll Exceeds 1,000 [New York Times]
The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Jakob Kellenberger, who spent Tuesday in Gaza City, agreed that the situation with civilians was dire but said that the principal hospital was making do with medical supplies, and that doctors, working around the clock, were mostly coping with the flow of the wounded.
“In general, they did not complain about the lack of equipment or material,” he said at a news conference in Jerusalem.
Palestinian sources reported Thursday that the "Iranian Unit" of Hamas, members of the group’s military wing trained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, had been destroyed. According to the sources, most of the unit’s members were killed in fighting in the Zeytun neighborhood, where they had been deployed by the military leadership of Hamas. The unit numbered approximately 100 men who had traveled to Iran and Hezbollah camps, mostly in the Beka’a Valley, where they were trained in infantry fighting tactics. The militants were also trained in the use of anti-tank missiles, the detonation of explosives, among other skills.
After Hamas’ sweeping victory in those elections, the power struggle between Hamas and Fatah intensified. Sayyam set up the Executive Force, a security apparatus that developed into Hamas’ police after the militants seized Gaza in June 2007.
An open letter to Gideon Levy, by A.B. Yehoshua [Haaretz]
When I asked you after the disengagement from Gaza, Gideon, explain to me why they are firing missiles at us, you replied that they want us to open the crossings. I asked you whether you truly believe that if they fire missiles the crossings will be opened, or the opposite. And whether you truly believe that it is right and just to open crossings into Israel for those who declare openly and sincerely that they want to destroy our country. I did not get an answer from you.
The Egyptian proposal is mostly bad for Hamas. It doesn’t let the organization bring the Palestinian public any political achievement that would justify the blood that has been spilled, and even forces on it the return of the Palestinian Authority to Gaza, in the form of its renewed presence at the Rafah crossing (as a condition for its reopening). Once the cease-fire is reached, the IDF will withdraw from the positions it captured in Gaza, and only then will the two sides begin to discuss the opening of border crossings and removal of the blockade, which was the reason Hamas gave for waging war. The most that Cairo is offering is a timetable for the opening of the crossing points, and even that depends on negotiations due to begin after the cease-fire is reached, and it’s tough to know how or when they will end.
Cabinet to decide on unilateral ceasefire Saturday evening [Jerusalem Post]
According to Reuters, the main points disputed in the Egyptian proposal as it was articulated on Thursday were the duration of the proposed truce, which Hamas insists on being only a year, and how quickly Israel would complete the withdrawal of its forces from the Gaza Strip and reopen the crossings. The PMO statement on Friday expressed satisfaction with clarifications Gilad received from Cairo on Friday.
Olmert also does not want any agreement to include Hamas as a direct party because this would de facto legitimize the group. His preference, According to Channel 10, was to conclude a ceasefire "over Hamas’s head" regardless of the terror group’s position, working with Egypt and the US.
Ed Zwick on Passivity, Jewish Power, and Hamas [Jeffrey Goldberg]
Jeffrey Goldberg: You’re opening in Europe. We’ve heard a lot of talk in Europe comparing what Israel does in the Occupied Territories to what the Nazis did to the Jews. Are you worried about the way the movie will be understood in Europe right now?
Edward Zwick: You know, the argument comparing what the Jews are doing and what the Nazis did is just such a preposterous exaggeration, because one when one uses the word genocide, you have to ask: If Israel were interested in genocide than they have more than the means necessary to accomplish such a thing, and given that, in context, they’re using a certain amount of restraint. Yes, I know the word "restraint" is hard to talk about, given what’s happening in Gaza, but it is a type of restraint. What I’m responding to is equivalence. Words are important. Genocide is a word thrown around too easily. This is happening now in Poland and Lithuania. There’s an attempt to make an equivalence between alleged war crimes of the Bielskis and the Holocaust.
The Things They Carried [Yossi Klein Halevi, The New Republic]
Outside, at a picnic table, a group of reservists, some wearing woolen caps against the night chill, are engaged in a venerable IDF ritual: boiling Turkish coffee in a finjan, a small tin pot. They offer us shot glasses filled with coffee. Some of them are students, some work in high tech. A young man with a shaved head joins us. "He’s from the CIA," someone says. "Chef In Action," the guy with the shaved head explains the joke. He is in fact a chef in one of Tel Aviv’s up-and-coming restaurants. "We hear the food there is nothing to get excited about," someone says. "Not like what we get here."