Everything You Wanted to Know about Gaza But Were Too Confused to Ask

If you visited Jewcy in the past couple of weeks, the sheer abundance of the word "Gaza" in our headlines probably gave you the impression we’d been bought out by Ted Turner.  Or, if you hide under a rock during … Read More

By / January 7, 2009

If you visited Jewcy in the past couple of weeks, the sheer abundance of the word "Gaza" in our headlines probably gave you the impression we’d been bought out by Ted Turner.  Or, if you hide under a rock during the holiday season like yours truly, you were completely bewildered. I thought rounding up Jewcy’s coverage of the recent disarray in the Middle East, along with some background info, would prove helpful for those who were left in the dust of the Israeli tanks breezing into Gaza.

Back in June, Egypt brokered an informal and rather nugatory six-month truce between Israel and Gaza.  Throughout the summer, Hamas continued firing rockets into southern Israel, and the country’s border with Gaza was repeatedly violated. While Americans celebrated the election of their first African-American president, Israeli Defense Forces entered Gaza to destroy a tunnel used to traffic weapons, casting further doubt on the truce’s efficacy. Cross-border raids and attacks expectedly increased, leading up to the decision to take the already comatose truce off life-support in late December.

A new, twenty-four hour truce was called, again at the behest of Egyptian mitigators, to put a damper on the rapidly intensifying exchange of fire. Yet, as soon as it expired, six rockets were fired into the Negev and clashes insued along the Israel-Gaza border fence.  This, along with a downpour of dozens of mortar shells launched by Gaza fighters on Christmas Eve, prompted a heavy Israeli offensive.

On December 27, Israel began a series of intense air strikes throughout the Gaza strip, killing upward of 200 and wounding countless others.  Strikes continued unabated the next day, as the international community began voicing its concern. Edmund Standing posted on what he sees as blatantly biased press coverage of the attacks. Meanwhile, Shira Danan gave a voice to those discomforted by Israel’s course of action.

As attacks roared on, Jewcy correspondents Paul Widen and Haim Watzman both reported from Jerusalem. Widen updated us on the politics inside Israel while giving unique insight on how Israelis are responding to the offensive. Watzman is hosting his daughter’s fellow students who have been evacuated from Sapir College, which is located near Sderot, a southern Israeli city within missle range of Gaza.

Jewcy editor Michael Weiss posted an essay on why Hamas is a political failure.  Meanwhile, Tel-Aviv declared the area around Gaza a "closed military zone," the Gazan death toll rose to over 350, and Jewcy received a letter from Beersheva.

By New Year’s Eve, a solution had yet to be reached by the UN.  The Gazan death toll reached 400, while the Israeli death toll remained in the single digits. Gershom Gorenberg reported on the innocent children caught in the crossfire of a childish conflict, the effects of which, he says, Israel has not fully understood. 

Shira Danan gave us some first-hand accounts from Gaza on New Year’s Day. Israel denied an EU truce requesting forty-eight hours for the delivery of humanitarian aid into Gaza.  Deaths in the embattled region brushed 420, while the Israeli body count broke ten.

On January 2, foreigners were ushered out of Gaza while Israeli officials begin planning a ground invasion. Andrew Bostom posted an essay displaying Hamas’ abhorrence of the Jews.

On January 3, tanks rolled into Gaza to begin a ground offensive.  Neal Ungerleider reported from the "bubble" of Tel-Aviv.  Howard Schweber contemplated the value of pragmatism in the tango between Israel and Hamas.

By January 5, the EU decided it was about time to send an envoy to broker a solution.  French President Nicolas Sarkozy began a tour of the region in search of a long lost truce. Michael Weiss wrote a post pointing out that Hamas is not just a threat to the Jews, but to Islam and Palestinians as well.

The most recent news is all the more disparaging. By now, Gazans have buried over 500 of their compatriots.  Haim Watzman posted on the moral choices involved in the war on the very day Israeli attacks hit refugees outside a UN school. Hamas continues to launch rockets into Israel. The US has only recently begun voicing its concern for a ceasefire.  

I hope this post has helped catch you up on the exploding conflict in the Middle East. Let’s hope there isn’t much more to follow.

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