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CEASEFIRE

Cleric: Breaking Gaza Truce ‘Sinful’

Cleric: Breaking Gaza Truce ‘Sinful’ Bernat Armangue / AP Photo

Issues fatwa.

Peace-loving people approved the recent Gaza ceasefire, and now a leading cleric does, too. A top Islamic cleric in Gaza issued a fatwa saying that it would be “sinful” to violate the recent truce struck between Israel and Hamas, conferring religious legitimacy on the deal. Suleiman al-Daya wrote that the ceasefire was sponsored by Egypt and that respecting it “is the duty of each and every one of us. Violating it shall constitute a sin.” Eight days of bloodshed ended with a truce struck Wednesday.

Read it at The Associated Press

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PARADOX

Can Civil Disobedience Save Palestine?

Dubbed Palestine’s Gandhi 25 years ago, Mubarak Awad still thinks nonviolence is the best hope for independence. But even he doubts the feasibility of a two-state plan, writes Dan Ephron.

He was dubbed the Palestinian Gandhi at the start of the first uprising in the West Bank and Gaza for his nonviolent approach to throwing off Israel’s occupation. He organized tax strikes against Israel and a boycott of Israeli goods. In places where Israelis planned settlements, he had Palestinians plant olive trees.

Palestinians Youth Throw Rocks at Israeli Forces

Palestinian youth throw a stone toward Israeli forces at the Qalandia checkpoint, in the Israeli occupied West Bank, Nov. 21, 2012. (Issam Rimawi/APA, via Landov)

EMPTY WIN

Israelis ‘Not Feeling Victorious’

A new survey shows most Israelis do not feel their country benefited from the recent clash with Hamas. By Matthew DeLuca

What a mensch! President Obama gets top marks from 62 percent of Israeli Jews in a new University of Maryland poll. The survey also found that only about one-third of Israelis think their country benefited from the recent clash in the Gaza Strip.

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David Buimovitch / Getty Images

United Nations

Abbas’s Symbolic Victory

The United Nations is likely to support the Palestinian Authority’s bid to become a non-member state. But an independent Palestine remains an elusive goal.

Mahmoud Abbas’s bid at the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday seeking the recognition of the Palestinian Authority as a non-member state is likely to succeed. But the move by the Palestinian president, which is supported by an overwhelming number of U.N. states, may turn out to be little more than a symbolic victory for the moderate Abbas, whose overall goal—an independent Palestine—remains elusive.

Mahmoud Abbas

Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian National Authority, finishes a speech on Nov. 29 ahead of a vote at the U.N. General Assembly on Palestinian “non-member status.” (John Moore / Getty Images)

Comeback

Tzipi’s Futile Movement

She’s back, but does it matter? Tzipi Livni and The Movement party will contest Netanyahu this election. Dan Ephron on how Israelis don't expect Bibi to be unseated anytime soon.

Israel’s former foreign minister announced her return to politics Tuesday, in time to contest a January national election that pits a powerful right-wing bloc led by Benjamin Netanyahu against a raft of center-left factions with similar agendas but clashing personalities.

Israeli Former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni Return to Politics

Israel's former foreign minister Tzipi Livni greeting supporters before a press conference in Tel Aviv, where she announced her return to politics, Nov. 27, 2012. (Menahem Kahana, AFP / Getty Images)

War Photography

Shooting Gaza

For two years, I have been covering the Egyptian revolution and the numerous clashes which erupted around Tahrir Square, growing accustomed to photographing these escalations with increasing comfort. A combination of luck, precaution and experience kept me safe from stones, rubber bullets and live ammunition. But I didn’t know what to expect as I crossed by tunnel into Gaza to cover what became a week-long war—except that things would be radically different.

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Mosa'ab Elshamy

Israel

Shalom Barak!

Ehud Barak

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak attends a press conference in the Knesset, Israel's Parliament earlier this year. (Bernat Armangue / AP Photo)

In a move that highlighted the disarray in the center of Israel’s political map, Ehud Barak resigned on Monday, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family.

U.S. President Barack Obama will likely miss him. Jewish settlers in the West Bank won’t.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, one of the country’s most influential politicians over the past two decades and the chief confidant of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, announced on Monday that he’s retiring from politics and will not be contesting January’s general election.

Palestinian Statehood

Abbas’s Dangerous U.N. Move

Palestinians

Posters of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas are held aloft at a rally in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Nov. 25 supporting his U.N. bid for Palestinian nonmember-state status. (Majdi Mohammed / AP Photo)

The Palestinian Authority leader plans to ask the General Assembly to recognize Palestine as a “nonmember state” this week. That would trigger harsh Israeli retaliation that could cause the Authority to collapse—and greatly amplify the danger Israel faces in the West Bank.

If you think the last couple of weeks have empowered Hamas, empowered the Israeli right, and harmed the chances of Israeli-Palestinian peace, just wait. Things are about to get worse.

They’re about to get worse because this Thursday, on the 65th anniversary of the United Nations resolution to partition British Mandatory Palestine, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas plans to ask the U.N. General Assembly to recognize Palestine as a “nonmember state.” For Abbas, going to the U.N. makes all the sense in the world. For years, he’s been doing what the United States has asked. He’s cooperated with Israel against terrorism. He’s affirmed Israel’s right to exist. But it’s gotten him nowhere. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has refused to continue the negotiations that Abbas was conducting with his predecessor Ehud Olmert, negotiations both men say were close to fruition. Netanyahu has publicly rejected U.S. President Barack Obama’s suggestion that the goal of talks be the creation of a Palestinian state near the 1967 lines. And Israeli settlement growth continues, making Palestinians ever more pessimistic that a Palestinian state is still possible.

Israel-Hamas Ceasefire

Gaza’s Tunnels Back in Business

They are the Strip’s lifeline and Israel’s scourge. Gaza’s illicit underground links to Egypt suffered fresh damage in the latest violence, but their owners are digging in again.  

Every day during last week’s clashes between Gaza and Israel, Abu Bilal came to check on his family’s tunnel, which runs under the enclave’s border with Egypt. As bombs rained down, he peered at it from a safe distance—trying to keep tabs on his livelihood. 

Gaza Tunnels

A man emerges from a smuggling tunnel which connects the Gaza Strip and Egypt in Rafah, Nov. 24, 2012. (Oliver Weiken / EPA-Landov)

Rules of War

Is Israel Immoral to Retaliate?

While the Jewish state is legally allowed to defend itself against Hamas’s attacks, the lopsided casualty rate presents Israel with an impossible moral dilemma, argues Thane Rosenbaum.

In the tragic saga that is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the lopsided casualty rate in this past week’s campaign yet again presents an enormous moral dilemma for the Jewish state. Going just by the numbers—with more than 150 Palestinians killed, compared with a mere six Israelis—it doesn’t appear to be a fair fight.

Gaza

Gaza City the day after the ceasefire was declared. (David Degner / Getty Images)

NABBED

Tel Aviv Bombing Suspects Arrested

Tel Aviv Bombing Suspects Arrested Daniel Bar-On / AFP / Getty Images

First attack in Israeli city in six years.

Several people have been arrested in the Tel Aviv bus bombing that injured 21, Israeli authorities announced on Thursday. A handful of Palestinians from the West Bank and an Arab individual with Israeli citizenship were taken into custody for Wednesday’s bombing, which injured at least 20 people and is being considered a terrorist attack. Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, said the suspects were arrested within hours of the bombing. It was the first attack in Tel Aviv in six years. The names of the suspects haven’t been released.

Read it at The New York Times

TRUCE

Israel, Hamas Both Claim Victory

Israel, Hamas Both Claim Victory Majdi Mohammed / AP photo

As rockets reportedly fired from Gaza after ceasefire.

Both Israel and Hamas are claiming victory now that a hastily assembled ceasefire has gone into effect. Senior Hamas leader Khaled Meshal said on Thursday that Israel’s “aim was to deter us. The resistance showed them. This deterrence has failed. Israel has failed in all of its goals.” But the Israeli military disputed this in a statement, saying that the campaign had “accomplished its pre-determined objectives,” devastating Hamas’s infrastructure and killing seven senior militants. In any case, the new truce is still fragile. Israeli media reported that several rockets were fired into Israel from Gaza after the ceasefire went into effect.

Read it at The Washington Post

Israel-Hamas Truce

Ceasefire Winners & Losers

Israel’s prime minister avoided a ground invasion and strengthened his reelection prospects, Hamas won itself some glory, and Israelis and Palestinians ended up right where they started. Dan Ephron surveys the field.

The ceasefire deal Israel and the Islamic Hamas group agreed to Wednesday ended the worst bout of fighting between the two sides in almost four years. Eight days of air strikes and rocket attacks left at least 150 Palestinians and five Israelis dead, damaged hundreds of buildings in Gaza, and marked a dangerous first for Israel—rocket attacks on its biggest cities.

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Getty Images (4)

Listen Up

Lessons From the Second Gaza War

Military action against Hamas can work. Netanyahu is no Dr. Strangelove. Peter Beinart on what doves and hawks should take away from the conflict in Gaza.

For doves

Military action against Hamas can work.

For Now

Israel and Hamas Strike Peace Deal

It’s a ceasefire—for now. Dan Ephron on how the resolution doesn’t really address the issues that lead to eight days of chaos.

Israel and Hamas have agreed to a ceasefire but little else after a mediation effort fell short of resolving the broader issues that led the two sides to their worst flare-up in almost four years.

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Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton give a statement Wednesday after their meeting with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in the presidential palace in Cairo. (Khaled Desouki, AFP / Getty Images)

Clinton Wants 'Durable Outcome' In Israel

Speaking at a press conference in Israel Tuesday evening, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the United States will look for a solution that 'bolsters security for the people of Israel, improves conditions for the people of Gaza, and moves toward a comprehensive peace for all people of the region.'

  1. What's Next for Gaza? Play

    What's Next for Gaza?

  2. Anderson Cooper's Gaza Explosion Scare Play

    Anderson Cooper's Gaza Explosion Scare

  3. How Can Obama Help Israel And Palestine? Play

    How Can Obama Help Israel And Palestine?

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