Israel, Palestine/Gaza/Hamas 10 April 2024 –

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Iran February 2024-

7 February 2024
Israel’s Self-Destruction – Netanyahu, the Palestinians, and the Price of Neglect
By Aluf Benn, Editor in Chief of Haaretz
(Foreign Affairs) October 7 was the worst calamity in Israel’s history. It is a national and personal turning point for anyone living in the country or associated with it. Having failed to stop the Hamas attack, the IDF has responded with overwhelming force, killing thousands of Palestinians and razing entire Gazan neighborhoods. But even as pilots drop bombs and commandos flush out Hamas’s tunnels, the Israeli government has not reckoned with the enmity that produced the attack—or what policies might prevent another. Its silence comes at the behest of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has refused to lay out a postwar vision or order. Netanyahu has promised to “destroy Hamas,” but beyond military force, he has no strategy for eliminating the group and no clear plan for what would replace it as the de facto government of postwar Gaza.
His failure to strategize is no accident. Nor is it an act of political expediency designed to keep his right-wing coalition together. To live in peace, Israel will have to finally come to terms with the Palestinians, and that is something Netanyahu has opposed throughout his career.
He has devoted his tenure as prime minister, the longest in Israeli history, to undermining and sidelining the Palestinian national movement. He has promised his people that they can prosper without peace. He has sold the country on the idea that it can continue to occupy Palestinian lands forever at little domestic or international cost. And even now, in the wake of October 7, he has not changed this message. The only thing Netanyahu has said Israel will do after the war is maintain a “security perimeter” around Gaza—a thinly veiled euphemism for long-term occupation, including a cordon along the border that will eat up a big chunk of scarce Palestinian land.
… Ultimately, Israel’s future may look very much like its recent history. With or without Netanyahu, “conflict management” and “mowing the grass” will remain state policy—which means more occupation, settlements, and displacement. This strategy might appear to be the least risky option, at least for an Israeli public scarred by the horrors of October 7 and deaf to new suggestions of peace. But it will only lead to more catastrophe. Israelis cannot expect stability if they continue to ignore the Palestinians and reject their aspirations, their story, and even their presence.

20 May
ICC prosecutor seeks arrest warrants for Israel’s Netanyahu and Hamas leaders
The International Criminal Court’s prosecutor said on Monday he had requested arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his defence chief and three Hamas leaders over alleged war crimes.
Israeli and Hamas leaders denounce his decision
Biden calls move against Netanyahu ‘outrageous’
ICC has no power to enforce arrest warrants
(Reuters) – The International Criminal Court’s prosecutor said on Monday he had requested arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his defence chief and three Hamas leaders over alleged war crimes.
ICC prosecutor Karim Khan said in a statement issued after more than seven months of war in Gaza that he had reasonable grounds to believe the five men “bear criminal responsibility” for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Gazans, Hamas see false equivalence in ICC charges
By Nidal Al-Mughrabi
ICC prosecutor seeks arrest of Israel, Hamas leaders
Gaza residents criticise decision equating Hamas’ actions with Israel’s war
Hamas denounces warrants against its leaders
Hamas: warrant against Netanyahu and Gallant ‘seven months too late’
(Reuters) – Gaza Strip residents criticised on Monday the International Criminal Court prosecutor’s decision to seek the arrest of Hamas leaders, saying it falsely equated them with the Israeli leaders waging war in the Palestinian enclave since October.
Amal Clooney advised ICC prosecutor who seeks arrest of Israel and Hamas leaders
‘The law that protects civilians in war was developed more than 100 years ago and it applies in every country in the world regardless of the reasons for a conflict,’ Clooney said.
Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney served as a special adviser in the international criminal court prosecutor’s investigation that led him to seek arrest warrants for Israeli and Hamas leaders, it has emerged.
The court’s chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, thanked Clooney in his statement announcing the move, describing her as part of “a panel of experts in international law” whom he had turned to for advice and to review the evidence in the case. Many of the named experts are British.

19 May
Israel’s war on Gaza live: Fierce fighting continues in Jabalia, north Gaza
Fierce fighting continues in Jabalia, north Gaza, as Al Jazeera’s correspondent reports Israeli plane, helicopter and artillery strikes on the camp.
Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi has called for an international probe into “war crimes” committed during Israel’s war on Gaza.
Safadi’s tough words come after Israel killed 31 people in Nuseirat refugee camp amid intensified air and ground attacks across Gaza.
UN’s humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths has warned of “apocalyptic” consequences of aid shortages in Gaza as key Rafah and Karem Abu Salem crossings remain “effectively blocked”.
At least 35,456 people have been killed and 79,476 wounded in Israeli attacks on Gaza since October 7. The death toll in Israel from Hamas’s attack is 1,139, with dozens still held captive

18 May
Key member of Israel’s war cabinet threatens resignation over war strategy in Gaza
Gantz’s departure would leave Netanyahu more beholden to far-right allies
(AP/CBC) Benny Gantz is threatening to resign from Israel’s war cabinet. His announcement escalates a divide within Israel’s leadership more than seven months into the war in Gaza.
Gantz spelled out a six-point plan that includes the return of scores of hostages, ending Hamas’s rule, demilitarizing the Gaza strip and establishing an international administration of civilian affairs. It also supports efforts to normalize relations with Saudi Arabia.
He said if it is not adopted by June 8, he will quit the government: “If you choose the path of fanatics and lead the entire nation to the abyss, we will be forced to quit the government,” Gantz said.

17 May
The UN’s Gaza Statistics Make No Sense
The actual death toll matters—first, because of the dignity of those killed or still living.
By Graeme Wood
(The Atlantic) Between May 6 and May 8, the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) revised its estimates of how many women and children had died in Gaza. The numbers appeared to drop drastically: first, it reported at least 24,000 dead women and children, and two days later, it reported exactly 12,756 “identified” dead women and children. One could be forgiven for wondering whether the UN had raised about 6,700 Gazan children and 4,500 Gazan women from the dead.
This is one of those moments when the fog of statistics could be dispersed with just a few sentences of straight talk, of the sort rarely uttered by spokespeople. The UN numbers changed because the UN has little idea how many children have been killed in Gaza, beyond “a lot.” It gets its statistics from Hamas. Where else would it get them? There are no independent epidemiologists in Gaza right now doing the survey work, house to bombed-out house, that would yield reliable numbers. So OCHA used unreliable ones. It never concealed its sources, but it distributed even the most questionable numbers under the UN name.
Operating a statistics laundromat for Hamas’s media wing is embarrassing. But the absence of alternatives is also concerning.
Israel currently embeds zero journalists in Gaza. “To allow journalists to report safely,” an Israeli military spokesperson told me, the Israel Defense Forces “accompany them when on the battlefield.” He would not say how many journalists had in fact been allowed to accompany IDF units—let alone accompany them on regular operations, rather than short press tours of battle sites after the action. When Hamas alleges that Israeli soldiers are shooting everyone in sight, and murdering families by flattening buildings devoid of military purpose, it can point to the dead children. Israel can deny the charge and hope that the world trusts it over an avowed terrorist group. The world seldom obliges.

15 May
Palestinians mark 76 years of their dispossession as more catastrophe unfolds in Gaza
Palestinians are marking 76 years of dispossession on Wednesday, commemorating their mass expulsion from what is today Israel, as a potentially larger catastrophe unfolds in Gaza where over a quarter of the population has been displaced by fighting in the last few days alone.
Israel has been pressing its military operations in Rafah, a city along Gaza’s southern border with Egypt, and in northern Gaza, where Hamas has regrouped. Around 600,000 Palestinians have been driven out of Rafah since the beginning of last week, a U.N. spokesperson said Wednesday. In northern Gaza, Israeli evacuation orders have displaced at least 100,000 people so far.
Some 80% of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million Palestinians have fled their homes since the start of the war, with many relocating multiple times.
No food has entered the two main border crossings in southern Gaza for more than a week. Some 1.1 million Palestinians are on the brink of starvation, according to the U.N, while a “full-blown famine” is taking place in the north of the territory.

12 May
Israel increasingly isolated on world stage amid Gaza offensive
Tasha Kheiriddin
(GZERO media) Israel marked a somber Memorial Day on Sunday, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declaring that the nation is prepared to “stand alone” if necessary. The Jewish state has become increasingly isolated as it faces pushback from adversaries and allies alike.
… Washington expressed serious concerns last week about Israel’s use of US-supplied weapons in Gaza. US President Joe Biden threatened to withhold weapons sales. And on the legal front, Egypt joined South Africa’s lawsuit at the International Court of Justice, accusing Israel of genocide and human rights violations.
Israeli operations in north and south Gaza force displaced to flee again
Humanitarian agencies warned that no place was safe and that aid had nearly run out, almost a week after Israel seized and shut down the Rafah crossing.
(WaPo) Israeli forces continued to advance on the southern city of Rafah on Sunday and launched another operation against Hamas in the north, setting off a desperate scramble among war-weary civilians across Gaza. Humanitarian agencies warned that no place was safe and that essential aid had nearly run out, almost a week after Israel captured and shut down the border crossing with Egypt.
The expanding evacuations in Rafah, where Israel had ordered more than 1 million Palestinians to seek shelter from fighting early in the war, signaled a possible push into the heart of the city — a move that could prompt Washington, Israel’s staunchest ally, to freeze offensive weapons shipments after months of faltering cease-fire negotiations.
“We cannot, will not support an operation in Rafah, a major military operation, in the absence of a credible plan to protect civilians, and they [Israel] still haven’t delivered,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday.

9-10 May
United Nations General Assembly backs Palestinian bid for membership
Resolution does not give Palestine full UN membership, but recognises them as qualified to join and extends rights
Battles rage around Rafah’s edge as more than 100,000 flee the city
Medics and journalists were unable to reach the area, making it difficult to assess the nature and intensity of the fighting.
Gaza ceasefire talks end with no deal as Israel ramps up Rafah attacks
UNRWA official accuses Israel of subjecting Gaza to ‘medieval siege’ as 110,000 Palestinians flee Rafah and aid runs out.
(Al Jazeera) The Israeli military has ramped up its attacks in Rafah, southern Gaza, and hit Gaza City while crippling humanitarian aid operations across the Palestinian territory as ceasefire talks ended without a deal.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) said on Friday that 110,000 Palestinians have fled Rafah. Israeli troops were advancing in the east of the city in close combat operations and conducting air raids
Thousands flee Rafah as heavy fighting breaks out on city’s outskirts
(The World) About 110,000 people have fled the city of Rafah in southern Gaza, as heavy fighting between Israeli troops and Palestinian militants on the city’s outskirts leaves aid crossings inaccessible and food and fuel supplies grow critically low, a UN official said Friday. All crossings into southern Gaza remain effectively closed, cutting off supplies and preventing medical evacuations and the movement of humanitarian staff, said Georgios Petropoulos, an official for the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs working in Rafah. Some 1.3 million Palestinians — over half of Gaza’s population — had sought refuge in Rafah.
(The World) A shipment of humanitarian aid left a port in Cyprus on Thursday morning and was on its way to the US-built pier in Gaza, the first delivery to the newly built ramp, Cyprus’ foreign minister said. The relief is desperately needed, with the United Nations saying people in Gaza are on the brink of famine and as Israeli troops have ordered the evacuation of 100,000 Palestinians from Gaza’s southern city of Rafah. Earlier this week, Israel sent tanks to seize Gaza’s nearby Rafah crossing with Egypt, shutting down a vital border entry point needed to get assistance into the battered enclave. It remains uncertain whether Israel will launch an all-out invasion of Rafah as international efforts for a ceasefire continue. Israel has said that an assault on Rafah is crucial to its goal of destroying Hamas.

7 May
EU’s top diplomat condemns assault on Rafah as Israel halts aid routes
“The will to continue the war will produce another great humanitarian crisis, bigger than it is already.”
(Politico Eu) Israeli tanks entered the Gazan city of Rafah on Tuesday morning — despite months of warnings by allies and aid groups that a full-scale attack would be a humanitarian catastrophe.
More than half of the population of Gaza — 1.4 million people, the majority of whom arrived having already been displaced from further north — are trapped in Rafah.
“I’m afraid that this is going to cause again a lot of civilian casualties, whatever they say. There are 600,000 children in Gaza, they will be pushed to so-called safe zones,” the EU’s foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said Tuesday ahead of a meeting of ministers in charge of development cooperation.

5 May
Cease-Fire Talks Between Israel and Hamas Again at an Impasse
There had been signs the two sides were inching closer to an agreement, but talks in Cairo stalled and a Hamas delegation left the city.
(NYT) The latest round of negotiations between Israel and Hamas hit an impasse on Sunday as mediators struggled to bridge remaining gaps and a Hamas delegation departed the talks in Cairo, according to two senior Hamas officials and two other officials familiar with the talks. An Israeli official also confirmed the negotiations had stalled and described them as being in “crisis.”
Hamas blamed the lack of progress on Mr. Netanyahu, who vowed again in recent days that the Israeli army will invade Rafah, the southernmost town in the Gaza Strip, with or without an agreement.

Israel orders Al Jazeera to close its local operation and seizes some of its equipment
(AP) — Israel ordered the local offices of Qatar’s Al Jazeera satellite news network to close Sunday, escalating a long-running feud between the broadcaster and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hard-line government as Doha-mediated cease-fire negotiations with Hamas hang in the balance.

1 May
Blinken presses Hamas to seal cease-fire with Israel, says ‘the time is now’ for a deal
(AP) U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has met with Israeli leaders in his push for a cease-fire deal between Israel and Hamas to impress on them that “the time is now” for an agreement that would free hostages and bring a pause in the nearly seven months of war.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken hiked up pressure on Hamas on Wednesday to accept the latest proposal for a cease-fire with Israel, saying the “time is now” for an agreement that would free hostages and pause the nearly seven months of war in Gaza.
But a key sticking point appeared to remain — whether the deal would completely end Israel’s offensive as Hamas has demanded.
Blinken met with Israeli leaders throughout the day on the last stop of his seventh visit to the region since the war erupted in October, trying to push through what has been an elusive deal between Israel and Hamas. The U.S. and fellow mediators Egypt and Qatar hope to avert an Israeli offensive into the southern Gaza town of Rafah, where some 1.4 million Palestinians are sheltering.

30 April
Ian Bremmer: Israel intent on Rafah invasion despite global backlash
How will the international community respond to an Israeli invasion of Rafah?
Very, very badly. You see that the Israeli prime minister and War Cabinet continues to say that no matter what happens with the hostages and a potential deal, and everyone’s trying to get one done at the last minute, that the intention is still very much to fight on the ground there. I don’t think that’s a bluff. And especially because it’s supported by the entire Israeli political spectrum and the population, they believe that you’ve got to take out Hamas. And beyond that, there’s also the concern about Hezbollah. So I think the international response is going to be very negative. It is certainly going to push back the possibility of any Saudi normalization, and it’s going to lead to a lot more demonstrations and hostility against Israel in the United States and in Europe.
Hopes for Israel-Hamas ceasefire deal take severe blow as Netanyahu vows to invade Rafah
A potential deal to halt almost seven months of war in Gaza hung in the balance Tuesday as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken shuttled around the Middle East trying to push home a ceasefire pact between Israel and Hamas.
Ceasefire hopes, which had risen in recent days as Mr. Blinken visited Saudi Arabia and Jordan to build support in the Arab world, took a severe blow just before he landed in Israel on Tuesday when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed that his country’s military would invade the southern Gaza city of Rafah regardless of how the negotiations went.
“The idea that we will halt the war before achieving all of its goals is out of the question,” Mr. Netanyahu said while meeting the families of some of the victims of the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel. “We will enter Rafah and we will eliminate the Hamas battalions there, with or without a deal, in order to achieve the total victory.”

Why the International Criminal Court has Israeli officials worried
(AP) — Israeli officials sound increasingly concerned that the International Criminal Court could issue arrest warrants for the country’s leaders more than six months into the Israel-Hamas war.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has written in general terms about ICC action against Israeli troops and officials, and Israel’s foreign ministry has said it is also tracking reports of pending action.
Netanyahu said Friday on the social platform X that Israel “will never accept any attempt by the ICC to undermine its inherent right of self-defense.”
“While the ICC will not affect Israel’s actions, it would set a dangerous precedent,” he wrote.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry said late Sunday that it had informed missions abroad of “ rumors ” that the court could order the arrest of senior Israeli political and military officials. The ministry did not give a source for the rumors.

26 April
Egypt sent a high-level delegation to Israel on Friday with the hope of brokering a ceasefire agreement with Hamas in Gaza, two officials said. At the same time, it warned that a possible Israeli offensive focused on Gaza’s city of Rafah — on the border with Egypt — could have catastrophic consequences for regional stability. Egypt’s top intelligence official, Abbas Kamel, is leading the delegation and planned to discuss with Israel a “new vision” for a prolonged ceasefire in Gaza, an Egyptian official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the mission freely. Friday’s talks focused at first on a limited exchange of hostages held by Hamas for Palestinian prisoners, and the return of a significant number of displaced Palestinians to their homes in northern Gaza “with minimum restrictions,” the Egyptian official said.
The official said mediators are working on a compromise that will answer most of both parties’ main demands, then lead to continued negotiations with the goal of a larger deal to end the war. A Western diplomat in Cairo said that Egypt’s intensified efforts for a cease-fire aim to avert a Rafah offensive. The diplomat spoke on condition of anonymity to freely discuss the developments.
Hamas has said it will not back down from its demands for a permanent cease-fire and full withdrawal of Israeli troops, both of which Israel has rejected. Israel says it will continue military operations until Hamas is defeated and that it will retain a security presence in Gaza afterwards.

25 April
Hamas says they will disarm if independent Palestinian state is made
(The World) A top Hamas political official told The Associated Press the Islamist militant group is willing to agree to a truce of five years or more with Israel and that it would lay down its weapons and convert into a political party if an independent Palestinian state is established along pre-1967 borders. The comments by Khalil al-Hayya in an interview Wednesday came amid a stalemate in months of talks for a ceasefire in Gaza. The suggestion that Hamas would disarm appeared to be a significant concession by the militant group officially committed to Israel’s destruction. But it’s unlikely Israel would consider such a scenario. Speaking to the AP in Istanbul, Hayya said Hamas wants to join the Palestine Liberation Organization, headed by the rival Fatah faction, to form a unified government for Gaza and the West Bank.
Hamas official says group would lay down its arms if an independent Palestinian state is established
A top Hamas political official has told The Associated Press the Islamic militant group is willing to agree to a five-year truce with Israel and that it will lay down its weapons and convert into a political party if an independent Palestinian state is established along pre-1967 borders.
BUT
9 January
Blinken urges Israel to engage with region on postwar plans that include path to Palestinian state

24 April
Amid a somber Passover in the Holy Land, a chilling reality remains: Israel could soon trigger an exodus into Egypt.
For weeks, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has signaled his intent to launch a full-scale offensive into Rafah, the southern Gazan city that’s now home to more than a million Palestinians seeking safe haven in their war-ravaged territory. Netanyahu and his allies want to wipe out militant group Hamas’s footprint in the city — no matter the skepticism of experts who reckon the Islamist organization is far from defeated or the concerns of foreign diplomats and aid workers who fear the calamities for civilians that would follow the Israeli onslaught

What are the obligations of Israel and Hamas to protect civilians? (pay wall)
International Humanitarian Law creates obligations—but contains numerous caveats
(The Economist) THE ISRAEL DEFENCE FORCES (IDF) are preparing for an offensive against the city of Rafah, in the southernmost tip of Gaza. It is the last redoubt of Hamas—but is also home to some 1.5m displaced Palestinians. Fearing a humanitarian catastrophe, even Israel’s closest ally, America, has warned against military operations there. But Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, insists that the IDF will go in. He claims to have a plan to protect civilians. One Israeli official said that the country was buying 40,000 tents to prepare for an evacuation. Israel argues that it has always abided by International Humanitarian Law (IHL) in Gaza. What exactly are its obligations?
Under the four Geneva Conventions of 1949, of which it is a signatory, Israel qualifies as a combatant, or “warring party”, in Gaza, which obliges it to observe strict prohibitions against targeting civilians, using starvation as a method of war and more. But Israel’s obligations towards Gazans could be greater still if it were considered an “occupying power”, a status that is hotly disputed. Israel claims it is not, but many international bodies argue that in practice it is: the country controls imports and access to Gaza to a significant degree, as well as maintaining the Palestinian population registry through its defence ministry. …

20 April
Thousands of Israelis join anti-government protests
(Reuters) – Thousands of Israeli demonstrators took to the streets on Saturday to call for new elections and demand more action from the government to bring the hostages held in Gaza home, in the latest round of protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

19 April
The unspoken story of why Israel didn’t clobber Iran
By David Ignatius
Over the past week, we’ve seen what looks to me like a considered decision by Israel to subtly reshape its strategy for deterring Iran and Iranian proxies Hamas and Hezbollah. Israeli deterrence is usually about massive use of offensive military force — a roundhouse punch that seeks to compel compliance through coercion.
But this time was different. When Iran launched a missile and drone barrage last weekend in retaliation for Israel’s April 1 strike on Iranian military leaders in Damascus, Syria, Israel used its Iron Dome defense system and help from allies to absorb the blow. The reported destruction of 99 percent of Iran’s incoming munitions was an astonishing display of missile defense. Some Israelis wanted to respond immediately with a big counter-barrage. But under pressure from President Biden, they waited.
When the Israeli response came early Friday, it was muted. Iranian and Israeli reports suggest that the Israeli air force attacked a site near some of Iran’s largest nuclear facilities. Those facilities weren’t damaged, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency. But Israel sent the message that it can penetrate Iranian air defenses and hit strategic targets when it chooses.
Israel wanted the last word in this exchange, and it seems to have succeeded. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday, after talks with officials in Tehran, that “Iran does not want an escalation.”

14 April
Ian Bremmer’s Quick Take: Iran attacks Israel
What are the Israelis going to do? I mean, the hope for the United States is that while Prime Minister Netanyahu wants to do more and suck the United States into a broader war against Iran, that he is going to be constrained from doing so. In part because he was so successful, they now have a major victory on their belt under his watch, being able to defend the Israeli people completely in response to an unprecedented Iranian attack. And there’s also going to be a big distraction away from the war in Gaza. Doesn’t mean that Israel suddenly loses its isolation or wins the PR war globally, I think that’s certainly not going to happen, but, there’s less pressure on the Israelis, on the prime minister, in terms of Gaza right now as a consequence of what Iran has done. And there’s also less pressure for Netanyahu to be forced out domestically in the near, in the immediate future.
… At the very least, I think there’ll be more significant strikes against Iranian proxies in the coming days. And the Israelis will also continue to engage in strikes against Iranian targets as they see them, as is opportune, in proxy states going forward. This is the problem, of course, is that, even though you have averted major escalation in a very dangerous period over the weekend, the Israelis and the Iranians haven’t accomplished anything to stabilize their relationship longer-term.
Israel has shown that they are capable of taking out Iranian leaders in Syria, and Iran can’t defend them. Iran has no intention of suddenly leaving those proxies to fend for themselves. And further, the likelihood that Israel now gets a breakthrough agreement on hostage release by Hamas, and that leads to a ceasefire, has gone down, at least in the near-term. The other side of that is the likelihood that the Israelis proceed with at least some form of ground attack into Rafah, which the Americans have warned them not to, also has gone up.
So the Hamas war with Israel is nowhere close to ending, the likelihood of continued Palestinian civilian casualties continues to grow, and the potential for further military engagement, both vis-a-vis proxies, including the Houthis in the Red Sea, the fact that the Iranians have also boarded an Israeli linked vessel in the Red Sea and that there is no effective deterrent in place right now between Israel and Iran, despite all sorts of other actors not wanting this to expand into a broader war, that all makes the Middle East right now, more dangerous.
… if you are looking ahead over the next, let’s say, six months, a couple things I think you can say. First, it is more likely that the present Israeli government is going to be in place for longer, and that the war in Gaza is going to continue without a serious effort at stabilization, or at least not one that’s consequential.

13 April
Hamas rejects Israel’s ceasefire response, sticks to main demands
(Reuters) – The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas has rejected an Israeli ceasefire proposal, saying on Saturday it had handed to mediators in Egypt and Qatar its response to the proposal it had received last Monday.
After more than six months of war with Israel in Gaza, the negotiations remain deadlocked, with Hamas sticking to its demands that any agreement must end the war.
“We.. reaffirm our adherence to our demands and the national demands of our people; with a permanent ceasefire, the withdrawal of the occupation army from the entire Gaza Strip, the return of the displaced to their areas and places of residence, intensification of the entry of relief and aid, and the start of reconstruction,” the Islamist faction said.
Israel wants to secure the return of hostages seized by Hamas in its Oct. 7 attack that triggered the war, but says it will not stop fighting until Hamas is destroyed as a military force. It also says it still plans to carry out an assault on the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where more than a million civilians have taken refuge.

12 April
‘We have to cut back on everything’: Palestinians farmers in West Bank say water is in short supply
(The World) As Israel’s war in Gaza continues, its impact on the lives of Palestinians in the occupied territories of the West Bank can be felt acutely in terms of water access.

10-11 April
Two views of Israel’s future
‘We need to fix the country’: Israelis ponder a post-war future
US President Joe Biden says Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is making a “mistake” with his approach to Gaza. More than 70% of Israeli respondents of a recent survey said Netanyahu should either resign now, or as soon as the war in Gaza ends.
(The World) Now, questions loom about a post-war future for Israel.
US President Joe Biden says that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is making a “mistake” with Israel’s military response in Gaza. And last month, US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer delivered even more blunt criticism in a speech on the Senate floor (A speech that sent shockwaves from Washington to Jerusalem).
Yoav Hendel, Israeli army reservist and former special forces soldier, who is also a former member of Israel’s parliament, said he will never forget who stepped up — and who didn’t — when the attacks occurred.
“Plenty of Israelis feel responsible and took leadership in those days when the politicians were shut down. They vanished in the first three weeks.”
Hendel believes those reservists on the frontlines of this war will take on new leadership roles in Israel. “We are talking a lot and doing a lot to make sure that after the war, we’ll be able to send those guys home — from the prime minister to the last minister that was responsible to what happened,” Hendel added.
A Jewish Theocracy That Resembles Iran
By Eran Yashiv, economist
(Haaretz) Wikipedia entry, April 2048.
Israel is a religious Jewish republic with a secular minority on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Its regime is currently theocratic and authoritarian. Israel’s history as a state is relatively brief (100 years), though it is part of the long history of the Jewish people. Its official language is Hebrew. …
With time, Israel became more and more similar to Iran, which underwent similar political and economic processes, though these originated in a revolution rather than through gradual change. World Jewry, with the exception of the ultra-Orthodox community, distanced itself from Israel. Israel is deemed an extreme, failed state, undemocratic and illiberal, espousing a radical branch of Judaism and promoting theocratic and authoritarian values.

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