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OPINION & ANALYSIS - 17 September

by Ant Katz | Sep 17, 2014

OPINION & ANALYSIS 

Week Ending 17 September 2014

 

1. Israel’s challenges in the Eastern Mediterranean

Efraim Inbar, Middle East Forum, Fall 2014

 

About 90 percent of Israel's foreign trade is carried out via the Mediterranean Sea, making freedom of navigation in this area critical for the Jewish state's economic well-being. Moreover, the newly found gas fields offshore could transform Israel into an energy independent country and a significant exporter of gas, yet these developments are tied to its ability to secure free maritime passage and to defend the discovered hydrocarbon fields.

 

 

2. Everything you need to know about international law and the Gaza War

David Daoud, The Tower, September 2014

 

This article is not a rejection or disparagement of the laws of war themselves, but an attempt to accurately define the laws’ requirements. It is also a critique of the abuse of international law by politically motivated jurists whose actions only serve to undermine the legitimacy of the law, leading many respected scholars to question the law’s “inadequacy” in dealing with modern combat. These laws are still valid and fully adequate when properly understood and objectively applied, and this critique is made in the interest of preserving them and the objectivity on which they must be based.

 

 

3. Christians in the crosshairs

Lela Gilbert, Hadassah Magazine, August September 2014

 

I have since learned that Israel is the only country in the Middle East in which the Christian population is safe and thriving: There is authentic religious freedom in Israel. In other countries across the Middle East - the cradle of Christianity - brutal assaults against those who belong to ancient churches are constant.

 

4. Why many Arabs and Muslims do not trust Obama

Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute, 15 September 2014

Many Arabs and Muslims identify with the terrorists' anti-Western objectives ideology; they are afraid of being dubbed traitors and U.S. agents for joining non-Muslims in a war that would result in the death of many Muslims, and they are afraid their people would rise up against them.  Many Arab and Muslim leaders view the Islamic State as a by-product of failed U.S. policies, especially the current U.S. Administration's weak-kneed support for Iraq's Nuri al-Maliki. Some of these leaders, such as Egypt's Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, consider the U.S. to be a major ally of the Muslim Brotherhood. Sisi and his regime will never forgive Obama for his support for the Muslim Brotherhood. Also, they do not seem to have much confidence in the Obama Administration, which is perceived as weak and incompetent when it comes to combating Islamists.

 

5. Is media anti-Semitism on the rise?

Dow Marmur, The Toronto Star, 14 September 2014

Jews may seem paranoid, but that doesn’t mean that their foes aren’t after them.  Though Jews are often accused of undue sensitivity about contemporary anti-Semitism, it doesn’t mean that anti-Semitism doesn’t exist in many places, including the media.

 

 

6. Europe must act to reign in Israel

Phyllis Starkey, Al Arabiya, 12 September 2014

 

The latest Israeli announcement of the largest West Bank land seizure in 30 years confirms the view (that Israel had no intention of ever conceding Palestinian control beyond the disconnected blocks of Area A). Unless Europe responds with more than the usual condemnations and fruitless pleas to Israel for delay, the cycles of violence will continue, with their appalling toll of injury and death, and the Palestinian population will be further impoverished.

 

 

7. Islamists are not our friends

Dennis Ross, New York Times, 12 September 2014

 

On one side are the Islamists — both Sunni and Shiite. ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood represent the Sunni end of the spectrum, while the Islamic Republic of Iran and its militias, including Hezbollah (in Lebanon and Syria) and Asaib Ahl al-Haq (in Iraq), constitute the other. Many of these Islamists are at war with one another, but they are also engaged in a bitter struggle with non-Islamists to define the fundamental identity of the region and its states. What the Islamists all have in common is that they subordinate national identities to an Islamic identity.

 

8. BICOM Briefing: Following the Gaza conflict, what to expect next

BICOM, 11 September 2014

Israeli officials say Israel is ready to see a swift relaxation of border crossing restrictions into Israel for the entry of construction materials, but they want to see mechanisms in place to track the use of dual use materials like cement and the reintroduction of PA forces onto the borders. Egypt is also making relaxation of restrictions on the Rafah border dependent on the reintroduction of the PA. However, tensions between the PA and Hamas are high, with PA President Mahmoud Abbas accusing Hamas of killing 120 Fatah activists during the operation and threatening to dissolve the Palestinian unity government unless Hamas recognise “one authority, one gun, one law” in the form of PA control in Gaza.

 

9. Iraq jihad is a Zionist plot, say the Sunnis

John Bradley, Jewish Chronicle Online, 11 September 2014

 

If all other arguments fail, blame the Jews. That was the message this week from Egypt's top religious figure, the Sheikh of Al-Azhar.  Declaring the Islamic State "criminals", he justified attacks against them because they are part of a "Zionist plot" to undermine "Arab unity".  The Western media conveniently chose to ignore this idiocy.  But that it came from the head of the most revered institution in Sunni Islam, whose salary is paid by the Egyptian government, tells us that we should indeed pay close attention.

 

10. Hamas’s fourth generation warfare

Lenny Ben-David, The Times of Israel, 10 September 2014

 

Psychological warfare is a major weapon of the twenty-first century jihadi warriors. The video-taped massacres of minorities and enemy soldiers spurred mass flight by locals. Hamas’ mortars led to the temporary abandonment of Israeli communities along the Gaza border, and the barrages of longer-range rockets — even the hundreds intercepted by Iron Dome – still served Hamas’ purposes and disrupted daily Israeli routine, businesses, sports events, entertainment and even the operation of Ben Gurion Airport. The Iron Dome missiles used against Hamas rockets were worth every penny, but they still cost tens of millions of dollars.

 

 

11. Saving the promised land

Alan Johnson, Fathom, 2 June 2014

 

Ari Shavit’s My Promised Land: The Triumph and the Tragedy of Israel is one of the most talked about books to be published about the country in recent years. According to Thomas Friedman, Shavit’s ‘painful love story’ offers, ‘the real Israel, not the fantasy, do-no-wrong Israel peddled by its most besotted supporters or the do-no-right colonial monster portrayed by its most savage critics.’ Fathom editor Alan Johnson spoke to Ari Shavit, a senior correspondent at Haaretz and a member of its editorial board, in London in February 2014.

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