Thoughts on Israel

We express our sympathy for the people of Israel who have suffered a brutal attack from HAMAS and its backers.

An act of such barbarity is bound to evoke a response and lead to further escalation of violence in the region. But that seems to be the intention.

Martin Indyk, former US Ambassador to Israel (1995-1997 and 2000-2001) and special envoy under President Obama for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations (2013-2014), was asked why this occurred now, after progress seemed to be made on an Israel-Palestine settlement:

I think you have to consider the context at this moment. The Arab world is coming to terms with Israel. Saudi Arabia is talking about normalizing relations with Israel. As part of that potential deal, the United States is pressing Israel to make concessions to the Palestinian Authority—Hamas’s enemy. So this was an opportunity for Hamas and its Iranian backers to disrupt the whole process, which I think in retrospect was deeply threatening to both of them. I don’t think that Hamas follows dictation from Iran, but I do think they act in coordination, and they had a common interest in disrupting the progress that was underway and that was gaining a lot of support among Arab populations. The idea was to embarrass those Arab leaders who have made peace with Israel, or who might do so, and to prove that Hamas and Iran are the ones who are able to inflict military defeat on Israel.

There are talks going on regarding a peace deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia, and conversations about U.S. security guarantees for Saudi Arabia. In all likelihood, a primary motivation for Hamas and Iran was a desire to disrupt that deal, because it threatened to isolate them. And this was a very good way to destroy its prospects, at least in the near term. Once the Palestinian issue returns to front and center, and Arabs around the Middle East are watching American weapons in Israeli hands killing large numbers of Palestinians, that will ignite a very strong reaction….

….And in terms of escalation, the party to watch most closely is Hezbollah. If the Palestinian death toll rises, Hezbollah will be tempted to join the fray. They have 150,000 rockets they can rain down on Israel’s main cities, and that will lead to an all-out war not just in Gaza but in Lebanon, too. And everybody would get dragged in that situation. (Foreign Affairs)


The aim of the attack was to provoke a violent retaliation which would disrupt an Arab-Israeli peace accord.
Starting another war would play into the perpetrator’s hands.
Netanyahu prides himself on being cautious. Now is the time to show restraint, bolster Israel’s defenses and continue to pursue peace in the region — which would sideline HAMAS and its Iranian backers.

Is Israel an Apartheid State?  | Bloomberg View

Congratulations to Jeffrey Goldberg for this opinion on John Kerry’s statement:

I will dissent from Boxer’s critique, both because I believe that Kerry is a pro-Israel secretary of state who worries about the Jewish state’s future, and because I myself have used the word “apartheid” not only to describe a possible terrible future for Israel, but also as a way of depicting some current and most unfortunate facts on the ground…….

I suppose this passage makes me an enemy of Israel, in the same way Kerry is an enemy of Israel, and in the same way that the former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (who is also Israel’s most decorated soldier) is an enemy of Israel, because Barak has also warned about the dangers of the status quo: “As long as in this territory west of the Jordan River there is only one political entity called Israel,” he said in 2010, “it is going to be either non-Jewish, or non-democratic. If this bloc of millions of Palestinians cannot vote, that will be an apartheid state.”

A two-state solution (the apartheid government in South Africa called them “bantustans”) will never resolve the conflict. Israelis face some hard choices.

Read more at Is Israel an Apartheid State?  – Bloomberg View.

Muslim, Zionist and proud | Ynetnews

British Muslim Kasim Hafeez writes about his visit to Israel:

I did not encounter an apartheid racist state, but rather, quite the opposite. I was confronted by synagogues, mosques and churches, by Jews and Arabs living together, by minorities playing huge parts in all areas of Israeli life, from the military to the judiciary. It was shocking and eye-opening. This wasn’t the evil Zionist Israel that I had been told about.

Perhaps there is a future for Israel/Palestine after all.

via Muslim, Zionist and proud – Israel Opinion, Ynetnews.

WPR Article | Sudan May Become Hot Spot for Iran-Israel Tensions

Catherine Cheney refers to a suspected Israeli airstrike on a munitions factory in Khartoum, Sudan. She quotes Katherine Zimmerman from the American Enterprise Institute:

“Sudan has served as Iran’s toehold on the African continent and has provided sanctuary to Iranian proxy groups, as well as al-Qaida operatives, and serves as a key conduit for Iran’s arms smuggling network supporting Hamas in Gaza…..”

If Israel did in fact conduct the reported airstrike in Khartoum, [Zimmerman] said, it could be an early indicator of escalating hostilities between Israel and Iran….

via WPR Article | Sudan May Become Hot Spot for Iran-Israel Tensions.

Here’s The Real Reason The Price Of Crude Oil Is So Strong

This month’s decoupling of oil from other risk assets, could be foretelling skittishness over recent events in Iran and Syria (where a growing chorus is calling for action against Assad’s brutality), and even over today’s report from the AFP that thousands of Kuwaitis stormed parliament after demanding the prime minister’s resignation.

Additionally, borderline hostile rhetoric towards Iran after a recent explosion at a missile base is putting more focus on their tensions with Israel…..

via Here’s The Real Reason The Price Of Crude Oil Is So Strong.