Posted by Kendall Harmon

The biggest leak of confidential documents in the history of the Middle East conflict has revealed that Palestinian negotiators secretly agreed to accept Israel's annexation of all but one of the settlements built illegally in occupied East Jerusalem. This unprecedented proposal was one of a string of concessions that will cause shockwaves among Palestinians and in the wider Arab world.

A cache of thousands of pages of confidential Palestinian records covering more than a decade of negotiations with Israel and the US has been obtained by al-Jazeera TV and shared exclusively with the Guardian. The papers provide an extraordinary and vivid insight into the disintegration of the 20-year peace process, which is now regarded as all but dead....

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsForeign Relations* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.England / UKEuropeMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli StruggleWar in Gaza December 2008--

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Posted January 25, 2011 at 5:51 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Mutual distrust leads many Palestinians and Israelis to think of peace as a mirage. Since religion plays a significant role in justifying the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, politicians need the help of religious leaders in their search for a solution.

The problem is that often the patriarchal figures of the three faiths are too focused on “protecting” the community from erosion of piety or the threat of assimilation to pay enough attention to moral empowerment. Too many leaders defend ownership of land at the expense of justice, rationalize war and its spoils, and remind their people to track the enemy vigilantly using partial interpretations of sacred texts for this purpose.

Religious leaders from outside the region oftentimes also fuel the conflict, sometimes without even being aware that they are doing so. Based outside of the area and free from the considerations of local day-to-day life, these authorities too often espouse hardline positions. The American charismatic church, for example, supports Israel automatically, even at the risk of threatening long-term Jewish security. To become enablers of peace, religious authorities will have to shift from a preoccupation with protecting the tradition from change to becoming agents of inter-communal reconciliation.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign Relations* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli StruggleWar in Gaza December 2008--* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamJudaism

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Posted October 27, 2010 at 5:30 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The US says it is "disappointed" by Israel's decision not to extend a ban on West Bank settlement building.

US Middle East envoy George Mitchell has been sent to the region in an attempt to salvage direct peace talks that were restarted earlier this month.

The 10-month moratorium came to an end at midnight (2200 GMT on Sunday).

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack Obama* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli StruggleWar in Gaza December 2008--

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Posted September 27, 2010 at 5:55 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks are opening in Egypt, amid concern over the imminent expiry of Israel's partial ban on West Bank settlement building.

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas are holding three-way talks with Hillary Clinton in Sharm-el-Sheikh.

Before the talks began the US secretary of state had said Israel should extend its freeze on West Bank construction.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in General* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli StruggleWar in Gaza December 2008--

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Posted September 14, 2010 at 7:55 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

It was supposed to be the week President Barack Obama saved the world. More than 100 heads of state are preparing to descend on New York for talks on halting climate change, promoting nuclear disarmament, defeating terrorism in Pakistan and tackling poverty in sub-Saharan Africa — all before a G20 meeting in Pittsburgh on Friday aimed at reaching agreements on global financial regulation and curbing bankers’ bonuses.

The headline-grabber was expected to be the relaunch of the stalled Middle East peace process, to be followed a week later by America’s first direct talks with Iran since the Islamic revolution in 1979.

Instead, attempts to revive talks between Israelis and Palestinians, the cornerstone of the administration’s foreign policy, have failed so far. Western diplomats say it will take all the president’s considerable charisma to revive them.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack Obama* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Middle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli StruggleWar in Gaza December 2008--

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Posted September 20, 2009 at 12:03 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Binyamin Netanyahu is expected to endorse a “two-state solution” in a much-heralded speech this weekend, but he may stall on American demands to freeze Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

Feeling the squeeze between the US Administration, which wants a moratorium on settlement growth and a commitment to a Palestinian state, and his national-religious coalition, which favours neither, the Israeli Prime Minister appears likely to try to steer a middle course.

Israeli newspapers were full of speculation about what Mr Netanyahu — who has so far refused openly to back a Palestinian state alongside Israel — might offer to deflect pressure from Washington. Ehud Barak, his Defence Minister, urged him this week to recognise a Palestinian state, but members of Mr Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party have cautioned him against the move.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack Obama* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Middle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli StruggleWar in Gaza December 2008--

14 Comments
Posted June 13, 2009 at 5:13 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Jordan's king urged President Barack Obama Sunday to take a more forceful role in the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians, warning of a new Mideast war if there is no significant progress in the next 18 months.

Speaking to NBC's "Meet the Press," King Abdullah described the Israeli-Palestinian dispute as the core problem of the region and solving it would help the U.S. in dealing with Iran and combatting the appeal of radical Islamic groups like Al-Qaida.

"In the next 18 months, if we don't move the process forward, and bring people to the negotiation table, there will be another conflict between Israel and another protagonist," he said in the interview recorded in Washington on Friday.

Read it all.

Filed under: * International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelJordanThe Palestinian/Israeli StruggleWar in Gaza December 2008--

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Posted April 26, 2009 at 4:35 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The publication late last week of eyewitness accounts by Israeli soldiers alleging acute mistreatment of Palestinian civilians in the recent Gaza fighting highlights a debate here about the rules of war. But it also exposes something else: the clash between secular liberals and religious nationalists for control over the army and society.

Several of the testimonies, published by an institute that runs a premilitary course and is affiliated with the left-leaning secular kibbutz movement, showed a distinct impatience with religious soldiers, portraying them as self-appointed holy warriors.

A soldier, identified by the pseudonym Ram, is quoted as saying that in Gaza, “the rabbinate brought in a lot of booklets and articles and their message was very clear: We are the Jewish people, we came to this land by a miracle, God brought us back to this land and now we need to fight to expel the non-Jews who are interfering with our conquest of this holy land. This was the main message, and the whole sense many soldiers had in this operation was of a religious war.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli StruggleWar in Gaza December 2008--

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Posted March 22, 2009 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

In the two months since Israel ended its military assault on Gaza, Palestinians and international rights groups have accused it of excessive force and wanton killing in that operation, but the Israeli military has said it followed high ethical standards and took great care to avoid civilian casualties.

Now testimony is emerging from within the ranks of soldiers and officers alleging a permissive attitude toward the killing of civilians and wanton destruction of property that is sure to inflame the domestic and international debate about the army's conduct in Gaza. On Thursday, the military's chief advocate general ordered an investigation into a soldier's account of a sniper killing a woman and her two children who walked too close to a designated no-go area by mistake, and another account of a sharpshooter who killed an elderly woman who came within 100 yards of a commandeered house.

Read it all.

Filed under: * International News & CommentaryMiddle EastThe Palestinian/Israeli StruggleWar in Gaza December 2008--

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Posted March 20, 2009 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

They have raised more than £1,000 for a mobile dental clinic delivering frontline medical aid around the bombed out streets of Gaza. The clinic, which has been funded totally by the Church in Wales since 2000, is part of the work of family health centres in Gaza run by the Near East Council of Churches.

Members of the Young Muslim Community Organisation in Newport, South Wales, held a bazaar to raise money following an appeal by the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan, for urgent aid for the work of the NECC clinics. The appeal was intensified after a direct missile attack destroyed one of the family centres in Shij’ia last month.

Ifthir Ahmed, chair of the YMCO, said the group was pleased to support a Welsh appeal for humanitarian aid.

He said, “We read about the destruction of the family clinic and the invaluable service the mobile dental clinic provides for so many people in the strip. We felt that some of the money we raised had to go to this very noble cause.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of Wales* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastWar in Gaza December 2008--* Religion News & CommentaryInter-Faith RelationsOther FaithsIslam

6 Comments
Posted February 12, 2009 at 6:20 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Our admiration for Obama is grounded in what he represents: fairness. He is the product of a just, democratic system that respects equal opportunity for education and work. This system allowed a black man, after centuries of racial discrimination, to become president. This fairness is precisely what we are missing in Egypt.

That is why the image of Obama meeting with his predecessors in the White House was so touching. Here in Egypt, we don't have previous or future presidents, only the present head of state who seized power through sham elections and keeps it by force, and who will probably remain in power until the end of his days.

Accordingly, Egypt lacks a fair system that bases advancement on qualifications. Young people often get good jobs because they have connections. Ministers are not elected, but appointed by the president. Not surprisingly, this inequitable system often leads young people to frustration or religious extremism. Others flee the country at any cost, hoping to find justice elsewhere.

We saw Obama as a symbol of this justice. We welcomed him with almost total enthusiasm until he underwent his first real test: Gaza.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsForeign RelationsPolitics in GeneralOffice of the PresidentPresident Barack Obama* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Middle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli StruggleWar in Gaza December 2008--* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

10 Comments
Posted February 8, 2009 at 5:44 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

How did this conflict get so fragmented? For starters, it’s gone on way too long. The West Bank is so chopped up and divided now by roads, checkpoints and fences to separate Israel’s crazy settlements from Palestinian villages that a Palestinian could fly from Jerusalem to Paris quicker than he or she could drive from Jenin, here in the northern West Bank, to Hebron in the south.

Another reason is that every idea has been tried and has failed. For the Palestinians, Pan-Arabism, Communism, Islamism have all come and gone, with none having delivered statehood or prosperity. As a result, more and more Palestinians have fallen back on family, clan, town and tribal loyalties. In Israel, Peace Now’s two-state solution was blown up with the crash of the Oslo peace accords, the rising Palestinian birthrate made any plans to annex the West Bank a mortal threat to Israel’s Jewish character, and the rockets that followed Israel’s withdrawals from both Lebanon and Gaza made a mockery of those who said unilateral pullouts were the solution.

All of this has led to a resurgence of religiosity. According to Haaretz, the following questions were posed by a well-known rabbi in one of the pamphlets distributed by the Israeli Army’s Office of Chief Rabbi before the latest Gaza fighting: “Is it possible to compare today’s Palestinians to the Philistines of the past? And if so, is it possible to apply lessons today from the military tactics of Samson and David? A comparison is possible because the Philistines of the past were not natives and had invaded from a foreign land.”

Who in the world would want to try to repair this? I’d rather herd cats....

Read it all.


Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryForeign RelationsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Middle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli StruggleWar in Gaza December 2008--

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Posted February 4, 2009 at 6:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The Rt Rev Suheil Dawani, the Anglican Bishop in Jerusalem and Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem that includes Gaza, after two hours of waiting was denied entry into the Gaza Strip at the Israeli EREZ security Crossing Point this morning along with Lutheran Bishop Mounib Younan.

A spokesman for the Anglican diocese said that both Bishops were on a pastoral visit to include the al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza, an institution of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, and to members of their communities as part of a five-member delegation of the Jerusalem Heads of Church. The decision for the pastoral visit was apparently made two weeks ago and negotiations for the permits were begun with the Israeli authorities for that purpose. They had been informed that their request to enter Gaza had been granted.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesThe Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelWar in Gaza December 2008--

5 Comments
Posted February 4, 2009 at 4:25 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert threatened on Sunday a "disproportionate response" to the continued firing of rockets into Israel from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

There have been sporadic rocket attacks by militants on southern Israeli communities and several Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip since a truce came into effect on Jan. 18 following a 22-day Israeli offensive in the territory.

At least two rockets struck southern Israel on Sunday, causing no damage or casualties. A wing of al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a group belonging to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction, claimed responsibility.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, Military* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelThe Palestinian/Israeli StruggleWar in Gaza December 2008--

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Posted February 2, 2009 at 6:43 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

A day after President Obama’s special Middle East envoy called for a consolidation of the fragile Gaza cease-fire, the truce came under new strain Thursday when the Israeli military said Palestinians fired a rocket into Israel at dawn and Israel launched an air attack into southern Gaza.

On his first visit to the region in his new role, the envoy, George J. Mitchell, traveled to the West Bank to meet with Palestinian leaders on Thursday after discussions with Israel’s prime minister, Ehud Olmert on Wednesday. In those talks, Mr. Mitchell said, he spoke of “the critical importance” of consolidating the cease-fire that ended Israel’s three-week offensive against Hamas.

As Mr. Mitchell prepared to travel to Ramallah, Israel said it launched an air attack in the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis against a “known terrorist” accused by an Israeli military spokesman of being part of a squad responsible for a roadside bombing on Tuesday that killed an Israeli soldier on the Israeli side of the border.

Read it all.

Filed under: * International News & CommentaryMiddle EastThe Palestinian/Israeli StruggleWar in Gaza December 2008--

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Posted January 29, 2009 at 10:22 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The news Wednesday that Israeli warplanes bombed Palestinian supply tunnels running into the Gaza Strip again is more than a predictable hiccup in Israel’s self-declared cease-fire. A Palestinian bomb had killed an Israeli soldier on Tuesday. Israel responded with airstrikes the same day, and followed up Wednesday with air attacks on tunnels in the southern Gaza town of Rafah, on the Egyptian border. There were no reported casualties, but residents fled their homes in panic.

The raid underlines - if any underlining was needed - that any lasting truce is going to hinge on the question of what is allowed into Gaza and how.

Since Israel stopped allowing much except humanitarian supplies into Gaza two years ago, in a bid to undermine the strip’s Hamas rulers, Gazans have depended on a warren of tunnels from Egypt for everything from AK-47s to cheese. If they couldn’t get even legit stuff in through the Israeli-controlled border points, Gaza’s merchants have been bringing it in underground. And Hamas’s rocket builders have been bringing their weapons in that way, too.

Read it all.

Filed under: * International News & CommentaryMiddle EastWar in Gaza December 2008--

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Posted January 28, 2009 at 8:43 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, has issued a joint statement with the Rev. David Giuliano, Moderator of the United Church of Canada, calling for an independent investigation into the Israeli bombing of the Shaja'ih Family Healthcare Centre in Gaza City on Jan. 10, 2009.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesAnglican Church of Canada* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastThe Palestinian/Israeli StruggleWar in Gaza December 2008--

4 Comments
Posted January 27, 2009 at 10:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

We’re getting perilously close to closing the window on a two-state solution, because the two chief window-closers — Hamas in Gaza and the fanatical Jewish settlers in the West Bank — have been in the driver’s seats. Hamas is busy making a two-state solution inconceivable, while the settlers have steadily worked to make it impossible.

If Hamas continues to obtain and use longer- and longer-range rockets, there is no way any Israeli government can or will tolerate independent Palestinian control of the West Bank, because a rocket from there can easily close the Tel Aviv airport and shut down Israel’s economy.

And if the Jewish settlers continue with their “natural growth” to devour the West Bank, it will also be effectively off the table. No Israeli government has mustered the will to take down even the “illegal,” unauthorized settlements, despite promises to the U.S. to do so, so it’s getting hard to see how the “legal” settlements will ever be removed. What is needed from Israel’s Feb. 10 elections is a centrist, national unity government that can resist the blackmail of the settlers, and the rightist parties that protect them, to still implement a two-state solution.

Because without a stable two-state solution, what you will have is an Israel hiding behind a high wall, defending itself from a Hamas-run failed state in Gaza, a Hezbollah-run failed state in south Lebanon and a Fatah-run failed state in Ramallah. Have a nice day.

So if you believe in the necessity of a Palestinian state or you love Israel, you’d better start paying attention. This is not a test. We’re at a hinge of history.

Read it all.

Filed under: * International News & CommentaryMiddle EastThe Palestinian/Israeli StruggleWar in Gaza December 2008--

4 Comments
Posted January 27, 2009 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Two unilateral cease-fires at the end of a 22-day war in the Gaza Strip will buy another pause of limited duration in the decades-long conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, but nothing more. There are no bilateral agreements to prevent a resumption of fighting, let alone to resolve the underlying causes of conflict. Israeli officials say they dealt a significant blow to the Hamas military infrastructure and that the leveling of large swaths of Gaza will deter future rocket attacks on Israel. Hamas leaders, emerging from the rubble to resume control of Gaza, declare the organization's very survival a success; they live to fight another day. Both sides' claims may be true, yet they are false victories that cost more than 1,300 lives, the vast majority Palestinian civilians, and brought devastation to Gaza. There are no winners without negotiated solutions.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryTerrorism* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelWar in Gaza December 2008--

5 Comments
Posted January 22, 2009 at 6:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The wheat and potato fields of this kibbutz, or communal farm, in southern Israel stretch right up to the Gaza border fence. In almost surreal proximity on the other side rise the apartment buildings, water towers and minarets of the Palestinian village of Abasan.

Israel’s deadly offensive against Hamas in Gaza had ended on Sunday, with both sides having unilaterally declared a cease-fire. Yet there was little sense of triumph here in the days after, more a nagging feeling of something missed or incomplete.

Elad Katzir, a potato farmer, was nervous as he drove through the lush fields, agreeing to stop the car only behind clumps of trees or bushes as cover in case of sniper fire. By one thicket, nestled among wild flowers, was a memorial to a soldier who was shot dead here while on patrol seven years ago.

“I do not feel any victory,” said Mr. Katzir. “I still do not feel safe.”

Read it all.



Filed under: * International News & CommentaryMiddle EastWar in Gaza December 2008--

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Posted January 20, 2009 at 4:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

European leaders gathered in Jerusalem on Sunday evening as Israel sought help in converting a fragile pause in the fighting in Gaza into a blueprint for a more durable calm.

Earlier Sunday, Hamas, the Islamist group that controls Gaza, and other militant groups announced an immediate, week-long cease-fire in the confrontation with Israel. The announcement came about 12 hours after a unilateral Israeli cease-fire went into effect, raising hopes that the 22-day war that killed about 1,300 Palestinians and 13 Israelis had come to an end.

Hamas and its associates gave Israeli troops a week to leave Gaza. Hamas leaders had previously said the group would continue fighting so long as Israeli forces remained in the territory.

Referring to the one-week deadline, Mark Regev, a spokesman for Israel’s prime minister, Ehud Olmert, said that Israel does not “take dictates from Hamas.” But he insisted that Israel, which launched an air offensive against Hamas on Dec. 27 and sent ground forces in a week later, has no desire to stay in Gaza for long.

One week is not long enough but it is a start; let us hope it moves in the direction of a lasting Cease-Fire. Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryTerrorism* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelWar in Gaza December 2008--

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Posted January 18, 2009 at 6:45 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

(ACNS) Today (Wednesday 14 January 2009) brought more injured and wounded patients to Al Ahli Hospital in Gaza City, as each of the last 18 days has. One patient who came to Al Ahli recently was Mohan’nad, a 9 year-old boy whose leg was badly injured when a building near his home was damaged. Thankfully, the doctors and staff at Al Ahli were able to save his leg.

But this day also brought hope and much needed assistance for Al Ahli in the form of several trucks filled with medicines, medical supplies, blankets, and food that arrived in convoys coordinated by UNRWA. The hospital to date has received some limited assistance through various aid agencies, but the trucks arriving today represent a huge boost to the hospital’s ability to continue its urgent humanitarian mission of medical care for anyone in need, even under the current dire circumstances. The hospital’s location in the very heart of Gaza City is now placing added responsibility on its work, which is being carried out so bravely and selflessly by the hospital staff.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesThe Episcopal Church of Jerusalem and the Middle East* Culture-WatchHealth & Medicine* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastWar in Gaza December 2008--

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Posted January 15, 2009 at 6:58 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Scarcely a day goes by in South Florida that there's not at least one rally in support of Israel, or a protest against the Israeli assault in Gaza. Florida is home to both sizeable Jewish and Muslim populations.

Muhammed Malik is organizing rallies that include both Palestinians and Jews —which some people might consider risky, even foolhardy. Tensions flared at the first event, earlier this month in Miami, with taunts and jeers being thrown by both sides until police stepped in.

He says there were maybe a dozen hotheads out of a crowd of more than 1,000 people.

"When you take that 1 percent, it ruined the rest for everyone else," says Malik, of the South Florida Palestine Solidarity Network. "We all know the media likes to focus on violence, because it's sexy and attracts a lot of advertisers … . But we hope that peace will also be sexy, too."

Read or listen to it all.

Filed under: * International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Middle EastWar in Gaza December 2008--* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslamJudaism

1 Comments
Posted January 14, 2009 at 12:18 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Despite heavy air and ground assaults, Israel has yet to cripple the military wing of Hamas or destroy the group’s ability to launch rockets, Israeli intelligence officials said on Tuesday, suggesting that Israel’s main goals in the conflict remain unfulfilled even after more than two weeks of war.

The comments reflected a view among some Israeli officials that any lasting solution to the conflict would require either a breakthrough diplomatic accord that heavily restricts Hamas’s military abilities or a deeper ground assault into urban areas of Gaza, known here as a possible “Phase Three” of the war.

As the conflict entered its 19th day on Wednesday, three rockets fired from south Lebanon landed outside the town of Kiryat Shmona in northern Israel, but caused no casualties, the Israeli authorities said. The Israeli military said it fired back. It was not immediately clear who fired the rockets into Israel. A similar incident last week raised concerns briefly that a second front had opened in the war. But Hezbollah, the militant Shiite group which fought a war with Israel in 2006, quickly sought to assure the Lebanese government that it was not responsible.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryTerrorism* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelWar in Gaza December 2008--

5 Comments
Posted January 14, 2009 at 6:50 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Secretary of State-designate Hillary Rodham Clinton signaled on Tuesday that the United States would try to increase its diplomatic contacts with Iran and Syria, and she declared that the vision of Israelis and Palestinians co-existing in peace and prosperity must not be abandoned.

Despite the “seemingly intractable problems” in the Middle East, “we cannot give up on peace,” Senator Clinton said before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which is considering whether to confirm her selection as President-elect Barack Obama’s top diplomat.

Mrs. Clinton said America must recognize Israel’s right to defend itself from Hamas rockets but cannot ignore the suffering of Palestinians citizens, as well as Israelis. “Real security for Israel, normal and positive relations with its neighbors” as well as genuine security for Palestinians must continue to be America’s ideal, she said.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryPolitics in GeneralSenate* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.Middle EastIsraelWar in Gaza December 2008--

4 Comments
Posted January 13, 2009 at 4:10 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

To Israel’s critics abroad, the picture could not be clearer: Israel’s war in Gaza is a wildly disproportionate response to the rockets of Hamas, causing untold human suffering and bombing an already isolated and impoverished population into the Stone Age, and it must be stopped.

Yet here in Israel very few, at least among the Jewish population, see it that way.

Since Israeli warplanes opened the assault on Gaza 17 days ago, about 900 Palestinians have been reported killed, many of them civilians. Red Cross workers were denied access to scores of dead and wounded Gazans, and a civilian crowd near a United Nations school was hit, with at least 40 people killed.

But voices of dissent in this country have been rare. And while tens of thousands have poured into the streets of world capitals demonstrating against the Israeli military operation, antiwar rallies here have struggled to draw 1,000 participants. The Peace Now organization has received many messages from supporters telling it to stay out of the streets on this one.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchGlobalizationViolence* Economics, PoliticsDefense, National Security, MilitaryTerrorism* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelWar in Gaza December 2008--

21 Comments
Posted January 13, 2009 at 9:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

With every image of the dead in Gaza inflaming people across the Arab world, Egyptian and Jordanian officials are worried that they see a fundamental tenet of the Middle East peace process slipping away: the so-called two-state solution, an independent Palestinian state coexisting with Israel.

Egypt and Jordan fear that they will be pressed to absorb the Palestinian populations now living beyond their borders. If Israel does not assume responsibility for humanitarian aid in Gaza, for example, pressure could compel Egypt to fill the vacuum; Jordan, in turn, worries that Israel will try to push Palestinians from the West Bank into its territory.

In that case, both states fear, they could become responsible for policing the conflict between the Palestinians and Israel, undermining their peace treaties with Israel.

Read it all.

Filed under: * International News & CommentaryMiddle EastEgyptIsraelWar in Gaza December 2008--

12 Comments
Posted January 12, 2009 at 5:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Q: Bush is at the end of his term, Obama has been very quiet. Do you see a leadership deficit during this crisis?

A: I think everybody's working hard to bring it to a solution. But the problem is—the problem remains the problem. The problem is that the Palestinian side is divided. The only way out of this, in the end, is to provide that viable way forward for a Palestinian state. It can be done. Whether it's the present administration or the next administration, that's what it takes.


Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchViolence* Economics, PoliticsTerrorism* International News & CommentaryMiddle EastIsraelWar in Gaza December 2008--

1 Comments
Posted January 11, 2009 at 6:35 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]




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