By Benjamin Schuman-Stoler
The Onion, that satirical publication out to make fun of any and every thing they can find, has a scandalous but insightful approach to Israel’s recent controversial operation in Gaza. Their “Point, Counterpoint” section has these headlines:
Point: “The Israeli Conflict Is Far Too Nuanced And Complex To Sum Up In One Op-Ed”
Counterpoint: “Not If You Hate Jews!”
Through humor, the Onion expresses an emerging reality after the War in Gaza: despite its popularity within Israel, its disproportionate number of Palestinian deaths aroused considerable media attention, followed by a swath of anti-Israel rhetoric from advocates of the Gazans’ cause. Yet much of that anti-Israel rhetoric has escalated into outright anti-Semitism, and the Anti-Defamation League has released a number of reports documenting the increasingly worrying anti-Semitic acts occurring around the world under the guise of anti-Zionist, pro-Palestinian geopolitics.
By Benjamin Schuman-Stoler
President Barack Obama (still sounds so new, doesn’t it?) announced that he has chosen former Senator George Mitchell to be his special emissary to the Middle East. Mitchell is a veteran negotiator, most known for an agreement he brokered in Northern Ireland, and the appointment of such a high ranking diplomat points to the Obama administration’s desire to make real progress in the region.
Although Mitchell was born to a Lebanese mother, experts agree that he will bring a neutral perspective to the region. From the New York Times:
“He’s neither pro-Israeli nor pro-Palestinian,” said Martin S. Indyk, a former American ambassador to Israel and an adviser to the Clinton administration. “He’s, in a sense, neutral.”
Stay tuned to ITM for further analysis.
Tunneling under Israel
Tunnels. The very word connotes ancient secrets, mystic rites and modern adventure. Israel is blessed with tunnels both natural (the country gets whole pages on spelunking websites) and man made: The “Rabbinical” tunnels alongside and beneath the Temple Mount get lots of attention. Their excavation launched Arab riots as well as a new locus for tourism. (Jerusalem’s coolest tunnel is Hezekiah’s ancient passage to the Gihon Spring, seen at right.)
For Israel’s security forces, it’s the tunnels under Gaza’s border with Egypt that, understandably, generate the most interest. Egypt’s government claims, unconvincingly, that it’s trying to keep the tunnels closed, while evidence at the other end (filmed by France24’s English newscast) shows Gazans’ using the tunnels routinely to smuggle in market goods and even electricity generation. Hamas undoubtedly also uses them for less homey shipments, like weaponry.
Israel’s been unable to police the tunnels since its pullout from Gaza, so the Shin Bet security agency gets its intelligence from Palestinian informants in Rafah, the border town. Unfortunately, according to an article in Haaretz, Shin Bet is willing to abuse its role at Gaza’s border with Israel to coerce possibly innocent Gazans into enlisting as spies.
Posted in Politics
Tagged Arabs and Jews, border crossings, Gaza, Haaretz, intifada, Israel, Palestinians, Rabbinical tunnels, shin bet, spelunking, suicide bombings, tunnels, Yossi Melman