Hand Over Fist

Obama sums up the situation in the Middle East: “All this is taking place against the backdrop of decades of failure to achieve a durable peace for both Israelis and Palestinians, one that is based on genuine security for Israel, a recognition of its right to exist, and a peace that is based on an end of the occupation and the creation of a viable state and self-determination for the Palestinian people.” (Yes, Hamas must be defanged. But, ultimately, peace is only path to security. If going after Hamas is an end in and of itself, the cycle will only continue.)

+ If you want to get an idea of how possible post-Hamas peace might be, look to the West. The West Bank. Fred Kaplan in Slate on settler violence and harassment that’s getting worse and that must be addressed by the Israeli government. Israel Must Loudly Arrest the Murderous West Bank Settlers. “This has been going on not in Gaza but in the West Bank—which is governed by the Palestinian Authority, not by Hamas. Some of those killed were members of militant groups, but most were attacked simply because they were Palestinians. In any case, they had nothing to do with Hamas’ attack on Israel from Gaza.”

+ As painful as the Oct 7 attack and its response has been to those in the neighborhood, it’s important to keep in mind that current crisis is part of a broader geopolitical struggle for who will be dominant in the 21st century. Putin, Xi, and Iran’s religious leaders are pushing for the American era of leadership to end. These efforts are taking place in wars (Ukraine), threatened wars (Taiwan), Proxy wars (Hamas, Hezbollah, Houthi rebels), and information wars. NYT (Gift Article): In a Worldwide War of Words, Russia, China and Iran Back Hamas. “The conflict between Israel and Hamas is fast becoming a world war online … In a Worldwide War of Words, Russia, China and Iran Back Hamas. “The deluge of online propaganda and disinformation is larger than anything seen before, according to government officials and independent researchers — a reflection of the world’s geopolitical division.”

+ “Casualties are likely to rise sharply as the war turns to close urban combat. Troops are expected to enter Gaza City soon, Israeli media reported, and Palestinian militants who have had years to prepare are likely to fight street by street, launching ambushes from a vast network of tunnels.” Israeli forces cut off north Gaza to isolate Hamas as Palestinian deaths surpass 10,000. Here’s the latest from CNN, NBC, BBC, and Times of Israel.

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