Today’s Top Stories
1. Hamas rejected an Egyptian ceasefire initiative which Israel accepted this morning. A break in IDF air strikes to give peace a chance was met with continued Palestinian rocket fire, forcing Israel to resume operations.
For playing the spoiler, Hamas risks further isolation and giving Operation Protective Edge a boost of international legitimacy.
2. The Egyptian media war on Hamas continues with a spotlight on the wealth of the organization’s leadership. YNet rounds up stories of profiteering from shady real estate deals, sales of “subsidized” fuel, and taxes levied on smuggling tunnels — all while ordinary Gazans remain mired in poverty. Cha-ching!
Levy was interviewed by Channel 2 following the public stir his piece had evoked, but the segment — airing live from a street corner in the southern city of Ashkelon, which has come under heavy rocket fire over the past week — was cut short after a passerby confronted Levy and obstructed the broadcast.
“You’re a traitor!” the man yelled at Levy. “You’re one to talk. You call our pilots murderers? Have you no shame? You should be the one to live with Hamas. We have the most ethical fighter pilots. You think children should spend the summer holiday in a bomb shelter? Shame on you!”
Channel 2 later revealed that numerous calls from infuriated viewers during and after Levy’s interview caused its switchboard to crash.
4. When the Neighborhood Bully Fires Back: In a special guest post, Professor Cherryl Smith discusses the old media standby of portraying Israel as the big bully.
Israel and the Palestinians
• For the first time since Operation Protective Edge began, rockets hit Eilat.
• Israeli security officials assessed Hamas’ performance over the past week for the Times of Israel. Bottom line: Hamas hasn’t been significantly damaged, but the group’s acting erratically.
• Is this cartoon by the Salt Lake Tribune‘s Pat Bagley a skewed take on “disproportionate response,” a cynical view on human shields, or something else?
• Iron Dome is “changing the calculus” of Israel’s fight with Hamas. The Washington Post explains how. But in the same paper, Yoav Fromer frets that Iron Dome will give Israelis a false sense of security and become “a substitute for effective diplomacy.”
• According to a UN report (pdf format) on the Gaza conflict, 77 percent of the Palestinian casualties are civilians. But what the Daily Telegraph doesn’t tell you is that the document specifically stated that most of the Gaza casualties received advance warning:
In most cases, prior to the attacks, residents have been warned to leave, either via phone calls by the Israel military or by the firing of warning missiles.
• Hamas and Israel are stepping up the social media battle with tweets, videos and graphics.
• Gotta like this cartoon.
• Worth reading: Human Shields are Hamas’ PR:
The visuals are golden: fleeing civilians, injured kids, apartment buildings bombed to rubble. So are the lopsided statistics – hundreds of Palestinians dead but zero Israelis. European press coverage has been overwhelmingly sympathetic to the Palestinians.
• New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan weighs in on the paper’s latest Mideast coverage.
• Can Israel handle the dual threat of Hamas and a nuclear Iran? The Wall St. Journal‘s Paul Gigot weighs in.
• Rabbi Eric Yoffie articulates in Time why claims of Israel’s “disproportionate response” lack moral clarity.
The implication of the “disproportionality” claim is that, given their losses, the people of Gaza are the real victims. But morally and politically, this is an intolerable and distorted interpretation of the realities in the region.
The reason that Hamas has not killed more Israelis is not because they haven’t tried. In the seven years during which it has controlled Gaza, Hamas and its proxies have fired more than 5000 rockets into Israel; almost 800 have been launched just this past week. Each one has been aimed at civilians and intended to murder and maim. The reason that more Israelis have not died is that the weapons are mostly crude and inaccurate and that, over time, Israel has prepared herself with shelters, warning sirens and an anti-missile system. In addition, Israelis have been just plain lucky.
But that luck could change at any moment. If a single rocket were to hit a school or a mall, the number of dead could balance out in a flash. Then, to be sure, you would have “proportionality,” but there is no moral calculus by which additional dead civilians is a preferable outcome.
• Lots of commentary/analysis today, including Avital Leibovich (Reflections on Gaza from an Israeli mother —Wall St. Journal via Google News), Jonah Goldberg (Attacking Israel with big lie of genocide), Michael Widlanski (Israelis stand tall under fire), Debra Kamin (Life under fire), and Bret Stephens (The Palestinian blessing — Wall St. Journal via Google News).
See also David Harris (The case for moral clarity), James Bloodworth (Mideast debate is more about revolutionary tourism), Norman Bailey (Hamas, the dying shark), Jeffrey Goldberg (Netanyahu’s mistake), Amos Harel (7 takeaways), Spengler (Hamas is the norm, Israel is the exception), and Roger Cohen, who wishes a pox on everybody’s house.
Last but not least, there’s US Senator Charles Schumer (No moral equivalence), plus staff-eds in the Toronto Sun, Toronto Star, New York Daily News, and Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. I’ll give the last word to Dore Gold assessing the situation on Fox News.
Rest O’ the Roundup
• Amid safety concerns, Neil Young‘s Tel Aviv concert was cancelled.