The kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens just weeks ago, helped escalate already simmering tensions between Israel and Palestinian militants. While speaking to Anderson Cooper last night, Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev blamed Hamas for their deaths. On the same program, Mouin Rabbani, a senior fellow at the Institute for Palestine Studies cast doubt on that claim and pointed out that Israel has provided no evidence that these killings were the work of Hamas. Randi Kaye takes a closer look at the murders and the fallout.
Israeli air strikes last tight targeted Al-Aqsa TV and Radio stations in Gaza. Both have played key roles in getting Hamas' message out to the public. Anderson Cooper takes a closer look at that message.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is warning his nation to prepare for a long campaign in Gaza. There is also no sign that Hamas is willing to give up its weapons or even end its campaign of rocket fire across the border. AC360 looks at what both sides are hoping to achieve through this deadly fighting. Anderson got the Israeli view from Mark Regev, top spokesman for Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Anderson discussed the Palestinian perspective with with Mouin Rabbani, a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Palestinian Studies.
This report contains images of violence that may be difficult for some viewers
Israeli airstrikes have killed more than 650 Palestinians and wounded nearly 4,000. All too often, it is the youngest residents of Gaza who are caught in the middle of this violence. Ben Wedeman reports on the crisis.
The Israeli military reports more than 570 rockets have been fired from Gaza this week. Many of them have been knocked out of the sky by Iron Dome, the defense system that intercepts missiles in a matter of seconds. Tom Foreman takes a closer look at how the Iron Dome works.
In a web exclusive, Anderson discussed the possibility of a ground invasion of Gaza with George Mitchell, who is a former U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Peace.
For The Washington Post
There is no shortage of opinions when it comes to Middle East affairs, and the recent events in Gaza have not muted them. A minority of Middle East pundits have recently emerged as advocates for a one-state solution, which would undermine Israel's legitimacy and internationally recognized right to exist as a sovereign Jewish state in the land of my forefathers. Having personally witnessed the remarkable progress we have made with the Palestinian Authority in recent years, I believe that a two-state solution is not only the best resolution to this age-old conflict but one within our reach.
The one-state solution has enough intrinsic flaws to render it no solution at all. From Israel's perspective, it is not possible for the Jewish people to accept an arrangement that signifies the end of the existence of a Jewish state. From the Palestinians' perspective, they should not be denied the opportunity to take their national destiny into their own hands.
Fawaz A. Gerges
The Los Angeles Times
Now that the guns have fallen silent and the dust is settling over Gaza, it is time to revisit the received wisdom in Israel, the United States and some European quarters that Hamas is a monolithic, Al Qaeda-like terrorist organization bent on Israel's destruction and that, therefore, Israel has no choice but to isolate Hamas and use overwhelming force to overcome it.
In fact, there is substantial evidence to the contrary. Far from a monolith, there are multiple clashing viewpoints and narratives within Hamas. Over the years, I have interviewed more than a dozen Hamas leaders inside and outside the Palestinian territories. Although, on the whole, Hamas' public rhetoric calls for the liberation of all historic Palestine, not only the territories occupied in 1967, a healthier debate occurs within.
Huge freshly-printed posters were beginning to appear on billboards around Gaza City. The banners depicted masked fighters firing heavy machine guns or red-tipped rockets.
The war had ended just three or four days before. These were signs Gaza's fighting factions were still very much in business and keen to portray their campaign of the last three weeks as a victory against Israel.
CNN's producer in Gaza had been working his contacts. He's well acquainted with Gaza's underbelly.
The Smart Set
Say what you like about Israelis, they know how to play the game. I'm speaking of the humanity game. It's a game with specific rules and expectations in Western civilization. Its centerpiece, the very core of the game, is self-reflection. Demonstrating your humanity (since the Enlightenment, at least, but the roots go back to the beginning) is less about doing and more about reflecting on what you've done. The basic formula is already there at the Delphic Oracle: Know thyself. The trick of it, the reason that the humanity game is hard to play, is that the quest for self-knowledge does not lead to clarity, but down ever deeper into the muck. Knowledge, in the Western tradition, is very much about its limits. Knowing ourselves is thus partly about knowing the infinity of an enigma.
Ari Folman's Waltz with Bashir is a “know thyself” kind of movie. It is obsessed with memory, and memory is the thread around which a self is built. You can't know yourself without memory. The problem is that Folman doesn't remember. Crucially, he doesn't remember anything from his youthful days in the Israeli army when he was part of the Israeli incursion into Lebanon. He decides that he needs to remember, and tracks down a number of his fellow soldiers in order to reconstruct that past. The story is told in animated form. It's a nice move. It creates a distance from the reality of lived experience. It is like drifting through someone else's dream.
Stephen M. Walt
Many supporters of Israel will not criticize its behavior, even when it is engaged in brutal and misguided operations like the recent onslaught on Gaza. In addition to their understandable reluctance to say anything that might aid Israel's enemies, this tendency is based in part on the belief that Israel's political and military leaders are exceptionally smart and thoughtful strategists who understand their threat environment and have a history of success against their adversaries. If so, then it makes little sense for outsiders to second-guess them.
This image of Israeli strategic genius has been nurtured by Israelis over the years and seems to be an article of faith among neoconservatives and other hardline supporters of Israel in the United States. It also fits nicely with the wrongheaded but still popular image of Israel as the perennial David facing a looming Arab Goliath; in this view, only brilliant strategic thinkers could have consistently overcome the supposedly formidable Arab forces arrayed against them.