i don’t know if this feeling of deep calm is because things will be ok or whether i have, somewhere inside, resigned myself to fate.

An Israeli Shot In India’s Arm

Israel has also offered its help in battling insurgencies in India, particularly with the Maoists — with, in particular, ‘intelligent’, semiautonomous drones. Sources told us that India has sent positive word (though not on-paper MOUs yet) for another lot of 100 drones over the next two or three years.

Not that Israeli drones in India are unprecedented. Israel has steadily been supplying drones to India, but nowhere close to these numbers. In December 2013, the Cabinet Committee on Security, headed by the then prime minister, Manmohan Singh, had approved about $300 million for 15 Heron (Machatz-1) drones from Israel. They were meant to build up to 40-plus Herons, each costing $10 million, with the rest for human-guidance systems and upgrades.

Modi has been working harder to improve his ties with Israel than at getting the Barack Obama administration to lift its ban on him. As erstwhile chief minister of Gujarat, Modi had developed a keenly friendly relationship with Israel, promoting Israel’s involvement with grassroots ventures from drip irrigation in agriculture to water recycling. Indeed, while Modi was building his bridges with Israel, the Congress government at the Centre set about quietly and increasingly involving, over the years, Mossad’s expertise at surveillance at the Republic Day Parade — which is, more than just a national-pride jamboree, India’s biggest defence exhibition.

Forty days before Narendra Modi took office, the incumbent foreign minister, Sushma Swaraj, had announced that Israel was a “reliable partner”, and that the Congress government quietly acknowledged it. On a three-day visit to Israel starting 3 April as chair of the Indo-Israel Parliamentary Friendship Group, Swaraj had said that the Congress government had not broken “the continuity in the foreign policy” vis-à-vis Israel and that there was “a lot of warmth in the relationship between the two countries…”

(Source : tehelka.com)

Why do Palestinians continue to support Hamas despite such devastating losses?

Hamas tells the Palestinians the simple truth: freedom comes at the cost of blood. The tragedy is that we usually provide the evidence. After all, the evacuation of settlements in Gaza came after the Second Intifada, not as a result of negotiations. The Oslo Accords came after the First Intifada; before that, Israel turned down even the convenient London Agreement between Shimon Peres and Jordan’s King Hussein.

Israelis are convinced they are fighting a terror organization driven by a fundamentalist Islamic ideology. Palestinians are convinced Israelis are looking to enslave them, and that as soon as the war is over the siege will be reinforced. Since this is exactly what Israel intends to do, as our government has repeatedly stated, they have no reason to stop fighting.

Hamas may accept a ceasefire soon. Its regime might collapse. Either way, it is only a matter of time before the next round of violence. Human lives are not cheaper for Palestinians than they are for us. But nations fighting for their freedom will endure the worst sacrifices. Like in Shujaiyeh.

is keenly waiting on Israelis to produce a Gandhi or a Martin Luther King (at least in their forms as understood by liberals).

1.8 million people affected in the Gaza Strip | At least 572 people killed | 2.200 houses destroyed | 85 schools destroyed | 18 health facilities destroyed

Netanyahu’s real goal

Indeed, US intelligence officials confirmed that from the late 1970s to the 80s, Israel had “directly and indirectly” financed Hamas as a counterweight to the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) “to divide and dilute support” for the secular movement for self-determination. But there was another agenda. “The thinking on the part of some of the right-wing Israeli establishment was that Hamas and the others, if they gained control, would refuse to have any part of the peace process and would torpedo any agreements put in place,” said one US government official. “Israel would still be the only democracy in the region for the United States to deal with.”

In 2001, Times of Israel columnist Ellis Shuman reported for the Israel Insiderthat former Knesset parliamentarian Michael Kleiner, leader of the far right Herut party who has just been elected president of the Supreme Court of Netanyahu’s Likud, “suggested replacing Arafat, even if it meant the Hamas would take his place. According to Kleiner, the entire world recognises the Hamas as a terrorist organisation so Israel’s continued efforts against a radical Palestinian leadership would not be condemned.”

That year, according to Ha’aretz, Silvan Shalom — then Israeli finance minister and current minister of energy and water — told the cabinet that: “Between Hamas and Arafat, I prefer Hamas.” None of the ministers protested, notedHa’aretz. Shalom went on to describe Arafat as “a terrorist in a diplomat’s suit, while the Hamas can be hit unmercifully. Everyone will understand who we’re dealing with, he implied, and there won’t be any international protests.”

As former Times editor George Szamuely observed in New York Pressmagazine in 2002, Israel’s support for Hamas “even continued after the 1993 Oslo accords,” as suicide bombings inside Israel continued. Hamas, he remarked, “served Israel’s purpose admirably by suggesting to the American public that the conflict in the Middle East pitted democratic Israel against all-or-nothing fanatics who wanted to drive the Jews into the sea. Israel’s refusal to surrender conquered land and its continued building of settlements in violation of innumerable UN resolutions could then all be justified as perfectly reasonable responses to an implacable enemy.”

(Source : mondediplo.com)

Cant’t help but draw parallels between how Zionists and Pakistani nationalists react toward Gaza and Balochistan respectively. Zionists go to great lengths to conjure up flimsy reasons to attack Gaza: Hamas is a terrorist, Islamist and anti-Jewish group, firing rockets at us that it got from Iran. Pakistani nationalists perform their own intellectual acrobatics: the Baloch are backward, tribal rebels and Indian-funded terrorists who are killing Punjabis in Balochistan. You really have to be a typical Pakistani idiot to cry for Gaza while at the same time support the army operation in Balochistan.

Israel mows the lawn

It’s often claimed that Israel’s reason for escalating this punitive regime to a new level of severity was to cause the overthrow of Hamas after its 2007 seizure of power in Gaza. The claim doesn’t stand up to serious scrutiny. Removing Hamas from power has indeed been a policy objective for the US and the EU ever since the Islamist movement won the 2006 parliamentary elections, and their combined efforts to undermine it helped set the stage for the ensuing Palestinian schism.

Israel’s agenda has been different. Had it been determined to end Hamas rule it could easily have done so, particularly while Hamas was still consolidating its control over Gaza in 2007, and without necessarily reversing the 2005 disengagement. Instead, it saw the schism between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority as an opportunity to further its policies of separation and fragmentation, and to deflect growing international pressure for an end to an occupation that has lasted nearly half a century. Its massive assaults on the Gaza Strip in 2008-9 (Operation Cast Lead) and 2012 (Operation Pillar of Defence), as well as countless individual attacks between and since, were in this context exercises in what the Israeli military called ‘mowing the lawn’: weakening Hamas and enhancing Israel’s powers of deterrence. As the 2009 Goldstone Report and other investigations have demonstrated, often in excruciating detail, the grass consists overwhelmingly of non-combatant Palestinian civilians, indiscriminately targeted by Israel’s precision weaponry.

Israel’s current assault on the Gaza Strip, which began on 6 July with ground forces moving in some ten days later, is intended to serve the same agenda. The conditions for it were set in late April. Negotiations that had been going on for nine months stalled after the Israeli government reneged on its commitment to release a number of Palestinian prisoners incarcerated since before the 1993 Oslo Accords, and ended when Netanyahu announced he would no longer deal with Mahmoud Abbas because Abbas had just signed a further reconciliation agreement with Hamas. On this occasion, in a sharp departure from precedent, US Secretary of State John Kerry explicitly blamed Israel for the breakdown in talks. His special envoy, Martin Indyk, a career Israel lobbyist, blamed Israel’s insatiable appetite for Palestinian land and continued expansion of the settlements, and handed in his resignation.

The challenge this poses to Netanyahu is clear. If even the Americans are telling the world that Israel is not interested in peace, those more directly invested in a two-state settlement – such as the EU, which has started to exclude any Israeli entities active in occupied Palestinian territory from participation in bilateral agreements – may start considering other ways to nudge Israel towards the 1967 boundaries. Negotiations about nothing are designed to provide political cover for Israel’s policy of creeping annexation. Now that they’ve collapsed yet again, the strategic asset that is American public opinion may start asking why Congress is more loyal to Netanyahu than the Israeli Knesset is. Kerry had been serious about reaching a comprehensive agreement: he adopted almost all of Israel’s core positions and successfully rammed most of them down Abbas’s throat – yet Netanyahu still balked. Refusing even to specify future Israeli-Palestinian borders during nine months of negotiations, Israeli leaders instead levelled a series of accusations at Washington so outlandish – encouraging extremism, giving succour to terrorists – that one could be forgiven for concluding Congress was funding Hamas, rather than Israel, to the tune of $3 billion a year.

Israel received another blow on 2 June, when a new Palestinian Authority government was inaugurated, following the April reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah. Hamas endorsed the new government even though it was given no cabinet posts and the government’s composition and political programme were virtually indistinguishable from its predecessor’s. With barely a protest from the Islamists, Abbas repeatedly and loudly proclaimed that the government accepted the Middle East Quartet’s demands: that it recognise Israel, renounce violence and adhere to past agreements. He also announced that Palestinian security forces in the West Bank would continue their security collaboration with Israel. When both Washington and Brussels signalled their intention to co-operate with the new government, alarm bells went off in Israel. Its usual assertions that Palestinian negotiators spoke only for themselves – and would therefore prove incapable of implementing any agreement – had begun to look shaky: the Palestinian leadership could now claim not only to represent both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip but also to have co-opted Hamas into supporting a negotiated two-state settlement, if not the Oslo framework as a whole. There might soon be increased international pressure on Israel to negotiate seriously with Abbas. The formaldehyde was beginning to evaporate.

At this point Netanyahu seized on the 12 June disappearance of three young Israelis in the West Bank like a drowning man thrown a lifebelt. Despite clear evidence presented to him by the Israeli security forces that the three teenagers were already dead, and no evidence to date that Hamas was involved, he held Hamas directly responsible and launched a ‘hostage rescue operation’ throughout the West Bank. It was really an organised military rampage. It included the killing of at least six Palestinians, none of whom was accused of involvement in the disappearances; mass arrests, including the arrest of Hamas parliamentarians and the re-arrest of detainees released in 2011; the demolition of a number of houses and the looting of others; and a variety of other depredations of the kind Israel’s finest have honed to perfection during decades of occupation. Netanyahu whipped up a demagogic firestorm against the Palestinians, and the subsequent abduction and burning alive of a Palestinian teenager in Jerusalem cannot and should not be separated from this incitement.

For his part, Abbas failed to stand up to the Israeli operation and ordered his security forces to continue to co-operate with Israel against Hamas. The reconciliation agreement was being put under serious pressure. On the night of 6 July, an Israeli air raid resulted in the death of seven Hamas militants. Hamas responded with sustained missile attacks deep into Israel, escalating further as Israel launched its full-scale onslaught. For the past year Hamas had been in a precarious position: it had lost its headquarters in Damascus and preferential status in Iran as a result of its refusal to give open support to the Syrian regime, and faced unprecedented levels of hostility from Egypt’s new military ruler. The underground tunnel economy between Egypt and Gaza had been systematically dismantled by the Egyptians, and for the first time since seizing control of the territory in 2007 it was no longer able regularly to pay the salaries of tens of thousands of government employees. The reconciliation agreement with Fatah was its way of bartering its political programme in exchange for its own survival: in return for conceding the political arena to Abbas, Hamas would retain control of the Gaza Strip indefinitely, have its public sector placed on the PA payroll and see the border crossing with Egypt reopened.

In the event, the quid pro quo Hamas hoped for was not permitted to materialise and, according to Nathan Thrall of the International Crisis Group, ‘life in Gaza became worse’: ‘The current escalation,’ he wrote, ‘is a direct result of the choice by Israel and the West to obstruct the implementation of the April 2014 Palestinian reconciliation agreement.’ To put it differently, those within Hamas who saw the crisis as an opportunity to put an end toWeissglass’s regime gained the upper hand. So far, they appear to have the majority of the population with them, because they seem to prefer death by F-16 to death by formaldehyde.

(Source : lrb.co.uk)

What does Hamas really want?

Read the list of demands and judge honestly whether there is one unjust demand among them: withdrawal of Israel Defense Forces troops and allowing farmers to work their land up to the fence; release of all prisoners from the Gilad Shalit swap who have been rearrested; an end to the siege and opening of the crossings; opening of a port and airport under UN management; expansion of the fishing zone; international supervision of the Rafah crossing; an Israeli pledge to a 10-year cease-fire and closure of Gaza’s air space to Israeli aircraft; permits to Gaza residents to visit Jerusalem and pray at the Al-Aqsa mosque; and an Israeli pledge not to interfere in internal Palestinian politics such as the unity government; opening Gaza’s industrial zone

(Source : haaretz.com)

Israel Guilty of Ethnic Cleansing and Apartheid

Richard Falk, the UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, said Israel carried out a “systematic and continued effort to change the ethnic composition of East Jerusalem”.

Falk, an 82-year-old American, said that in recent years Israel had made it more difficult for Palestinians to reside there while encouraging the building of new Jewish settlements, which are illegal under international law.

Falk, an emeritus law professor at Princeton University, said that more than 11,000 Palestinians had lost their right to live in Jerusalem since 1996.

"The 11,000 is just the tip of the iceberg because many more are faced with possible challenges to their residency rights," he said.

Falk, who is Jewish, described Israeli policies as bearing “unacceptable characteristics of colonialism, apartheid and ethnic cleansing”.

"What is called occupation is now more widely understood to be a form of annexation, the embodiment of apartheid in the sense that there’s a discriminatory dual system of law, giving legal protection to the Israeli settlers and subjecting the Palestinian population under occupation to a continuing existence without rights," he said

(Source : ibtimes.co.uk)

Attack on Gaza by Saudi Royal Appointment

The attack on Gaza comes by Saudi Royal Appointment. This royal warrant is nothing less than an open secret in Israel, and both former and serving defense officials are relaxed when they talk about it. Former Israeli defense minister Shaul Mofaz surprised the presenter on Channel 10 by saying Israel had to specify a role for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in the demilitarization of Hamas. Asked what he meant by that, he added that Saudi and Emirati funds should be used to rebuild Gaza after Hamas had been defanged.

Amos Gilad, the Israeli defense establishment’s point man with Mubarak’s Egypt and now director of the Israeli defense ministry’s policy and political-military relations department told the academic James Dorsey recently : “Everything is underground, nothing is public. But our security cooperation with Egypt and the Gulf states is unique. This is the best period of security and diplomatic relations with the Arab.”

The celebration is mutual. King Abdullah let it be known that he had phoned President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to approve of an Egyptian ceasefire initiative which had not been put to Hamas, and had the Jerusalem Post quoting analysts about whether a ceasefire was ever seriously intended.

Mossad and Saudi intelligence officials meet regularly: The two sides conferred when the former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi was about to be deposed in Egypt and they are hand in glove on Iran, both in preparing for an Israel strike over Saudi airspace and in sabotaging the existing nuclear program. There has even been a well sourced claim that the Saudis are financing most of Israel’s very expensive campaign against Iran.

Why do Saudi Arabia and Israel make such comfortable bedfellows? For decades each country has had a similar feeling in their gut when they look around them: fear. Their reaction was similar. Each felt they could only insure themselves against their neighbors by invading them (Lebanon, Yemen) or by funding proxy wars and coups (Syria, Egypt, Libya).They have enemies or rivals in common - Iran, Turkey, Qatar, Hamas in Gaza, and the Muslim Brotherhood. And they have common allies, too - the US and British military industrial establishments, Fatah strongman and US asset Mohammed Dahlan who tried to take over Gaza once, and will probably be at hand when next required.

(Source : middleeastmonitor.com)