Peter Beinart's essay "The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment" in The New York Review of Books argues that most of the mainstream American Jewish organizations have abandoned liberalism on the issues of the Middle East and are responsible for a generation of young Jews who hold no connection to Israel.
The bloody end to a massive rally in Gaza Monday marking the third anniversary of Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat’s death is seen as underscoring the disunity of the Palestinian people whose aspirations for their own state are proving more and more elusive.
The Hamas government in the Gaza Strip stiffened its resolve this week, announcing a boycott of all Israeli fresh fruit even as the United Nations declared a halt to all building projects there because it had run out of construction material for work that had employed 121,000 Palestinians.
The Israeli Air Force continued its targeted strikes this week against Hamas terrorists who are building and firing Kassam rockets at Israel from the Gaza Strip while Hamas leaders reportedly disagreed among themselves whether to continue the attacks and some Israeli leaders argued for a tougher response.
An Israeli air raid on a Hamas training camp in the Gaza Strip Monday night that killed 15 terrorists and injured 30 has prompted Hamas to consider retaliating against Israeli or Jewish interests abroad, according to an Israeli expert on Arab groups.
As the Israeli government approved an expanded military operation in the northern Gaza Strip to thwart the launching of improved Kassam rockets — like the one that landed harmlessly Tuesday in a school parking lot in Ashkelon, Israel’s fifth largest city — the Hamas leadership was reportedly on the run to avoid being killed or arrested by Israeli forces.
Concern by the West that Hamas would capture a sizeable number of seats in the Jan. 25 Palestinian parliamentary election (thereby jeopardizing foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority and the position of its president, Mahmoud Abbas) has led to suspicion of a behind-the-scenes understandings between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Under the arrangement, Israel would announce that it is barring East Jerusalem Palestinians from voting in East Jerusalem itself and Abbas would then announce that the election has been postponed until the ban has been lifted.
Even as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas gave Hamas extra time to decide whether to accept the so-called "prisoners' document" as the basis for renewed talks with Israel, Israeli analysts were predicting further Palestinian anarchy and an all-out civil war.
"I don't see a way to overcome this crisis without engaging in a civil war," said Moshe Eldad, a researcher at the Shmuel Neeman Institute at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.
As Hamas and Fatah representatives met this week to discuss the possibility of Fatah joining a new Hamas-led government (one which analysts say is unlikely to be formed until at least May) the World Bank and the European Union stepped in to provide a total of $185 million in humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people.
The World Bank Tuesday said its $42 million grant to the Palestinian Authority was designed to "avoid suspension of basic services to the Palestinian population."
Only a week after Hamas' stunning landslide victory in the Palestinian legislative election, cracks began to emerge in the international community's initial threat to halt nearly $1 billion in Palestinian aid unless Hamas stopped its use of violence and recognized Israel's right to exist.
The aid is critical because the Palestinian Authority ran out of money last month to pay its 137,000 civil servants.