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Media Analysis: Israel Optics Darken
Mon, 07/21/2014
Web Director

For a while there, it looked as if much of the world had accepted, or was at least considering, Israel’s argument for attacking and then invading Gaza this time – the third in six years.

First, Hamas rejected the Egypt-brokered cease-fire. To be sure, Hamas and Egypt are no longer friends since the army’s overthrow of Mohamed Morsi and the crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood. Many serious analysts never expected Hamas to accept it. Still, it allowed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cast himself as the good actor, and Secretary of State John Kerry backed him up.

Then a chorus of comment followed, from left and right, accusing Hamas of sacrificing its citizens to its public relations effort to demonize Israel: former President Bill Clinton slammed Hamas for its "crass strategy."



Pundits David Brooks and E.J. Dionne shared similar sentiments during their Friday back-and-forth on NPR. President Barack Obama said that no country could be expected to take the kind of rocket fire Israel has endured.

Leaders in the wider Arab world, which in the past have been quick to make their voices heard opposing Israeli actions against Gaza, were more quiet this time. Ziad Asali, founding president of the American Task Force on Palestine, attributed the “muted” reaction to Hamas’ desperation due to its loss of its Egyptian partner. To be sure, Palestinian sympathizers all over the world have gathered to protest the action.

On Saturday, the New York Times ran an analysis saying that “the landscape is different” this time, and that Bibi’s strategy of framing the campaign as an initiative focused on taking out “terrorist” tunnels was a savvy one.

Then, Sunday, in Shejaya.  Israel is still talking tunnels, but the numbers are also telling the story. The Palestinian death toll topped 500. The United Nations says over 100,000 Palestinians – almost six percent of the population – have been displaced.

The optics are not good. At least, not as good as they were the day before yesterday.

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You don'y have to know what you are talking about to be an 'expert'. Kerry and Obama prove that. Israeli leaders were saying from the outset of the ground invasion that it could take at least 2 weeks. I don't know much, but 2 weeks sounds reasonable. After all, this is very difficult, highly dangerous warfare. That was Friday, July 18. I am writing this Monday, July 21. Obama and Kerry are calling for truce - 3 and 1/2 days after the ground war began. If Israel is permitted to complete this mission, thousands of lives on both sides will be much better off. This seems very obvious to me. Obama and Kerry don't seem to grasp it. They seem to want to keep Hamas in place; to keep their terror infrastructure viable. They are repeating a proven, failed strategy. Stop Israel before they cripple Hamas. Hamas then survives, rebuilds, and starts another war. It has happened before. This is called pattern recognition. Harvard boys are supposed to be smart. My bad.

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