All posts tagged: Israeli forces

Biden’s Defense of Democracies Isn’t Delivering

Biden’s Defense of Democracies Isn’t Delivering

“We’ve got to prove democracy works,” Joe Biden declared in his first press conference as president. He has dedicated his administration to this task. Biden took office weeks after his predecessor tried to overturn an election and sparked an insurrection. The violent transition of power confirmed America’s spot in the “democratic recession” that has beset dozens of countries since the mid-2000s. Several times since, Biden has remarked that future generations will see that the global contest between democracy and autocracy was in no small part decided during his presidency. Democracies, as he told world leaders at the inaugural Summit for Democracy, which he convened in December 2021, must show that they “can deliver for people on issues that matter most to them.” Yet what matters most to the American people? Not the fortunes of democracy overseas. During the same nearly two decades in which democracy has declined globally, the public has turned against attempts to remake other countries in America’s image, especially through military intervention and nation building. In surveys, Americans rank democracy promotion among …

The Right-Wing Israeli Campaign to Resettle Gaza

The Right-Wing Israeli Campaign to Resettle Gaza

In 2005, Israel forcibly removed more than 8,000 Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip and ceded the territory to Palestinian control. But far from ushering in an era of peace, the Israeli exodus kicked off a new stage of the region’s conflict. Hamas took over the strip and turned it into a launching pad for rocket attacks on Israeli population centers, while Gaza’s evicted settlers began advocating for Israel to retake and resettle the territory. Today, for the first time in nearly two decades, this aspiration is no longer a fantasy. That’s not to say the Israeli public would welcome such a move. This week, a Hebrew University poll found that Israelis oppose efforts to resettle Gaza after the current war, by a commanding margin of 56 to 33 percent. This consensus accords with both U.S. policy and the official stance of the Israeli government. Turning back the clock and rebuilding Gaza’s Israeli communities, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently said, is “not a realistic goal.” Most Israelis know that constructing and protecting small Jewish enclaves …

Israel’s Dangerous Delusion – The Atlantic

Israel’s Dangerous Delusion – The Atlantic

Israel has launched what appears to be the first phase of a massive ground incursion into Gaza, vowing that Hamas must be eliminated or somehow rendered irrelevant, even at the expense of smashing Gaza to pieces. But what then? Israeli officials have reportedly told the Biden administration that they haven’t engaged in any serious postconflict planning. That’s probably because none of their options is good and, despite a plethora of fantastical proposals, nobody is going to step in to bear the burden of Israel’s impossible dilemma or, put more simply, clean up its mess. Israelis may feel that it doesn’t have any responsibility for realities in Gaza, given that Hamas has controlled the territory since 2007. But the rest of the world understands that the occupation has continued, albeit from beyond the borders of the Strip. Israel has all the while kept tight control over Gaza’s coastal waters, its airspace, its airwaves, and all of the crossings into the Strip except for a small one maintained by Egypt. Israel has made almost all of the …

What Is Israel Trying to Accomplish?

What Is Israel Trying to Accomplish?

Israel’s invasion of Gaza awaits the parting of clouds. Clear skies favor Israel, which dominates the airspace and wants to be able to look down to see what awaits its ground forces. The early morning yesterday brought rain, and at dawn, orange cumulus clouds rolled over the Mediterranean. Today’s forecast calls for more rain, and therefore probably another day without Israeli infantry in Gaza. Rarely has the Weather Channel been such ominous and thrilling viewing. Everyone knows the invasion is coming. Less clear is what it will ultimately bring for Palestinians. Within about a day of Hamas’s attack on October 7, an Israeli consensus emerged that no response short of total annihilation of Hamas would suffice. A second, corollary consensus didn’t take much longer: To annihilate Hamas, Israel would have to invade Gaza. Hamas has given Israel the best possible excuse to do so. Hamas hides in the civilian population, stores its weapons there, and fires those weapons from civilian areas. It does this by choice. And that gives Israel the rationale of self-defense, the …

Gaza’s Last Catholic Parish – The Atlantic

Gaza’s Last Catholic Parish – The Atlantic

It’s just past 1 a.m. on October 12, the fourth day of Israel’s assault on Gaza, and my friend Rami is awake, texting me from a pew in the Holy Family Church in Gaza City, where he and his family are sheltering from air strikes. He tells me their apartment building was hit last night, their home completely demolished. Now he, his wife, and their two kids are sleeping on mattresses in the church hall, alongside almost 200 other Gazans evacuated or displaced from their homes. Because Rami fears for his safety, I’m using only his first name here. There are about 40 kids in the church, Rami says, and the adults are trying to keep them busy and distracted even as the sounds of rockets rattle the building. They’ve been playing soccer in the hall, because going outside is not an option. The adults have been praying, he says, and checking their phones for more news. He wants to come up with an activity for tomorrow that would entertain the kids without using power, …

This War Isn’t Like Israel’s Earlier Wars

This War Isn’t Like Israel’s Earlier Wars

On Saturday night, I was seated on the first El Al plane to fly from the United States to Israel since Hamas had attacked my country. Many airlines had canceled flights to and from Israel, but El Al had refused to grant the terrorists that victory. Though we took off after midnight, sleep was impossible. My mind writhed thinking of the reports of unbearable Israeli casualties, the images of the captured and the dead, and the prospect of wider war. Alongside those waking nightmares was an agonizing irony. I’d just come from participating in events in New York marking the 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War. Just as in 1973, when Israeli reservists living or vacationing abroad rushed to rejoin their units already in combat, my plane was filled with young men ready to trade the thrills of New York for the horrors of a war under way. Their presence was another reason to reflect on the eerie similarities and stark differences between these two wars, both of which broke out on Jewish holidays—the …