We come across a lot of useful material about the current situation in Gaza and the West Bank. We’re going to try to post links to a few of these articles every week here, and at the same time to send them out by e-mail
Simon Sebag Montefiore: The impact of conflicting histories in the Israel-Hamas and Russia-Ukraine wars.
A ‘Leading’ podcast from Alistair Campbell and Rory Stewart – ‘The Rest is Politics’. Yes, I know…but this episode is an interview with Simon Sebag Montefiore on the competing histories of Israel/Palestine and is very good. If anyone has read his book ‘Jerusalem’ they will know he has real depth of knowledge about the region and in this interview tackles some complex questions. The link above is to Spotify, but get the episode from any reputable podcast source – date 27th November. Worth a listen…
Community Squads – No Substitute for State’s Responsibility for Security of Population
An article from Zulat, an Israeli Human Rights organisation. Aimed primarily at an internal audience, the author explores the very worrying development of hundreds of armed squads under the instruction of the far-right National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir. Squads are one term; armed militias would perhaps be more accurate. This is a wholly unwelcome development including the creation of armed settler militias in the West Bank with all the implications this has for increased violence against Palestinians.
Learning from Israel’s Past Gaza Strip Invasions
Nadav Weiman, a veteran of the Gaza campaign of 2008, writes about the main principles of IDF operations in Gaza: the principle of ‘zero risk to our forces’ at any cost, and the Dahiya Doctrine, maintains that, in an asymmetrical conflict against a non-state actor, a period of calm can be achieved by causing disproportionate damage to military assets and civilian infrastructure and properties.
Gaza’s Statistics of Death
David Keys, a member of LJJIP’s Organising Group, extrapolates from the Palestinian casualties of the Gaza incursion to date, to conclude that for the IDF to come to near its goal of killing 40, 000 Hamas fighters, the number of dead and injured innocent Palestinian civilians is likely to reach between 100,000 and 200,000.
Let’s Build Hope! Join Our Webinar – Sunday 17th December at 6pm UK time
Come and meet Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel who are working on the ground to build an alternative of peace, equality and justice from within Israeli society. You’ll hear about the work we’ve been doing to strengthen solidarity and build support for peace and equality, our plans for the future, and how we’re working towards changing our reality in Israel/Palestine.
You’ll hear from members of the Standing Together leadership, as well as student activists and members of the Standing Together solidarity networks. We’ll be discussing our work on the ground since the start of the war, what lies ahead of us, and how we plan to build an alternative of peace, equality, and justice from within Israeli society.
Today I am taking sides.
I am taking the side of Peace.
Peace, which I will not abandon
even when its voice is drowned out
by hurt and hatred,
bitterness of loss,
cries of right and wrong.
I am taking the side of Peace
whose name has barely been spoken
in this winnerless war.
I will hold Peace in my arms,
and share my body’s breath,
lest Peace be added
to the body count.
I will call for de-escalation
even when I want nothing more
than to get even.
I will do it
in the service of Peace.
I will make a clearing
in the overgrown
thicket of cause and effect
so Peace can breathe
for a minute
and reach for the sky.
I will do what I must
to save the life of Peace.
I will breathe through tears.
I will swallow pride.
I will bite my tongue.
I will offer love
without testing for deservingness.
So don’t ask me to wave a flag today
unless it is the flag of Peace.
Don’t ask me to sing an anthem
unless it is a song of Peace.
Don’t ask me to take sides
unless it is the side of Peace.
Irwin Keller, Oct. 17, 2023
Irwin Keller is a Progressive Rabbi in Sonoma County, California, USA.
‘You made me do it’: Jacqueline Rose on violence and its origins, from the London Review of Books;
‘Learning from Israel’s past Gaza Strip invasions’: Nadav Weiman, Senior Director of Breaking the Silence and a combatant in the 2008 Gaza invasion, reviews the tactics of the IDF in its Gaza campaigns;
‘The awful horror of the Hamas-Israel war is creating deep divisions close to home’: Eva Wiseman reflects on the impact of the Gaza war on British Jewish communities and families.