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More Things to Read about Israel
I am compiling another list of things to read on Israel and Palestine because there has been so much more good writing since Tuesday. I’ll say one thing before we begin: The smartest people I read and listen to on this subject are very open about being at a loss for words. Many of them plainly say they have nothing new to say that hasn’t already been said. So, ça va sans dire: If you are watching long videos of political media celebrities trying to explain to you exactly what’s going to happen next in this conflict, ignore them. A lot of people get paid to say something about something; silence is more than sufficient here. No one knows what’s going to happen.
Bruce Hoffman says when Hamas tells you who they are, believe them.
A copy of Hamas’s plans shows that they intentionally chose to target elementary schools and a youth center.
Matt Yglesias also has a good piece, but it is paywalled. He allows for a one-week free trial. Here is a quote:
“To the best of my knowledge, the Mexican-American War is characterized in mainstream American history as an aggressive and unjustified land grab. Abraham Lincoln, our greatest president, was against it. Ulysses Grant, who served in the war, condemns it as unjust in his memoirs. And in addition to being an act of naked aggression, the war tore American society apart. To the extent that Americans learn anything about it, it’s largely through the lens of slavery and the Civil War and how it exacerbated our domestic tensions and culminated in massive bloodshed. They Might Be Giants have a funny, laudatory song about James K. Polk, but the fact is that he is not a lauded figure in American history. As the aphorism goes, “poor Mexico, so far from God and so close to the United States of America.” But we are not giving the land back. And Mexico is not asking for the land back because they are trying to maintain a pragmatic relationship with the United States of America.”
Andrew Sullivan also has a good piece (once you get past the part where he connects Hamas to Critical Race Theory…we get it man), but it is also paywalled. Money quote:
“But has the Israeli government been reckless, expansionist, and determined to destroy any chance for a Palestinian state for a while now? Yes, it has. Since the excruciating near-miss of 2000, Israel has treated the Palestinians as a menace to be managed and, with any luck, ignored. Has it treated the population in the West Bank appallingly in this century? Yes, it has. Has the Israel lobby supported the unconscionable and relentless establishment of settlements for decades? For all their hand-wringing, yes. Is Israel’s achievement the immiseration and dehumanization of all Palestinians in the occupied territories? I don’t think any objective observer at this point could deny it. The attempt to deny the core problem has only made it worse.”
David French has a great (if a little heady) piece on what it would mean to legally treat Hamas like ISIS.
Relatedly, Mark Goldfeder has a thread on the Law of Armed Conflict.
This Washington Post analysis on where Israel has struck in Gaza is incredibly useful.
No, Palestinians cannot just up and leave Gaza.
What Mark Hertling learned watching the Israeli army. The Bulwark is also paywalled, but I am going to tell you to subscribe.
Inside Gaza’s last Catholic parish.
A final thought: In Tuesday’s Jackal I openly expressed relief about Joe Biden being President instead of Donald Trump. Here’s what I said:
I am queasy just thinking about what Trump’s response would have been during this crisis. Would he have been able to get through a public statement without mentioning his election loss? Would he have started talking about how whales are scared of wind turbines?
The next day, Trump gave a rambling speech where he bashed Bibi Netanyahu and called Hezbollah “very smart.” Bashing one of your allies after a terrorist attack is one thing, and then praising their enemies is another. But when you find out why Trump bashed Netanyahu, it is just too much:
The frustrations began to surface as Trump reckoned with the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. Netanyahu “pissed him off for embracing Biden so fast, or at least how Trump perceived fast,” a longtime Trump ally said. (Netanyahu congratulated Biden the day after the election was called in his favor.)
It took less than 24 hours for Trump to validate my concerns. Trump is still mad at Bibi for saying Biden won the election. Three years later.
I am worried about his brain.
Enjoy the weekend and I’ll see you next week.