I'm posting a lot on Israel lately. I'm not sure why -- it can be a very depressing subject. I guess my eye is drawn to it at the moment.
A pro-Israel rally in Sweden was crashed by a pro-Palestinian, anti-Israeli mob, which pelted them with eggs, bottles, and even a tear gas grenade. The Israeli rally was holding signs saying "Stop eight years of Qassams" and "Peace for children in Israel and Gaza". I always wonder if (given this is a news story sympathetic to the pro-Israeli advocates) there are any signs that are more troubling, akin to what one sees at Palestinian solidarity rallies (Israel = Nazis, chants celebrating the Holocaust, etc.), and the news just reports the signs most amenable to co-existence. But I certainly hope that the reported signs were representative, and that the Swedish Jewish community, like I do, views being "pro-Israel" as wanting peace for the children of Israel and Gaza alike.
Palestinian children return to school, but mourn their friends who were killed in the bombing.
In related news, Andrew Sullivan has a picture of a Palestinian schoolgirl inspecting her now-wrecked classroom, and writes "If Israelis believe that this little girl above will blame Hamas for what was done to her school ... then their judgment is even more impaired that many of us feared."
Hamas has formally rejected a long-term truce with Israel, saying it "will kill the resistance" and furthermore unconditionally affirms its right to smuggle in weapons.
Harry's Place says that Israel's friends need to make a concerted push right now to freeze settlement construction (generally by leaning on Washington to put the heat on). One fact I didn't know was that the US has already slashed Israel's foreign aid by the approximate cost of the settlement construction ($300 million), but it seems like more pressure is needed.
The Wall Street Journal has an interesting history up of Hamas, and specifically how Israel nurtured it as a counterweight to Fatah before realizing just how dangerous and radical it was. Clearly, one of its biggest strategic blunders of the past 30 years.
In the midst of an article on how Israel uses spy drones to try and distinguish between civilian and militant, Noah Shachtman quotes an Israeli official who indicates that the goal of Israel's operation was to convince the Arab world that Israel is a "crazed animal" which one cannot provoke without fear. Robert Farley explains why, if true, this is a bad strategy.