Elliott Abrams

Pressure Points

Abrams gives his take on U.S. foreign policy, with special focus on the Middle East and democracy and human rights issues.

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Showing posts for "Gaza"

“Who Won the Gaza War,” and “What Now for Israel?”

by Elliott Abrams

In the past week I have written a long article and even longer essay on the Middle East situation today.

“‘The Fog of Cease-fire: Who Won the Gaza War” is the cover story in this week’s edition of The Weekly Standard and can be found here. In brief, it seems to me Israel was the winner by most measures, but as we saw with the Lebanon war of 2006 (where most Israelis thought they had “lost” but now believe that conflict has deterred Hezbollah from making further trouble on the border) judgments may change over time. Meanwhile, there is no sense of triumph in Israel, which is already creating political difficulties for Prime Minister Netanyahu. Read more »

Which Side Is UNRWA On?

by Elliott Abrams

The war in Gaza has brought UNRWA, the UN agency dealing with Palestinian “refugees,” back into the news– mostly because UNRWA schools were used to shoot rockets at Israel.

The failings of UNRWA were examined here (“Ending UNRWA and Advancing Peace“)  in December, 2011, although today they seem even worse. The UNRWA employees union is under Hamas control, and it’s clear that the staff is riddled with Hamas “activists.” The Israeli commentator and former Knesset member Einat Wilf wrote yesterday that
Read more »

UN Quiz: Who’s the Prime Minister of Israel?

by Elliott Abrams

Despite the criticism of the UN’s Goldstone Report, including by Goldstone himself, the UN seems determined to do it again.

Goldstone investigated “Operation Cast Lead,” the war between Israel and Hamas in December 2008 and January 2009, or more precisely he ignored Hamas and investigated Israel. Now the UN Human Rights Council has appointed a commission to investigate the current conflict, and once again Israel alone is to be the target. There will be no investigation of the rocket and mortars fired at Israel by Hamas, nothing about the purpose of the terror tunnels dug by Hamas into Israel, nothing about human shields, nothing even about Hamas’s use of UN facilities as storage sites and launching pads. Read more »

Yasser Arafat International Airport

by Elliott Abrams

To those unfamiliar with the term, “Yasser Arafat International Airport” must seem like the punch line to some joke about international terrorism.

Yet it existed in Gaza, briefly, and President Clinton and Hillary Clinton visited there in 1998 to stand next to Arafat and cut the ribbon opening the facility. These were the years when Clinton viewed Arafat as the key to peace, and invited him to the White House 13 times – more than any other foreign visitor. The airport was destroyed by Israel in 2001 as part of the reaction to the intifada that Arafat launched after he refused Israel’s offer and rebuffed Clinton’s efforts at Camp David. Read more »

The Gaza Numbers Game: 18% and 14%

by Elliott Abrams

Here are a few numbers about Gaza that are not widely known.

18% of the rockets fired by Hamas (by IDF calculations), which is to say about 600 rockets, were fired from schools, hospitals, mosques, and cemeteries.

14% of the rockets fired by Hamas actually fell inside Gaza. That’s more than 450 rockets, and before Israel is blamed for every bit of damage done inside Gaza by rocket fire a calculation must be made of the damage inflicted by Hamas itself. Read more »

The Gaza War and the Feeble PA

by Elliott Abrams

The Gaza war took a new turn today, when Hamas violated a cease-fire in order to kill and capture IDF soldiers. The reasonable conclusion to draw is that Hamas’s agreement to the cease-fire was a ruse, meant to give them this opportunity.

That action has several effects beyond destroying the cease-fire itself and prolonging the war. It certainly solidifies Israeli public backing for the war, which was extremely high anyway. The nature of the enemy is made even clearer. The contemptible nature of so much of the criticism of Israel around the world is also made clearer, coming from voices that appear indifferent to the nature and conduct of Hamas, to Israeli deaths, and to the deaths of Arabs anywhere else—in Syria, for example—as long as Jews are not responsible for those deaths and if there’s no opportunity to criticize Israel. Read more »

Gaza: More Negotiations

by Elliott Abrams

With Ban ki-Moon and John Kerry arriving in Cairo today, there will be lots of talk about a cease-fire deal. It is important that the United States keep Egypt in the forefront, and keep using the term “cease-fire.”

As to Egypt, it is not only that the Egyptian government shares our own view of Hamas as a terrorist group whose influence and military capabilities must be fought. That alone is a reason for the United States to want Egypt, not Qatar or Turkey, to be central. It is also that Egypt has genuine national security interests at stake here because it is a neighbor to Gaza. Terrorist activities in Gaza and Sinai matter to Egypt in a way that they do not to Qatar or Turkey. Any agreement that improves Hamas’s chances of importing more weaponry harms Egypt’s security, and the Egyptians have a right to a say in this. Read more »