Yes readers, Friday is finally here and you know what that means: I'll wear jeans to work. This is a very exciting Friday for another reason as well: great articles. It's like the New York Times, Haaretz, CSM, IPS, and even my own mother were trying to cheer up my Friday by publishing or sending great Holy Land articles. As I enjoyed them, I hope you do too:
Yesterday, Hamas asserted that it did not fire rockets at civilians during the Gaza War of Winter '08-'09. The militant group and de facto governing authority of Gaza fired only at military targets and rockets that landed near civilians (killing three Israelis) were simply mistakes, Hamas claimed. Human Rights Watch isn't buying, and asserts that Hamas deliberately targeted civilians during the war - a war crime. Christian Science Monitor published an article yesterday detailing the Hamas effort to show the UN that it is carrying out its investigation of possible war crimes during the Winter War. The UN-imposed deadline for showing a credible internal investigation is underway is February 5, 2010 and the Goldstone Report specifically calls on Israel, Hamas, and the Palestinian Authority to carry out these investigations or face possible charges on an international level. Hamas and the PA have announced they plan to carry out investigations and Israel submitted it's response and investigation to the UN today.
Hamas' claim that it only fired on Israeli military units is so blatantly transparent and dishonest that it hardly could be considered a credible investigation. With how rickety their Qassam rockets are, do they really feel they have any level of accurate targeting? The only military target Palestinian groups have even hit in recent memory was an IDF temporary tent barracks in 2007, and the attack wasn't even carried out by Hamas. Since then, Qassam rockets have mainly landed in open fields and Israeli towns close to the Gaza border. Using unguided, unreliable munitions in the way Hamas and other militant organizations in Gaza do certainly precludes the organizations from effectively asserting that they took all necessary precautions to protect civilian lives. Hamas has already proved they do not have any effective targeting mechanism and that they're simply firing Qassams randomly. You can be almost sure that Hamas will put together some sort of "investigation" that it sends to the UN, but it is certain it will absolve itself of any wrongdoing. In short, it will parallel the report Israel sends to the UN. The next stop for these parties should be The Hague.
The Haaretz editorial board calls the "price tag" attacks by violent Israeli settlers on Palestinians what it is - terrorism. The "price tag" policy calls on Israeli settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem to respond to Israeli government measures unfavorable to the settler movement to attack nearby Palestinians and their property - provoking more violence and straining the Israeli government's ability to effectively carry out such policies in the Occupied Territories. Politically-motivated violence against civilians? That sounds like the textbook definition of terrorism to me.
IPS has an interview with a Hamas member of the defunct Palestinian Legislative Council. It is interesting and I appreciate (always) comments from my readers.
The New York Times is actually covering a troubling string of arrests of non-violent Palestinian protest leaders in the West Bank by the Israeli army. The most recent arrest was Mohammed Khatib, an organizer in Bil'in.
I'll try to provide some commentary on this week's stories this weekend. Perhaps you could spur an article with a comment?
Finally, my parents sent me this YouTube video. Orthodox Jewish reggae - who knew?