More links and news review. Don't worry, opinion and analysis will resume - perhaps this weekend. I also recently discovered a treasure trove of good blogs and sites that I'll add to the sidebar soon. Without further delay, here are your Thursday morning links:
The New York Times has a spectacular report about an Israeli human rights group that distributed cameras to Gazans in order to expose the lives of Palestinians to the Israeli mainstream. Well worth reading, and easily today's top link. A little cross-cultural understanding goes a long way.
On that note, Palestinian women are also breaking into the field of photojournalism, and causing quite a stir - thanks to Laura for her vigilance on women's issues.
The Popular Resistance Committees yesterday launched between 10 and 12 rockets, causing no damage, but causing Israel to close border crossings into the Gaza Strip. Aid trucks sat idle waiting to deliver much needed goods to besieged Gazans, while the PRC apparently celebrated their ability to appear relevant and cause nearly as much suffering to Gazans as Israel. To give credit where credit is due: Israel showed remarkable restraint for now, distributing fliers warning Gazans to remain 300 feet away from the separation wall and begging residents to provide the IDF with information on smuggling networks between Gaza and Egypt.
Remember what I told you kids yesterday, actions have consequences.
The Viva Palestina international aid convoy has finally made it to Gaza and has been granted 48 hours to distribute aid. 100 trucks and 500 activists crossed into the Strip from Egypt yesterday only hours after violent clashes between Egyptian security forces and Palestinian protesters following a Hamas-led protest against Egypt's attempts to stall and harass the convoy left one Egyptian border officer dead. Shots from both sides of the border fence were heard but the Palestinian gunman/gunmen have not been identified and Hamas has announced it will investigate the killing.
Zvi Bar'el tells us why Egypt decided to go so far to impede the Viva Palestina convoy. Hint: It's all about bullying Hamas for their efforts to keep Egypt from winning international peacemaker props for successfully mediating the Fateh-Hamas dispute. Since Hamas rejected both the reconciliation deal and the Shalit deal (both mediated in part by Cairo), Egypt has built a steel security wall on the Gaza-Egypt border, clamped down on the flow of traffic between Gaza and Egypt, and harassed an international aid convoy destined for the Gaza Strip. Zvi makes the case that Cairo is trying to wrest control over Hamas away from Syria and Iran.
It's not the Grinch, but Orthodox Church officials who are stealing Christmas this year. Perhaps the film adaptation will beat last year's box office smash, "The Occupied Territories Santa Forgot."