Monday, Monday — welcome to the working week (after the jump):
Fenced in: Rachel Shabi on how Israeli policy towards ‘the other’ is ultimately self-destructive:
An entrenched self-perpetuating narrative has taken hold in Israel, whereby everyone is against Israel and, even though the country is trying its best, it is surrounded by hostility. Because it turns out — and we could have guessed — being sealed off doesn’t make Israelis feel any safer; all it does is amplify suspicion and insecurity. All it does is provide the perfect breeding ground for hatred and intolerance and racism. It stunts thought, narrows horizons, and inhibits cultural and critical development by severing a crucial, life-giving, mind-expanding exposure to difference. Separation is a daily, crippling nightmare for the outsider group. Yet it is a disaster of a different sort for those who have chosen to close themselves off, inside a sterile zone.
Same as it ever was: Rula Jebreal has little hope for future Mideast peace prospects post-Pillar of Defense/Cloud:
The escalation of violence in Gaza will have a predictable outcome. The winners of this war will be both Hamas and the Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu. Once again, cynical political calculations on both sides has triggered a cycle of “attack and response” that will consolidate their bases of support and further diminish the prospect of a peace process.
More from Mouin Rabbani:
If pummeling Gaza yet again was intended to remind all concerned – not least the new Egypt – who makes the rules, it would also re-assure the Israeli electorate they need not fear the prospect of Obama punishing Israel for Netanyahu’s embrace of the Romney/Adelson ticket. As expected, the Obama White House has ensured there is less daylight between America and Israel then ever passed between Romeo and Juliet, while Congress has been busy passing unanimous resolutions supporting Israel’s right to self-defense in its colonial possessions. The positions of most European states have been only marginally less obscene.
Not only did Bibi and Barak kill the leader primarily responsible for restraining other militants from firing projectiles into Israel; they also made it impossible for his successors to accept a ceasefire before demonstrating they had successfully altered the rules of the game and extracting guarantees any new agreement will be respected.
Bursting the bubble: The bar for ‘victory’ is set far lower for Hamas than it is for Israel, says Robert Danin:
The fact that Israel has acted with considerable restraint compared to its conduct of Operation Cast Lead has created conditions boosting Hamas’ domestic popularity, at least for now. Gazans have sustained the majority of the casualties and damage so far, and don’t expect to beat the Israelis militarily. Just causing the Israelis pain — piercing the “Tel Aviv bubble” and lashing out against Israeli Jerusalem — is seen as a tactical achievement, so long as it does not incur demonstrable defeat or the populace overwhelming loss. That perception is why, in addition to taking out Hamas’ increased military capabilities in Gaza, Israel feels the need to strike a decisive psychological blow — an aim that may well prove elusive.
Go home, @IDFspokesman. You’re drunk: Anna Momigliano on why Israel is losing the social media war:
One of the greatest communication weaknesses of the pro-Israel camp consists of having failed to understand how horizontal social media work. Bragging about the “elimination” of an enemy might not be the best choice of PR to begin with, but it does bring an instantaneous backlash in an environment such as Twitter, where users all around the world are quick to fire back, pointing at you as a warmonger.
On Twitter a reply can have the same weight of the original tweet — which, among other things, means that numbers matter. Yet the pro-Israel camp, traditionally relying on a relatively small number of very active netizens, seems still used to a blog-like style of communication, where comments are nothing more than background noise. On the other hand the pro-Palestinian camp, galvanized by the social media activism surrounding the Arab revolutions, seems much more at ease with a horizontal style of communication – not to mention the fact that it can count on a much larger base.