Israel - The Israeli PM, Netanyahu, told the Israeli Knesset that Israel is "seriously considering restricting travel to Europe by its senior officials and military officers.." in reaction to the possibility that they might be arrested for war crimes, according to today's Washington Times. His statement comes just before the Goldstone Report is scheduled to be discussed in the UN Security Council and, a long way before any possible action could occur, seems to be aimed more at swaying US and other Council members than being engtrenched in reality. A splinter group did try to have Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak arrested in London recently, but neither the UK Government or the police took that effort seriously.
"While the Goldstone Report accuses both Israel and Hamas of suspected war crimes, Israeli offiicals see themselves as the biggest targets and charge that Mr. Golstone's findings effectively deprive the Jewish State of the right to self-defense.," continued the Times Article.
Conservative estimates of deaths range from 900 to 1300 among the residents of the Gaza Strip--invaded by Israel to try to stop rocket attacks--with the Israeli death total at about 20. Some sources thank this is clearly indicative of the Israeli intent to simply go in and punish the population rather than stop rocket attackes--while killed no one, and did little real damage. Converselt, thousands of homes, utilities, and public facilites were simply leveled by Israeli armor and artillery.
The Ti mes report is far from objective, with the reporter Eli Lake, making a number of statements that referred to the Goldstone Report as commissioned by 'authoritarian states', suggesting that attention is being focused on israel while the crimes in Sudan go unnoticed and unpunished, and that the "Israeli Defense Forces sought to minimize those casualties..", a statement in significant conflict from testimomy from a number of solidiers on the group during that invasion.
Netanhayu's views are not shared throughout Israel, and are often at odds with the facts. The Israel Blog Has a broader view--quoting several sources, such as the Economist, which said:
"It concludes that “While the Israeli government has sought to portray its operation as essentially a response to rocket attacks in exercise of its right to self-defence, the Mission considers the plan to have been directed, at least in part, at a different target: the people of Gaza as a whole.”"
"The purpose, the mission added, was “punishing the Gaza population for its resilience and for its apparent support for Hamas”. It held that Israel’s partial blockade of the Gaza Strip since Hamas took power there three-and-a-half years ago amounted to collective punishment and violated the Geneva Conventions."
Read the Israel Blog. Several of its writer/readers have incisive comments on the overall situation in Israel following the invasion.
On the Arab side, al Arabyia had several comments in its latest editions, including:
"Is there no limit to the wiles of those dastardly anti-Semites?
Now they have decided to slander the Jews with another blood libel. Not the old accusation of slaughtering Christian children to use their blood for baking Passover matzoth, as in the past, but of the mass slaughter of women and children in Gaza."
"And who did they put at the head of the commission which was charged with this task? Neither a British Holocaust-denier nor a German neo-Nazi, nor even an Iranian fanatic, but of all people a Jewish judge who bears the very Jewish name of Goldstone (originally Goldstein, of course). And not just a Jew with a Jewish name, but a Zionist, whose daughter, Nicole, is an enthusiastic Zionist who once “made Aliyah” and speaks fluent Hebrew. All this in order to defame the most moral army in the world, fresh from waging the most just war in history!"
"The official Israeli reaction to the Goldstone report would have been amusing, if the matter had not been so grave."
That last line sums it all up. Why not let the UN conduct its inquiry, participate in it, and suggest solutions--other than stifling it totally. Israel still has the feeling that anything it does is right, and anyone opposing them is wrong. That will get them no where these days. Bit if Israel cdid nothing in violation of International Law, why be worried about prosecution of its leaders?
Fatah vs. Hamas - Another tinderbox, but for a different reason. Egypt has been attempting to broker a cease fire between the two Palestinian factions, and finally seemed to make progress. Fatah has agreed with the major points and also agreed to sign the accords. Hamas has yet to respond on its own. That will unfold further over the next several days, but be hopeful that some form of reconciliation actually occurs. It will not happen, nor will it be successful with Abbas continuing to be a stooge for the Israeli Government and the US.
Palestinians vs. Israel - With Fatah at least willing to enter into an accord with Hamas, the Israeli Government has not raised the ante on a settlement agreement-- the palestinians must now not just recognize Israel as a state, but as a "Jewish State". That brings everything back to 1948 with the original screwing of the Palestinians by the UN and the US. Do things never change?