Cultural Revolutions

Israeli-Arab Conflict

The Holy Land’s long, hot summer started with a spate of rocket attacks by Palestinian militants based in Gaza on the Israeli border town of Sderot.  Over 100 homemade Kassems had been fired by the last week of June, resulting in civilian casualties and calls for the return of Israeli troops to the Gaza Strip—a mere ten months after it was evacuated by former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.  Israel responded with a series of “targeted killings” of militants in Gaza, but the air strikes also took their usual toll in civilian lives and prompted international protests.

Then, on June 25, the military wing of Hamas—the ruling party in the Palestinian Authority (PA)—launched an attack on a military outpost at the Israeli town of Kerem Shalom, just south of the Gaza Strip.  The militiamen killed two soldiers and abducted one, demanding the release of all Palestinian women and teenagers in Israeli jails in return for his freedom.  The following day, an 18-year-old Jewish settler was kidnapped and killed in the West Bank.  The Israeli response came two days later.  In the course of a simultaneous military incursion into Gaza and the West Bank, dozens of prominent Hamas members were arrested, including several PA government ministers and members of the National Assembly.

The political and financial crisis within the Palestinian Authority has been brewing ever...

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