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Sunday Reads: Hamas’ Popularity, The FAA’s Disturbing Message to Terrorists, Giving War a Chance

by Shmuel Rosner

July 27, 2014 | 4:25 am

A departure time flight board displays various cancelations as passengers stand nearby at Ben Gurion International airport in Tel Aviv on July 22. Photo by Siegfried Modola/Reuters

US

According to Douglas J Feith, the FAA ban on flights to Israel sent a horrible message from the US to Hamas and to terrorists all over the world –

The ban will encourage not only future attacks on Ben Gurion Airport, but also on airports in Cairo, Amman, Istanbul, Jakarta, and Manila. Terrorists go to school on one another's operations. If one group can shut an airport down by shooting a rocket in its direction and hitting within a mile or two, then that's a big payoff for small effort.

Charles Krauthammer raises the possibility that President Obama simply believes world events, wars, and threats will sort themselves out eventually –

The world is aflame and our leader is on the 14th green. The arc of history may indeed bend toward justice, Mr. President. But, as you say, the arc is long. The job of a leader is to shorten it, to intervene on behalf of “the fierce urgency of now.” Otherwise, why do we need a president? And why did you seek to become ours?

Israel

Former IDF intelligence chief Amos Yadlin believes that at this point Hamas needs to be destroyed in order for Gaza to be saved–

After nearly three weeks of fighting — notwithstanding the 12-hour pause announced early this morning by Israel — it is time to revisit some basic assumptions about Hamas. Until now, Israel assumed Hamas was the “devil we know,” capable of attacks that were mostly a nuisance; accepting its rule over the Gaza Strip was preferable to risking a vacuum of governance like what we see in Somalia and Libya. But Hamas’s reckless violence in the current round of fighting severely undermined this thinking.

Michael Oren argues that the West needs to give this war a chance –

Though bitter, the fighting between Israel and Hamas raging in Gaza’s alleyways is merely part of the far vaster struggle between rational nations and the al-Qaeda and Islamic State-like forces seeking their destruction. Relative to that global conflict, Operation Protective Edge may seem small, but it is nevertheless pivotal. To ensure that it concludes with a categorical Israeli win is in the world’s fundamental interest. To guarantee peace, this war must be given a chance.

Middle East

David Pollock takes a look at the current state of Hamas’ popularity among Palestinians –

Similarly, according to a credible Palestinian poll taken June 15-17, Hamas leaders Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Mashal together received a grand total of 15 percent support among Gazans, while 70 percent wanted the group to maintain a ceasefire with Israel. Some assume that Hamas's current offensive has restored its lost popularity on the Arab street, but there is little evidence to support that claim -- except in the West Bank.

In that territory, according to another credible Palestinian poll taken by the Ramallah-based Arab World for Research and Development (AWRAD) on July 19-21, Hamas popularity has risen substantially -- 85 percent now approve its "role in the current conflict"… Still, even now, only 31 percent of West Bankers say their overall political affiliation is with Hamas. And more of them support (51 percent) than oppose (44 percent) an immediate ceasefire, contrary to the Hamas position.

According to this curious piece by Adnan Abu Amar, Iran and Hezbollah have had a “break with Assad” over their support for Hamas –

 A former member of the Iranian Shura Council and close associate of the decision-making circles in Tehran told Al-Monitor by phone, “Iran and Hezbollah’s contacts with Hamas did not find positive echoes in Syria, as Assad ‘vetoes’ the return of Hamas to the axis, which includes Damascus, Tehran and Beirut. However, Iran cannot remain idle as war rages in Gaza, while Hamas has made ​​a remarkable military effort. Although Iran was absent from the current military scene — despite the training it offered — it wants to keep up with the political and diplomatic developments, even if this was to anger the Syrian president.”

Jewish World

Eli Lake writes about the effect of the Gaza war on European Jews facing anti-Semites –

The atmosphere in Europe since the beginning of the war has been so toxic that the foreign ministers of France, Italy, and Germany on Tuesday issued a rare joint statement condemning anti-Semitism at pro-Palestinian demonstrations.

All of this presents a troubling paradox for Zionism. The state of Israel was founded in 1948 as a haven for Jews. But in 2014 Europe’s anti-Semites have attacked Jews for the deeds of the Jewish state.

Dov Seeman examines the Lubavitcher Rebbe's career as publisher -

Only a handful of classic Chabad texts were widely available for study when Rabbi Schneerson assumed the leadership of Kehot in 1942, but a steady stream of new publications has been emerging ever since. He also was perhaps the first Orthodox publisher in America to understand the importance of producing well-made, aesthetically pleasing (though inexpensive) books. Initially at his father-in-law’s instruction he also began annotating many of the texts himself with attention to sources, parallel passages, and variant manuscripts, but even in those early years, he was thinking popularly as well. In the 1940s he commissioned comic book artist Michel Schwartz to create a character based on Brooklyn Dodgers shortstop Pee Wee Reese in the visual style of Chester Gould. Schwartz recalls the Rebbe’s specific instructions: “Ess zul oys’zehn vee Dick Tracy.”

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