Smoke and explosions are seen after Israel Air Force strikes in Gaza City, November 19, 2012. (Photo: Reuters)
The Israeli Assault on Gaza: How Surgical Are the Strikes?
Karl Vick of Time Magazine takes a look at Israel's efforts to avoid civilian casualties in Gaza.
In Operation Defensive Pillar, as the ongoing assault is officially known, specific efforts are made to avoid hitting bystanders, Israeli officials maintain. When approaching a target where civilians are believed to be, Israeli pilots will make a first pass to drop a sound bomb (or feeble live charge) near the target, intending to scare people away. Commanders refer to this as “cleaning the target.” The aircraft then returns to deliver live munition meant to destroy the missile launcher, weapons cache or — lately — home.
From Cast Lead to Pillar of Cloud
There are many differences between the Gaza conflict in 2008 and the one currently being fought, writes Abdel Moneim Said in Ahram, particularly when it comes to Egypt's role.
The regime in Egypt has stronger bonds than brotherly relations with Hamas in Palestine, which has restrained Egypt’s response to the actual occupation of Sinai by armed jihadist groups that have attacked the Egyptian police and armed forces. On the other hand, the cool peace between Egypt and Israel has frozen over. This basically means that Egypt has essentially lost its ability to handle the conflict. More ominously, it seems that within a few months of President Morsi being in office, Egypt could become party to the conflict. At least that is what extremist jihadist groups are working towards, along with corresponding fanatical groups within the Muslim Brotherhood.
Who is Hamas?
The Council on Foreign Relations presents an in-depth look at the militant organization now ruling Gaza - and at war with Israel.
Early on, some observers hoped that political legitimacy--and the accountability that comes with it--could wean Hamas away from violence. But to date, the group has refused to eschew violence and remains adamant about reversing the decision by the more secular Fatah to recognize Israel's right to exist. Following Hamas's capture of Gaza, Egypt and Israel largely closed their borders with the territory. Israel, which maintains a blockade of the Gaza strip, alleges that Iranian and other weapons are smuggled into the enclave through a series of tunnels from Egypt.
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