July 28, 2014 |
On my refrigerator door I keep a photo of an exceptional Palestinian woman who ran kindergartens in Gaza in the 1990s for the Philly-based American Friends Service Committee. Mary Khaas, who died more than a decade ago, would drag her teachers from their refugee-camp homes to visit her Jewish friends at a kibbutz just across the Gaza border. She believed in two states, and wanted each side to stop demonizing the other. Attitudes have hardened in Gaza over the last decade, and I don't know how Mary would feel now. But as U.S. efforts to produce a lasting cease-fire falter, and temporary cease-fires run down, the photo reminds me that many Americans can't conceptualize the humanity of the civilians who are dying there.
July 27, 2014 |
Bursting with anger at the growing death toll in the Gaza Strip, 300 pro-Palestinian demonstrators hurled invective through bullhorns Friday outside the Center City office tower that houses the Israeli consulate in Philadelphia. "Israel, Israel, what do you say?" they chanted. "How many kids have you killed today?" For nearly three weeks, Hamas militants in Gaza have rained incessant rocket fire on Israel, and the Israel Defense Forces have bombed Gaza and invaded the coastal strip.
July 26, 2014 |
As the Gaza war drags on and the terrible civilian death toll keeps rising, it's necessary to look to the past to find a way to stop the killing. It's particularly vital to revisit the moment in 2005 when Israel made a strategic error by unilaterally withdrawing from the Gaza Strip. I wrote then that Israel should have negotiated its withdrawal with the moderate Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, and let him take the credit. The failure to do so undercut Abbas: Hamas claimed that violence, not negotiations, forced Israel to exit.
July 25, 2014
ISRAEL Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu summed it up the other day when he said, "We use our rockets to protect our women and children; they [Hamas] use their women and children to protect their rockets. " Some time ago, the left adopted the Palestinians as their pet oppressed-minority group, so there is nothing that Israel might do that will be OK with them, except to commit suicide; that is, cease to exist - which is the stated policy of Hamas. Every time Israel refuses the suggestion that it cease to exist, the left becomes inflamed.
July 25, 2014 |
Standing in the roiling thick of Wednesday's pro-Israel rally in Center City, Nancy Manno held a sign she thought said it all. Hand-drawn, it depicted a missile about to strike the Liberty Bell. "Most Americans don't put themselves in the shoes of most Israelis," said the Linwood, N.J., resident. "There's not one American who would tolerate the [Hamas] missiles that Israel has had to endure. " Another poster said it writ small: "More hummus, less Hamas. " Two weeks into the latest surge of Palestinian missile fire on Israel, and Israel's bombardment and military invasion of the Gaza Strip, more than 650 Palestinians and almost three dozen Israelis are dead.
July 20, 2014 |
For Matt Cherry, pressure is not being forced to make a quick decision on the lacrosse field. It's having 10 seconds to get to a bomb shelter. Cherry, a Radnor High School graduate, starred in lacrosse at Dickinson College and graduated in 2013 as a two-time all-American and the school's all-time leader in assists. He never would have guessed where his path would take him next. He connected with Birthright, an educational organization that sponsors free 10-day trips to Israel for Jewish adults ages 18 to 26. He went with no plans to stay longer, but he has called Israel home ever since.
April 20, 2014
A corner of Bucks forever Abbie Reading about Abbie Hoffman took me back 25 years to when I was working on the construction of the Point Pleasant pumping station ("A radical life," April 13). With the TV cameras gone, Hoffman and the protesters chaining themselves to the main gate was but a distant memory on the day word of his death came to the nearly completed project. I was doing a concrete patch in a dark corner of the basement, and in the wet cement I etched "RIP Abbie Hoffman" with the date and crossed out the "PUMP" logo.
July 7, 2013 |
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - The ouster of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has delivered a sharp jolt to Gaza's Hamas rulers, robbing them of their most important ally and raising difficult questions about the future of Islamic political movements in the region. On Friday, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said he is "monitoring developments" in Gaza's larger neighbor, and is hopeful relations will endure despite the crisis. "We are not afraid of losing our cause, no fear that our cause will be absent from the Islamic nation's agenda, despite the difficulties and hard circumstances that sometimes the Islamic nation faces," Haniyeh said at Friday prayers.
June 14, 2013 |
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - A refugee from Syria recently opened a bakery here, drawing long lines of customers eager to taste meat and cheese pastries with the special flavors of Damascus - a rare bright spot in the long shadow that the Syrian civil war is casting over the Gaza Strip. The conflict in Syria, about 190 miles away, is increasingly hurting Hamas-ruled Gaza financially, according to several officials in the Islamic militant group and in Islamic charities. They say Iran, an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and a former major financial backer of Hamas, has reduced monthly cash transfers because Hamas refuses to side with the Syrian regime.
May 30, 2013 |
KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza Strip - Arab Idol is an over-the-top TV ratings smash in the Middle East, and a young crooner from a Palestinian refugee family, whom admirers have nicknamed "the Rocket," is stealing the show. The surprise breakout of the second season is a 23-year-old Gaza Strip resident named Mohammed Assaf, whose patriotic folk songs and romantic ballads - with their themes of grit, longing, and love - have propelled him into the final rounds. "I think this shows the world there are many normal people in Gaza, that Gaza is not just this place of terrorists and criminals but nice people," said Ala'a Nabrees, 22, a longtime friend.