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Explosive Situation, New Heights, Boomerang


Israel Says Over 2,000 Violent Incidents Originated in Gaza In Past Year

Times of Israel, March 27th 2019

Recap:

Palestinians launched 1,233 rockets, 94 explosive devices and 500 Molotov cocktails from Gaza since starting border protests one year ago. Incendiary kites have torched Israeli farmland, causing over $9.5 million in damage.

The Context:

  • Tensions have flared along the Israeli-Gaza border since Palestinians began demanding their right to return to Israeli territory [1]. Gaza’s flow of goods has been limited and closely monitored by Israel and Egypt since Hamas took control of the Strip in 2007. Israel has fought three wars against Hamas.

  • This week, following a rocket fired from Gaza into Central Israel, Israeli forces hit 100 Hamas positions in the Gaza Strip [2]. The two militant factions capable of such attacks, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, quickly denied responsibility [3].

  • Since the protests began, rocket fire and other attacks have killed 2 Israelis and injured 142. 200 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces. Israel stands accused internationally of using disproportionate force against protesters. Israel says troops only open fire when in imminent danger.

  • Israel faces a key test on Saturday, when Hamas plans to stage a mass demonstration to mark the one-year anniversary of the protests [4]. Israel, through Egyptian mediators, has allegedly offered Hamas economic incentives to call off the protests [5].

Conversation Points:

  • Should a government’s response to terrorism be calculated based on its casualties?

  • How would America, Canada or Europe respond to violent protests on its borders?

  • Who is responsible for Gaza’s economic and humanitarian crisis?

UN To Meet on US Recognition of Israel Sovereignty of Golan

Washington Post, March 27th 2019

Recap:

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) scheduled an urgent meeting at Syria’s request to discuss President Donald Trump’s recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

The Context:

  • On Monday, Trump met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to sign a presidential proclamation officially recognizing the Golan Heights as Israeli territory [6].

  • Israel captured the Golan following a Syrian attack in 1967. Israel annexed the strategic plateau in 1981, immediately leading to a UNSC resolution condemning the move.

  • The US defended its decision saying “to allow the Golan Heights to be controlled by the likes of Syria would malign a destabilizing presence of Iran in the region [7]”, a sentiment echoed by Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon who said "for 19 years Syria used the Golan as a forward post against the State of Israel [8]."

  • China and Russia decried Trump’s decision [9] while the European Union also issued a statement refusing to "recognize Israeli sovereignty over the occupied Golan Heights [10]."

Recap:

  • What deterrent exists if a country need not fear of losing its territory during an aggressive war?

  • Are the Golan Heights the most pressing issue facing the UNSC regarding Syria at this time?

  • Do China and Russia retain the moral high ground to criticize Israel’s presence in the Golan?

Israeli Winery Sells Out Thanks to Dutch Boycott Supporter

Times of Israel, March 27th 2019

Recap:

An attempt to blacklist Israeli products in the Netherlands backfires.

The Context:

  • Boycott Divestment and Sanctions supporter Mieke Zagt tweeted Hema, a supermarket chain with 525 stores, pressuring the company to remove Israeli wines from its shelves [11].

  • Within 24 hours, Israeli supporters built enough momentum on social media to sell out Efrat wines at many Hema branches and its online store.

  • The Efrat wines began selling faster after Christians for Israel, an international group headquartered outside of Amsterdam, encouraged thousands of its supporters to buy the wines.

  • Chabad Rabbi Yanki Jacobs from Amsterdam was “delighted to see, just a few days after Purim, something bad turn into something good.”

Conversation Points:

  • Why are strong and swift responses to BDS important?

Notes:

  1. Israeli military strikes Hamas targets in Gaza, Al Jazeera, March 25th 2019

  2. Ibid.

  3. Israel Strikes After Rockets Are Fired from Gaza to Tel Aviv, David M. Halbfinger, New York Times, March 14th 2019

  4. Egyptian mediators rush to Gaza Strip as cease-fire holds, Ynetnews, March 27th 2019

  5. Ibid.

  6. UN Security Council to Convene Over U.S. Recognition of Golan Heights, Noa Landua, Haaretz, March 27th 2019

  7. UN Security Council to hold urgent meeting on US Golan recognition, Times of Israel, March 27th 2019

  8. UN Security Council to Convene Over U.S. Recognition of Golan Heights, Noa Landua, Haaretz, March 27th 2019

  9. Syria requests urgent UN Security Council meeting on Golan, Al Jazeera, March 27th 2019

  10. UN Security Council to Convene Over U.S. Recognition of Golan Heights, Noa Landua, Haaretz, March 27th 2019

  11. An Israel Boycott Supporter Railed About an Israeli Wine Being Sold in Holland. Then It Sold Out, Cnaan Liphshiz, Haaretz, March 28th


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