Reliable Security Information

Beyond Gaza

After two weeks of fighting, the United States has signaled support for an immediate cease-fire in the Gaza Strip. Though Washington did not vote in favor of a January 8 UN Security Council resolution calling for a cease-fire, its abstention from the vote--rather than a veto--allowed the resolution to pass and increase international pressure on Israel to halt its operations against Hamas forces in Gaza. Israeli officials dismissed the resolution (VOA), citing continued rocket fire from Hamas.  Officials from the Palestinian group also rejected the resolution. Israel did temporarily suspend fighting (NYT) on January 7 and indicated additional pauses would be coming to permit humanitarian relief to reach the civilian population.

Israel says it has targeted Hamas infrastructure, but no attack on an area as densely populated as the Gaza Strip can fail to kill innocents. On January 6, an Israeli mortar shell destroyed a UN-operated school for refugee children (BBC), with local sources reporting scores dead and dozens wounded. Israel says its forces fired in self-defense (Ynet). The civilian casualties have spawned protests around the world (VOA), including large gatherings in the United States, Britain, Turkey, Australia, and across the Middle East. Following the school tragedy, Israel announced it would, indeed, accede to international demands that it allow a humanitarian corridor (CNN) to be established.

Indeed, signs of the pressure on U.S. allies in the region abounded as Cairo's streets filled with supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, and Jordan's prime minister announced his country's ties with Israel, based on a 1994 peace treaty, would be "reconsidered" (al-Jazeera). As foreign correspondent Anthony Shadid notes in the Washington Post, the attacks have underscored "a yawning divide between the policies of rulers and...

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