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New Media and Gaza: To Whom Should We Turn for Analysis?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

The IDF has launched a YouTube channel covering its operations in Gaza.

This step recognizes that the battle in Gaza is also a battle for world opinion, and that Israel –and every other democratic state facing a terrorist threat– needs to provide accurate information about all operations in as timely and direct a fashion as operational security will allow. With Hamas enjoying the advantage of Arab television stations eager to broadcast pictures of the carnage, Israel needs to continue to convey the IDF’s attempt to minimize the death and injury to innocents.

Noah Pollack is reporting that YouTube is censoring the material, which is very troubling. How in the world is the world going to know what to believe when third parties attempt to referee competing claims via censorship?

The YouTube channel, even if uncensored, is still only raw data. Where to turn to for the sort of analysis that conveys how crucial this battle is, and how jumbled the alliances.

Jeffrey Goldberg writes:

I’ve been talking to friends of mine, former Palestinian Authority intelligence officials (ejected from power by the Hamas coup), and they tell me that not only are they rooting for the Israelis to decimate Hamas, but that Fatah has actually been assisting the Israelis with targeting information.

Egypt is certainly hoping to see Hamas uprooted from Gaza. Anyone who favors peace in the region via a negotiated settlement has to hope for the same thing. This is the hardest thing for many in MSM to grasp –Hamas is al Qaeda with better pr. The American coverage I have been reading and hearing is not conveying the nature of Hamas or the desire of many of Israel’s Arab neighbors and potential peace partners to see Hamas routed from Gaza.

I’ll try and line-up Goldberg for when I get back. I missed his January, 2008 book Prisoners, or I’d have already had him onto discuss and included the conversation in The War Against the West. I’ll also try to find Robin Wright, whose Shadows and Dreams spent a lot of time delineating the divides among the Arab world that work both to empower and isolate Hamas. If Israel’s objective is to destroy Hamas so as to empower the PLA to return to Gaza and reunite the land over which a negotiated settlement can proceed, journalists and analysts like Wright and Goldberg, Michael Totten and Bret Stephens, and Michael Oren and Yossi Klein Halevi will be as key as YouTube to explaining this to the American audience again confused by the strange alliances and brutal rules of the Middle East.
Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror (Vintage)

The War Against the West

Dreams and Shadows: The Future of the Middle East

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Resolutions ’09

Monday, December 29, 2008  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

My new column covers my resolutions for 2009.

The Fetching Mrs. Hewitt suggests not posting while on vacation. Like that is going to work. Any suggestions can be sent to or sent to me on Twitter @hughhewitt or by using the hash tag #hhrs.

I note the Browns will be drafting fifth, which is part of the plan to make Cleveland and Ohio sports the center of the sports universe in the year 2009. First the Cavs, then the Tribe, then the Bucks and Brown. I think four national titles in a single year will greatly compensate for the frustrations of the past. Beating the Celtics and Lakers, the Yankees, and the Steelers and USC along the way will greatly add to the pleasure of the extraordinary year ahead.

Back to vacation mode.

The Divide and the President-elect

Monday, December 29, 2008  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Deep in a long New York Times story on Israel’s offensive against Hamas comes these paragraphs summing up the dividing line on the conflict between Israel and Islamist radicals:

Iran’s supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, condemned the silence of some Arab countries, which he said had prepared the grounds for the “catastrophe,” an Iranian news agency, ISNA, reported.

“The horrible crime of the Zionist regime in Gaza has once again revealed the bloodthirsty face of this regime from disguise,” he said in a statement. “But worse than this catastrophe is the encouraging silence of some Arab countries who claim to be Muslim,” he said, apparently in a reference to Egypt and Jordan.

Egypt has mediated talks between Israel and the Palestinians and between Hamas and Hamas’s rival, Fatah, leaving it open to criticism that it is too willing to work with Israel. In turn, Egypt and other Western-allied Sunni Arab nations are deeply opposed to Hezbollah and Hamas, which they see as extensions of Iran, their Shiite nemesis.

On one side, those nations and forces that support IsrAel’s right to exist even if they also demand a state for the Palestinians. On the other: Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamist radicals across the globe that want Israel destroyed.

This is the same conflict that has defined the presidency of George Bush and it will define the presidency of Barack Obama. We have to hope that the president-elect achieves the same clarity about the conflict that the president has, and signals early and often that there will be no negotiation with any state or entity that denies the right of Israel to exist within secure borders.

The great danger is that the new Adminstration will see some upside in talking with Hamas and Hezbollah or their sponsor Iran. There is no possibility of a “grand bargain” with these forces because they are not driven by any objective that can be met short of the destruction of Israel. If the president-elect conveyed his understanding of this central fact, he’d go a long way towards reassuring the world and the region that we were not in for a Carter-like epic naivete about our enemies.

Powerline and Contentions have many crucial links and commentaries on the battle to topple Hamas.

The Woes of ’08

Monday, December 29, 2008  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

The Times of London’s Anatole Kaletsky provides a concise look back at the events leading up to when “the entire world financial system suffered this unprecedented nervous breakdown.”

What I appreciate about the analysis is that it begins with an admission that no one, including Kaletsky, saw it coming.

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