I sleep in a little on one Sunday morning and everything’s gone crazy.
1. Vandalising in the name of “social justice”
From what I gather, some of the “social justice protesters” in Tel Aviv from last year tried to put up tents in Rothschild Blvd again, but were arrested as the government didn’t want the whole of central Tel Aviv to shut down for a second year in a row. This sparked a whole new protest, which blocked Ibn Gvirol and marched south, joining-up with some kind of anti-homophobia protest.
At some point, the whole thing went out of control and the protesters started just smashing things. The police responded with what has been alleged to have been “police brutality”. It’s hard to tell either way, but I can say this: breaking into and smashing-up banks is not a good way to defend “social justice” or to get any kind of point across.
2. Flare-up around Gaza
There has been another of what are becoming routine flare-ups in violence around the border between Gaza and Israel. Jerusalem Post reporter Yaakov Katz even argues that this one is half-hearted compared to the last ones.
It is a very sad state-of-affairs that this kind of language can be used about an incident that has killed 14 Palestinians so far and has forced a million Israelis to be living in bomb shelters for a week, with rockets seriously damaging a school in Sderot, amongst other things.
However, I have heard reports privately that the IDF General Staff has been pulling all-night meetings and could be planning another large-scale Gaza incursion. That is not going to be fun for anyone, but may be necessary in order to stop these perpetual flare-ups. I’m not sure which is the bigger evil, in all honesty.
That brings me to…
3. Third Intifada
Nathan Thrall argued in the New York Times Sunday Review that a third intifada is inevitable. For some reason, this was released online on Friday, but it has caused a stir amongst a lot of analysts who accuse Thrall of actually supporting the idea.
One point that has been repeatedly made is that another intifada would pose little real threat to Israel, but could well unseat the current Palestinian leadership (not a bad outcome IMO). Fatah and Hamas know this, so they have been doing everything they can to avoid it and to keep their peoples’ attention on Israel.
There also seems to be a threat from within that is coming to unseat Mahmoud Abbas – Salaam Fayyad has just announced that he may challenge the Palestinian Authority presidency in the event that elections ever actually happen.
4. Egypt: the tale of two presidents
The results of Egypt’s presidential elections are rumoured to be coming any minute. This has not prevented both candidates announcing victory and the supporters of both holding huge, angry riots against each other.
Essentially, the country is polarised. Half hate the old regime candidate, Ahmed Shafiq, and half hate the Muslim Brotherhood candidate, Mohammed Moursi. Whoever wins, there will be mass dissatisfaction and possibly violence.
5. And the rest
I’m getting a little tired of writing out these short summaries, so to conclude: Sudan is exploding and Turkey is about to go to war with Syria over what was probably a stunt to prevent further Syrian airforce pilots defecting (shooting down a plane is a good way to do it).
Gotta love the Middle East.