There are a huge number of news stories coming from and around Israel. Some of them are important and some of them are noise. Here are two that are important. They represent issues that will not go away:
1. The Arab riots around the Temple Mount, inflamed by the Islamic Movement in Israel, have blended religious and nationalistic motives:
[Islamic Movement head Sheik Raed] Salah told Haaretz on Monday that the clashes would last as long as Israel’s “occupation” of the city and Al-Aqsa Mosque continued. He said the Israeli government must understand that using force does not grant it rights to Al-Aqsa Mosque or anywhere else in East Jerusalem, and that the key to achieving calm in the area is an Israeli “withdrawal.”
“No one has rights to the Al-Aqsa Mosque other than the Muslims. The mosque compound is Muslim, Palestinian and Arab, and Israel has no rights to the mosque or East Jerusalem,” he said. — Ha’aretz
Islamization and political radicalization of ‘Israeli Arabs’, not just in East Jerusalem, represent a growing threat to Israel’s ability to get along with its Arab minority. The problems posed by this group of 1.5 million are often ignored, but in the long term represent a threat as great as the external ones Israel faces. It’s especially problematic that the radicalization is growing not just among the lower classes, but also among the intellectual elite who — funded by foreign sources — are in the process of developing a political and legal rationale for anti-Zionist demands.
2. Mahmoud Abbas has been under attack for giving in to pressure to drop demands to present the Goldstone Commission report to the International Criminal Court:
…in Geneva Friday, Abbas, under pressure from the United States and Israel, agreed to defer a U.N. Human Rights Council vote on the report until next March, effectively burying it.
The story has outraged Palestinians across the political spectrum. Abbas is being accused of treachery. Even his moderate Fatah colleagues have publicly expressed their dismay.
There were demonstrations Monday in Ramallah, where protestors [sic] called for his resignation: “Listen Abbas, our people’s blood is not spilled in vain.”
Abbas’ Fatah, which controls the Palestinian Authority, is currently in Egyptian-brokered unity negotiations with Hamas. This issue further weakens his position. The US is struggling to support Abbas, by pumping money into the West Bank economy. The unity plan calls for elections sometime next year, and if it is signed it is certain — regardless of who wins the elections — that the result will be further legitimization for Hamas.
Ultimately there is no non-military solution for Hamas. This is why the failure to finish Operation Cast Lead and destroy Hamas was so unfortunate.