Reflecting Upon the Middle East......

The Israeli-Gaza Cease Fire continues to hold.   Ismahil Haneya, Hamas' Leader in Gaza, has called upon all Palestinians to honor the truce.   Israel seems to have demobilized the reservists it has called up.

What led to the cease fire?   It was simple--the Israeli PM did not want to spend any more political capital than he needed to.    The United States also saw to it that the Israelis were once again looked after.    As I assessed the historical background of the latest flare-up, what I found especially ironic was that the same Hamas Commander the Israelis assassinated was actually negotiating terms of an extended cease fire with the Israelis.    What I also found especially troublesome and disturbing was the killing of two Palestinian Youths by Israelis that began the latest crisis.     I found Vijay Prasad's insights to be especially insightful:

Israel seems to have not realized that the dynamics of the region has changed.    The fact that there was a tacit acknowledgement of the fact that Gaza was suffocated.   The fact that the Palestinians in fact did not accept a 15-year cease fire but a rolling street fire.   In addition, the fact that it was the Arab Street--I like Prasad's term, "Tahrir Pressure"--played a major part in putting this into effect.    Gaza, though, has been destroyed yet again and no one will be held to account for this destruction.   The loss of life was tragic.  The story of families dying during the campaign was heart-breaking.    

As I assessed this, I was so surprised by now the United States emphasized Egyptian leadership and responsibility.   Although Prasad notes this, there is no discussing about Israeli responsibility throughout.   Israel reminded itself that it had the right to defend itself.   However, no one bothered to challenge Israeli spokesmen on the fact that Gaza has been a virtual prison ever since Hamas won the election.     Gaza fishermen have been prevented from fishing.    Vital medicines have been repeatedly denied.    Electricity is in short supply.   Food continues to be a challenge.  The unemployment rate has been high.    Yet, the Government of Israel led us to believe that somehow they were the victims.       

What is clear is that the viability of Hamas has been recognized no matter what Israelis note.   Abu Mazen has been further marginalized as a result of this as Khaled Mashal continues to rise in stature during the continued evolution process.    It is quite a testament to the resiliency of Palestinians as to how they have been able to deal with such calamity. 

One of the stories I was especially amazed to read about was the story of  single mother of 8 who had begun work at the Gaza Recycling Plant.    She had been abandoned by the husband.    The plant was built from parts that were smuggled through the tunnels that had been the Gaza lifeline ever since Hamas won the election and the major schism occured between the Palestinian Factions.      It is such stories that I view as quite inspirational about those who have somehow overcome challenges despite all that Israel had done with tacit support from The Egypt of the Mubarak Years.    With Morsi in power, though, the dynamics have shifted considerably.    Morsi,  though, has made some dangerous moves.   He has issued a decree in essence putting himself about the judiciary.   The secular opposition has been galvanized and has called for demonstrations at Tahrir later on today.  

Beyond Egypt, though, there is Iran.   The two major opposition figures continue to be under house arrest.    Opposition news sources are reporting that the health of Karoubi and Mousavi has been precarious at best.   One of Mousavi's daughters has been warned that she would not be able to see her parents due to having served as a courier to the opposition news sources still active inside the country.    I was also quite shocked to see the pleas of Rafsanjani's Wife pleading for her children who are currently under arrest.    Rafsanjani is the former President and current head of the Expediency Council in the Country.     This is as the current President, Ahmadinejad, loses the last vestiges of power and legitimacy already.    Khameini, the Supreme Leader, came to Ahmadinejad's defense yet again by ordering Parliament to stop a question and answer session with Ahmadinejad by noting how this would "help the enemies".    This is as the economy continues to be on the edge due to the crushing sanctions that have hampered Iran's ability to sell its' oil and import crucial materials.    I have reviewed stories about the healthcare sector being severely impacted by lack of drugs.

The wave of change is yet to run its' course.  

Also available @    http://www.outsiderviews.com/outsiders-middle-east-watch-11232012-the-week-that-was 
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