I always wonder how militaries come up with names for their operations. Names are never innocent, of course, and the latest IDF creation – Operation Protective Edge – scripts the current operation as another war of self-defence: protection is the goal here. Its suitably ambiguous too and helps justify the operation’s open-ended nature: it will stop when Israel’s protective edge is sharp enough. Still, we don’t have to parrot these ideologically-laden labels, hence my title here.
More in the days to follow but in the meantime here are some crucial resources for keeping up with the day-to-day:
The best Palestinian news available in English is at Ma’an New Agency, who have an office and several reporters in Gaza, as do al-Jazeera. Alakhbar is counting and naming the dead and has good live coverage. The electronicintifada has brilliant editorials that put daily events in context, together with the necessary – and necessarily difficult-to-confront – images and accounts of Palestinian suffering.
Haaretz, Israel’s leading Left newspaper – and in my opinion the only Israeli paper worth reading – has some critical commentaries and stays on top of the breaking news. Unfortunately most full articles in the English Haaretz are now behind paywall, but it’s $1 for the first month and you can cancel your subscription immediately. Look out for the indefatigable Amira Hass whose most recent piece is full of truths that will be hard to face for many Israelis, as is most of Gideon Levy’s reporting. Amos Harel knows more about the IDF than anybody I know, and although a staunch defender of Israel’s ‘right to self-defence’ remains an outspoken critic of much of what the IDF does. Anshel Pfeffer has a moving piece here. +972 magazine is about as good as it gets in terms of radical Left Israeli coverage.
Mondoweiss remains an important resource. If Owen Jones at the Guardian is right we should be avoiding the BBC coverage though I think he overstates the case and I find the BBC useful even if it does get caught up – and confused – in telling ‘both sides of the story’.
Finally, if you want to follow what we might call the ‘war at home in Israel’, the IDF Spokesperson Unit and their twitter page (which I won’t link to) are indispensable for understanding how important social media has become for advanced militaries like the IDF (on which see Derek Gregory here and here).