Analysis

The difficult question Hammond must answer

By Martin Bright, July 31, 2014

Philip Hammond is still taking his first baby steps as Foreign Secretary, but there is one question he needs to learn to answer. And quickly.

Does he consider Israel's use of military force against Hamas to be disproportionate?

On the Today programme on Tuesday he was asked the question three times and three times he dodged it. This is not good enough.

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Opening Gaza borders will bring greater hell

By Benjamin Pogrund, July 31, 2014

Hamas is rightly demanding that Israel and Egypt lift their blockade of the Gaza Strip as a condition for a ceasefire. But ending the siege is not straightforward: it is easy to sit back and say that it must be done, but implementing it is a minefield.

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Egypt is the key player in any peace deal

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 24, 2014

The Gaza conflict is playing out against a much wider regional power-play that could be changing the balance in the Middle East.

A struggle is going on for influence between Egypt, aligned with Saudi Arabia and most of the other Gulf States, and, on the other side, Qatar and Turkey.

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Kerry pushes for ceasefire terms to be more favourable to Hamas

By Dovid Efune, July 24, 2014

Hamas is in bad shape.

The terror group's overseas benefactors are diminishing and rival groups within Gaza are seizing Jihadi market share. The new regime in Egypt is supremely unfriendly and after weeks of relentless targeting, the IDF now has Hamas in a terrible state.

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Death toll mounts on both sides

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 24, 2014

In the space of seven days since the ground operation began last Thursday, Israeli units have uncovered the entrances to some 30 tunnels, a much larger underground network than the IDF originally believed to exist. The operation to destroy the tunnels has come at a price.

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Hamas fight on with no endgame and nothing left to lose

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 24, 2014

It is unclear who is currently calling the shots in Hamas. Is it the political or military leadership in Gaza, both currently underground, or the "external" leaders shuttling between Ankara, Doha and Cairo?

What is clear is that the only man who can ultimately sign off on a ceasefire is the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades chief of staff, Mohammed Deif.

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Ceasefire won't end Netanyahu's battles on the political front

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 24, 2014

A political battle awaits Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the moment a ceasefire with Hamas will be on the table. The Israeli security cabinet, which will be the forum where the proposal is voted on, will be split on whether to accept a truce or continue advancing into Gaza.

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Caliphate's aim is to destroy Israel

By Tim Marshall, July 18, 2014

Until recently, much Western analysis regarded the hurricanes blowing through the Arab world as safeguarding Israel. The idea was that its enemies were a bit busy to be bothered with the "Zionist entity".

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Jihadi surge means isolation for Hamas

By John R Bradley, July 18, 2014

While there is no let-up in the West's criticism of Israel's military offensive in the Gaza Strip, in the Arab world - notwithstanding anti-Israeli outrage on social media, grumblings from the dinosaur Arab League and sporadic pro-Palestinian street demonstrations - an air of indifference reins.

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Bibi's restraint wins him friends abroad - and enemies at home

By Anshel Pfeffer, July 17, 2014

One description you don't usually hear of Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is "risk-averse". But in recent days, in the Israeli media and the upper echelons of the defence establishment, in Knesset corridors and even among foreign diplomats who rarely have a good word to say about Bibi, this label has been regularly attached to him.

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