The ongoing fighting between Israel and Hamas is causing enormous suffering, and the human toll the war has taken is horrible and getting worse. But for a sense of the “bigger picture,” here are some good pieces written by smart analysts. I don’t agree with all of their conclusions (except the ones written by me), but they are well thought-out and provide a larger, necessary, context to the fighting. I’ll update as new analyses become available.
In no particular order:
Nathan Thrall in the New York Times: “How the West Chose War in Gaza,” on the effects of broader regional politics leading up to the conflict.
Hussein Ibish in Foreign Affairs: “Bibi’s First War,” on why Netanyahu has been reluctant to use force in Gaza, and why that changed now.
Haviv Rettig Gur in the Times of Israel: “The Tragic Self-Delusion behind the Hamas War,” on Israeli and Hamas conceptualization of their own weakness and how this informs their decisions about war, and comparisons to the Algerian War of Independence.
Hugh Naylor in The National: “Hamas Home-Made Rockets No Match for Israel,” on Hamas’ efforts to construct a domestic missile industry.
Allison Beth Hodgkins in Political Violence @ a Glance: “Why Hamas Escalated, When Before They Didn’t,” on the motivations behind Hamas’ decisions to escalate the fighting.
Yossi Melman in The Forward: “Hamas Has Nothing to Lose,” on Israel’s military and tactical goals in Gaza.
Me in The National Interest: “Israel’s Real Problem: It Has No Strategy,” on Israel’s lack of a strategic agenda and how that undermines its ability to defeat Hamas.
Me in The Monkey Cage/Washington Post: “Does the Gaza Operation Threaten Netanyahu’s Political Future,” on the politics of elections and war in Israel.
Update: New, additional readings
Me in Politico Magazine: “Israel Is Winning This War,” on the wrong measurements analysts have used to argue Hamas will ultimately win the Gaza war.
J.J. Goldberg in The Forward: “Gaza Tunnels: How They Work, What Israel Knew.”
Nathan Thrall in London Review of Books: “Hamas’s Chances,” on why Hamas went to war and what’s driving it during the war.
Michael Walzer in The New Republic: “Israel Must Defeat Hamas, But Also Must Do More to Limit Civilian Deaths.” Walzer’s work on just war is among the best out there; he applies his finding to the Gaza war.
Interview with Amos Oz in DW: “Oz: Lose-Lose Situation for Israel.” Given that Oz is one of Israel’s most prominent doves, this interview captures well the general mood in Israel regarding the Gaza war and Palestinian casualties.
Dean Obeidallah in The Daily Beast: “Do Palestinian Really Exist,” a personal story tied into a national story, with implications for the Gaza war.
Dahlia Scheindlin in +972: “Who Are the Israelis Fighting This War?” a glimpse into the lives of Israeli soldiers fighting in Gaza. “Every day that goes by – I’m different.”
Elisheva Goldberg in The Atlantic: “Israel’s Bedouin: Caught Between the Iron Dome and Hamas,” on the in-between place the Bedouin in Israel seem to have fallen–with no protection.