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resorting to violence

Missed this when it first appeared (ht Lenin’s Tomb). Here’s a statistical study of ceasefires between Israel and the Palestinians. How do they end? Is it because the Islamofascist-we-worship-death-while-you-worship-life Palestinians just can’t help themselves in their insane desire for the blood of Israelis? No, not so much.

[T]his analysis shows that it is overwhelmingly Israel that kills first after a pause in the conflict: 79% of all conflict pauses were interrupted when Israel killed a Palestinian, while only 8% were interrupted by Palestinian attacks (the remaining 13% were interrupted by both sides on the same day). In addition, we found that this pattern — in which Israel is more likely than Palestine to kill first after a conflict pause — becomes more pronounced for longer conflict pauses. Indeed, of the 25 periods of nonviolence lasting longer than a week, Israel unilaterally interrupted 24, or 96%, and it unilaterally interrupted 100% of the 14 periods of nonviolence lasting longer than 9 days.

The whole study’s worth reading. Here, for instance, it discusses how the last bout of violence began — and, wouldn’t you know it, reality turns out to be quite different from what we’re mostly told:

How did the recent ceasefire unravel? The mainstream media in the US and Israel places the blame squarely on Hamas. Indeed, a massive barrage of Palestinian rockets were fired into Israel in November and December, and ending this rocket fire is the stated goal of the current Israeli invasion of Gaza. However, this account leaves out crucial facts.

First, and most importantly, the ceasefire was remarkably effective: after it began in June 2008, the rate of rocket and mortar fire from Gaza dropped to almost zero, and stayed there for four straight months (see Figure 1, from a factsheet produced by the Israeli consulate in NYC). So much for the widespread view, exemplified in yesterday’s New York Times editorial that: “There is little chance of restraining Hamas without dealing with its patrons in Syria and Iran.” Instead, the data shows clearly that Hamas can indeed control the violence if it so chooses, and sometimes it does, for long periods of time.

Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.

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Jeff Sparrow is the former editor of Overland. He is the co-author (with Jill Sparrow) of Radical Melbourne: A Secret History and Radical Melbourne 2: The Enemy Within, the editor (with Antony Loewenstein) of Left Turn: Essays for the New Left and the author of Communism: a love story, Killing: Misadventures in violence, and Money Shot: A Journey into Censorship and Porn.  On Twitter, he's @Jeff_Sparrow.

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