Weekend long read

Our weekly round-up of Middle East related background reading.

1) The ITIC reports on “Preparations for the mass “return march” to mark the first anniversary of the marches and Land Day”.

“With the escalation that followed the rocket fire from the Gaza Strip in the background, preparations continue to be made for the “return march” that will take place on Saturday, March 30, 2019. The events will mark one year of “return marches” as well as Land Day, affiliated with Israeli Arabs. A series of events are planned, which will be held at the usual five sites of the “return marches.” The events will be accompanied by a general strike and closed schools to increase the number of participants. The organizers are also trying to attract Palestinians in Judea and Samaria, the Israeli Arabs and Palestinians in the refugee camps in the dispersal to join the protest activities. It is unclear if and to what degree there will be a response to the calls from terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip.”

2) Also from the ITIC: the background to the kind of Hamas propaganda uncritically recycled this week by the BBC News website.

“Instructions were posted to a Hamas forum regarding the terminology that should be used in the media. According to the instructions, media workers should avoid the use of terminology that indicates a recognition of the existence of Israel (the “Zionist entity”); care should [be] taken to designate all sites attacked by Israel as “civilian targets” and not as military targets; the cities in Israel which are attacked should be referred to as occupied Palestinian territories, and not as cities; and there is no such thing as “the residents of Israel’s south” because [the Israelis] are thieves who took the Palestinian lands by force.”

3) At the Jerusalem Post Lahav Harkov analyses “The ‘Wag The Dog’ Conspiracy That Never Happened”.

“When Palestinian terrorists shot rockets into central Israel and completely destroyed a house in Moshav Mishmeret, injuring all three generations of one family, some thought that instead of condemning Hamas for targeting infants, toddlers and their grandparents, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is the real problem here.

A conspiracy theory in the style of Wag the Dog began to be floated in news outlets of varying levels of respectability – like the UK’s Independent – and on the social media accounts of anti-Israel organizations that Netanyahu wants a war, because it’ll somehow help him ahead of the April 9 election. They claimed that Netanyahu intentionally sparks wars right before elections to help him win.”

4) To mark the fortieth anniversary of the Israel-Egypt peace agreement, Ofir Winter and Udi Dekel of the INSS assess that treaty.

“March 2019 marks the fortieth anniversary of the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. This signed agreement affirmed peace as the strategic choice of both countries, and in turn distanced them from the danger of war. Over the years, the peace has survived challenges and upheavals, and provided tightened security cooperation around shared interests. However, relations between leaderships and security establishment are not enough, and the time has come to deepen the roots of peace between the two peoples.”

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