Here's a collection of useful links from the morning's paper:
Brave and heroic criticism of Israel dept: Some of Israel's enemies are bored college students with no real challenges in life, who yearn to be part of "something big". They have no understanding and no interest in understanding the real people involved, or the impact their actions might have on those peoples' lives.
Brutal Israeli Occupation of Gaza dept: Apparently the Egyptians are willing to let Palestinians in and out of Gaza via Rafah, and thousands are going in and out, but one does need a passport. So if you hear of a story about how some Gazans can't get out for lack of a passport, who do you think should be blamed? Wrong. The PA. Apparently when Hamas kicked the PA out of Gaza in 2007, the PA folks managed to leave with all the unfilled Palestinian passports; moreover, in the years since the PA has convinced the French printer of the passports to send new ones only to Ramallah. Perfidious Israelis. And note, by the way, that there is such a things as a Palestinian passport, and also that the registry of Palestinian populace is in Ramallah. The Mondoweiss gang sometimes says that Israel's control of it proves its occupation of Gaza is still viable.
Peace negotiations and common sense dept: It seems that eventually, 18 months too late, Netanyahu has finally managed to position himself (and all of us) on the right side of the peace talks see-saw. Various international leaders are lining up to call Mahmoud Abbas to urge him to join direct talks with Israel, as Netanyahu demands and Abbas refuses. We all know that peace talks with the Palestinians can't and won't lead to peace anytime soon or even for quite a while afterwords. Which means one of the most important things an Israeli prime minster has to do is ensure that at any given moment, reasonable observers will understand that it's the Palestinian side that isn't interested, not the Israeli side. This week Netanyahu has finally succeeded, and I recommend savoring the moment since it's unlikely to last.
Backward groups in Israel dept: Stanly Fischer, governeor of the Bank of Israel, compares the conditions of Israel's Arabs and Israel's Haredi: the economic situation of the Arabs is improving. The condition of the Haredi isn't. They're growing rapidly, most of them aren't working, and their leaders don't see the problem.
Innocents abroad dept: Dipa Nrianjan, a young Indian student, tells about living in Jerusalem, being homesick, then coming back for more. It's a nice story; it depicts a couple of Israel's warts without turning them into a reason to dismantle Zionism, and along the way it also casts a bit of light on one of the most important stories of the past 15 years or so: how Israel and India are growing closer. Of course, for a while there Israel and Turkey also seemed to be growing closer, and we all know where that led to, but the connection with India may be of a different magnitude, for lack of thousands of years of animosity. I also expect that eventually India will be vastly more important than Turkey ever will be. (Though you might be interested to know that Israel's ties with Greece are improving these days, with the Greek prime minsters insisting this has nothing to do with Turkey).
Other matters dept: Normblog via Twitter sends this link. People are less important and less powerful than they'd like to think, apparently.