In The Middle East And Asia, Nations Walking Up To The Edge Of War

Middle East Conflagration Could Worsen After Hamas Rejects Proposed Truce
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would be willing to move forward with a military campaign after Hamas rejected a proposal to cease fire.

“If Hamas rejects the Egyptian proposal and the rocket fire from Gaza does not cease, and that appears to be the case, we are prepared to continue and intensify our operation,” Netanyahu said in a statement after Hamas rejected an Egyptian-sponsored plan that had the support of Israel.

The Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing, dismissed the Egyptian plan as “not worth a thing” and predicted that the “battle with the enemy continues and will increase in ferocity and intensity.”

Netanyahu also said Hamas’ rejection of the truce gave Israel added legitimacy to take more aggressive action.

War Between China And China Unlikely, But Not Unrealistic
Hugh White of The National Interest writes that a conflict between Japan and China is not unrealistic, but it also is unlikely.

“None of this suggests that conflict in the East China Sea is inevitable, or even that it is probable. But it does suggest that more needs to be done to prevent conflict than just avoid accidents or miscalculations. And it also suggests we need to move quickly,” writes White.

However, White does draw a comparison to the brinksmanship that occurred between the US and the Soviet Union, which brought the nations closer to war than they had ever been.

“Shortly before the crisis broke in October 1962, Kennedy had publicly promised to prevent Moscow from deploying missiles to Cuba. Recent scholarship suggests that Khrushche saw this as an opportunity to score an easy win over his younger and less experienced adversary. He believed Kennedy would not risk war to back up his promise, because Khrushchev did not believe that Soviet missiles in Cuba would materially affect U.S. security, and he didn’t believe Kennedy would think they would either. He therefore decided to call Kennedy’s bluff, make him back down, and gain a psychological and political advantage. That was why he sent the missiles to Cuba.

“In the event, of course, Kennedy turned out to be tougher—or more reckless—than Khrushchev had expected, and Khrushchev suffered the consequences. However, there is a risk that Beijing might respond—as Khrushchev did to Kennedy—to Obama’s less-than-credible affirmation of U.S. support to Japan, seeing it as an opportunity to call his bluff and damage his, and America’s, credibility in Asia,” he posits.

The Plight Of Christians In The Holy Land
Inna Lazareva tells the story of the Christian communities in Bethlehem who find themselves caught in a war not of their making and even left behind by their own leadership.

“‘The Pope is not coming for us, a shopkeeper tells me bitterly, dozens of strings of the rosary beads he sells jangling on his wrists. ‘He is coming for the Muslims. He gives them legitimacy, not us, by coming here. I’m going crazy here, I don’t like it. Tell me, why doesn’t the Pope give legitimacy to us?’

“What possible legitimacy could be needed for the Christians who live in the town celebrated every Christmas by church congregations and choirs the world over? The reality for Christians in the West Bank today is far removed from greetings card images. For one thing, they are disappearing,” she says recounting the experience of one Christian.

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