Bolivia Claims Israel a ‘Terror State’

Anti-Israel boycott movement

Anti-Israel boycott movement

Bolivia on Wednesday renounced a visa exemption agreement with Israel in protest over its offensive in Gaza, and declared it a terrorist state, according to AFP.

President Evo Morales announced the move during a talk with a group of educators in the city of Cochabamba.

It “means, in other words, we are declaring (Israel) a terrorist state,” he said.

The treaty has allowed Israelis to travel freely to Bolivia without a visa since 1972.

Morales said the Gaza offensive shows “that Israel is not a guarantor of the principles of respect for life and the elementary precepts of rights that govern the peaceful and harmonious coexistence of our international community.”

Bolivia broke off diplomatic relations with Israel in 2009 over a previous military operation in Gaza.

In mid-July, Morales filed a request with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to prosecute Israel for “crimes against humanity.”

But the UNHRC – like much of the international community – has blatantly ignored Hamas’s tactics.

Hamas, the ruling party in Gaza, has openly boasted about the “success” of its strategy of using civilians as human shields during Operation Protective Edge, and the IDF has published extensive evidence of the practice.

By contrast, the IDF has dropped leaflets, sent phone messages, and issued general warnings to all civilians within range of upcoming airstrikes to prevent further harm.

Five additional Latin American countries – Brazil, Peru, Ecuador, El Salvador, and Chile – have recalled their envoys over misconceptions regarding the operation, in a move Israel condemned Wednesday as showing “encouragement for Hamas.” 

Sheer Carnage At UN School As Israel Pounds Gaza

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REUTERS/Finbarr O’Reilly

Palestinians gather near the minaret of a mosque that police said was destroyed by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City July 30, 2014.

Israeli shelling killed at least 15 Palestinians sheltering in a U.N.-run school and another 17 near a street market on Wednesday, Gaza’s Health Ministry said, with no cease-fire in sight after more than three weeks of fighting.

Israel’s security cabinet decided to continue its offensive in the enclave and there was no sign of a halt to a 23-day conflict in which 1,326 people, mostly civilians, have died.

Some 3,300 Palestinians, including many women and children, were taking refuge in the school in Jabalya refugee camp when it came under fire around dawn, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) said.

“Our initial assessment is that it was Israeli artillery that hit our school,” UNRWA chief Pierre Krahenbuhl said in a statement after representatives of the agency visited the scene and examined fragments, craters and other damage.

Blood-splattered floors and mattresses inside classrooms at the Jabalya Girls Elementary School and survivors picked through shattered glass and debris for flesh and body parts to bury.

“I call on the international community to take deliberate international political action to put an immediate end to the continuing carnage,” Krahenbuhl said.

The Gaza Health Ministry put the number of dead in the school attack at 15, with more than 100 wounded. The United Nations said 16 people were killed in the attack.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said militants had fired mortar bombs from the vicinity of the school and troops shot back in response. The incident was still being reviewed.

The army said three Israeli soldiers were killed on Wednesday when a booby-trap bomb exploded in a tunnel shaft they had uncovered in a residence in the southern Gaza Strip.

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REUTERS/Siegfried Modola

Hospital workers and Israeli soldiers carry a stretcher with an Israeli soldier, wounded during Israel’s offensive in Gaza, into Soroka hospital in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba July 30, 2014.

UNRWA said on Tuesday it had found a cache of rockets concealed at another Gaza school — the third such discovery since the conflict began. It condemned unnamed militant groups for putting civilians at risk. Krahenbuhl said the Jabalya school’s precise location and the fact that it was sheltering thousands of displaced people had been communicated to the Israeli military 17 times, with the last notification just hours before the fatal shelling.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, speaking in Costa Rica, condemned the killing. “It is outrageous. It is unjustifiable. And it demands accountability and justice,” he said.

At the White House, National Security Council spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan said: “We are extremely concerned that thousands of internally displaced Palestinians who have been called on by the Israeli military to evacuate their homes are not safe in U.N.-designated shelters in Gaza.

“We also condemn those responsible for hiding weapons in United Nations facilities in Gaza,” she said.

“EARTHQUAKE-LIKE RESPONSE”

In a separate incident, Israeli shelling killed at least 17 people and wounded about 160 others near a fruit and vegetable market in Shejaia, a heavily bombarded neighbourhood on the eastern outskirts of the city of Gaza, the Health Ministry said. Witnesses said the crowd had gathered to watch a petrol station, hit earlier, burn in the distance.

The Israeli military had no immediate comment. “Such a massacre requires an earthquake-like response,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said. The army said more than 50 rockets were fired from the teeming coastal enclave into Israel on Wednesday, causing no reported casualties or damage.

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REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

A Palestinian man reacts next to the body of his relative, whom medics said was killed by Israeli shelling near a market in Shejaia, at a hospital in Gaza City, July 30, 2014.

Israeli Communications Minister Gilad Erdan, a member of the Security Cabinet, said the forum had instructed the military to press on with its campaign to locate and destroy tunnels that militants have built under the Gaza border and have used to launch attacks inside Israel.

“In the coming few days we’ll be giving the IDF (Israel Defence Forces) full operational freedom to strike against terrorism and complete neutralizing and destroying the tunnels,” Erdan told Channel Two.

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The head of the military’s southern command, Major General Sami Turgeman, told reporters the army was “but a few days away from destroying all the attack tunnels”. He added that the offensive against militants in the Hamas Islamist-dominated enclave had been broadened to include more targets in the central and southern Gaza Strip.

According to the Gaza Health Ministry, 1,326 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed since Israel began its offensive on July 8 with the declared aim of halting cross-border rocket fire and tackling Hamas’s tunnel network.

Ninety-nine Palestinians were killed on Wednesday alone. On the Israeli side, 56 soldiers and three civilians have been killed. Public support remains strong for continuing the military operation in the hope of preventing future flare-ups.

Mohammed Deif, the shadowy leader of Hamas’s armed wing, said in a broadcast message on Tuesday that Palestinians would continue confronting Israel until its blockade on Gaza — which is supported by neighbouring Egypt — was lifted.

Israel has balked at freeing up Gaza’s borders under any de-escalation deal unless Hamas’s disarmament is also guaranteed.

“We are not looking for a ceasefire, though of course military manoeuvres are supposed to be followed by diplomatic manoeuvres,” Erdan said. “But a ceasefire must fulfill Israel’s terms, a long-term calm and the demilitarization of Gaza.”

PROPOSAL REVISED

Egypt said on Tuesday it was revising an unconditional cease-fire proposal that Israel had originally accepted but Hamas rejected, and that a new offer would be presented to Palestinian representatives.

Egyptian officials said an Israeli delegation had held brief talks in Cairo on Wednesday, but gave no further details.

In previous bouts of fighting between Israel and its neighbours, the U.S. has often leaned on the Israelis to stop after incidents that caused high civilian casualties. Washington appears to have less sway with either side this time.

Israel says Hamas is ultimately responsible for such casualties because its fighters, including rocket-launching squads, operate in densely populated residential areas. The army has warned civilians to evacuate whole neighbourhoods before military operations.

israel gaza hamas

REUTERS/Baz Ratner

Israeli soldiers from the Givati brigade return to Israel from Gaza (seen in background) near the border fence, July 30, 2014.

The U.N. said Israeli bombing over the past three weeks has destroyed or severely damaged 4,000 Palestinian homes, scores of schools and almost two dozen health facilities. Some 240,000 people in the Gaza Strip had sought refuge in U.N. schools or with relatives or friends, the U.N. said.

Both President Obama and the U.N. Security Council have called for an immediate cease-fire to allow relief to reach Gaza’s 1.8 million Palestinians, followed by negotiations on a more durable end to hostilities.

Amidst the bloodshed, Switzerland said on Wednesday it was taking soundings about the possibility of holding a Middle East peace conference later this year following a request from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

The Swiss Foreign Ministry said in a statement that as custodian of the 1949 Geneva Conventions laying down the rules of war, “Switzerland transmitted this request to the states parties and is currently carrying out informal consultations,” but it noted a broad consensus would be needed on the terms of reference and the expected results.

[Additional reporting by Ari Rabinovitch in Jerusalem; Noah Browning in Ramallah; Yasmine Saleh in Cairo; Tom Miles in Geneva; Michelle Nichols in New York; Writing by Jeffrey Heller; Editing by Paul Taylor and Will Waterman]

Magnolia Is Applying Nanotechnology To Boost Solar Cell Performance

Nano-structured coatings to cut reflection losses and trap more light in CIGS and III-V cells

Magnolia Solar has announced that it is pioneering the application of nanotechnology for both flexible CIGS and III-V solar cells in order to boost performance and lower costs, using nano-structured optical coatings that can minimise reflection losses and enhance light trapping.

The US company also says it is developing a way to apply novel nano structured designs to the absorber layer of high-performance III-V and CIGS solar cells in order to reduce recombination losses and increase the capture of low-energy photons.

“Emerging technical approaches for achieving flexible photovoltaic power include the growth of copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) cells on flexible substrates and the epitaxial liftoff (ELO) of III-V devices onto thin metal film,” said Roger Welser, Magnolia’s CTO.

The company is working closely with the newly merged SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) / SUNY Institute of Technology (SUNYIT) institution. “Our office in the Albany NanoTech complex allows our technical staff to work very closely with top researchers at the CNSE/SUNYIT facilities which have directly led to innovative patent pending designs using nanotechnology. This is helping us to meet our goals of high-efficiency thin film solar cells,” said Ashok K. Sood, president and CEO of Magnolia Solar Corporation

Based in Albany, NY and Woburn MA, Magnolia is targeting a variety of civilian and defense applications for its photovoltaic solar cells. 

Anton Chekhov on the 8 Qualities of Cultured People

“In order to feel comfortable among educated people, to be at home and happy with them, one must be cultured to a certain extent.”

What does it mean to be “cultured”? Is it about being a good reader, or knowing how to talk about books you haven’t read, or having a general disposition of intellectual elegance? That’s precisely the question beloved Russian author Anton Chekhov (1860-1904) considers in a letter to his older brother Nikolai, an artist. The missive, written when Anton was 26 and Nikolai 28 and found in Letters of Anton Chekhov to his Family and Friends (public domain; public library), dispenses a hearty dose of tough love and outlines the eight qualities of cultured people — including honesty, altruism, and good habits:

MOSCOW, 1886.

… You have often complained to me that people “don’t understand you”! Goethe and Newton did not complain of that…. Only Christ complained of it, but He was speaking of His doctrine and not of Himself…. People understand you perfectly well. And if you do not understand yourself, it is not their fault.

I assure you as a brother and as a friend I understand you and feel for you with all my heart. I know your good qualities as I know my five fingers; I value and deeply respect them. If you like, to prove that I understand you, I can enumerate those qualities. I think you are kind to the point of softness, magnanimous, unselfish, ready to share your last farthing; you have no envy nor hatred; you are simple-hearted, you pity men and beasts; you are trustful, without spite or guile, and do not remember evil…. You have a gift from above such as other people have not: you have talent. This talent places you above millions of men, for on earth only one out of two millions is an artist. Your talent sets you apart: if you were a toad or a tarantula, even then, people would respect you, for to talent all things are forgiven.

You have only one failing, and the falseness of your position, and your unhappiness and your catarrh of the bowels are all due to it. That is your utter lack of culture. Forgive me, please, but veritas magis amicitiae…. You see, life has its conditions. In order to feel comfortable among educated people, to be at home and happy with them, one must be cultured to a certain extent. Talent has brought you into such a circle, you belong to it, but … you are drawn away from it, and you vacillate between cultured people and the lodgers vis-a-vis.

Cultured people must, in my opinion, satisfy the following conditions:

  1. They respect human personality, and therefore they are always kind, gentle, polite, and ready to give in to others. They do not make a row because of a hammer or a lost piece of india-rubber; if they live with anyone they do not regard it as a favour and, going away, they do not say “nobody can live with you.” They forgive noise and cold and dried-up meat and witticisms and the presence of strangers in their homes.
  2. They have sympathy not for beggars and cats alone. Their heart aches for what the eye does not see…. They sit up at night in order to help P…., to pay for brothers at the University, and to buy clothes for their mother.
  3. They respect the property of others, and therefor pay their debts.
  4. They are sincere, and dread lying like fire. They don’t lie even in small things. A lie is insulting to the listener and puts him in a lower position in the eyes of the speaker. They do not pose, they behave in the street as they do at home, they do not show off before their humbler comrades. They are not given to babbling and forcing their uninvited confidences on others. Out of respect for other people’s ears they more often keep silent than talk.
  5. They do not disparage themselves to rouse compassion. They do not play on the strings of other people’s hearts so that they may sigh and make much of them. They do not say “I am misunderstood,” or “I have become second-rate,” because all this is striving after cheap effect, is vulgar, stale, false….
  6. They have no shallow vanity. They do not care for such false diamonds as knowing celebrities, shaking hands with the drunken P., [Translator's Note: Probably Palmin, a minor poet.] listening to the raptures of a stray spectator in a picture show, being renowned in the taverns…. If they do a pennyworth they do not strut about as though they had done a hundred roubles’ worth, and do not brag of having the entry where others are not admitted…. The truly talented always keep in obscurity among the crowd, as far as possible from advertisement…. Even Krylov has said that an empty barrel echoes more loudly than a full one.
  7. If they have a talent they respect it. They sacrifice to it rest, women, wine, vanity…. They are proud of their talent…. Besides, they are fastidious.
  8. They develop the aesthetic feeling in themselves. They cannot go to sleep in their clothes, see cracks full of bugs on the walls, breathe bad air, walk on a floor that has been spat upon, cook their meals over an oil stove. They seek as far as possible to restrain and ennoble the sexual instinct…. What they want in a woman is not a bed-fellow … They do not ask for the cleverness which shows itself in continual lying. They want especially, if they are artists, freshness, elegance, humanity, the capacity for motherhood…. They do not swill vodka at all hours of the day and night, do not sniff at cupboards, for they are not pigs and know they are not. They drink only when they are free, on occasion…. For they want mens sana in corpore sano[a healthy mind in a healthy body].

And so on. This is what cultured people are like. In order to be cultured and not to stand below the level of your surroundings it is not enough to have read “The Pickwick Papers” and learnt a monologue from “Faust.” …

What is needed is constant work, day and night, constant reading, study, will…. Every hour is precious for it…. Come to us, smash the vodka bottle, lie down and read…. Turgenev, if you like, whom you have not read.

You must drop your vanity, you are not a child … you will soon be thirty.
It is time!
I expect you…. We all expect you.

A. P. Chekhov (left) with Nikolai Chekhov (right), 1882; public domain image via Wikimedia Commons

For more epistolary notes on the building of character, complement withhistory’s finest letters of fatherly advice.

17 Places You Need To Visit In Italy

Cheer on the riders at the Palio di Siena bareback horse race, which takes place in Siena twice each year: on July 2nd and August 16th.

Cheer on the riders at the Palio di Siena bareback horse race, which takes place in Siena twice each year: on July 2nd and August 16th.

Paolo Lazzeroni/AP

Stroll through the peaceful Renaissance gardens of the Villa d’Este in Tivoli.

Stroll through the peaceful Renaissance gardens of the Villa d'Este in Tivoli.

dimbar76/Shutterstock

Watch a performance at La Scala, Milan’s world-renowned opera house.

Sip a Super Tuscan wine straight from the sprawling vineyards of Tuscany.

Marvel at the enormous Colosseum in Rome.

Marvel at the enormous Colosseum in Rome.

Shutterstock.com

Take a dip in the natural spas of Saturnia in Tuscany, where gorgeous hot springs flow freely.

Gaze up at Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling. Although it’s technically in Vatican City, any trip to Rome wouldn’t be complete without seeing this esteemed artwork.

Tour the gorgeous Palladian villas of the Veneto, which were designed by Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio.

Throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain, and legend has it you’ll be sure to return to Rome again.

Throw a coin into the Trevi Fountain, and legend has it you'll be sure to return to Rome again.

S.Borisov/Shutterstock

Explore the medieval city of San Gimignano, a walled city within Siena.

Explore the medieval city of San Gimignano, a walled city within Siena.

leoks/Shutterstock

Bask in the sun at the beaches of Rimini.

Attend the Eurochocolate Festival to celebrate the city of Perugia’s world famous chocolate.

Attend the Eurochocolate Festival to celebrate the city of Perugia's world famous chocolate.

Chris Helgren/Reuters

Re-enact the famous Shakespearean scene on Juliet’s balcony in Verona.

Take a gondola ride through the magnificant canals in Venice.

Take a gondola ride through the magnificant canals in Venice.

Pablo Rogat/Shutterstock

Explore Cascata delle Marmore, a massive, man-made waterfall dating back to the ancient Romans.

Climb to the top of Florence’s iconic Duomo for spectacular views of the city.

Eat Gelato… everywhere.

Eat Gelato... everywhere.

Jude Law stars in new Johnnie Walker ad

Johnnie Walker Blue Label has released a new ad-cum-short film online, which features actors Jude Law and Giancarlo Giannini engaging in a ‘gentlemen’s wager’ over the ownership of a beautiful sail boat…

Blue Label is Johnnie Walker‘s luxury whisky product, and this film is duly steeped in wealth and extravagance. Shot by Jake Scott, it opens on board the boat, moored off the British Virgin Islands, where we see the wager proposed, before the action moves to London and the bet plays out.

This is not the first time Johnnie Walker has engaged top acting talent to market its whisky. Back in 2009, the brand released The Man Who Walked Around The World, a charming short starring Robert Carlyle that was originally meant only for internal use at the company but proved a hit with the public when it was leaked online.

This film is a more elaborate offering than the Carlyle piece, as perhaps befits the luxury side of the brand. It is not just an ad for Johnnie Walker either, with the YouTube version of the film featuring an ad-within-an-ad via clickthroughs to Mr Porter where viewers can purchase the clothes that Law and Giannini are wearing in the film.

The Gentleman’s Wager is released at a time when the ad industry is obsessed with the notion of ‘content’ and ‘storytelling’ (see a recent speech from Stefan Sagmeisterfor more on this subject), and would certainly tick the box as an example of these forms. Or you could just call it a good old-fashioned short film, with a heap of branding thrown in. The audience won’t care either way, of course, but the combination of Jude Law and an enjoyable – if rather tame – story seems likely to make it a hit.

Credits:
Agency: Anomaly New York
Creatives: Mike Byrne, Dave Douglass
Agency producer: Winslow Dennis
Production company: RSA
Director: Jake Scott
Music: Eclectic
Composers: Smith & Elms

Fighting Political Islam, Arab States Find Themselves Allied With Israel

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from his hotel in Cairo last week. Credit Charles Dharapak/Associated Press

CAIRO — Battling Palestinian militants in Gaza two years ago, Israel found itself pressed from all sides by unfriendly Arab neighbors to end the fighting.

Not this time.

After the military ouster of the Islamist government in Cairo last year, Egypt has led a new coalition of Arab states — including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan — that has effectively lined up with Israel in its fight against Hamas, the Islamist movement that controls the Gaza Strip. That, in turn, may have contributed to the failure of the antagonists to reach a negotiated cease-fire even after more than three weeks of bloodshed.

“The Arab states’ loathing and fear of political Islam is so strong that it outweighs their allergy to Benjamin Netanyahu,” the prime minister of Israel, said Aaron David Miller, a scholar at the Wilson Center in Washington and a former Middle East negotiator under several presidents. “I have never seen a situation like it, where you have so many Arab states acquiescing in the death and destruction in Gaza and the pummeling of Hamas. The silence is deafening.”

Although Egypt is traditionally the key go-between in any talks with Hamas — deemed a terrorist group by the United States and Israel — the government in Cairo this time surprised Hamas by publicly proposing a cease-fire agreement that met most of Israel’s demands and none by the Palestinian group. Hamas was tarred as intransigent when it immediately rejected it, and Cairo has continued to insist that its proposal remains the starting point for any further discussions.

But as commentators sympathetic to the Palestinians slammed the proposal as a ruse to embarrass Hamas, Egypt’s Arab allies praised it. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia called President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt the next day to commend it, Mr. Sisi’s office said, in a statement that cast no blame on Israel but referred only to “the bloodshed of innocent civilians who are paying the price for a military confrontation for which they are not responsible.”

“There is clearly a convergence of interests of these various regimes with Israel,” said Khaled Elgindy, a former adviser to Palestinian negotiators who is now a fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington. In the battle with Hamas, Mr. Elgindy said, the Egyptian fight against the forces of political Islam and the Israeli struggle against Palestinian militants were nearly identical. “Whose proxy war is it?” he asked.

The dynamic has inverted all expectations of the Arab Spring uprisings. As recently as 18 months ago, most analysts in Israel, Washington and the Palestinian territories expected the popular uprisings to make the Arab governments more responsive to their citizens and therefore more sympathetic to the Palestinians and more hostile to Israel.

But instead of becoming more isolated, Israel’s government has emerged for the moment as an unexpected beneficiary of the ensuing tumult, now tacitly supported by the leaders of the resurgent conservative order as an ally in their common fight against political Islam.

Egyptian officials have directly or implicitly blamed Hamas instead of Israel for Palestinian deaths in the fighting. And the pro-government Egyptian news media have continued to rail against Hamas as a tool of a regional Islamist plot to destabilize Egypt and the region, just as it has since the military ouster of President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood one year ago. (Egyptian prosecutors have charged Hamas with instigating violence in Egypt, killing its soldiers and police officers, and even breaking Mr. Morsi and other Brotherhood leaders out of jail during the 2011 uprising.)

The diatribes against Hamas by at least one popular pro-government talk show host in Egypt were so extreme that the government of Israel broadcast some of them into Gaza.

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“They use it to say, ‘See, your supposed friends are encouraging us to kill you!’  ” Maisam Abumorr, a Palestinian student in Gaza City, said in a telephone interview. Some pro-government Egyptian talk shows broadcast in Gaza “are saying the Egyptian Army should help the Israeli Army get rid of Hamas,” she said.

At the same time, Egypt has infuriated Gazans by continuing its policy of shutting down tunnels for cross-border smuggling into the Gaza Strip and keeping border crossings closed, exacerbating a scarcity of food, water and medical supplies after three weeks of fighting.

“Sisi is worse then Netanyahu, and the Egyptians are conspiring against us more than the Jews,” said Salhan al-Hirish, a storekeeper in the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahiya. “They finished the Brotherhood in Egypt and now they are going after Hamas.”

Egypt and other Arab states, especially the Persian Gulf monarchies of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, are finding themselves allied with Israel in a common opposition to Iran, a rival regional power that also has a history of funding and arming Hamas.

For Washington, the shift poses new obstacles to its efforts to end the fighting. Although Egyptian intelligence agencies continue to talk with Hamas, as they did under former President Hosni Mubarak and Mr. Morsi, Cairo’s new animosity toward the group has called into question the effectiveness of that channel, especially after the response to Egypt’s first proposal.

As a result, Secretary of State John Kerry turned to the more Islamist-friendly states of Turkey and Qatar as alternative mediators — two states that had grown in regional stature with the rising tide of political Islam after the Arab Spring, and that have suffered a degree of isolation as that tide has ebbed.

But that move has put Mr. Kerry himself in the incongruous position of appearing to some analysts as less hostile to Hamas — and thus less supportive of Israel — than Egypt or its Arab allies.

For Israeli hawks, the change in the Arab states has been relatively liberating. “The reading here is that, aside from Hamas and Qatar, most of the Arab governments are either indifferent or willing to follow the leadership of Egypt,” said Martin Kramer, president of Shalem College in Jerusalem and an American-Israeli scholar of Islamist and Arab politics. “No one in the Arab world is going to the Americans and telling them, ‘stop it now’  ” as Saudi Arabia did, for example, in response to earlier Israeli crackdowns on the Palestinians, he said. “That gives the Israelis leeway.”

With the resurgence of the anti-Islamist, military-backed government in Cairo, Mr. Kramer said, the new Egyptian government and allies like Saudi Arabia appear to believe that “the Palestinian people are to bear the suffering in order to defeat Hamas, because Hamas cannot be allowed to triumph, and cannot be allowed to emerge as the most powerful Palestinian player.”

Egyptian officials disputed that characterization, arguing that the new government is maintaining its support for the Palestinian people despite its deteriorating relations with Hamas, and has grown no closer to Israel than it was under Presidents Morsi or Mubarak.

“We have a historical responsibility toward the Palestinians and that is not related to our stance on any specific faction,” said a senior Egyptian diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks. “Hamas is not Gaza and Gaza is not Palestine.”

Egyptian officials noted that the Egyptian military and the Red Crescent have delivered medical supplies and other aid to Gaza. Cairo continues to keep open lines of communication with Hamas, including allowing a senior Hamas official, Moussa Abu Marzouq, to reside in Cairo.

Other analysts, though, argued that Egypt and its Arab allies were trying to balance their own overriding dislike for Hamas against their citizens’ emotional support for the Palestinians, a balancing act that could grow more challenging as the Gaza carnage mounts.

“The pendulum of the Arab Spring has swung in Israel’s favor, just like it had earlier swung in the opposite direction,” said Mr. Elgindy, the former Palestinian adviser. “But I am not sure the story is finished at this point.”

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