Israeli bombardment of Gaza continues, despite U.S.-U.K. efforts to broker a ceasefire. More than 140 Palestinians have been killed and 1,100-plus injured. Five Israelis have been killed.
Two commentators with significant experience in the Middle East, Bret Stephens and Max Boot, are recanting earlier support for Israel’s 2005 pullout from Gaza. Boot restates his—and the Bush administration's and much of the international community's—zeitgeist at the time:
"I freely acknowledged that Gaza would likely become a breeding ground of terrorism, possibly even of international terrorism. But I nevertheless argued that 'on balance' the pullout was worth the risk because it would allow Israel 'to regain the initiative—moral and political,' and that 'if the Palestinians fire rockets from Gaza, Israel will be free to mount a military response—more free, in fact, when the threat comes from a sovereign Palestinian state than when it emanates from Israeli-occupied territory.'"
But lost in the debate over how best to secure Israel’s security are the Palestinian people (who include Christians). Many of them see themselves trapped in Gaza with no alternative but to submit to Hamas. Hamas rule has been no bargain for them.
Charges have been dropped against Rimsha Masih, the 14-year-old girl accused of blasphemy last August for desecrating Islamic texts. She was held in a maximum security prison for weeks and scheduled to be tried in an adult court, where punishment could be life imprisonment or death. Her case was transferred to a juvenile court, and yesterday the judge dropped all charges. "This is the first case of its kind when a person charged under the strict blasphemy laws is exonerated from the accusation," said Naveed Chaudry, a lawyer for Rimsha. The imam who accused Rimsha of blasphemy now is expected to be tried for making a false accusation. Said the judge, “Fake allegations should not be leveled against any Muslim or non-Muslim.”
More than 100,000 residents of the Nuba Mountain region of Sudan have been forced to flee their villages and are living in caves. Spend five minutes watching the video below of the hardships and death they face, as the government of Sudan continues to chase them from their homes in an effort to secure the border territory. As one mother describes, many families are living on their last sack of grain.
In the Darfur region of Sudan a deadly outbreak of yellow fever appears to be underway.
The director of national intelligence (DNI) in preparing talking points for U.S. officials after the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, cut references to al Qaeda and terrorism. That correlates with closed-door testimony of former CIA Director David Petraeus on Friday, who said there was "significant terrorist involvement" known by U.S. intelligence from the time of the attack. The question remains: Did the Obama administration avoid calling it a terrorist strike because of the presidential campaign? And did U.S. operatives in Libya suffer—and die—as a result?
In our family it's tradition to begin Thanksgiving with a reading of "The Desolate Wilderness," Nathaniel Morton's account of the Plymouth Colony, an account published in The Wall Street Journal every Wednesday before Thanksgiving since 1961. It's a fit way to remember and celebrate those foreigners who arrived on these shores with "no inns to entertain or refresh them, no houses, or much less towns, to repair unto to seek for succour. …" Happy Thanksgiving.