Bloggers on Israel's new designation for Hamas.

Bloggers on Israel's new designation for Hamas.

Bloggers on Israel's new designation for Hamas.

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
Sept. 19 2007 6:28 PM

The Enemy Next Door

Bloggers react to Israel's designation of Hamas-controlled Gaza as "hostile territory," the capture of the Khmer Rouge's most wanted war criminal, and—what else?—Britney's custody battle.

The enemy next door: Israel on Wednesday declared Hamas an "enemy entity" and Gaza Strip now "hostile territory"—a move quickly seconded by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice—after months of rocket fire from Gaza into Israel. Hamas claims that Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups are responsible. As a result, Israel plans to reduce electricity and fuel to a region that it technically still occupies.

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Arlene from Israel dishes on-the-ground opinion from the Jewish state: "Many here in Israel have wondered why we continue to service this entity, while they are shooting at our innocents. This new policy goes a way towards rectifying the situation."

Pro-Israel blogger Meryl Yourish wonders "if there will be any follow-through" on the Israeli plan to cut back on the supply of power and fuel to Gaza: "Although Israel's detractors like to pretend otherwise, Israel is not the kind of country that will allow people to starve, even her enemies. I think it's possible we'll see limited cutbacks, just enough to make the Gaza population even more pissed at Hamas." But "such measures will only worsen an already bad situation," claims lefty Xanthippas at Three Wise Men. "For what it's worth Israel's actions can be considered 'collective punishment.' which is illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention, a treaty which Israel is a signatory to. For its part, Hamas regards the decision as an act of war.' "

Conservative classicist Victor Davis Hanson at the National Review's Corner asks two good questions of Hamas' outraged responseto its new designation: "Why would they not welcome such a state of clear-cut armed conflict against the hated Zionist entity, given that they are already constantly rocketing Jews? And second, why not simply make arrangements with Egypt to connect infrastructure, power, and trade, and seal on its own the border with Israel, while developing much closer ties with a brother Arab state?" And righty Ed Morrissey of Captain's Quarters says Israel's designation is overdue and may now put the burden of the upkeep of Palestinian infrastructure on Hamas: "When Gaza goes dark and dry, the Palestinians will understandably get angry with Israel, at least at first. When their anger does not bring the spigots and outlets back to life, they will look to their Hamas overlords for solutions."

However, liberal "Clearthought" at In Perspective thinks Israel is only blaming victims, not the militants they're most threatened by: "Why do they think Gaza has grown so hostile? It was in part a result of Israel's horrendous policy towards the Palestinian territories. Yes, Hamas has brought Gaza to a new low, but why should regular people pay?"

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Read more about Hamas and Israel.

Cambodian justice: Nuon Chea, the second-in-command to Pol Pot in the mass murdering Khmer Rogue regime of late-70's Cambodia, has been arrested near the Thai border and flown to Phnom Penh, where he awaits trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity. He's now 82.

Jura Watchmaker at internationalist group blog Drink-Soaked Trotskyite Popinjays for War responds to one neighbor's account of Chea looking frail and feeble: "I can just imagine the neighbour going on to say: 'Such a nice man, he was kind to the local children, and always had a smile and a wave for those he passed in the street.' "

Brian Calvert of Voice of America Khmer, guest posts at Foreign Policy's Passport: "Given Cambodia's bloody history, it may be hard for many to imagine why it has been so difficult to bring Khmer Rouge figures like Nuon Chea to justice. The joint tribunal has struggled since its inception, hamstrung by bickering among U.N.-appointed international jurists and their Cambodian counterparts. Nuon Chea is only the second man to be taken into court custody."

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Seth Weinberger at Security Dilemmas is "not a fan of international tribunals. They waste too much money, take too long, and have too difficult a time proving their cases. But, in this case, there don't seem to be too many alternatives. Let's hope Nuon Chea lives long enough to stand trial and to be condemned for his actions. A lifetime of eternal torment in hell is far too good for this man."

Read more about Nuon Chea's capture.

Not that innocent: A judge has ordered Britney Spears to undergo a series of drug tests and parenting classes in her child custody dispute with estranged husband Kevin Federline. According to a former bodyguard of Spears, she's been getting high while raising her two kids. Hours after the court order, Spears was seen living it up in West Hollywood.

The Superficial is eating it up: "I would love to be a fly on the wall at those parenting classes. Just to see the look on the instructor's face when Britney raises her hand and says, 'Wait a minute, you're supposed to feed those things? What did y'all call them? Chil.. dren?' The instructor would almost be completely shocked if he hadn't just seen Britney use the CPR baby's mouth as an ashtray."

And Defamer sees a June Cleaver-ish turnaround for Britney following the judge's order: "In their first session alone, the coach should be able to teach Spears a more effective infant smile-whitening technique than the one she'd been using, teaching her to replace the inefficient combination of rollers and cans of paint she devised on her own with a more traditional pairing of toothbrushes and flouride-enriched paste."

Read more about Britney's baby woes.

Michael Weiss is the director of communications at the Henry Jackson Society, a London-based think tank that promotes democratic geopolitics. He is also the spokesman for Just Journalism, which examines how Israel and the Middle East are portrayed in the U.K. media.