The truth about the Gaza tunnels from Israel’s top writer

This is a long article, translated into English, by Israel’s best journalist, Nahum Barnea. Read as much as you can. Every word will add an element of understanding.,7340,L-4551240,00.html

Unlike other columnists, who sit in their offices and pontificate, Nahum goes to the scene of whatever is happening. We stood together at the horrible site of a bombed-out Israeli bus in 1996. I was trying to work, though it was altogether possible that my daughter was on the bus. It turned out that she was safe. She was on the bus just ahead of the one that was hit by a Palestinian suicide bomber.

Nahum’s son Yoni was on this bus, and he was killed.

I kept running into Nahum at news events in the weeks that followed, and finally I screwed up the courage to ask him how he could continue, trying to imagine and trying not to imagine how I would have been crushed if my daughter had been sitting next to Yoni on that bus.

Nahum looked at me calmly, shrugged, and answered, “What else can I do?”

And as you will read in this article, 18 years later, he’s still doing it better, far better, than anyone else.


Mark on radio: Kerry prolonged Gaza conflict

Here I am on KQV Radio in Pittsburgh, analyzing the latest developments, wondering (along with many israelis and Palestinians) why Secretary of State John Kerry is dealing with Qatar, sponsor of the Muslim Brotherhood, in an attempt to achieve a Hamas-Israel cease-fire, when Egypt already had a deal on the table.

You can listen here:

And as compensation for the fact that I have been depressing all of you recently, here’s a picture of my wonderful wife at her birthday party just outside the door of my backyard studio yesterday…alongside her happy, happy husband…


“Broken Spring” for 10 bucks!

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Amazon has posted a new low, low price for “Broken Spring”–$9.99 for the e-book. While supplies last 😉 First come, first served! And the author will be honored to take a magic marker and autograph the screen of your Kindle!

Seriously, or more seriously…I just got my first tablet, and there’s an app on the Amazon site that turns it into a Kindle. I’ve used it on my Netbook, and it works just fine…highly recommended. On the book page, it’s just to the right of the summary.


Excellent view of Egyptian role in Israel-Hamas truce talks

It’s all different now, writes my friend Nancy Youssef, safe in Washington now after we spent a thrilling time in Cairo, working for our publications and sharing insights over coffee at a cafe next to the Nile.

My feeling is that the cease-fire, when it comes, will go through Egypt, because there’s no other path–but Hamas will get less than it wants, much less than it would have got from the previous government run by its parent organization, the Muslim Brotherhood. Stay tuned…

Cairo’s Tabula restaurant near Tahrir Square

Tabula restaurant

Mark calls FAA ban on flights to Israel “silly”

Well, he asked me…KQV Pittsburgh anchor PJ Maloney and I talked about the US government ban on flights to Ben-Gurion Airport. I pointed out that there has never been such a ban, not even in 2006, when Hezbollah fired 4,000 rockets at Israel over the space of a month, and not even during the 1973 Mideast War! Clearly it has to do with the Malaysian plane that was shot down over Ukraine but….really?? 

You can listen here:


Mark plays air raid siren on the radio

Here’s my analysis of the situation on KQV Radio in Pittsburgh, complete with an air raid siren in the background:

I have a weekly slot on KQV, a news and talk station, a sign that there’s interest in the Middle East alongside all the local and national developments in the US.

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Iron Dome knocks down a rocket over central Israel

Photo shows Gaza rocket launching sites at hospital, playground

rocket sites

A few days ago someone challenged me to back up the Israeli claim that Hamas is firing rockets next to hospitals and other civilian sites. It’s not too hard to find photos and videos. Here’s the latest, an Israeli army collection from the Shejaiya neighborhood in Gaza city, right next to Israel, where ground combat is in progress now.

In other news…Israel’s government has added about $100 million to the defense budget to cover the cost of the conflict so far. That’s a window on how much it’s costing Israel to knock down all those rockets with its Iron Dome system. Sounds like a lot of money, but for an economy like Israel’s, its perfectly manageable, considering the alternative–dozens, even hundreds of dead and wounded.

Experts estimate that Hamas must have spent tens or hundreds of millions of dollars building the network of tunnels that extend under the border, the target of the Israeli ground operation. Different priorities for the money. Israeli soldiers killed 10 Hamas terrorists emerging from one of the tunnels this morning in southern Israel, but suffered some casualties.


This old map of Gaza City shows the Shejaiya neighborhood, with about 80,000 residents, in the circle. The neighborhood extends to the east of the highway now, almost up to the Israeli border, which is the broken line just to the right of the circle. Besides the rocket launching sites above, many of the tunnels originate in this crowded, poor neighborhood.

Misquoted Israeli parliament member responds

Ayelet Shaked is no leftist, but she’s also not a a hate-spewing Neanderthal, as she’s being portrayed by people who are pickling up “quotes” from totally unreliable sources like PressTV and electronicintifada, both of which make it up as they go along. It’s especially difficult on people like Shaked, who speaks and writes in Hebrew, and all the “quotes” are “translations” that only a few of us bilingual types can actually check. Of course, in the age of the wide-open Internet, where people read only what they already believe, who checks anything? Well, I do. I looked for quotes about burning Palestinian mothers and exterminating Palestinians and found nothing of the kind. I don’t support what she does stand for, mind you, but there’s no reason  to distort, that, either.

Here’s her response. She thinks she knows where this filth is coming from:

Mark back on AP Radio, analyzing Israel-Gaza

You’re going to hear a familiar voice on AP Radio and its 850 affiliates through the day…my former colleagues just had me analyze the Israel-Hamas conflict. They’ll chop the interview up and use pieces in their newscasts through the day. They’ll also send the clips to member stations to use in their own newscasts.

Here’s an example–my take on Israel’s mood and the possibility of a ground invasion:

Mark ofc