5 May 2019   Leave a comment

There have been intensifying exchanges of rockets and air strikes between militants in Gaza and Israel. The situation has been worsening over the last few weeks and it appears as if both sides are hunkering down for an extended period. The Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have been living under a strict Israeli blockade for many years and the escalation of violence suggests that there is a sense among some in the Gaza that there is nothing more left to lose. The timing of the strikes is awkward for both sides, as explained by the Public Broadcasting system:

“Israel has vowed to hit back hard against both Hamas and Islamic Jihad, whom it suspects of triggering the current conflagration. But, as in previous rounds where it stopped short of a full-fledged war, the timing for a prolonged round of fighting is tricky for Israel.

“The country marks Memorial Day and Independence Day this week. The following week it is set to host the Eurovision song contest, in which large groups of tourists are expected.

“For Gazans, the violence comes ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, in which the faithful fast from dawn to dusk, which begins Monday.”

The fighting has erupted as the White House is preparing to roll out its proposed peace plan between the Israelis and Palestinians. We still do not know what the plan will involve, but most analysts believe that the few bits of information we have about the plan suggests that it will not be successful.

South Africa will hold its national election on Wednesday. The African National Congress, led by Nelson Mandela, has been in power since 1994 and its legacy as the force against apartheid still remains vibrant. But its leadership, particularly under the previous President, Jacob Zuma, has been sorely lacking. On Wednesday the ANC will back its current leader, Cyril Ramaphosa, who is opposed by candidates from the Democratic Alliance and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF). The economic situation in South Africa is deteriorating and the populace is convinced that the government is hopelessly corrupt. The election will be a serious test of the legitimacy of the ANC.

Posted May 5, 2019 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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