Israel carried out more airstrikes in Gaza on Wednesday as the military and political conflict between Israel and Hamas intensified.Stephen M. Walt, the Robert and Renee Belfer Professor of International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), discusses the factors behind this latest outbreak of violence between the sides, and what the international community can do about it.HKS: What prompted this latest escalation in violence?WALT: The proximate cause was the kidnapping and murder of three young Israelis on the West Bank, followed by the seizure and murder of a Palestinian teenager. But the background causes are just as important: the increasing radicalization on both sides of the conflict, the collapse of the peace process and the “two-state” paradigm, and the failure of Israeli, Palestinian, and U.S. political leaders.HKS: What is the current state of political relations between Israelis and Palestinians, and how much has changed since the collapse of the American-led peace talks?WALT: As U.S. Middle East envoy Martin Indyk recently acknowledged, there is pervasive mistrust on both sides, which is hardly surprising. The Palestinians believe — with considerable justification — that the current Israeli government is more interested in colonizing the West Bank and completing the creation of “greater Israel” than it is in making peace or permitting the establishment of a viable Palestinian state. The Israeli leadership believes — with somewhat less justification — that their Palestinian counterparts secretly hope to reverse Israel’s creation and replace it with a state of their own. At this stage, there is little trust or good will on either side.HKS: What can and should the international community be doing right now to diffuse tensions?WALT: Unfortunately, the international community has rarely been willing to take bold action to end the seemingly endless cycle of violence. The United States and European Union have considerable leverage over both sides, but neither group has been willing to use its influence constructively. Halting the present violence will save lives in the short-term and would therefore be desirable, but only a genuine peace agreement will prevent it from breaking out again at a later date.HKS: What would be the possible repercussions from a ground invasion by the Israelis?WALT: A ground invasion would cause additional deaths and great human suffering, but it will not eliminate Hamas or end the Palestinians’ desire for a state of their own. It would be a one-sided event that would further tarnish Israel’s deteriorating image, including its support here in the United States. The past three U.S. presidents have all understood that a two-state agreement was in Israel’s long-term interest, and it is deeply regrettable that they have been either unable or unwilling to use U.S. influence to achieve that goal.
Sunderland boss Gus Poyet has hailed the “unmissable” talents of Steven Gerrard ahead of the Black Cats’ home clash with Liverpool on Saturday. West Ham, Arsenal and Tottenham stand between Liverpool and Southampton in fourth but Rodgers remains confident they can get there. “It’s going to be tough but I am looking forward to the challenge,” he said. “We have a great spirit at the moment and footballing ideas are returning to our game and will push very hard in the second half of the season to bring success here. “The players are improving and we can see how seven points may seem a lot but it certainly can be whittled away. “You just have to consistently win games and perform well and that is our idea.” Gerrard will be making potentially his final appearance as a player in the north east when he steps out at the Stadium of Light for the lunchtime kick-off – and he will do so with the glowing endorsement of Poyet. Poyet said: “If I was a football fan I would want to be at the stadium because I would not want to miss the chance to watch Steven Gerrard live for maybe the last time in the north east. “He is worth buying a ticket for because there are not many like him and he is going to be missed. He is different and it is great to get the opportunity to watch him live.” Poyet has told his players they must start turning their recent glut of draws into wins if they are to put breathing space between themselves and the bottom three in the new year. Last weekend’s FA Cup third-round win over Leeds provided signs of a turning point with Dutchman Patrick van Aanholt returning from injury to grab the only goal of the game. Poyet said: “We had a difficult month against lots of top teams and although I don’t think we did fantastic we did okay. “Now we go into the second part (of the season) knowing we need to win more games and we need to be more clinical at home. Everything starts against Liverpool and the challenge is clear.” Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers will not have any of his injured players back. Midfielders Adam Lallana (thigh) and Joe Allen (knee), defenders Glen Johnson (thigh) and Jon Flanagan (knee) and goalkeeper Brad Jones (thigh) all remain sidelined. Striker Daniel Sturridge is back in the country but still a fortnight away from a long-awaited return from a thigh problem while defender Kolo Toure is on African Cup of Nations duty with Ivory Coast. Press Association
For all the Latest Sports News News, Cricket News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps. New Delhi: BCCI officials will be talking to Mohammed Shami’s legal counsel in the next couple of days to get an update after a court in Kolkata issued an arrest warrant against the India pacer on Monday in connection with the domestic violence case filed by his estranged wife Hasin Jahan.”We are aware of the situation and the first thing we are doing on Tuesday is to speak to Shami’s lawyer. We want to get a full update on the case. An official in BCCI has spoken to Shami before the start of the fourth day. We need to be prepared for any eventuality,” a senior BCCI official told PTI on conditions of anonymity.”At this point we are dependant on whatever Shami’s lawyer briefs us. In a few days time, the selectors need to be apprised whether 28-year-old Shami is available for the South Africa Test series,” he added.Shami has been locked in a legal battle with Jahan after the latter accused the cricketer of domestic violence, infidelity and match fixing which briefly put his BCCI central contract on hold. His named was restored in the central contract list after a BCCI inquiry cleared him of any wrongdoing.However on Monday, Alipore Court asked Shami to surrender in 15 days as he has failed to appear in court despite repeated summons being issued after the police filed the chargesheet.Shami, who is currently in the West Indies for the Test series, is not a part of the three-match T20 International series against South Africa, starting in Dharamsala on September 15 but is expected to feature in the three Tests beginning from October 2 in Visakhapatnam.