Prepared for the
Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations
by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
French President Hollande Expresses Solidarity with Israel after Rocket Attacks (KUNA - Kuwait) British Prime Minister: UK 'Staunchly Supports' Israel (ITV - UK) Video: The Case for Destroying Hamas - Bret Stephens (Wall Street Journal) Video: France 24 Interviews Amb. Dore Gold, July 9, 2014 (France 24/Jerusalem Center) Kidnapped Israelis Shot 10 Times with Silenced Gun - U.S. Lab - Dan Williams (Reuters)
French President Hollande Expresses Solidarity with Israel after Rocket Attacks (KUNA - Kuwait)
British Prime Minister: UK 'Staunchly Supports' Israel (ITV - UK)
Video: The Case for Destroying Hamas - Bret Stephens (Wall Street Journal)
Video: France 24 Interviews Amb. Dore Gold, July 9, 2014 (France 24/Jerusalem Center)
Kidnapped Israelis Shot 10 Times with Silenced Gun - U.S. Lab - Dan Williams (Reuters)
News Resources - North America and Europe:
Israel maintains a combat policy in which occupants of a building about to be bombed or shelled are given a brief warning in Arabic to evacuate. The Israelis have used such telephone calls and leaflets for years now, in a stated effort to reduce civilian casualties and avoid charges of indiscriminate killings or even of crimes against the rules of war.
But often, as in a case in Khan Younis on Tuesday, people die in any case, because they ignore or defy the warnings, or try to leave after it is too late.
The Israeli leaflets urged residents not to allow their houses to be used as cover for digging tunnels or smuggling weapons, and provided an email address and phone number for people to report on such activities around them, saying, “Don’t stand idle as the terrorist elements use you.” (New York Times)
The following statement was released by Robert G. Sugarman, Chairman, and Malcolm Hoenlein, Executive Vice Chairman of Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations:
“On behalf of the Conference of Presidents, we express our support for “Operation Protective Edge” launched by the Israel Defense Forces, and urge the government to take whatever steps necessary to defend its citizens. Millions of Israelis are spending a sleepless night as sirens go off across the country in response to the constant barrage of missiles fired from Hamas-controlled Gaza, targeting the civilian population. No country would or should tolerate such a horrific onslaught as the one emanating from Gaza, which is controlled by the terrorist Hamas organization. The government of Prime Minister Netanyahu has shown great restraint seeking to avoid an all-out war and the civilian casualties that would entail.
We call on the international community to stand with Israel and to condemn these attacks across a recognized international border and to hold to account those who aid and abet them. (Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations)
As the Syrian conflict deepens, Lebanese hashish and marijuana growers are increasing production along with profits. Local politicians know about it, police know about it, the Lebanese army is aware of it and so are authorities in Beirut. But nobody wants to, or can, fix the problem. The majority of these plantations are controlled by Hizbullah. Lebanese marijuana and hashish is today able to reach the Jordanian, Iraqi and wealthy Dubai market with ease. But most importantly it serves the growing demand coming directly from Syrian consumers. (Daily Beast)
Iron Dome shot down a Gaza rockets over central Israel as air raid sirens were sounded over Tel Aviv and the surrounding areas Thursday morning, as Operation Protective Edge enters its third day. Hamas said it fired two M75 rockets at Israel, one of which was intercepted by Iron Dome. Iron Dome intercepted a rocket launched at the southern town of Netivot, in the Gaza region. Late Wednesday night, the system intercepted four rockets fired at Ashkelon. At least two rockets fell in open areas north of Zikhron Ya'akov, just 37 km south of Haifa, in what was the longest reaching rocket attack since Operation Protective Edge began late Monday.
According to the IDF, roughly 255 rockets were fired at Israel since Operation Protective Edge began late Monday night. Some 69 of those rockets were intercepted by Israel's advanced Iron Dome missile interception system. (Ynet News)
On Tuesday, July 8, 148 trucks carrying supplies and 221 tons of natural gas entered Gaza. The trucks went via the Kerem Shalom crossing, in coordination with the Gaza coordination and liaison office. (Office for Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories - Israel)
Soon after three Israel teenagers were kidnapped last month, Israeli officials leaked to the press the name of the Hamas operational commander believed to be behind a recent surge in kidnapping plots. It was a familiar one for those who follow Hamas closely: Salah al-Arouri, a longtime Hamas operative from the West Bank, who lives openly in Turkey. The U.S. Department of Justice has described him as "a high-ranking Hamas military leader dating back to his role as a Hamas student cell leader at Hebron University in the early 1990s," where he was recruited.
Arouri's intimate familiarity with the West Bank -- he lived near Ramallah, attended college further south in Hebron, and worked with Muin Shabib to the north near Nablus -- makes him uniquely suited to overseeing Hamas operations there, and for pursuing the strategy of kidnapping. (Washington Institute)
Should Secretary of State Kerry travel to Israel and "initiate a dialogue" between Hamas and Israel? I don't think that's right, at least not yet.
The problem at the moment is not between Mahmoud Abbas and Bibi; it's between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. And trying to get in the middle of that one would both weaken Abbas, give phony unity a boost and likely alienate the Israelis. The last thing Washington should be doing right now is bailing out Hamas, let alone engaging it directly or through cut-outs. Egypt and Israel both know how to negotiate cease-fires with Hamas. And both understand how to restore calm, if Hamas is willing. And that's the issue now. What does Hamas want and what kind of game is it playing?
There is a real danger that U.S. credibility -- already badly undermined by the failure of the Kerry effort -- could be harmed even more by yet another failed attempt at making peace. (Foreign Policy)
Indonesia's presidential elections were held on July 9. Official results will be released in two weeks.
The first priority of Indonesia’s foreign policy under a Joko Widodo-Jusuf Kalla government — if they win Wednesday’s presidential election — would be to open an Indonesian embassy in Ramallah.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs indicated in February 2012 that it was seriously studying the possibility of opening an Indonesian “representative office” in Ramallah. Indonesia’s diplomatic mission closest to Palestine currently is the embassy in Jordan, while Israel’s diplomatic mission closest to Indonesia is its embassy in Singapore.
But opening an Indonesian representative office in Palestine “would not be easy, because we need to coordinate with Israel,” said the ministry’s spokesman Michael Tene. This reality cannot be ignored because opening an embassy in the absence of diplomatic relations with Israel is very challenging.
To play a conciliatory role, Indonesia needs to open a dialog with Israel and adjust to the ongoing peace process. Relations with Palestine are very warm but the same can’t be said for Israel. (Jakarta Globe)
Hamas is broke. It's lost some of its biggest supporters. Its supply lines from Egypt are cut off. The Islamist militant group is at one of its weakest points since it was founded in 1987. Yet its operatives are busy firing rockets at Israel as hostilities between the two arch-enemies continues to escalate.
Why? Hamas has little other choice but to fight, say observers here.
"Look, Hamas [is] in trouble, but there is no way it's going to stop the military campaign against Israel, because the organization doesn't see a good way to get out of it," said Shaul Mishal, one of Israel's experts on Hamas. (CBC News - Canada)
The conflict is grimly familiar to anyone who remembers the last two rounds of the conflict in Gaza – Operation Cast Lead in 2008-09 and Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012.
But two vital differences are worth highlighting. The first is that Israel’s defenses against rocket attack, based on the Iron Dome system, are more sophisticated than ever before. Hence the 160 rockets appear to have caused no injuries, let alone fatalities.
The second is that Hamas is starting from a position of unprecedented weakness. During the previous operations, it was firmly allied with Hizbullah, Syria and Iran as part of the “axis of resistance” against Israel and the West. Hamas could replenish its stockpile of rockets using an established supply system
Today, by contrast, the "axis of resistance" has been broken on the anvil of the Syrian civil war. Meanwhile, the downfall of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo means that Egypt now has a regime with no qualms about sealing off Gaza or cooperating with Israel. Consequently, Hamas is more isolated than ever before. (Telegraph - UK)
Why Did Hamas Provoke a War? - Elliott Abrams (Council on Foreign Relations)
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