Iran Nuke Talks Extended for Four Months (AP-Washington Post)
Iran and six world powers failed Saturday to meet their target date for cutting a nuclear deal but agreed to extend the talks until Nov. 24.
Israel Opening Field Hospital for Palestinians in Gaza (Israel Defense Forces)
The IDF will open a field hospital at the Erez Crossing on Sunday to supply medical assistance and humanitarian care to Palestinians from Gaza.
Senate Backs Israel in Conflict with Hamas (JTA)
The U.S. Senate unanimously approved a non-binding resolution in support of Israel's right to defend itself against rocket fire from Gaza.
The resolution, which had 78 bipartisan sponsors, passed on Thursday unanimously.
A similar resolution with over 140 cosponsors passed unanimously in the U.S. House of Representatives on July 11.
Gunmen Kill 21 Egyptian Border Guards near Libya - (Ahram-Egypt)
Militants attacked a military checkpoint in Egypt's western desert on Saturday, killing 21 border guards.
Amid Violent Protests, Israel Issues Warning Against Non-Essential Travel to Turkey - Raphael Ahren (Times of Israel)
Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan accused Israel of "barbarism that surpasses Hitler" during a campaign speech Saturday.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry issued a travel warning to Israeli citizens against nonessential travel to Turkey, "given the public atmosphere in Turkey."
Demonstrators threw stones at the Israeli Embassy in Ankara, while crowds in Istanbul, waving Palestinian flags, hurled stones and smashed the windows of the Israeli consulate. Many of the ruling AK Party MPs were in the crowd.
Israel Spared 14 Senior Hamas Terrorists in Bid to Minimize Civilian Casualties (Fox News)
Israel Defense Forces Lt. Col. Peter Lerner told FoxNews.com:
"As a policy we do not target civilians intentionally and do everything in our power to [minimize casualties]. I can tell you that on at least 14 occasions [during the current hostilities] we have let 14 senior terrorists fly because we did not want extensive collateral damage."
Convert, Pay Tax, or Die, Islamic State Warns Christians (Reuters)
Islamist insurgents have issued an ultimatum to northern Iraq's dwindling Christian population to either convert to Islam, pay a religious levy or face death, according to a statement issued by the Islamic State.
A resident of Mosul said Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, now called Caliph Ibrahim, had set a Saturday deadline for Christians who did not want to stay and live under those terms to "leave the borders of the Islamic Caliphate."
"After this date, there is nothing between us and them but the sword," the statement said.
Bulgaria Identifies Burgas Bomber as Lebanese-French National (Reuters)
The man who blew up a bus in a Bulgarian Black Sea resort two years ago, killing five Israeli tourists as well as himself, has been identified as a dual Lebanese-French citizen, Bulgaria's security agency and prosecutors' office said Friday.
"The perpetrator, who used a fake driving license under the name Jacques Felipe Martin, [was] in reality Mohammad Hasan al-Husseini," born in Lebanon in 1989, and had two accomplices, also of Lebanese origin."
The two other suspects are Meliad Farah, 32, also known as Hussein Hussein, an Australian citizen, and Hasan al-Hajj Hasan, 25, a Canadian citizen.
American TV Commentator Bill Maher Defends Israel's Battle with Hamas (YouTube)
Video: Elephants Shield Calves During Air Raid Warning at Israeli Zoo - Steve Robson (Mirror-UK)
View the heart-wrenching moment a group of elephants shield two calves as air raid sirens ring out at the Ramat Gan Safari Park near Tel Aviv, which has
been the target of Palestinian rocket attacks.
News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
- Israeli Forces Move Deeper into Gaza - William Booth, Sudarsan Raghavan and Ruth Eglash
Capt. Eytan Buchman, an Israeli military spokesman, said Israel had no intention of reoccupying Gaza, and the main objectives of the ground offensive were to destroy Hamas' tunnel network and rocket launchers used to attack Israel. "We've expanded the forces on the ground in order to accomplish that mission. All of Gaza is an underground city, and the amount of infrastructure Hamas built up over the years is immense. There are tunnels, extended bunkers, weapons storage facilities, even within urban areas."
Shijaiyah, which bore the brunt of Israeli fire, is located 1 mile away from the border. Residents in Shijaiyah said they had received phone calls warning them that the Israelis were coming into the area. There was also intense firing east of Khan Yunis and by Rafah. "We are encountering significant resistance," Buchman said. "Anti-tank missiles fired from urban areas, as well as light arms fire. The tunnels are a strategic asset. Hamas is not giving up easily." (Washington Post)
See also Hamas Fighters Slip Through Tunnels, Killing 2 Israeli Troops - Anne Barnard and Jodi Rudoren
Several Hamas fighters dressed in Israeli army uniforms slipped through a tunnel into Israel on Saturday and killed two Israeli soldiers, the Israeli military said. The infiltration was the latest indication that the tunnel network from Gaza into Israel is far more extensive than previously publicly known.
(New York Times-Washington Post)
See also Israeli Troops Battle Hamas, Uncover Tunnels Saturday - Ibrahim Barzak and Aron Heller
Israeli troops uncovered more than a dozen cross-border tunnels and battled Gaza militants Saturday. In one case, troops encountered a man who appealed for medical assistance before pulling out grenades and trying to hurl them at soldiers. He was shot dead, authorities said. Troops also encountered a donkey with explosives strapped to it.
- A Push into Gaza, But the Ground Has Shifted - Jodi Rudoren
Twice before, Israel battled Hamas and halted under international pressure without eliminating the threat of rocket fire.
But this time, analysts say, the landscape is different. Israel has publicly framed a clear agenda targeting tunnels it says militants built to store weapons or stage attacks on its territory. This time, a weakened Hamas cannot turn to Egypt for respite. This time, Western leaders appear more patient: President Obama said Friday no nation should be subjected to a hail of rockets or underground incursions. (New York Times)
See also Obama Reaffirms U.S. Support for Israel's Gaza Incursion
President Obama said Friday he talked to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu about the Gaza operation and reaffirmed Israel's right to defend itself.
He told reporters that "no nation should accept rockets being fired into its borders." (AP-CBC News-Canada)
- Bill Clinton: Hamas' "Crass Strategy" Is to Kill Palestinians
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton told India's NDTV:
"Hamas was perfectly well aware of what would happen if they started raining rockets into Israel. They fired one thousand and they have a strategy designed to force Israel to kill their own civilians so that the rest of the world will condemn them."
"In the short and medium term Hamas can inflict terrible public relations damage by forcing (Israel) to kill Palestinian civilians to counter Hamas. But it's a crass strategy that takes all of our eyes off the real objective which is a peace that gets Israel security and recognition and a peace that gets the Palestinians their state." (The Tower)
- Diplomatic Divide Saps U.S. Push for Mideast Cease-Fire - Jay Solomon
Israel and Egypt are voicing criticism of Qatar and Turkey playing a role in any efforts to end the fighting in Gaza, due to these countries' financial and diplomatic support for Hamas and its parent organization, the Muslim Brotherhood. The Obama administration, however, is seeking to use those two countries as intermediaries. "We think they all have a role that they could play and we're encouraging them to play that role to the [maximum] position," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Friday, referring to Turkey and Qatar.
"These external players are trying to prolong the conflict for their own political objectives," said a senior Arab diplomat involved in the negotiations. "They've encouraged Hamas and PIJ [Palestinian Islamic Jihad] to reject the cease-fire." (Wall Street Journal)
- Anti-Israel Rallies Held in Paris, London, Brussels
14 French police officers were wounded and 38 people were arrested at an unauthorized rally by 3,000 protesters in Paris protesting Israel's actions in Gaza on Saturday.
In Brussels, calls to "kill the Jews" were heard at a demonstration of a few thousand people, where approximately 200 protesters smashed shop windows and parked cars.
In London, 10,000 people attended a protest rally that featured calls to destroy Israel.
See also London's Pro-Palestine Anti-Semitic Spectacle - Douglas Murray (Spectator-UK)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis (Best of U.S., UK, and Israel):
- Palestinians in Gaza Maintain Incessant Rocket Fire on Israel on Sunday - Ilana Curiel
Incessant Palestinian rocket fire on Israel continued on Sunday from Netivot to Herzliya, as Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system continued to intercept rockets fired from Gaza. (Ynet News)
Israeli Bedouin Man Killed by Gaza Rocket - Ibrahim Barzak and Aron Heller
On Saturday a Gaza rocket killed Ouda Lafi al-Waj, a 30-year-old Bedouin man, near the Israeli city of Dimona and injured two women and two children. (AP-Times of Israel)
- Israel Battles Euphoric Hamas - Avi Issacharoff
Hamas is confident, even euphoric. In recent days, people who came in contact with Hamas leaders report that the sense they are broadcasting is that Hamas is besieging Tel Aviv, and that it will be starting its invasion of Israel shortly. To bring an end to this conflict, Hamas must be led to believe that its demise may be just around the corner if it does not lay down its weapons. It certainly doesn't think that now.
(Times of Israel)
- Never Mind Hamas' Demands. What about Israel's? - David Horovitz
Netanyahu has said, over and over, that the goal for this resort to force is achieving sustained quiet for the civilian population of Israel. That is, putting a guaranteed end to the threat posed by Hamas - its rockets, its tunnels, its kidnappings. Its terrorism.
(Times of Israel)
- Livni: All Options on Table, Including Bringing Down Hamas
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni was asked in a Channel 2 interview Friday to confirm that the goal of Israel's current ground offensive in Gaza is not to destroy Hamas. "I'm not taking anything off the table," she replied. She said Hamas, in rejecting Egyptian cease-fire efforts, and attempting to murder Israeli civilians via ongoing rocket fire and under-border tunnel infiltrations, had shown that it "lives in a completely different opera." Hamas appeared to think that it could come out of this conflict with political gains, she said. "I hope they understand today that's not going to happen." Livni expressed her "full support" for the ground offensive.
(Times of Israel)
- Tough to Defeat the Terror Tunnels from Above - Lilach Shoval
Hatzor Air Force Base Commander Colonel Dan said Thursday: "Not everything can be accomplished with air [strikes]. It is harder to deal with tunnels from above; there is no substitute for finding the [tunnel] entry points with forces on the ground."
The colonel responded to criticism over the deaths of innocent civilians in Gaza. "There are many points during a sortie in which we decide to abort. In some cases planes take off, arrive at the target, but do not fire because there are civilians in the area. Many attacks have been aborted for that reason. Avoiding civilian casualties has been a dominant issue."
"The Iron Dome [soldiers] are doing an amazing job. People often laud the Iron Dome system's capabilities, but that system is operated by people," he said.
- The Treacherous Task of Tunnel Demolition - Mitch Ginsburg
Israel has sent in troops to find and destroy the underground tunnels in Gaza that stretch all along the border. Brig. Gen. (res) Shimi Daniel, a former commander of the combat engineering corps, told Channel 2 news on Thursday that the entrance shafts of the tunnels are located within civilian homes and that, by the time troops arrive, "they've already poured fresh concrete over the opening."
Once detected, soldiers specializing in counter-tunnel operations lower a robot into the shaft which sends back video and has the capacity to map the contours of the tunnel.
Afterward, the army will send explosive-detecting dogs into the tunnel. Some of the recently discovered tunnels are more than 60-feet deep and over a mile long. Many branch out near the border with multiple exits.
Once detected, the tunnels can be struck from above. Brig. Gen. (res) Asaf Agmon said the concrete-reinforced tunnels are readily penetrated by a standard one-ton bomb with a delayed fuse.
However, a former commander of the combat engineering corps said that in order to completely dismantle a tunnel system, hundreds of pounds of explosives have to be inserted all along its length.
(Times of Israel)
See also Coping with Terror Tunnels - Atai Shelach (Israel Defense)
- Put an End to Terrorism Roulette - Avi Dichter
There is no Iron Dome against the terror tunnels. They can't be intercepted. So the ground incursion into Gaza is both appropriate and justified. Operation Protective Edge must not only destroy the tunnels, but also arrest terrorists and collect intelligence, demolish structures used by Hamas leaders and members, eliminate terrorist hotbeds, weapons-making operations and hiding places, and more.
In 2002, during the Second Intifada, the citizens of Israel woke up to suicide bombings every day until Operation Defensive Shield smashed terrorism in Judea-Samaria [the West Bank]. There is no question that the residents of southern Israel cannot be left to face terrorism from Gaza. For 13 years, they've woken up and lived their lives playing Russian roulette.
The tunnels are dug deep beneath Gaza and reach Israeli territory with one goal - to allow large terrorist forces to execute a surprise attack, murdering Israelis and then vanishing back into the Strip with civilians or soldiers as hostages. The writer is former head of the Israel Security Agency, public security minister, and homefront defense minister.
- Israel Assisting Arab National Security Against Iran - Tony Badran
Hamas' military activity is dependent on Tehran's backing and is in line with Iranian interests. Gaza represents the southern front - Lebanon being the northern counterpart - of an Iranian strategy to deploy long-range rockets and missiles on Israel's borders capable of targeting all of its cities. Sure enough, Iranian Revolutionary Guards officials emphasized on Monday how Gaza demonstrated that all of Israel was now within range of the rockets they supply.
The deterrence that Israel established in Lebanon in 2006 is what it is trying to recreate in Gaza, in cooperation with Egypt. Insofar as Israel intercepts destabilizing Iranian weapons, or strikes them before entering Lebanon or Egypt, Israel is acting as a guarantor of Arab national security in the eastern Mediterranean. The writer is a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
- Only a Ground Operation in Gaza Can Effectively Deal with Hamas - Michael Herzog
Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups in Gaza have fired some 1,400 rockets over almost all of Israel, driving millions into bomb shelters. For ten days Israel responded with air strikes. However, the rockets have continued unabated. Only a ground operation can effectively deal with Hamas' remaining military capabilities. Brig.-Gen. (res.) Michael Herzog served as chief of staff and senior military advisor to four Israeli ministers of defense.
A Doubly Dangerous Iran - Michael Hayden and Evan Bayh (Wall Street Journal)
- U.S. interests in the Middle East are not tangential to our national security but are essential to counterterrorism, thwarting nuclear proliferation and promoting stable, representative governments.
It is equally imperative to prevent the turmoil in Iraq and Syria from easing America's red lines on Iran's nuclear program.
- Countering the nuclear challenge from Tehran is straightforward: The U.S. and its allies have to demand and devise an Iranian civilian nuclear program that cannot be exploited for military purposes. To achieve that goal, the White House must make clear that the hardened uranium-enrichment facility in Fordow must be closed and not transformed into an easily convertible research-and-development installation. The Arak plutonium plant has to be similarly neutered. And finally, the main enrichment facility at Natanz has to be dramatically scaled back and all enriched uranium shipped abroad for fuel reprocessing.
- One of the problems with the Joint Plan of Action - signed in late 2013 by Iran and six other powers, including the U.S. - is that it stipulates that any final agreement on Tehran's nuclear program will have a sunset clause. Upon its expiration, Iran would be free to build up an industrial-size program, giving it the ability to manufacture an arsenal of nuclear arms at short notice. The sunset clause must be removed.
- The Islamic Republic is a rash, revolutionary regime at odds with America's core interests in the Middle East. It is a state ruled by men such as Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei whose worldview is shaped by conspiracy theories and enduring enmity toward the West. Tehran seeks dominance over its Arab neighbors, sows discord through the region and actively supports terrorist organizations. It is only in this context that Tehran's quest for nuclear weapons can be understood.
Mr. Hayden, a retired Air Force general, is a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency. Mr. Bayh is a former U.S. senator from Indiana.
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