What Israel Must Do Now | Slate

In many ways the August war in Gaza was a war of no choice. Had the Israelis and Palestinians moved forward on peacemaking in the past, either through the efforts of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry or through one of the numerous other missed opportunities, perhaps the outbreak of violence would not have occurred. But that is water under the bridge and arguing now about it, just like arguing about who is responsible for the recent round of violence, would be just another pointless game of chicken and the egg.

But now, no one seems to know how to end the war. The fighting might not be as intense as it was a week ago, but, post-temporary cease-fire, it continues nonetheless. I asked senior Palestinian Authority officials Saturday evening for their thoughts on how this war should end. Their response: “Israel should end the occupation.”  OK—that is obvious, but how do we end the war right now, this evening, when anything that Israel and the Palestinian Authority could do will strengthen Hamas as the party that brought home the rewards of the war? While the Israeli delegation left Cairo on Friday, talks are continuing in Egypt between the Egyptian General Intelligence and the Palestinian factions. The Egyptian strategy is to wear down the resolve of Hamas and get them to accept some compromise that Israel, too, could accept. But I don’t see Hamas making any significant compromises that might, even in the slightest way, lead to its demise in Gaza—and those are the only compromises Israel should be willing to make. [Read more]

Hillary Clinton: ‘Failure’ to Help Syrian Rebels Led to the Rise of ISIS | The Atlantic

President Obama has long-ridiculed the idea that the U.S., early in the Syrian civil war, could have shaped the forces fighting the Assad regime, thereby stopping al Qaeda-inspired groups—like the one rampaging across Syria and Iraq today—from seizing control of the rebellion. In an interview in February, the president told me that “when you have a professional army … fighting against a farmer, a carpenter, an engineer who started out as protesters and suddenly now see themselves in the midst of a civil conflict—the notion that we could have, in a clean way that didn’t commit U.S. military forces, changed the equation on the ground there was never true.”

Well, his former secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton, isn’t buying it. In an interview with me earlier this week, she used her sharpest language yet to describe the “failure” that resulted from the decision to keep the U.S. on the sidelines during the first phase of the Syrian uprising. [Read more]

Obama’s New, Undeclared Iraq War | The Daily Beast

President Barack Obama’s war in Iraq just got more ambitious.

Speaking to reporters before departing for a two week vacation with his family on Martha’s Vineyard, President Obama said the U.S. had to make sure the Islamic State “is not engaging in actions that could cripple a country.” [Read more]

Is Another Intifada Possible in the West Bank? | The Nation

The bullet was still lodged in Ahmad Kittaneh’s right lung when he arrived at Ramallah Hospital late on a Thursday night. The 22-year-old went into cardiac arrest twice, but miraculously pulled through after having been shot by Israeli soldiers at the Qalandia checkpoint, which separates the West Bank from Jerusalem.

On July 24, about 10,000 Palestinians, many of them young men like Kittaneh, turned out in full force to show solidarity with their Gaza compatriots who had been pounded by Israeli artillery for approximately three weeks. Today Gazans are breathing a sigh of relief as a three-day Egyptian-sponsored truce appears to be holding up, while Cairo talks to Palestinian and Israeli delegates separately on ways to end the war. [Read more]

Hamas agrees to new Gaza ceasefire but Israel-Palestinian talks falter | The Guardian

Palestinian factions have agreed to a new 72-hour ceasefire in Gaza, Egyptian state TV has reported as negotiating teams in Cairo struggled to keep indirect Israeli-Palestinian peace talks alive. Israel is yet to respond.

Efforts to reach an agreement have faltered since Hamas its negotiating team in Cairo had been offered nothing in return for peace. A Palestinian source said that a new 72-hour ceasefire is under discussion, though no final decision has been made. [Read more]

The rocket that spelled the end of the two-state solution? | Times of Israel

On July 22, two weeks into Operation Protective Edge, a rocket fired from Gaza landed in the Tel Aviv suburb of Yehud, about one mile (1.6 kilometers) from Ben-Gurion Airport’s perimeter fence. The United States Federal Aviation Administration immediately issued a Notice to Airmen instructing them that “due to the potentially hazardous situation created by the armed conflict in Israel and Gaza,” all flight operations into and out of Ben Gurion were prohibited until further notice.

Major airlines across the world followed suit, and over the next 36 hours, until the FAA removed the order, some 60 flights in and out of Israel’s most important international gateway were canceled. [Read more]

Facing the new Libya crisis | Times of Malta

Three years ago this month, Muammar Gaddafi finally lost his 42-year-grip on Libya’s capital, Tripoli. The previous six months had been one of extraordinary crisis for Libya’s people, struggling for freedom in the face of ruthless violence.

The conflagration on our doorstep was also a stern trial for the Malta government and its personnel. Under Lawrence Gonzi’s leadership, the country played a leading political, moral and humanitarian role from the beginning of the crisis to its aftermath. Malta not only safeguarded its national interest but also served the common good of the Libyan people, Europe and the wider international community. [Read more]

Egypt operates secret prisons for suspected militants | USA Today

A young Egyptian doctor was napping when a horde of security forces came to his door. Minutes later, he was blindfolded — hands bound — and forcibly taken away.

For the next 26 days, his family had no information on his location: a military prison whose detainees were interrogated, kicked and hit, shocked with electricity and bound at the wrists while forced into painful positions. [Read more]

Iraq accuses Islamic State of Yazidi atrocity, U.S. make new strikes | Reuters

Islamic State militants have killed hundreds of Iraq’s minority Yazidis, burying some alive and taking women as slaves, an Iraqi government minister said on Sunday, as U.S. warplanes again bombed the insurgents.

Human rights minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani accused the Sunni Muslim insurgents – who have ordered the community they regard as “devil worshippers” to convert to Islam or die – of celebrating a “a vicious atrocity” with cheers and weapons waved in the air. No independent confirmation was available. [Read more]

As bombs fall over Iraq, old emotions rise in US | Poughkeepsie Journal

It was supposed to be over, America’s war in Iraq. So all the old emotions boiled up anew as Americans absorbed the news that U.S. bombs were again striking targets in the nation where the United States led an invasion in 2003, lost almost 4,500 troops in the fight to stabilize and liberate it and then left nearly three years ago.

In interviews across the country, from the 9/11 memorial in New York to the Iowa State Fair and an Arizona war monument, Americans voiced conflicted feelings as airstrikes began Friday, ordered by President Barack Obama who had fulfilled a campaign promise when he withdrew the last U.S. forces from Iraq in 2011. [Read more]

Report: Turkey’s PM Erdogan wins presidential vote | Washington Post

An unofficial vote count showed Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan won the country’s first ever direct presidential election in the first round Sunday, ensuring he will remain at the country’s helm for at least another five years.

With 93.7 percent of ballot boxes opened, Erdogan was ahead with 53.05 percent of the vote, the count by the state-run Anadolu news agency showed. Erdogan’s main rival, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, was shown at 37.81 percent and the third candidate, Selahattin Demirtas, at 9.14 percent. [Read more]


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