Today’s Top Stories
1. Times of Israel: The Palestinian Authority took the first steps to formal membership in the International Criminal Court in The Hague. Abbas did this while denouncing Israel’s military operations as “genocide.” Former ambassador Michael Oren explains why he’s worried:
Abbas’s actions, including his threats to seek ICC membership so that he could prosecute Israel though the international legal body, were part of a strategy that Oren warned was not designed “to get a better two-state solution.”
2. The UN Security Council will discuss the crisis today. According to Haaretz, Israeli and US diplomats are trying to head off a condemnation of IDF airstrikes.
3. A prelude to a ground operation, or psychological ploy? IDF calls on Palestinians living along Gaza border to evacuate their homes.
4. A Palestinian Sob Story in the New York Times: Rula Salemeh’s fears project a false reality where Palestinians are simply helpless actors in a wider narrative.
5. Daily Mail Omits Hamas Man’s Terror Affiliation: Mustafa Malaka is not only a “Palestinian father,” he’s a Hamas security officer.
Israel and the Palestinians
• Hamas targeted Dimona‘s nuclear reactor. All the rockets were either shot down by Iron Dome or landed in open areas without causing damage.
• A terror attack was foiled when police at a checkpoint intercepted a car carrying a bomb. Details at YNet.
• In the last Gaza conflict, the issue of Israeli attacks on the press became contentious when “journalists” working for Hamas and Islamic Jihad media were killed in airstrikes. The controversy arose again with an airstrike on a car marked TV, which killed Hamdid Shihab, a driver employed by Media 24, a South African media production company. Other journalists in the car were injured in the attack. The IDF is looking into what happened.
• The US embassy in Tel Aviv is closed due to the rocket fire.
• Hamas leaders are believed to be hunkering down somewhere underneath Gaza’s Shifa Hospital. Aaron Klein explains:
The officials said they believe the Hamas members are using the Al-Shifa Hospital complex in Gaza not only as a hiding place but also as a sanctuary command center for some of the Islamist group’s operations targeting Israel.
This was widely known in the previous Gaza conflict — my daughter debunked Hamas two years ago. Meanwhile, the Times of Israel reports that a number of Gazans are being treated at Haifa’s Rambam Hospital, and “more Gazans are scheduled to arrive later this week.”
• A look at the legality of striking homes that are also military targets.
• Nice Christian Science Monitor look at what’s known about the Hamas rocket arsenal (along with a related piece about Iran’s fingerprints). A similarTimes of London dispatch used the word “terror” in a headline. (And for anyone interested, here’s a link to the IDF interactive feature that puts Palestinian rocket range in perspective.)
• Today’s best commentary? That would be William Saletan, writing at Slate about Israel’s exemplary efforts to spare Gaza civilians.
Every death is tragic, and the longer the assault goes on, the higher the toll will go. Still, given that Israel has launched more than 500 airstrikes, you’d have to conclude that either Israel is failing miserably to kill people or, more plausibly, it’s largely trying not to kill them.
• Columnist Roger Cohen doesn’t understand that “cutting the grass” refers to terrorists and their rocket stockpiles, not the collateral damage of civilian casualties. Roger must have misunderstood the Gray Lady’s recent video, or older articles that explain the concept. There are valid reasons not to support this method of conflict management, but let’s get the facts straight.
• For more commentary/analysis, see Spengler (Sunny, with light missile cover in Tel Aviv), Amos Yadlin (12 points about Operation Protective Edge), Aaron David Miller (Why Kerry should stay out of this conflict), Avi Issacharoff (Hamas and Jihad competing) Frida Ghitis (Israeli cries of pain met with Arab cheers), David Suissa (The honesty of war), Roger Boyles (Why Islamists are happy to be victims again), Colin Freeman (Treading a fine line with Hamas), and the CBC (What’s Hamas thinking?).
Israel’s ambassador to Canada, Rafael Barak, got op-ed space in the National Post, while deputy Knesset speaker Hilik Bar weighed in at the Daily Telegraph. For what the Palestinians are saying, see Mustafa Barghouti and Amin Saikal.
Rest O’ the Roundup
• Shurat HaDin’s threw in the towel on its lawsuit against Australian professor Jake Lynch over his support for the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign. Details at The Australian and The Guardian.
• The Israeli cop who was caught on film beating the 15-year-old Tariq Khdeir was suspended, and may face criminal charges, reports CNN.
• Food for thought: Zalman Shoval points out that the rise of ISIS (the Al-Qaida-inspired Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) buries the argument that “The road to Baghdad runs through Jerusalem.”
This radical group has shown its true colors in the most brutal of ways, declaring all-out war on the religious and power structures in the region. This may send the Middle East into a chaotic spiral in the next few years, and not only does Israel have nothing to do with it, the Palestinians too are irrelevant to the issue.