Today’s Top Stories
1. As this roundup was being published, Israeli media reported that three rockets fired from Gaza landed near Beer Sheva before the end of a 24-hour ceasefire, and that the IDF was given orders to respond. Israeli diplomats recalled from Cairo. Will the situation cool down in time to get diplomacy back on track, or will the situation escalate? Developing . . .
2. An overstretched Hezbollah lowered its fighting age, recruiting kids as young as 16 to fight in Syria. The Christian Science Monitor reports:
The party leadership is holding back experienced fighters specifically trained to fight Israel, such as anti-tank missile units and long-range rocket teams. But the organization now finds itself engaged in a war against ruthless Sunni militants from the rugged mountains of east Lebanon and across Syria to the borders of Iraq and Iran that is slowly transforming the way Hezbollah sees its military role . . .
Last month, two Hezbollah fighters were buried in a joint funeral in the mainly Shiite neighborhood of Haret Hreik in the southern suburbs of Beirut. They were killed in a desperate battle with Sunni militants in the mountains near Nahle village in east Lebanon. Mohammed Awada, one of the two slain combatants, was only 16 years old.
In the past, Hezbollah allowed boys younger than 18 to join the party, participate in youth programs, and undergo some basic military training, but would not send them into combat until they reached 18. Awada’s “martyrs” picture on the front of his coffin and adorning the streets of the neighborhood showed a slim youth with a mop of dark hair who looked even younger than his 16 years.
3. The Israeli Press Council ruled against formal complaints filed against Haaretz’s Gideon Levy. His column at the start of Operation Protective Edge attacked Israeli Air Force pilots for killing Palestinians. Public reaction was furious: around 100 cancelled subscriptions.
Israel and the Palestinians
• Israel secretly coordinated with the US some steps to ease the Gaza blockade, according to YNet:
Under the agreement, Israel will not oppose the transfer of salaries to Hamas civil workers in Gaza and will allow for the rehabilitation of the Strip with the use of international assistance.
The issue of the Strip’s demilitarization, which Israel demanded during Operation Protective Edge, will most likely not be included in the accord developing in Cairo, though the US will support the Israeli demand for the prevention of Hamas and other terror organization’s efforts to rearm. Israel said it would actively work to promote the issue on the international arena.
• Breitbart London is wondering why the British Consul General to Jerusalem, Dr. Alastair McPhail, was wearing an Arab keffiyah draped like a scarf featuring a Palestinian flag over all of Israel. He donned the keffiyeh at the inauguration of a laboratory co-funded by the UK consulate and Islamic Relief Palestine. The photo was posted on IRPAL’s web site.
He told the Telegraph & Argus: “My sense, even from a short visit, is that the real voice of Bradford is not the voice of exclusion we hear from George Galloway but the voice of inclusion.
• CNN beat a path to Gaza’s Al-Bisan Zoo. Amidst the Palestinian crocodile tears, Frederik Pleitgen notes:
Hamas says the park is in a civilian area, but our crew did see several charred and mangled metal cases that looked like destroyed rocket batteries.
• Anti-Israel shop protests stir tensions, achieve nothing for the Palestinians, British communal leaders told the Daily Telegraph.
• Reuters: Turkey to send a send a floating power station to Gaza to provide electricity.
• Over at the Washington Post, Richard Cohen dissects the phenomenon of Israel held to an impossible standard.
Rest O’ the Roundup
• Globes talked online with a US-born Islamic State fighter. Joining up for jihad’s easy, and the Islamists have big plans.
I approached Abu-Turab under the name Abd-Alsalam Afifi, 26, from Paris. I added him as a friend in a messaging application, and asked how I could join the combat forces and what the organization’s intentions were. “First of all, get to Turkey, and then I can give you a telephone number to contact, and they’ll do the rest. It’s that simple,” he said . . .
In a personal chat, I asked him what IS’s plans were after setting up the Islamic Caliphate. “Allah willing, we’ll expand the Caliphate,” he said, and declared “The Jews and Hezbollah’s time will come, soon.”
Image: CC BY-NC HonestReporting, flickr/Thomas Hawk, Mahdi Scouts via YouTube/Telerama Officiel, papers via Flickr/Sharon Drummond