Hamas Claims Responsibility for Rocket Fire

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Today’s Top Stories:

1. Hamas claims responsibility for overnight rocket fire on Ashkelon According to the Jerusalem Post:

The announcement marks a significant departure from its previous position, as during the last round of violence Hamas refrained from firing rockets into Israel.

This is all in the context of the Israel-Egypt border tensions. More on that below.

2. Haaretz: Iran threatens to end negotiations in Moscow if sanctions on their oil exports aren’t lifted. Time‘s Tony Karon thinks both Iran and the West are overestimating their leverage. Contain your optimism.

3. Palestinian soccer player Mahmoud Sarsak ended his hunger strike in exchange for a July release. AP writes:

In a symbolic act, Sarsak, who has shed nearly half his normal weight, ate a small piece of chocolate on Monday evening to show the strike was over.

Southern Border Heats Up

The Times of Israel updates the IDF’s response and this morning’s rockets on Ashkelon. See also the Wall Street Journal‘s overview.

Israeli officials expect the Muslim Brotherhood’s would-be president, Mohammed Morsi to scapegoat Israel when things go wrong. The Daily Beast‘s Dan Ephron shares the familiar script:

But they also predicted that if he’s unable to restore stability and stem widespread poverty, Morsi would likely resort to what Israelis see as a time-tested sop in the Arab world: blaming Israel.

Once he understands that he has no quick solution to cope with the social and economic problems, he’ll start talking about the problem of Egypt’s relations with Israel,” says Eli Shaked, who served as Israel’s ambassador to Egypt from 2004 to 2005.

“It’s the easiest way to get populist support.”

Shimon Peres to CNN: The Muslim Brotherhood must have an economic plan to get Egypt back on its feet.

Following yesterday’s terror attack, the IDF deployed tanks in close proximity to the Israel-Egypt border. YNet explains why the move may not necessarily violate the peace agreement:

Ynet’s chief military commentator Ron Ben Yishai noted that several months ago, Israel and Egypt arrived at an agreement by which Cairo would be able to deploy 20 tanks near the border, to ward off attacks by Bedouins on Egyptian forces, despite the fact that such a move contradicts the peace treaty.

It is likely that the deal also allowed Israel to do the same in favor of increased protection for the area’s communities.

Alex Fishman (YNet): This ain’t your daddy’s southern border:

Better get accustomed to the fact that Israel’s southern border, all of it, is a hostile border; a border of confrontation.

An Egyptian regime under Islamic leadership will not be able to accept Israeli airstrikes in Gaza. The day when Morsi is in power and the Air Force strikes the Strip, possibly killing innocents, will also be the day marking the end of formal relations between Israel and Egypt.

See also Mitch Ginsburg (Times of Israel), who quotes a prescient Ehud Yaari analysis.

Horrendous headlines: The Beeb’s being the Beeb again.

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