“The Israeli army started an exchange of fire with Hamas on Wednesday evening after several Palestinian children approached the border fence in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. Israeli troops who arrived at the scene to turn the children away were targeted by sniper fire. In response, the military attacked several Hamas targets throughout the Strip. The army is attributing the sniper fire to organizations that are not affiliated with Hamas.”
U.N. Palestinian Agency Will Trim 267 Jobs, Citing U.S. Funding Cut, The New York Times
“The United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees will cut more than 260 jobs and curtail mental health services and mobile health clinics, it announced on Wednesday, the first reduction since the United States suspended tens of millions of dollars in funding this year….The cuts are the first outcome of a significant American reduction in contributions to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, or Unrwa. The Trump administration has provided about $60 million this year. That reflects a drop of more than 80 percent from the $360 million the United States contributed in 2017.”
Suzanne Maloney writes, “So far, in forging a strategy for handling this uncertain moment, Rouhani’s characteristic prudence seems to have won out. Even as economic pressure from America hits home, Tehran has held up its end of the nuclear deal, with perfunctory appeals for Europe to offset American sanctions with measures to protect and increase trade and investment that all sides tacitly recognize will not be forthcoming. Iran’s leaders have issued a barrage of thinly veiled threats aimed at Persian Gulf transit routes, but as Trump himself boasted, even here there is evidence of newfound restraint by the IRGC naval forces….Unfortunately, that balance is unlikely to hold. The Islamic Republic is in the fight of its life, and steeped in a strategic culture that rejects weakness as an invitation to further attack, neither its leadership nor its military command is likely to go down quietly.”
Education Minister Naftali Bennett admitted on Wednesday to belatedly realizing that the Nation-State law, which he voted for, hurt the feelings of members of Israel’s Druze community.
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon admitted Thursday that mistakes were made in the recently approved nation-state law, saying it should be amended. “The enactment of the nation-state law was done hastily,” he told Army Radio, “we were wrong and we need to fix it.”
In a surprise move, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that he plans to convene a meeting next week on the Jewish nation-state law amid a fierce outcry against the legislation by the Druze minority. Netanyahu will not consider amending the law, however, Hebrew media sources reported.
American former war crimes prosecutor to head UN Gaza probe, Times of Israel
The United Nations Human Rights Council on Wednesday announced the members of a committee who will probe the deaths at the Gaza border this summer. The panel will be headed by David Michael Crane, a US law professor and former prosecutor in war crimes trials.
Ahed Tamimi, a Palestinian teenager convicted of assaulting Israeli soldiers, will be released on Sunday after serving her sentence, her family said Thursday. Tamimi, 17, from Nabi Saleh in the West Bank, turned into a protest icon after she was filmed slapping an Israeli soldier. She was detained for three months before being sentenced in March to eight months in jail after reaching a plea deal.
Hagai El-Ad writes, “[T]he truth and the facts have a tendency to peek out from behind the propaganda. Therefore, the occupation project and the gagging project are both destined to end the same way: in utter failure. It’s possible to pass stupid laws, but it’s impossible to erase that “b’tselem” – the Hebrew word for “in the image” – from the first chapter of Genesis: ‘And God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him.’”
Ahmad Melhem writes, “The current circumstances on the Palestinian landscape and possible future events should be sufficiently compelling for Fatah and Hamas to overcome their differences and reconcile. Among them are the worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza, the tensions on Gaza’s borders and their ominous potential for war with Israel, the peace process between the PLO and Israel reaching one dead end after another and the US-orchestrated Deal of the Century to resolve the Palestinian issue. Eleven years on, could hope be in sight?”