Amos Harel reports, “As of Wednesday morning, a cease-fire between Israel and Gaza has been in effect. The rocket and mortar fire from Gaza that trickled overnight has stopped and, accordingly, so have Israeli aerial attacks on Gaza. This is not an official cease-fire. Senior political and military officials maintain that Israel has not signed anything with Hamas.”
Amos Harel writes, “Things could still get totally out of control and degenerate into an unwanted and unplanned war, just as in the summer of 2014. But even after Tuesday’s events, there still appear to be ways out the parties can take to avoid a collision course.”
Israeli Jets Hit Gaza Targets After Militants Fire Projectiles Over Border, Wall Street Journal
Israeli jets launched a second wave of strikes against targets in Gaza in response to militants firing mortar shells and rockets into the country, ramping up tensions after weeks of deadly clashes at the border fence.
In a harshly worded statement released in the afternoon, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov said he was “deeply concerned by the indiscriminate firing of rockets by Palestinian militants from Gaza towards communities in Southern Israel.” “Such attacks are unacceptable and undermine the serious efforts by the international community to improve the situation in Gaza,” he added.
The U.S. on Tuesday called for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council to discuss recent mortar attacks fired from Gaza into Israel, a call that comes amid ongoing violent clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli authorities along the contested Gaza Strip.
Iran threatens to withdraw from nuclear non-proliferation treaty, Financial Times
Iran has threatened to withdraw from the international nuclear non-proliferation treaty and demanded that Europe come up with an “economic package” to compensate for Washington’s decision to pull out of the atomic deal Tehran signed with world powers. The Islamic republic could exit the near-50-year-old NPT — the only binding multilateral treaty aimed at achieving disarmament by nuclear-armed states — should hardline forces in Tehran prevail, a senior Iranian official told the Financial Times.
Billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson flew Guatemala’s delegation to the opening of its new embassy in Jerusalem in his private plane….Manfredo Marroquin, director of the local group Citizen Action, said Guatemalan law forbids accepting such gifts, according to the Associated Press.
Zvi Bar’el writes, “Without the cooperation of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, Egypt will find it difficult to dictate political moves and to have any sway on the future leadership of Palestine. Egyptian leverage stems from its close military collaboration with Israel, which determines the scope of hostilities along the border. It is now in Israel’s interest to help Egypt attain calm, thereby reinforcing Cairo’s influence not only in Gaza but in the West Bank as well. The problem is that Israel views the confrontation with Islamic Jihad and Hamas not just as a means to punish and deter but also as a means to enhance its own prestige. This may override any rational considerations.”
Zvi Bar’el argues, “Moscow’s strategy is now the most important guarantee to prevent a war between Iran and Israel in Syria that could develop into a clash between Iran and the United States. The question is whether Iran will continue to see eye to eye with Russia — which would require Tehran to withdraw its forces from Syria….It seems that Israel, Iran and the United States will have to cooperate with Russia and lower their expectations of Tehran in the short term to get it out of Syria in the medium term.”