Arsonists Attack Palestinian Home, Child Killed
Two independent acts of religiously-motivated violence have Israel on edge this morning. Overnight, arsonists attacked two Palestinian homes in Duma, a village in the West Bank. An infant was killed in the attack and the remaining members of the family were critically injured and are being treated in Israel. The arson is believed to have ...
Two independent acts of religiously-motivated violence have Israel on edge this morning. Overnight, arsonists attacked two Palestinian homes in Duma, a village in the West Bank. An infant was killed in the attack and the remaining members of the family were critically injured and are being treated in Israel. The arson is believed to have been a “price tag” attack carried out by Israeli settlers — graffiti at the scene included a star of David and the word “revenge” in Hebrew. Israelis at a nearby settlement were targeted in shootings by a Hamas cell last month. “The state of Israel takes a strong line against terrorism regardless of who the perpetrators are,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement this morning. “I have ordered the security forces to use all means at their disposal to apprehend the murderers and bring them to justice forthwith.”
In Jerusalem yesterday, an ultra-Orthodox man rushed a gay pride parade while wielding a knife, stabbing six people. Two received serious wounds. Authorities say the perpetrator committed a similar attack 10 years ago. Prime Minister Netanyahu condemned the attack as “a despicable hate crime.” The stabbings were unrelated to the arson attack.
Airstrikes Target Jabhat al-Nusra after Attacks on Division 30
Airstrikes believed to have been carried out by U.S. planes struck Jabhat al-Nusra targets in Azaz, Syria, this morning. The strikes come amid a series of Nusra attacks targeting Division 30, a Syrian rebel group that reportedly receives U.S. support. Earlier this week, Nusra abducted members of Division 30’s leadership, and this morning five Division 30 fighters were killed repelling a Nusra assault on their headquarters. The U.S. government refuted reports — including one noted here yesterday — that U.S.-trained rebels were captured by Nusra. “We’ve seen these reports in the press and can confirm that there have been no New Syrian Force personnel captured or detained,” U.S. Central Command spokesperson Maj. Genieve David told Foreign Policy. “We will not disclose the names of specific groups involved with the Syria Train and Equip program due to operational security concerns.”
- Kurdish militants attacked a Turkish police station in Azanti and bombed a railway and fired shots at repair workers in Kars, according to Turkish officials; five people were killed in the two attacks.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin called Prime Minister Netanyahu to convey his confidence that the Iran nuclear deal will make the Middle East safer and assure him of his commitment to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
- Anti-Houthi militias made advances in Aden and Lahj province as Saudi Arabia continued strikes across the country, though the Houthis said they repelled an attack on a major airbase.
- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that if talks to form a new coalition government are unsuccessful, his Justice and Development Party will try to regain an absolute majority in new elections.
- With heat reaching 126 degrees Fahrenheit, Iraq declared a mandatory four-day holiday that began yesterday to prevent cases of heatstroke.
Arguments and Analysis
“Inside the Underground Trade to Sell Off Syria’s History” (Mike Giglio, BuzzFeed)
“On a warm evening in June, he and a colleague sat on the floor of a living room near the border and served tea as they waited out the last hour of the Ramadan fast. The two men are part of a team of six that splits any money they make. They can go for weeks without a payday, sweating “for nothing” in the sun, the digger said. “We feel bad because we are stealing our history and selling it for a cheap price,” his colleague said. “But we have become homeless and jobless, so we don’t care.”
“Contingency Planning Memorandum: A Violent Uprising in the West Bank” (Steven Simon, Council on Foreign Relations)
“There is growing risk of a violent uprising in the West Bank that could be costly to Israelis and Palestinians and harmful to U.S. interests. Violence could be ignited in various ways and escalate rapidly, further shrinking the space for a two-state solution and complicating U.S. efforts on other regional challenges. It would also necessitate humanitarian and reconstruction assistance from already burdened allies. Moreover, a West Bank crisis could elicit punitive responses from Europe, possibly driving a wedge between the United States and its European allies, and enable unhelpful regional states, particularly Qatar and Turkey, to meddle. An uprising would also stress an already troubled U.S.-Israeli relationship and possibly increase congressional opposition to any nuclear deal with Tehran. Thus, despite the seemingly isolated nature of an outbreak of violence confined to the West Bank, the United States should, especially in the wider frame of increasingly violent regional politics, take measures in the next eighteen months to reduce the probability of West Bank violence and minimize — to the extent possible — its consequences should such conflict prove unavoidable.”
-J. Dana Stuster
JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/AFP/Getty Images