- Hamas accepts ceasefire after days of heightened Israeli military strikes on top leaders, advanced terror infrastructure
A ceasefire aimed at ending 50 the hot conflict between Israel and Palestinian groups took hold Tuesday night at 7:00pm local time, after 50 days of a conflict that observers broadly assess has left Hamas militarily crippled and facing a potential political crisis. Rumors of a ceasefire had been rampant since the beginning of the week, after a series of Israeli air strikes successfully targeted senior veterans who sat atop the terror organization's military infrastructure. Public IDF numbers put the number of Hamas operatives killed at roughly 1,000. Just the last 48 hours had seen attacks on major buildings hijacked by Hamas for military and logistical purposes. The Israeli Foreign Ministry's Twitter feed tersely noted that the ceasefire terms were functionally the same as those Hamas had rejected on July 15, an action that ended up extending the conflict by six weeks. Along the way Hamas rejected 11 different ceasefire offers. All of the key conditions that the Palestinians had cited as reasons to extend the conflict - control over border crossings, payment of salaries to Hamas members, the construction of an air port and sea port, and so on - have been put off for discussion at a later date. Some border crossings will be opened as they intermittently were before and even during the conflict, except now under heightened Israeli supervision. Others will reportedly be monitored by the Palestinian Authority (PA), which was expelled from the territory by Hamas in 2006. Nonetheless Hamas victory rallies were held throughout the Gaza Strip, triggering literal and metaphorical eye-rolls from analysts. An Israeli official who spoke to Yediot Aharonot told the Israeli outlet that "there is nothing impressive about the celebrations in the Strip, even if there is only one Palestinian remaining he would manage to declare victory." Daniel Nisman - an Israel-based risk analyst who heads the Middle East-focused Levantine Group - summed up the situation as one in which "Hamas needs to have a victory rally now [but there are] few venues available that don't literally include standing on or near a massive pile of rubble." He separately assessed that if the ceasefire holds it will be "a testament to Israel's military pressure and Egypt's diplomatic influence, as Hamas hasn't received much."
The city of Los Angeles has signed a memorandum of understanding with the city of Eilat to create a joint task force on environmental and clean-technology initiatives. The sister cities hope to promote collaboration and advancement in technology investment, business development and research opportunities in clean technology, water resources, solar energy and environmental technologies. “Israel is a true start-up nation,” said Bob Blumenfield, of the Los Angeles City Council. “They have made the desert bloom, launched satellites into orbit, led the world in microprocessor and cellular technology, and even advised our own airports in security matters. As we grapple with a changing environment and the economic challenges that go with it, it only makes sense that a start-up City like Los Angeles partner with Israel.” The new task force builds on a recent memorandum of understanding between California and Israel signed in March. “Israel and California are both global innovation hubs when it comes to technology and clean technology, health care, food services, water and the environment,” said Israel Consul General David Siegel. “We are looking forward to working with Los Angeles to strengthen our cooperation through this task force.” (via Israel21c)
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