White House Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken told NPR on Wednesday that any ceasefire ending the current round of hostilities between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip should include "some form of demilitarization so that [the conflict] doesn't continue, doesn't repeat itself," one of a growing list of statements by U.S. policymakers and observers assessing that any truce between Jerusalem and the terror group should include provisions that disarmed Hamas. Blinken emphasized that such a scenario "needs to be the end result." Daniel Nisman and Ron Gilran - respectively the president and the vice president of intelligence at the Levantine Group, a geopolitical risk consultancy based in Israel - had already over the weekend identified Israel's Operation Protective Edge as "a rare opportunity for a regional arrangement which could ultimately bring an end to the cycle of violence in Gaza" by allowing the Israelis to leverage battlefield victories into a truce under which Hamas would be forced to "dismantle its rockets and those of other fringe groups in exchange for a lifting of the blockade by Israel and Egypt." The Washington Post's editorial board on Wednesday came to a similar conclusion, noting the strategic dangers of Hamas's attack tunnels meant that "any accord must aim at forging a new political and security order in Gaza," and more specifically that border concessions made by the Israelis or the Egyptians should be linked "to the return to Gaza of the security forces of the Palestinian Authority, the disarmament of Hamas and elections for a new government." For his part, top Hamas official Khaled Meshaal, speaking on Wednesday at a news conference in Qatar, declared that "no one will disarm the resistance... we are the victim, despite our victory."
Some 30,000 people from across Israel came to the funeral of IDF soldier Sgt. Max Steinberg, even though most of them never met him. Steinberg, 24, was killed in action in Shejaiya, Gaza. The Golani brigades’ sharpshooter grew up in Los Angeles and moved to Beersheva after he fell in love with Israel, following a Birthright trip here. Steinberg was considered a lone soldier in the IDF because his parents still live abroad. After calls via social media for people to attend the funeral of another American-Israeli, Nissim Sean Carmeli, were answered by at least 20,000 people, another social media call was put out for Steinberg. People crowded the Mount Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem on Wednesday (July 23) to show their appreciation for a man who didn’t have to serve but chose to defend Israel just the same. “I came to the funeral to show my support to his family. I didn’t know Max but I felt it was important for me to come and show his parents that all of Israel supports the family and for them to know that Max didn’t die in vain,” 29-year-old Eli Satran told Ynet news. “The love and support we’ve received is amazing. We understand why Max loved Israel so much, it’s because of the people,” Stuart Steinberg, Max’s father, told Hebrew media. “The people who came today prove that Am Yisrael Chai. We’ve been asked if we’re sorry that Max enlisted in the IDF. The answer is no. We are very proud of his decision.” (via Israel21c)
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