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Council on Foreign Relations Daily News Brief
July 2, 2014

Top of the Agenda

Tensions in Israel Escalate After Possible Revenge Killing

Clashes between Palestinian youth and Israeli security forces erupted Wednesday (NYT) after police found a body believed to be that of a Palestinian teenager reported missing in East Jerusalem. The incident suggests a possible revenge attack (Haaretz) a day after the funerals of three Israeli teens kidnapped and murdered in the West Bank. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for a swift investigation of the "reprehensible murder" (AP) while the Palestinian Authority, after meeting in emergency session Tuesday, warned that its control over the Palestinian street could crumble amid increasing Israeli pressure (Haaretz). Also on Wednesday, Israeli forces demolished the Hebron home of a suspect linked to the April murder of a police officer, provoking still more clashes (Ma'an).


"While Israel continues to accuse the Hamas movement and its leadership of being responsible for the abduction, Palestinian security forces attribute the abduction to the Qawasmeh clan of Hebron specifically. Though the clan is known for identifying with Hamas, it also has a well-earned reputation as troublemakers," writes Shlomi Eldar in Al-Monitor.

"Abbas now faces widespread calls from Israel and abroad to abrogate the unity pact his Fatah party reached with Hamas last April. That agreement led to the formation of a technocratic government that was widely recognized internationally, including by the United States. Yet with today's news, even Israeli leaders on the left are calling on Abbas to disassociate itself from Hamas and the unity agreement," writes CFR's Robert M. Danin.

"The larger question is how long the West Bank status quo will last. No successful national liberation movement has depended so heavily—in the realms of finance, security, diplomacy, and mediation—on the closest ally of its occupier. US funding to the Palestinians is an obstacle to, or excuse for refraining from, just about every means of leverage against Israel that Palestinians might employ," writes Nathan Thrall in the New York Review of Books.


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Hundreds Arrested in Hong Kong Sit-in

Police arrested at least 511 protestors who staged an overnight sit-in (SCMP) following a prodemocracy march that organizers said drew half a million demonstrators on Tuesday.

MYANMAR: More than a thousand police officers were deployed to Mandalay, Myanmar, after rioting Buddhists and Muslims clashed (Irrawaddy).



Taliban Strike Afghan Forces in Kabul

A Taliban suicide bomber killed eight air force personnel and wounded thirteen others in Kabul on Wednesday (Pajhwok), shattering a period of relative calm in the capital. Meanwhile, the election impasse continues as an official said that preliminary results, due to be released Wednesday, will be delayed until the end of the week (TOLO) as officials review fraud allegations.

AFGHANISTAN: The U.S. State Department's special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Ambassador James F. Dobbins, is stepping down from the post this month (NYT).



Final Stretch of Iran Nuclear Talks Begins

Nuclear negotiations between six world powers and Iran resume on Wednesday in Vienna for a final push to secure a deal ahead of the July 20 expiration of an interim accord (FT). Though officials say gaps between the parties will be difficult to bridge, oil and auto firms are jockeying for positions in case sanctions are eased (WSJ).

Iran expert Suzanne Maloney is confident a deal will be struck.

TURKEY: Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is seeking to woo Kurdish voters (Hurriyet) after announcing his long-expected candidacy for the presidency, a historically ceremonial post that will for the first time be directly elected (WSJ).

Iraq's Kurds are running before walking, writes CFR's Steven Cook.



WHO Calls Emergency Meeting on Ebola

Health ministers from eleven African countries are meeting Wednesday in Accra (BBC) to coordinate with the World Health Organization on a policy to contain the Ebola outbreak, which has infected 763 people so far, claiming 468 lives.

SOUTH AFRICA: 220,000 metalworkers from South Africa's largest labor union went on strike seeking wage increases (Mail & Guardian), raising concerns for Africa's second-largest economy shortly after a five-month platinum strike. The stoppage will cost some $28 million a day, an industry group said (Bloomberg).



Ukrainian and Russian FMs to Meet

Ukrainian and Russian foreign ministers are expected to meet with their German and French counterparts in Berlin on Wednesday to defuse tensions (RFE) after Ukraine pressed ahead with a military offensive against eastern separatists (WSJ).

The Ukraine crisis may be unwinding, writes CFR's Steven Sestanovich.

FRANCE: Former president Nicolas Sarkozy was placed under formal investigation on Wednesday on suspicions of corruption a day after he was held for questioning (France24).



Colombia Extradites Seven After DEA Agent's Death

Colombia on Tuesday extradited seven charged in the "express kidnapping" death of an off-duty U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent. Human rights organizations fought the order, arguing against U.S. jurisdiction (LAT).

UNITED STATES: Homeland security buses carrying migrant children and families to a San Diego facility faced protests (AP).



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