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Council on Foreign Relations Daily News Brief
July 15, 2014

Top of the Agenda

Gaza Cease-Fire Collapses

Israel renewed airstrikes on the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, just six-hours after agreeing to an Egyptian-proposed truce (CNN). Hamas militants continued to fire dozens of rockets into Israel during the faltering cease-fire, the Israeli military said. While Hamas' armed wing reportedly rejected the agreement, a top official from the militant group who was in Cairo said there was no final decision on the proposal (Reuters). Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu indicated that Israel would intensify military operations on the Palestinian enclave in response to a Hamas rejection of the truce.


"Israel is now seeking to separate the two parts of Palestine. Not into two halves, with a safe passage between them, but into two separate entities. West Palestine in Gaza; East Palestine in the West Bank. Three states for two peoples. By this logic, a strong Hamas government in Gaza is essential to Israel," writes Amir Oren in Haaretz.

"The reconciliation agreement might also hold the key to squaring the ceasefire circle. Though opposed by Israel, the deal, if implemented, offers the best chance of alleviating Gaza's misery and lessening Hamas's incentives to fight. The Islamist movement long resisted admitting any PA presence, but now that it has renounced governance, a door has been opened, and with it, an opportunity to redesign the peace process and advance the well-being of Gaza's 1.7 million residents," writes the International Crisis Group.

"Netanyahu's admission that he doesn't see a path to a truly independent Palestinian state serves no purpose except to convince that diminishing number of Palestinians who believe that the two-state solution is the best solution that they have no partner for compromise. As such, Netanyahu's comments are the rhetorical equivalent of settlement expansion in the West Bank," writes Jeffrey Goldberg in the Atlantic.



Hong Kong Reports Reject Proposed Electoral Reforms

Hong Kong's government kicked off the electoral reform process with two papers dismissing activists' demands that the public be allowed to nominate candidates for the city's chief executive (SCMP).

JAPAN: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's administration is mulling legislation that would permit Japanese forces to be dispatched overseas, a move that could widen the rift in his coalition (Japan Times).

CFR's Sheila Smith dissects how Japanese debate over the use of force will affect its security alliance with the United States.



BRICS to Launch New Development Bank

The five emerging economies known as the BRICS—Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa—are expected on Tuesday to launch a new development bank (Deutsche Welle) to compete with Western-dominated institutions. Chinese president Xi Jinping invited Indian prime minister Narendra Modi to attend the APEC trade summit in Beijing in November (Hindu).

AFGHANISTAN: A car bomb in the eastern province of Paktika killed at least eighty-nine at a crowded market on Tuesday (BBC), the defense ministry said.



UN Authorizes Cross-border Aid Access to Syria

The UN Security Council on Monday voted unanimously to authorize cross-border delivery of emergency aid from Turkey, Iraq, and Jordan to rebel-held areas of Syria, bypassing the requirement that Damascus consent (NYT).



Ivory Coast Blocks Refugees Return

Ivory Coast has prohibited 400 refugees who fled to Liberia from returning home because of fears they could transmit the Ebola virus (BBC), a UN official said.



UK’s Hague Steps Down Amid Cabinet Reshuffle

Philip Hammond on Tuesday was confirmed as British foreign secretary (Independent). The Eurosceptic replaces William Hague, who stepped down from the post as Prime Minister David Cameron reshuffles the cabinet ahead of next year's general election (FT).

Steven Erlanger discusses Britain's fraught relations with Europe.

UKRAINE: At least six Ukrainian troops were killed by pro-Moscow insurgents near the border with Russia, according to the Ukrainian military. Meanwhile, Kiev implicated Moscow in a reported airstrike in eastern Ukraine (Reuters) that killed four civilians.



Honduras Welcomes Back U.S. Deportees

Honduran first lady Ana Garcia de Hernandez on Monday greeted a planeload of women and children deported from the United States to Honduras with promises of aid and jobs (LAT). This first chartered flight comes as the United States seeks to deter Central American children from joining an influx of migrants (TIME) fleeing violence.

While immigration reform is stalled in the U.S. Congress, state and local governments are shaping policy, writes CFR's Shannon O'Neil.

HAITI: UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon visited Haiti on Monday hoping to muster financial support for a cholera-eradication program (Miami Herald). Victims' advocates criticized his refusal to take responsibility for the epidemic, which has been traced to UN peacekeepers (BBC).



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