World News Brief, Friday August 1

Israel vows to destroy Hamas' tunnel network; North Korean companies blacklisted for shipping Cuban weapons to Pyongyang; Sierra Leone declares ebola emergency; militants destroy treasures in Mosul; and more 

Top of the Agenda

Israel Vows to Destroy Gaza Tunnels

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday ruled out any cease-fire that would prevent Israel from continuing to destroy Hamas' tunnel network under the Israel-Gaza border (Haaretz), a condition that Hamas' military wing signaled it would reject. The announcement comes as the Israeli military called up an additional sixteen thousand reservists (WSJ). Meanwhile, the United Nations and United States condemned the shelling of a UN school where Gazans had taken shelter, while the Pentagon opened a local cache to rearm the Israeli military (AFP). While Israeli and Palestinian delegations travel to Egypt (Haaretz), a coalition of Arab states effectively aligned with Israel in the current fighting is seen as changing the dynamics of diplomacy (NYT).


"Over the last three weeks of conflict, Hamas has only burnished its nationalist credentials, established that it cannot be defeated, and that it has a reservoir international support. It is also hard to understand how partnership with Israel will help Abbas after Operation Protective Edge has caused so much damage and killed so many Palestinians. Abbas hates Hamas, but he cannot be seen as a quisling of Jerusalem. All in all, Hamas is in much better shape than it was when its leaders reluctantly sought a lifeline from Abbas and the PA," writes CFR's Steven Cook in the Times of Israel.

"Immiserating the people of Gaza is not an Israeli or American objective, and we should be open to all sensible ways of ameliorating the awful situation in which they live. We should draw up or applaud generous plans and leave it to Hamas to reject them or make them impossible by refusing to disarm. But those Israeli proposals will not, of course, work, nor will any proposals that require disarming Hamas as a precondition for aid to Gaza," writes CFR's Elliott Abrams in the Weekly Standard.

"Like the present Israeli government (or, better, its leading members), Hamas doesn't believe in a Palestinian state alongside Israel. These two bitter enemies are actually helping one another. Every rocket that Hamas fires weakens the Israeli left and makes it more difficult for ordinary Israelis to contemplate a withdrawal from the West Bank—since rockets from there could make all of Israel uninhabitable. And every new settlement, every 'price tag' attack on the West Bank, weakens Fatah and the PA and lends credence to Hamas's claim that violence is the only way," writes Michael Walzer in the New Republic.



Explore CFR’s Interactive on the Sunni-Shia Divide

Sectarian conflict is becoming entrenched in a growing number of Muslim countries. Tensions between Sunnis and Shias could reshape the future Middle East. Click on The Sunni-Shia Divide to learn more.



China to Revise Household Registration System

Beijing on Wednesday issued proposals to scrap the household-registration system that ties access to entitlements to whether a person's official residence is urban or rural (SCMP).

NORTH KOREA: The U.S. Treasury on Wednesday blacklisted two North Korean companies for shipping Cuban weapons to Pyongyang in violation of a UN arms embargo (Miami Herald).


Sierra Leone declares ebola emergency

Militants destroy treasures in Mosul 

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