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Washington: 3:23:25 am - July 31, 2014 - Jerusalem: 10:23:25 am - Av 4, 5774


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Live blog:
Israel's Operation Protective Edge in Gaza


A pro-Israel rally in New York City, July 28, 2014. (Photo credit: Jeff Rafalaf)

Military death toll at 53 after 10 soldiers killed Monday; IDF kills senior Islamic Jihad officer and strikes home of Hamas’s Haniyeh, amid massive airstrikes; rocket barrage fired at central Israel in wee hours

Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said on Tuesday that Israel needed to leave the current operation in Gaza with a clear victory.

Bennett added that Israel must not just "try its best," but to end Operation Protective edge with a "decisive victory."

Despite criticism, government resolves to intensify Gaza offensive


A general view shows the collapsed minaret of a destroyed mosque in Gaza City, on July 30, 2014
after it was hit in an overnight Israeli strike. (photo credit:
AFP/MAHMUD HAMS)

The day began with allegations of an Israeli shelling of a UN school in Gaza, with 15 people reported killed. Following another day of heavy Israeli strikes on Gaza, and Hamas rocket fire aimed at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, among other towns and villages nationwide, Israel and Hamas were both reported to be considering ceasefire moves. But there were no formal confirmations that an end to the conflict was near. The Israeli security cabinet was meeting to discuss whether to expand the ground offensive or halt it, after some in the IDF said most of the Hamas cross-border tunnels have been found and are being demolished

Finance Minister Lapid:
Hamas is Holding Gazan Civilians Hostage

In an interview with Bloomberg TV on Tuesday Finance Minister Yair Lapid said that Hamas is holding the citizens of Gaza "hostage", and that Israel demands nothing less than a demilitarization of the Gaza Strip to force an end to attacks on Israeli civilians.

"No other country on earth" would tolerate thousands of rockets being fired indiscriminately on its civilian population, said the Yesh Atid party leader, who went on to point out that despite that Israel had accepted three separate ceasefire proposals - all of which had been rejected by Hamas.

Lapid also addressed tensions with the White House, after US Secretary of State was roundly criticized in Israel for responding to Hamas's rejection of a truce by working with Hamas's allies to offer an alternative which stunned Israeli observers, as it called on Israel to essentially give in to all of the Islamist group's demands.

U.S., EU coordinate on Russia sanctions, but will they work?


The United States will unleash a new round of sanctions against Russia in the wake of the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, President Obama said today.

“The cost on Russia will continue to grow,” the president said in a statement at the White House emphasizing Russian "energy, arms and finance" as targets. “Today is a reminder that the United States means what it says.”

Obama said Russia has, so far, “failed to cooperate with the investigations” into the downing of the Malaysian aircraft, adding that he and key European leaders "are united in our view that the situation in Ukraine ought to be resolved diplomatically."

Obama said he has been coordinating closely with European allies to ensure a unified response. Earlier today, the European Union agreed to a new package of sanctions on Russia, for the first time imposing “sectoral” sanctions on Russia’s finance and energy industries, as well as banning arms exports to Russia.

Krauthammer deconstructs Obama's 'vacant presidency'

State Department:
Christian presence in Middle East
becoming ‘shadow of its former self’

The State Department issued a dire report Monday on the state of religious freedom around the world, with an alarming warning that the Christian presence in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East is becoming a "shadow of its former self."

The analysis was included as part of a comprehensive report on religious freedom around the world in 2013. The report cited a flood of examples of governments and militant groups cracking down on religious minorities, everywhere from Pakistan to Egypt to China. The victims included Christians, but also Hindus, Muslims and others.

The report offered a pointed warning about religious violence in the three-year-old civil war in Syria.

"After three years of civil war, hundreds of thousands fled the country desperate to escape the ongoing violence perpetrated by the government and extremist groups alike," the report said. It said that in Homs, the Christian population has plummeted from 160,000 before the conflict to "as few as 1,000."

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'Koenig's Eye View from the White House'
July 25, 2014

Pope Francis’s bridge and promoter for Christian unity with the Catholic Church died in motorcycle accident Sunday, July 20

Israel’s God changes the path of rockets in mid-air, said a terrorist

How John Kerry is attempting a cease-fire between Israel and the terror group Hamas

Ex-Israeli Ambassador to US Michael Oren said John Kerry wasn’t invited, shouldn’t be coming, cites long history of unsuccessful diplomacy in the region; the following day the FAA shuts down flights to Israel. A connection?

How Hezbollah's leadership is keenly watching and studying Hamas' military performance against Israel.

Evaluating Hezbollah’s substantial threat to Israel

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Royce: US ignored calls to strike ISIS for six months

The latest threat to Evangelical support for Israel

President Barack Obama's LGBT workplace discrimination executive order has revealed a rift among Democrats over whether religious freedom trumps gay rights

Republicans have strong Senate candidates, that wasn’t the case in 2010 and 2012

And more ….

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