Koenig's International News
Washington: 8:55:28 am - August 27, 2014 - Jerusalem: 3:55:28 pm - Elul 1, 5774


William Koenig on Twitter
from Jerusalem

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Quiet night in southern Israel as Gaza ceasefire holds


Iron Dome interceptor in Hof Ashkelon (Photo: Diti Horowitz, Ynet)

Even though rocket attacks continued until the very last moment, the open-ended ceasefire deal reached between Israel and Hamas which came into effect Tuesday evening held throughout the night and Wednesday morning.

The rocket alerts in the south continued for at least 15 minutes after the truce came into effect at 7 pm Tuesday evening, and two men severely wounded by mortar fire Tuesday succumbed to their wounds and died after the deal came into effect.

In the past day of fighting, over 182 rockets and mortars were fired at Israel, 143 of them falling in open areas, five hitting in residential areas, while 27 were intercepted. Since the collapse of a ceasefire last week, over 1,045 rockets and mortars were fired at Israel, 141 of which were intercepted.

Gaza truce deal:
Crossings to open under Israeli supervision

Talks in Cairo lead to long-term ceasefire accord, though central demands of both sides postponed for later negotiations.

After 50 days of intense hostilities, Israel and the Palestinians reached a framework agreement resembling the understandings reached after Operation Pillar of Defense – the sides will reconvene in a month to start deliberations on central issues like demilitarization and the establishment of ports.

Until the next round of talks, Israel has agreed to open to border crossings into the Strip and allow the transfer of humanitarian equipment and construction materials to rehabilitate Gaza – all under heavy Israeli supervision.

Massive barrage as open-ended truce takes effect;
half of cabinet ministers oppose truce


Education Minister Shai Piron (center) with mayors of towns in southern Israel
on a tour of school readiness due to the current security situation,
on Monday, August 25, 2014. (photo credit: Courtesy Education Ministry)

Five others injured, 2 seriously; Hamas claims ‘victory’; Abbas announces truce in Ramallah, later confirmed by Jerusalem; rockets hit Ashdod preschool, Ashkelon house; six said killed in Gaza strikes

Fireworks and celebratory gunshots are heard in the Gaza Strip as its residents celebrate what Hamas spokesmen have hailed as a resistance “victory” against Israel, Al Jazeera reports.

Army Radio quotes “the most senior and official” Israeli government source confirming that Israel has accepted the Egyptian proposal for an open-ended truce.

The official says the terms do not include any response to Hamas demands, including those for a seaport, airport, prisoner releases, or transfer of funds to pay salaries.

He adds that those issues will be discussed in a month, if the quiet proves itself.

Half of the ministers in the security cabinet are still opposed to the Egyptian framework for a ceasefire, even as an open-ended truce in the Gaza Strip takes effect, Channel 2 reports.

According to the report, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, and Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch say they are opposed to the Egyptian framework, with Communications Minister Gilad Erdan also voicing reservations.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly approved the proposal without putting it to a vote in the cabinet, as the move does not legally require the ministers’ approval.

IDF fires artillery at Syrian army post after
cross-border gun fire wounds Israeli officer

An IDF officer was lightly-to-moderately wounded Wednesday by apparent errant gun fire emanating from the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, where rebels and forces loyal to the Damascus regime are embroiled in a civil war.

The IDF responded to the cross-border fire with artillery fire of its own directed at a Syrian army post. The military stated that "a direct hit on the target was identified. We see the Syrian Army as responsible for all fire into Israel." There were no immediate reports of injuries on the Syrian side.

The wounded Israeli officer was airlifted to Rambam Medical Center in Haifa for medical treatment.

Israeli source:
US will back Israel in Security Council

The world weighs in on Gaza truce: Kerry looks to work with Abbas on rehabilitation, Blair heads for long-term prosperity, US prepares for 'long road ahead'.

As the political aftermath of the long-term ceasefire between Hamas and Israel began to unfold, a government source in Jerusalem told Ynet Tuesday night that the US would be looking out for Israel's interests among the international community, namely in the UN Security Council, where concrete decisions could potentially be made regarding the future of Gaza, Israel, and the West Bank.

"Israel will have American backing if a decision is made in the Security Council," said the source. Most especially, said the government official, the US would be looking out for Israel's security interests in the Gaza Strip. "The US will be sure that the issue of demilitarization will be included," he said.

Libya crisis:
US 'caught off-guard' by Egypt and the UAE air strikes


Planes have been badly damaged by fighting at the airport - Reuters

US officials say Egypt and the UAE were behind air strikes in Libya last week that targeted Islamist-linked militia.

A senior US official told the BBC that Washington was not consulted about the attacks and was "caught off-guard".

The air strikes on militia positions around Tripoli's international airport were reportedly carried out by Emirati fighter jets using bases in Egypt.

The Egyptian authorities have denied involvement, and there has been no direct comment from the UAE.

USGS Records 125 North Bay Earthquakes Following
Napa Tremor With More To Come

North Bay residents who were shaken by Sunday morning’s South Napa Earthquake haven’t been given much of a chance to settle down, based on United States Geological Survey measurements of seismic activity in the area.

In just over 24 hours following the 3:20 a.m Sunday earthquake the USGS recorded 124 minor quakes and counting in the area. The seismic activity is clustered around the epicenter and to the north near the Geysers, a region known for regular ground shaking. The largest of the tremors was 3.6 magnitude, just hours after the initial earthquake.

Many of the smaller quakes likely weren’t felt by anyone, some measuring less than a full magnitude point.

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'Koenig's Eye View from the White House'
August 22, 2014

This Wednesday’s edition:

Audio interview for the week: A Middle East discussion with Bill Koenig and Bill Salus

The coming disintegration of Iraq

How Maliki broke Iraq

Obama: The pinprick President

Libya crumbles, as the United States looks the other way

Friday’s edition:

Iran: Threat not forgotten, with a plan to deal with them militarily

ISIS: 'Apocalyptic, end-of-days vision'

Understanding the Israeli-Egyptian-Saudi alliance

Netanyahu: Radical Islamic terrorism threatens the entire world and it is time for us all to confront it

Americans brace for new wave of Islamic State terror

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