Israel ramps up campaign against Hamas; both presidential candidates claim victory in Indonesia; US presses China on currency reform; Germans investigate suspected US spy; water shortage in Venezuela hits poor hardest; and more
Top of the Agenda
Israel Escalates Strikes as Gaza Rockets Increase Range
The Israeli air force on Wednesday ramped up its campaign against Hamas in the Gaza Strip (WaPo) as long-range rockets fired from the Palestinian enclave reached deep into Israeli territory (Haaretz). Twelve Palestinians were killed in the strikes Wednesday, Gaza's health ministry said, bringing the total death toll since Monday to thirty-five (Ma'an). The Arab League on Tuesday called for the UN Security Council to convene an emergency session (AFP). Meanwhile, Israel's Gaza campaign has renewed debate on its policy of using telephone calls and leaflets to warn occupants of buildings about to be bombed or shelled (NYT).
"When external crisis strikes Israel, its politicians tend to close ranks. Not this time. Upset with what he sees as the vacillating policies of Israel's prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel's foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, declared he is dissolving the 20-month-old pact between their two political parties," writes the Economist.
"If I were John Kerry, I'd go to Israel now under only one condition. If Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas called, asked for my help, and made clear they were prepared to deal seriously with the peace process when this round calms down. Otherwise, Mr. Secretary, stay home," writes Aaron David Miller in Foreign Policy.
"A third approach is needed. While protecting Israel's civilian population militarily, Israel should try to catalyze Hamas's ultimate transformation to an unarmed political party in a Palestinian state. For theological reasons, even in a best case scenario Hamas will remain at arm's length from a final status agreement," writes Ofer Zalzberg in the Times of Israel.
Candidates Claim Victory in Indonesia's Presidential Race
Both candidates vying for Indonesia's presidency declared victory after polling places closed Wednesday and unofficial counts showed a tight race. Outgoing president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono called for the candidates to exercise restraint ahead of the release of official results slated for July 22 (FT).
CFR's Karen Brooks explains the election's high stakes for the world's third-largest democracy.
CHINA: Two days of high-level talks between Beijing and Washington kicked off Wednesday with U.S. Treasury secretary Jack Lew pressing China on currency reform (WSJ). U.S. diplomatic efforts have been complicated by the concentration of decision-making power with President Xi Jinping (NYT).
Germans investigate suspected US spy
Water shortage in Venezuelan capital leaves poor thirsty
This is an excerpt of the CFR.org Daily News Brief. The full version is available on CFR.org