To Read: Senator Bob Corker believes that too much of the US' foreign policy is being managed covertly through intelligence agencies-
Today, covert operations appear to have expanded to include what have traditionally been overt military and diplomatic functions, blurring the lines of authority and leaving the public and most of Congress in the dark.
To ensure the continued availability of covert action -- a highly valuable and effective tool under the right circumstances -- we must make certain that no president misuses, overuses, or employs this tactic simply out of convenience or the desire to avoid oversight and debate. As a result, it is important to ask just how much of U.S. foreign policy is conducted secretly. The answer, unfortunately, appears to be too much.
Quote: "Some argued that this was a personal issue for the secretary of state and that the president was not backing it, so it was extremely important for President Obama to clarify that this is in the interest of the US and show his support", Israeli Justice Minister and negotiator, Tzipi Livni, pointing out President Obama's personal involvement in the peace talks.
Number: 47, the percentage of Americans who are more concerned by the government infringing civil liberties than by its not doing enough to protect the public from terrorist threats.
To Read: British Ambassador to Israel, Matthew Gould, writes about his visits to Gaza and about how Israel's blockade might very well be having the opposite effect from the one which was intended-
But by keeping Gaza’s economy deflated, by weakening Gaza’s traditional business leaders, and by forcing all trade to go through Hamas-controlled tunnels, we are not doing anything to strengthen Israel’s security. Rather, we are simply enriching Hamas and its allies.
How much better to allow legitimate businesses to create jobs, build houses, and offer an alternative, hopeful vision to the young people of Gaza rather than the hate-filled, destructive ideology of Hamas?
Quote: “Bennett’s calling for the murder of Palestinian captives is in blatant disregard of international law and the Third Geneva Convention, which delineates the protections entitled to prisoners by international law upon their capture. It is extremely alarming that a public Israeli official at the ministerial level calls for murder and utters explicitly racist remarks without being held accountable”, a statement written by the general delegation of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
Number: 9, the number of months Israel and Palestine have to reach an agreement, according to John Kerry's timeline.
The Middle East
Headline: Iran and Syria sign $3.6bn oil deal
To Read: Steve Coll takes a look at how the Egyptan turmoil might effect different regions and aspects of the Middle East-
Egypt’s military will be desperate for international legitimacy and leverage in the next few years, given its rapidly growing record of bad conduct. Quiet, reliable coöperation with Israel on the issues of the so-called “Camp David regime,” Gaza, and the threat from Iran is an obvious strategy for Egypt’s generals—it’s worked in the past. The aim of Egypt’s military and its civilian allies will be to keep American arms and International Monetary Fund credits coming their way. As in the Cold War, the price for the U.S.’s acquiescence will be, at a minimum, security coöperation between Israel and Egypt. This may be reinforced by a deep-pocketed, undeclared partner: Saudi Arabia’s royal family, which fears and despises the Muslim Brotherhood as much as Egypt’s men in khaki do. Israel already benefits from its common interest with Saudi Arabia and the smaller Persian Gulf states, based on a shared fear of Iran; the reassertion of power by Egypt’s military over the Brotherhood will only reinforce that unacknowledged alliance.
Quote: " Egyptian media are all about mobilization. They are a highly politicized media, and they try to encourage supporters of the side they are on", Gamal Soltan, a political science professor at the American University in Cairo, talking about the Egyptian Media's role in the country's recent incitement and violence.
Number: 2.5 million, the number of Syrians who received food from the UN's World Food Program in June.
The Jewish World
To Read: Rabbi Dan Ornstein likes Jewish Summer camps-
Much has been made about the inevitable disconnect between the intensity of camp life and life in the real world when a kid returns home at summer’s end. Obviously, no social experiment works perfectly beyond its own walls. Further, I certainly understand that camp does not work for every child, and that it is still only one among many pieces needed to help the global Jewish village to raise its children. Finally, the often prohibitive cost of camp still makes it extremely hard, even impossible for some families to send their kids away. Nonetheless, as any happy camper’s experience will show, Jewish summer camp remains one of the most successful long-term Jewish continuity endeavors ever created in the Diaspora. That certainly is worth “liking” and supporting.
Quote: "It was one of those fast breaks, pass the ball, went to the basket, got a return pass”, Ossie Schechtman, a 94 year-old Jew who died on Tuesday, describing how he scored the NBA's first basket.
Number: 50, the number of Jews saved by Zanis Lipke, a Latvian port worker, and his wife in their underground pit during WW2.