As Operation Pillar of Defense continued into its fifth day, there were murmurs of both a potential ceasefire and a potential escalation from different sources, although neither appears to be imminent. Israeli forces have taken aim at over 1,000 targets in Gaza, including rocket launchers, terrorist infrastructure, and Hamas leadership.
Nearly 800 rockets have been fired from Gaza into Israel with the Iron Dome battery responsible for knocking down roughly 300 of them, including about five missiles over Tel Aviv, two of them intercepted just minutes ago. The Israeli death toll remains at three, in addition to scores of injuries. Palestinian fatalities are unclear, but generally estimated to be at about 50, without a definitive split known between combatants and civilians.
Below is a round-up of what’s happening. For more background, check out our extensive coverage of the past few days here.
• Ethan Bronner returns to the region to report on another main of objective of Operation Pillar of Defense: disrupting a supply line of long-range missiles sent from Iran, which has enabled Hamas to target Tel Aviv and Jerusalem with rockets for the first time. [NYT]
• President Barack Obama reiterated clear his support for Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas, but also expressed hope that a ground invasion of Gaza would be avoided. [Politico]
• The British Foreign Secretary William Hague was less supportive, suggesting that Israel would lose international support if it conducted a ground operation in Gaza. [Guardian]
• Ehud Yaari gets into the nuts and bolts of what a long-term ceasefire between Israel and Hamas should look like, including Israel’s security relationship with Egypt and border crossings. [Foreign Affairs]
• Eric Trager writes incisively on the role of Egypt in the conflict, which, as Trager argues, may expand given the Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s posture. [Atlantic]
• Hugh Naylor writes on how the pragmatists in Hamas are losing out to the extremists as the domestic leadership in Gaza jockeys to capitalize on the conflict and wrest power from Hamas’ leadership abroad. [National]
• Lara Aburamadan writes on the war experience from Gaza. [NYT]
• Check out this unbelievable video from the tayelet in Tel Aviv as the beach gets evacuated and Iron Dome intercepts a missile aimed at the city.