An Iron Dome installment near Beersheva.(David Buimovitch/AFP/Getty Images)

• For the first time, Israel deployed a battery from its Iron Dome missile-defense system, in response to the past week of rocket attacks from Gaza. [NYT]

• Syrian President Bashar Assad set loose his army to tamp down anti-regime protests and related looting. The United States has emphasized it will not intervene. [WP]

• Assad himself stays silent, even as the crisis becomes undeniable. [NYT]

• Jackson Diehl polemicizes against the Obama administration’s continued focus on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process generally and the settlements specifically. [WP]

• Palestinian President Abbas met with Hamas officials in the West Bank—a rare sort of meeting—to plan a possible trip to Gaza (which would be even more rare). [Ynet]

• A bomb that would have blown up a natural gas pipeline from Egypt to Israel and Jordan failed and was defused. [JTA]