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November 22, 2012 | By Edmund Sanders, Los Angeles Times
RAFAH, Gaza Strip - Seated on a muddy hill, Sulieman Masri glumly scanned the giant crater that was once a smuggling tunnel used to support his family. After the Israeli airstrikes of the last week, Thursday morning was the first safe time to venture out. He discovered his tunnel was among 140 Israel destroyed. Now it's now a massive sand pit coated with gray explosives residue. It would take two months to rebuild at the cost of $20,000. "But I've heard that they are going to open the borders, which could put the tunnels out of business," he said.
November 22, 2012 | By Jeffrey Fleishman and Ramin Mostaghim, Los Angeles Times
CAIRO - Iran for years has supplied Hamas with weapons as part of its own struggle against Israel, but the conflict in the Gaza Strip reveals a shift in regional dynamics that may diminish Tehran's influence with Palestinian militant groups and strengthen the hand of Egypt. The longer-range missiles fired by Hamas over the last week - believed to be modifications of Iran's Fajr 5 missiles - startled Israel by landing near Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. A front-page story in Iran's conservative daily, Kayhan, boasted: "The missiles of resistance worked.
November 22, 2012 | By Mark Magnier, Los Angeles Times
KIRYAT MALACHI, Israel - As the news sunk in Thursday that a cease-fire had ended an eight-day crisis that saw about 1,500 rockets launched from the Gaza Strip, Israelis began cleaning up, rebuilding and getting their lives back in some semblance of order. Military flatbeds loaded with tanks headed north, away from Gaza, on Thursday as the Israeli government appointed two committees to help damaged communities and injured residents, tally the destruction and assess compensation. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged the panels to work "quickly and without bureaucracy.
November 21, 2012
Re "Strike adds urgency to Gaza talks," Nov. 19 To say Israel is defending itself against the Palestinians is turning the sequence of events on its head. Hamas and Israel had been observing a cease-fire, and no rockets were being fired on Israel. It was only a few days before the signing of the truce that a 13-year-old Gazan boy was reportedly killed by Israeli forces. Following the child's death, Israel assassinated a military leader of Hamas. President Obama stands alone in the world saying Israel has launched this attack to defend itself.
November 21, 2012 | By Paul Richter
WASHINGTON -- President Obama called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday to commend him for accepting an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire with Hamas, the White House said in a statement. It noted that Obama had urged Netanyahu to accept the deal. Obama also reiterated the U.S. commitment to Israel's security, and promised to expand spending on joint U.S.-Israeli missile defense programs. The American-financed Iron Dome anti-missile system intercepted most of the Palestinian rockets aimed at heavily populated areas of Israel and has been hailed as a success story of the eight-day conflict.
November 21, 2012 | By Edmund Sanders, Los Angeles Times
GAZA CITY - Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton pressed for an end to rocket attacks on Israel and a durable regional peace as she arrived in the Middle East to join efforts to end a week of fighting between Israel and the Islamist militant group Hamas. An agreement appeared close late Tuesday but proved elusive, and in the meantime violence continued. Hamas fired two more rockets toward Jerusalem but caused no damage or injuries. But rocket and mortar fire from the Gaza Strip killed an Israeli soldier and a Bedouin resident in southern Israel, increasing the Israeli death toll to five.
November 21, 2012 | Carol J. Williams
A weeklong battle between Israel and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip has turned the political kaleidoscope, shaking up and repositioning diplomatic forces tackling the Middle East's myriad conflicts. The broad alliance contending with the civil war in Syria has divided over who's to blame for the latest Israeli-Palestinian clash. Egypt, no longer moving in lockstep with Washington after last year's ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, is walking a fine line between defense of fellow Islamists in Hamas and commitment to the Arab-Israeli peace treaty.
November 21, 2012 | By Uri Resnick
Aeschylus said that "in war, truth is the first casualty. " Daud Kuttab has apparently taken this somewhat coy aphorism too literally, writing a Times Op-Ed article ("Israel's failed strategy," Nov. 20) so filled with manipulative argumentation that it wouldn't normally merit serious rebuttal, had it not appeared in this newspaper. Kuttab argues that Israel embraces a "theory of deterrence" with respect to the Gaza Strip. What he fails to point out is that Israel vacated Gaza completely in August 2005, uprooting thousands of Israelis from their homes in the process.
November 21, 2012 | By Emily Alpert
Egypt announced a cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas effective Wednesday evening local time, the Associated Press reported. In details of the agreement obtained by the news agency, Israel will cease all military activity against the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip at 9 p.m. local time (11 a.m. PST) and Palestinian militants will cease rocket attacks into Israel. After 24 hours of quiet, Gaza's border crossings with Israel will be opened further to allow freer movement of goods and people.
November 21, 2012 | By Jeffrey Fleishman and Reem Abdellatif
CAIRO -- Hamas and Israel agreed to a cease-fire that took effect Wednesday evening following a week of intense diplomacy to stop rocket fire and airstrikes that have pounded the Gaza Strip and Israel and raised fears of plunging the region into a wider war. The truce began at 9 p.m. local time and appeared at least initially to be taking hold. The deal was announced in Cairo by Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Amr and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who flew to the region Tuesday night as hopes for a truce remained elusive amid heavy artillery exchanges.
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