Sunday, August 21, 2011

Israel and Hamas (assisted by Egyptian mediators) agree to restore their cease-fire, ending 4 days of cross-border violence. Hamas says it has secured the agreement of the smaller Palestinian factions and will enforce a moratorium on rocket and mortar fire. A PRC spokesman says, however, that the PRCs will not abide by the cease-fire. Before the new cease-fire goes into effect, unidentified Palestinians fire as many as 27 rockets (including 5 Grads) and 2 mortars into Israel, damaging an empty school but causing no injuries. The IDF carries out 6 air strikes and 2 artillery strikes on the rocket launch site, empty Hamas training sites, and a police station, injuring 12 Palestinians (3 militants and 9 bystanders, including 5 children). In the West Bank, the IDF conducts arrest raids and house searches in Dahaysha r.c. nr. Bethlehem. (JP, PCHR, YA 8/21; NYT, WP, WT, YA 8/22; WP 8/23; PCHR 8/25; OCHA 8/26)

An Israeli military delegation arrives in Egypt to discuss the preliminary findings of its investigation of the deaths of the 3 Egyptian soldiers, securing a new Gaza cease-fire (agreed later in the day), and repairing bilateral relations. U.S. asst. secy. of state for Near Eastern affairs Jeffrey Feltman and UN coordinator for the Middle East peace process Robert Serry are also in Cairo to help mediate. Around this time, Israeli DM Ehud Barak sends the message to Egypt’s transitional military council that they may skirt provisions of the 1979 peace treaty and send as many troops, armored vehicles, and helicopters into the Sinai as necessary to restore order and guarantee border security. In Cairo, 100s of Egyptian protesters keep up a demonstration outside the Israeli emb., calling for the amb. to be expelled and the emb. removed. (NYT 8/22; WP 8/23; NYT 8/27)