Wednesday, August 1, 2012

U.S. defense secy. Leon Panetta arrives in Israel for a 2-day visit intended to calm Israeli fears over Iran and to project a U.S.-Israeli unified front. He urges Israel to allow sanctions and diplomacy time to work and to avoid unilateral actions. Separately, Israeli PM Netanyahu warns that ‘‘time to resolve this issue peacefully is running out.’’ Meanwhile, anonymous U.S. admin. officials say (NYT 8/2) they are optimistic that ‘‘Israel has no imminent plans to attack and may be willing to let the United States take the lead in any future military strike, which they say would not occur until next year at the earliest.’’ (Defense News 8/1; NYT, WP 8/2; WP 8/21)

IDF troops make a predawn incursion into c. Gaza to level land and clear lines of sight along the border fence e. of alMaghazi r.c.; they withdraw later in the morning. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts late-night arrest raids, house searches nr. Jenin. (PCHR 8/2, 8/9; OCHA 8/10)

Around this date, House Foreign Affairs Comm. mbr. Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) launches a new congressional caucus, the Congressional HellenicIsraeli Alliance, aimed at supporting the growing bilateral relationship between Israel and Greece, and on a broader level, Cyprus. It is also aimed at reinforcing a budding U.S.-Israeli-Greek-Cypriot alliance to pressure Turkey on regional affairs. (The Hill 8/7)