Morning Report: June 29, 2006

Spawned in some train station in Antwerp? Israel continues its operation in Gaza, while Europe comes to grips with a grisly murder in its midst.

Israel/Gaza: Summer Rain bulletins. Via Stratfor (subscription service):
1309 GMT - An Israeli airstrike against the car of a senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant in Gaza City only wounded the intended target, Reuters reported June 29, citing unnamed Palestinian security sources. The sources gave no details about the militant's identity.

1307 GMT - Israeli troops took 64 Hamas officials into custody during early morning raids in the Palestinian territories June 29. The detainees include seven members of the Hamas government's Cabinet, as well as 20 parliamentarians. Israeli officials said the detainees will be questioned and eventually indicted on charges stemming from the abduction of Israeli Cpl. Gilad Shlit in Gaza on June 25.

1306 GMT - Palestinian gunmen blew a 13-foot-wide hole in the border wall separating the Gaza Strip from Egypt on June 29, following Israeli incursions into Gaza to free a kidnapped Israeli soldier.

Aluf Benn: Summer Rain's two goals. Aluf Benn in Ha'Aretz on the newly uninhibited Olmert's strategy: 'Nine and a half months after completion of the pullout from the Gaza Strip, the IDF reoccupied it. The horror scenario of those who objected to the pullout has come true. Israel discovered that it could not just leave and throw away the key, that the Green Line in Gaza did not deter the Palestinians, and that the Palestinians ignored Israeli threats of harsh retaliation. ...' Benn's analysis concludes that the Israeli operation might work toward two possible goals:
Two possible goals come to mind: one is an internationally backed cease-fire, similar to the Grapes of Wrath understandings achieved in Lebanon in the 1990s. The Summer Rains understandings may include the curtailing of the assassinations in exchange for the cessation of Qassam fire. The question is whether there is a responsible body in Gaza with which to make such a deal, as was the case with Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The second, more ambitious target, would be toppling the Hamas government and reinstating Fatah. This would be vindicated in the world as a move against a criminal terror government and creating a partner for future negotiations over the West Bank. The question is whether Israel has enough power to overthrow the Palestinian government.

Read the full article at the link. (Ha'Aretz)

Israel arrests Palestinian officials. Ha'Aretz: 'Palestinian Deputy Prime Minister Nasser a-Shaer, who evaded capture by Israel Defense Forces troops during the mass arrest of Hamas officials before dawn Thursday, has gone into hiding in the West Bank. A-Shaer has disconnected all his cellular telephones out of fear Israeli security services would again attempt to track him down and arrest him. The detentions of senior Hamas officials were part of Israel's expanded military operation against the Hamas-led government in the Palestinian Authority.' (Ha'Aretz)

Asheri was shot in head immediately after kidnapping. Jerusalem Post: 'The IDF confirmed early Thursday a report the Popular Resistance Committees issued from Gaza that it had executed Eliyahu Asheri, 18, of Itamar, who was kidnapped earlier this week in the West Bank. Asheri's family has been notified.' (JPost)

Train conductor kicked to death in Antwerp. Brussels Journal:
The Belgian state is no longer able to guarantee the security of its citizens. On Saturday afternoon Guido Demoor, a 54-year old Flemish train conductor on his way to work, was kicked to death by six “youths” on a crowded bus near Antwerp’s Central Station. The incident recalls the rush-hour murder ten weeks ago of Joe Van Holsbeeck, 17 years of age, in a crowded Brussels Central Station on 12 April.

Guido Demoor, a father of two, intervened when six “youths” got on bus 23 in Antwerp and began to intimidate passengers. There were some forty people on the bus. Demoor asked the “youths” to calm down, whereupon they turned on him, savagely beating and kicking the man. At the next stop thirty passengers fled the bus. The thugs kept beating Demoor. They then pulled the emergency brake and jumped from the bus leaving their victim to die.

Three Moroccans, two of whom are minors, were arrested today. The website of the Dutch paper De Stentor reports tonight that a fourth suspect, believed to be the ringleader, fled into a shop as the police were poised to arrest him. He managed to escape from the shop when dozens of “youths” came to his rescue. ...

Jonah's military guys 'wonder what, besides anguished hand-wringing and pompous bloviating, will result?' (Brussels Journal via Arrgggh)

Zaman: Iranian spies in Basra. Iran Focus: 'Agents of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) are fomenting unrest in Iraq’s southern city of Basra, the Iraqi daily az-Zaman reported on Thursday. Az-Zaman quoted Iraqi counter-intelligence sources as saying that fighters were being trained in Lebanon under MOIS supervision and sent via the Iranian border to infiltrate Basra. Some of the fighters were being incorporated into the al-Hussein Battalion which has been responsible for numerous targeted killings and assassinations in Basra.' (Iran Focus)

Briefly noted. Sandmonkey confides to a chat pal that "the Jews aren't like us", while Big Pharaoh observes that the Middle East isn't Norway.

Commentary. The other day, Wretchard at The Belmont Club was reminded of an earlier moment in history. And yet there's a certain inversion here: unlike the world of the 1930s and 1940s, today's world sees a Jewish facing a national and external struggle; while Europe, ostensibly evolving toward a single, ├╝ber-state, deals with an internal, existential crisis.