TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: July 28

1. Hamas doesn’t want to beat Israel in the current battle of Gaza, they want to beat Fatah for the hearts of the Palestinian people.

By Hicham Mourad in Al-Ahram

2. The State Department is fighting a losing social media war with terrorists.

By Jacob Silverman in Politico

3. We shouldn’t need a guide: When to use ethnic slurs.

By Eric Liu in the Atlantic

4. Beyond producing more scientists, STEM education gives us creative problem-solvers who thrive in business and leadership.

By Jonathan Wei in Quartz

5. Giving while living: Americans should engage in philanthropy when they’re young.

By Christopher Oechsli in the Chronicle of Philanthropy

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Middle East

U.N. Security Council Calls for Unconditional Cease-Fire in Gaza

The international body agreed on a demand for an immediate truce in Gaza on Monday, following the resumption of fighting between Hamas and Israel

+ READ ARTICLE

The UN Security Council called for “an immediate and unconditional humanitarian cease-fire” in the Gaza Strip, along with the “the delivery of urgently needed assistance” to the residents of the conflict-riven coastal territory during an emergency meeting in the early hours of Monday morning.

The 15-member council’s call for all “parties to engage in efforts to achieve a durable and fully respected cease-fire” came as the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr commenced on Monday, which marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

The renewed push for an end to hostilities follows the collapse of a humanitarian agreement over the weekend after Hamas fired a salvo of rockets into Israel that was then followed by the renewed shelling of Gaza by Israeli forces.

There is little evidence to suggest that either side trusts the other enough to follow through with another deal, according to Lina Khatib, the director of the Carnegie Middle East Center. “Israel and Hamas both did not abide by the truce even though they said they agreed to it. The fighting that’s restarted by both sides is a sign that each of them was expecting the other to break the truce first,” she told TIME.

“There’s a dynamic of mistrust that has overwhelmed any desire to engage in truces on both sides.”

During an interview with CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stressed that his administration was not obliged to agree to another armistice that would allow Hamas “to rearm, and continue firing on our citizens.”

“We’ll determine what is important for our own security in the way that we can to protect our people, including working against these terror tunnels that they’re digging against us,” said Netanyahu. “That’s how we’ll act.”

At least 999 Palestinians have been killed and another 6,233 injured during the first 20 days of Israeli military’s offensive into Gaza, according to the latest tally by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Forty-six Israelis have been killed, including two civilians and one foreign national.

Hamas has rejected several cease-fire initiatives, including the U.S.-backed deal tabled by Cairo earlier this month, and said it will continue to do so until the Netanyahu Administration agrees to terminate its seven-year blockade of Gaza. In an exclusive interview with Charlie Rose that is set to air on Monday, Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal reiterated the organization’s position. “Life is a right for our people in Palestine,” said Meshaal. “This is a collective punishment. We need to lift the siege.”

Analysts explain that Hamas’s obstinacy reflects the group’s desire to remain a political mainstay in the Israeli-Palestinian equation, after joining a unity government with the Palestinian Authority earlier this year. “Hamas wants to prove that it can make demands and it can deliver results,” says Khatib. “So it’s important for its own credibility to show that it can make demands and see the results.”

TIME Israel

Israel Acknowledges Mortar Strike at UN School, But Denies Casualties

Blood stains of displaced Palestinians are seen inside the UNRWA school in Beit Hanoun after it has been hit, Gaza Strip, July 24, 2014.
Blood stains of displaced Palestinians are seen inside the UNRWA school in Beit Hanoun after it had been hit, Gaza Strip, July 24, 2014. Alessio Romenzi for TIME

But Israel says the shell didn't kill anyone, while Palestinian officials claimed it took 16 lives

Israeli military officials acknowledged Sunday that a mortar shell fried by Israeli troops landed in the courtyard of a UN school in Gaza, but they deny reports the shell killed more than a dozen people when it exploded there Thursday.

Palestinian officials, meanwhile, have claimed the mortar killed 16 people and injured others at the Beit Hanoun school, which had been converted into a shelter for Gazans fleeing ongoing fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas fighters in the Gaza Strip.

“A single errant mortar landed” on the school, Israeli army spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said Sunday, citing an internal military probe, but he said it was “extremely unlikely that anybody was killed as a result of this mortar,” the Associated Press reports.

Israel first promised to investigate the incident after news reports citing witnesses, including a Reuters photographer on the scene, began to arise Thursday. Israel initially said that militants near the school had opened fire on Israeli troops, and the soldiers responded “in order to eliminate the threat posed to their lives.”

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon strongly condemned the attack Thursday, though he said at the time that “circumstances are still unclear.” Ban earlier said that rockets had been found in two separate evacuated UN schools, saying that “those responsible are turning schools into potential military targets.”

[AP]

TIME Israel

Hamas Agrees to Cease-Fire, but Rockets Keep Flying

PALESTINIAN-ISRAEL-CONFLICT-GAZA
Palestinians carry items and belongings they found in the rubble of destroyed buildings on July 27, 2014 in the Shejaiya residential district of Gaza City as families returned to find their homes ground into rubble by relentless Israeli tank fire and air strikes. Marco Longari—AFP/Getty Images

The governing authority in the Gaza strip agreed to a cease-fire, but the violence continues

Updated: 3:55 p.m. ET, July 27, 2014

Propositions for a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip collapsed Sunday, with the death toll on both sides increasing as Hamas continued to lob rockets into Israel and Israeli military forces renewed their ground operation in Gaza.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Hamas is “continuing all its operations” despite agreeing Sunday to a temporary cease-fire extension after it initially refused to do so.

“We’re faced with a very ruthless terrorist enemy,” Netanyahu told CNN on Sunday, accusing Hamas of hiding behind “civilians as human shields.”

By midafternoon on Sunday, militants had fired more than 40 rockets from Gaza, the Israeli military said, killing an Israeli soldier near the border. Meanwhile, Israeli troops pounded the coast, killing four Palestinians.

U.S. President Barack Obama spoke with Netanyahu by phone Sunday, according to a White House readout of the call, telling the Israeli leader the U.S. condemns Hamas’ attacks against Israel but also reiterating the U.S.’s “serious and growing concern” about casualties on both sides of the conflict, as well as “the worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza.” Obama also “made clear the strategic imperative” of an immediate humanitarian cease-fire that leads to a broader end to the violence.

On Saturday, after intense efforts by the U.S. and U.N., Hamas and Israeli agreed to a 12-hour lull, which allowed medics to collect close to 150 bodies and Palestinians to return to neighborhoods reduced to rubble, the Associated Press reports.

That cease-fire officially ended at 8 p.m. on Saturday, the New York Times reports, after which Israel announced it would hold fire for another 24 hours at the request of the U.N. Hamas, however, rejected Israel’s cease-fire extension on the grounds that Israeli forces would remain in Gaza. Israeli military spokesman Lieut. Colonel Peter Lerner said that Hamas fired 25 rockets and mortar shells into Israel. In response, Israel resumed its operations Sunday morning.

Early on Sunday — before a new wave of attacks began — Hamas backtracked and announced it would embrace a cease-fire.

Hamas’ decision came “in response to the intervention of the United Nations,” said a Hamas official in Gaza, and to aid the people of Gaza in preparation for Eid al-Fitr, the three-day holiday that marks the end of the Ramadan holy month. A spokesman for Hamas said the truce would go into effect at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

But as rocket fire continued on Sunday, the prospects of a lasting cease-fire dimmed. Hamas has said it will refuse a cease-fire as long as Israeli troops occupy the Gaza strip.

The latest attempt at a cease-fire deal comes 10 days after Israel launched a ground and aerial operation against Hamas targets in Gaza following several days of rocket and bombing attacks from both sides of the conflict. More than 1,050 Palestinians have been killed in the 20-day bombing and subsequent invasion, the vast majority of them civilians, according to Palestinian health officials. Two Israeli civilians and 43 Israeli soldiers have died.

[CNN]

TIME Israel

Cease-Fire Ends in Gaza

APTOPIX Mideast Israel Palestinians
A Palestinian woman carries her belongings past the rubble of houses destroyed by Israeli strikes in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip, July 26, 2014. Lefteris Pitarakis—AP

Israel reports rocket fire from Gaza

Updated 3:11 p.m. ET

The Israeli military reported rocket fire from Gaza Saturday after militant Islamic group Hamas rejected Israel’s proposed extension of a truce by four hours.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri rejected an offer announced by Israeli Cabinet member Yuval Steinitz to extend the 12-hour truce by four hours, the Associated Press reports.

The end of cease-fire comes on the same day as the death toll in Gaza hit 1,000 people, according to Gaza health official Asharf al-Kidra.

Western officials including U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon are currently meeting in Paris in an attempt to create a deal that could provide a longterm truce.

[AP]

TIME Israel

Israel Rejects Gaza Cease-Fire As Fresh Protests Rage in West Bank

Palestinian supporters of Hamas take shelter while clashing with Israeli security forces on July 25, 2014 near Ramallah, West Bank.
Palestinian supporters of Hamas take shelter while clashing with Israeli security forces on July 25, 2014 near Ramallah, West Bank. Andrew Burton—Getty Images

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has yet to successfully mediate a cease-fire

Palestinians marched on the Qalandia checkpoint, rocks and Molotov cocktails flew, and Israel Defense Forces soldiers responded with gunfire and tear gas. It’s 2014, but today it all looks achingly similar to 2000, the year the Second Intifada, or “uprising,” broke out.

Five West Bank Palestinians have been killed by IDF troops since Thursday night: two on Thursday night in Ramallah, and three more in the cities of Hebron and Nablus. A sixth Palestinian was killed by gunfire from a settler near the Hawara checkpoint south of Nablus, Israeli Radio reported.

“You’d better believe this is the start of the Third Intifada,” said Raed Froukh, 22. Froukh was part of a group of about 200 young Palestinians who threw rocks at Israeli soldiers Friday near a checkpoint on the outskirts of Ramallah – five minutes from the home of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas – and then ran for cover when the troops began shooting in the direction of the youths.

“Israel has been killing our people in Gaza, is refusing to allow us pray in the al Aqsa mosque, and is now shooting live bullets at demonstrators,” said Froukh. “I think this will be worse than the first two intifadas which we witnessed. And as you can see, it’s all the factions coming together to fight the occupation and show resistance everywhere we can.”

The outburst of Israeli-Palestinian violence comes against the backdrop of intense diplomatic activity, led by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, to reach a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. On Thursday, Hamas and the secular Fatah faction, led by President Abbas, presented a rare unified position, outlining joint demands for a ceasefire: First, they want Israel to lift its blockade of Gaza. Second, they want Hamas-affiliated Palestinians, released in 2011 in a prisoner exchange deal but re-arrested by Israel last month after the kidnapping and killing of three West Bank teenagers, set free once again. There are several other demands, including allowing Gazans to pray at the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem: they used to be permitted there, but some haven’t left Gaza since the Second Intifada almost 15 years ago.

Israel, meanwhile, has a different condition: The complete demilitarization of the Gaza Strip. That would prevent Hamas from preparing for that seems like an inevitable next round of fighting, given how frequently conflicts between it and Israel have cropped up in recent years. Israel’s disarmament demand mirrors that of 28 European Union foreign ministers, who also called for Hamas to be stripped of its arms this week.

Demilitarization, though, is a key sticking point standing in the way of a cease-fire deal. Gershon Baskin is an Israeli peace activist who has been involved in other back-channel cease-fire and prisoner exchange negotiations between Israel and Hamas. He said that asking Hamas to lay down all of its weapons is clearly a non-starter for the Palestinian side.

“Israel has defined its demands of ceasefire, which are probably totally unrealistic,” Baskin said. “Israel wants a demilitarization of Gaza, and if that is their demand, they probably won’t get a cease-fire.”

But neither has Hamas shown flexibility on the other demand, that of an immediate end to the violence. It has patently rejected Kerry’s proposal for a two-stage cease-fire – an immediate cessation of all hostilities followed by a five-day or one-week period to negotiate the exact terms. Meanwhile, Israel’s cabinet on Friday also rejected Kerry’s idea, according to Israeli media.

While Kerry and the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, kept trying to find the right cease-fire formula, the fighting plodded on. The IDF continued to attack Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip Friday, and Hamas kept lobbing rockets into Israel.

Still, the world’s attention on Friday turned to the West Bank, on a day poised for upheaval. The bloodshed in Gaza, with the death toll standing at 832 Palestinians (and 38 Israelis, most of them soldiers), has West Bank Palestinians outraged. Throughout the week, Palestinians in the West Bank had been gearing up to hold a rally, dubbed the #48Kmarch, to protest IDF actions in Gaza. That demonstration, which attracted thousands of Palestinians, came after recent rioting in Shuafat, a Palestinian neighborhood of northern Jerusalem under Israeli control. Those protests followed the death of a Palestinian teenager, Mohammed Abu Khdeir, who was kidnapped and killed earlier this month. The murder was allegedly committed by Israeli extremists in revenge for the June 12 kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teens in the West Bank – Naftali Frenkel, Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Sha’er – which prompted Israel to launch a campaign of night raids and arrests around the West Bank. Following the raids and arrests, Hamas in Gaza began launching rockets at Israel daily, and about a week later, Israel launched “Operation Protective Edge,” its invasion of Gaza.

Thursday night and Friday also happened to be Laylat al-Qadr – usually translated as “Night of Destiny” or “Night of Power” – one of the holiest days of Ramadan. The killing of two Palestinians during the protests led Fatah and other Palestinian factions to declare Friday a “day of rage in support of bleeding, besieged Gaza.” Hamas spokesmen in the Gaza Strip urged Palestinians to use the moment launch a new intifada against Israel.

Samira Hamdan, 36, was one of many Palestinians who hung back and watched the slightly younger and mostly male Palestinians charge at the Israeli soldiers with rocks outside Ramallah, then attempt to escape to safety when the shooting ensues – a well-worn dance of years past.

“I am saddened to say that it really does feel like this is the Third Intifada,” she said. “This means more deaths and harsher conditions than ever before. But it’s not just Gaza or Mohammed Abu Khdeir. It’s the night invasions of homes, the re-imprisonment of released prisoners, and more deaths which have caused the Palestinian people to explode.”

- with reporting by Rami Nazzal in Ramallah

TIME Israel

Israeli Media: Israel Rejects Gaza Truce Plan

Israeli APCs drive near the Israeli border with Gaza as the come out of the Gaza Strip July 25, 2014.
Israeli APCs drive near the Israeli border with Gaza as the come out of the Gaza Strip July 25, 2014. Nir Elias—Reuters

(JERUSALEM) — Israeli media say the country’s Security Cabinet has unanimously rejected a U.S. proposal for a temporary pause in Israel-Hamas fighting.

The proposal by Secretary of State John Kerry calls for a temporary truce during which Israel and Hamas would hold indirect talks about easing the border closure of the blockaded Gaza Strip. Hamas has demanded that Gaza’s crossings be opened.

Israel TV reports that on Friday evening, Israel’s Security Cabinet — which groups top ministers on security issues — rejected the proposal in its current form Friday, mainly because it would mean Israel has to cut short an ongoing effort to destroy Hamas military tunnels under the Gaza-Israel border.

There was no immediate Israeli government comment.

TIME Middle East

Hamas Still Has Some Friends Left

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses his supporters at parliament in Ankara, Turkey, July 22, 2014.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses his supporters at parliament wearing a Palestinian keffiyeh, in Ankara, July 22, 2014. Burhan Ozbilici—AP

Though Egypt has turned its back on Hamas, other countries are coming in from the cold

With the fighting in Gaza intensifying daily, the ruling militant group Hamas is finding itself pushed to the limit. Trying to match Israel’s vast military might is an impossible task, and even finding the resources to launch rocket attacks against Israeli targets could only be achieved by heavy foreign investment.

But which country wants to invest in Hamas? The West certainly doesn’t. The militant Palestinian organization has been a firm fixture on the United States’ Foreign Terrorist Organizations list since 1997. Hamas’ only hope is its neighbors in the Arab world.

Hamas has two clear allies, according to Middle East experts: Qatar and Turkey. Both have given Hamas their public support and financial assistance estimated to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

“Qatar also hosts Hamas’ political bureau which includes Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal,” says Shashank Joshi, Senior Research Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute. “Qatar has a long history of providing shelter to Islamist groups, amongst them the Muslim Brotherhood and the Taliban.”

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party, which came to power in 2002, supports what Joshi calls “other neo-Islamist allies.” Though the Turkish government explicitly rejects the label “Islamist”, their social conservatism is inspired by an Islamic ideology that Hamas shares. Last year, Meshaal visited Turkey and met with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for several hours.

Both Qatar — one of the world’s richest states — and Turkey are powerful allies to have, but Hamas might wish for more support given the breadth of the Arab world. It once had it, too. Hamas used to be strongly allied with both Iran and Syria, with the former giving Hamas an estimated $13-15 million a month as recently as 2011, as well as long-range missiles. Hamas’ political bureau used to be based in the Syrian capital of Damascus before its move to Qatar in 2012.

But relations cooled dramatically with Iran and Syria amid sectarian divisions following the outbreak of the Syrian civil war. Iran, a Shia-majority country, backed the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad whose Alawite faith is a branch of Shia Islam. Hezbollah, a powerful Shia Islamist group based in Lebanon, also took Assad’s side.

However Hamas, a Sunni-led faction, sided, as most of the Arab world did, with the rebels. Cue Tehran cutting their allowance, Hezbollah allegedly ordering Hamas members out of Lebanon, and Hamas packing their bags for Qatar.

“Iran’s relationship with Hamas was always problematic,” says Chris Doyle, director of the Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding. “Hamas is a Palestinian Sunni group and Iran is Shia. Nevertheless, Hamas was their entry into the issue of Palestine.”

Seeking to regain its influence over this issue, Iran has attempted to foster a reconciliation with Hamas over the last 18 months. Farwaz Gerges, professor on the Middle East at the London School of Economics says the conflict in Gaza is the reason. “The current crisis has brought a kind of rapprochement between Iranian leaders and Hamas.”

Hezbollah too, Gerges notes, has invited Hamas back into the fold. On Monday, the Hezbollah-owned television channel Al Manar reported that Hezbollah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, praised Meshaal for “the persistence of the Hamas resistance.” The TV station added he “strongly supported their rightful demands to end the current battle.”

Gerges is quick to point out that this doesn’t signal “a return to the warm days of the Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas leaders.” However he adds: “Out of this particular crisis, a new realignment might happen.” That may sound like good news for Hamas, but there’s another Arab country that is of late vehemently opposed to it. That would be Egypt, the largest and most influential country in the Arab world and the one responsible for drafting a potential cease-fire.

From 2012 to 2013, Hamas enjoyed Egypt’s munificence under the leadership of former President Mohamed Morsi, a longtime member of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood of which Hamas is an offshoot. When Morsi was ousted last year and replaced with Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, Hamas knew the good times were over.

“The most devastating thing that has happened to Hamas is the ousting of Mohamed Morsi,” comments Gerges. Sisi, whose government has orchestrated a violent crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, destroyed Hamas’ tunnel network into Egypt and closed the border crossing at Rafah, devastating Hamas’ finances. The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, two of Egypt’s financial backers, are also hostile to Hamas. Like Egypt, they view the Muslim Brotherhood as a clear domestic threat — and Hamas is guilty by association.

But perhaps Hamas doesn’t need Egypt. As the death toll continues to rise in Gaza, there is a groundswell of public sympathy across the Arab world for the group.

“Hamas in terms of people on the street is at the height of its political power in every single Arab country with the exception of Egypt,” says Gerges. “The longer the conflict continues, the more they gain in popularity. And for Hamas, what really matters is the public pulse.”

TIME Israel

Israel Says Soldier Missing in Gaza Confirmed Dead

(JERUSALEM) — The Israeli military says an Israel soldier Hamas claimed to have captured in the Gaza Strip earlier this week was in fact killed in battle on that day.

The Islamic militant Hamas announced late Sunday that it was holding Oron Shaul and gave his purported military ID. An Israeli soldier in the hands of Hamas could have been a game changer in the current round of Israel-Hamas fighting and efforts to end it.

The military said in an announcement Friday that Shaul was killed in battle in Gaza on Sunday.

TIME Morning Must Reads

Morning Must Reads: July 25

Capitol
The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson—Getty Images

In the news: Secretary of State John Kerry proposes plan to halt the fighting in the Gaza Strip; Obama Administration considers refugee status for Honduras; Veteran Affairs reform efforts break up; New Jersey Governor Chris Christie battered by fellow Republican governors

  • “Secretary of State John Kerry has proposed a two-stage plan to halt the fighting in the Gaza Strip that would first impose a weeklong truce starting Sunday…” [NYT]
    • “Gaza officials said Israeli strikes killed 27 people on Friday, including the head of media operations for Hamas ally Islamic Jihad and his son. They put the number of Palestinian deaths in 18 days of conflict at 819, most of them civilians.” [Reuters]
  • “U.S. defense and diplomatic officials said Thursday that Russia is firing artillery across its border at Ukrainian military positions, an assertion that Moscow now is directly engaging in hostilities against Ukrainian government forces.” [WSJ]
  • “When President Obama issues executive orders on immigration in coming weeks, pro-reform activists are expecting something dramatic: temporary relief from deportation and work authorization for perhaps several million undocumented immigrants. If the activists are right, the sweeping move would upend a contentious policy fight and carry broad political consequences.” [TIME]
    • “Members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus plan to meet with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and White House counsel Neil Eggleston at the White House on Friday morning.” [TIME]
  • “Hoping to stem the recent surge of migrants at the Southwest border, the Obama administration is considering whether to allow hundreds of minors and young adults from Honduras into the United States without making the dangerous trek through Mexico…” [NYT]
  • How VA Reform Fell Apart In Less Than 4 Days [HuffPost]
  • “Boehner told reporters that the House will pass a short-term continuing resolution to keep the government open sometime in September, avoiding a government shutdown that would otherwise occur on the last day of the month. The legislation would likely expire in early December…” [National Journal]
  • Chris Christie Battered By His GOP Rivals on Governors’ Circuit [TIME]
  • The drug that’s forcing America’s most importatant—and uncomfortable—health-care debate [WashPost]

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