William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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MIDEAST BOILS – AT 9:42 A.M. ET:  The fighting between Israel and Hamas continues.  We can be thankful for the ineptitude of Arab rocketeers, who fired two more rockets at Tel Aviv today, and missed, but the possibility of major escalation is very real. 

JERUSALEM — A temporary truce between Israel and Gaza militants during a Friday morning visit by Egyptian Prime Minister Hesham Kandil quickly crumbled as Palestinians continued to lob rockets across the border and Israeli aircraft responded with renewed airstrikes.

In a short tour of the coastal enclave with Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, Kandil visited a hospital treating wounded victims and appeared at a news conference flanked by guards in olive flak jackets.

“This tragedy cannot be ignored, and the whole world has to shoulder the responsibility to stop its aggression,” Kandil said, growing emotional as he held up his sleeves to show what he said were spots of blood and described seeing a dead child. “We are standing with you.”

One strike during Kandil’s visit hit a house, killing a child and a militant inside, Gaza medical officials said. Those deaths raise the Palestinian death toll in Gaza to 21, the officials said. Two Israeli men and one woman were killed Thursday morning when a rocket slammed into their fourth-story apartment in the working-class town of Kiryat Malakhi, about 18 miles north of Gaza.

Kandil’s visit followed a night of intense airstrikes, which Israel had promised Thursday evening after Gaza militants targeted the populous Tel Aviv region with rockets. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned of exacting a “heavy price; the Israeli military said it hit about 150 rocket-launching sites in Gaza overnight, strikes it said significantly slowed rocket fire. Friday morning, the army announced that it had begun calling up 16,000 reservists for a possible ground operation.

COMMENT:  We Americans are being repaid for the blunders of the Obama administration's foreign policy, carried out with some enthusiasm by Hillary Clinton and her heiress apparent, Susan Rice.  There was a time when Egypt, under American ally Hosni Mubarak, refused to stand with the recklessness of the Hamas crazies.  But Mubarak was shoved out, with Obama doing some of the shoving, and the Muslim Brotherhood has come into power.  Now the Egyptian prime minister rushes into Gaza to embrace the Hamas "fighters."

The Islamist regime in Turkey, also warmly embraced by Obama, is siding with Hamas.  President Obama describes Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan as his closest friend in the Mideast.  Amazing.

At the same time, be aware of mass demonstrations in Jordan against the government of King Abdullah, possibly America's best ally in the Arab world, and a man who, following the tradition of his late father, King Hussein, rejects Islamism.   So far the Obamans have had the common sense to back Abdullah, but we wonder how long that will last.   The Muslim Brotherhood is behind some of the protests, and Obama seems to have a soft spot in his otherwise hard heart for the brothers.

This is all day by day.  Should Hezbollah, based in Lebanon and supported by Iran, start firing rockets at Tel Aviv, all bets are off.

November 16, 2012