Egypt Brokered A Cease-Fire with Hamas After Botched Operation Led Israel to the Brink of War with Palestinians

Israeli forces covertly entered the Gaza Strip on Sunday in a civilian car with some soldiers reported to be dressed as women, which drew suspicion and led to an exchange of gunfire that killed seven Palestinians, including one senior Hamas military commander.  An Israeli lieutenant colonel also was killed. Israel claimed the action was an intelligence operation, not an assassination or abduction mission. The exchange of fire came as Israeli and Hamas leaders appeared to be making progress toward an unofficial cease-fire. Israel has allowed new shipments of diesel fuel to Gaza’s power plant, which now is supplying more hours of electricity to residents of the impoverished enclave. Hamas distributed $15-million in Qatari-donated cash as back pay to thousands of its civil servants who have received only a fraction of their salaries for months.  About 170 Palestinians have been killed since March in protests demanding the right to return to their ancestral homes.
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Hamas responded to the Israeli incursion with a barrage of 200 rockets and it shot an anti-tank missile into southern Israel that struck a bus and wounded one man. Israel countered with fiery airstrikes that killed three Palestinians. Israeli jets bombed the studios of Al-Aqsa Television, Hamas’s TV station in the Gaza Strip, and the massive fireball took out the ability to broadcast. Hamas has accepted an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire. -GEG

JERUSALEM — A covert Israeli operation in the Gaza Strip apparently went bad on Sunday, leaving at least seven Palestinians dead, including one senior Hamas military commander, and puncturing a nascent cease-fire with a flurry of airstrikes and rocket fire.

An Israeli lieutenant colonel was killed and another officer was wounded in the action near Khan Younis, the first known Israeli ground incursion into Gaza since Operation Protective Edge, in July 2014, set off a seven-week war.

The impetus for the Israeli operation and its nature were unclear. Reports in the Israeli news media generally described it as an intelligence mission that went awry.

Palestinian militants responded with waves of rockets aimed at Israeli communities near Gaza, and Israeli aircraft pounded targets in Gaza for a time. With sirens going off repeatedly in the Gaza periphery, Israel ordered its citizens there to remain close to air-raid shelters and schools were closed on Monday.

The Israeli military took the unusual step of announcing that none of its personnel had been captured in Gaza. And by early Monday, the Israeli news media were playing down the significance of the country’s soldiers operating in Gaza territory.

A former Israeli military commander in charge of long-range missions, Tal Russo, made the rounds of television studios assuring viewers this had been an intelligence operation, not an assassination or abduction mission. It was of the sort, he said, that “are carried out all the time, every night and in all fronts.”

Whatever the incursion’s purpose, the fighting it set off threatened to damage, if not scuttle, delicate multilateral efforts to calm the Israel-Gaza border.

Those efforts have appeared to be bearing fruit.

Israel has allowed new shipments of diesel fuel to Gaza’s power plant, which is supplying many more hours of electricity to residents of the impoverished enclave. Over the weekend, Hamas distributed $15 million in Qatari-donated cash as back pay to thousands of its civil servants who have received only a fraction of their salaries for months.

But the perception that Israel, by allowing the fuel and cash shipments into Gaza, was paying off Hamas set off acrimonious wrangling between two rival right-wing members of Israel’s security cabinet.

Earlier Sunday, Education Minister Naftali Bennett called the cash infusion “protection money.” Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman accused Mr. Bennett of having supported such payments and of having opposed in recent weeks the more aggressive military reprisals against Hamas that Mr. Lieberman favored.

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The Koch Brothers Are Spending Millions to Push DACA Amnesty through Congress Before the End of the Year

US: The Koch brothers, who back immigration and cheap labor, are working aggressively to push amnesty for 3.5-million illegal aliens who are enrolled and eligible for President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.  In addition to DACA, they also are pushing for prison release and so-called free trade during the lame duck session of Congress before House Democrats are handed the majority in the new year.  The Koch brothers have said they oppose President Trump’s plan to end chain migration that allows newly naturalized citizens are allowed to bring an unlimited number of foreign relatives to the country.  The Koch brothers also support the anchor baby policy of birthright citizenship. -GEG

The pro-mass immigration GOP megadonor billionaire Koch brothers will “work aggressively” before the year’s end to obtain amnesty for the 3.5 million illegal aliens who are enrolled and eligible for President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

The Koch brothers’ network of organizations — which campaigned for Democrats’ open borders policies in the midterm elections — are seeking to ram through their agenda of amnesty, prison release, and more free trade during the lame duck session of Congress before House Democrats are handed the majority in the new year. The year-end agenda is being launched with a multi-million dollar campaign.

A spokesman for the Koch brothers told NBC News:

“We will work aggressively to bring together a divided government to address these critical issues,” said James Davis, a Koch Network spokesman. “It’s a bold, positive vision for what we must do to help people improve their lives.” [Emphasis added]

“We see an opportunity to engage the American people to address some of the toughest problems facing our country: a broken criminal justice system, an immigration system that prevents good people from contributing, eliminating cronyism and promoting open trade,” Davis said. [Emphasis added]

The Koch brothers’ agenda includes securing amnesty for all DACA-enrolled and eligible illegal aliens — a population of about 3.5 million — while also lobbying Congress to pass legislation that would immediately release 4,000 convicts from federal prison.

The prison release legislation has been touted by first daughter and White House adviser Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner. The plan, though, is staunchly opposed by conservative leaders who say the legislation would reduce sentences and prison time for hardened drug traffickers.

Months ago, the Koch brothers launched a similar campaign to demand the Republican-controlled Congress pass DACA amnesty. In an ad, the Koch organizations called DACA illegal aliens “patriots” who “work hard” and “put food on the table.”

Currently, the U.S. admits more than 1.5 million legal and illegal immigrants every year, with more than 70 percent coming to the country through the process known as “chain migration,” whereby newly naturalized citizens are allowed to bring an unlimited number of foreign relatives to the country.

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2018 Midterm Update: What Has Changed Since Election Night

Since Election Day, Democrats have gained an additional three seats in the House, winning 30 seats overall to dominate the House with 225 seats so far.  Republicans did win one seat post-Election Day and currently have 200 seats.  Ten House seats are still undecided.  In an upset in the Senate, Arizona’s Republican seat that was won by Martha McSally on Election Day has been flipped blue as mail-in ballots gave controversial Democrat candidate Kyrsten Sinema the win.  Democrats now hold 47 Senate seats, while Republicans maintain a slim majority of 51 seats after the loss.  One Senate seat is still in play as Mississippi will hold a runoff vote on November 27.  Democrats in Florida are fighting to take Republican Rick Scott’s Election Day victory, which would remove the current Republican majority in the Senate.  Democrats have picked up seven governors’ seats, giving them control of 23 governorships. Republicans control 25.  There are two gubernatorial races that are still undecided.

The state of play in key races has shifted since election night almost one week ago, offering a different picture of where the balance of power will stand in Washington come January.

Democrats have taken the lead in a handful of key House races while the margin in Florida’s senate race has narrowed, forcing a recount.
A key US Senate race in Arizona was settled on Monday night — six days after Election Day — when Republican Rep. Martha McSally conceded to Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema.
Two governors’ races remain undecided in Georgia and Florida.
Here’s a breakdown of where key races stand:

House

In the six days since election night, Democrats picked up three House seats, while Republicans picked up one.
Democrats so far have picked up a net of 30 seats in the House of Representatives, with 10 key races still undecided. That brings the current balance of power tally to 225 Democratic-held seats and 200 Republican seats.
In the still undecided races, Democrats have taken the lead in four since election night to give them an overall advantage in seven out of 10 of them.
CA-10: Democrat Josh Harder leads Republican Rep. Jeff Denham (lead flipped since election night)

California

House 10

est. 100% in
candidate votes %
Harder 96,320
51.3%
Denham 91,401
48.7%
CA-39: Republican Young Kim leads Democrat Gil Cisneros

California

House 39

est. 100% in
candidate votes %
Kim 93,452
50.2%
Cisneros 92,741
49.8%
CA-45: Democrat Katie Porter leads Republican Rep. Mimi Walters (lead has flipped since election night)

California

House 45

est. 100% in
candidate votes %
Porter 116,732
50.1%
Walters 116,471
49.9%
CA-48: Democrat Harley Rouda leads Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (lead has grown since election night)

California

House 48

est. 100% in
candidate votes %
Rouda 118,210
52.3%
Rohrabacher 107,612
47.7%
CA-49: Democrat Mike Levin leads Republican Diane Harkey (lead has grown since election night)

California

House 49

est. 100% in
candidate votes %
Levin 123,328
55.0%
Harkey 101,048
45.0%
GA-7: Republican Rep. Rob Woodall leads Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux

Georgia

House 7

est. 100% in
candidate votes %
Woodall 139,837
50.2%
Bourdeaux 138,936
49.8%
NJ-3: Democrat Andrew Kim leads Republican Rep. Tom MacArthur (lead has flipped since election night)

New Jersey

House 3

est. 100% in
candidate votes %
Kim 150,405
49.9%
MacArthur 146,978
48.8%
NM-2: Democrat Xochitl Torres Small leads Republican Yvette Herrell (lead has flipped since election night)

New Mexico

House 2

est. 98% in
candidate votes %
Torres Small 100,570
50.9%
Herrell 97,031
49.1%
UT-4: Democrat Ben McAdams leads Republican Rep. Mia Love

Utah

House 4

est. 100% in
candidate votes %
McAdams 115,549
50.3%
Love 114,320
49.7%
ME-2: Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin (46.1%) leads Democrat Jared Golden (45.9%) (this race is headed to a ranked-choice runoff)

Senate

Republicans currently hold 51 seats. Democrats hold 47 seats.
One key Senate race remains undecided, and Mississippi will head to a runoff November 27.
The biggest shifts since election night: Democrats picked up a seat in Arizona, and the Republican lead in Florida has narrowed, forcing a recount.
Arizona: Democrat Sinema defeated Republican McSally

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