World View: Report: Comprehensive Hamas – Israel Peace Agreement is ‘Imminent’

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This morning’s key headlines from

  • Thunderstorms in Tianjin China may release hydrogen cyanide
  • Report: Comprehensive Hamas – Israel peace agreement is ‘imminent’
  • Perpetrator unknown for bombing in downtown Bangkok Thailand

Thunderstorms in Tianjin China may release hydrogen cyanide

Thunderstorms are forecast on Wednesday in Tianjin China (Weather Channel)
Thunderstorms are forecast on Wednesday in Tianjin China (Weather Channel)

Last week’s disastrous explosions in Tianjin, China, occurred in a warehouse containing toxic industrial chemicals including hundreds of tons of sodium cyanide, which emits deadly hydrogen cyanide when mixed with water, and calcium carbide, which explodes on contact with water.

Wednesday’s weather forecast calls for thunderstorms, followed by five more days of rain. Want China Times and Weather Channel

Report: Comprehensive Hamas – Israel peace agreement is ‘imminent’

Details are beginning to emerge of an imminent agreement, first reported last week, mediated by former British prime minister Tony Blair, between Hamas and Israel. According to reports, the agreement has been endorsed by Hamas’s Shura Council, the movement’s highest deliberative body, and Hamas’s leader Khaled Mashaal. Israel’s government is not commenting.

The terms of the reported deal are:

  • Gaza will be allowed to import merchandise through a “floating port” located 3 kilometers (1.8 miles) off the coast.”
  • An intermediary port will be established in Cyprus, where all Gaza-bound merchandise will be scrutinized by NATO representatives.
  • Hamas will agree to stop launching rockets into Israel and digging subterranean attack tunnels underneath the border for a period of at least eight years.
  • Israel has will allow thousands of Gazan day laborers to enter Israel through the Erez crossing.

The Palestinian Authority (PA/PLO), which governs the West Bank, is opposed to the deal because it excludes the PA, and does take into account the needs of the West Bank. A PA press statement asks:

Why has the land corridor with the West Bank, known as the ‘safe passage,’ not been proposed before anything else, given that the PLO delegation raised the issue forcefully? Is Gaza a humanitarian issue [only] or is it part of the Palestinian homeland?

The deal was negotiated with Qatar and Turkey. Concerns have also been raised that Egypt did not participate. Times of Israel and Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Perpetrator unknown for bombing in downtown Bangkok, Thailand

Thailand is in shock over the bomb explosion in Bangkok on Monday. The pipe bomb was planted in the busiest part of the shopping district, near the Erawan Shrine, a Hindu shrine that’s also a big tourist attraction. There were 19 people killed, mostly Asian tourists.

No one has claimed responsibility for the bombing, and analysts are suggesting several possibilities:

  • For over a decade, there’s been a Malay Muslim separatist movement in southern Thailand, on the border with Malaysia, far away from Bangkok. However, that group has never been active outside of a small region in southern Thailand.
  • In the last few years, there have been several spurts of deadly violence between the minority light-skinned “yellow shirt” élite, mostly of Chinese descent, known as Thai-Chinese, versus the much larger dark-skinned “red shirt” population of mostly indigenous ethnic Thais, known as Thai-Thais. The former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his sister, the former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, are both extremely popular with the red shirts, but both were forced out of office by the élite white shirts, backed by the army. So it is possible that someone from the red shirts planted the bomb, as a protest against the white shirts.
  • On the other hand, it’s possible that someone from the white shirts or from the army planted the bomb, as a different protest against some government policy.
  • Last month, Thailand forcibly returned to China 109 Uighurs who had left China to travel to Turkey. China had demanded their return, and Thai complied, infuriating the Uighur community. It’s possible that a Uighur protester planted the bomb.

This attack was large enough to shock all of Thailand, but it’s not the first attack. Two pipe bombs exploded outside a luxury shopping mall in the same area in February, but caused little damage. Bangkok Post and BBC and Bangkok Post (4-Aug)

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, China, Tianjin, hydrogen cyanide, Hamas, Israel, Gaza, Khaled Mashaal, Cyprus, Palestinian Authority, Qatar, Turkey, Egypt, Thailand, Bangkok, Erawan Shrine, Malay Muslims, yellow shirts, red shirts, Thaksin Shinawatra, Yingluck Shinawatra, China, Uighurs
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