Let’s start today’s Middle East coverage with a hint of hope (and a reminder that there are people on both sides of the conflict who have wanted and worked for peace for years). A group of Jews and Arabs in Israel has a ‘radical’ idea — protecting one another as fear reigns. “Their mostly leftist movement is a fringe one, a relative speck of cooperation in a land where ethnic and territorial strife is once again reaching a crescendo. But on a recent humid night, their task was mixing: Israeli Arabs and Jews — and wallpaper paste.”

+ Dennis Ross who has spent decades on peacemaking and conflict resolution in the Middle East and elsewhere, in the NYT (Gift Article): I Might Have Once Favored a Cease-Fire With Hamas, but Not Now. “Israel is not alone in believing it must defeat Hamas. Over the past two weeks, when I talked to Arab officials throughout the region whom I have long known, every single one told me that Hamas must be destroyed in Gaza. They made clear that if Hamas is perceived as winning, it will validate the group’s ideology of rejection, give leverage and momentum to Iran and its collaborators and put their own governments on the defensive. But they said this in private. Their public postures have been quite different.”

+ Getting rid of Hamas may be a widely held goal in the region. It’s not an easy task and it will cost countless innocent lives. The Hamas tunnel city beneath Gaza – a hidden frontline for Israel.

+ The growing worry about the conflict spreading: “U.S. fighter jets launched airstrikes early Friday on two locations in eastern Syria linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Pentagon said, in retaliation for a slew of drone and missile attacks against U.S. bases and personnel in the region that began early last week.”

+ Ground operations are expanding, progress (though hard to believe) reported in hostage negotiations, world leaders call for humanitarian pause as not nearly enough aid is getting through, the IDF says Hamas has an underground headquarters beneath a major hospital, UN chief says Gaza faces ‘avalanche of human suffering.’ Here’s the latest from CNN, BBC, and Times of Israel.