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Israel Hamas Gaza Ceasefire

Israel and Hamas Agree on Gaza Ceasefire and Control Transfer

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Top Headlines: 

  • Israel and Hamas Agree on Gaza Ceasefire and Control Transfer
  • Saudi Arabia Violates Caesar Act by Allowing Syrian Air Landing
  • Jüdenfrei:  Jews Flee Europe for Israel
  • Grants to Houthis Strengthen Tehran’s Influence
  • Turkish Incursion 40 KM into Iraq Unhindered

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ISRAEL & PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

  1. Israel and Hamas Agree on Gaza Ceasefire and Control Transfer

Israel and Hamas have agreed on a ceasefire, hostage-prisoner release, and Gaza control transfer. U.S. officials confirm the deal will occur in three stages. First, Hamas will release 33 hostages, including women, men over 50, and the wounded, while Israel will free hundreds of Palestinian prisoners. This will be followed by increased humanitarian aid to Gaza. Next, an interim governance structure for Gaza will be established, managed by a new Palestinian Authority-linked force trained by the U.S. and supported by moderate Arab states. The final phase will focus on the long-term reconstruction of Gaza, fostering economic recovery and stability in the region. Negotiations facilitated by Qatar, Egypt, and the U.S. aim to maintain the ceasefire and political transition. Additionally, Hezbollah is expected to halt attacks in northern Israel, with Lebanon supporting a pullback to the Litani River to reduce regional tensions. Meanwhile, many Arab media extensively covered Prime Minister Netanyahu’s firm resolve and strategic caution remarks at the graduation ceremony of the officers’ course at Bahad 1. Key points from his speech included: “We will not end the war until we achieve our goals, even if it takes time. I am committed to the four principles we announced for reaching a deal. Any deal will allow us to return to fighting. Israel is not ready to accept Hamas’s demands in negotiations. Israel will continue to control the Philadelphi axis and the Rafah crossing. We will not allow the return of armed terrorists and weapons to the north of the Gaza Strip.

  1. Biden Admin Approves 500-Pound Bomb Shipment to Israel

The Biden administration has approved the shipment of 500-pound bombs to Israel, resolving a public dispute between Washington and Jerusalem. These bombs are expected to arrive in Israel in the coming weeks. However, the delivery of 2,000-pound bombs remains under review. The initial shipment included 1,800 heavier bombs and 1,700 500-pound bombs. The decision to release the 500-pound bombs was made without notifying U.S. lawmakers. The Israel Security Assistance Support Act, passed by the House, aims to ensure the delivery of all paused arms.

  1. Jüdenfrei:  Jews Flee Europe for Israel 

Iran aims to weaken Jewish diaspora ties with Europe and the U.S., by increasing antisemitism and targeting Jewish communities. Iranian agents are stirring discontent among French and American students, influencing views on Gaza, and fostering antisemitic attitudes and rejection of Western values. After calls for Jews to leave France echo through the streets of Paris highlighting an unprecedented rise in antisemitism, France’s Chief Rabbi has urged Jews to consider leaving the country and returning to Israel. Surveys indicate a significant increase in antisemitic incidents across Europe since October, leading to a 430% surge in requests from French Jews to relocate to Israel, as many Jewish families feel unsafe. Richard Abitbol, President of the Confederation of French Jews, warned that “In a few decades, there will be no Jews in France.” Similarly, Leon de Winter, a prominent Dutch author, stated, “I think Jewish life in Europe will be a thing of the past by 2050.”

  1. Rocket Launches from Rafah: Israeli Airstrikes Kill Hamas Commander

The Israeli Air Force (IAF) conducted targeted airstrikes in Rafah, Southern Gaza, following rocket fire from the area directed at nearby Israeli communities. The strikes, which included a combination of aerial and ground operations, aimed at neutralizing the militants responsible for the launches. Early Thursday morning, projectiles were launched from within civilian-populated areas in Rafah, raising concerns about the use of civilians as human shields. The IAF responded by striking and eliminating the Hamas fighters, including Muhammad Marwan Issa, son of a high-ranking Hamas commander. 

  1. Netanyahu’s Inner Circle Questions Gallant’s Strategy in Gaza Conflict

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s inner circle is reportedly considering removing Defense Minister Yoav Gallant due to tensions over his handling of the Gaza conflict and positions on Haredi conscription. Gallant announced that the IDF has killed over 14,000 terrorists in Gaza since October 7, with about 60% of Hamas operatives killed or wounded, but stressed that tens of thousands of armed terrorists remain active. He emphasized the need for a new military strategy, acknowledging that the current approach will not achieve the complete elimination of Hamas. Despite Netanyahu’s office denying plans to oust Gallant, there are moves to escalate attacks on him from within Likud. Netanyahu is also exploring bringing Gideon Sa’ar’s New Hope party into the coalition, potentially offering Sa’ar the defense portfolio, though Sa’ar denies these talks. Gallant’s call for strategic change highlights the conflict’s urgency and the need for unified action within Israel’s leadership.

  1. Israeli Authorities Claim UN Failing in Gaza Aid Distribution

The Kerem Shalom crossing has become the primary route for commercial goods entering Gaza since the Rafah crossing closed. While private sector shipments continue, humanitarian aid deliveries face delays due to disputes between Israel and the United Nations. Israel asserts that it allows sufficient food into Gaza for its 2.4 million residents, but the Israeli Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) claims the United Nations is failing in its distribution efforts, leaving aid undistributed. The UN cites security concerns, damaged infrastructure, and access limitations as causes for the delays. Philippe Lazzarini, head of UNRWA, noted that private sector goods are prioritized over humanitarian supplies, leading to chaos and profiteering within Gaza.

  1. 40,000 Israeli Companies Close Amid Economic Strain

Since October, approximately 40,000 Israeli companies have shut down, with projections reaching 60,000 closures by year’s end, according to Maariv newspaper. The most affected are small businesses, particularly in construction, trade, services, and tourism sectors. CEO Yoel Amir of CofaceBDI highlighted severe impacts across various industries due to the ongoing conflict. The economic downturn is exacerbated by labor shortages, declining sales, high interest rates, and disrupted logistics, significantly harming the overall Israeli economy.

  1. Israel Faces 1,900 Cyber Attacks from Iran, Hezbollah

In the 270 days following Israel’s declaration of war on Gaza, Il-CERT has detected 1,900 cyber attacks targeting Israeli companies. The nature of these attacks has evolved considerably, with key threats coming from Iran, Hezbollah, and Iranian-linked groups. Il-CERT, Israel’s Cyber Emergency Response Team based in Be’er Sheva, tackles these cyber threats against national infrastructure, collaborating with startup companies, Ben Gurion University, and the IDF’s cyber campus. Utilizing a 119 emergency hotline, Il-CERT maps national cyber threats, performs vulnerability scanning, and collaborates internationally to enhance cybersecurity measures. Last year, Il-CERT handled 13,000 incident reports, marking a 43% increase from the previous year.

  1. One of Hundreds of Strikes Against Iran-Backed Groups, Israel Hits Assad Army Site

The IDF shelled a Syrian army site in southern Syria, marking one of hundreds of strikes against Iran-backed groups, this time for military forces on the Syrian side violating the 1974 disengagement agreement. Syria reported Israeli airstrikes targeting Iranian-linked sites. Israel frequently targets Syrian positions in the Golan Heights and recently launched an aerial strike near Baniyas, causing material losses. The IDF has conducted hundreds of strikes against Iran-backed groups in Syria over the past decade.

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ISRAEL-HEZBOLLAH CRISIS

  1. Hezbollah UAV Attack on Israeli Artillery Causes Injuries

Overnight, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) targeted a truck in Ayta ash Shab, southern Lebanon, used to launch projectiles towards Shtula in northern Israel. Earlier in the day, three UAVs crossed from Lebanon into northern Israel, falling near Beit Hameches and causing a minor injury to an IDF soldier. Hezbollah claimed responsibility for a UAV attack on the 146th Division’s artillery headquarters in southern Kabri, resulting in serious injuries and significant damage. Israeli media confirmed this, noting substantial damage in the Kabri region of western Galilee. Separately, the IDF Aerial Defense intercepted five projectiles near the Gaza Strip. The conflict has caused severe casualties in Lebanon, with the Lebanese Ministry of Health reporting 466 dead and 1,438 wounded since the conflict began. The Israeli army conducted retaliatory raids on Hezbollah targets, including military buildings in Yarin, Ramiya, Al-Jebeen, and Tair Harfa, destroying a house and sparking fires.

  1. Expanded Air Defense Coverage Sought After Drone Attack in Israel

The Israeli army has launched an investigation into the failure to sound sirens and intercept drones following a Hezbollah attack. The investigation aims to determine why the sirens did not activate and why the drones were not intercepted. The incident resulted in a slight injury to a female soldier when one of the drones exploded in the Golan Heights. Three drones from Lebanon landed near the Beit Hamish junction in northern Israel. The Israeli Northern Command has called for expanded air defense coverage following recent Hezbollah missile attacks that killed settlers in the Golan Heights. 

  1. Hamas Negotiates for Iran: Nasrallah on Israel-Gaza Ceasefire

Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah announced that cross-border attacks on Israel would cease only if Hamas agrees to a Gaza ceasefire, emphasizing that Hamas negotiates on behalf of the Iranian-led axis of resistance. Nasrallah detailed the division of southern Lebanon into western and eastern sectors, each managed by Hezbollah units. He mocked Israeli threats and highlighted Israel’s internal struggles, stressing his close monitoring of Israeli media. Nasrallah stated that the difficult situation in Israel, evident from reports on its military, societal, and governmental issues, is part of the war’s achievements, reinforcing his belief in the resistance’s path to victory.

  1. Lebanon Faces Imminent Blackout as Central Bank Crisis Unfolds

Lebanon is on the brink of a total blackout in three days due to the Lebanese Central Bank’s failure to transfer funds for fuel shipments to the Iraqi Oil Marketing Company (SOMO) for the past five months. Energy and Water Minister Walid Fayyad announced that SOMO halted fuel shipments due to non-payment, marking the second consecutive year of this issue. The situation has left Lebanon financially exposed and dependent on Iraq’s goodwill. In a critical move, Iraqi Prime Minister Muhammad Sudani approved the dispatch of a fuel ship to Lebanon, following a call from Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Fayyad’s extensive efforts. The ship will enable the unloading of Gas Oil at Lebanon’s Zahrani and Deir Ammar plants, providing temporary relief. This significant reduction forced Defense Minister Maurice Salim to downsize his escort convoy to two vehicles, while other military officers continue to travel with larger escorts resulting in a growing conflict between him and the commander of the Lebanese army, Joseph Aoun. The dispute highlights the internal friction within Lebanon’s military and government, drawing parallels to past diplomatic spats like “the chair of the Turkish ambassador” incident.

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SYRIA

  1. Saudi Arabia Violates Caesar Act by Allowing Syrian Air Landing

Syrian Air, Syria’s national carrier, resumed flights to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, after a 12-year suspension. This resumption was celebrated at King Khalid International Airport with attendance from Syrian Ambassador Ayman Sousan and Saudi officials. Given the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2019, which sanctions any significant support to state-owned entities like Syrian Air that facilitate Syrian government activities, this operation could be a potential violation. The Caesar Act imposes sanctions on those providing financial, material, or technological support to the Syrian government or its entities. Syrian Air’s operations, which likely support the Assad regime economically and politically, necessitate further investigation to determine compliance with US sanctions regulations​.

  1. Turkiye and Lebanon Forcefully Deport Syrian Refugees, Families Suffer

Turkish authorities have forcibly deported over 650 Syrian refugees holding temporary protection cards, known as “Kimlik,” over the past eight days. These deportations, marked by coercion and forced signatures on “voluntary return” papers, predominantly target women and children from Idlib and Aleppo, leaving families separated as men stay in Turkiye to work. Returnees face severe economic hardships in northwestern Syria, struggling to find jobs and housing. Meanwhile, Lebanon’s General Security Directorate plans to gather detailed information on Syrian refugees to facilitate mass deportations, allegedly only targeting those who entered before 2015 without legal residency or work permits.

  1. Erdogan Calls for Peace, Assad Still Out of Office

Despite Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s conciliatory statements towards Assad, the Turkish government has not received any response from Assad. Turkish media covered Erdoğan’s openness to restoring relations, while Assad state media remained silent. Assad, however, continued to use his usual excuse, citing sovereignty in reference to the Turkish presence in Syria’s northwest, which he lost control of in 2012, and his rhetoric about anti-terrorism in reference to the five million Syrians currently displaced and exiled in Idlib. Furthermore, Assad’s local newspaper Al-Watan denied the claims ACLS reported on yesterday, citing the Turkish opposition statement claiming that the Assad regime had accepted hosting them in Damascus. Despite the regime insisting no communication has occurred, CHP Deputy Leader Burhanuddin Bulut responded that ongoing contact and the possibility of arranging the meeting are still underway.

  1. Russian Airstrikes Target Idlib Countryside in Night Raids

On Wednesday night, Russian warplanes conducted airstrikes in the western countryside of Idlib Governorate, within Syria’s “fourth de-escalation zone.” Local sources reported two strikes near Al-Hama village and two more near Jisr al-Shughur city, accompanied by intense reconnaissance flights. Earlier in the day, Russian aircraft launched six strikes with vacuum missiles near Sheikh Sindyan village, four near Al-Ghassaniya village, and a two-missile attack on Arab Saeed town’s forests.

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IRAN

  1. NATO Leaders Warn Iran Against Missile Transfers to Russia

NATO leaders have warned Iran against sending ballistic missiles to Russia, labeling it a significant escalation of Tehran’s support for Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. Iran has already supplied Russia with kamikaze drones, and reports suggest potential missile transfers. NATO’s declaration, made during a Washington DC summit, emphasized that such actions undermine Euro-Atlantic security and the global non-proliferation regime. This warning follows a similar admonition from the Group of Seven leaders, highlighting the ongoing international concern over Iran’s military support to Russia amidst severe sanctions.

  1. Exiled Prince Reza Pahlavi Warns West of Iran’s Role in Spreading Radical Islamism

Iran’s exiled prince, Reza Pahlavi, warned that the Islamic Republic is responsible for the global rise of radical Islam, endangering Western civilization. Speaking at the National Conservatism conference in Washington DC, Pahlavi linked the spread of radical Islam to the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran. He criticized Iran’s new president, Masoud Pezeshkian, labeling him a regime loyalist despite being perceived as a reformist. Pahlavi urged the West to recognize the threat posed by Iran’s influence but clarified that Iranians seek partnership, not intervention or charity, from the international community.

  1. Iran’s President-elect Vows Continued Support for Palestin

In a letter to Ismail Haniyeh, head of the Hamas Political Bureau, Iranian President-elect Masoud Pezeshkian affirmed Iran’s unwavering support for Palestine. Pezeshkian stated that the Islamic Republic would continue its comprehensive backing until Palestine’s full goals are achieved, its rights secured, and Jerusalem liberated.

  1. Erdogan’s Congratulatory Call Met with Turkish Airlines Office Closure

Coinciding with Turkish President Erdogan’s congratulatory call to Iran’s President-elect Masoud Pezeshkian, who promised to ease hijab enforcement, Iranian police shut down the Turkish Airlines office in Tehran after female employees reportedly refused to wear the mandatory hijab, defying the country’s strict dress code laws. The semi-official Tasnim news agency reported that officers issued a first warning on Monday, but the employees allegedly resisted, leading to the office’s closure. 

  1. Assad Regime Emphasizes Strong Ties with Iran’s New President

Iranian President-elect Masoud Pezeshkian held phone conversations with key regional leaders, including Bashar al-Assad. Pezeshkian discussed strengthening bilateral relations and reaffirmed Iran’s support for the Assad regime and resistance against regional hegemonic forces. Assad emphasized the deep, loyal ties between Iran and Syria, rooted in a shared commitment to resisting colonial ambitions and external interference. Pezeshkian also spoke with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, reinforcing commitments to bilateral agreements and expressing a desire to enhance relations. Pezeshkian’s swearing-in ceremony is scheduled for July 30.

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YEMEN

  1. Iran’s Soft Power: Grants to Houthis Strengthen Tehran’s Influence

Iran’s influence on the Houthis has grown through soft power tactics, including educational grants. The Houthi Ministry of Higher Education recently announced 473 scholarships from Iran, targeting specific groups within the Houthi ranks. Critics argue these efforts aim to sectarianize education and undermine Yemen’s national identity. Since the 1970s, Iran has used such strategies to expand its regional influence. The Houthis have aligned their educational system with Iran’s, opening Persian language departments and branches of Iranian universities. These efforts aim to create a generation ideologically aligned with Iran, further solidifying Tehran’s presence in Yemen.

  1. Yemeni Government  Urges Citizens to Prepare for Decisive Liberation

Tensions in Yemen remain high as the Yemeni army and the Ansar Allah group (Houthis) accuse each other of a deadly bombing in Taiz Governorate, resulting in significant civilian casualties. The Houthis reported two dead and seven wounded, mostly children, from a drone strike by government forces in Al-Shaqab, while the Yemeni army blamed the Houthis for the attack that killed eight civilians. Despite a truce, violence continues in Taiz, with recent shelling killing three and injuring five in Habour. Amidst the turmoil, Secretary of the Capital Abdul Ghani Jamil urged citizens in Houthi-controlled areas to prepare for a decisive battle for liberation. Yemeni political analyst Abdul Wahab bin Saif predicts renewed conflict following economic pressures on the Houthis, highlighting recent attacks in Marib, Taiz, and Al-Dhalea as signs of escalating hostilities aimed at gaining legitimacy and international recognition.

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 TURKIYE

  1. Israel Proposes Indefinite Ban on Turkish Imports

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan condemned Israel during the Srebrenica Genocide 29th Anniversary Commemoration, vowing to seek justice for victims. In response to Erdoğan’s boycott of Israeli trade, the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office has proposed an indefinite ban on all imports from Turkiye, citing national security and economic concerns due to the integration of Israeli and Palestinian markets. In 2023, trade between Israel and Turkiye amounted to $6.2 billion, with $4.6 billion being imports from Turkiye. The Turkish boycott followed unmet demands for humanitarian aid and a ceasefire in Gaza, prompting Israel to counteract the perceived economic and security risks posed by Türkiye’s unilateral measures.

  1. Türkiye to Host NATO Summit in 2026

During the 75th-anniversary summit of NATO in the US, it was announced that Türkiye will host the 2026 NATO summit. The Netherlands will host next year’s summit in the Hague in June. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan participated in the leaders’ meeting in Washington and held bilateral discussions with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Discussions covered bilateral relations, regional issues, and global concerns, including the war in Ukraine and Israel’s attacks in Gaza. Erdoğan emphasized Türkiye’s efforts to strengthen ties and sought support for Türkiye’s EU accession process.

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IRAQ

  1. Turkish Incursion 40 KM into Iraq Unhindered

Turkiye’s recent military incursion into Iraq’s Duhok province has heightened tensions and sparked significant diplomatic and security concerns. The Turkish Defense Minister, Yasar Guler, announced plans to establish a 30-40 kilometer security corridor along the borders with Iraq and Syria, continuing operations until all perceived threats are neutralized. The incursion not only poses a challenge to Iraq’s territorial integrity but also complicates the already volatile regional dynamics, as Iraq seeks a unified response from its national factions to address the incursion. Despite submitting 16,000 protest notes since 1987, Iraq has been unable to stop Turkish incursions into its territory. Turkiye has conducted over 25,000 attacks in northern Iraq, establishing five major bases and numerous control points.

  1. Kurdish Oil Smuggling to Iran and Turkiye Thrives Unchecked

Hundreds of oil tankers travel daily from Kurdistan’s capital, Erbil, to Iran and Turkiye, moving over 200,000 barrels of oil off-the-books each day since the closure of the official export pipeline last year. This illegal trade brings in about $200 million a month, with no proceeds accounted for by the Kurdistan Regional Government. The massive operation is not sanctioned by Iraq’s federal government, complicating OPEC’s efforts to enforce production cuts. Despite the visible impact on local highways and residents, officials in both Kurdistan and Iraq appear unable or unwilling to halt the thriving black-market oil business.

  1. Trade Between Iraq and Saudi Arabia Reaches $1.33 Billion

The Saudi-Iraqi Business Council reported that trade between Iraq and Saudi Arabia has reached $1.33 billion, growing at an annual rate of 12%. Efforts are underway to boost Saudi investments in Iraq, with a new law to protect these investments expected to be presented to the Iraqi Parliament soon. A partnership agreement in industrial investments was signed last December, and plans for a free economic zone at the Arar border are being considered, aimed at enhancing economic cooperation without taxes, fees, or entry visas for investors from both countries.

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 EGYPT & NORTH AFRICA

  1. Egypt’s Bold Move: Increasing Israeli Gas Imports Despite Conflict

The intricate interplay between economic imperatives and political realities in the Middle East is evident in Egypt’s decision to boost Israeli gas imports by 12 to 17% in August. Despite the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas, this move highlights the economic necessity to maintain critical activities with Israel regardless of the challenges posed by the conflict. Such economic interdependence can serve as a stabilizing factor, potentially reducing the likelihood of escalations affecting bilateral relations. Domestically, the Egyptian government must navigate public opinion that may be critical of close ties with Israel, especially during heightened conflicts involving Palestinian territories.

  1. Egypt’s Economic Strategy: IMF Disputes and Inflation Adjustments

Egypt’s financial credibility is on the line as disputes with the IMF threaten its economic stability. Disagreements over unmet conditions have delayed the release of the third tranche of an $8 billion loan, raising fears of a financial crisis. Key issues include regulatory reforms and payments to foreign partners, with potential renegotiations to avoid raising electricity and fuel prices amid high inflation. Failure to meet IMF conditions could damage Egypt’s economic stability and credibility, also affecting a separate $1.2 billion loan application. Despite these challenges, Egypt’s annual inflation rate has decreased to 27.5%, aided by a significant influx of over $40 billion in foreign investments and loans, and economic adjustments like the flotation of the Egyptian pound and stabilization of the exchange rate. While there are comprehensive economic reforms and social protection programs in place, the exact allocation of all funds remains somewhat opaque, leading to speculation and concerns about potential misuse.

  1. Morocco Boosts Economy, Defense with African Bank, Israel Deals

Morocco signed four financing agreements with the African Development Bank worth 600 million euros to enhance higher education, infrastructure, and forestry sectors. These include digital university transformation, regional competitiveness, forest development, and highway construction between Guercif and Nador. Additionally, Morocco is bolstering its military capabilities through a one-billion-dollar spy satellite deal with Israel, part of the Abraham Accords, alongside the advanced Barak 8 air defense system.

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 THE GULF

  1. Aramco Raises $6 Billion, Lowers Interest Rates Due to Demand

Saudi Aramco raised $6 billion from its first bond issuance since 2021, attracting $31.5 billion in orders. The bonds were issued in three tranches: a 10-year tranche at 105 basis points over US Treasury bonds, a 30-year tranche at 145 basis points, and a 40-year tranche at 155 basis points. Due to strong demand, Aramco lowered the interest rates from the initial guidance, reducing yields by approximately 40 basis points across all tranches.

  1. Gulf-UK Free Trade Agreement Set for 2024 Signing

Saudi Arabia and Europe continue to strengthen their economic ties, focusing on mutual respect and non-interference, while the Ministry of Finance denies any threat to sell Eurobonds. Experts emphasize Saudi Arabia’s commitment to global economic stability through its G20 and G7 partnerships and strategic management of foreign investments. Meanwhile, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the UK have agreed to expedite negotiations for a free trade agreement, targeting a 2024 signing. 

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📌 In case you missed it,

📰  THE EARLY PHOENIX July 10, 2024

📰  THE EARLY PHOENIX July 9, 2024

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