Operation Cast Lead Wed Dec 31st

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Yesterday saw palestinian terrorists send 50+ rockets into Israel, including the Be’er Sheva region, representing the furthest point eastward which a palestinian rocket has managed to reach. Thankfully, no-one was killed, but 34 people were sent in to shock in the Be’er Sheva attack alone.

While Hamas have stated their intention to fire rockets even further away, the Israeli cabinet is set to reconvene today to discuss the idea of a 48-hour “humanitarian” ceasefire – a French proposal, no less. Meanwhile, the IDF is ready for a ground offensive, and is waiting for go-ahead from the government.

In other news, classes at Be’er Sheva’s Ben Gurion University (where my brothers-in-law, amongst others, attend) have been cancelled for today, and the White House continues to shows its support for Israel.

Updates (Israel time)

6:00AM: The Arab Firas Press reports that 36 children and 9 women have been killed since the beginning of Operation Cast Lead. As Elder of Ziyon explains, given an estimate of 368 deaths and Gazan demographics, one would expect 184 children and 92 women to be dead if Israel was indiscriminately striking at Gaza.

6:12AM: The IAF has continued to pound smuggling tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border and Hamas positions in Gaza City – including an office of Hamas Prime target Minister Ismail Haniyeh.

9:05AM: I just arrived at work about 20 minutes ago. Not long after I sat down and booted up my computer, my wife called me to tell me Be’er Sheva had been hit again. She had been speaking on the phone to her brother staying near Be’er Sheva when suddenly he told her he had to go to a bomb shelter/bomb-proof room.

9:17AM: We struck 35 Hamas targets overnight.

9:28AM: The Obama vacation protesters.

Is it just me, or are all overweight, white-bearded men with floppy hats moonbats? (if you are an overweight, white-bearded men with a floppy hat and support Israel, let me know!)

9:54AM: One of the rockets that landed in Be’er Sheva hit a school. Thankfully, students there have stayed home today, per the instructions of the Home Front Command.

11:18AM: Some more rocket strikes in the last hour.

Today’s tally so far stands at 20 rockets, with one woman lightly injured.

11:20AM: Fellow blogger David is in the thick of things today.

11:30AM: The palestinians report that are shelling the northern Gaza Strip.

Ma’an earlier reported that the “rain and overcast skies have halted Israeli airstrikes on Gaza for the time being,” with Israel instead using “warships and artillery vehicles surrounding the Strip.” But according to Ha’aretz, the IAF just shelled the northern Gaza Strip.

11:31AM: Did I mention that we rejected the French surrender ceasefire proposal?

11:33AM: Hamas are admitting to hiding amongst civilians:

Hamas and Al-Qassam are in every house. They will attack you from under the debris. If you believe shelling homes will make us retreat, you will learn that your plans are wrong, and we will surprise you,” Hamas spokesperson Abu Ubayda said in a televised speech.

11:55AM: More insantity from Roseanne Barr:

I said Israel will attack any boat carrying doctors and medical supplies–they have turned away the red cross already and all medical and food assistance. Israel is a NAZI state. The Jewish Soul is being tortured in Israel. The destruction of the jews in Israel has been assured with this inhuman attack on civilians in gaza. Hamas is the street gangs—this is equivilent to los angeles attacking and launching war on the people of watts to attempt to kill the bloods and the crips.

Yeah, except the “people of watts” aren’t firing rockets at LA, and the “bloods and the crips” aren’t trying to drive the people of LA into the sea.

Meanwhile, the deranged one reveals she was going to be on the ISM boat.

Lucky for Israel she wasn’t, because an Israeli navy vessel would likely not fair too well after coming into contact with Roseanne Barr.

1:12PM: Today’s tally: 40 rockets, including 7 Katushas.

1:14PM: Israel is to permit more trucks with humanitarian aid into Gaza.

1:40PM: 2 seriously injured Gazan infants have been sent to Israel for treatment.

2:10PM: UNRWA are now claiming that 25% of the palestinians killed so far are civilians.

At least 25 percent of Palestinians killed during Israel’s massive offensive  in the Gaza Strip have been civilians, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees said on Wednesday.

“A minimum of 25 percent of all those killed are civilians and it may well be far higher,” UNRWA spokesman Christopher Gunness told AFP.

Or far lower. A number of points:

  • On Monday, UNRWA estimated approximately 51 out of 300 (15-16%) were civilians. So it would mean that out of the 90 or so palestinians who have been killed since then, about half would have to be civilians to reach a total of 25% (approximately 100)
  • The Monday estimate was based on visits by UNRWA officials to hospitals and medical centers across the Gaza Strip. How would that work? Did they assume that anyone not in a uniform was a civilian? Or did they ask the injured people or medical sources? Either way, that is not the most reliable method, and also does not take into account civilians who aided Hamas.
  • UNRWA is known for inflating its figures to the benefit of palestinians

3:05PM: Israel’s channel 2 has reported that 250 out of the 390 fatalities – or 64% – were members of Hamas. This, of course, does not include members of other terror organizations killed (such as Islamic Jihad).

3:10PM: Here’s a reason why civilians have been killed:

Diskin also noted that large numbers of Hamas operatives are hiding in hospitals and that some are posing as medical staff. “Some are also hiding in mosques and some of those have been turned into headquarters, since they assumed Israel won’t attack them there. Their weapons’ labs have been completely destroyed and their tunnel system has been severely damaged.

And in case you think this is nothing more than Israeli propaganda, consider this:

The UN announcement that 51 civilians have died in the conflict in Gaza must be understood in the context of Hamas’s declared ideology to use civilians as human shields for Hamas fighters. Indeed, Hamas continues to emphasize and promote the religious ideology that death for Allah is an ideal to be actively pursued.

The goal is to convince Palestinians, including women and children, not to fear death but even to face it at the front to protect Hamas fighters. Hamas’s placement of its military installations and fighters among civilians reflects this ideology, and has led to these 51 deaths.

A Hamas representative in the PA legislative council this year expressed pride in the fact that women and children are used as human shields in fighting Israel. He described it as part of a “death industry” at which Palestinians excel, and explained that the Palestinians “desire death” with the same intensity that Israelis “desire life.”

The following is the full text of the comments by Hamas representative Fathi Hamad: “For the Palestinian people death became an industry, at which women excel and so do all people on this land: the elderly excel, the Jihad fighters excel, and the children excel. Accordingly [Palestinians] created a human shield of women, children, the elderly and the Jihad fighters against the Zionist bombing machine, as if they were saying to the Zionist enemy: We desire death as you desire life.”

3:32PM: The Free Gaza ship SS Dignity is “to be forensically analyzed” to verify whether or not Israel indeed attacked it. Perhaps while they are at it, they can forensically analyze the passengers for signs of moral retardation.

3:50PM: Apologies to reader Yochanan, who confirms he is a white bearded old guy living in Chicago, who has been  known to wear a floppy hat during the summer months (with an IDF patch), and whose son serves in the IDF.  So much for that theory (9.28AM update).

4:47PM: Today’s rocket tally currently stands at more than 50.

4:55PM: Another great editorial, this time from Ralph Peters at the New York Post.

Dead Jews aren’t news, but killing terrorists outrages global activists. On Saturday, Israel struck back powerfully against its tormentors. Now Israel’s the villain. Again.

How long will it be until the UN General Assembly passes a resolution creating an international Holocaust Appreciation Day?

Israel’s airstrikes against confirmed Hamas terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip were overdue, discriminating and skillful. So far, this retaliatory campaign has been a superb example of how to employ postmodern airpower.

Instead of bombing empty buildings in the dead of night in the hope of convincing bloodthirsty monsters to become peace-loving floral arrangers – the US Air Force version of “Shock and Awe” – the Israeli Defense Force aimed to kill terrorists.

Israel’s attack aircraft appear to have accomplished that part of the mission. As I write, some 300 terrorist dead have been reported in Gaza, while the propaganda-savvy information office of Hamas has strug- gled to prove that 20 civilians died.

Given the fact that Hamas adheres to the terrorist practice of locating command sites, arsenals and training facilities in heavily populated areas, the results suggest that the IDF – supported by first-rate intelligence work – may have executed the most accurate wave of airstrikes in history, with a 15-to-1 terrorist-to-civilian kill ratio.

The bad news is that it still won’t be enough. While Israel has delivered a painful blow against Hamas, it’s still not a paralyzing hit. The only way to neuter such a terror threat – even temporarily – is to go in on the ground and scour every room, basement and underground tunnel in a region.

That would mean high Israeli casualties and, of course, condemnation of Israel’s self-defense efforts by every self-righteous, corrupt and bigoted organization and government on earth, from Turtle Bay to Tehran.

What have been Israel’s “crimes?” Not “stealing Palestinian land,” but making that land productive, while exposing the incompetence and sloth of Arab culture.

Israel’s crime isn’t striking back at terror, but demonstrating, year after year, that a country in the Middle East can be governed without resort to terror. Israel’s crime hasn’t been denying Arab rights, but insisting on human rights for women and minorities.

Israel’s crime has been making democracy work where tyranny prevailed for 5,000 years. Israel’s crime has been survival against overwhelming odds, while legions of Arab nationalists, Islamist extremists and Western leftists want every Jew dead.

But Israel’s greatest crime was to expose the global cult of victimhood, to prove that hard work, fortitude and courage could overcome even history’s grimmest disaster.

Was it a crime to hand Gaza back to Palestinian authorities, to give peace a chance? Look what Israel received in return for trading land for peace.

Let us never forget the fundamental truth that, while Israel longs to live in peace with its neighbors, those neighbors openly profess the desire to eliminate Israel and exterminate its people.

Indeed, Arab and regional jealousy toward Israel is so all-consuming, so necessary to excuse the Arab art of failure, that even these judicious airstrikes will hardly make a dent in the terrorist threat.

Unless Israel sends in ground forces for the long haul – and thousands of IDF reservists are being mobilized – there will be, at best, a temporary respite from terror attacks. Even a new occupation of Gaza would not fully solve the problem.

A crucial point about interfaith and interethnic conflicts that we sheltered Americans refuse to understand is that, all too often, there’s just no good solution – and not even a bad solution, short of acts of barbarism.

It’s a rare conflict that results in an enduring peace. Unintended consequences abound. At times, you fight just to buy time, to gain breathing space – or merely to frustrate an enemy’s designs for a limited period.

That’s the situation Israel faces: No hope of an ultimate victory, but a constant fight to survive. Enemies who believe their god ordains their actions can’t be placated. For faith-fueled terrorists, such as the core members of Hamas, the struggle with Israel’s a zero-sum game. Compromise is, at most, an expedient tool, never an acceptable end state.

What will we see in the coming days? Much depends on Israel’s resolve. The most probable scenario is that Hamas will continue launching terror rockets for a few weeks to salve its wounded vanity and maintain the image of “resistance,” but will ultimately reduce its attacks against Israel – while it rebuilds its cadres and restocks its arsenal.

Israel will have bought time, not peace.

What might Israel have done better? It’s essential to take out the top terrorist leaders. But Israel’s government remains reluctant to target the cowardly Hamas leaders hiding in Damascus – or even the top terrorists remaining in Gaza.

For terrorist bosses, the rank-and-file are disposable and replaceable. You can’t just kill the gunmen. You have to kill the names.

We may sympathize with the average Palestinian family, exploited by generations of corrupt leaders and now caught in yet another round of violence. But let us never forget that Israel hasn’t fired thousands of blind rockets into Palestinian cities, that Israeli suicide bombers don’t attack Arab restaurants and bus stops, and that Israel seeks to avoid harming civilians – while Hamas seeks to kill as many civilians as possible.

In a world where there are no good answers, Israel just answered as best it could. The world’s response? “How dare Jews defend themselves.”

Humanity doesn’t progress. It just changes clothes.

5:00PM: Israel has decided to continue Operation Cast Lead until all of its goals have been reached.

5:18PM: BREAKING: A palestinian has reportedly opened fire on Israelis in a Denmark supermarket.

5:27PM: More on terror attack in Denmark: An Israeli-owned stand in the Danish city of Odense was attacked by Arab terrorists, who fired upon Israelis, lightly injuring two.

5:35PM: A little off topic, but not too much. A few days ago, I published what I consider to be one of my favorite posts in over 5 years of blogging. However, Operation Cast Lead began soon after, and before I knew it, I was liveblogging and my post was overshadowed.

So I am republishing it here:

——

Taken from the real martyr bios from the always entertaining Hamas website.

The Dumbass

martyr2

Commander: Majed Ata Al Habashi

Before two months of his martyrdom, he finished his high studying with a rate of 74% in the literary department.

The One With Dumbass Friends

martyr3Mahmoud Hamdi Jindia

His leaders and his friends called him “the whale” for his courage.

The One With Sick Relatives

martyr4

Muhannad Al-Taher

She likes him very much and that is clear in his marvelous video which shows his best relation with his mother.

The Big Terrowski

martyr5

Yousuf Abu Heen

Yousuf was the man.

The Stud

martyr6Hani Mahmoud Abu Skheila

On the day he died, he was laid on a bed.

The Stinker

martyr7Asem Yousef Riehan

His family knew he was coming into a room because his scent preceded him.

The Confused One

martyr8Nahed Abu Oda

He never hated anybody.

The User

martyr9

Osama Awni Hujila

Osama got married with a Palestinian girl to have two children.

The Ironic One

martyr10Tarek Mohammed Darwish

His friends were very sad to sea that he was died in the sea.

The One Living in Denial

martyr11Mohammed Al Shawa

In the beginning of Al Aqsa intifada, he moved to work in sewing. Then he worked as a hairdresser. He was single. He was intend to marry before a month of his martyrdom.

The Cannibal

martyr12

Nabil Fadil Abed A’al

Despite he was very busy man, he was taking his wife and his children many times in the summer days to the sea as a picnic.

The Bad Employee

martyr13

Mahmoud Sabri Hana

Mahmoud worked in an electric shop, his relation was characterized by a unique relation with the owner of the shop. One day Mahmoud was taken by the owner of the shop to work in a home, Mahmoud saw a bad picture inside the house so he cut it into pieces, after that the owner of the shop dismissed him from the job.

The Shameless One

martyr14Yusof Al-Sarkaji

Yuseif was eating him by his hands..

5:43PM: Hamas have announced that it is prepared to look into a cease-fire proposal in the Gaza Strip. How big of them.

5:55PM: An Iranian paper has justified Israel’s operation and criticized Hamas.

Ehh..a past Iranian paper.

The Iranian press watchdog shut down leading reformist newspaper Kargozaran on Wednesday over publication of a piece criticising Palestinian militants, the official IRNA news agency reported.

“Kargozaran has been banned over a media offence and the case has been referred to the court,” Mohammad Parvizi, who is in charge of domestic media at the culture ministry, told IRNA.

He said the ban was ordered over “a piece yesterday which justifies the Zionist regime’s crimes against humanity in Gaza and portrays the Palestinian resistance as terrorists who cause the deaths of children and civilians by taking up position in kindergartens and hospitals.”

6:03PM: Pam has some disturbing anti-Israel/pro-Hamas rally pictures on her blog here and here.

6:05PM: More on the Denmark terrorist attack:

Two Israelis were lightly wounded when they were shot by a group of men in a mall in Copenhagen, Denmark on Wednesday afternoon.

The Israelis were selling Dead Sea cosmetics at a stand in the mall – a job many young Israelis pursue, usually following military service, in order to save money for their future, and to continue their travels.

A group of men with Middle Eastern-looking features approached them and an altercation developed. A man in the group then brandished a weapon and fired at the Israelis.

The public’s assistance was requested in capturing the shooter, who was probably a Palestinian, police said. His getaway car was already found but he had fled on foot.

The Foreign Ministry said Israeli security services abroad were already put on high alert several days ago.

It was assumed that the incident was related to the IDF offensive against Hamas terrorists in Gaza.

6:08PM: Today’s tally is now 60+ rockets.

7:45PM: Quran or Qassam? The IAF have bombed a mosque used to store rockets.

7:48PM: On a more personal note, my brother-in-law Levi got engaged to his girlfriend Hadar last night. By all accounts, it was a very romantic engagement at a spa-restaurant in Be’er Sheva… interrupted only by air raid sirens and rockets falling nearby!

Mazal tov Levi and Hadar!

7:54PM: According to a Geocartographic Institute (GI?) poll, 90% of the public support Operation Cast Lead, while 69% think the government is handling the offensive appropriately. Those numbers clearly skirt the Left-Right divide.

8:10PM: Senior Hamas terrorist Mushir Al Masri:

“Israel will get an adventure if it decides to invade the Strip. We are saving it some surprises,” he added.

I am assuming he is not referring to a woman jumping out of a cake.

8:25PM: The IAF has carried out 500 sorties against Hamas targets, with 95% of intended targets hit.

9:00PM: Pictures from an anti-terror rally in New York (hat tip: Red Tulips)

10:16PM: Interviewer of the day: Check out the way Fox News’ Gregg Jarrett handles this pro-Hamas apologist (hat tip: Jawa Report).

10:38PM: The palestinian Ma’an News agency is claiming that of 395 palestinians dead, “at least 15% are children.” In other words, at least 60.

Yet this morning, I quoted the Arab Firas Press as reporting 36 children had been killed, based on a total number of 368 deaths. Which means if you believe these reports, at least 24 of 27 deaths today were children.

Which we know is not the case. So I am calling BS on these statistics.

10:40PM: Further to my previous update, Ma’an reports elsewhere:

On Wednesday, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights said that 31 of the dead were children.

Which contradicts their other report that at least 15% of 395 (60) were children. Have they no shame?

10:55PM: Give this man a degree in Optimism 500: From the Ha’aretz news ticker: Haniyeh tells Palestinians “victory is near” in televised speech

I guess he has a point if by “victory” he means “crushing defeat.”

10:57PM: The Hamas website is down. Which is going to make my job of mocking them that much harder.

11:20PM: The IAF has reportedly struck many targets in the last hour, including rocket factories.

11:43PM: Ok, I’m done for today. Thanks for joining me, and I’ll hopefully be back again in 5 or so hours. As usual, I ask that you please keep the brave soldiers and citizens of Israel in your prayers. And if you have appreciated my blogging and would like to contribute, please feel free to donate here:

Thursday Jan 1st – for latest updates, see here.

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