Operation Cast Lead Sun Jan 18th, 2009

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For other liveblogging, see The Muqata

I’ll keep this liveblogging post because, you know, something might just happen today.

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)



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Monday January 19th – see latest updates here.

10:44PM: That’s it from me for today – I am just too exhausted both physically and mentally to continue.

As usual, 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 donate here:

I would also ask you to tell 5 of your friends about Israellycool.

Aussie Dave, signing out.

10:41PM: According to a Channel 10 survey “Was the operation in Gaza successful”, 41% of respondents said yes, 41% said no, and 18% don’t know.

survery-success

10:32PM: The IDF say that 500 out of the 1300 palestinian fatalities were terrorists.

10:20PM: Funniest fake Hollywood views on Middle East conflict of the day.

This cracked me up.

Dear Friends,
I got this in an email. No source was available (gee, I wonder why- ed.).

Keanu Reeves
If Arabs are strong enough, they will destroy the whole world, Therefore we should annihilate them

Harrison Ford
Arabs are dirtier creatures than animals and we Jews are the chosen people. There is no comparison

Sandra Bullock
I don’t know much about the subject but the war should end to stop the bloodshed on both parts

Al Pacino
Take a look at Israel’s history and you would know who the terrorist is.

Dustin Hoffman
Humanity seized to exist when Israel was established

Ralph Fiennes
WE are living now in a jungle where the strong eats the weakest. We are not better than the Arabs to despise them.

Tom Cruise
The Arabs are the source of terrorism. They don’t spare anyone without attacking them. I hope that Israel destroys all of them

Anthony Hopkins

Israel means war and destruction and we Americans are behind this war. I am ashamed of being American.

Wil Smith
Both sides are wrong and the killing must be stopped

George Clooney
Bush, Sharon, Blair and Rice are names that history will damn

Angelina Jolie
Arabs and Muslims are not terrorists. The world should unite against Israel

Richard Gere
Arabs are a burden on the world and should be annihilated

Sean Connery
We are talking from a point of strength, what if we were the weak ones?

Mel Gibson
Zionists are the source of destruction. I wish I could fight against them

Actually, the Mel Gibson quote I can believe.

9:45PM: BREAKING NEWS: A medical examination of the deceased daughters of palestinian Dr. Ezzeldeen Abu al-Aish (see 8:52PM update from yesterday’s post) reveal that they may have died from a Qassam or Grad missile. Clue: That ain’t a weapon of the IDF (Hebrew link)

This is big news, considering that their deaths have been used as a useful propaganda point for the anti-/pro-Hamas crowd.

9:33PM: We’ve begun a partial withdrawal from Gaza. And the insanity continues..

9:30PM: Let’s see what I missed these past 3 hours.

Israeli Prime Minister Olmert told the European Leaders (for whom he made my drive home miserable) that we will withdraw from Gaza ASAP. WTF?

And it looks like I’m not the only one perturbed.

9:25PM: It took me 2 hours to drive home tonight because of this.

6:12PM: Future Darwin Award candidate?

A Palestinian steps on an unexploded munition fired by the Israeli army during an operation on the Gaza Strip, in the town of Rafah, Sunday, Jan. 18, 2009.

6:05PM: And yet another rocket. Today’s total is 20.

5:55PM: They’re doing it all wrong: Way after announcing a ceasefire, palestinian terrorists fired a rocket into Israel.

5:00PM: Special announcement:

artists4israel1

CONTACT:
Tara Lyn
Tara Lyn Consulting
917.749.0750
SBGallery@taralynconsulting.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Street Artists Bomb for Israel
Graffiti Artists and Charity United by Israel’s War Against Terror

artists4israel

New York, New York, January 18, 2009 – Social-minded street artists, including legendary  graffiti artists and editorial photographers are coming together to show their support of Israel’s war against terror in the Gaza Strip. Using their artistic vision to help stop the violence, BOMBIN’ Magazine will bring these artists together for a special, one-day only show: 6-10pm at Stanton Barrett Gallery (137 Bowery, between Broome and Grand, 3rd Floor) on Sunday January 18, 2009. Proceeds from the art will be split and evenly donated between two 501(c)3 charities supporting Israeli soldiers and victims of terror.

On Sunday January 11, 2009, graffiti artists and photographers will be handing out custom made signs, and documenting the different rallies, protests and other relevant events throughout the city in the week prior. All of these images will be on display at the gallery. To be involved please contact us.

Featuring the work of: TRACY168, MED from Tuff City, CES, YES2, KH1, POBE MPH and many others.

– ENDBOMBIN’

Magazine is a New York based, internationally distributed publication that confesses to the arts, crimes and passions of street artists and graffiti vandals. Buy us at Barnes & Noble or Borders – it isn’t illegal…yet.

Tara Lyn Consulting is an event and image consulting firm that specializes in fashion, luxury and not for profit organizations; specifically helping non profits maximize their profit potential through events.

The Stanton Barrett Gallery is a Gallery in New York City’s NOLITA area. Known for both finding talent from all over the World, and bringing in big named artists, The Stanton Barrett Gallery is quickly becoming a player in the industry. Showing a mix of media, from world famous fashion photographers, to renowned abstract painters, there is always something worth stopping to see. The Gallery takes all profits after expenses and donates them to 501(c)3 charities of the artists choice. www.stantonbarrettgallery.com

4:07PM: Ah, great. European leaders are finding new ways to make me suffer.

3:10PM: A great opinion piece written by a great man, Natan Sharansky (hat tip: Martin).

Israel’s war in Gaza has been met with cries of protest around the world. They come from two sources.

First, there are those who oppose any Israeli effort to defend itself, mainly because they don’t believe a Jewish state should exist at all. This is a form of anti-Semitism, and such a view should be rejected outright rather than argued with.

Second, there are those who support Israel’s existence, but believe it is wrong to wage so harsh an assault on the Gaza Strip. This argument also takes two forms: First, that Israel’s response is disproportionate and therefore wrong; and second, that there are less violent ways to handle Hamas — through international pressure, sanctions or negotiations.

Both of these claims, as logical as they may sound, ignore the lessons of history, including Israel’s recent history in fighting terror. In the 10 years I served as a minister in Israel’s security cabinet, I learned just how mistaken such arguments can be.

On June 1, 2001, a suicide bomber attacked the entrance to the Dolphinarium discotheque in Tel Aviv. Twenty-one Israelis, mostly young people, were killed, and more than 130 injured. This was the latest in a long string of suicide bombings that had been launched since the start of the Second Intifada in September 2000.

Practicing Restraint

The next day, I took part in a dramatic cabinet meeting to discuss our options — a Sabbath-day meeting, which only a true emergency could justify. Most of the ministers felt decisive action had to be taken. Military officials presented a plan for uprooting the terror infrastructure, through a complex campaign in the heart of Palestinian cities and refugee camps. Though the attack had been carried out by Hamas, it was clear that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat had given them a green light. We had both the right and the ability to strike back.

Throughout the meeting, though, our foreign minister kept going in and out of the room, talking to world leaders and reporting back. His message was clear: Right now Israel enjoys the sympathy of the international community. As long as we keep our military response to a minimum, the world will continue to be on our side, and increased diplomatic pressure will rein in the terror. But if we launch a full-scale attack on the terrorists, we risk losing the world’s support and turning Arafat from an aggressor into a victim.

Proportionate Response

Eventually the prime minister was convinced of this approach, and the decision was made to stick to a proportionate response — pinpoint attacks on terror cells, special operations, arrests — and to allow diplomacy to work its magic.

Over the next nine months, Israel held its fire, and the world indeed condemned terrorism. But the attacks only increased. In the heart of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, suicide bombers blew up coffee shops, buses and hotels. Nightlife ground to a halt, tourism was decimated and hotels had to release most of their workers. One of my colleagues in the government, Rehavam Zeevi, was gunned down by terrorists. In the meantime, the U.S. suffered its own terror attacks on Sept. 11 and put intense pressure on us not to retaliate against the Palestinians, for fear of complicating its own war on al-Qaeda.

The situation came to a head in March 2002, when more than 130 Israelis were killed in a single month alone — most infamously on March 27, Passover Eve, at the Park Hotel in Netanya. The next day, the cabinet convened — again, in an extraordinary meeting during a religious holiday. The meeting started at 6 p.m. and lasted the night. This time, however, the government decided to launch Operation Defensive Shield — the same plan the Israel Defense Forces had offered the previous year.

Worst Fears

In the international arena, our worst fears were realized. The United Nations condemned us, and the U.S. dispatched Secretary of State Colin Powell to tell us to stop the assault immediately. The global media mounted a brutal campaign depicting us as war criminals, spreading false rumors of the wholesale butchering of Palestinian civilians, describing the operation as the worst atrocity of modern history.

The most outrageous of these rumors was the Jenin libel, which was portrayed in a film produced largely from the fertile imagination of its director, and then shown around the world. It didn’t matter that, in fact, Israel had taken unprecedented measures to minimize civilian casualties, including refraining from using either aerial or artillery bombardment, putting its own soldiers at unprecedented risk; or that the UN commission that was created to investigate Jenin was soon disbanded for lack of evidence; or that the director of the film admitted that he had misled his audience.

Reputation Destroyed

For years to come, the “Jenin massacre” was the centerpiece of the anti-Israel propaganda machine, reverberating across Europe and on U.S. campuses as the symbol of Israeli iniquity. Our reputation was in tatters.

Yet all this was a small price to pay for what Israel gained. Within a few weeks, Palestinian terror was rendered ineffective, with the number of Israelis killed falling from hundreds per month to fewer than a dozen over the next year. Life returned to Israeli streets. Tourists returned by the hundreds of thousands. The economy started moving again.

No less important, though, was the effect Defensive Shield had on the Palestinians themselves. With the terror infrastructure removed, Palestinians could begin rebuilding their civic institutions and changing their attitude toward violence. Over time, Arafat’s policy of promoting terror was replaced by the far more cautious approach of his successor, Mahmoud Abbas.

West Bank Rebirth

In more than six years since the operation, the West Bank’s economy has boomed. If there is hope in the West Bank today, it is because Israel abandoned the ideas of proportionality and diplomacy in handling terror. The West Bank Palestinians know this; for this reason, they have not joined in the world’s rampant condemnation of Israel in the current war. While tens of thousands protest in Europe, West Bankers are mostly silent.

Understanding the war in Gaza means recognizing the lessons of 2002. During the three years that passed after pulling out all troops and settlements from the Gaza Strip in 2005, Israel chose to respond to Hamas’s deadly, daily rocket attacks with proportionality and diplomacy. The result? More rockets, more missiles, more misery for Palestinians — and enough breathing space for Hamas to take over the Gaza Strip, devastate its society, build a much more powerful arsenal than it had in 2005 and become the vanguard of Iranian expansionism in the region.

Cancer Treatment

Terrorism is a cancer that can’t be cured through “proportional” treatments. It requires invasive surgery. It threatens not only democratic states that are its target, but also — foremost — the local civilians who are forced into its fanatical ranks, deployed as human shields, and devastated by its tyranny.

The longer one waits to treat it, the worse it gets, and the harsher the treatment required to defeat it. In southern Lebanon, where Israel failed to defeat the terrorists in 2006, the disease has only spread: Hezbollah now has three times the missiles it had before, and the terrorists have gained a stranglehold on the Lebanese government. Israel is determined not to repeat this mistake in Gaza.

Just as in 2002, Israel has chosen to fight the heart of terror, in the face of worldwide denunciation, mass demonstrations, UN resolutions, and talk of crimes against humanity. Now, as then, it is the right decision.

The operation is painful: The number of civilians hurt and killed, while far fewer than in comparable operations around the world, is still intolerably high — a reflection of the size and depth of the terror infrastructure that has grown there over the last three years.

As in 2002, the real beneficiaries of a successful Israeli campaign will be the Palestinians themselves. Peace can be found only when Palestinians are given the freedom to build real civic institutions, and a leadership can emerge unafraid of telling its own citizens that violence, fanaticism and martyrdom aren’t the Palestinian way. But this can happen only once the malignancy of terror is removed from their midst. As ugly as it sounds, it is the only source of hope for Gaza.

3:03PM: Hamas have announced an immediate ceasefire and have given Israel a week to pull out its troops.

1:58PM: And the rockets are still coming. Latest tally is at least 12 rockets and 3 mortar shells since unilateral ceasefire declared.

1:55PM: Israellycool reader Tom has sent in some photos taken today at an anti-Israel rally in Melbourne Australia.

Here are some of the more noteworthy photos from the rally, along with my own comments:

No anti-Semitism here. Just a sign with a Fagin-looking Santa Claus smoking what looks like a joint.

melb-protest1

Still on the subject of drugs, this guy came dressed as a magic mushroom.

melb-protest2

Nothing quite says peace (or at least “anti-war”) like a picture of Nasser and a Hizbullah flag

melb-protest3

Meanwhile, what these protesters lack in originality they make up for in stupidity.

melb-protest4

12:05PM: A grad rocket has landed near Kiryat Gat, bringing today’s “ceasefire” tally to at least 7 rockets and 3 mortar shells.

11:35AM: I think he’s missing an ‘S.’

11:15AM: PM Ehud Olmert has reiterated that the IDF is free to respond to attacks by palestinian terrorists. And we already have, striking the terror cell that launched rockets at Sderot this morning.

So in essence, not too much has changed since the ceasefire announcement. Perhaps we are operating a bit more on the defensive, but we are operating. Could it be that the unilateral ceasefire announcement was made by Israel, knowing full well Hamas would continue their attacks, and was therefore more a PR ploy than anything else?

9:12AM: Not surprisingly, it was the palestinians who opened fire on our troops. Meanwhile, 6 rockets have just struck the Sderot area.

Shortest. Ceasefire. Ever.

9:10AM: It is now being reported that the palestinians did, in fact, break the ceasefire, firing at least 7 grad rockets shortly after 2:00AM. IDF soldiers and terrorists also exchanged fire earlier this morning.

6:10AM:According to a Channel 2 poll, 64% of the Israeli public wants to continue the operation in Gaza, compared to 26% that doesn’t (Hebrew link).

poll-on-ceasefire

6:05AM:Here’s the official IDF word on the ceasefire:

IDF Implementing Cabinet’s Decision Regarding Ceasefire

In accordance with the cabinet’s decision to accept the Egyptian proposal and the announcement of a unilateral ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, the IDF is currently taking the necessary measures to implement the decision.

The cabinet’s decision was made after the IDF achieved the objectives it set for Operation Cast Lead, chiefly dealing the Hamas terror organization a heavy blow to its infrastructure, weaponry stockpiles, rocket launching program and its terror operatives.

As the decision goes into effect, the commander of the operation, GOC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant, will order the redeployment of IDF forces within the Gaza Strip in accordance with security assessments. Furthermore, the forces will be briefed on the specifics of the ceasefire rules of engagement.

The IDF emphasizes that its forces will respond to any attack against Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers, and that any such attack will be met with a harsh response. The IDF stresses that the current Home Front Command safety instructions to residents of southern Israel remain in effect in light of the possibility that the rocket fire will continue as Hamas cynically seeks to “have the last word.”

As ordered by IDF Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, and Maj. Gen. Galant, the operation has not yet ended, and the IDF’s air, naval, ground and intelligence forces will remain alert so as to be ready for any situation. The IDF will continue to assess the situation and emphasizes that it sees Hamas as responsible for the stability of the ceasefire and the resumption of daily life for the residents of the Gaza Strip.

The IDF Spokesperson’s Office reiterates that the IDF began this operation following an extended period of restraint as Hamas continued to terrorize the residents of southern Israel with daily rocket barrages against towns and villages that destroyed the daily life of people in the south.

Hamas alone is responsible for creating the situation in Gaza and is accountable for its consequences.

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