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Operation Summer Rains: Day Three

No podcast from me today. Just some more liveblogging of Operation Summer Rains.

Since my last liveblogging post last night Israel time, IAF planes have struck locations in Gaza, including the Palestinian Interior Ministry, a Fatah office, and a Hamas training camp, all identified as places of terror activity.

AP report that “Casualties began to mount.” But if you read on, you will see who the casualties are.

The local leader of Islamic Jihad, Mohammed Abdel Al, 25, died early Friday of wounds he suffered an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, hospital officials said, and three Fatah-affiliated gunmen were wounded in a gun battle in the Jebaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza.

They are also reporting that a 5-year old girl was wounded, but thankfully her wounds are not life threatening, and we do not know for sure how she sustained them.

Meanwhile, Israel are giving diplomacy a chance, postponing the ground operation into northern Gaza so that Egyptian President Mubarak can negotiate an agreement with Hamas. Initial reports indicated that Hamas agreed to the conditional release of our kidnapped soldier, Gilad Shalit, but Israel had rejected these terms. While the terms were not made public, it was reported that Mubarak warned Hamas leaders against holding on to their “extreme positions.”

Now, the Jerusalem Post reports that according to palestinian sources, Mubarak suggested that Hamas release Gilad, in exchange for Israel withdrawing from the Gaza Strip, and releasing those palestinian prisoners who were already scheduled to be released within the next year. Mubarak also demanded that Syria’s Bashar “Dorktator” Assad deport the Syrian-based Hamas

leadership unless it agrees to release Gilad. According to these same palestinian sources, Israel did not reject Mubarak’s initiative.

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

6:55PM: Ok, with the Jewish Sabbath starting in half an hour, I am stopping here. Thanks to everyone who stopped by.

I doubt I will be able to replicate the liveblogging to this extent next week (I was sick at home the past few days, in case you were wondering how on Earth I found the time). But if you were a newcomer, I hope you pop around again for this Aussie’s perspective on Israel and the Middle East.

In the meantime, please keep in your prayers Gilad Shalit, the Asheri family, and our amazing soldiers.

Protests in Turkey:

Thousands of angry Turks burned Israeli flags and chanted pro-Hamas slogans Friday in a protest against Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip.
Hundreds of women, many wearing black chadors or Islamic-style head scarves, carried Palestinian flags and yelled, “Murderer Israel, get out of Palestine!‚Äù

A man with a loud speaker warned the Jewish state that it was turning Turkey’s 70 million Muslims against it.

“Inshallah (God willing), all of Turkey will show in coming days that it is behind Palestine!” He said.

It would seem we have a long way to go.

As protesters streamed out of the Beyazid Mosque after prayers and began to fill the square, police said they estimated 5,000 people had shown up. Later, they downgraded that estimate to 2,000.

Ho-hum. What this story needs is a superfluous Israel-Nazi analogy.

The top Palestinian diplomat to Turkey, Nabil Marouf, said on Friday that the events in Gaza were “a true holocaust.”

Again, it would seem like we have a long way to go, since by my calculations, we have killed only a handful of terrorists, and no innocents.

: The IAF confirmed that we did, in fact, strike a car carrying terrorists planning to fire Kassams into Israel.

5:15PM: More on the reported “airstrike”:

Palestinian sources reported that two Palestinians were hurt in a car blast in the northern Gaza Strip.
The circumstances of the blast are still unknown, but it may be caused by Israel Defense Forces fire at a Palestinian car. (Ali Waked)

Yes, Ali, but it could also be a work accident.

4:56PM: There has reportedly been an airstrike on a car in the northern Gaza Strip.

Palestinian Prime Minister terrorist Ismail Haniyeh is standing firm.

The Jerusalem Post report that Fatah’s (Mahmoud Abbas’ group, folks) Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades, claim to have kidnapped an IDF soldier somewhere in the West Bank. The IDF is currently checking the claim.

3:00PM: Introducing our latest weapon: Zionist Death Wall.TM

Security forces successfully tested a special wall designed to protect buildings from Qassam rockets on Thursday.

In a first experiment in Rishon Letzion, headed by Home Front Commander Yitzhak Gershon, a number of rockets resembling Qassams were fired at the wall. The wall stood up to the rockets, which failed to penetrate.

It was specially designed by a number of defense companies, and is aimed at protecting buildings in the cities, towns, and villages of the western Negev.

After successfully testing out the wall, the defense establishment could adopt it for beefing up structures in communities on the Gaza border and Sderot, with a special focus on educational institutions and kindergartens.

The wall is also rumored to be impervious to the graffiti of fools.

2:48PM: Noam Shalit, father of kidnapped soldier Gilad:

“We welcome the initiative of President Mubarak and we want to thank him personally. With that, time is not working on our side and I suppose that the decision makers also know that….Gilad, if you hear me, be strong like you know how to be, be patient, and don‚Äôt lose hope.”

1:44PM: Joke of the day:

The Left-wing peace movement Courage to Refuse protested against the IDF operations in Gaza on Friday afternoon outside Kibbutz Holit near the Gaza Strip.

A spokesman for the organization told Israel Radio that the protest was done for the safety of the soldiers.

He claimed that a strong country such as Israel had other means at its disposal to bring a kidnapped soldier back home.

I somehow doubt that these dingbats have the safety of our soldiers in mind, considering such protests endanger our soldiers by obstructing their operations. And I am curious as to what “other means at our disposal” they have in mind, considering what a “strong” country we are. I guess we could always flatten Gaza from the air, without endangering one soldier, but that would endanger civilians.

1:35PM: Ha’aretz reports that a Kassam rocket has landed within hundreds of meters of Ashkelon.
Israel’s Attorney General, Menachem Mazuz, has refused a request by the Shin Bet security service and the government to hold the arrested Hamas officials as “bargaining chips” under the Unlawful Combatants Law.

Whether or not you agree with this move, it demonstrates the rule of law in Israel.

Miss the Israellycool podcast, and need your podcast fix? Marty Roberts is all over this story. As is American-Israeli journalist/blogger Dave Bender, who interviews Margot Dudkevitch, an Israeli defense affairs and territories commentator, and former Jerusalem Post territories reporter, in his latest podcast.

In other podcast news, “Tom Paine” from Shire Network News just interviewed me about the latest events in Gaza. I will post a link to the show after it is uploaded.

I get the sense that one of the consequences of Operation Summer Rains has been increased support and understanding for Israel’s predicament. I am just not seeing the same kind of global condemnation of Israel’s operations, nor the same kind of calls for restraint. And I am seeing a hell of a lot more condemnation of Hamas and the other terrorist organizations. Not to mention the countless supportive emails I have received.

There have also been a number of encouraging editorials to which I would like to draw your attention.

First up, we have this editorial from The Australian:

Editorial: Israel on target in Gaza response
June 30, 2006

Palestinian terrorists’ tactics can no longer be tolerated

YET again it is ordinary Palestinians who will be the biggest losers in the latest outrage by terrorists in the Gaza Strip. Israel’s military strike at the heart of Gaza following the kidnapping of 19-year-old Corporal Gilad Shalit is exactly right. Even more so with yesterday’s news that Palestinian terrorists killed a young Jewish settler seized from the West Bank at the weekend. In June last year, Ehud Olmert, then Israel’s deputy prime minister, declared the Jewish state was tired of fighting and wanted a new partnership with its difficult neighbour. The election of the terrorist organisation Hamas to replace Fatah at the Palestinian Authority helm pulled the rug from under his words. To his credit, however, as Prime Minister Mr Olmert has shown considerable restraint in recent months in the face of a daily barrage of Palestinian rocketfire into Israel from Hamas’s Qassam rocket sites. Sunday’s assault on a military post inside Israeli territory by members of three terror organisations ‚Äì Hamas, the Popular Resistance Committees and the Islamic Army ‚Äì was a bridge too far. Two Israeli soldiers died in the attack, another was severely wounded and Corporal Shalit was captured. By Monday, Mr Olmert had jettisoned his conciliatory rhetoric, signalling the time for restraint had passed.

According to Israel, its military response in bombing raids and sending tanks into Gaza is designed not to punish Palestinians, but to pressure the terrorists responsible into delivering Corporal Shalit safely back to his family. Good. No one but the terrorists is responsible for the consequences for Palestinian civilians of their senseless and provocative act. Israeli missiles knocked out 60 per cent of Gaza’s electricity ‚Äì a fresh blow for a people already reeling under the move by Western nations to cut off funds to the Hamas administration. As they light candles and try to cook without power they will perhaps recall the votes they cast in the January election. If the short-term consequences of the kidnapping bring pain to Gaza, the long-term consequences for Palestinians could be even more brutal. With Mr Olmert threatening extreme measures if Corporal Shalit is not returned, a bloody conflict with high civilian casualties and political anarchy could be the result. The terrorists’ aim in their brazen raid is transparent: to throw into tumult negotiations between the political wing of Hamas and Fatah, represented respectively by Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and President Mahmoud Abbas, to recognise Israel.

Last month, members of factions of both organisations serving sentences in Israeli prisons ‚Äì many for their role in organising the slaughter of civilians ‚Äì issued a statement calling for a coalition government and implicitly accepted Israel’s existence. This week, before Israel moved its troops into Gaza, both leaders signed a document accepting the idea of a Palestinian state on the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem ‚Äì meaning recognition of Israel next to it. The weak position of both Mr Abbas and Mr Haniyeh within the chaos that characterises Palestinian politics and its factions means the deal may be worth less than the paper it is written on. Demonstrating the point, Hamas moved quickly to deny it had agreed to recognise Israel. For its part, Israel rolled its tanks into Gaza, Israeli forces arrested the Palestinian Authority’s Deputy Prime Minister and its jets buzzed the summer residence of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a warning over the refuge he provides the hardline leader of Hamas’s military wing, Khaled Meshaal, the possible mastermind behind the kidnapping. Mr Abbas’s remaining credibility is at stake. The President must assert his authority and send the soldier home.

I don’t agree with every point – especially the contention that the Prisoner’s Document implicitly recognized Israel – but I think the editorial indicates an understanding of Israel’s need to act as it is.

Next, we have an editorial from the Toronto Sun:

EDITORIAL: It’s time to stand with Israel

The Toronto conference of the United Church yesterday joined the Ontario division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees in calling for economic sanctions against Israel and a boycott of the Jewish state to protest its policies in the Palestinian territories.

Basically, both are calling on Canadians to choose sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Fair enough. We choose Israel, which cannot be expected to negotiate with a Palestinian government led by Hamas, a terrorist group whose founding charter calls not only for the destruction of Israel, but for the annihilation of the Jewish people.

Further, we urge Prime Minister Stephen Harper to continue Canada’s sensible policy of refusing to recognize Hamas and denying it foreign aid until it unequivocally recognizes Israel’s right to exist and renounces terrorism.

Like Harper, we support the creation of an independent Palestinian state living in peace beside a secure Israel.

But that has never been Hamas’ goal. Hamas, according to its 1988 founding charter, envisions all of Israel as the new Palestinian state, either rid of all Jews or with only a handful allowed to remain, subject to hardline Islamic rule.

This week, Israeli military forces reoccupied Gaza, demanding the safe return of a 19-year-old soldier kidnapped by several terrorist groups, including the armed wing of Hamas. By reoccupying Gaza, which it withdrew from last year after dismantling numerous Israeli settlements, Israel is not “overreacting” to the abduction of one soldier.

It is sending a message to Hamas — in the only language it understands — that it will not allow the Palestinian territories to be used as a staging ground for attacks against Israel.

In response, Hamas has signed a deal with its main political rival in the Palestinian territories, the Fatah party led by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, which Fatah insists means Hamas has tacitly recognized Israel’s right to exist.

But Hamas says the deal — meant to entice the international community into funding the Hamas-led government — means no such thing.

In other words, Hamas will continue to attack not just Israeli military targets, but civilians through terrorist attacks, usually carried out by suicide bombers.

As long as this is Hamas’ position, it is Hamas, not Israel, that should be boycotted by the civilized world.

12:05PM: Jerusalem Post are reporting that the IDF shot a Sudanese citizen, who was travelling with three palestinian fugitives planning attacks on Israelis.

Could this point to Al Qaeda involvement?

By the way, I should have mentioned that there were also Russians involved.

The man was riding in a vehicle with the three

Palestinians from Gaza, nine Sudanese and three escort girls from

Russia, when the troops overtook the vehicle

12:02PM: Israel has revoked the Jerusalem residency of four Hamas legislators, including one cabinet minister.

Gilad’s family are reportedly encouraged by Mubarak’s involvement in trying to secure Gilad’s release.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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