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Blogging the Conflict: June 18th – 19th, 2007

You may have noticed that for the past few days, I have not been able to maintain my liveblogging. As I am sure you understand, I am a one-man operation with a very demanding day job. Unless this becomes my day job (feel free to contribute to help make this a reality!), it is always going to be a difficult proposition.

Having said that, I will try – when possible – at the very least to summarize the events of the day, when liveblogging is not feasible. I see much demand for updates from this region of the world, and my Separated at Birth posts can satisfy you for only so long.

Ok, that’s one hell of a long introduction. Now let’s see what’s been happening today.

  • Hamas gunmen shot and wounded 5 palestinians by the Erez Gaza-Israel crossing. And it looks like they got really trigger-happy, since they also shot at IDF troops, resulting in one dead terrorist, and at least 10 others wounded.
  • Russia urged Hamas and Abbas’ emergency government to seek “wide-ranging dialog.” As opposed to long-range missiles, I guess.
  • Hamas issued an ultimatum to the palestinian terrorists holding BBC correspondent Alan Johnston in the Gaza Strip, threatening to free him by force if they do not release him by the end of the day. At last report, Hamas terrorists have already started to amass in the area of the kidnappers. Here’s looking forward to a terrorists vs terrorists bloodbath.
  • A number of figures in the Gaza Strip called for the trial of Fatah strongman, Muhammad Dahlan, as well as other leading figures which they considered responsible for the fall of Fatah in Gaza. 
  • Terrorists desecrated a Roman Catholic school and convent in Gaza city. And in related news, a church group has urged for an end to Israeli ‘occupation.’ I’ll file that in the Really Bad Timing or Get A F****** Clue folder.
  • Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said that Israel will resume payments of palestinian tax revenues if the new Fatah-led West Bank government commits to peace and supports Israel’s right to exist. Which begs the question: why have we been supporting Abbas and Fatah for so long if we are still not sure they support our right to exist?
  • The Justice Minister issued a statement calling on Israel to allow palestinians wishing to flee Gaza entry to the West Bank. “As long as the people in question are not Hamas gunmen and do not pose a security threat, Israel must facilitate their transition.” So I guess Fatah gunman are ok then.
  • Meanwhile, remember those 100 or so Fatah members who fled to Egypt after Gaza? Looks like they will be returning to Gaza, since they have been stuck for days on the Egyptian side after Egyptian authorities would not let them leave the Rafah crossing. Still waiting for the pressure on Egypt to allow them to enter Egypt.
  • PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas told US President George W. Bush  that “this is the time to resume the political negotiations and to revive the hope of the Palestinian people.” Actually, I would have thought now is the time for Bush to take a long hard look at his two-states living-side-by-side in-peace-and-security utopical vision. Given that Gaza is very much the closest thing to a real-life simulation of a palestinian state, Bush should conclude that the palestinians are really not up for running a civilized state. Of course, one could argue that after the first ten or so suicide bombings and shooting attacks, he could have been led to this conclusion.
  • A terrorist group affiliated to Abbas’ Fatah claimed to have fired 3 projectiles at Israel. Given that the Israeli media did not report it, they are either lying, or the projectiles did not quite make it into Israel.
  • A previously unknown Islamic terror group – The Jihadi Badr Brigades – Lebanon branch – claimed responsibility for yesterday’s Katusha rocket attack on northern Israel. But the Kuwaiti Al Siyasah newspaper reported that Syrian President Bashar “Dorktator” Assad was linked to the attack.
  • UN chief Ban Ki-moon said that UNIFIL and the Lebanese army will act against Katusha fire at Israel. I know I will sleep so much better tonight knowing that.

  • Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)
     
    10:05PM: It’s time for the world to switch to alternative energy sources.

    According to two indectments served Monday, millions of shekels have been transferred from a Saudi organization to Hamas operatives in Jerusalem. The money was received as charity although, in reality, it was earmarked for terrorist activities.

    9:30PM: I just saw this report now: Jimmy Carter has said that the US, Israel and EU must end their policy of favoring Fatah over Hamas, an action which he called “criminal.” He also stated that Hamas had proven itself to be far more organized than Fatah.

    Which begs the question: Is Carter senile or just plain evil?

    9:18PM: Listen to the words of one of the palestinians injured at the Erez Crossing and evacuated to an Israeli hospital:

    “We were there for four days. Hamas gunmen shot me‚Ķ we had nothing to eat, nothing to drink‚Ķ they killed one of my friends, who was right next to me. They’re butchering people.”

    Despite this clear statement of who was trying to kill these palestinians, the palestinian Ma’an News Agency is reporting something else entirely.

    One Palestinian was killed and three wounded on Monday night as they attempted to flee the Gaza Strip through Erez Crossing. The Israeli forces opened fire on the crowds that were trying to escape Hamas-controlled Gaza into Israel.

    —-

    The Israeli soldiers opened fire on the Palestinian civilians while they were waiting in an area known as the ‘sleeve’ at Erez Crossing. The Gazans were trying to leave through Israel and take up residence in the Palestinian West Bank.

    Bear this in mind next time you hear of conflicting reports from IDF and palestinian sources, and have to decide which one to believe.

    8:58PM: Ha’aretz reports that an aide to Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said that intensive negotiations are underway for BBC reporter Alan Johnston’s release. Of course, yesterday Hamas issued an ultimatum threatening to free him by force if the group holding him captive did not release him by the end of the day.

    I’m guessing that Hamas are new to this whole ultimatum thing.

    8:37PM: Channel 10 has reported that Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Efraim Sneh, together with Givati Brigade troops, crossed into the Gaza Strip overnight Monday in order to rescue several Fatah operatives.

    Yes, our government really is that stupid.

    8:15PM: Today it was revealed that another terror plot brought to you by the peaceful folk with whom we should live “side-by-side in security” was uncovered by the Shin Bet. It seems like the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) – who are only popular because of their nefarious activities – planned to carry out several attacks, including bombing a Modi’in synagogue and kidnapping US citizens in the West Bank.

    One of the cell members was an illegal worker at a construction site located near the synagogue in Modi’in. Remember that next time palestinians complain of their dire economic situation. They really should be blaming their homegrown terrorists.

    8:07PM: In his meeting with Israeli PM Olmert, US President Bush reaffirmed his misguided two-state vision, and equally misguided support of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Mind you, given that Olmert and his government support the same vision, can we really blame Bush? After all, he cannot practically appear less accommodating to the palestinians than the Israeli government.

    Bush also stated that “all options are on the table” in terms of dealing with Iran to ensure to they do not develop a nuclear weapon.

    6:25PM: MDA ambulances have evacuated 7 palestinians who were wounded in Monday’s shooting attack at the Erez crossing to Israel’s Assaf Harofeh and Ichilov hospitals. As mentioned in my last update, the IDF initially prevented this, due to understandable security concerns.
     
    I’m sorry, but this is unbelievable. I don’t know many other countries that would do something like this for the people hellbent on destroying them. And yet Israel is the most vilified country in the world.
     
    4:30PM: So far today:
  • Fatah’s Central Committee decided to cut off all contacts with Hamas.
  • Labor Party Chairman Ehud Barak took over as Defense Minister from Amir Peretz.
  • The IDF prevented Magen David Adom medics from reaching the palestinian side of the Erez crossing, since palestinians could take advantage of the situation and try to infiltrate into Israel. Yes, palestinians have been known to use ambulances for their terrorist ends.
  • The Iranians blamed Israel for the civil war that they themselves were clearly instrumental in causing.
  • Prime Minister Olmert was said to be set to urge US President Bush to focus on supporting PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and isolating Hamas. Which brings to mind this great cartoon from Cox & Forkum.
  •  
     
    4:10PM: Remember how Hamas stated that the cultural life of Gaza would remain intact? Well, that was apparently a slight exaggeration.
    Christians can only continue living safely in the Gaza Strip if they accept Islamic law, including a ban on alcohol and on women roaming publicly without proper head coverings, an Islamist militant leader in Gaza told WND in an exclusive interview.
     
    The militant leader said Christians in Gaza who engage in “missionary activity” will be “dealt with harshly.”
     
    The threats come two days after a church and Christian school in Gaza was attacked following the seizure of power in the territory by the Hamas terror group.
     
    “I expect our Christian neighbors to understand the new Hamas rule means real changes. They must be ready for Islamic rule if they want to live in peace in Gaza,” said Sheik Abu Saqer, leader of Jihadia Salafiya, an Islamic outreach movement that recently announced the opening of a “military wing” to enforce Muslim law in Gaza.
    —-
    “The situation has now changed 180 degrees in Gaza,” said Abu Saqer, speaking from Gaza yesterday.
     
    “Jihadia Salafiya and other Islamic movements will ensure Christian schools and institutions show publicly what they are teaching to be sure they are not carrying out missionary activity. No more alcohol on the streets. All women, including non-Muslims, need to understand they must be covered at all times while in public,” Abu Asqer told WND.
     
    “Also the activities of Internet cafes, pool halls and bars must be stopped,” he said. “If it goes on, we’ll attack these things very harshly.”
    Tuesday June 19th
    —-

    11:10PM: 2 Qassams have landed in the western Negev, with 2 people suffering shock.

    11:00PM: The Lebanese army has reportedly found 2 new Russian-made rockets near the Lebanese-Israeli border.

    10:20PM: A Qassam has landed near a Sderot factory, hitting a container possibly holding chemicals.

    9:30PM: According to the IDF, palestinians threw a grenade and fired at civilians at the Erez crossing, and soldiers shot at the gunmen. Meanwhile, the Jerusalem Post is reporting at least 2 palestinians dead.

    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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