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Liveblogging the Latest – Thursday January 17th

israeli-youths.jpgAfter palestinian terrorists fired 40+ Qassams and three mortars at Israel yesterday, Sderot is bracing for an escalation today. And so far this morning, at least 13 Qassam rockets have already been fired at Israel, with a woman being lightly injured and a house damaged. But the way things are going, by the time I click on “Publish”, the tally may already have increased.

Meanwhile, senior IDF sources have told Haaretz that if Hamas holds back its attacks, we will do the same. But the IDF is not changing its current tactics, and will not be intensifying its attacks.

In other news, a new study shows that 75-94% of Sderot children aged 4-18 exhibit symptoms of post-traumatic stress, and the IDF apprehended 6 wanted palestinian terrorists in the West Bank early this morning.

I’ll try to once again keep you all updated throughout the day. Please spread the word, and feel free to click on the Donate button.

Updates (Israel time)

9:20AM: Interesting fact from Ha’aretz:

The IAF has successfully reduced the number of civilians killed in air strikes from roughly 50 percent in 2002-2003 to 2-3 percent in 2007.

10:28AM: 2 more Qassams have been fired at Sderot, with one landing near a driving car, lightly injuring the passengers.

10:40AM: The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs has posted more on Carlos Andrés Mosquera Chávez, the 20-year-old volunteer from Ecuador, who was murdered by a palestinian sniper a few days ago.

carlos-chavez.jpgCarlos Chávez, a volunteer from Quito, Ecuador, was working in the potato fields of Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha, near the central Gaza Strip, about 100 meters from the perimeter fence. He and his compatriot, David Lanas, had stopped for a snack when the firing began. They ran for cover, but Carlos was struck by a bullet in the back. He managed to say, “Los muy malditos me dieron en la espalda” (the bastards shot me in the back) before collapsing in David’s arms. He was taken to the kibbutz infirmary by a Magen David Adom team, where he died of his wounds.

“It’s tough for us to receive news like this,” said Annie Rotman, who is responsible for the kibbutz’s volunteers. Carlos had come to the kibbutz two months ago, in November. “Only yesterday, we spoke with him, laughed with him.” Carlos had heard about Israel and Kibbutz Ein Hashlosha, established by immigrants from South America in the 1950s, from a relative who had visited there, and he was eager to go because he wanted to study abroad. He was to have celebrated his 21st birthday on January 20.

The news of Carlos’ death was conveyed to his sister Diana Mosquera in Quito. She described her brother as a happy, vivacious person who was never still, and who loved life and soccer. He had planned on remaining in Israel for a year, where he hoped to perfect his English, and then go on to university studies. “His dream was to know about the world. He was at the age when all he wanted to do is travel,” Diana said.

Carlos’ body will be flown home for burial in Quito. He is survived by his parents, Carlos Alfredo and Gloria de las Mercedes, his sister Diana and his grandparents.

11:52AM: Another Qassam and a mortar, thank you very much.

12:38PM: Arutz Sheva reports:

The Palestinian Authority cannot negotiate compromises with Israel and will cut off talks if the IDF does not halt its attacks on terrorists in the Gaza Strip and stop building new Jewish communities, PA negotiator Saeb Erekat said Thursday.

Erekat told the newspaper Asharq el-Awsad that counter-terrorism operations by Israel will destroy any final status agreement negotiated with the PA.

Which begs the question: How come we never hear a story like this?

The Israeli Government cannot negotiate compromises with the PA and will cut off talks if palestinian terrorism continues, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said Thursday.

Livni told the newspaper Ha’aretz that terrorism operations by the palestinians – including Fatah – will destroy any final status agreement negotiated with Israel.

1:35PM: Today’s Qassam tally now stands at 15.

2:05PM: In case you were wondering, this is the damage the Qassams (or “homemade projectiles” as the palestinian media likes to describe them) are causing in Sderot (hat tip: Ynet via Elder of Ziyon).

2:10PM: 2 more Qassams

3:25PM: Since the last update, we’ve had 4 more incoming Qassams, as well as 3 molotov cocktails and stones. So much for those AP/AFP/Reuters “palestinian with a slingshot” photos.

3:27PM: Another item I missed: the IAF struck a car, killing a terrorist and Mrs terrorist.

3:35PM: Mr and Mrs terrorist have a name: PRC leader Raed Abu el-Foul and his wife Mrs el-Foul. Pity the foul!

4:00PM: Islamic Jihad has reacted to the death of Raed Abu el-Foul as follows:

A spokesman for the organization told Ynet following the strike “the rockets that are pouring down like rain on Sderot and Ashkelon are one way to respond, and the coming days will bring a different kind of response.”

At least they are getting more inventive. I was getting sick of the standard terrorist “you have opened up the gates of hell” response.

4:50PM: Another one from the Color Me Surprised Department:

violent-group.jpg

Palestinians carry the body of Mohammed Safadi, a militant from the violent group the Popular Resistance Committees, during his funeral in Gaza City, Thursday, Jan. 17, 2008. Safadi was killed Wednesday in an Israeli airstrike. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

Ok, so they called him a militant but admitted he’s the violent kind. Now that’s progress, people!

4:55PM: 6 more Qassams have been fired at Sderot, with some people being treated for shock.

5:40PM: Today’s Qassam count now stands at 32.

6:20PM: Ma’an News reports:

A delegation of senior Fatah officials visited the home of Hamas leader Mahmoud Az-Zahhar to offer condolences on the death of his son Husam, who was killed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City on Tuesday.

The delegation comprised the prominent leaders – Ibrahim Abu Al-Naja, Hisham Abd Ar-Razzaq, Ahmad Abu An-Naser and Abd Ar-Rahman Abu An-Naser.

The delegation called for the need for national unity to oppose the Israeli occupation in Gaza.

For those who need reminding, there is no occupation in Gaza. Israel unilaterally left Gaza in 2005, which is precisely what caused this increased rocket activity in the first place.

6:26PM: The Jerusalem Post reports:

Total donations from a Paris aid conference for the Palestinians last month have increased to at least $7.6 billion (€5.17 billion) after countries fine-tuned their contributions, officials said Thursday.

This as the palestinian terrorists fine-tune the aim of their rockets.

6:45PM: Ha’aretz reports:

Security forces thwarted an Islamic Jihad cell’s plan to place a bomb on the railroad tracks leading from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, according to information made public Thursday.

The members of the cell were captured in a joint operation by the Israel Defense Forces and Shin Bet security service approximately one month ago near Bethlehem. The operation also uncovered the cell’s explosives lab.

And they would have gotten away with it too, had it not been for us meddling yids.

8:00PM: An Israeli man has been lightly-to-moderately wounded by palestinian terrorists, after being shot on Route 446, in the Modi’in area. And not just any palestinian terrorist.

The “Freedom and Liberty Brigades,” an armed Fatah cell, claimed responsibility for the shooting near Modi’in in which an Israeli motorist was injured. A spokesman from the group told Ynet that the organization is no longer obligated to the ceasefire declared by Fatah.

And now they’ve got $7.6 billion more to play with.

8:08PM: One of my referrers today is a forum on which someone posted a link to this post, and asked:

Wow.

What would we do if Mexico would fire so many rockets at Laredo, Texas?

The response:

Who cares, let Israel deal with it.

We should let them duke it out, and stop sending charity to Israel and the Arab and Muslim nations. America has its own problems.

————————-
Ron Paul 2008 – A New Hope

And that’s all I have to know about Ron Paul. With supporters like this (and this, of course).

8:20PM: “Moderate” Mahmoud Abbas is threatening to resign if we continue to defend ourselves from rocket attacks.

Yep, he’s someone to place your trust in.

P.S Don’t forget to close the door on your way out.

8:30PM: The Jerusalem Post reports:

Israel has the right to defend itself from Kassam rocket attacks, US Assistant Secretary of State Sean McCormack said Thursday.

Ok…but..

However, McCormack urged the IDF to avoid harming innocent civilians, Israel Radio reported.

Now imagine if Mexico was firing rockets at US cities and my American friends saw this story:

The US has the right to defend itself from rocket attacks, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Thursday.

However, Barak urged the US Army to avoid harming innocent civilians, NBC reported.

Yep, that’s exactly how I am feeling right now.

8:36PM: Looks like we may have killed 2 terrorists and a passerby in an IAF strike.

8:37PM: Today’s count stands at over 40 Qassams and 2 mortar shells.

9:00PM: AP are back to doing what they do best:

gesture.jpg

An Israeli soldier gestures as he stands opposite a Palestinian man, during clashes between the Israeli army and Palestinians in West Bank town of Hebron, Thursday, Jan. 17, 2008. Militants in Hamas-ruled Gaza bombarded southern Israel with rockets on Thursday and Israel pounded back with air and ground fire, killing a militant leader and his wife, as the deepening violence pushed peace efforts to the sidelines. (AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi)

Notice how the AP caption writer – who I assume is Nasser Shiyoukhi (who I once before mentioned as possibly being the product of a palestinian-Japanese sex romp) – paints the soldier as the aggressor by mentioning that he is the one “gesturing,” even though they are both clearly “gesturing.” Also note the use of the word “pounded” to describe Israel’s precision-targeted responses to the Qassam attacks.

9:08PM: According to palestinian sources, we mistakenly killed a mother and her son in the last IAF strike. If this is true, I am obviously saddened by their deaths, but you can’t blame Israel. Terrorists firing rockets + hiding amongst civilians = dead civilians.

9:30PM: And now for an example of Reuters doing what they know best:

Five Palestinians die in Gaza as Olmert vows “war”

Reading that headline, you would be forgiven for thinking once again that Israel is the aggressor, killing innocent palestinians in its efforts to wage war. But, as it turns out, you have to read on to discover the truth:

Israeli air strikes killed five Palestinians, including a mother and child, in the Gaza Strip on Thursday as Prime Minister Ehud Olmert vowed to wage a “war” to stop rocket attacks on the Jewish state.

The escalation in violence prompted Palestinian leaders to warn that renewed peace talks — spurred by last week’s visit by U.S. President George W. Bush — were at stake.

In the latest bloodshed, an Israeli air strike on a car in the Gaza Strip killed at least one Islamic Jihad militant, as well as a mother and child riding in a donkey cart, Palestinian hospital officials said.

An earlier air strike killed a militant leader and his wife.

Militants in the Hamas-controlled territory have fired close to 100 rockets at southern Israel in the past two days following the killing of 18 Palestinians in some of the heaviest fighting in months in the Gaza Strip.

“A war is going on in the south, every day, every night,” Olmert said in a speech in Tel Aviv. “We cannot and will not tolerate this unceasing fire at Israeli citizens … so we will continue to operate.”

“This war will not stop,” the prime minister said, predicting Israeli military pressure would “tip the scales” and force a halt to rocket fire.

Olmert, saying Israel sought to avoid harming Palestinian civilians, gave no indication he might order a large-scale ground operation in the Gaza Strip, an assault Israeli officials have cautioned could cause heavy casualties on both sides.

In other words:

1. Olmert did not vow to wage”war”; he merely stated that a war was already going on i.e. Israel is under attack.

2. At least 3 of the palestinians killed by Israel were terrorists/terrorist’s relatives.

9:40PM: Reuters go even further with this caption:

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert vowed on Thursday to wage a “war” to stop Gaza militants firing rockets into Israel, despite warnings by Palestinian leaders that Israeli military strikes would harm peacemaking. REUTERS/Eliana Aponte (ISRAEL)

Yep. There would be peace in our time if it weren’t for those warmongering Israelis.

9:42PM: More peace overtures from the palestinians: shooting at another Israeli vehicle plus bonus firebomb.

9:45PM: Please Digg this post if you haven’t already, and also send the link to some of the bigger blogs. I feel the news is not really getting out.

10:32PM: Ynet reports on what’s troubling UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was “deeply concerned at the current escalation of violence in Gaza and southern Israel, as well as in the West Bank, in particular the killing and injuring of civilians on both sides,” according to a press release.

But apparently he wasn’t concerned when it was “just” a matter of rockets being fired into Israel on a daily basis. Only now that Israel has started to try and neutralize the threat is he losing sleep.

11:10PM: Palestinian sources are reporting that the IAF attacked a Hamas outpost.

11:18PM: Try to make sense of this Ma’an News report on the strike I mentioned in my 9:08PM update:

Three people were killed, including a woman and her son and several others were injured in a fresh Israeli raid, targeting a civilian car in Beit Lahiyah, in the northern Gaza Strip, on Thursday.

Muawiya Hassanein, director of ambulance and emergency services in the Palestinian health ministry told Ma’an that three dead bodies were taken to the Kamal Udwan Hospital, along with four people who are seriously injured.

Medical sources told Ma’an that the car was carrying members of the Islamic Jihad movement, killing two of them. The blast also hit a horse-drawn carriage, traveling behind the car, killing a woman named Maryam Rahil and seriously injuring her ten-year-old son, Mansour.

In other words, there are two different versions within this one report!

Version 1: Both mother and son killed

Version 2: Mother killed, son injured

11:28PM: 2 terrorists dead and 3 wounded. Another job well done, IDF.

11:35PM: I hear the wind roaring right now, and I know how cold it must be outside (after all, it is cold inside the house). G-d bless our soldiers who are braving the conditions and a vicious enemy for our sake.

11:50PM: Hamas have declared a “massive response”, including “massive rocket barrages and numerous terror attacks.” In other words, what they have been doing all along.

11:58PM: From the You Have to Be Kidding Me Department:

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Thursday that Israel should freeze the building of settlements if it wanted to achieve peace with the Palestinians.

In the text of a speech delivered at a Bertelsmann Foundation event, Steinmeier listed three key points for dialogue and peace in the region – better economic conditions for the Palestinians, better security and a freeze on settlements. “I believe that if we are serious about a two-state solution, then the building of new and the extension of existing settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem must be stopped,” he said. (Reuters)

Oh, and here’s another one – NO MORE TERRORISM!

Latest updates here

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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