Liveblogging the Latest – Wednesday January 23rd

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Early this morning, terrorists blew holes in the concrete wall between Gaza and Egypt, allowing thousands of palestinians to cross over, while Egyptian guards stood by and watched – I guess being beaten up by women damages your confidence. While Ha’aretz reports that the people rushed “to buy food, fuel and other supplies that have become scarce in Gaza because of the Israeli blockade”, it is highly likely that weapons smuggling will also take place, and, indeed, Ynet mentions this as being of concern for the IDF.

Meanwhile, IDF troops removed another Hamashole from the world this morning, and injured many others, during fighting in the Gaza Strip. And IDF troops in the West Bank arrested 13 palestinian terror suspects.

In other news, palestinians hurled an explosive device, opened fire on IDF troops in Qabatiya and threw 2 Molotov cocktails at an Israeli car west of Ramallah, the UN Security Council stands to issue a presidential statement today denouncing Israel for protecting herself (we can’t have that now, can we?), and Shas threatened to quit the government if Israel and the palestinians discuss Jerusalem in peace negotiations.

Updates (Israel time)

11:40AM: The IDF has arrested 20 more terror suspects.

11:55AM: The Dutch Foreign Minister has reportedly stated he will work towards have the firing of Qassams condemned at the UN. In other news, we live in a world where having this condemned at the UN requires work.

2:20PM: The Israeli government is worried that now anyone can enter Gaza from Egypt. As Foreign Ministry spokesman Arye Mekel noted:

“Therefore it is the responsibility of Egypt to ensure that the border operates properly, according to the signed agreements,” he said. “We expect the Egyptians to solve the problem. Obviously we are worried about the situation. It could potentially allow anybody to enter.”

Expecting Egypt to solve the problem? I wouldn’t hold my breath. They are part of the problem, not the solution.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak announced Wednesday that he had ordered his troops to allow Palestinians to cross into Egypt from Gaza because they were starving.

Speaking at the Cairo International Book fair, Mubarak told reporters that when Palestinians began breaking through the Gaza-Egypt border at Rafah in force, he told his men to let them in to buy food before escorting them out.

“I told them to let them come in and eat and buy food and then return them later as long as they were not carrying weapons,” he said, in answer to reporters’ questions.

The Palestinians in Gaza are starving due to the Israeli siege,” he said. “Egyptians troops accompanied them to buy food and then allowed them to return to the Gaza Strip.

2:45PM: Houston, we have a problem.

UN: 350,000 Gazans crossed into Egypt since fence was breached

3:05PM: The father of one of the Israelis murdered last month by palestinian terrorists just sentenced by the PA, is understandably angry that Israeli Prime Minister Olmert did not insist that they be extradited to Israel. Here’s hoping that when they are predictably released by the PA in a few months, they get intimate with an Apache missile.

3:06PM: From the Ha’aretz news ticker:

IDF: New data show W. Bank Palestinians try to develop Qassam rockets (Israel Radio)

Further proof that we are not hitting them hard enough.

6:30PM: Palestinians have fired 3 mortars into Israel.

6:56PM: The US has voiced concern over the hundreds of thousands of palestinians pouring into Egypt from Gaza.

“We are concerned about that situation and frankly I know the Egyptians are as well,” State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey said.

Sounds more like an attempt at the Jedi mind trick than reality. After all, it was the Egyptians who let them in.

8:30PM: Earlier, palestinian gunmen opened fire at an IDF base northwest of Jenin.

8:40PM: I guess the border wall’s demise was not the result of those enigmatic gunmen alone:

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Palestinians destroy a section of the border wall between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, January 23, 2008. (Suhaib Salem/Reuters)

Lucky they didn’t boycott Caterpillar.

8:55PM: From the Department of Delusions:

“I do not regret the decisive decisions I made as prime minister – not those pertaining to the fighting in Lebanon and not those pertaining to other events. Mistakes were made – yes. And there were failings – of course. But, lessons were learned, mistakes were corrected and operational patterns changed but mostly: the decisions we made have since brought us more security, more quiet, less terror, more deterrence and more prosperity to Israel than there has been in years.

“The current situation in northern Israel is better by far than it ever was. Israel’s northern citizens live in peace and security. The boys have not yet come home (referring to kidnapped Israeli soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev), I have not forgotten this.”

But he does seem to have forgotten about that little matter of the Katusha fired at Israel 2 weeks ago.

Speaking at the annual Herzliya Conference, Olmert said: “This is the longest period of quiet in the north in 25 years. The north is blossoming and blooming. And no one welcomes this more than I.”

Now about the south..

10:05PM: According to the Times Online, Hamas has been slicing through the border wall for months, using oxy-acetylene cutting torches (hat tip: Elder). In other words, like the start of the Second Intifada in 2000, this was not a spontaneous act in response to some specific Israeli act, but rather a carefully planned operation which has taken advantage of the current situation.

And you know what else that means. The primary motivation behind breaking the wall was not to allow people to get food. No prizes for guessing what they are really after.

10:22PM: More palestinian, rock-pelting fun.

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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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