Operation Cast Lead Sat Jan 10th, 2009

It is the Jewish Sabbath in Israel, so I will not be blogging until Saturday evening, Israel time. In my absence, I have enlisted the help of Brian of London (who is actually in New York), and NeoZionoid (who is in Australia). They will provide updates of the situation in Israel. I have asked them not to blog on here when it is the Jewish Sabbath in New York and Australia, so be rest assured this blog is 100% Shomer Shabbas!

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

Sunday Jan 11th – for latest updates, see here.

12:18AM: That does it from me for tonight.

Brian of London and NeoZionoid will continue with the updates tonight/this morning if anything major arises.

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:

And don’t forget to vote Israellycool for Best Middle East or Africa Blog over here (you are allowed to vote once every 24 hours).

Aussie Dave, signing out.

12:10AM: Pictures from a “peaceful” anti-Israel demonstration in London.

11:30PM: Islamic Jihad terrorists have published photos of IDF items they claim to have seized. Things like weapons, two-way radios, medicine, clothes…and hotdogs!

Assuming this is true (a big assumption), here’s hoping they are our infamous Spicy Zionist Hotdogs of Death.TM

11:18PM: The name says it all: Kids With Weapons.

11:15PM: Here’s an interesting article on my friend, IDF Spokesperson Capt. Benjamin Rutland, and the other Aussies doing their bit for Israeli PR (hat tip: Micah).

No mention of yours truly, though.

11:13PM: Flashback: Hamas (proudly) admits to using human shields.

11:00PM: An IDF investigation has concluded that we were not responsible for the death of a palestinian aid worker contracted to the UN and the wounding of two others on Thursday (contrary to claims by the UN and world media, who blamed Israel for it).

“An IDF investigation has found that it was not the army who fired on a UN truck at the Erez Crossing,” the Spokesperson’s office said. The IDF is not sure who fired on thetruck, and is still investigating. “The army further wishes to point out that the Palestinian wounded were evacuated by the Red Cross to the Israeli border, where they were taken by Israeli medical personnel for treatment at Ashkelon’s Barzilai Hospital,” the IDF told The Jerusalem Post.

10:54PM: A great commentary on the current events (hat tip: CiJ):

10:35PM: Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal has told Al-Jizz that the Gaza war has killed the last chance for settlement and negotiations with Israel.

Meanwhile, here is article 13 of the Hamas Charter:

Article Thirteen

Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement…There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors

Heck, read the whole thing.

10:25PM: Iran has disputed a report on suicide bombing volunteers to fight Israel.

They are not taking issue with the report that there are suicide bombing volunteers, but rather a report suggesting that Iran’s top leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini has banned them from leaving the country.

‘Cause they wouldn’t want you getting the wrong idea.

10:05PM: And yet more Lennox (because I just know you guys can’t get enough of her). Check out how she has to correct herself when she quotes the number of dead as being all civilians.

10:00PM: More from Middle East expert Annie Lennox. You’ll find many pearls of wisdom in here, including:

  • 0:30 “..is this a solution to a peaceful resolution?”
  • 1:30: “..safe security” (as opposed to the other types of security)
  • 1:48 “..the slaughter of millions of children like this” (math was never her strong point)

9:37PM: Mauritania is severing diplomatic ties with Israel over Israel’s decision to actually defend herself.

We’ll sure miss the..ehhh..fish and phosphates?

9:30PM: Hassan looks excited.

8:57PM: You know who is praying for peace in the Middle East?

Who do? Voodoo!

Voodoo priests in Benin offered sacrifices and prayers to gods and ancestors on Saturday to seek an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to other wars in Africa and elsewhere in the world.

The small West African state sandwiched between Togo and Nigeria is the home of the ancient Voodoo religion, which was later carried by slaves to the Americas where it survives in different forms in countries like Brazil, Haiti and Cuba.

Addressing devotees at Abomey, 145 km (90 miles) north of Cotonou, voodoo high priest Dah Aligbonon referred to the conflict in Gaza during ceremonies to celebrate Benin’s national voodoo day, a festival which draws hundreds of foreign visitors.

“All wars, which we deplore, have their origin for the most part in religious misunderstandings,” said Dah Aligbonon.

And nothing says “peace” like praying…and sacrificing a cock.

After sacrificing a cock, spilling its blood on the ground in honour of deities and ancestors, the high priest invoked their aid to end conflict in Gaza, in Somalia, in Democratic Republic of Congo and “everywhere where peace is under threat.”

“If there is no tolerance, religious hatred will spawn what is happening today in Palestine, where dozens of infants and innocents are paying for the intolerance of their parents,” he added, speaking after traditional chants and dancing.

8:50PM: Some great news with signs that Hamas is showing signs of exhaustion.

Is Hamas falling apart? A senior IDF officer estimated Saturday that roughly 300 Hamas men have been killed since the army launched its ground incursion in the Gaza Strip. The military official said IDF troops were able to wipe out whole battalions belonging to the Gaza terror group.

“Hundreds of people were killed in the various combat sectors,” the officer said. “Some Hamas companies and battalions were simply wiped out. We also see cases of desertions and unauthorized leaves, while some terror activists are scared to undertake moves that would jeopardize them vis-à-vis IDF troops.”

And about that senior Hamashole we killed today while he fired mortars (see 8:40PM update)…

Earlier Saturday, the IDF killed Hamas’ rocket chief in the Gaza City area, Amir Mansi. The senior officer said that shortly before his death Mansi clashed with his subordinates, who refused to come out of their hideouts. The rocket chief was left with no choice but to launch mortar shells himself, and was killed after being identified by the army.

They’re cracking.

We just have to make sure we finish the job.

8:45PM: In case you are wondering why I did not start blogging after the Jewish Sabbath ended 3 hours ago (assuming you knew that), we had a bit of a medical emergency with my one-year-old daughter that ended up with my wife and her going by ambulance to the hospital at 4 in the morning. Thank G-d she’s ok (so not need to worry about it, mum!), but it meant that after the Sabbath, I went to to pick up my wife and daughter from Hadassah Ein Kerem.

We would like to thank the amazing doctors there – Jewish and Arab – who tended to my daughter.

8:40PM: Aussie Dave here. First of all, a huge thank you to Brian and Neo for their tireless, Sabbath friendly blogging. They will also be helping me out during the week, since I am finding it increasingly difficult to keep up on my own, given my day job and everything.

Now for some quick updates from the last 6 or so hours in which this blog was in silent mode.

  • Palestinians fired more rockets into Israel (bet you didn’t see that coming), causing no injuries or damage.
  • It was reported that the IAF struck more than 60 targets today, including the rocket launchers used to fire Grads at Ashdod this afternoon.
  • We killed another senior Hamashole, just as he was about to fire mortars. Isn’t it lovely to die doing something you love?
  • 7 IDF soldiers were lightly wounded
  • Gorilla boy has asked Egypt not to be Israel’s “partner in crime”

3:07PM (neoZionoid): As I prepare to sign-off for the night here in Australia, the brief lull in live-blogging here looks likely to be in stark contrast to what’s about to happen in Israel and Gaza. From AP via Ha’aretz:

Israel drops leaflets on Gaza warning residents it plans to escalate offensive

While you wait for Aussie Dave to resume live-blogging after the Sabbath ends in Israel, feel free to cast your vote by clicking on the image below:

The 2008 Weblog Awards

Check back soon for more live-blogging updates. Until then, it’s neoZionoid out.

3:00PM (neoZionoid): Nestled among the BBC News usual reportage of anti-Israel demonstrations, a ray of light from Colombia:

A pro-Israeli rally was held outside the Israeli Embassy in Colombia where crowds gathered to express their support for Israel’s operation.

Colombians – with their own experience of fighting terrorism – demonstrating that they get it.

2:55PM (neoZionoid): Sad news about Palestinian civilian casualties. Needless to say, if Hamas wasn’t basing itself in civilian areas – a war crime – this wouldn’t happen.

2:50PM (neoZionoid): From Ha’aretz’s flash news “Hamas leadership in Damascus says it rejects foreign troops in Gaza”. So would that include the Iranians?

2:40PM (neoZionoid): A worrying sign of the ever-increasing range of Hamas’ rockets:

At least seven rockets hit the western Negev by 8 A.M., all of them striking cities previously considered out of the range of rocket fire.

2:32PM (neoZionoid): Two more incoming Qassams, one in Eshkol and one near Ashkelon. No injuries reported.

2:23PM (neoZionoid): Groan. Photos posted at Little Green Footballs of an anti-Israel demo rally a few days ago. No one said democracy and freedom of expression wouldn’t bring out the worst of people (and the worst people).

2:15PM (neoZionoid): A counter-intuitive and thought-provoking view from Noah Pollak argues that ceasefires delay peace.

1:55PM (neoZionoid): The cheeky side of warfare – Israel hacking Hamas TV:

Images of triumphant masked militants and bloodstained hospitals abruptly disappeared from the screen of the Hamas Al Aqsa television station one day during the Israeli offensive into Gaza, to be replaced by a message in Arabic telling the militant group’s leaders to turn themselves in.

On other occasions there’s no need for Israel to mess with Hamas TV – someone in Gaza does it for them. (Warning: video not “work-safe”)

1:47PM (neoZionoid): Poignant photo. Check your local mainstream media to see if they have shown something similar. On second thoughts, don’t bother. Save yourself the time.

1:37PM (neoZionoid): More on Grad rockets.  Meryl Yourish puts forward an interesting case here that Hamas could be targetting Israeli schools.

1:29PM (neoZionoid): Update to the incoming rockets hitting Ashkelon (from JPost):

Four Grad-type rockets were fired at Ashkelon on Saturday just before noon. One of the rockets landed near a four-storey residential building in the city, wounding one man lightly-to-moderately. Three other people were lightly wounded and 10 people went into shock. Another rocket landed in a courtyard and wounded one person lightly.

Grad rockets are rockets with a longer range than the Qassams and are able to hit a target (read “Israeli town”) at least 20km away. More info here.

1:21PM (neoZionoid): Israel must be doing something right to have this response:

Israel’s ambassador to Venezuela left the country Friday, expelled by President Hugo Chavez in rejection of Israel’s attacks on Gaza.

1:13PM (neoZionoid): The EU – in crazy inventor mode – have come up with a new harebrained scheme:

In an attempt to break an impasse that has stalled cease-fire talks aimed at ending the fighting in the Gaza Strip, European diplomats are mulling a proposal which would restore control of the Gaza Strip border crossings to the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority, the Times of London newspaper reported in Saturday editions.

According to the proposal, Palestinian security personnel loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas would govern the border crossings with assistance from Turkish and French soldiers who would be stationed as monitors, the Times reported.

That’d be good. The French could supply the white flags, Turkey the prison guards, while Fatah man the revolving doors.

12:51PM (neoZionoid): Metaphor alert!  Ha’aretz reports:

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said all parties would be responsible for continued fighting in Gaza if they did not accept an Egypt-brokered truce but he singled out Israel to say that it would be responsible for a “waterfall of blood” if they didn’t accept the deal.

Methinks Abbas feels like he’s floating downstream towards one.  In a canoe. Without a paddle.

12:43PM  (neoZionoid): Israel Radio reporting two Grad rockets have hit Ashkelon with one person injured and many treated for shock.

12:06PM (neoZionoid): The Jewish Sabbath has finished on the East Coast of Australia. Live-blogging begins. Here’s some news snippets:

Both Hamas and Israel have given the UN Resolution the thumbs down.

War by numbers: At least eight rockets fired today, three into the Eshkol region and two into Sderot. No casualties thankfully. 15 terrorists killed. 40 targets in Gaza attacked including 14 weapons caches and five tunnels.

Israel struck a Hamas compound in Khan Younis.

(Slightly off-topic) Syria whines about Israel’s wines.

Iran TV says two of its staff were injured in Gaza. Perhaps not the only Iranian assets on the receiving end in Gaza.

Hamas not concerned about the UN resolution.  One wonders if that is because they see the UN as inconsequential or putting wind into their sails.

Sudden Jihad Syndrome breaks out in Rehovot: “An axe-wielding 20-year-old Palestinian man from Jenin attacked passersby on Rehovot’s main Herzl Street on Friday, lightly wounding two people.” Thankfully not a sequel to this.

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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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