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Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)
Thursday Jan 15th – for latest updates, see here.
12:10AM: That’s it from me for tonight.
Brian of London, NeoZionoid or Elder of Ziyon may continue with the updates this morning if anything major arises.
As usual, 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:
Aussie Dave, signing out.
11:57PM: Ipsos poll results:
1. As you may know, violence has recently erupted in the Middle East in the Gaza Strip and Israel. Based on what you
have seen, read or heard, do you think that the use of force by [RANDOMIZE: Israel/Hamas] has been excessive or is
appropriate given the circumstances?
Hamas Israel Excessive 57 36 Appropriate 18 44 (DK/NS) 25 20
2. Do you personally make a distinction between Hamas and the Palestinian people, or not?
Make a distinction 37
Do not make a distinction 53
3. And regardless of your personal feelings, who do you believe is more to blame for the current conflict? (READ LIST.)
(Do not read) Both 9
(Do not read) Neither 4
4. Now, do you think the United States should or should not favor creating a Palestinian state?
Should favor 31
Should not favor 45
5. How confident are you that the incoming Obama administration can resolve the conflict between Israel and the
Palestinians? Are you … (READ LIST.)
Very confident 10
Somewhat confident 32
Not too confident 22
Not at all confident 29
11:38PM: How to effectively boycott Israel.
11:00PM: Summary of today’s operations:
IDF forces, including Infantry Corps, Armored Corps, Combat Engineering Corps, Artillery Corps, and Intelligence Corps, continue to operate throughout the Gaza Strip with the assistance of the Israel Air Force and the Israel Navy.
A total of 14 rockets were fired into Israel today, no injuries were reported.
104,000 liters of fuel and 108 trucks transporting humanitarian aid to Gaza passed through the Kerem Shalom Crossing today.
The IAF attacked over 50 targets since the early morning hours, including:
· Two company commanders in the Hamas terror organization, in the area of Zaytun, Walid Za’abud and Muhamad Dash, were both involved in launching rockets at Israel and attacks against IDF forces.
· The armed terror cell responsible for launching an anti-tank missile at an IDF force, wounding seven soldiers.
· 15 weapons smuggling tunnels used to transfer Grad and Qassam rockets.
· 10 cells of armed operatives, including a terrorist identified placing an explosive device aimed at IDF forces. Some of these targets were identified in coordination with ground forces.
· 10 rocket launchers, including a launcher located next to a cemetery and an armed Grad launcher ready for use.
· A weapon storage facility.
· Underground launching sites, some armed and ready for use.
Troops operating west of Gaza City uncovered weaponry, including explosive devices, hand grenades, flak-jackets and communication equipment, in a mosque west of Gaza City.
Reserve forces identified a mortar shell launcher aimed at Israel and fired at the terrorist responsible and identifying hitting him.
Today an IDF soldier was severely wounded, two soldiers were moderately wounded and 13were lightly wounded in clashes with terror operatives in the northern Gaza strip.
The wounded soldiers were evacuated to a hospital for further medical treatment. Their families have been notified.
The IDF will continue its operations against all terrorists and those who support them.
10:47PM: Anti-Israeli protesters attack a car in LA.
10:17PM: At the Cairo press conference earlier this evening, Hamas presented its preconditions regarding a truce.
- Israel must lift the “siege” on Gaza
- Israel must end its “aggression”
- Israel must pull out of the Gaza Strip
- Israel must open the border crossings
9:35PM: Five people have been treated for shock after a rocket exploded in Ashdod.
9:25PM: It’s good to see that AP have dropped any pretense of impartiality.
Palestinian relatives of Hamas militant Yousef Tamboura react during his funeral in Beit Lahiya northern Gaza Strip, Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009. Israel showed no signs of slowing its bruising 19-day offensive against Gaza’s Hamas rulers, striking some 60 targets on Wednesday. Israel launched the onslaught on Dec. 27, seeking to punish the Hamas militant group for years of rocket attacks on southern Israel. The offensive has killed more than 940 Palestinians, half of them civilians, according to Palestinian hospital official.
Leaving aside the fact all the palestinians happen to be facing towards the camera while they cry, check out the caption with its use of words like “bruising” and “onslaught” to describe Israel’s operation in Gaza. Of course, Hamas’ years of rocket attacks on Israel are not deserving of any such adjective.
Furthermore, the AP caption writer states definitively that Israel’s operation is punitive in nature, designed to “punish” Hamas, despite the fact the operations goals were clearly stated as including the stopping of rocket fire on Israel and smuggling of weapons and terrorists into Gaza.
And let’s not forget the inclusion of the blatantly wrong statistic of half of 940 palestinians dead being civilians – based on a “palestinian hospital official.”
9:10PM: A rocket has struck an open field in Ashdod.
Meanwhile, we are reportedly sending a top negotiator to Egypt for truce talks.
9:02PM: The IDF has bombed the daylights out of a terror cell with a propensity for firing anti-tank missiles at our soldiers.
8:54PM: Majority of Israelis do not want a ceasefire currently: In a Channel 2 poll “Are you for or against a continuation of fighting in Gaza,” 62% responded in the affirmative.
8:23PM: The Saudi-owned Arabic language Al Arabiya TV has reported Hamas’ agreement to the ceasefire – with some amendments. For one, they have reportedly demanded Israel’s immediate withdrawal from Gaza. I guess all will be revealed at the 8PM Hamashole press conference.
6:50PM: Now Bolivia has broken relations with Israel.
We’ll really miss the….coke?
6:45PM: Stephanie Gutmann asks and answers the question: Can we trust the casualty numbers?
Palestinian Death Toll Tops 900: Gaza Official,” blared an AP headline on Monday morning. Over at CNN, the headline was “Gaza death toll since airstrikes began is above 500, Palestinian sources say.”
Once again, a high and asymmetric death toll will be invoked to justify a premature end to Israel’s campaign to wipe out arms-smuggling tunnels and otherwise weaken Hamas’s infrastructure. But can we believe the numbers? Who are the sources of these figures? The AP, for instance, continually quotes unspecified “medical officials.” Sometimes reporters offer up hospital administrators in Gazan hospitals, sometimes people like “Bassem Naeem . . . health minister . . . in Gaza,” who “told reporters that 42 percent of those killed were women and children.”
But Israeli officials point out that virtually every public official in the Gaza strip, including hospital administrators, is, in effect, a Hamas appointee. It is, after all, a totalitarian regime that has crushed any remnant of a free press and thrown dissenters off the roofs of buildings. Israel thus “seriously questions Hamas’s figures,” but at this point — obviously — it has no way of doing the kind of intense forensic investigation needed to issue its own more precise estimate.
It’s time to recall another Israeli incursion in which Palestinians used casualty numbers seemingly plucked out of the air to justify its claim that Israel was employing “disproportionate force.” In the spring of 2002, after months of near-daily suicide bombings inside Israel, the IDF decided to make a major incursion into the Jenin refugee camp, which even Al-Fatah documents identified as “the capital of suicide bombing.” The civilian population was warned that an incursion was imminent and given several days to move to adjacent towns in the West Bank. Then Israel moved in with infantry soldiers who picked their way among mined buildings looking for weapons stores and hidden enemy fighters.
Palestinians, this time from the Fatah side of the street, immediately started to play to the international media. Several outlets, including Al-Jazeera for instance, quoted one Dr. Abu-Rali, director of a Jenin hospital, who said that “the western wing of [his] hospital was shelled and destroyed,” making for “casualties in the thousands.”
Nasser al-Kidwa, a Palestinian representative to the United Nations, told CNN: “There’s almost a massacre now taking place in Jenin. Helicopter gunships are throwing missiles at one square kilometer packed with almost 15,000 people in a refugee camp. . . . Just look at the TV and watch, watch what the Israel forces are doing. . . . This is a war crime, clear war crime, witnessed by the whole world, preventing ambulances, preventing people from being buried. I mean this is an all-out assault against the whole population.”
“All my nine children are buried under the ruins,” a resident of Jenin named Abu Ali told the Le Nouvel Observateur, a French weekly magazine. The weekly apparently did not do any checking; it dutifully reported Ali’s story of losing his children in a piece titled “The Survivors Tell Their Stories.” Newspapers in the U.K. went into a positive frenzy, running pieces like the Independent’s “The Camp that Became a Slaughterhouse.”
Finally, in August 2002, the U.N. sent a team to investigate charges of a massacre. The U.N. — no friend of Israel — found no evidence of a massacre, and it supported IDF claims that about 45 Palestinians had died, mostly men aged 18 to 45. It confirmed only three children and four women. Abu Ali’s nine children were not among them. “Fifty-two Palestinian deaths had been confirmed by the hospital in Jenin by the end of May 2002. . . . A senior Palestinian Authority official alleged in mid-April that some 500 were killed, a figure that has not been substantiated in the light of the evidence that has emerged,” the U.N. report said.
Amnesty International, also no friend of Israel, did its own investigation and came to a similar conclusion. In fact, the PLO itself had already revised its figures. In May 2002, a PLO spokesman named Kadoura Mousa Kadoura, who apparently had decided to “rebrand” the Jenin incursion, produced a list of 56 dead as part of his brief to Paul Martin of the Washington Times that the battle had been “a victory” in which “the Israelis, who tried to break the Palestinian willpower, have been taught a lesson.”
As for the Jenin hospital whose “western wing” was pulverized, an Israeli reservist doctor named David Zangen — who served in units during the Jenin battle and has done much writing contesting the myths propagated about the incursion — reports that “there never was such a wing and, in any case, no part of the hospital was shelled or bombed.”
Another tactic, along with inflated figures, is to exploit the shock value of dead bodies. Even if they have to be pulled out of morgues, bodies will be found and displayed to produce the horrible photographs that bring demonstrators into the streets and diplomats into urgent sessions. There may have been relatively few civilian casualties in the battle for Jenin, but that did not stop Hamas and Fatah-affiliated terror militiamen in the camp from “dressing the set,” so to speak, for the international press.
According to Ilan Sztulman, an officer in the IDF reserves who served in Jenin, “The Palestinians wouldn’t let anybody take the bodies out. They manipulate imagery. That’s how they fight. There were bodies decaying on the street. They stank. But if anybody approached the bodies they would get shot. They booby-trapped a lot of bodies. Some IDF soldiers got killed before they figured this out. So to get them out, the IDF soldiers began using a sort of anchor. It’s called a sapper’s anchor: You throw it; it gets stuck on flesh and if it doesn’t explode, you can come close.”
This tactic may be in use once again to defeat Israel’s Gaza offensive. A week ago, Jeffrey Goldberg, who has done more up-close reporting in the disputed territories than any other living journalist, asked, “Why are these pictures [of the dead] so omnipresent?”
“Hamas (and the Aksa Brigades, and Islamic Jihad, the whole bunch) prevents the burial, or even preparation of the bodies for burial, until the bodies are used as props in the Palestinian Passion Play,” he wrote in his blog on atlantic.com. “Once, in Khan Younis, I actually saw gunmen unwrap a shrouded body, carry it a hundred yards and position it atop a pile of rubble — and then wait a half-hour until photographers showed. It was one of the more horrible things I’ve seen in my life. And it’s typical of Hamas.”
6:40PM: Hamas is reportedly agreeing to the Egypt-brokered ceasefire, with senior Hamashole Ayman Taha expected to hold a press conference at 7:30 pm (GMT).
6:30PM: Disturbing anti-Israel protest pictures from “moderate” Arab state Turkey.
Anti-Israel, not anti-Semitic. Righhhht.
Nothing to see here. Just some kids with some guns. Move along.
It’s a shame that’s fake because it would be really nice if he had a premature explodation during the protest.
Some of these protesters – especially the guy at the front (center) – look like they may have been partaking in a bit of Haram alcohol
I am detecting a lot of hatred. Especially from the dog.
6:13PM: The cause of today’s false alarm in Jerusalem and my home town of Beit Shemesh was “mistaken rocket tracking.”
Or for dumbasses like me, that means the system tracking falsely predicted that the firing was towards Jerusalem.
6:10PM: Channel 10 reported that a phosphorus bomb was fired at the Negev. No injuries were reported, and no “peace activists” have raised a stink about it.
4:48PM: I can’t vouch for the authenticity of this video, or whether it does indeed show a Hamashole booking front row seats to virgin city, but let’s just imagine it does.
4:43PM: It has been released for publication that 7 IDF soldiers have been hurt, including one seriously, in an anti-tank missile strike in Gaza.
4:05PM: IDF tank forces have uncovered a cache of 20 rockets in Gaza (Hebrew link).
4:00PM: The IAF has struck the rocket launcher that fired a rocket in Be’er Sheva today.
3:37PM: State officials are getting infuriated by statements from the likes of Defense Minister Ehud Barak suggesting that our operation is nearing its end and we will accept a ceasefire.
“Such media reports are infuriating,” a top source told Ynet. “Senior ministers making such public statements serve only to encourage Hamas and boost its activist, and that affects a million Israelis in the south and thousands of IDF soldiers deployed in the Gaza Strip.
“Any and all ideas pertaining to operational activities should be discussed behind closed doors, not through media headlines .”
3:20PM: With the humanitarian pause still in effect (you can see the aid trucks passing through by clicking on the special Gaza Aid – Live Feed picture at the top of the right sidebar), the terrorists are still firing rockets at us. In the past minutes, Grad rockets have struck near Ashdod, Be’er Sheva and Yavneh.
3:15PM: Top Israeli defense officials are backing an immediate Gaza truce.
Sorry, but with Hamas still in possession of missiles and the desire to destroy us, that can’t possibly be a good idea.
2:43PM: Almost too true to be funny: The BBC coverage of Operation Cast Lead according to Israeli comedy skit show Eretz Nehederet (“Wonderful Country”).
(Hat tip: israeliguy)
2:05PM: (Elder of Ziyon) A Palestinian Arab attacked a German synagogue guard with an iron bar. Since it was a crude, homemade weapon, it was no big deal.
1:42PM: Sorry for the relatively few updates today, but my work commitments naturally have to take precedence.
While I was gone, air raid sirens sounded in Jerusalem and my home town of Beit Shemesh! It turned out to be a false alarm, but as my wife informed me, it was especially scary for the kids.
In other news I have missed, UNIFIL located a number of rockets in southern Lebanon, IDF soldiers killed a suicide bomber who attempted to detonate near them, and Osama bin Laden (or someone claiming to be him) called for jihad over the IDF ops in Gaza
11:10AM: Since my last update, a number of rockets were fired into Israel from Gaza (no surprises there), and the IDF responded to the Katushyas by firing shells at the launch area in Lebanon.
Meanwhile, today’s “humanitarian pause”/take-free-shots-at-us will take place between 1:00 and 4:00PM Israel time.
9:15AM: According to Lebanese television, 4 missiles were fired (Hebrew link).
9:10AM: Upper Galilee residents have been asked to stay in their shelters until further notice.
8:57AM: This is the second time within a week I have arrived at work and discovered that Katushyas were fired from Lebanon into Israel.
In this case, 2 Katushyas have hit near Kiryat Shmona. No reports of injuries or damage at this stage.
6:10AM: Liar, liar: Here is Former US congresswoman Cynthia McKinney talking to CNN over a week ago about the supposed ramming incident between the Israeli navy vessel and the Free Gaza boat.
Notice how after when asked what happened (around 1:15 in to the interview), she does not go into any detail, and instead starts talking about the USS Liberty. Now compare that to the version of events she presented to Al Jazeera days later (and mentioned in this liveblogging post).
5:20-6:00: “And..umm..everything went everywhere and people went everywhere and..umm..the Dignity was hit 3 times, twice in the front, once on the side, the side is where I was sitting, and..umm..one of the doctors on the boat said to me “Prepare to die.” And so that’s what I did. I mentally prepared myself for death.”
You would have thought that had those events really happened, she would have felt the need to mention them, especially given their emotional impact. You have to wonder why, instead, she did not go into any details, and skirted the question.
5:54AM: Palestinian witnesses have reported that the IAF struck the old Gaza city hall.
5:47AM: Sad but true: Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has ordered the IDF to set up a team of intelligence and legal experts that will collect evidence related to IDF operations in Gaza , which could be used to defend military commanders against future lawsuits.
5:40AM: Summary of yesterday’s activities:
IDF forces– including infantry forces, tanks, combat engineers, artillery forices, and intelligence forces– continue to operate throughout the Gaza Strip with the assistance of the Israel Air Force and the Israel Navy.
A total of 18 rockets and mortar shells were fired into Israel today; no injuries were reported.
Four fuel containers and 102 trucks transporting humanitarian aid to Gaza passed through the Kerem Shalom crossing today, bringing the total of humanitarian aid trucks allowed into the Gaza Strip since the beginning of Operation Cast Lead to 1,028.
The IAF attacked over 100 targets since the early morning hours, including:
-55 weaponry smuggling tunnels in the southern Gaza Strip
-20 rocket launching sites
-22 cells of armed gunmen, some of which were targeted in coordination with ground forces
Troops operating in the northern Gaza Strip encountered several gunmen armed with anti-tank missiles and light weapons. The troops directed the IAF in targeting the gunmen, who were hit successfully.
Working with infantry troops in northern Gaza, combat engineering forces carried out the controlled detonation of a tunnel that led to Israeli territory, in the vicinity of the Nahal Oz terminal. The tunnel, uncovered on Monday in a joint IDF and ISA operation, was apparently intended to be used to kidnap Israeli citizens or soldiers.