Liveblogging the War: Tues Jan 20th, 2009

You’re not done with my liveblogging just yet, since I am not convinced that this ceasefire is going to hold very long.

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

Click Refresh to show latest updates.

6:30PM: File this under Those Effin’ French: France may be prepared to talk to Hamas even if it does not recognize Israel.

6:20PM: You just have to find the humor in an otherwise very deadly serious situation.

6:02PM: Some more statistics according to the Coordination and Liaison Authority in the Gaza Strip:

  • We coordinated the evacuations of 382 wounded people from the fighting zone
  • Humanitarian officers helped evacuate at least 1,150 uninvolved Palestinians from the fighting zone.
  • In total, 1,300 trucks entered the Gaza Strip with equipment through the Kerem Shalom crossing during the operation, and 65 trucks came in through the Karni crossing.

Meanwhile, Fatah may not be too happy with the ceasefire..

Following the ceasefire, the defense establishment identified the expansion of Hamas fighters firing at Fatah members and people identified with the Palestinian Authority. The phenomenon is mostly prevalent in the northern Strip, with shots fired mostly at people’s legs.

Dozens of Fatah members have been injured since the ceasefire took effect. In one case on Monday, a former Palestinian police officer from Jabaliya was shot in the legs. In several cases Fatah members were shot for laughing.

Simultaneously, Hamas member continue to kidnap Fatah men and jail them in houses seized from civilians.

4:58PM: The palestinian Ma’an News Agency reports on the fate of some of the humanitarian aid Israel allowed through to Gaza.

The Jordanian news agency Petra reported on Tuesday that armed men held up an aid convoy after it crossed into the Gaza Strip.

The agency reported that armed men fired at the trucks and diverted them to private warehouses after they passed through the Kerem Shalom border crossing, an Israeli-controlled crossing used primarily for shipments of humanitarian aid.

The supplies had been donated by the Hashemite Jordanian charity organization. The trucks earlier crossed into the West Bank using the Allenby Bridge and then proceed to Gaza.

According to the report, the charity had coordinated in advance with UNRWA, the UN’s agency for Palestinian refugees, to receive the shipment in its warehouses after it entered Gaza.

Also according to the report, UNRWA has suspended other aid shipments as the trucks and drivers are still being held in Gaza. Negotiations are reportedly being held for their release.

Interestingly (and tellingly) enough, this is not making the news, and UNRWA are not going to the press about it. It is almost as if they are deliberately trying to keep this low key. Hmm..

4:49PM: Ha’aretz and others are only now reporting about the footage of Alarabiya TV Reporter Hannan al-Masri reacting after being told live on air that Hamas fired a missile from the ground floor of the building housing the Alarabiya Studio.  (I blogged this yesterday – 9:20PM update).

In the Ha’aretz report, mention is made of the Foreign Ministry saying the film is proof that Hamas had fired from the area of the studios. So I guess this means the Arabic translation was accurate.

3:49PM: The Hamas police have claimed that 230 of their men were killed in the fighting (Hebrew link). Compare to last update.

3:40PM: In order to claim victory, Hamas had to claim that the IDF lost more fighters than they did.The problem for them is they could not claim too high a number, given the lack of evidence of many IDF dead. So what did they do?

Speaking at a press conference about the state of the Brigades, Al-Qassam spokesman Abu Ubayda announced the last three weeks in Gaza as a victory for the resistance.“Israel’s goals, like the fall of Hamas and the halt of projectile fire, were not achieved,” Abu Ubayda said. He called on Israelis who applauded the war to question their leaders and ask if their unrealized goals were worth the death of hundreds of women and children and the destruction of homes, schools and mosques.

Also among the dead, he confirmed, were 48 Al-Qassam fighters, and 49 Israeli soldiers.

Final score: Hamas 49, Israel 48. Hamas victory.

3:28PM: Yeah, I know. Bad timing.

I had other commitments, so could not post an update, and left you all on a cliffhanger. Kind of like an episode of 24.

I saw the news here on Rotter (perhaps the best source of information from where my friends at the Muqata and I get many of our updates), but have not seen any further mention anywhere else.

Meanwhile, the media is now reporting the shooting attacks that I posted on here hours ago. In addition, at least according to Ha’aretz, the mortar shell firing thought to have been a false alarm (11.14AM update) did in fact occur. The shell just never made it into Israel.

1:53PM: BREAKING NEWS: Reports of an explosion in Jerusalem. No word on whether anyone was hurt.

1:33PM: The IDF has confirmed that they twice came under fire at Kissufim crossing.

1:25PM: Just going through the news now (have had a busy morning), and I see that IDF forces reportedly came under fire at Kissufim crossing.

My decision to continue liveblogging might just be justified…





11:14AM: The IDF says a report of mortar fire from Gaza was a false alarm.

9:38AM: According to the Egyptian Al-Ahram newspaper, Head Hamashole Khaled Mashaal has admitted Hamas was surprised by the force of the IDF assault.

9:13AM: According to intelligence assessments, Iran is renewing efforts to supply advanced weapons to Hamas, and has launched a probe to determine how its military plan for Hamas resulted in a tie failed.

The military plan created by the Iranians was based on three pillars: The first was the defensive measures that Hamas had created in Gaza, which included dozens of kilometers of tunnels and thousands of roadside bombs and booby-trapped homes.

The second pillar was rocket attacks against the home front. Here too, Hamas failed to fire rockets farther than 40 kilometers, even though it had planned to.

The third pillar was creating a “victory image” in the form of a burned-out tank or the abduction of an IDF soldier.

6:05AM: Yesterday was Israel’s first rocket-free day since Operation Cast Lead began weeks ago. This, despite the fact that the Hamas leadership allegedly ordered their terrorists to carry out attacks against IDF forces. Perhaps they are sick of taking orders from a bunch of cowards hiding in bunkers?

5:55AM: These Arab journalists seem to get it.


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