Liveblogging the War: Wed Jan 21st, 2009
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Sorry for the radio silence but let’s just say real life and a faulty internet connection got in the way. Either that, or Barack Obama was trying to silence me during his inauguration.
Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)
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12:00AM: That’s it from me for today, but before I go I’ll leave you with this quote from Israeli President Shimon Peres:
“Obama was elected by the United States, but as a matter of fact, he was chosen by the whole of humankind.”
Umm…ok. I should be able to sleep easier now.
Aussie Dave, signing out.
8:10PM: Reuters caption of the day:
Palestinians wait to receive supplies at the Deir al-Balah food distribution centre in the Gaza Strip January 21, 2009. It is hard to believe that the empty sea washing the shore of the battered Gaza Strip is the same Mediterranean of European pleasure yachts and bathing beaches. For 1.5 million Palestinians trapped in Gaza, the westward sea is like the fourth wall of a crumbling prison bounded to the north, east and south by an Israeli-led blockade, and now smashed in key places by a three-week Israeli military assault.
I’m glad to see them drop the pretense of any impartiality.
7:47PM: Belgian waffle: European attorneys have reportedly petitioned a Belgian court to arrest Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni upon her arrival in Brussels later today.
6:22PM: Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has stated that more than 700 Hamasholes were killed in the recent operation. I should point out he didn’t use the word “Hamashole” (although he should have).
5:40PM: The new Prez has reportedly phoned the old terrorist, pledging to try to achieve Middle East peace.
Hope and change in da house!
It’s comforting to know they are back to their usual selves after their little oversight the other day.
5:18PM: The Israeli High Court has revoked the ban placed on the Arab parties, which had prevented them from running in the elections.
Meanwhile, here is yet more proof why there should be a ban.
4:52PM: Let the smuggling resume!
4:45PM: Israel National News reports on some of the IDF tactics that proved so successful in Operation Cast Lead, including the use of Zionist Deathbots.TM
Use of aerial and naval attacks and moving foot soldiers into Gaza off main roads and on a moonless night were factors that helped keep IDF casualties to near zero in Operation Cast Lead against terrorists on Gaza. Robots also may have been used to foil Hamas and allied gunmen.
The campaign began three weeks ago Saturday night, on the eve of the new moon of the Hebrew month of Tevet. The nighttime march, without any light from the moon, lessened the chances that Hamas could use its anti-tank missiles against combat units, as Hizbullah succeeded in doing in the Second Lebanon War in 2006.
However, the use of aerial and naval forces was Israel’s main advantage. They attacked most of the terrorist targets and provided cover for ground forces, who lost five comrades to enemy fire, while five others died from friendly fire.
Army commanders, learning from the mistakes in the war against Hizbullah, avoided sending foot soldiers into heavily populated areas, despite media reports to the contrary.
One of the best tactics of the IDF was not to issue too many reports to the media on tactical maneuvers, a senior reserve officer, with long and personal experience in commando operations, told Israel National News.
“Reports of heavy fighting in heavily populated areas were mainly the fruit of media imagination,” he said. “One of the reasons that there were few casualties was the tactic of keeping the ground soldier from penetrating deep into Gaza. The media reports were exaggerated.”
The IDF also may have used robots to foil Hamas and allied terrorists, according to Reuters, which reported that Arabs found a mannequin dressed in IDF clothing and rigged with wires. An IDF commando unit officer told the news agency that the object may have been a robot used to fool Hamas fighters into opening fire, allowing the IDF to identify and hit them.
3:15PM: UNRWA spokesperson Christopher Gunness has revealed his bias in this correspondence with occasional Israellycool contributor Elder of Ziyon, after the latter asked Gunness about yesterday’s aid hijacking incident (as reported here – see 4:58PM update). Besides Gunness’ obvious attempts to avoid answering the straight forward question, he also asks Elder his political affiliation, as if this is somehow relevant.
Meanwhile, Hamas have reportedly admitted taking the aid. I can’t wait to hear Gunness’ response on that one.
2:55PM: A letter to the citizens of Gaza:
A letter to the citizens of Gaza from a concerned neighbor
My name is David and I live in Israel, thirty minutes (or one minute rocket time) from you, in a beautiful house by the woods. I hope someday to have you over for a cup of tea. We have a lovely view from the balcony. On a clear day we can see our jets bombing your neighborhood.
I think it’s time we had a heart to heart. It’s time you knew the
truth. After all, what are neighbors for? You might have wondered why both you and your parents were born in a refugee camp. Why is it that even though we live only 30 minutes apart, I live in prosperity and you live in poverty and filth? Why you live in despair and hatred while we live in hope and love.
Here is the truth, neighbor:
There really was a Holocaust. I realize you’v e been taught otherwise. I know, that ever since you were a small child you’ve been told that the Holocaust is something the Jews fabricated to justify taking your land. Well, dear citizen of Gaza, it really happened. Not very long ago. It happened. And guess what? It’s NEVER going to happen again. The time in history when Jews were led to slaughter, persecuted, raped and pillaged is over and will never recur. Never. Now we have our own country. Now we have the bombs. We will never forget what was done to our people and you better not either.
We don’t hate you. We don’t hate anyone. Jews are a peaceful people. We do not want your land. We don’t want oil. We don’t want to rape your women or murder your children. We never tried to force our religion on anyone. Our eternal capital, Jerusalem, is open to all faiths to love and to worship. We treat your Arab brothers who live among us as equals. Our hand has been extended to peace with our neighbors since day one. We have proven this time and time again through numerous negotiations and extensive compromise.
We ask only for one thing. Leave us in peace. That’s right. We have no other demands. Just leave us in peace. It’s as simple as that. If you don’t, we will fight back ferociously and mercilessly. We will destroy your homes and your cities. We will make your miserable lives even more miserable. If you don’t want this to happen any more, leave us in peace.
Our soldiers are not motivated by hate but by determination. We embrace life and will do anything to preserve it. However, we will kill and die to protect our land and our way of life. That’s what they should be teaching in your schools instead of useless lies.
A terrorist is a terrorist. Sorry to be the one to break the news, but it’s about time somebody told you that a terrorist is nothing more than a coward. Not a hero. Not a Shahid. There is nothing heroic in blowing yourself up amongst a crowd of woman and children. Anybody can do it. Anybody can hide inside a school or a mosque and blindly fire rockets into cities, hoping to kill as many babies as possible. There is nothing courageous or admirable in these acts of cruelty. To take pride in an act of terror is pitiful and pathetic. I know you’ve been raised to believe the contrary, but it is a lie. I have seen how your children are taught to commit suicide. How your suicide bombers are glorified. This is tragically sad. A real hero faces his enemy and doesn’t hide in schools and hospitals. A real hero protects his people and will die for them but not among them.
Israel exists and it belongs to the Jewish People. I’ve seen your school books. I know that Israel has been omitted from your maps. Contrary to what you’ve been told, the State of Israel really does exist. Look outside your window. We are here and we are not going anywhere. Dear Palestinian neighbor, it’s time to deal with the facts. We love our beautiful little country. We will protect it with our lives. You are not getting it. This was explained to you in 1948. You got your country and we got ours. Your arrogant and stupid leaders promised you that you will get the whole thing. Thousands have lives have been lost for nothing. It’s NEVER going to happen! While you have been foolishly drooling over our land instead of nurturing your own, we have built one of the most beautiful and successful countries on Earth. We have done it not to spite our greedy neighbors, but rather in spite of them. We’ve planted forests and quenched the desert. We’ve drained wetlands and culivated fields. We built universities, opera houses, superhighways, hospitals, skyscrapers and stadiums. We have millions of refugees, but no refugee camps.
You could do the same. Focus on what you have and not on what you will never have. It takes love, hard work and determination. We can help. We have experts and scientists helping developing nations across the globe. Accept the facts, lay down your weapons and join us in making this great region of the planet even greater.
Remember, we’re neighbors.
David Rosenblatt, Sarigim, Israel – Jan. 9th, 2009
And in case you were wondering, I am not David Rosenblatt and did not write this letter.
11:10AM: Blonde moment? This is norway to act:
A Norwegian diplomat based in Saudi Arabia has sent out e-mails from her Foreign Ministry e-mail account equating Israel’s offensive against Hamas in Gaza with the systematic mass murder of six million Jews by the Nazis.
The e-mail, sent out by Trine Lilleng, a first secretary at the Norwegian Embassy in Riyadh, includes a juxtaposition of black-and-white pictures from the Holocaust with color images of Operation Cast Lead.
“The grandchildren of Holocaust survivors from World War II are doing to the Palestinians exactly what was done to them by Nazi Germany,” the e-mail states.
A copy of the e-mail was obtained by The Jerusalem Post.
The 40-plus pictures included as attachments in the e-mail include the famous image of a Jewish boy with his hands raised as a German soldier points his gun at him, next to an image of an Israeli soldier aiming his weapon at a Palestinian boy.
Another depicts a German soldier firing his weapon, next to an IDF soldier shooting his, while others juxtapose the barbed wire surrounding ghettos and concentration camps to the fence around Gaza, and the West Bank security barrier.
The e-mail asks recipients to forward the message to others.
Reached on her cellphone in Riyadh, Lilleng told the Post she had sent the message to “a few friends” in a “private e-mail,” and had not sent any copy to the Post.
She would not say whether it was proper for her to use her ministry e-mail account for such a controversial message.
“I am not interested in saying anything about that,” she said.
The Oslo-based Center Against Anti-Semitism in Norway, which has filed an official complaint with Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, said it was appalled by the distribution of “clearly anti-Semitic propaganda” by a ministry official.
“The Center Against Anti-Semitism regrets that Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is thus contributing to the intensification of anti-Semitic tendencies, which lately have been quite visible in the Norwegian media, and which have been reproved by both us and by international experts,” the center’s director, Erez Uriely, wrote to Støre.
The center noted that the Norwegian government, along with other European governments, has sought to play a role as a mediator in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as part of an Egyptian-proposed agreement.
“We fail to see that the distribution of anti-Semitic pictures is compatible with such a role,” the letter states.
The center has asked the Norwegian Foreign Ministry to recall the disseminated pictures immediately and to apologize publicly for the incident.
The letter was hand-delivered to the ministry in Oslo on Tuesday.
“This demonization of both Israel and the Jews must stop,” said group spokeswoman Dr. Rachel Suissa.
The Norwegian Embassy in Tel Aviv did not immediately respond when asked for comment on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, this is one of the pictures from the mail:
You’ll find more information here and here on the photo of the IDF soldiers carrying the palestinian boy who just wet himself. Needless to say, there is more to his story than meets the eye (clue: he had a proclivity for playing rock, scissors and paper with IDF soldiers…sans scissors and paper).
Thanks to Shy Guy for the heads up.
10:50AM: The IDF believes Hamas still has hundreds of rockets.
10:05AM: Shy Guy reminds me that my last update was not correct, given that we do not have Gilad Shalit. Point taken.
8:49AM: The last of our soldiers left Gaza last night, but the IDF stated that we remain deployed outside the Strip ready for any scenario.
8:46AM: I’ll start off by congratulating the new US President and wish him luck in his new role. I would also like to remind him that showing strength is not necessarily a bad thing, especially in this neck of the woods.