Liveblogging the War: Thurs Jan 22nd, 2009

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Yesterday was another quiet day, but I’ll at least see this liveblogging through the week.

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

6:03PM: Reuters caption of the day:



A cleaver lies on the stomach of freshly slaughtered cow outside Husam Nasr’s butcher shop in Gaza January 22, 2009. Nasr said he would have been able to sell the meat of four cows each day before Israel’s 22-day war to end rocket attacks on its southern towns by Hamas Islamists who control the Gaza Strip. Half of Gaza’s 1.5 million people rely on food aid. They receive carbohydrates, fat and sugar but little fresh protein. Gaza is a fertile place, where fruit and vegetables grow well. There are chicken farms and flocks of sheep and goats, but no cattle-raising operations in the enclave.

Yeah, about growing fruit and vegetables in Gaza, you may want to remind yourselves about this.

5:28PM: Here is the original Italian report by Lorenzo Cremonesi, and here is the English auto-translation:

“So the boys of Hamas we have used as targets’
Gaza residents accuse the Islamic militants: “We prevented from leaving their houses and shooting from there”

GAZA – ‘Go, go out of here! Do you want the Israelis kill us all? You want to see die under the bombs our children? Taken away your weapons and missiles, “shouted many among the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip to Hamas militants and their allies of Islamic Jihad. The bravest were organized and had barred the doors to their yards, nailed to the boards of buildings, locked up as we go along the stairs to the roof higher. But for most of the guerrillas did not listen to anyone. Collaborators of Israel. Spies Fatah cowards. The soldiers of the holy war will punish. And in any case all will die, like us. Attacking the Jewish Zionists, we are all destined for paradise, you are not happy to die together? ” And so furious shouting, breaking down doors and windows, hid in the highest floors, in gardens, used ambulances, we barricavano near hospitals, schools, buildings Assembly.

In extreme cases fired against those who tried to block them the way to save their families, or beat wildly. “The Hamas militiamen tried to put to good cause Israelis. They were often children, 16 or 17 years, armed with machine pistol. They could not do anything against tanks and jets. They knew to be very weak. But they wanted disappearing on our houses and then to accuse of war crimes, claims Abu Issa, 42 years, resident in the neighborhood of Tel Awa. “Practically all the buildings highest in Gaza that have been hit by Israeli bombs, as Dogmoush, Andalous, Jawarah, Siussi and many others had on the roof ramps rocket launchers, or points of view of Hamas. Li had also placed near the big deposit UN then went up in flames. And the same goes for the villages along the border then more devastated by the fury of the crowds and punitive Zionists “, the echoes her cousin, Um Abdallah, 48 years. I use nicknames family. Provide details but well detailed. E ‘was difficult to collect such evidence. In general triumphs here fear Hamas and empire ideological taboos powered by a century of wars with the “Zionist enemy.”

Who tells a different version of the narrative set by the “muhamawa” (the resistance) is automatically a ‘amil, a collaborazionista and threatens their lives. It helps, however the recent fratricidal clashes between Hamas and PLO. If Israel had ol’Egitto allowed foreign journalists to enter would have been easier. Those spaces are often threatened by Hamas. “There is a new reality in the Middle East between Arab societies lack the cultural tradition of human rights. Was under the regime of Arafat that the press was censored and persecuted. Hamas is even worse, “says Eyad Sarraj, a well-known psychiatrist in Gaza city. And there is another fact that is emerging more and more evident by visiting clinics, hospitals and families of the victims of Israeli fire. In truth, the number appears much lower for almost 1300 deaths, in addition to about 5,000 injured, reported by the men of Hamas and repeated by the official UN and local Red Cross. “The deaths could not be more than 500 or 600. Mainly boys between 17 and 23 years recruited from the ranks of Hamas that has literally sent to the massacre, “says a doctor Shifah the hospital that will not necessarily be said, is to risk his life. One thing, however, also confirmed by local journalists: “We have already reported to the heads of Hamas. Why insist on inflating the numbers of victims? Strano, inter alia, that non-governmental organizations, including Westerners, the reporting without verification. In the end, the truth may come to light. It could be like in Jenin in 2002. Initially we spoke of 1,500 deaths. Then came out they were only 54, including at least 45 guerrillas who died fighting.

As we have arrived at these figures? “Take the case of the massacre of the family of Al Samoun neighborhood of Zeitun. When the bombs hit their houses have reported that 31 had died. And so there have been an officer of the Ministry of Health controlled by Hamas. But then, when the bodies were actually recovered, the sum total is doubled to 62 and so went to the calculation of total budgets, “says Masoda Al Samoun of 24 years. He adds an interesting detail: “To confuse the water we had put the Israeli special teams. Their men were disguised as guerrillas of Hamas, with a green bandana tied in front with the inscription usual: there is no other God besides Allah and Muhammad is his Prophet. It intrufolavano lanes in order to create chaos. We happen to shout them to leave, feared reprisals. Later we understood that they were Israelis. And ‘Just visit any hospital to understand that the accounts do not add up. Many beds are free all’Ospedale European Rafah, one of those who should be more involved in the victims of the “War of the tunnel” from Israel. The same goes for “Nasser” in Khan Yunis. Only 5 of 150 beds at the private Al-Amal are occupied. In Gaza city was evacuated the Wafa, built with donations “Islamic charities” of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other Gulf countries, and bombed by Israel and the end of December. The institute is known to be a stronghold of Hamas, were hospitalized here its fighters wounded in the civil war with Fatah in 2007. The others were at hand, Al Quds, which is bombarded the second half weeks of January.

He says this fact Magah to Rachmah, 25 years, inhabitant of a few dozen meters from the four major buildings in the complex health now seriously damaged. “The men of Hamas took refuge mainly in the building that houses the administrative offices of Al Quds. They used ambulances and forced ambulanzieri and nurses to remove their uniforms with symbols of paramedics, so could be confused and better to escape Israeli snipers. This has reduced a lot of the number of beds available in health institutions in Gaza. As well, the Shifah, the largest hospital in the city, remains a far cry from the record sold out. It seems to be rather densely occupied its groundwater. “Hamas had hidden there the cells and the emergency room for interrogation of prisoners of Fatah and the secular face of the left who were evacuated from the prison was bombed in Sarajevo, saying the militant Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine. It ‘was a war in this war between Fatah and Hamas. The local humanitarian organizations, mostly controlled dall’Olp tell of dozens of executions, cases of torture, kidnappings in the last three weeks’ perpetrated by Hamas. One of the most notorious cases is to Shakhura Achmad, 47 years old, resident of Khan Yunis, and brother Khaled, right-hand man of Mohammad Dahlan (former head of the security services of Yasser Arafat, now in exile) who was abducted on the orders of the Head the local secret police of Hamas, Abu Abdallah Al Kidra, and tortured, he would have torn his left eye, and then was killed January 15.

5:02PM:  Despite the Italian newspaper report mentioned in the last updates, the IDF has stood behind its estimate that between 1,100 to 1,200 people were killed in the fighting, more than two-thirds of which were Hamas members

3:32PM: Regarding the last update, the Italian reporter who published this is Lorenzo Cremonesi, who I previously mentioned regarding his report that in Gaza “One thing seems clear. There is no lack of food and there is no hunger.” As I mentioned in that post, he is reportedly known in Italy for is pro-palestinian writing.

Meanwhile, someone who should read this article is United Nations’ humanitarian chief John Holmes. Now there’s a name associated with inflated figures.

3:02PM: A physician at Gaza’s Shifa Hospital has admitted to an Italian newspaper that the casualty figures were inflated, and that ‘no more than 500 or 600’ palestinians were killed.

“The number of deceased stands at no more than 500 to 600. Most of them are youths between the ages of 17 to 23 who were recruited to the ranks of Hamas, who sent them to the slaughter,” according to the newspaper article.

The doctor wished to remain unidentified, out of fear for his life.

A Tal al-Hawa resident told the newspaper’s reporter, “Armed Hamas men sought out a good position for provoking the Israelis. There were mostly teenagers, aged 16 or 17, and armed. They couldn’t do a thing against a tank or a jet. They knew they are much weaker, but they fired at our houses so that they could blame Israel for war crimes.”

The reporter for the Italian newspaper also quoted reporters in the Strip who told of Hamas’ exaggerated figures, “We have already said to Hamas commanders – why do you insist on inflating the number of victims?”

These same reporters mentioned that the truth that will come out is likely to be similar to what occurred in Operation Defensive Shield in Jenin. “Then, there was first talk of 1,500 deaths. But then it turned out that there were only 54, 45 of which were armed men,” the Palestinian reporters told the Italian newspaper.

2:02PM: A Fatah minister has accused Hamas of hijacking Gaza aid trucks (as I reported the past few days). I wonder if UNRWA Spokesperson Christopher Gunness will now admit that this happened, rather than playing dumb.

1:28PM: Hmmm..

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Thursday that the Israel Defense Forces’ operation in the Gaza Strip has generated renewed momentum in efforts to strike a deal for the release of captive soldier Gilad Shalit, who was abducted by Gaza militants in a cross-border raid more than two years ago.

“The operation created a number of levers that can aid in the expedition of [Shalit’s] return,” Olmert said. “This is what I said and I will not add to this, because this will not benefit his return. After Gilad returns home, it will be possible to tell the whole story, and then we will know who supported which position, who put pressure, and who asked what.”

12:00PM: Libyan leader lunatic Muammar Gaddafi is rehashing his ‘Isratine” one-state idea, and advocating that new US President Barack Obama should talk with Bin Laden.

“Terrorism is a dwarf not a giant. Osama bin laden is a person who can be given a chance to reform,” Gaddafi said through an interpreter.

Our friend Naqba was unavailable for comment.

9:46AM: Yet another example of the IDF’s efforts to minimize palestinian civilian casualties – and the resulting adverse impact on Israeli civilians.

Although the Israeli air force bombed the Phildelphi corridor along the border thousands of times during the course of the Cast Lead campaign, smugglers acknowledge that some tunnels running under the border between Egypt and the Gaza Strip have remained in use, and were in operation even during the fighting. Contrary to media reports, the Israeli air force apparently did not use more powerful bunker-busting bombs to destroy the tunnels, rather than regular explosives. Tunnels lined with wood reinforcement have been especially resistant to air force bombing raids.

5:58AM: News conference or shampoo commercial?

5:50AM: There is now talk that Israel is softening its position in terms of the price it is willing to pay in order to secure the release of captured soldier Gilad Shalit.

So let’s get this straight. We prematurely end a war in which we had the enemy on the ropes, state that we achieved all of the war’s objectives, and then proceed to move towards the enemy’s demands.

Stupidity doesn’t even begin to describe it.

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