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The Day In Israel: Tues Feb 3rd, 2009

Click refresh to see new updates during the day.

For other liveblogging see The Muqata.

  • PA President Mahmoud Abbas said the ceasefire remains fragile. 10+ mortars and rockets fired into Israel tells me the word “fragile” should be replaced with the words “a joke.”
  • The Egyptians are still working to reach agreement on a longer-term ceasefire between Hamas and Israel. Meanwhile, a Hamashole official thinks a deal can be reached this week

Updates (Israel time; most recent at top)

11:15PM: Al Qaeda’s number 2 is not too happy with US President Obama:

Al-Qaeda’s No. 2 criticized President Barack  Obama on Tuesday for not mentioning Gaza in his inauguration speech, and urged Muslims around the world to target US interests to avenge America’s backing of the Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip.

Sorry, the mention of number 2 is all the justification I need:

And on that note, I am calling it a night. Come back tomorrow for more liveblogging.

Aussie Dave, signing off.

10:53PM: The Salah al-Din Brigades, the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, showcase a new rocket…and really bad Arabic music.

8:13PM: The UN has admitted that the IDF did not hit an UNRWA school after all.

The United Nations has reversed its stance on one of the most contentious and bloody incidents of the recent Israel Defense Forces operation in Gaza, saying that an IDF mortar strike that killed 43 people on January 6 did not hit one of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency schools after all.

It seems that the UN has been under pressure to put the record straight after doubts arose that the school had actually been targeted. Maxwell Gaylord, the UN humanitarian coordinator in Jerusalem, said Monday that the IDF mortar shells fell in the street near the compound, and not on the compound itself.

Gaylord said that the UN “would like to clarify that the shelling and all of the fatalities took place outside and not inside the school.”

UNRWA, an agency whose sole purpose is to work with Palestinian refugees, said in response Tuesday that it had maintained from the day of attack that the wounded were outside of the school compound. UNRWA said that the source of the mistake in recent weeks had originated with a separate branch of the United Nations.

Senior IDF officials had previously expressed skepticism that the school had been struck, saying that two mortar shells could not kill 43 people and wound dozens more.

Questions about the veracity of the claims that the school had been hit by the IDF were also raised last week by the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail (as reported on here aa few days ago – ed). The newspaper said that a teacher in the UNRWA compound at the time of the strike “was adamant” that no people had been killed inside the compound.

Louder with that apology, thanks. WE CAN’T HEAR YOU.

Meanwhile, what is it with those UN names? First John Holmes and now Maxwell Gaylord. Is a prerequisite for a position with them to have a name sounding like you could pursue a career in porn? (besides belonging to a terrorist organization, of course)

6:40PM: Here’s Al-Quds Al-Arabi Editor-in-Chief Abd Al-Bari ‘Atwan revealing Arafat’s anti-Semitism, as well as his own desire to have Europe come begging to the Arabs on all fours.

6:34PM: Reports of the IAF striking a vehicle in Rafah, as well as a Hamas post, in addition to the smuggling tunnels.

6:30PM: During Operation Cast Lead, newlywed IDF soldier Aharon Karov was critically injured, and his chances of survival were slim.

Here’s more on his miraculous recovery (Hebrew source, translated by Jameel)

Ze’ev Karov, father of critically wounded IDF Paratrooper officer Aharon Karov, offered a blessing of thanksgiving, as his son left the hospital today, to the Tel HaShomer Hospital rehabilitation unit.

Karov did not cease to amaze the medical staff at Beilinson hospital’s emergency room, as he walked into their morning staff meeting today, to personally thank them for helping with his recovery.

Professor Pierre Zinger, head of the ICU discussed their initial pessimism when Karov arrived at the ICU. “He arrived in critical condition, suffering from shrapnel in his head, brain, face and chest”…”we were pessimistic and thought he had mere hours to live.”

Through intensive treatment, the doctors managed to stabilize Aharon, and after a few days, he woke up. “When he first saw me, he did know who I was, or where he was,” recalled Professor Pierre who is positive that Aharon’s quick recovery is not exclusively thanks to the medical efforts of his staff, but also due to Aharon’s family which supported and helped him. “There is no doubt in my mind, that played a large part in his recovery,” the professor said.

Minutes before leaving the Beilinson hospital on their way to the Tel Hashomer Sheba hospital rehabilitation unit, Ze’ev Karov described his son’s reaction upon hearing that he was moving to rehabilitation; “He closed his fingers together, brought them to his face, kissed them, and then held his arm outstretched towards the sky” [in thanksgiving].

Zee’v Karov also said that the doctors told him again and again that they had seen very few cases of such quick recoveries from serious injuries like that of his son Aharon, but they still have a long way to go…he needs to relearn simple things like writing and using his hands.
The IDF Paratrooper officer was critically wounded from an explosion in a booby-trapped house during the Cast-Lead IDF operating in Gaza. While doctors fought to save his life in the ICU, his family waited in the adjoining room, including his newlywed wife, Zviya, who he married only a day before being called back to active service in Gaza.

6:08PM: The knives are really out for Yisrael Beiteinu chairman Avigdor Lieberman, whom Ha’aretz is reporting was once a member of the outlawed far-right party Kach party.

That could be rather off-putting for some potential voters. On the other hand, here’s two potential reasons they could still gain decent support: Orly Levi and Anastasia Michaeli.


5:54PM: As I predicted, the IAF has struck smuggling tunnels.

Not that I deserve a pat on the back for predicting that. It was rather obvious.

5:35PM: With the Israeli elections fast approaching (February 10th), the main candidates are all trying to sound hawkish when it comes to Gaza and Hamas terrorism.

Binyamin ‘Bibi’ Netanyahu (Likud):

“When we said a few years ago that missiles will fly in the direction of Ashkelon, Tzipi Livni and Kadima mocked us. In recent years, Kadima’s policy of blindness has brought us to where we are today. Ashkelon residents cannot trust Kadima. We need a change in policy..We need to topple the Hamas regime in Gaza. The Likud led by me will act to bring down Hamas and remove the threat of missiles against the south.”

Tzipi Livni (Kadima):

“My opinion on this matter is clear; every attack must be met with a response.”

Ehud Barak (Labor):

“If things are quiet, they will be received quietly. If it turns out that another blow is need, even if it’s a harder one, it will come in the right form and at the right time…I don’t recommend Hizbullah try us.”

3:20PM: Ynetnews reports:

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Tuesday that Israel “will not curb its response to the rocket fire emanating from Gaza, even if it is nothing more than a trickle. We have retaliated and we will continue to retaliate.

I think the “trickle” reference applies to our responses until now, and not the rocket fire. I mean, how can we expect Hamas and the other terror organizations to take such statements seriously when we do not back it up with action?

Meanwhile, today’s grad rocket attack on Ashkelon has still gone unpunished.

1:46PM: Israel is set to bomb more tunnels and Hamas buildings, if the telephone messages received by Gaza residents are anything to go by.

11:33AM: Yesterday, Israel allowed through 194 trucks with 5354 tons of aid into Gaza.

10:37AM: Today’s rocket was apparently fired by Hamas itself.

Meanwhile, the defense establishment is still considering a response to recommend to the Israeli cabinet for approval.

10:25AM: Vile anti-Semitism from New York:

Everyone knows it means six more weeks of winter when a groundhog sees his shadow. But what does the future hold if he bites the mayor’s hand?

According to German superstition, if a hibernating animal casts a shadow on Feb. 2 – the Christian holiday of Candlemas – winter will last another six weeks. If no shadow was seen, legend said spring would come early.

Staten Island’s famous groundhog, Charles G. Hogg, inexplicably bit Mayor Michael Bloomberg during his annual holiday ceremony on Monday, drawing blood from the billionaire.

8:55AM: Once again, terrorists decided to fire rockets into Israel while I was on my drive to work, obviously trying to prevent me from getting the word out on time.

But seriously, we need to respond forcefully and we need to respond now. The terrorists fired a grad into the city of Ashkelon (population: 120,000). While no-one was killed (3 people suffered shock and some cars were damaged), it is clear the terrorists wanted to kill as many people as possible.

By the way, if you want to know why relatively few Israelis are killed by these rockets, it is a combination of G-d’s protection and the government investing in bomb shelters. Hamas, on the other hand, used their money primarily for weapons and underground bunkers for their leaders to hide in.

6:11AM: Here’s Carter center advisor Robert Pastor talking about the requirements for coexistence with Hamas.

Don’t waste your time watching the whole thing – you will never get those 9 minutes of your life back – but rather listen to the first 45 seconds and have a chuckle at Pastor’s telling of a Peanuts cartoon of all things.

5:57AM: Those wacky UNRWA folk thought it a good idea to bring trucks to the Kerem Shalom crossing carrying supplies not first approved by Israel for entry into Gaza.

They also thought that telling Israel they will try to strengthen their control over goods entering Gaza will assuage our concerns about relief aid being diverted to Hamas.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

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
Picture of David Lange

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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