The Times of Israel is liveblogging events as they unfold through Saturday, the 26th day of Operation Protective Edge. The US and UN announced a 72-hour truce from Friday morning to be followed by negotiations, but the truce quickly collapsed as Hamas carried out an attack in Rafah in which one soldier, Hadar Goldin, was kidnapped and two others were killed. President Barack Obama led an international chorus demanding that Hamas release Goldin unconditionally.
The deaths in Rafah brought the IDF toll to 63; three civilians have also been killed on the Israeli side. Gazan health officials put the death toll there at some 1,500. Israel says hundreds of those are Hamas fighters.
Egypt reportedly cancels truce talks in Cairo
Netanyahu to US ambassador: US should ‘never second-guess me again’ on Hamas
In a phone call with US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro about the breakdown of the short-lived UN- and US-brokered ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vented his anger, according to people familiar with the call.
Netanyahu told Shapiro the Obama administration was “not to ever second-guess me again” and that Washington should trust his judgment on how to deal with Hamas, according to people familiar with the conversation. Netanyahu added that he now “expected” the US and other countries to fully support Israel’s offensive in Gaza, according to those familiar with the call. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter by name.
On Friday, the Obama administration condemned “outrageous” violations of an internationally brokered Gaza cease-fire by Palestinian militants and called the apparent abduction of an Israeli soldier a “barbaric” action.
The Israeli security cabinet decided not to send a delegation to Cairo for possible ceasefire talks Saturday, and the Israeli army focused on efforts to retrieve missing soldier Hadar Goldin and its continuing work demolishing Hamas’s tunnel network.
Israel formally told Egypt it would not be sending negotiators since Hamas had repeatedly breached previous truce efforts, Israel Radio reported Saturday afternoon. A Palestinian delegation including PLO and Fatah representatives from the West Bank, Hamas and Islamic Jihad representatives from abroad, but no representatives in Gaza, was due to arrive in Cairo late Saturday.
The cabinet held talks into the small hours of Saturday and did not issue a formal statement at the conclusion of its session. But government sources were quoted later Saturday saying Israel would not send its negotiators to Cairo, since Hamas — which killed two soldiers and seized Goldin in an attack in Rafah on Friday in a breach of a US- and UN-brokered 72-hour ceasefire — could not be trusted to honor ceasefire agreements. Israel was not ruling out sending negotiators “in, say, five days’ time or a week,” according to a source quoted by Army Radio.
Two Palestinians have been killed and over 90 injured in West Bank as thousands marched against the IDF's assault on Gaza. The bloodshed happened after Israeli authorities used tear gas and live ammunition to block vocal yet seemingly peaceful rallies.
In the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem, a 22-year-old Tamer Faraj Sammur was shot in the chest during clashes with Israeli forces, AFP reports. Hamas urged the West Bank residents on Friday to stage a “Day of Anger” protest across another Palestinian enclave.
An Israeli army spokeswoman said she was looking into the incident. Another 14 Palestinians were injured by live and rubber-coated bullets shot by the Israeli army as more than 3,000 Palestinians took part in the demonstration.
Palestinians clashed with Israeli forces outside Israel's Ofer military prison. Rioters hurled rocks and torched tires, as Israeli troops tried to block the march by firing tear gas and shooting at the protesters.
Meanwhile in Hebron, some 50,000 people were dispersed by the IDF who fired live ammunition into the crowd, according to organizers.
First, I was amazed at how few photos can be found from the wreckage with Google. All are in low resolution, except one: The fragment of the cockpit below the window on the pilots side. This image, however, is shocking. In Washington, you can now hear views expressed of a “potentially tragic error / accident” regarding MH 017. Given this particular cockpit image it does not surprise me at all.
I recommend to click on the little picture to the left. You can download this photo as a PDF in good resolution. This is necessary, because that will allow you understand what I am describing here. The facts speak clear and loud and are beyond the realm of speculation: The cockpit shows traces of shelling! You can see the entry and exit holes. The edge of a portion of the holes is bent inwards. These are the smaller holes, round and clean, showing the entry points most likely that of a 30 millimeter caliber projectile.
The edge of the other, the larger and slightly frayed exit holes showing shreds of metal pointing produced by the same caliber projectiles. Moreover, it is evident that at these exit holes of the outer layer of the double aluminum reinforced structure are shredded or bent – outwardly! Furthermore, minor cuts can be seen, all bent outward, which indicate that shrapnel had forcefully exited through the outer skin from the inside of the cockpit. The open rivets are are also bent outward.
Bullet holes in the outer skin
So what could have happened? Russia recently published radar recordings, that confirm at least one Ukrainian SU 25 in close proximity to MH 017. This corresponds with the statement of the now missing Spanish controller ‘Carlos’ that has seen two Ukrainian fighter aircraft in the immediate vicinity of MH 017. If we now consider the armament of a typical SU 25 we learn this: It is equipped with a double-barreled 30-mm gun, type GSh-302 / AO-17A, equipped with: a 250 round magazine of anti-tank incendiary shells and splinter-explosive shells (dum-dum), arranged in alternating order. The cockpit of the MH 017 has evidently been fired at from both sides: the entry and exit holes are found on the same fragment of it’s cockpit segment!
Jenneh became a nurse in Sierra Leone 15 years ago with the hope of saving lives in one of the world's poorest countries. Now she fears for her own after three of her colleagues died of Ebola.
Health workers like Jenneh are on the frontline of the battle against the world's worst ever outbreak of the deadly hemorrhagic fever that has killed 729 people in Sierra Leone, neighboring Liberia, Guinea and Nigeria so far.
With West Africa's hospitals lacking trained staff, and international aid agencies already over stretched, the rising number of deaths among healthcare staff is shaking morale and undermining efforts to control the outbreak.
More than 100 health workers have been infected by the viral disease, which has no known cure, including two American medics working for charity Samaritan's Purse. More than half of those have died, among them Sierra Leone's leading doctor in the fight against Ebola, Sheik Umar Khan, a national hero.
"We're very worried, now that our leader has died from the same disease we've been fighting," said Jenneh, who asked for her real name not to be used. "Two of my very close nursing friends have also been killed ... I feel like quitting the profession this minute."
"None of us expected to have as many healthcare workers get sick as we did," said Bausch, who said 10 staff in Kenema became ill with Ebola during the three weeks he was there in July.
"There were times when nurses were getting sick and I thought, 'We have to close this ward', but that's just not an option."
Constant fatigue among overworked and poorly trained staff probably led to mistakes, Bausch said. He said he saw some staff not wearing protective suits or wearing them incorrectly, but even experienced professionals were at risk.
The spread of the deadly Ebola virus is out of control and the effects could be ‘catastrophic’, the World Health Organisation said last night.
The outbreak of the disease, the worst since it was discovered in the mid-1970s, has so far caused 729 deaths in four different countries.
At the moment its spread is contained to West Africa, but there are growing fears that it could hit the UK.
Last night WHO director-general Margaret Chan said: ‘This outbreak is moving faster than our efforts to control it. If the situation continues to deteriorate, the consequences can be catastrophic in terms of lost lives, severe socioeconomic disruption and a high risk of spread to other countries.’
British authorities are currently on high alert, and have put measures in place to ensure that all passengers displaying symptoms are prevented from boarding flights to the UK.
Anyone who appears ill on arrival into Britain will be held at immigration before being quarantined in highly secure isolation units. However, because it takes up to three weeks for symptoms to appear, there are fears some victims will slip through the net.
Yesterday Dr Chan revealed that the outbreak has now caused 1,323 recorded cases of the disease overall.
She warned that governments may need to restrict population movements and public gatherings, and use the police and civil defence forces to guarantee the security of response teams.
But the WHO chief went on to point out that more than 60 medical workers have died, a loss which has hampered efforts to tackle the disease.
Two Americans working for aid group Samaritan’s Purse who contracted the disease in Liberia are in a serious condition and are being medically evacuated, the organisation said.
And the outbreak has prompted some international organisations to withdraw.
Federal health authorities could exercise authoritarian powers to control an Ebola outbreak if the deadly disease hits the United States under the Model State Emergency Health Powers Act, legislation passed in the wake of 9/11 which attracted controversy at the time for its draconian scope.
With the Ebola outbreak in West Africa having been declared the worst in history by the World Health Organization, concerns are mounting that the disease could spread via international air travel. Asked whether the virus could arrive in the United States, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta said, “It’s going to happen at some point.”
The Model State Emergency Health Powers Act, drafted during the 2001 anthrax attacks, has since been adopted in whole or in part by 33 states. The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons warned that the legislation “could turn governors into dictators,” while constitutional lawyer Phyllis Schlafly labeled it “an unprecedented assault on the constitutional rights of the American people.”
Describing the legislation as a “threat to fundamental rights,” the Heritage Foundation summarized a list of ways the law would be applied in the event of a public health emergency being declared.
Under the legislation, public health authorities and governors would rely on expanded police powers to;
- Force individuals suspected of harboring an “infectious disease” to undergo medical examinations.
- Track and share an individual’s personal health information, including genetic information.
- Force persons to be vaccinated, treated, or quarantined for infectious diseases.
- Mandate that all health care providers report all cases of persons who harbor any illness or health condition that may be caused by an epidemic or an infectious agent and might pose a “substantial risk” to a “significant number of people or cause a long-term disability.” (Note: Neither “substantial risk” nor “significant number” are defined in the draft.)
- Force pharmacists to report any unusual or any increased prescription rates that may be caused by epidemic diseases.
- Preempt existing state laws, rules and regulations, including those relating to privacy, medical licensure, and–this is key–property rights.
- Control public and private property during a public health emergency, including pharmaceutical manufacturing plants, nursing homes, other health care facilities, and communications devices.
- Mobilize all or any part of the “organized militia into service to the state to help enforce the state’s orders.”
- Ration firearms, explosives, food, fuel and alcoholic beverages, among other commodities.
- Impose fines and penalties to enforce their orders.
As we highlighted yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has measures in place for dealing with an outbreak of a communicable disease which allow for the quarantine of “well persons” who “do not show symptoms” of the disease.