The IDF pounded Gaza overnight, and the south has absorbed dozens of rocket strikes since sunrise. Press “Refresh” for latest updates.
A salvo of rockets and mortars moderately wounded a reserve Armored Corps IDF officer near the Gaza border Tuesday, the first victim of the barrage of rockets that battered the South since the early morning. Emergency forces evacuated the officer to Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba.
After a relatively quiet night on the Israeli side of the Gaza border, Palestinians fired some 20 rockets at Beersheba. Iron Dome intercepted at least 11 of the Grad rockets but three struck the city, damaging a bus, homes and a car but causing no injuries.
Dozens more Palestinians rockets flew toward Israel Tuesday, hitting Kiryat Malachi, Sderot, and aiming at Ashdod and Ashkelon. Iron Dome intercepted at least five rockets on trajectories toward populated areas.
According to the IDF Spokesman's Office, underground rocket launching sites, weapons-smuggling tunnels, Hamas command posts and weapons storage facilities were targeted in the strikes. The Navy carried out strikes on targets along the Gaza coastline overnight. Artillery units opened fire on areas with suspicious activity as well.
Pillar of Defense Live Blog: Day Seven
13:48 More Red Code siren warnings of incoming rockets and missiles on Ofakim, Negev moshavim and kibbutzim and areas north of Be’er Sheva.
13:25 Code Red early warning siren for incoming rockets on Ofakim and Be’er Sheva.
13:09 A rocket shelter saved the life of a Be’er Sheva woman whose house was destroyed by as Grad missile. She was not injured.
12:55 A Kassam rocket exploded in the yard of a house in Sderot, causing damage. No one was injured.
12:53 Code Red early warning siren for incoming rocket on Sderot and surrounding area.
12:50 Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan accused Israel of "ethnic cleansing" and “occupying the Palestinian territory .”
(Ok, I slightly altered that title to make a point)
On a diplomatic tour of Asia, President Barack Obama called Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss ways to halt the violence. Obama underscored that the onus was on Hamas to stop shooting rockets at Israel on a day when at least 95 were fired off, bringing the total to over 1,000 in the current round of fighting. At least 100 Palestinians and three Israelis have been killed since last week.
The U.S. Muslim Brotherhood and its non-Muslim allies have sprung into action. They are demanding that President Obama make Israel end its offensive against Hamas which, in characteristic Islamist fashion, they are falsely depicting as a genocidal crusade. Obama blames Hamas, but the pressure from Islamists, the anti-Israel left and other countries like Britain and France, may be taking a toll. He signaled possible opposition to an Israeli ground operation, saying it’d be “preferable” to end the Hamas rocket threat without sending in troops.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim Brotherhood entity whose executive director was fundraising for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in May, has published a falsehood-laden press release signed by six other groups: The Islamic Circle of North America, the Muslim American Society, American Muslims for Palestine, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, the American Muslim Alliance and the Muslim Legal Fund of America.
The first two groups are known Muslim Brotherhood fronts. American Muslims for Palestine is an Islamist group and its own statement condemns Israel without even mentioning Hamas’s rocket attacks, much less condemning the terrorist group itself. Its conferences feature Brotherhood activists and Hamas apologists. The leadership of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee has a history of defending Hamas and Hezbollah. Its statement condemns Israel for “indiscriminate slaughter” and does not mentioThe joint statement claims that “American taxpayer-funded weapons are used to kill civilians—including babies—and to destroy the civilian infrastructure in Gaza.” The group’s statement says it regrets harm done to civilians on either side, but does not condemn Hamas as a terrorist organization. Instead, they make it sound like Hamas is defending the lives of innocent Palestinians.n the terrorism of Hamas.
A look at the 152-member organizations of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation is shocking. There are many Christian and Jewish groups working with this coalition that won’t condemn Hamas but will condemn Israel. Hatem Bazian, chairman of Americans for Palestine, was a speaker at the 11th Annual National Organizers Conference of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation. Bazian has a history of disturbing statements and his organization’s events are stocked with Islamist speakers, many of whom defend Hamas and are linked to the Brotherhood.
The Muslim Brotherhood affiliates in the U.S. have only just begun. They are rounding up their interfaith allies and non-Muslim partners with a shared opposition to Israel. If President Obama is getting weak-kneed already, then it’s only a matter of time before he tells Israel to suspend operations and go back to a shaky ceasefire that allows Hamas to prepare for the next round.
As expected, what we are really seeing is a proxy war between Israel and Iran:
source in the Revolutionary Guards intelligence division, Quds Forces in Gaza and other Palestinian territories has been training and supervising Hamas and Islamic Jihad in setting up underground rocket facilities and launching attacks on Israel. a
In addition, to its large stockpiles of chemical and microbial weapons, Iran has armed the Lebanese terrorist group Hizbullah with them.
Apparently, the escalation of the Gaza conflict was ordered by the highest authority in Iran, the source added, and rockets targeting Tel Aviv and Jerusalem are in fact a warning to Israel that its Iron Dome missile defense system cannot thwart Iran’s ballistic missiles and tens of thousands of rockets and missiles in the hands of Hizbullah.
Fars News Agency, the media outlet for the Revolutionary Guards, also reported that20,000 Basij forces are prepared to fight alongside the Hamas militants, even as Israel called up 75,000 reserves for a possible ground operation.
“If the IDF launches a wide-scale ground incursion into Gaza, it must be prepared to go all out,” Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman was quoted as saying.
Israel already “paid a heavy price” by yielding to diplomatic pressure when it failed to pursue its final objectives in its assault on Hamas four years ago.
And below we see what could be the most important aspect of this entire operation:
What does Iran expect to gain from Gaza crisis?
Iran’s vitriolic anti-Israeli sentiment in the Islamic world was more ominous than the escalation of the Gaza crisis.
As the Gaza confrontation unfolds, Iran’s masterfully contrived deception in provoking attacks from Hamas provides a welcome distraction from Iran's ongoing economic troubles and its pursuit of nuclear capability.
Although intelligence assessment varies widely, there are lingering doubts of Egypt involvement with Hamas and Hizbullah activities directed by Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) in Iran.
No one seemed to know for sure, but judging the exact status of Iran's nuclear program is far more complex than playing Russian roulette.
Strikingly, the IAEA quarterly report demonstrates that the Islamic regime is continuing its headlong approach to nuclear weapons despite stringent economic sanctions.
If the IAEA assessments were correct, Iran could have crossed the ‘red line’ in just over a few months.
There is no doubt in mind that an attack on nuclear armed Iran is far more dangerous, more complex and more costly in terms of life and treasure.
However, Israel’s capacity to act in a timely fashion is critical before Iran gets a nuclear weapon.
Worst case scenario: if Iran and its proxy, Hamas and Hizbullah deploy chemical and biological weapons, the less forgiving US and Israel could be forced to consider using its nuclear option.
What is also important to consider are the unintended consequences and the hidden dangers of Israel’s imminent incursion into the Gaza Strip.
Ideally, de-escalation is possible but it depends to a great extent to the willingness of the international community in preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
Furthermore, an escalation of the Gaza conflict could probably pave the way to an early Iran strike if Israeli election is postponed in January 2013.
In the end, Israel will really have to make painful choices between Iran’s nuclear program and confronting multi-front attacks from Hamas, Hizbullah, Syria and quite possibly Egypt.
During Israel’s War of Independence, the Muslim Brotherhood invaded Israel with a sizable number of fighters and heavy weapons, but were balked by a handful of farmers fighting to protect their towns. But apparently the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood is discussing doing to Israel what they are already doing to Syria.
Saber Abul Fotouh, a member of the High Commission for the ruling Freedom and Justice Party, which is the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, said that their “youth group” are poised to join the jihad in Gaza “with our Palestinian brothers in their war against the brutal Zionist aggression.”
If Egypt’s ruling party begins moving fighters and weapons, covertly or overtly, to fight Israel, that will kill Camp David for good and revert the situation right back to what it was some forty years ago.
In all negotiations that may transpire, Israel will insist that the rocket attacks from Gaza must cease. But no cease-fire or previous negotiated settlement of any kind has ever accomplished this; why will this one be different? For that matter, no state has ever successfully reached a negotiated settlement with an enemy who had vowed to destroy it; why is Israel constantly expected to be different? Blair and all the others who are calling for an immediate cease-fire and negotiations seem to have forgotten, if they ever knew, what Hamas is, what its goals are, and who forms its leadership.
Hamas and similar groups such as Islamic Jihad have painted themselves — and the Middle East — into a corner. The Muslim militants who see their struggle against Israel as part of their religious responsibility cannot and will not ever recognize Israel’s right to exist, or reach any kind of negotiated settlement with “the Zionist entity,” without denying what it has identified as “part of its faith.” After all, the Muslim Prophet Muhammad himself warned Muslims that “the last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him” (Sahih Muslim 6985).
A ceasefire under these circumstances will only give Hamas time to gather strength. Israel faces no good choices. But those who profess to be allied with her should stop offering false hopes.