Israel’s air strikes have intensified in the past few hours, and Hamas rocket attacks into southern Israel have continued unabated. Prospects for an early ceasefire faded, with Hamas and Israel far apart. International efforts are continuing to push the two sides toward a truce before Israel launches a wider ground offensive to try to wipe out Gaza’s terror infrastructure.The Times of Israel is live blogging developments. Press “Refresh” for latest updates.Click here for all our previous live blog coverage of Operation Pillar of Defense.Click here to receive our free daily newsletter, compiling each day’s key stories.
Perhaps if Israel would agree to a limited number of missiles fired from Gaza on a daily basis - maybe that would be acceptable to the international community.
As the number of Palestinian civilians killed in Israeli air strikes increased from Sunday to Monday, so did international pressure on Jerusalem to restrain its Gaza offensive and intensify efforts to find a ceasefire.
While Israeli government officials say the international community generally recognizes that Hamas is responsible for the current crisis and supports Israel’s right to defend herself, world leaders and the international press are growing increasingly impatient, with Western leaders heading to Israel to encourage a ceasefire and governments calling on Jerusalem to refrain from escalating the situation.
By midday Monday, the Palestinian death toll had climbed up to 84, and the IDF continued to prepare for a ground operation in Gaza. According to unconfirmed reports, about half the casualties were civilians, many of them women and children. The death toll in Israel was three, with dozens of people injured; Hamas rocket fire into Israel continued, with a direct hit on an (empty) Ashkelon school, and much of the south confined to safe areas.
A spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry on Monday said that Beijing is “extremely concerned about Israel’s continued large-scale military operations towards the Gaza Strip,” according to Reuters. “We condemn the over-use of force causing deaths and injuries amongst innocent ordinary people,” spokeswoman Hua Chunying said during a daily news briefing.
A spokesperson of the Indian Foreign Ministry made similar statements, saying the government was “deeply concerned at the steep escalation of violence between Israel and Palestine.”
Where was this concern over the past 7 years, as Israel has been the recipient of thousands of missiles from Gaza into civilian areas ?
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle was expected to arrive in Israel on Monday, to meet with Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and President Shimon Peres. He is set to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian leaders on Tuesday. Westerwelle so far been supportive of Israel’s operation but is also expected to urge Israel for restraint and to further efforts to achieve a ceasefire.
“It is obvious that Israel has the right to confront the violence of Hamas rockets and to protect its people. Israel’s government is acting in order to protect its citizens. The trigger of this spiral of violence are Hamas’s rockets,” Westerwelle wrote Sunday in an op-ed in Bild, Germany’s largest daily. “But what’s also obvious is that the situation is extremely dangerous. The entire region risks to be drawn into an escalation. Everyone needs to be aware of their responsibility.”
The Iron Dome has been a key in efforts by Israel’s civilians to survive the massive missile attacks that resumed from Gaza last week. The only occurred when the Iron Dome malfunctioned in Kiryat Malachi, allowing the incoming missile to kill three people after it blasted through the roof of a four-story apartment building.
Hamas’ frustration is highlighted by its inability, so far, to inflict large-scale damage, especially on metropolitan, Israel’s industrial and financial heart.
The number of rocket and missile attacks dropped on Monday following a barrage of more than 10 attacks on Sunday, including three on .
The expensive Iron Done system intercepted half of the missiles.
Israel’s ability to thwart Hamas attacks while destroying a large number of terrorists and weapons sites has thrown back the terrorist organization into a more defensive stance. Three days ago, its conditions for a ceasefire were that Israel agree to remove the maritime blockade designed to prevent smuggling of terrorists and weapons into Gaza. It also demanded that Israel promise to stop all aerial attacks on terrorists.
As Israel took the upper hand, it laid down its own condition --- a halt to all attacks and the total cessation of weapons smuggling.
Hamas is winning sympathy as a result of alleged civilian deaths, some caused by its own misfired rockets.
Mainstream media has emphasized the number of alleged civilian deaths in Gaza the past several days, after believing and headlining a story that the visiting Egyptian prime minister kissedof a dead boy, allegedly killed by Israel.
Watchdog sites and Arutz Sheva exposed the fact that that the boy died after one of Hamas’ own rockets misfired and exploded in Gaza. The IDF also stated that there was no military activity in the area where the boy died.
CNN reported a heart-wrenching story on the death but did not correct its report after the guise was discovered.
The IDF has produced an animated YouTube illustrating Hamas’ use of civilians as human shields for terrorist , a tactic it perfected in the Operation Cast Lead counterterrorist campaign in 2006.
The video explains that Hamas used private buildings weapons depots, leaving Israel in the predicament of striking while trying to avoid civilian casualties or allowing Hamas to freely launch missiles on Israel’s civilian population.
The Israeli campaign to explain Hamas’s strategy has had little effect on foreign media such as CNN and The New York Times. The newspaper on Monday headlined that Israel was bombing civilian sites but later changed it to read “government” , which are used by Hamas for terrorist activities.
Defining government officials as “civilians” raises the toll of supposed civilians.
The Associated Press quoted on Monday Hamas medics as saying that “farmers” and a child were killed in Air Force aerial strikes.
Foreign media have repeatedly called the counterterrorist operation “deadly” and “relentless,” occasionally mentioning the barrage of missiles on Israeli civilians but without noting that the attacks on southern Israel have continued for years, with limited Israeli retaliation.
Hamas expressed its "death wish” in a video encouraging Gaza residents, including women and children, to carry out suicide bombings.
The former Deputy Head of the Shin Bet intelligence agency a ground maneuver by the IDF in Gaza, to air campaign that has been going on for five days.
"Hamas' people made several meaningful errors in the past few days," Doron Weiss told Arutz Sheva. "The behavior of [Ahmed] Jaabari, who did not hide and did not take into account the threat to his life, was one such mistake," he explained.
"The will end with an agreement vis-à-vis Hamas regarding a 'lull'," he said, "but reaching such an agreement requires that Hamas be brought to a situation in which it understands that it has no choice.
Weiss said that there is no reason to fear pressure, and dismissed as "groundless" the concerns that once the IDF enters Gaza it will become bogged down. "There is no reason why the IDF cannot carry out a limited operation in Gaza and leave in time," he determined.