Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Evening Update: Cabinet Mulls Gaza Expansion, Hamas Rules Out Ceasefire, UN To Launch Probe

Cabinet Mulls Expanded Gaza Op, Hamas Again Rules Out Ceasefire

The Times of Israel is liveblogging events as they unfold through Thursday, the 17th day of Operation Protective Edge. Late on Wednesday, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal rejected a ceasefire unless the blockade of Gaza is lifted, and the Israeli cabinet met to discuss expanding the ground op against Hamas’s rockets, tunnels, and infrastructure. Earlier 30,000 attended the funeral of US-born soldier Max Steinberg in Jerusalem, as other funerals took place elsewhere in Israel. The IDF death toll rose to 32, with another soldier MIA presumed dead and claimed by Hamas to be in its hands. Only 27 of the 100-plus foreign airlines that use Ben-Gurion Airport are still flying in, and the FAA has extended its ban for another 24 hours after a rocket hit a home near the airport on Tuesday. IDF-Hamas fighting in Gaza remains intensive, Hamas is still trying to carry out attacks in Israel through tunnels — a major tunnel found Wednesday contained maps and weaponry for an imminent attack — and rockets are still being fired.(Wednesday’s liveblog is here.)

No sign of a ceasefire

Day 18 of Operation Protective Edge begins with Finance Minister Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) having followed Tzipi Livni’s lead from last Friday and declared that Israel might retake the Gaza Strip in order to completely root out the Hamas terrorist threat there, destroy its infrastructure and prevent kidnapping attempts.

“We won’t stand aside and watch Israeli citizens being hurt and tunnels being dug to kibbutzim, to children’s houses or dining rooms,” he told Channel 2 late Wednesday.

Earlier, the head of the Hamas political leader, Khaled Mashaal, speaking in Qatar, said Hamas insists on the blockade of Gaza being lifted for a ceasefire — something the Egyptian ceasefire proposal does not provide. He also claims the hundreds of rockets — over 2,200 now — fired by Hamas into towns and cities all over Israel, as well as the five attempted attacks through cross-border tunnels, are not aimed at civilian targets.
“Our fatalities are civilians. Israel’s fatalities are soldiers,” he says.
Channel 2′s Ehud Ya’ari snorted that the speech was designed to sound like a victory speech, but didn’t quite come across that way.

The UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday launched a probe into the conflict in Gaza, backing calls by the Palestinians to hold Israel to account despite fierce opposition from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The decision came after a marathon seven-hour emergency session of the top UN human rights body, where the Israelis and the Palestinians traded accusations over war crimes.

The 46-member council backed a Palestinian-drafted resolution by 29 votes, with Arab and fellow Muslim countries joined by China and Russia, plus Latin American and African nations.

Netanyahu’s media office slammed the decision as a “travesty” that ignored human rights violations by Hamas terrorists.
“This investigation by a kangaroo court is a foregone conclusion,” his office said.
US ambassador Keith Harper warned that the vote would undermine ceasefire efforts.
“This resolution is not constructive, it is destructive,” Harper said, noting it lacked “any semblance of balance” because it made no mention of Hamas attacks.
Speaking for the European Union, Italian ambassador Maurizio Serra also criticized the failure to mention Hamas or recognize Israel’s right to self-defense, despite last-ditch efforts by his team to have such language included.
Israeli ambassador Eviator Manor lashed out at countries that piloted the vote.
“Their Pavlovian instinct demands they react against Israel, in order to divert attention from their own human rights violations,” he said.

“Hamas is committing war crimes when it fires rockets indiscriminately at Israel towns and villages. Hamas is protecting its launching sites with the civilian residents of Gaza. Another war crime,” he said.
“And this council sits in judgement of Israel? There can be no moral symmetry between a terrorist aggressor and a democracy defending itself,” he added.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki hit back.
“What Israel is doing is a crime against humanity,” he said.
UN human rights chief Navi Pillay also said Israel’s military actions could amount to war crimes, while at the same time condemning indiscriminate rocket attacks by Hamas.
“There seems to be a strong possibility that international law has been violated, in a manner that could amount to war crimes,” Pillay told the council, citing attacks that have killed Palestinian civilians, including children.
She said Israelis also had a right to live without constant fear of rocket attacks.

Israel's Operation Protective Edge entered its 16th day on Wednesday, marking the 6th day of the IDF's ground incursion into the Gaza Strip.
Three IDF soldiers were killed on Wednesday, raising the number of Israeli military fatalities since the operation commenced to 32.
At least 350 Palestinians have been killed since Israel began its ground operation, raising the recent escalation's death toll in Gaza to 655, with some 4,220 wounded.
International efforts to stop the fighting between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip have resumed Tuesday, following Monday’s arrival in the region of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the expected arrival of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
On Tuesday, following a rocket attack on Yehud, near Ben-Gurion International Airport, the Federal Aviation Administration placed a 24-hour ban on all U.S. flights to and from Israel. Many European airlines also suspended their Israel flights.

As Israel continues to deal with the threat of terrorist rockets flying through its skies, a recent newspaper headline trumpeted the possibility of supernatural protection.
“Their God changes the path of our rockets in mid-air, said a terrorist,” was the headline in the July 18 edition of the Jewish Telegraph.
It was a partial quote from Barbara Ordman, who lives in Ma’ale Adumim on the West Bank.
Her exact quotation was: “As one of the terrorists from Gaza was reported to say when asked why they couldn’t aim their rockets more effectively: “We do aim them, but their God changes their path in mid-air.”

It is the third time in a week where pro-Palestinian activists have clashed with the city’s Jewish residents. On Sunday, locals reported chats of “Gas the Jews” and “Kill the Jews”, as rioters attacked businesses in the Sarcelles district, known as “little Jerusalem”…
Francois Pupponi, the mayor of Sarcelles, told BFMTV that the violent attacks were carried out by a “horde of savages.”…
Eighteen people were arrested for attacks on shops, including a kosher supermarket, a Jewish-owned chemist and a funeral home. Rioters, who carried batons and threw petrol bombs according to eyewitnesses, were yards from the synagogue when they were driven back by riot police who used tear gas.
“They were shouting: ‘Death to Jews,’ and ‘Slit Jews’ throats’,” David, a Jewish sound engineer told The Times. “It took us back to 1938.”…
The government had banned a demonstration planned in Paris for Saturday, but posters were seen around the area which said “Come equipped with hammers, fire extinguishers and batons” and promised a “raid on the Jewish district”.
Last year, per the NYT, slightly less than 3,300 French Jews emigrated to Israel, a rate of not quite 10 a day. According to the HuffPo post quoted above, more than 1,000 French Jews have made aliyah in the last 10 days alone — at a moment when Israel is in a hot war with Hamas, with rockets being fired at Israeli cities and the FAA suspending flights to Tel Aviv due to a risk of attack. At a rate of more than 100 a day, Jews in France would rather take their chances with Hamas itself than with Hamas’s degenerate supporters on the continent. In Israel, at least, the IDF’s there to protect you; who’ll protect you in France from this, especially as demographics in Europe change?
The town held an interfaith service after the attacks attended by France’s chief rabbi and an imam, which is encouraging. Think it’ll stem the outflow of Jewish citizens, though, who’ve decided that they’ve seen this movie before and aren’t keen on a re-release?

1 comment:

Scott said...

H&LI'm trying to find a way to put that post down in the thread where it should be - shouldn't be a problem, I just need time to do it