The IDF is very likely to put boots on the ground and send ground forces into the Gaza Strip, a high ranking Israeli security official reportedly said Wednesday, adding that such an incursion would not pose a serious challenge for the military.
“If you want to efficiently fight terrorism you must be present, boots on the ground,” the official, who was speaking under condition of anonymity, said in a press briefing at the IDF Tel Aviv headquarters, The New York Times reported.
“Every day that passes makes the possibility more evident,” the official said. “We can hurt them very hard from the air, but not get rid of them.”
The security official reportedly went on to predict that a takeover of the coastal enclave would take only “a matter of days or weeks” and would not be “a huge challenge” for the IDF. However, in order to rid the Strip of rockets completely, the official said, a military occupation “of many months” would be required.
Since the latest violence began before dawn on July 8, 1,021 rockets fired from Gaza have struck Israel, and another 256 have been shot down by the Iron Dome defense system, the army said. Israel responded to the rocket fire by striking more than 1,750 “terror targets” across the Strip, the army said.
On Tuesday, while Israel accepted an Egyptian proposal for a ceasefire and halted strikes on the Strip for several hours, Hamas rejected it and continued to fire rockets into Israel. Israel resumed attacks on Hamas targets a short while later.
On Wednesday, the cabinet approved the call-up of another 8,000 IDF reservists, which would bring the number of reservists at the ready to 50,000.
Israeli official denies ceasefire agreement
Rockets continued to fall on Israel Thursday, before and even after an agreed five-hour UN brokered "humanitarian" pause in fighting began at 10 am. At around noon, rockets slammed into the Eshkol Regional Council, in breach of the ceasefire.
At noon at least three rockets were fired at southern Israel's Eshkol Regional Council, falling in an open area, in what was the first breach of the least. The post-lull attacked joined at least 11 additional rockets fired at Israel Thursday, joining over 113 fired in the last day and a half, the army said.
At roughly 8:30 am a rocket salvo was fired at central Israel, with sirens heard from Gush Dan to the Sharon region, spaning the entire range of country's central region. One rocket was intercepted while others fell in open area.
Earlier Thursday morning, four rockets were fired at the Be'er Sheva region, with two falling in open regions and two intercepted by Iron Dome. The attacks came after two people were lightly wounded and a school suffered a direct hit Wednesday night.
An IDF ground incursion into the Gaza Strip is growing increasingly likely. Hamas has rejected an Egypt-backed ceasefire, and rockets continue to fall on Israel despite intense airstrikes. Some Israeli commentators say that the air campaign has reached its culmination point, and is not likely to achieve much more than it already has.
The problem with a ground invasion, say experts both in Israel and abroad, is that it will cost Israel dearly in the lives of its soldiers.
“A limited ground incursion is more likely than ever. And if that happens, Netanyahu knows the IDF is likely to suffer casualties,” read an article in the National Review. “A threatened ground invasion of Gaza would cause heavy casualties on both sides,” wrote the Washington Post editors. A ground operation “could exact a heavy toll in blood,” predicted Brig.-Gen. (res.) Tzvika Fogel in Israel Hayom.
Recent history shows the exact opposite.
The new round of American sanctions against Russia targets a number of companies, particularly involved in arms production, energy and finance, as well as several Russian officials. The White House said it introduced the sanctions because Russia had failed to deescalate the crisis in Ukraine, where Kiev is waging a military crackdown on defiant regions of Donetsk and Lugansk, which formed armed militias and reject the central government’s rule.
Russia considers the latest package of sanctions against it issued by the US as revenge for the failure of Washington’s schemes in Ukraine and blackmail. Moscow reserves the right to retaliate.
Moscow believes that America is targeting it with sanctions “because the events in Ukraine have not developed the way Washington scripted them,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.
“The outrageous and groundless desire to blame Russia for the civil war in a neighboring country, which was caused by a deep internal crisis and already resulted in the loss of many lives, proves that the US and its clients in Kiev have failed to pacify the wide public dissent,” the ministry said.
Moscow said Washington is cynical in attempting to dodge responsibility for the bloodshed perpetrated by the Ukrainian troops in the east of the country, which the US is de facto encouraging.
The sanctions issued by the US on Wednesday won’t affect Russia’s position, the ministry warned.
“We’ve said on many occasions that speaking the language of sanctions to Russia is pointless, regardless of their scale. This path won’t lead to any positive outcome,” the statement said. “Those who believe in their own exceptionalism and claim the right to dictate their will to the world will be deeply disappointed.”
Russia warned that there is a price to be paid for targeting Russia with sanctions, and it would be American companies which would have to foot the bill for the White House. The Obama administration’s policies will deteriorate Russia’s relations with America in many regards, the ministry said.
“If Washington intends to ruin the Russian-American relations, it’s on their conscience,” the ministry said.“We won’t tolerate blackmail and reserve the right to retaliate.”
On Sunday, global tensions heightened when Moscow claimed a Ukrainian shell exploded in Russian territory, killing one and wounding two others. Russia warned Ukraine of “consequences” for that act, and retaliation may have come on Wednesday.
Multiple videos claiming to feature Russian forces lobbying a volley of rockets in Ukraine’s direction surfaced online.
The analysts at Interpreter Magazine have done excellent work geo-locating the source of this missile barrage, concluding that the missiles were fired from inside the Russian Federation and were directed westward.
This is not the only violence to rock Ukraine in recent days.
Interfax and other agencies report that the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense has announced that a Ukrainian Air Force Su-25 attack aircraft has been forced to make an emergency landing after being struck by a surface-to-air missile (SAM).
On Wednesday, in response to months of escalations of the conflict in Eastern Europe, the White House announced that new sanctions would be imposed on the Russian Federation.
EU leaders on Wednesday night (16 July) failed to reach an agreement on two top jobs - the high representative for foreign policy and the next EU Council president.
"It is a bit unfortunate but not dramatic, not dramatic at all," outgoing Council chief Herman Van Rompuy told press after chairing the meeting.
He said that "extensive" phone consultations over the past days with the heads of government did not result in a "consensual solution on a full package of appointments."
Van Rompuy will chair another meeting on 30 August, a Saturday, to agree on the two names.
He claimed that Wednesday’s meeting was not a failure and because the complex agreements, which need to take into account geographical, gender, and small-big state balance, "take time."
He compared it with the recent EU budget deal, which also took two summits to agree.
Some member states - notably Italy and France who backed Italian foreign minister Federica Mogherini for the foreign affairs job - were willing to get a deal on that post only, while others wanted both posts to be filled at the same time.
An even larger contingent also wanted clarity on what kind of commissioner post they could expect in the next EU executive.
This puts the ball in the court of Jean-Claude Juncker, who will be the next commission president, and who has called on member states to send in multiple names each, as well as to have at least 10 female commissioners.
Meanwhile, the chances of two foreign affairs chief aspirants - Polish FM Radek Sikorski and Bulgaria's EU commissioner for humanitarian aid, Kristalina Georgieva, both affiliated with the centre-right - have faded given an understanding that the job should go to the Socialist family.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that given the result of the EU elections and the division of posts so far, it was "logical” for the Socialist family to get the foreign affairs post.
Italian PM Matteo Renzi, whose aggressive campaign to get Mogherini into the job backfired when eastern states rallied against her pro-Russian prpfile and lack of experience, quipped that "if it's going to be an experienced man, I don't think it will be Mogherini."
Diplomats doubt that Mogherini will still have a chance in August if there was no agreement on her now.
But French President Francois Hollande defended her, saying that the foreign affairs post is merely a "type of spokeswoman" for the EU and that her personal views on Russia are irrelevant.
“It’s true some of the more recently arrived member states had reservations [about Mogherini] but this person [the foreign relations] doesn’t carry out the foreign policy of her own country,” he said.
Globalist Mouthpiece Calls For Entire Planet To Adopt The 'National Identification System' One European Country Has Established
Would you like to have a digital identity card that is automatically issued to you at birth? In one European nation, residents use such a card when they go to the hospital, when they do their banking, when they go shopping and even when they vote. This card has become so popular that this particular European country actually plans to start issuing them to millions of non-citizens all over the planet who request them. Never heard about this? Neither had I before this week. The Economist, a well-known mouthpiece for the global elite, is calling for the entire planet to adopt this “national identification system” that the little nation of Estonia has adopted. The Economist is touting all of the “benefits” of a “national identification card”, but are there dangers as well? Could adopting such a system potentially open the door for greater government tyranny than we have ever known before?
The Economist article about this national identification scheme went largely unnoticed because it had a very boring title: “Estonia takes the plunge“. But the content of the article is absolutely startling. The Economist article calls the Estonian national identification system a “cyberdream” and makes it sound like it will solve all of our problems…
There is one place where this cyberdream is already reality. Secure, authenticated identity is the birthright of every Estonian: before a newborn even arrives home, the hospital will have issued a digital birth certificate and his health insurance will have been started automatically. All residents of the small Baltic state aged 15 or over have electronic ID cards, which are used in health care, electronic banking and shopping, to sign contracts and encrypt e-mail, as tram tickets, and much more besides—even to vote.
The Economist hopes that Estonia will become a model that the rest of the world will follow.
But do we really want government to have that much control over our lives?
If we need this “digital identity card” to go shopping, do banking or get health care, it would also give the government the power to revoke those “privileges” in a heartbeat.
Already there are countless examples of how governments around the world are using information databases in abusive ways. For instance, one new lawsuit in the U.S. alleges that average citizens have been put in a ‘terror database’ for doing such things as buying computers and waiting for family members at train stations.
Do we really want to go even further down this road?
And of course “identity cards” can be lost, stolen and forged. The next logical step would be to permanently implant our identity cards.
To many older Americans, such a notion sounds ludicrous, but many younger Americans are so eager to adopt this kind of technology that they are actually doing it to themselves. Just check out the following excerpt from a recent NBC News article about “biohackers”…
In tattoo parlors and basements around the world, people are turning themselves into cyborgs by embedding magnets and computer chips directly into their bodies.
They call themselves biohackers, cyborgs and grinders. With each piece of technology they put beneath their skin, they are exploring the boundaries — and the implications — of fusing man and machine.
Welcome to the world of biohacking.
It’s a niche community at the literal bleeding edge of body modification, and it attracts fervent fans from a variety of schools of thought. Some simply enjoy experimenting with new tech. Others use the magnets and chips for utilitarian purposes.
Whether you are ready or not, these technologies are coming.
For now, they are voluntary.
But eventually a day may come when you will be required to have an “identity chip” in order to buy, sell, conduct banking, have a job or go to the hospital.
When that day arrives, what will you do?