Saturday, August 2, 2014

Israel: No Truce Talks With Hamas, Netanyahu Warns U.S., 'Never second Guess Me Again'

Israel Says No To Truce Talks With Hamas, Will Not send Delegation To Cairo

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

According to the Lebanese paper Al-Mayadeen cited by Israel Radio, Egypt cancels truce talks with the Palestinian delegation scheduled for later today.
According to the report, Israel informed Egypt that it was not interested in pursuing negotiations on a ceasefire in light of the abduction of IDF soldier Hadar Goldin by Hamas gunmen yesterday.
The report on the canceled talks could not be confirmed and it is not yet clear whether the talks will proceed.
Israel’s Channel 1 reports that the Palestinian delegation will indeed arrive in Cairo but without Hamas representatives, as previously agreed, because of Israel’s objections.

Netanyahu to US ambassador: US should ‘never second-guess me again’ on Hamas

In a phone call with US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vents his anger, according to people familiar with the call. It is not clear when the call took place.
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.
They said Netanyahu made similar points to Kerry, who himself denounced the attack as “outrageous,” saying it was an affront to assurances to respect the ceasefire given to the United States and United Nations, which brokered the truce.

 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.

Kerry negotiated the truce with UN chief Ban Ki-moon in a marathon session of phone calls over several days while he was in India on an official visit. Kerry had spent much of the past two weeks in Egypt, Israel, the West Bank and France trying to mediate a cease-fire with Qatar and Turkey playing a major role because of their close ties with Hamas.
Those efforts failed with Israel saying it could not trust Hamas and some Israelis and American pro-Israel groups complaining that the US was treating the group — a foreign terrorist organization as designated by the State Department — as a friend.
Late Thursday, however, Israel accepted Kerry and Ban’s latest proposal, despite its reservations. Once the truce was violated, though, Israeli officials hit out at not only Hamas, but the United States and Qatar for its failure.

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.

Also see:

The tragedy of Malaysian MH 017 continues to elude any light of clarity being cast over it.
The flight recorders are in England and are evaluated. What can come of it? Maybe more than you would assume.

Especially the voice recorder will be interesting when you look at the picture of a cockpit fragment. As an expert in aviation I closely looked at the images of the wreckage that are circulating on the Internet.

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!

Graze on the wing
Because the interior of a commercial aircraft is a hermetically sealed pressurized chamber, the explosions will, in split second, increase the pressure inside the cabin to extreme levels or breaking point. An aircraft is not equipped for this, it will burst like a balloon. This explains a coherent scenario. The largely intact fragments of the rear sections broke in mid air at the weaker points of construction most likely under extreme internal air pressure. The images of the widely scattered field of debris and the brutally damaged segment of cockpit fit like hand in glove. Furthermore, a wing segment shows traces of a grazing shot, which in direct extension leads to the cockpit. Interestingly, I found that both the high-resolution photo of the fragment of bullet riddled cockpit as well as the segment of grazed wing have in the meantime disappeared from Google Images. One can find virtually no more pictures of the wreckage, except the well known smoking ruins.

If you listen to the voices from Washington now who speak of a “potentially tragic error / accident”, all that remains is the question of what might have been the nature of this “mistake” perpetrated here. I am not given to hover long in the realm of speculation, but would like to invite others to consider the following : The MH 017 looked similar in it’s tricolor design to that that of the Russian President’s plane. The plane with President Putin on board was at the same time ”near” Malaysia MH 017. In aviation circles “close” would be considered to be anywhere between 150 to 200 miles. Also, in this context we might consider the deposition of Ms. Tymoshenko, who wanted to shoot President Putin with a Kalashnikov.
But that this remains pure speculation. The shelling of the cockpit of air Malaysia MH 017, however, is definitely not speculation. 

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.

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