Operation Protective Edge was finally launched yesterday by the IDF to counteract the massive volleys of missiles and rockets that are being fired by Hamas into Israel. The army has asked for permission to mobilise up to another 40,000 reservists, implying a very large operation. That is what is truly needed to clear out the viper’s nest that is Gaza.
The Hamas terrorists’ rockets have been fired in every direction: all over the south as per usual, to Jerusalem, all over Gush Dan (the Tel Aviv area) and as far north as Hadera. The alerts over the radio, TV and social media flowed non-stop yesterday and into the night – as did the booms and explosions in the skies over Israel.
For very accurate, immediate updates, follow the Muqata on Facebook. As an added bonus, he has a great line in snark and black humour.
As always, the Times of Israel has an excellent live-blog, which you can pop into and read throughout the day. It is constantly updated as events are overtaking us as I type.
Here’s a couple of excerpts that caught my eye:
3:59 EU condemns Israeli-Palestinian violence
The European Union’s foreign affairs office issues a condemnation of rocket fire targeting Israeli citizens and the IDF’s retaliation against the Gaza Strip.
“We are following with grave concern the rapidly deteriorating situation in the South of Israel and the Gaza Strip,” the spokesperson says. “The EU deplores the growing number of civilian casualties, reportedly among them children, caused by Israeli retaliatory fire.”
“The safety and security of all civilians must be of paramount importance.”
Brussels calls on both sides to exercise restraint to avoid casualties and work toward a ceasefire to end hostilities.
5:05 Arab League calls for Security Council meeting on Gaza
The Arab League has called for an urgent UN Security Council meeting on the crisis between Israel and Gaza.
An official from the pan-Arab bloc told AFP that Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi had “instructed the Arab League’s UN representative to initiate urgent consultations within the Arab group calling for an emergency security meeting of the Security Council.”
“The continued attacks on Palestinian civilians by Israel is a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law, the Geneva Convention and international resolutions on occupied Palestine,” said the Arab League chief.
7:15 Islamic Jihad leader, five family members killed
Pieces of shot-down rocket fell in the street in Nes Ziona. By a miracle those fragments didn’t hit a car or pedestrian:
Here’s what those “puny firecrackers” have wrought so far in Israel:
As for yesterday’s events, I’m not sure where to begin. Last night’s volley of rockets was massive and was aimed all over the place – north, south, east (west would be to the sea, a bit pointless). Here in Petach Tikva we heard distant booms and our windows rattled as Iron Dome shot down rockets and missiles over Tel Aviv. This has continued this morning and is still ongoing as a huge volley of rockets is shot towards Tel Aviv and the region.
My daughter in Gush Etzion was home alone terrified as she heard a series of very loud booms. I tried to reassure her that those were from the Iron Dome. It makes a lot of noise but is pretty effective. Basically like your average Israeli. 🙂
Several rockets fell in Jerusalem and caused some damage this time, unlike what happened in Operation Pillar of Defence.
This is what it looks like when a rocket interrupts your outdoor wedding. The MC is calling for everyone to enter the hall since being indoors is safer than out in the open:
My brother in central Israel, not far from Jerusalem, also reported several loud explosions, presumably from Iron Dome.
My children in the Shomron (Samaria) however had a nice peaceful evening. I have always said that if missiles start falling on Petach Tikva I shall head for the hills – literally – to the Shomron where the terrorists won’t fire their rockets because they don’t want to hit their own population centers.
On the other hand they don’t seem to be too worried about their own population. The IDF sent out warnings to Gaza civilians to evacuate certain buildings because they were going to be bombed. So Hamas took the civilians and moved them davka to that building, ensuring that they will be killed or injured, making great anti-Israel propaganda – at least for those who are itching to find Israel guilty of human rights abuses and war crimes (which amounts to most of the “civilised” world. See Arsen Ostrovsky’s article below).
Other highlights from yesterday’s live-blog:. First, a terrifying incident:
15:56 2 arrested in suspected kidnapping attempt
Two suspects are arrested Tuesday afternoon for an alleged attempted kidnapping of a 15-year-old Israeli girl near Jerusalem earlier in the day.
A 15-year-old girl from a Jewish village in the Abu Ghosh area west of Jerusalem reported to police just before 2 p.m. on Tuesday that two young Arab men tried to get her to enter their car. She fled from them and called the police.
The police, on alert for additional revenge attacks following the killings in recent weeks of three Jewish and one Palestinian teenagers, set up roadblocks and begin searching for the vehicle.
Two men and a vehicle matching the description provided by the girl are discovered at the Kalandiya checkpoint, heading to the Ramallah area. The men are taken in for questioning.
Terrorists tried to infiltrate from the sea:
Other items in yesterday’s liveblog report that over 100 rockets were fired at Israel yesterday while the IAF carried out over 100 attacks.
It must be noted that while the Palestinians are decrying their death toll of around 20, if it was NATO or the US who were carrying out these bombings the death toll would have been way higher. Just look at the numbers in Afghanistan and Iraq for example. Israel can be proud of its pinpoint bombing and efforts to avoid civilian casualties, and it’s about time the world appreciated that.
In fact an astonishing item in the BBC nearly knocked me off my chair. The BBC warns that some of the photos coming out of Gaza may be doctored or recycled from preiosu wars or even from other wars altogether:
Hamas has been firing rockets from Gaza into southern Israel, which has responded with airstrikes on Gaza. Several Palestinian militants have been killed and on Tuesday it was reported that at least 15 Palestinians had been injured.
Over the past week the hashtag #GazaUnderAttack has been used hundreds of thousands of times, often to distribute pictures claiming to show the effects the airstrikes.
Some of the images are of the current situation in Gaza, but a #BBCtrending analysis has found that some date as far back as 2009 and others are from conflicts in Syria and Iraq.
Perhaps BBC Watch’s constant monitoring has finally made a dent in their arrogance and bias.
PM Netanyahu finally addressed the nation last night, asking us for patience as this won’t be a short operation, and accused Hamas of using civilians as human shields:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed Tuesday evening that “Israel would do everything so that the calm that has prevailed here in recent years will continue.”
He accused Hamas of deliberately inviting attacks on civilians in Gaza.
“The IDF is directing its action against the terrorists of Hamas, not against innocent civilians,” Netanyahu said. “Hamas deliberately hides behind Palestinian civilians, and therefore bears responsibility for accidental injuries.”
The prime minister called on Israeli citizens to follow the instructions of the Home Front Command and understand that the operation against terrorists in Gaza may not be over quickly.
“I urge you to be patient, because this operation could take a long time,” he said. “From the perspective of the terrorist organizations, the whole of Israel is one front, and all Israeli citizens are one target. Therefore we must stand together as one – united and confident in our righteousness. We are acting decisively and forcefully to restore calm, and will continue to act until the quiet returns, so that our citizens and our children can live in security.”
Earlier Tuesday, Netanyahu placed responsibility for the current round of fighting on Hamas. “Hamas chose escalation and it will pay a heavy price for it,” he said.
Senior political sources close to the prime minister said he had ordered the defense establishment to conduct a “continuous, long and forceful operation in Gaza.”
The decision to call up 40,000 IDF reservists was taken at the request of IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, and is intended to allow reservists to take over part of the duties currently being fulfilled by conscripted soldiers, who will now avail themselves to the operation itself.
According to the sources, Netanyahu told the IDF to go “all the way,” saying “this evening a ground operation is currently on the table.” According to the sources, such an operation is far from certain, but that the goal is to increase Israeli deterrence and deal Hamas a significant blow.
Here are some other excellent articles on the situation:
Arlene Kushner at Jews Down Under simply titles her post “War”. It’s full of great commentary and interesting links.
Regarding the calls for restraint, Daniel Perez tells us “how to answer a three-fingered salute” (h/t LL Cheung):
“Restraint,” begs our State Department, on “both sides.” Considering that one of the “sides” in this is a horde of bus-bombing, child-abducting thugs who think “martyrdom” means “dying while committing mass murder,” it’s difficult to imagine what sort of “restraint” is applicable in any conceivable legal or ethical framework. Frankly, I think it would show tremendous restraint on Israel’s part if we don’t wake up tomorrow to find that Gaza has been turned into a smoldering glow-in-the-dark crater! ..Not that I’m suggesting a course of action – the fallout, both literal and political, make this option an untenable one.…Given that the enemy in this case makes no distinction between combatant and bystander, and launches missiles indiscriminately into population centers (that their aim is lousy does nothing to change the fact that this is an actual war crime – UN Human Rights Commission take note!) makes Israel’s measured response all the more remarkable. We’re talking about an army that drops leaflets, that calls their targets on the phone to let them know they’re about to be bombed.…Bottom line: If U.S. policymakers were to say anything to the Israelis, it should be short and simple, like this:
Dear Israel,Do what you have to do. If you can do it without leaving a Middle East-sized hole in the planet, we’d be much obliged.
PS: Thanks for taking care of Osirak – you really saved us.
So yes, I firmly believe this situation calls for restraint. The United States needs to show restraint when it comes to dictating Israel’s defense policy to them. America is supposed to be watching their back, not stabbing it. And the US needs to restrain itself from providing any further aid to the Palestinian Arab “government.”
In the Daily Telegraph – Where is the outrage at the bombardment of Israeli civilians?
You see, as most people in the UK were waking up this morning, and those in Europe, United States and elsewhere around the world were going about their daily routines, here in Israel over one million people were running for cover from a hail of rockets being rained down by Palestinian Hamas terrorists in Gaza.
In the last 24 hours alone, over 120 rockets have been fired on southern Israel. That’s approximately five rockets per hour. By the time I finish this article, odds are that count will have risen to 125 rockets.
To put things in context: one million Israelis is roughly 13 per cent of the population. Thirteen per cent of the UK population equates to about 8.4 million people, or the entire population of London.
Since the beginning of this year, Gaza terrorists have fired more than 450 rockets on Israel, with about half of them coming since mid-June, when two Hamas terrorists kidnapped and brutally murdered three Israeli teenagers.
Why is it that a majority of the international community only notices when Israel undertakes its sovereign right, and obligation, to defend its citizens? Can you imagine if even one rocket was fired on London, Washington, Paris or Moscow? This is simply intolerable and no country can, or should, tolerate such attacks on its people.
Read it all. Arsen Ostrovsky poses the embarrassing question to the “civilised” world – but don’t expect an answer any time soon.
Stay tuned and stay updated with the various media. And don’t let your politicians or social media get away with double standards, calls for restraint on one side only, or smearing Israel with faked news and photos. This is a war in which we can all do our bit.