UPDATES 11:00 pm:
–35 Israel soldiers have now died in Gaza. This includes two announced tonight–Oren Shaul who was actually killed almost a week ago at the start of the war, but has only now been declared dead, and Staff Sgt. Guy Levy.
–You won’t believe the farce that has taken place here in the last 8 hours–a farce engineered by Barack Obama, a deranged John Kerry, and their new found best friends, the Qataris.
What was supposed to have been a ceasefire plan based on the Egyptian plan, turned out to be an almost wholly new Qatari-American plan which featured among other things American soldiers manning the checkpoints between Gaza and Israel, and the American Navy being put in charge of the waters off the coast of Gaza. Yet another feature was to be the importation of unlimited amounts of concrete (read tunnels) and metal (read missiles) from Qatar.
And by the way, the plan called for a complete cessation of military activity by Israel, a removal of Israeli soldiers from Gaza, etc, etc. To make a long story short, Obama and Kerry sold us out.
And then Kerry had the gall to stand in Cairo a few minutes ago and say that it was the Egyptian plan that had been presented to Israel.
In the end, even the lefties in the Netanyahu cabinet (Livni, Lapid, and Aharonovitch) were forced to agree that the ceasefire proposal should be “flatly rejected.”
But wait, Kerry then went on, after talking endlessly about civilian casualties in Gaza and especially one baby who had shrapnel in her head (what about the Israeli Beduin girl who has been hovering close to death from shrapnel in her head) . . . Kerry then went on and claimed that the differences in the parties were merely ones of “terminology” that he would continue to hope could be quickly worked out.
Here’s a news flash for John Kerry. Hamas wants to kill us. There is not a problem with terminology; there is “the little” problem of our survival.
However, and no one seems to have a clue when this is supposed to take place–PM Netanyahu has agreed to a 12-hour humanitarian truce sponsored by the equally deranged Ban Ki-Moon. More on this tomorrow.
UPDATES 5:00 pm:
**Another IDF officer has lost his life in Gaza–and again as a result of friendly fire. Yair Ashkenazi, a 36-year-old father of three, was a combat officer in a reserve brigade.
Thirty three IDF soldiers have now given their lives in defense of Israel.
May their memories be blessed.
**There are now 120 Israeli soldiers in hospitals throughout southern and central Israel. Some of them are in extremely critical condition.
What follows is a prayer for their recovery and their names–in Hebrew. As Shabbat nears, your humble servant hopes that wherever you are, you say a prayer for these brave men:
The orange headings in the above list are the names of the hospitals where the soldiers are.
*Another ceasefire proposal from John Kerry has taken center political stage though no one on the Israel side seems to know the exact details yet. Hence a security cabinet meeting scheduled for noon today was postponed to 3 pm. The proposal calls for a 7-day ceasefire beginning on Sunday.
In other words, Hamas would be given plenty of time to regroup and to move assets that are currently under attack.
Most news accounts have the Cabinet split down the middle with Lieberman, Bennett, and Erdan opposed, and Livni, Lapid, and Aharonovitch in favor. The two wild cards are Defense Minister Ya’alon and PM Netanyahu.
According to Hamas spokesmen, Kerry’s proposal makes promises to lift the siege of Gaza and for Israel “to cease all military operations” during the ceasefire period.
It is pointless to discuss this further here until we know all the details. We will know the results by the time of our next update later this evening.
UPDATES 9:00 am:
**The IDF has reported that last night:
—a senior member of Islamic Jihad was killed
—3 members of the terrorist Salafist organization Ansar Beit El-Maqdis were killed on their way to a launch
—more than 40 terrorists were killed during the day including two who were discovered when another tunnel shaft was discovered
—a launcher buried under a house near the center of Ratza was destroyed
**If you have ever wanted to watch so-called journalists operating at the behest of terror groups, you should turn on your television to CNN and Al-Jazeera news and watch coverage of what is happening in Gaza.
What you will see is reportage designed to support Hamas and inflame the world against Israel.
What is truly remarkable is how CNN and Al-Jazeera have established their reporting headquarters in the very hospitals where Hamas has set up its command and control centers–both in the rooms of the hospital and in bunkers under the hospitals.
But you will never hear a word about this from CNN and Al-Jazeera.
As you watch, ask yourself the following questions:
Why do you never see Hamas terrorists firing missiles from Gaza?
Why do you never see Hamas terrorists attacking Israeli soldiers?
Why do you never see what was happening in a location before Israel attacked it?
Why do you never see machine gun fire and anti-tank missile fire coming from the very hospital from which they are reporting?
Of course, the answer is that CNN and Al-Jazeera are in bed with Hamas. One condition of their being in Gaza is that they only report what Hamas wants them to report. This is a condition that they are both all too happy to accept.
CNN and Al-Jazeera have become pathetic propaganda arms of Hamas.
As you may or may not know, an Egyptian judge recently sentenced Al-Jazeera “reporters” from 7 to 10 years in prison because of their overt support for Hamas’ parent, the Muslim Brotherhood. In your humble servant’s opinion, they deserved every year that they got.
UPDATES 6:00 am:
**Stage 1 of the IDF campaign against Hamas focused on aerial strikes by the IAF at rocket launchers and missile production facilities, and Stage 2 has been the use of ground forces to ferret out the tunnels and attack launchers inaccessible from the air.
It appears that the IDF is now poised to begin Stage 3–which is the destruction of all Hamas military positions across Gaza.
**No fatalities were reported among Israeli troops yesterday though an unnamed Golani commander was critically wounded when a tunnel wall collapsed while it was being detonated by soldiers.
**As was alluded to in our last update last night, there was a noticeable decline in missile fire coming out of Gaza yesterday. There were 27 separate launches with a total of 78 missiles fired.
The hardest hit areas continue to be the Gaza perimeter communities (Eshkol, Sha’ar Hanegev, and Chof Ashkelon) which were hit 16 times. Ashkelon was on the receiving end 4 times, Ashdod and the surrounding area 3 times, and Beersheva 2 times. The greater Tel Aviv area was also targeted twice.
What was different about yesterday was that the number of missiles fired at each time was markedly less. For example, here in Ashdod where we are accustomed to being hit by 10-20 missiles at a time, the most we received yesterday was 2.
Why is the number down? Your humble servant would hope that the IDF is beginning to seriously impact the rocket launchers. Or could it be that Hamas is beginning to hoard its estimated 4000 remaining missiles? It was reported last night that some of Hamas’ cohorts–such as Islamic Jihad–have almost depleted their missile supply.
Whatever the reason, let’s hope the trend continues downward today.
**Speaking of Islamic Jihad, one of its commanders commented yesterday that it still maintains “a strategic weapon” that it has yet to use but will use if it becomes desperate. Your humble servant has alluded in previous blogs as to what this weapon could be.
**John Kerry informed Hamas and Israel last night that “the ceasefire window is closing” and that U.S. efforts to broker one are not “open-ended.” If this jargon sounds familiar, it should. How many times have we heard Kerry threaten that the peace negotiations window with the Palestinians is closing?
The really pathetic part of Kerry’s statement is the almost desperate way he wants people to acknowledge his efforts. Unfortunately for him, this has not been a mission that has found everyone in the region patting him on the back for his efforts–in fact, just the opposite.
Perhaps it is time for Kerry to move on to the Ukraine where the Russian military began shelling eastern Ukrainian sites this morning. Maybe he can twist Vladimir Putin’s arm into a ceasefire with meaningless threats.
**There were huge violent clashes in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria overnight with thousands of Palestinians in the streets shouting their support for Hamas and shooting, throwing “rocks” and Molotov cocktails, and hurling IEDs at Israeli security personnel. 27 Israeli policemen were wounded in eastern Jerusalem alone. At least two Palestinian were killed.