UPDATES 10:00 pm:
Hamas has rejected Israel’s extension of the “humanitarian ceasefire”.
There have been 5 missile launches (at least 12 missiles) against Israel in the last hour.
UPDATES 9:00 pm:
There are only a few updates at this hour.
**It took exactly 4 minutes for Hamas to break the ceasefire at 8 pm by firing missiles into the Eshkol region of southern Israel.
**Despite this, Israel has agreed to extend the latest ceasefire until 12 am midnight. And who knows after that?
IDF units that were in advanced positions after fighting their way to specific points have been ordered to pull back to more defendable emplacements. What happens when they must fight their way to the same places they were?
The universal complaint of brigade commanders is that they are losing soldiers because the government is trying to force them to finish the job quickly.
As one commander noted tonight: “We should be operating according to the calendar, not by the clock.”
The IDF is begging the government to let them finish the job.
UPDATES 5:00 pm:
**Three more Israeli soldiers are now reported to have been killed in fighting last night.
This brings to 40 the number of IDF soldiers who have died in defense of Israel.
May the memories of these brave men be blessed.
**We are now nine hours into the “humanitarian ceasefire” due to end in three hours at 8:00 pm. By all accounts, Hamas is rushing its fighters into new positions to shore up defensive positions against the IDF. Red Crescent ambulances, described by the international media as ferrying the dead and wounded from combat areas, are in fact carrying Hamas terrorists to and from battle points.
The international media has been using the last nine hours to “document” Israel “war crimes” focusing on “wholesale destruction” and “slaughter” that their so-called “journalists” are discovering everywhere.
The fact that PM Netanyahu signed on to this “humanitarian ceasefire” is nauseating. It is simply inconceivable that PM Netanyahu would kowtow at this point to a fraudulent Ban Ki Moon who represents a totally fraudulent United Nations–particularly since so many IDF soldiers are in mortal danger.
**And imagine for a moment the arrogance of what is taking place in Paris.
We have John Kerry, who has sold out Israel, meeting with European ministers who would sell out Israel in a heartbeat, meeting with Turkey and Qatar–both of which are the biggest cheerleaders for Hamas on the planet.
John Kerry, the Europeans, Turkey, Qatar–all meeting to decide what will take place in Gaza.
Do you notice anybody missing?
How about Israel? How about Egypt?
Now comes the news that the group now wants Israel to extend the “humanitarian ceasefire” by another 12 hours. Do you think Netanyahu will go along (Netanyahu appaarently doesn’t need the approval of the security cabinet for another “short term” ceasefires). Your humble servant is not a betting man, but . . .
**By the way, you can expect the casualty numbers in Gaza to rise sharply in the coming hours as the bodies of dead Hamas terrorists are pulled out of the rubble (some 100 were recovered in the first three hours of the ceasefire).
What is completely absurd is how the international media is reporting casualties for each side. For example, Al-Jazeera is currently reporting that 40 Israelis have died, a number which they they describe as 37 soldiers and 3 civilians. But then Al Jazeera is reporting that more than a thousand Palestinian men, women, and children have been killed.
Al Jazeera and CNN make no division among Palestinian “fighters” who have been killed and civilians who have been killed. At the moment, that division seems to be about 40/60: about 400 terrorists have been killed, and about 600 Palestinians that Hamas used as human shields have been killed.
**Our next update will not come until after 8:00 unless circumstances warrant.
UPDATES 9:00 am:
** We are now one hour into the so-called “humanitarian ceasefire”, which Ban Ki Moon and John Kerry engineered in order to reduce the pressure on Hamas and allow them to reposition their assets so that they can more effectively kill IDF troops.
The utter absurdity of this situation in which Israeli soldiers are now sitting ducks all over Gaza is hard to fathom. As it turns out, Netanyahu apparently agreed that the IDF would not even continue to ferret out the tunnels during this “pause”.
The additional utter absurdity of this situation has come into further relief today as video and transcripts from last night’s Kerry press conference in Cairo have been now been posted. In that conference’s question and answer period, Kerry repeatedly referred to the fact that the purpose of the ceasefire was “to honor” the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr which marks the end of Ramadan.
Can you even believe this?
Israel has agreed to put its soldiers in ever greater mortal danger to honor Eid?
**The official IDF count of terrorists killed has risen to more than 330. The number who have surrendered and are in Israeli custody is unknown.
**At this moment, your humble servant is looking at a live video feed from downtown Gaza. No destruction, no casualties–just people walking up and down sidewalks and shopping. Cars are moving up and down the streets (no doubt with the gasoline provided by Israel), and life is not the life depicted on the radically biased television networks CNN and Al-Jazeera.
UPDATES 6:00 am:
**Two more Israeli soldiers have been killed–bringing the total to 37.
**No one in Israel quite understands what has happened overnight. The ceasefire of John Kerry that we thought had been “flatly rejected” hasn’t been completely rejected, and the ever-dithering Netanyahu cabinet appears to be continuing to dither.
In the meanwhile, the 12-hour humanitarian truce that Netanyahu and Hamas agreed to last night apparently begins in one hour at 7 am–however, a Hamas spokesman says that it will begin at 8 am.
Whatever the case, according to the truce, the IDF is supposed to be able to continue searching for tunnels–without using military force. How this is supposed to happen in anyone’s guess.
In effect, we seem to have disarmed ourselves yet again.
**For the last eight hours (all night) here in far south Ashdod, about 38 km from Gaza, we have heard the loud booming of Israeli heavy artillery at intervals of approximately 5 or 10 seconds. The booming is so loud that it is literally rattling our windows and doors. We have no idea what the IDF is shooting at–but it is being pummeled.
Some of the reports that are coming from Gaza show an unbelievably intricate network of tunnels that lace the area. One paratrooper commander commented that almost every house that his troops entered in one of the neighborhoods was loaded with weapons–and had a tunnel shaft leading into it.
**Missile fire into Israel continued during the night with at least 4 launches from Gaza.
Yesterday saw a small uptick in the number of launches with 29 separate attacks involving 87 missiles. The border communities in the Eshkol, Sha’ar Hanegev, and Chof Ashkelon region bore the brunt of the assaults being attacked 18 times. Of the Tel Aviv area received its usual two launches–just enough to set off the alarm at Ben Gurion Airport again.