UPDATES 10:00 pm:
**It has been a strange day to say the least.
We began the day with Israel absurdly and unilaterally abiding by a “humanitarian ceasefire” as southern Israel was being pummeled by terrorist missile fire. That ceasefire was supposed to have continued until midnight tonight.
But Hamas, refusing to abide by the ceasefire, increased its missile fire into southern and central Israel, to the point that Israel finally had to respond at around 11 am.
The terrorist missile fire continued up until 2 pm at which time Hamas suddenly declared a ceasefire. Except that there was no ceasefire. During the next hour, Hamas fired salvos of rockets at all of the Gaza perimeter communities.
Between 3:00 pm and 4 pm, while still firing missiles at Israel, Hamas announced that Israel only had a limited window in which to accept its ceasefire—which, again, was not a ceasefire.
At 5:00 pm, the Israeli security cabinet began meeting–and apparently continues doing so at this hour. Not surprisingly, they seem unable to make a decision. A slight change in the dynamics seems to be that Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch has joined Bennett, Lieberman, and Erdan in wanting to continue the fight against Hamas.
So where do we stand at this hour? Hamas continues firing missiles into southern Israel, and Israel continues hitting targets in Gaza with artillery and an aerial bombardment. According to the IDF, the work of discovering and destroying tunnels continues.
If your humble servant had to guess, he would guess that we will find ourselves tomorrow morning back to the point we were at before this war started, with Israel’s security cabinet declaring that “silence will be met with silence” with the difference being that the tunnel destruction will continue–and IDF soldiers will remain in highly vulnerable positions all over Gaza.
In other words, we will be back to playing defense and will be at the mercy of the terrorists again.
**It has been revealed that one of those killed last night was a reserve soldier who was killed directly as a result of Israel’s embrace of the humanitarian ceasefire. His unit had pulled back and was holding in place when it was hit by a Hamas mortar. 37-year-old Rami Chalon died shortly thereafter at Soroka Hospital in Beersheva.
It was an extraordinarily sad day in Israel with the funerals of the 7 soldiers who have died in the last 36 hours.
Yet out of this sadness, Israelis have bonded together and become more resolute. Israeli flags are flying everywhere: on houses, cars, businesses–everywhere. According to a poll released tonight, 87% of Israelis now oppose any ceasefire with Hamas–and another 69% want to see Hamas completely destroyed.
The outpouring of support for the IDF is truly unbelievable. It makes one proud to be an Israeli.
**In a strange twist, but actually not too surprising, the Palestinian Authority (PLO) of Mahmoud Abbas came out this evening and accused John Kerry and all of this cohorts in Paris of getting in bed with Hamas, Qatar, and Turkey.
Meanwhile, the PA/PLO refused Israeli humanitarian aid headed for Gaza.
**Egypt continues to be Israel’s strongest ally. The Egyptian Army destroyed 13 tunnels today running from Gaza into Egypt. This comes after 4 Egyptian children were killed by a Hamas rocket fired out of Gaza. In several interviews this afternoon, PM Netanyahu commented that Hamas (and its friends Kerry, Qatar, and Turkey) needs to realize that the Egyptian ceasefire proposal is “the only game in town.”
UPDATES 12:00 pm:
**The absurd “humanitarian ceasefire” is over–and so predictably so. It didn’t matter that Hamas shot missiles and mortars into southern Israel–killing an IDF reservist with a mortar and a civilian in Sdot Negev.
No, what finally made the difference is that a missile hit the metropolitan Tel Aviv area. Suddenly the gloves came off, and the IDF is attacking “full force” again from the land, sea, and air.
Unfortunately, because of the pause and the repositioning of Hamas assets, we can now expect a greater death toll among IDF soldiers. That death toll should be laid squarely on the doorstep of John Kerry, Ban Ki-Moon, and the 5 members of the Netanyahu security cabinet who voted to implement the ceasefire.
**This morning, our city of Ashdod was hit again by terrorist missiles. We went into our bomb shelter for the 84th time in the last three weeks–84 times which have involved more than 250 missiles.
Once again the missiles were intercepted and exploded directly over our house at an altitude of about 100 meters. Here are a few pictures I took:
Actually, it was dangerous to take the above picture because of the rain of shrapnel and other things falling down after the explosion. But here’s what we collected from our yard this morning:
Shrapnel like this is all over other people’s yards, in the park next to the house, and all over the roads (lots of flat tires).
By the way, the main body of the rocket also came down in the park and was taken away by Ashdod police who quickly appeared on the scene.
**Are you ready for a good joke? Now that the IDF has resumed the attack, Hamas has just announced that it wants an “unconditional holiday ceasefire”.
And here’s a bigger joke. The Netanyahu security cabinet has announced it will consider renewing the ceasefire in the coming hours.
UPDATES 10:00 am:
**42 Israeli soldiers have now been killed in Gaza. Yesterday, the IDF listed the names of six soldiers who have given their lives in defense of Israel.
**With every hour that passes, more and more missiles and mortars are being fired into Israel. With every hour that passes, the government of PM Benjamin Netanyahu sits on its hands and does nothing. With every hour that passes, IDF soldiers and Israeli citizens are placed at ever greater risk.
Is there any other country in the world that would be expected to tolerate a rain of missiles on its people?
What would your country do if during the last 14 hours, a terrrorist group had launched more than 50 missiles and mortars into your most populated areas ?
Why in the world does the world demand that Israel do nothing? Why in the world does the world try to stop we Israelis from defending ourselves? By what strange thinking is the only Jewish country in the world the one that must be willing to suffer the attacks on its citizens (read “Jews” . . . though one of our citizens killed was a Beduin Muslim)?
The whole situation is outrageous, vile, and nauseating.
And what is equally outrageous and nauseating is that 5 members of the Benjamin Netanyahu’s security cabinet (Benjamin Netanyahu, Moshe Ya’alon, Tzipi Livni, Yair Lapid, and Yitzhak Aharonovitch) put the vile demands of the world before the defense of our own citizens and soldiers.
UPDATES 7:00 am:
As Yogi Berra once said, “It’s deja vu all over again.”
Following the conclusion of the humanitarian ceasefire at 8 pm last night, the Netanyahu security cabinet voted to extend the ceasefire until 12 am.
Hamas immediately rejected the ceasefire by firing missiles and mortars into southern Israel–which they continue doing this morning. Already one Israeli civilian in Sdot Negev has been killed by a mortar explosion.
For its part, Islamic Jihad vowed to continue sending missiles until the last IDF soldier has left Gaza.
And what, you may ask has been the reaction of the Netanyahu security cabinet? Unable to withstand the pressure of John Kerry and the United Nations, the cabinet has now voted to extend the “humanitarian” ceasefire until midnight tonight–in other words 17 hours from now.
The thought seems to be once again that “silence will be answered by silence”. Except that the terrorists are still shooting missiles at us and are still trying to kill us.
Once again, southern Israel has been hung out to dry.
In the first place, the Israeli government has not stopped the missile fire that it promised was one of the goals of this operation. Apparently, we are back to the reality that as long as Tel Aviv is not getting hit, nobody cares what is happening to the people in the Eshkol, Sha’ar Hanegev, and Chof Ashkelon regions.
In the second place, even though the IDF announced this morning that it had found 4 more shafts to tunnels, it appears that the original IDF estimate of having found 66% of the tunnels into southern Israel was an overestimate. We’re back to a figure approaching 50%. This means that there are at least 30 more tunnels yet to be found. As the head of the Eshkol region commented last night, apparently the government will not follow through on its promise to rid southern Israel of tunnels unless a tunnel is found that runs all the way to Tel Aviv.
If you were a resident of southern Israel, how would you feel?
Already, many familes have taken their children out of the area and placed them with families farther north. The thought was that the children would return after the missile fire stopped and the tunnels were all uncovered.
Now that neither is apparently going to happen, it was reported on Israeli television last night that numerous families in the border communities have had enough and are moving.
They feel betrayed by a government that was supposed to protect them.