UPDATES 10:00 pm:
**Your humble servant has been commenting repeatedly that the continuous ceasefires have been putting IDF soldiers in danger by making them sitting ducks.
A few hours ago, four Israeli reserve soldiers were tragically killed by a Hamas mortar shell as they sat in place on the Gaza border. Their deaths are a direct result of the ceasefires shoved down the throat of Israel by Barack Obama, John Kerry, and Ban Ki-Moon–and the actions of the 5 members of the Netanyahu security cabinet who let them do it. Another IDF soldier was killed in battle with terrorists.
**Also a few hours ago, another 5 members of a Hamas terrorist squad intent on massacring the residents of Kibbutz Nahal Oz were killed as they crawled out of yet another undiscovered tunnel. One can only wonder at how many other undiscovered tunnels are teeming with terrorists.
**For all intents and purposes, the ceasefire is long over. Hamas has been pummeling Israel with missiles all afternoon and evening–and the IDF has resumed the attack. In recent hours, the IDF has ordered the residents of three Gaza neighborhoods to evacuate immediately and relocate to Gaza City in central Gaza.
PM Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ya’alon came just short of announcing an expansion of the war at their 8:00 news conference just over two hours ago. Unfortunately, because of the disastrous effect of a loss of momentum from the ceasefires, we can expect IDF casualties to soar if such an expansion is ordered.
UPDATES 2:00 pm:
*The war continues.
Following the missile attack that Hamas launched at 7:15 am against the Asheklon region, the IDF finally struck the launching site at about 9:05 am. Similarly, another Hamas launch of 4 missiles at the Chof Ashkelon region was responded to by an IAF strike on the launch area in Beit Lahiya. At 1:29, Hamas has launched more missiles at the Gaza perimeter region and again 15 minutes ago. An IDF soldier was moderately wounded this morning while attempting to destroy a tunnel in northern Gaza.
The absurdity of this situation is that we are back to where we were before the war began–a situation perfectly illustrated by today’s attacks.
Israel waits for Hamas to fire missiles to try to kill us, then fires back in response. Israel waits for Hamas to fire missiles to try to kill us, then fires back in response. Israel waits for Hamas to fire missiles to try to kill us, then fires back in response.
Israeli citizens of the South are nothing more than cannon fodder. The fact is that the Israeli government policy of “silence will be followed by silence” is leading to the depopulation of all the kibbutzim and moshavim within 20 km of the Gaza border.
*Your humble servant has three observations to make at this hour:
1. The feeling here in the South is one of immense betrayal on the part of the Netanyahu government.
What we have seen in the last two days since all of the ceasefires began is a shifting of the goals of the IDF operation. At first it was to destroy tunnels and to bring quiet to the south by stopping the endless rain of missiles.
But gradually, it has now become to destroy most of the tunnels (Netanyahu suddenly said yesterday that we cannot destroy all of them), and to bring “reasonable quiet” (Netanyahu’s phrase) to the South.
In other words, anybody who chooses to live in the border communities can expect in short order to be the target of tunnel and missile attacks.
Insofar as the missiles are concerned, Netanayhu’s “reasonable quiet is reminiscent of a similar phrase that we all were dumbfounded by several months ago when Netanyahu said in Sderot that the Gaza perimeter area had not had any missiles since the end of the operation in 2012. Of course, the truth is that from November 2012 until the start of this war, hundreds of missiles and mortars struck the border communities.
2. The Obama Administration’s embrace of Hamas is nauseating–but it is in no way surprising.
Your humble servant is reminded of a statement that former U.S. Ambassador Michael Oren made back in July of 2013 when he stated that “Obama is a true friend, Israelis misunderstood his outreach to the Arab world.”
The fact is that all along, Israelis have understood that Obama was no friend of Israel–and Israelis understood exactly where Obama’s outreach to the Arab world would lead.
The tragedy is how long it has taken good people like Oren to come to the same conclusion. Just this morning on Israel Army Radio we had Oren castigating the American government for trying to block Israel’s defense of its citizens and for elevating Hamas from a terrorist organization into a legitimate organization.
This is where Obama’s outreach to the Arab world has led.
3. It is long past time for the Israeli obsession with doing what Barack Obama wants to come to an end.
Israel is the only place in the world where Obama arrogantly issues orders to a sovereign, democratically elected government.
Maybe it is time for Netanyahu to take a lesson from General Sisi in Egypt. When Obama tried to stop him from attacking the Muslim Brotherhood and threatened him with military and economic sanctions, Sisi ignored the Obama and chucked thousands in prison. And then he went to Moscow for weapons.
And what is the result of Sisi’s strong stand? Now we have Obama and Kerry back in Cairo praising Sisi at every turn and jumping at the chance to provide provide Egypt with helicopters.
One last point, and it is one that Netanyahu has surprisingly never learned. The purse strings of the United States are not held by Barack Obama or John Kerry; they are held by the American Congress–and the House of Representatives in particular. The good news is that the House is as pro-Israel as ever.
UPDATES 9:00 am:
*On Saturday and Sunday, through unilateral Israel ceasefires and even its own declared ceasefire, Hamas launched 45 missile attacks against Israel–involving 112 missiles.
*The strange days of Saturday and Sunday, which saw an Israeli soldier and civilian killed by Hamas mortar and missile fire during unilateral Israeli ceasefires, have become the stranger day of today.
Following a phone call from Barack Obama in which he demanded “an immediate and unconditional ceasefire”, the Israeli Security Cabinet narrowly voted for a 24 hour “humanitarian ceasefire” beginning at midnight last night. But they did attach conditions to the ceasefire: (1) Israel will continue to dismantle Hamas tunnels; (2) The IDF will retaliate against any Hamas violations of the ceasefire.
We are now 9 hours into that ceasefire.
This is a unilateral “humanitarian ceasefire.” Hamas continues firing missiles into Israel whenever it feels like it–most recently at 7:15 am at Ashkelon. As of this hour, the IDF has not responded.
*At the same time, the United Nations Security Council has unanimously adopted a pro-Hamas statement drafted by Jordan which calls for “an immediate and unconditional ceasefire into the Eid period and beyond.”
As Israel U.N. Ambassador Ron Prosor commented after the vote: “We just had a statement which miraculously did not mention Hamas, did not mention rockets, and did not mention Israel’s need to defend its citizens.”
*The outrageous conduct of Barack Obama and John Kerry is the talk of all of Israel this morning. The sheer arrogance of Obama in “demanding” an immediate and unconditional ceasefire is astonishing–even for Obama.
And the sheer, reckless, stupidity of John Kerry in sending a draft ceasefire proposal to Israel which treated Hamas and Israel as equals, granted Hamas every concession imaginable, allowed Hamas to keep its missiles and other weapons,and did not even mention the Hamas tunnels, is doubly astonishing–even for Kerry.
One other point which is incomprehensible was that Kerry’s draft referred to the United Nations, United States, the European Union, Turkey, Qatar, the Arab League, and the European Union as being the main facilitators of the “humanitarian ceasefire”. No mention was made of Israel or Egypt.
To make a long story short, what seems certain today is that Israel’s relationship with the Obama Administration has reached a new low.
More on this in later updates today.
Meanwhile, at this moment, Israeli soldiers are stuck in place like sitting ducks in Gaza.