A newly agreed cease-fire in the Gaza conflict collapsed hours after it came into effect on Friday with the Israeli military announcing that a soldier appeared to have been captured by Palestinian militants who emerged from a tunnel near Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.
Gaza health officials said that 35 Palestinians were killed and more than 100 wounded as Israeli forces bombarded the area. Palestinian witnesses said by telephone that Israeli tank shells hit eastern Rafah as residents returned to inspect homes they had evacuated.
Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, a spokesman for the Israeli military, said that government forces were moving to destroy a tunnel, as the terms of the cease-fire allowed for, when several militants came out of the ground.
“There is no school tomorrow; there are no children left in Gaza,” the men can be seen chanting as part of a roughly formed song that also included the stanzas “I hate all the Arabs” and “Gaza is a cemetery.”
The mob also called for Israeli Arabs to be stripped of their citizenship.
The Saturday night gathering was meant to counter a much larger left-wing demonstration in favor of ending the conflict in Gaza and resuming peace talks. Several thousand left-wing activists had gathered in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square, where they were calling for an end to bloodshed in the Gaza Strip and a return to negotiations with the Palestinians
Israel and Palestinian militant groups in the Gaza Strip have agreed to a three-day humanitarian truce to begin Friday morning, and negotiators from both sides will travel to Cairo to discuss a longer-term.
The 72-hour break after more than three weeks of fighting was set to begin at 8 a.m. (0500 GMT), according to a joint statement released by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
A spokesman for Hamas, the Islamist group dominant in Gaza, said all Palestinian factions would abide by the truce as long as Israel holds its fire.
I’d be interested in the LGF community’s take on these points by William Saletan.
1. Your enemy refuses to protect its people. Normally, if you invade a country and pound the daylights out of it, you can expect its government to seek, or at least accept, a cease-fire to stop the bleeding. Not here. Hamas has refused to endorse or honor a simple cease-fire despite the ridiculous imbalance of casualties.
Israel argues, correctly, that Hamas doesn’t care about Gazan civilians. Hamas also seems fragmented, unable to make decisions. Arab governments aren’t stepping in, either—they seem to hate Hamas more than they love Gazans. But the absence of competent advocacy for Gazans isn’t a reason to keep shooting. It’s a reason to stop. When your enemy shows no mercy for its own people, that responsibility falls to you.
2. You’re killing too many civilians. Last time I checked, on a per-strike basis, Israel’s rate of inflicting civilian casualties was lower than NATO’s in the Kosovo war. But in just three weeks, Israel has launched so many strikes that its civilian casualty toll has eclipsed NATO’s.
In a horrific event three IDF soldiers were killed recently in a explosion of a booby trapped entrance to a HAMAS tunnel in in Gaza. Please send your thoughts and prayers to their families.
At the Times of Israel Mitch Ginsburg followed up with a story regarding the trap, stating that an IDF General identified the building as an “UNRWA Clinic”. Other stories ID’ed the building as a home, and here in the U.S. the usual suspect right wing sources ran with the UNWRA Clinic story, starting with Breitbart and Gateway Pundit. This is a natural for them since they hate anything UN from start to finish, and propagate conspiracy theories like “Agenda 21” about the UN with regularity.
Here’s the pertinent part of the story, with an update, from Mitch:
Three IDF soldiers were killed Wednesday morning in Gaza in an explosion at a booby-trapped UNRWA health clinic that housed a tunnel entry shaft, the IDF’s Gaza Division commander, Brig. Gen. Micky Edelstein, said in a briefing.
After describing certain precautionary measures, Edelstein said, “And then we enter with our people, and they [the militants], from the very same terror tunnel, they blow up half the clinic on our troops.”
“They blow [up] the UNRWA clinic on our troops.”
UNRWA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
However, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, the military unit that implements government policies in the Palestinian areas, later said that the clinic in Abu Daka, outside Khan Younis, was last registered as a sensitive location three years ago, “and it hasn’t been since.”
The spokesperson said the site had not been registered then as belonging to UNRWA, leading to speculation that, perhaps, militants stole the sign and tacked it on the door, posting it as a security umbrella under which a tunnel could be dug.
After his update, Mitch tweeted the update from COGAT:
Development in clinic story. Cogat says not UNRWA site. Last registered 3 yrs ago; could be hamas put up sign to build tunnel @RaphaelAhren
Hey @Levitt_Matt, see updated story. Seems building was marked as UNRWA but was not registered as such; perhaps hamas ploy, fake sign
Now it’s possible that an old sign was still on the building, even though UNRWA is not using it or registering it, or it’s possible that HAMAS moved or created an UNRWA sign, to me this is still fog of war so I’ve tweeted to Mitch to see if there is photo or video evidence of same, since as we know at LGF the IDF has become expert at documenting & exposing HAMAS ploys such as this (see IDF’s Youtube channel here.)
Meanwhile even more right wing sites in the US are propagating the story but not the updates, including The Blaze, Newsmax, and others so expect this to be on FOX and don’t expect the update that it wasn’t actually an UNRWA clinic in use anytime recently. Also note: it’s late night in Israel, so I am not expecting to hear anything today if they do reply to my tweet.
Many of the Israel supporters are the cause of the current war in Gaza. You caused this war out of love and empathy. You caused this war because you could imagine the pain of your son, your brother
Noara Erakat’s article Five Israeli Talking Points on Gaza—Debunked argues against five of Israel’s recurring talking points” I will look at her arguments and hopefully demonstrate that they are false. I have listed the full text of her argument .
1) Israel is exercising its right to self-defense.
As the occupying power of the Gaza Strip, and the Palestinian Territories more broadly, Israel has an obligation and a duty to protect the civilians under its occupation. It governs by military and law enforcement authority to maintain order, protect itself and protect the civilian population under its occupation. It cannot simultaneously occupy the territory, thus usurping the self-governing powers that would otherwise belong to Palestinians, and declare war upon them. These contradictory policies (occupying a land and then declaring war on it) make the Palestinian population doubly vulnerable.
This is a clever argument essentially stating you cannot make war on yourself and that nations have an obligation to protect their citizens.
Israel will not stop its operation in Gaza until the tunnels constructed by Hamas have been destroyed, PM Benjamin Netanyahu has said.
Speaking ahead of a cabinet meeting, he said Israel was determined to destroy the tunnels - used to attack troops and towns - “with or without a ceasefire”.
Earlier Israel called up 16,000 reservists, bringing the total mobilised so far to 86,000.
Some 425,000 people in Gaza have been displaced by fighting, the UN says.
I still consider myself center right, even though I’ve registered Democrat as a renunciation of the current leadership and direction of the GOP, and I’ve also been a pretty firm supporter of Israel’s right to self defense even post partum from the GOP.
Here comes the however.
With each new settlement, each new price tag attack, with each new war, with each civilian death, and with each hard right statement, Israel is beginning to lose the cover of “just war” on the moral scales in my mind. What I used to perceive as a clear blue on red conflict instead is a blue ( with a tinge of purple) on red conflict. As this continues that purple streak grows and shades the blue more towards red.
From Michelle Goldberg:
The action didn’t last long. After issuing a few warnings for the demonstrators to move, the police swooped in, handcuffing people and carrying those who let their bodies go limp. Traffic was stopped for, at most, twenty minutes. Still, it didn’t seem like a futile effort, because this is a moment when it’s particularly important to break through the illusion, which pervades our politics, that American support for Israel and its war in Gaza is unshakable.
Already, there are anecdotal signs that conventional New York opinion, which tends to be liberal on everything except Palestine, is starting to shift. “If Netanyahu is so bothered by how dead Palestinians look on television then he should stop killing so many of them,” wrote Benjamin Wallace-Wells in a piece on New York magazine’s website last week, a sentiment that would have been hard to imagine coming from that publication a few years ago. Today, the magazine’s DC columnist Jonathan Chait, an occasionally hawkish veteran of The New Republic, has a post titled, “Why I Have Become Less Pro-Israel.” According to a recent CNN poll, while a majority of Americans continue to support Israel, 38 percent have an unfavorable opinion of the country, up fourteen points since February.