PMG Daily Situation Report – 0800 17 Nov – 0800 18 Nov
NAD-PLO 18 Nov — Partial summary: Raids: 24; 1 in Jerusalem,3 in Ramallah,1 in Jenin,1 in Tubas, 1 in Tulkarem,2 in Qalqiliya, 9 in Nablus, 2 in Salfit, 3 in Jericho and 1 in Hebron; Detention: 18; 5 in Jerusalem, 1 in Jenin 1 in Tubas,6 in Nablus, 2 in Bethlehem and 3 in Hebron including 3 children, a female resident and 2 Security officers [details in the report; report for 19 Nov. not yet available]
Palestinian dies of wounds in Nabi Saleh protest
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 19 Nov 13:15 — A 28-year-old Palestinian man died on Monday after he was wounded in clashes with Israeli forces at a protest in the West Bank. Rushdi Mahmoud Hassan al-Tamimi was hit by live fire in the stomach and thigh during a Gaza solidarity demonstration in Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah, on Saturday, the village’s popular committee said. Al-Tamimi was taken to the Palestine medical complex in Ramallah with internal bleeding. A doctor in the hospital confirmed he had died on Monday evening. The committee said al-Tamimi was left on the ground after he was shot at close range, and Israeli forces threatened citizens who tried to administer first aid. Al-Tamimi was a Palestinian police officer. [YouTube video in case the one in the article doesn’t load]
Israeli forces kill Palestinian in Hebron clashes
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 19 Nov 22:26 — A 22-year-old man was shot dead by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank city of Hebron on Monday, the second Palestinian casualty of West Bank protests in support of Gaza. Hamdi Mohammad Jawwad Al-Falah, 22, from Hebron was shot four times during clashes in the Bir al-Mahjar neighborhood in western Hebron. Medics said he had two bullets in the chest, one of which penetrated the heart, a third in the face and another in the knee. He was handed to the Palestinian Red Crescent after 15 minutes, they said.
4 more critically wounded at West Bank protests
HEBRON (Ma‘an) 19 Nov 23:29 — Four more Palestinians were critically wounded by Israeli fire at West Bank protests on Monday afternoon, hours after two Palestinians died from wounds as widespread rallies were held in support of Gaza. Wasim Nidal Al-Saed, 21, from Hebron was shot with live bullets in his back and foot during clashes near Bab Al-Zawiye in central Hebron. Government hospital spokesman Basel al-Natsheh told Ma‘an that doctors in the hospital carried out an operation to save Al-Saed’s life. In Halhul, near Hebron, a Palestinian policeman was hit in the head with a tear gas canister fired by Israeli forces. Ahmad Khalid Issa Ismael, 21, was hit with a bullet in the head and transferred for an emergency operation after clashes in Bethlehem. Omar Jameel Hassan Al-Froukh, 22, was also hit by live fire during a protest in Sa‘ir, east of Hebron. Bullets penetrated his pelvis and he fell into a coma, medics said.
Earlier, 35 people were injured after Israeli forces fired rubber bullets and tear gas at a demonstration by Atara checkpoint. Four were seriously wounded … In Qalqiliya, 10 protesters, including a Red Crescent volunteer, were injured in clashes with Israeli forces at a checkpoint in the south of the city. Six of the injuries were reported as critical and four people were arrested. As Israel bombs the Gaza Strip for the sixth day, solidarity protests have seen an uptick in violence.
West Bank clashes continue over Gaza war
NABLUS (Ma‘an) 19 Nov — Clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians continued late into Sunday night amid anger in the West Bank over Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip. Over 50 people were injured on Sunday at protests in Hebron, Ramallah, Qalandia, Bethlehem and East Jerusalem …
Locals reported clashes with settlers in villages across Nablus, including Burin, Burqa, Furik and Urif.
Palestinian, international activists demolish part of Israel’s apartheid wall near Ofer
PNN — On Monday 19th November, a group of Palestinian and international activists and members of the Popular Committees Against the Wall and Settlement, demolished part of the Apartheid Wall that was constructed at the lands of Rafat village, west of Ramallah. Eyewitnesses said that activists were able to demolish part of the Apartheid Wall that has the width of more than 50 meters in the village, which is close to Ofer Israeli military camp, protesting against the Israeli aggression on Gaza that started on Wednesday 16th November.
Israel detains 120 protesters in West Bank since start of war on Gaza
RAMALLAH 19 Nov (WAFA) – A total of 120 Palestinians were arrested for participating in protests in solidarity with the people of Gaza since the beginning of the war on the Strip, said a report by the Ministry of Prisoners’ Affairs. The report said that most of the participants in the protests were minors. They were heavily beaten up by Israeli soldiers and detained in detention centers… One of the protesters, who were detained at Huwara checkpoint, said that he was heavily beaten at his genitals. Sa’adeh said that prisoner Ayah Hujer from Nablus was arrested at Huwara checkpoint, beaten up at Ariel detention center and was later transferred to HaSharon women prison.
Settlers burn car, spray hate slogans in Ramallah village
RAMALLAH (Ma‘an) 19 Nov — Israeli settlers set fire to a Palestinian’s car and spray-painted racist slogans in Ramallah village Sinjil early Monday, in the second settler attack overnight in the West Bank. Locals told Ma‘an a huge explosion woke them at 3 a.m. and they discovered the car had been torched…
Settlers kidnap shepherd in Jordan Valley
JORDAN VALLEY 18 Nov (WAFA) – Jewish settlers Sunday kidnapped a Palestinian shepherd, according to local sources. he said settlers kidnapped a Palestinian shepherd while he was grazing his flock near the settlement of Maskiot, build illegally on the Jordan valley land. The Israeli soldiers took the shepherd from the settlers and arrested him.
Al-Shyoukhi: A real third intifada is in the offing in the West Bank
PIC 20 Nov — Azmi al-Shyoukhi said that the daily confrontations between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian youths in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem are the beginnings of a real outbreak of a third intifada.
Photos: Deadliest day yet in Gaza
Activestills 19 November
Video: Al Jazeera reporter says conflict in Gaza increases
Al Jazeera’s Nadim Baba has the latest from Gaza (7GMT 20 Nov).
Israeli army warns Palestinians to stay indoors
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 20 Nov 00:26 — Israeli security officials told Ma‘an on Tuesday that residents of the Gaza Strip should avoid leaving their homes and that they risk being attacked if they go outside. The warning was the first such communication since Israel started a deadly bombardment of the Gaza Strip on Wednesday with the assassination of a senior Hamas military leader. It also raised fears that Israel was considering a ground operation in Gaza after days of hundreds of airstrikes killed 117 Palestinians and destroyed critical infrastructure. In Jerusalem, nine senior Israelis held a meeting after midnight Tuesday to discuss the future of the Gaza operation, a radio report quoted by Israel’s Haaretz newspaper said.
Family killed in new Israeli airstrike
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 19 Nov — An Israeli airstrike on a home in the northern Gaza Strip killed a family of four on Monday evening, as Israel shelled the coastal enclave for a sixth day. Four-year-old twin boys Suhaib and Muhammad were killed instantly when their home in Beit Lahiya was hit by an airstrike. Their parents Foad Hijazi and Amna Hijazi died in hospital. Eighteen people were reported injured in the attack. Neighbors contacted by Reuters said Hejazi did not belong to any militant group, nor did any organisation claim him as one of their members. Two firefighters and a paramedic were also injured when a wall of the home fell on them.
Another Israeli airstrike late Monday hit a home in Rafah in south Gaza, killing two teenage brothers and wounded 14 others, two seriously. Medics identified the brothers as Ahmad Tawfiq al-Nasasra, 17, and Muhammad al-Nasasra, 15.
2 killed in Israeli airstrike on southern Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 19 Nov — An Israeli airstrike killed two Palestinians in the southern Gaza Strip early Monday and injured a young girl. Omar and Ibrahim al-Astal were killed in the airstrike on al-Qarara in southern Gaza. A four-year girl was seriously injured in the same raid.
Man dies of wounds in al-Maghazi camp
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 19 Nov — A Palestinian man died of his wounds on Monday, after he was injured in central Gaza during Israel’s bombardment. He was identified as Ramadan Mahmoud of al-Maghazi camp.
2 killed in Israeli strike on al-Nuseirat
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an ) 19 Nov — An Israeli airstrike killed two Palestinians in al-Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza on Sunday afternoon. Medics identified the victims as Ayed Radi and Amir Al-Malahi.
Israel strikes Gaza refugee camps, 5 killed
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 19 Nov 18:39 — Israeli airstrikes killed five Palestinians in Gaza refugee camps on Monday evening, including a man with physical disabilities, in the sixth day of Israel’s war on Gaza. Medics said the remains of Husam Shahadeh and his nephew Khalil Shahadeh were brought to Gaza hospital after Israeli shelling on al-Nuseirat camp. Muhammad Zeidan, who is physically disabled, was killed in an airstrike on an agricultural area near al-Nuseirat. A military strike on neighboring al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza killed Arkan Abu Kmayel and Ibrahim Al-Hawajri, medics said. The Popular Resistance Committees’ al-Nasser al-Salah al-Din brigades said they were both members of the group.
Eight civilians were injured, two seriously, in the bombing of a family home in Jabaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip.
Israel bombs home of al-Qassem commander in Khan Younis
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 20 Nov — Israeli warplanes bombed the home of a Hamas commander in Khan Younis early Tuesday, completely demolishing it. The commander was identified as Osama Abu Anza. There were no reports of injury but the home was completely demolished.
Four PCRS EMTs injured due to shelling targeting Beit Hanoun area
Palestine Red Crescent Society 19 Nov — Four PRCS emergency medical technicians ‘EMTs’ sustained different injuries early this morning due to a shelling of a house in Beit Hanoun area. Following the shelling of Beit Hanoun, PRCS EMTs were dispatched to the area to provide humanitarian assistance to the victims when a second Israeli attack targeted the same area. This attack has resulted also in severe damages to the ambulances present at the scene. Dr. Younis Al Khatib, PRCS President, affirmed that this is a crime and a blatant violation of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) … Dr. Al Khatib also added that all PRCS ambulances and medical teams are holding clear emblem which can be identified from a far distance. This refutes the Israeli allegation that the ambulance or team is invisible.
OPT: Gaza hospitals need more drugs
GAZA 19 Nov (IRIN) – The nurses at Shifa hospital in the Gaza Strip have seen bombing casualties before, but never on this scale. “I was here when the [23-day] 2008-09 war took place, and I think this one is more difficult in [terms of] injuries and the type of demanding work we do”, said Tal’at Al Ejla, a 30-year-old nurse. Nurses work 12-hour shifts, but it is the night-time shifts that have been the hardest these last few days. “It’s very hard now, with many injured people coming every hour … “The health ministry [in Gaza] was facing severe shortages of medicines before this recent crisis,” said Mahmud Daher, the current head of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) office in Gaza. He said the number of injured people arriving at Gaza hospitals had “dramatically increased in the last 24 hours”, with more than 700 visiting hospital, 252 of them children. Many of the drugs that have run out are life-saving, says WHO.
Morocco to set up a field hospital in Gaza to provide treatment for the wounded
PIC 19-20 Nov — The Moroccan monarch issued his instructions to immediately establish a field hospital in Gaza, in light of the escalating Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip.
OPT: In the line of fire
GAZA CITY, 18 Nov (IRIN) – It was, he said, a horrible twist of fate. When air strikes began over the Gaza Strip on 14 November, Othman Abdel’Al made what seemed a wise decision. The Israeli air force was targeting, among other things, government offices belonging to the militant group Hamas. Abdel’Al and his family live near a police station; he knew they were not safe. Thinking it would be a short military operation, Abdel’Al temporarily scattered his family of 12 among the homes of relatives. When the operation dragged on, his wife and three of the children returned to their house this morning to pack some essentials: clothes, food, baby items. It was only then the bombs fell: three hit the police station, one missed. Within minutes his wife was dead, buried under the rubble of their destroyed home…
Legacy of Cast Lead – More than 15,000 Gazans remain displaced as a result of Israeli military operations in Gaza, including Operation Cast Lead in 2008-9, and the creation of a so-called buffer zone along the border over the last decade. According to a collection of aid agencies in Gaza, known as the Shelter Sector, more than 4,000 of the current displaced have been displaced three times or more since 2009 because of continued conflict and an inability to rebuild their homes. Israel and Egypt have imposed a blockade on Gaza since 2007, restricting the entry of goods, including steel and cement.
Bank damaged in Gaza City attack
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 20 Nov 05:57 — Israeli airstrikes early Tuesday damaged a branch of the National Islamic Bank and injured people who were inside, medical officials said. Aircraft also bombed homes in the town of Beit Lahiya and targeted a security position near the Sheikh Zayed city, Ma‘an correspondents reported. Earlier Israeli aircraft targeted two homes in the south with no reported injuries.
Tears breed defiance at funeral for Gaza family
GAZA (Reuters) 19 Nov — Even as neighbors picked through the rubble of their destroyed house for survivors, the stunned al-Dalou family arrived at Gaza’s main hospital on Monday to collect the bodies of nine relatives for burial. “Is this your wife?” asked a medic inside the morgue. “Ahh, what happened to your face sweetheart?” her husband said, weeping and collapsing into the arms of his spouse. The woman’s face was burnt beyond recognition … The father of the family was at the local grocery with his young son when the house was attacked. He returned to the wreckage to find most of his loved ones dead and trapped in its battered shell.
Israel ‘still investigating’ al-Dalou family killing
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 19 Nov — The Israeli military on Monday said it could not yet provide an explanation about an airstrike on Gaza that killed 12 Palestinian civilians, including 10 members of a single family … Four women from the al-Dalou family – Samah, Tahani, Suhaila and Ranim – and four children – Jamal, 6, Yousef, 4, Sarah, 7, and 1-year-old Ibrahim – were buried in Gaza City on Monday. Rescue crews are still searching the rubble for the bodies of a teenage daughter and a son from the family.
Minister: 25 mosques bombed in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 20 Nov –The minister of religious affairs in Gaza said Monday that Israel has damaged over 25 mosques in six days of heavy shelling across the enclave … “The enemy directly targeted Sheikh Shaban cemetery, the emergency cemetery, in addition to Mahatta, Tal Zatar, and Bani Suheil cemeteries which led to scattering the bodies of the dead and martyrs. They also targeted and destroyed completely the Ribat mosque in Gaza City and Al-Rahman mosque in the central Gaza Strip.”
Army: 5 rockets fired from Gaza since midnight
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 20 Nov — Palestinian armed groups in the Gaza Strip fired five rockets toward Israeli targets early Tuesday but two of them were intercepted, the Israeli military said … Israeli media reported that air raid sirens sounded in Ashkelon, Sderot and Kiryat Gat.
When Israel says it doesn’t target journalists, it is lying
EI 19 Nov — On Sunday, the Israeli army attacked a building in Gaza City where local and international radio and television outlets are housed. As The Electronic Intifada’s Charlotte Silver commented yesterday, the Israeli army spokesperson admitted clearly and candidly that the army “obviously know there are journalists in the building.”… Today, Israeli warplanes again attacked the same media building … Also today, Al Jazeera English had Mark Regev, the spokesperson for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, on to explain Israel’s admitted targeting of the media building….”As far as I know, no foreign journalists were hurt whatsoever,” Regev states. Al Jazeera’s anchor then challenges Regev, asking him, “so what are you saying? Are you saying that a local Arab journalist’s life is [worth] any less than an international journalist’s?” The exchange is worth viewing.
Israeli spokesperson admits targeting journalists in Gaza / Charlotte Silver
EI 19 Nov — As is now widely known, in the early morning hours of 18 November during Israel’s continued escalation of its military assault on Gaza, the army targeted two buildings in Gaza City that housed international and Palestinian media outlets. The attacks left at least eight journalists injured. Twenty-year old cameraman Khader al-Zahhar had his right leg blown off when a rocket shot through the roof … By the Israeli army’s own admission, they knew journalists were in the building at which they fired: “We obviously knew there were journalists in the building, so we did not attack other floors in the building. But my advice to journalists visiting Gaza is to stay away from any Hamas position, site or post for their own safety,” army spokesperson Avital Leibovich told the press today (BBC Middle East Bureau Chief Paul Danahar recorded her admission). According to Protocol 1, Article 79 of the Geneva Convention, it is a war crime to target journalists.
RSF: No justification for attacks on media
BETHLEHEM (Ma‘an) 20 Nov — Reporters Without Borders on Monday condemned Israel’s attacks on the news media for a second day in a row and said the targets were civilians. ““Attacks on civilian targets are war crimes and serious violations of the Geneva Conventions,” secretary Christophe Deloire said. “Those responsible must be identified.” The group was responding to an Israeli spokesman’s position that the army could not treat Al-Aqsa TV employees as “legitimate journalists” like BBC or Al Jazeera employees.
Israel shuts down Gaza’s sole commercial crossing
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 19 Nov – Israeli authorities on Monday closed the Kerem Shalom commercial crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip …
Fattouh highlighted that 80 truckloads of basic goods entered the Gaza Strip via Kerem Shalom Sunday including six truckloads of medicines the Palestinian Authority’s ministry of health in Ramallah sent to Gaza. Further, limited amounts of domestic-use gas were allowed Sunday.
Watch: Spirited exchange marks briefing on Israel
19 Nov — AP’s Matt Lee to State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland: “You are staying silent while people are dying!”
IADL condemns illegal Israeli aggression in Gaza
19 Nov — The International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), with consultative status at ECOSOC and thousands of affiliated lawyers and organizations around the world, condemns in the strongest possible terms the current aggression by Israel against the people of the Gaza Strip … IADL urges the Security Council order an end the current aggression and demand that Israel respect the UN Charter and International Law … IADL also joins its affiliate Palestinian Centre for Human Rights in demanding the following actions. 1. IADL requests the urgent convening of a Special Session of the Human Rights Council, and calls upon all parties to fulfil their binding legal obligations under international humanitarian law….
Political and diplomatic news
Gaza truce pressure builds, Cairo in focus
GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) 20 Nov – International pressure for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip puts Egypt’s new Islamist president in the spotlight on Tuesday after a sixth day of Palestinian rocket fire and Israeli air strikes that have killed over 100 people. Israel’s leaders weighed the benefits and risks of sending tanks and infantry into the densely populated coastal enclave two months before an Israeli election, and indicated they would prefer a diplomatic path backed by world powers, including U.S. President Barack Obama, the European Union and Russia.
Factions meet in Gaza to end division
GAZA CITY (Ma‘an) 20 Nov — Hamas, Fatah and Islamic Jihad joined factions in Gaza for a meeting on Monday to discuss efforts to end Israel’s war on the enclave. Fatah official Nabil Shaath represented President Mahmoud Abbas at the meeting. He told Ma’an that Abbas sent him to Gaza to consolidate unity and end the years-long division between Fatah and Hamas.
Egypt foreign minister to visit Gaza on Tuesday
CAIRO (Reuters) 19 Nov — Egypt’s foreign minister will head to Gaza on Tuesday alongside a delegation of Arab ministers to express solidarity with the Palestinian people, following Israeli air strikes on the Palestinian territory, a spokesman for the ministry said
Turkish foreign minister to visit Gaza Tuesday
AFP 19 Nov — Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu will pay a visit Tuesday to the Gaza Strip, the foreign ministry said. Davutoglu’s trip is part of an Arab League initiative, the Anatolia news agency said, referring to a planned visit Tuesday by a delegation from the bloc and its leader Nabil Alaraby in a show of support for Gaza. A Turkish foreign ministry spokesman confirmed the visit to AFP but gave no further details.
Ban Ki-moon arrives at Cairo to promote cease-fire
AFP 19 Nov – Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, arrived at Cairo in an attempt to assist in negotiations of a truce between Israel and the Palestinians. Ban is expected to visit Jerusalem and Ramallah.
Source: Clinton to meet Netanyahu in Israel on Wednesday
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 20 Nov — US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to fly to Israel on Tuesday and will meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, an Israeli source said, as diplomacy over the Gaza conflict gathers speed. “Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will arrive this evening and meet with Netanyahu tomorrow,” the source said. [CNN says she will also go to the West Bank]
Mashaal: We won’t accept any Israeli term
Ynet 19 Nov — Hamas Politburo chief Khaled Mashaal addressed efforts in Egypt to reach a lull and said that “there are Egyptian and Qatari efforts. We meet every day but we won’t accept any Israel term. If they are asking for a ceasefire – let them stop the aggression.”
Israeli official: Chances of Gaza ground operation 50-50
Haaretz 19 Nov — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyhau, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman met till 4 A.M. on Monday to discuss an Egyptian proposal for a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. The three top ministers decided at the end of their meeting to allow more time for the international mediation efforts, led by Egypt… “The deliberations centered on the demands made by Hamas and on the Egyptian proposals for compromise,” said the official. The negotiations have yet to yield a breakthrough, but neither side has declared them a failure, either. Netanyahu, Barak, and Lieberman will meet again Monday night to continue their deliberations.
US prevents UN statement failing to mention rocket fire
Ynet 20 Nov — Russia sought to approve a Security Council press release which does not mention the rockets fired at Israel by Hamas and Israel’s right to self defense. The US prevented the message from being released.
Russia accuses US of blocking UN action on Israel-Gaza conflict
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) 20 Nov — Russia accused the United States on Monday of blocking a bid by the UN Security Council to condemn the escalating conflict between Israel and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and said other council members were filibustering the issue. Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin said he was prepared to introduce a resolution – a stronger move by the council than a statement – to call for an end to the violence and show support for regional and international efforts to broker peace.
EU calls for urgent halt of Gaza, Israel violence
BRUSSELS (Reuters) 20 Nov — European Union governments called on Israel and Hamas on Monday to agree a “rapid” ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and said they supported Egyptian efforts to mediate. Mediators from Cairo said a truce could be close after days of Israeli airstrikes on Gaza and rocket fire from the Hamas-controlled territory. But fighting [??] continued on Monday, with Israel killing 32 Palestinians in heavy shelling across Gaza.
Erdoğan: Israel carrying out ‘terrorist acts’ in Gaza
ISTANBUL (Reuters) — Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan accused Israel on Monday of carrying out “terrorist acts” in its bombardment of Gaza. “Those who associate Islam with terrorism close their eyes in the face of mass killing of Muslims, turn their heads from the massacre of children in Gaza,” Erdoğan told a conference of the Eurasian Islamic Council in Istanbul … Erdoğan was visiting Cairo this week, and held talks with Egyptian President Muhammad Mursi. At a joint press conference on Saturday, both sides called for a ceasefire.
Gaza assault raises anger in changed Arab world
BEIRUT (Reuters) 20 Nov - Israel’s bombardment of Gaza has stirred anger across the Middle East among populations who hope that Arab uprisings can translate into a tougher stance against Israel. Television footage of Israeli airstrikes and pictures of civilian casualties, including four children killed on Sunday, have fuelled rage in the region … The violence echoes Israel’s invasion of Gaza four years ago. But since then, revolutions in North Africa have brought Islamist allies of Gaza’s Hamas rulers to power, changing the political map and raising expectations of a more robust Arab response. “In every Arab state where the nation is rising up to demand its rights, it is also demanding the rights of Palestinians,” Egyptian novelist Ahdaf Soueif wrote in al-Shorouk newspaper.
Report: US sends warships near Israel for possible evacuation
Ynet 20 Nov — Three US Navy amphibious warships are returning to the eastern Mediterranean to remain on standby in the event they are needed to assist Americans leaving Israel in the coming days, US officials told CNN. The officials stressed an evacuation remains an extremely remote possibility and the Obama administration is not currently planning for one.
Psychological warfare on the digital battlefield
Haaretz 19 Nov — Cyber attacks, battling social media, and bogus text messages are all contemporary weapons in Operation Pillar of Defense – Israel’s campaign against Hamas in the Gaza Strip is being conducted in the air as well as over the airwaves. But on this front, the Palestinians are fighting with at least one hand tied behind their backs. There has been no other case in the history of modern warfare where one side controls all the communication infrastructure of the other, as is the case here. All of Gaza’s telephone networks and internet servers go through Israel; every phone conversation and email is routed through Israeli territory and from there sent on through underwater fiber-optic cables to the rest of the world. http://www.haaretz.com/news/features/psychological-warfare-on-the-digital-battlefield.premium-1.478984
Israeli officials say longer-range Palestinian missiles lack warheads
IMEMC 19 Nov — An unnamed high-ranking Israeli official told reporters from the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahranoth on Sunday that the longer-range shells that have been fired by Palestinian resistance factions toward Tel Aviv and Jerusalem lack and explosive capacity and are “basically pipes”. According to the official, the shells were stripped of explosive capacity in order to increase their range and thus trigger air-raid alarms in a wider area. The unnamed source is quoted by the paper as saying, “Our assessment is that the prestige of setting off alarms deep in Israel, and being perceived as fighting on, is as important to them now as spilling our blood.”
Palestinian students ‘block protest’ at London embassy
LONDON (Ma’an) 20 Nov — Palestinian students stopped pro-Israel activists who were trying to attack and break into the Palestinian embassy in London early Tuesday.
Analysis / Opinion
Israel hasn’t grown up since the last Gaza war / Gideon Levy
Haaretz 18 Nov — The Palestinians try three different approaches, weapons, diplomacy and nonviolent resistance, and Israel says no to all three — The Palestinian people want to be free of the occupation. Life is like that sometimes. But how to accomplish that? At first they tried doing nothing. For 20 years they were idle, and indeed nothing happened. They then tried rocks and knives, the first intifada. And still nothing happened, except for the Oslo Accords, which did not change the fundamental nature of the occupation. After that, they tried a vicious intifada: again, nothing. They made a stab at diplomacy; still nothing, the occupation went on as before. Now they split: One hand fires Qassam rockets at Israel, the other turns to the United Nations. Israel crushes both of them. In between, the Palestinian people also try nonviolent protest, and are met with rifle butts to the face, rubber-tipped bullets and live fire. And again, nothing.
Israel’s ‘right to self-defense’ — a tremendous propaganda victory / Amira Hass
Haaretz 19 Nov — By supporting Israel’s offensive on Gaza, Western leaders have given the Israelis carte blanche to do what they’re best at: Wallow in their sense of victimhood and ignore Palestinian suffering — One of Israel’s tremendous propaganda victories is that it has been accepted as a victim of the Palestinians, both in the view of the Israeli public and that of Western leaders who hasten to speak of Israel’s right to defend itself. The propaganda is so effective that only the Palestinian rockets at the south of Israel, and now at Tel Aviv, are counted in the round of hostilities.
Gaza attacks as ad for sale of military equipment
AIC 20 Nov — Israel’s latest round of military attacks on the Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip fulfill several Israeli goals, one of them perhaps being increased international sales of the ‘Iron Dome’ air defence system which Israel is deploying to intercept and destroy short-range rockets shot from Gaza.
In Gaza airstrikes, an appeal to Netanyahu’s hardliners / Phyllis Bennis
Truthout 19 Nov — As is always the case, history is shaped by when you start the clock. In the last several days U.S. media accounts have reported increasing violence on the Gaza-Israel border, most of them beginning with a Palestinian attack on Israeli soldiers on Thursday, November 8. But what happened before that Palestinian attack? For starters, the soldiers, part of an Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) squad that included four tanks and a bulldozer, were inside the Gaza Strip when they were attacked. According to the IDF spokeswoman, Palestinians fired at “soldiers while they were performing routine activity adjacent to the security fence.” Really? What kind of activities inside the supposedly not-occupied Gaza Strip, by a group of armed soldiers, tanks, and a bulldozer (almost certainly an armored Caterpillar D-9 bulldozer manufactured in the U.S. and paid for with U.S. taxpayer military aid to Israel), could possibly be defined as anything close to “routine”? Unlike the illegal Palestinian rockets fired against civilian targets inside Israel, the use of force to resist an illegal military force in the context of a belligerent military occupation is lawful under international law.
End the war while you’re ahead / Ari Shavit
Haaretz 19 Nov — Israel has achieved its major operational goals and should end Operation Pillar of Defense to secure its victory, even if it means political compromise with Hamas — …If the operation had ended four days ago, the message that would have been received in Gaza, Beirut, Damascus and Tehran would have been clear and sharp: Israel has excellent intelligence, decisive aerial capabilities, resolute leaders, brave citizens and surprising international support. It’s not worth messing with Israel. You’d be better off letting it live its life without provoking the country or awakening it again from its slumber. But just as in 2006 and again in 2008, Israel did not stop in time. Israel did not quit while it was ahead. And so, over the past three days, the impressive achievements of Operation Pillar of Defense have faded away while the operation’s negative consequences have become more clear-cut.
Analysis: Gaza ground war wouldn’t cure Israel’s Hamas headache
JERUSALEM (Reuters) 20 Nov — An Israeli invasion of the Gaza Strip will not provide any long-term solution to the problem posed by the Islamist group Hamas, and this will make the government think long and hard before sending in the troops.After six days of intensive military strikes against the Palestinian enclave, which Israel says are needed to halt regular militant rocket fire, thousands of Israeli soldiers are massing on the border awaiting orders to attack. But aware that an assault on the densely populated coastal territory could backfire militarily and diplomatically, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will probably accept a ceasefire if he can draw half-decent terms from Hamas.
This is not a fresh take on Gaza / Mohamed El Dahshan
Foreign Policy 19 Nov — Gaza poses a serious difficulty to journalists. With wars waged against it in a near-metronomic rhythm in the weeks prior to Israeli elections, journalists run out of fresh angles to present … I will deliberately be uncreative. Because at the end of the day, this war is about this lovely little girl, who’s probably gotten acquainted to the sound of explosions — a horrible thing for a child to be acquainted with, but consider that most of Gaza’s children already suffer from a form of post-traumatic stress disorder — and who is just doing her homework, and probably just wants this noise to stop and the streets to be safe so she can play with her friends outside. The war is about little Nesma doing her homework, and about the country with its advanced army and its fighter jets, willing to kill her for electoral polls results. this is not a conflict of equals. There is no “both sides must.” There is a side fighting for its life under fire, and another set on sowing death. This is a one-sided massacre. And as you read this, there’s probably a U.S.-donated fighter jet bombing a house, just like hers, killing a little girl just like Nesma. Think about this for a moment.
Elites will make Gazans of us all / Chris Hedges
Truthout 19 Nov — Gaza is a window on our coming dystopia. The growing divide between the world’s elite and its miserable masses of humanity is maintained through spiraling violence. Many impoverished regions of the world, which have fallen off the economic cliff, are beginning to resemble Gaza, where 1.6 million Palestinians live in the planet’s largest internment camp. These sacrifice zones, filled with seas of pitifully poor people trapped in squalid slums or mud-walled villages, are increasingly hemmed in by electronic fences, monitored by surveillance cameras and drones and surrounded by border guards or military units that shoot to kill. These nightmarish dystopias extend from sub-Saharan Africa to Pakistan to China.