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First night of Israeli ground operations kills 27 Palestinians; Ambulances come under fire attempting to retrieve the injured

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An Israeli missile hits Palestinian buildings in Gaza City on July 17. (Photo: Thomas Coex / Getty Images)

An Israeli missile hits Palestinian buildings in Gaza City on July 17. (Photo: Thomas Coex / Getty Images)

Israel’s ground invasion began last night at 10 pm with extensive blasts in the north of Gaza causing thousands to flee south. Since then, at least 27 Palestinians have been killed, bringing the total Palestinian casualties since “Operation Protective Edge” began ten days ago to 267 deaths and over 2,000 injuries.

Those civilian casualties included three children aged four to 12 who were killed in their beds while sleeping last night. Peter Beaumont of the Guardian reported, “What I am most struck today is that the casualties I am seeing are largely children.”

Overnight one Israeli soldier was killed. Harriet Sherwood reported for the Guardian, “Eitan Barak, 20 – was possibly killed by so-called friendly fire in the north of Gaza.” Three others were wounded.

The Israeli military fired at a total of 100 sites last night, including shelling to the el-Wafa hospital, which patients and staff had to abandon as it was being struck and set ablaze. Patients have all been moved to the Sahaba medical clinic.

Medical staff care for disabled patients at the el-Wafa Rehabilitation Hospital in Gaza City. (Photo: Reuters)

Medical staff care for disabled patients at the el-Wafa Rehabilitation Hospital in Gaza City. (Photo: Reuters)

“We have lots of missing items like medications,” said hospital director Basman Alashi. Although they evacuated under fire, none of the patients sustained injuries. “Some of them their condition is that they are crying all of the time but we are trying to comfort them.” This morning Alashi went to check on what remained of el-Wafa hospital, finding the facility was “still on fire in the second floor, some rooms still had smoke coming out,” but reported exterior walls had been destroyed by the blasts and interior rooms were blackened beyond repair.

Alashi described the trip to the hospital as “extremely dangerous.” Israeli forces are still shelling the region. “I was there and I was walking beside the wall because of drones and I could hear firing all around me. Plus the smell of bombs and the smell of smoke it makes me feel sorry the loss we have,” he said.

In the Shuja’iyeh neighborhood of Gaza City,  Israeli forces fired on Red Crescent ambulances. According to medical volunteers with the International Solidarity Movement, between 12 am and 3 am emergency responders were unable to retrieve the injured. Throughout the strip many regions lost power and grid lines were destroyed from shelling. Fighting continues dispersed throughout all of Gaza, but “the Israeli military has not pushed in vary far” under the ground invasion noted Democracy Now’s Sharif Abdel Kouddos, “but the shelling is very intense.”

“Thousands of people have been displaced, we have opened up three shelters in the south,” said UNRWA’s Chris Gunness, “I fully anticipate by the end of the day there will be more. UNRWA has opened 34 shelters servicing more than 30,000 Palestinians rendered homeless. One shelter was closed as it became “insecure for civilians,” when rockets were found stashed in the school. “Already 55 UNRWA premises had been damaged,” said Gunness.

“As UNRWA opens facilities for the displaced we make an urgent appeal for the respect of International Humanitarian Law and on all parties for the protection of civilians, respect for human rights workers and for United Nations premises and property.” UNRWA buildings were targeted during the 2008-09 Operation Cast Lead when the Israeli army struck a school with white phosphorus.

On Friday morning Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced “a substantive broadening” of the ground invasion. While he initially vowed last night to focus on targeting tunnels running under Gaza to Israel, only nine have been struck.”I know that international public opinion always receives a distorted picture of operations such as these,” Haaretz reported Netanyahu said this morning, reiterating his stance that the near 80-percent civilian casualty rate incurred in Gaza were the sole responsibility of Hamas.  “It’s unavoidable. But this time, in contrast to the past, there are many in the international community who understand that the responsibility for the victims rests with Hamas, and only Hamas. That’s an important thing for Israel,” he continued.

Forty-thousand Israeli reservists had already been called up before the ground invasion. Under Netanyahu’s expansion and additional 18,000 have received orders to report for duty.

Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

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56 Responses

  1. seafoid on July 18, 2014, 10:24 am

    “It’s unavoidable. But this time, in contrast to the past, there are many in the international community who understand that the responsibility for the victims rests with Hamas, and only Hamas. That’s an important thing for Israel”

    Just as Arendt predicted . A new Sparta, dependent on outside support, trashing Jewish ethics as it wanks over the land .
    And Judaism dragged behind it.
    And Martin Luther King was 46 years ago.

  2. Kay24 on July 18, 2014, 10:27 am

    So this is the “formidable military force” Regev referred to. Little babies being killed like flies by Israel’s “iron fist”. Very impressive guys. Let’s applaud them.

  3. seafoid on July 18, 2014, 10:27 am

    “Today, Israel is under attack, from within its borders and from without, as various terrorist regimes once again aim to destroy the one and only Jewish state. In these difficult times, one constant ray of light and hope are the heroic actions of the IDF, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), who work tirelessly, at all costs, to end the terror and bring peace to Israel.
    Now is your chance to give back by showing you support and solidarity with the defenders of Israel and the values we hold so dear, liberty, truth, justice and peace. Now is your chance to take a stand against the forces of evil who seek the end of such values. At Judaica WebStore, our unique collection of IDF t-shirts, caps, souvenirs, and even CDs and videos, let’s you show the world where your heart lies. This is style you can wear with pride. Support Israel and the IDF today!”

    • MTd2 on July 18, 2014, 12:09 pm

      Well, there is a spare place already prepared to be a Jewish state (well, if Putin minds, that is):
      It’s close to mineral sources, railways and bridges. Plus, its flag is pretty, well, neat. It has 50% more area than Israel (not counting occupied territories).

  4. ParkSlopeSingleGuy on July 18, 2014, 10:30 am

    How awful!

  5. lobewyper on July 18, 2014, 10:31 am

    The issue is not Israel’s right of self-defense, but one of the disproportionality of its response, which just happens to be a war crime. The media must think the average person is unable to understand this and therefore ignores it.

    • just on July 18, 2014, 10:36 am

      Well as long as Western leaders ignore it, what can you expect?

      • lobewyper on July 18, 2014, 10:45 am

        Did you mean, Western “leaders?”

      • just on July 18, 2014, 10:54 am

        yes, but they are ‘selected’ in a most unusual way, eh?

      • lobewyper on July 18, 2014, 6:47 pm


    • Justpassingby on July 18, 2014, 11:06 am


      Arent they right, alot of israeli trolls commenting all over the world right now.

    • mondonut on July 18, 2014, 11:26 am


      Well then, please tell us the correct Israeli response. What are they permitted?

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius on July 18, 2014, 12:01 pm

        Check out international law on the subject. It’s fairly clear and specific about what is and is not permitted. Not that you or Israel care.

      • Kris on July 18, 2014, 12:04 pm

        @mondonut: ” please tell us the correct Israeli response.”

        Thief who has killed the store owner during an attempted robbery: “But he tried to stop me! What was I supposed to do?”

        It’s simple, Israel and mondonut: end the illegal occupation and siege and stop killing people.

      • Bob_Salad on July 18, 2014, 2:03 pm

        Yeah. Or “if the shop keeper hadn’t been so foolish as to keep the money in the register, I wouldn’t have had to rob him in the first place. Surely, any rational person can see that it’s really the shop keeper’s own fault he’s now dead”.

      • mondonut on July 18, 2014, 7:49 pm


        Not an answer to proportionality.

      • Donald on July 18, 2014, 12:30 pm

        “please tell us the correct Israeli response. What are they permitted?”

        Wrong question. It isn’t an Israeli “response”. It would be an Israeli response if there were no blockade and if Israeli troops didn’t regularly fire on Gazan civilians and if Israel hadn’t used the abduction and murder of the three teenagers as an excuse to arrest hundreds of Hamas members and kill several more Palestinians. If Israel treated the Palestinians according to international law and then Palestinians launched rockets, then it would be a response. And under those circumstances, Israel would have the right to very carefully targeted strikes at rocket launching sites and at individuals engaged in that activity.

        But that’s a hypothetical, because in the real world Israel is the oppressor and takes for granted its right to treat Palestinians with callous brutality on a daily basis. It is the Palestinians who are responding, sometimes immorally, to Israel’s continual commission of war crimes.

      • eljay on July 18, 2014, 2:17 pm

        >> mondoinsane: Well then, please tell us the correct Israeli response. What are they permitted?

        The victims slap and punch the rapist and, in response, he viciously assaults and brutalizes them. Leave it to someone like you to ask “What is the rapist’s correct response? What is he permitted?” rather than:
        – condemn the rapist’s retaliatory assaults;
        – condemn his history kidnapping, confining and sexually and physically assaulting women;
        – demand that he immediately stop his assaults and liberate his victims; and
        – insist that he be held accountable for his past and ON-GOING crimes.

      • Shingo on July 19, 2014, 8:46 pm

        Well then, please tell us the correct Israeli response. What are they permitted?

        For starters, tgey are permitted to stick to the existing ceasefire and not violate them.

    • Walid on July 18, 2014, 5:58 pm

      lobewyper, you are inadvertently making it appear that Israel is actually defending itself against an aggressor, but I’m sure this is not your intent, as you give legitimacy to what Israel is doing but simply raising the question about the degree of proportionality. It’s actually Hamas that’s defending itself against attacks initiated by Israel.

  6. a blah chick on July 18, 2014, 10:35 am

    “I know that international public opinion always receives a distorted picture of operations such as these,”

    Now that I agree with.

  7. can of worms on July 18, 2014, 10:38 am

    In your warped logic “Mowing the Lawn” makes sense. IDF as gardeners. Tanks as lawn mowers. People without any rights as grass. Why not? After all, grass grows, and so it has to be cut down. People without any rights raise their heads, and so the heads have to be blasted down.

    Plant opposition. Fertilize. Mow down. Repeat. Plant. Fertilize. Mow down. Repeat.

    This time, the people’s spirit is not being mowed down. So now you are blaming the grass itself for daring to grow. So now you are threatening bigger machines. So now you are threatening to make a division, to split the area into three separate lawns for you to walk on.

    What next?

  8. Maximus Decimus Meridius on July 18, 2014, 11:02 am

    I may have said this before, but it’s ironic that so many of the most moving dispatches from Gaza have come from Peter Beaumont. Until now, his ‘articles’ as The Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent have been a joke – they have read more like lightly edited IDF press releases than the reports of an impartial journalist.

    But now that he himself is running for cover under brutal Israeli bombardment, now that he sees the full horror of what Israel inflicts on a helpless population, he cannot help but report what he sees. It’s a bit like how even Thomas Friedman couldn’t help but point out the horribly indiscriminate nature of IDF bombardment when he was cowering from it in Beirut. He, of course, went back to shilling for Israel once back in the safety of New York. Let’s hope Beaumont doesn’t do the same.

  9. bilal a on July 18, 2014, 11:24 am

    One can only understand this in the context of the cultural consciousness of the community. Perhaps the most influential and esteemed journalist -political consultant of the Jewish community today once volunteered in a beating and torture operation; he literally had blood on his hands:

    “Abu Firas was on his knees…. His hair shone with blood. He was barely coherent…. I went in search of someone to take Abu Firas to the infirmary. I found another military policeman, and handed off the wobbling prisoner, who was by now bleeding on me. “He fell,” I lied.

    Was this a one-off “Goldberg failure”? “I saw a handful of other beatings,” Goldberg recalls, “and broke them up as well.” Did he report the perpetrators to the authorities? His article doesn’t say.

    Elsewhere in Prisoners he is more forthcoming. He describes a routine punishment for detainees at Ketziot, the prison camp where he served, called zinzana, a form of “solitary confinement” in “isolation tanks”:

    The zinzana was the size of a refrigerator box, into which three, four, five or six prisoners were shoveled. The prisoners slept seated on a cold and hard plastic floor, limbs draped over limbs, and they shat in a bucket that was emptied once a day. After a few days in the box, prisoners could no longer stand unaided. (109)

    At one point he describes four prisoners locked “in a space fit, at most, for two small dogs.” (114) Goldberg admits to having personally sent people to the zinzana. (118) (Zinzana is a colloquial Arabic term for “jail cell,” but jailers in the region have given the word this “special” meaning.)”

    We are all Palestinians .

  10. bilal a on July 18, 2014, 11:33 am

    Professor Postal MIT: Netanyahu is the same as Assad of Syria

    There can be no excuse for dropping 1000 and 2000 pound bombs on a densely populated area under the guise that the response is proportional. The Israeli approach to this intractable confrontation should be totally unacceptable to all states that hold a high value on human life. In fact, the Israeli response to the Gaza conflict raises the same moral questions as that of Assad’s bombing attacks against civilians in rebel controlled areas in Syria.

  11. Kay24 on July 18, 2014, 11:44 am

    Israel is going to expand their war against civilians. Only a miracle will save these poor civilians, who must be terrified with nowhere to go.
    When a lunatic gunman shoots at a school yard, killing many little babies, the entire blame goes to the scumbag who pulled the trigger, he is arrested and tried, and most often given the death penalty.
    When Israel fires precision bombs into civilian homes, it becomes the fault of the Palestinian people and Hamas. Bombing civilian homes is a war crime.
    Israel has a choice to not enter Gaza, and slaughter mostly civilians. It would be totally outraged had Hamas come in to Tel Aviv and shot into homes killing civilians.
    So, I wish the White House, and the zionist loving leaders in congress, who come with such chutzpah and solely blame Hamas for the deaths of babies, would stop insulting our intelligence, and not keep protecting Israel’s large behind, with statements that don’t ring true, and totally makes no sense. Don’t they realize they look like idiots to all around the world by now?

    • Marnie on July 18, 2014, 12:36 pm

      “It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine” – unofficial anthem of the white house/congress.

  12. Maximus Decimus Meridius on July 18, 2014, 11:58 am

    Israel has just destroyed an apartment complex housing fifty people. These are the ‘targets’ they are aiming for.

    Where is this macho ‘ground invasion’ aimed at rooting out da khamas? Is it all just more willy waving designed to impress the braindead Israeli public? Seems so.

    • Kay24 on July 18, 2014, 12:09 pm

      They are bloody liars, who keep justifying their slaughter of civilians, by blaming even the deaths of all civilians on Khamas. The deaths of those poor kids who were brutally wiped out by zionist weapons, while playing soccer, was also immediately blamed on Hamas for not agreeing to the ceasefire. What the hell justification is this? Our State Department spokes puppet, also squarely blamed Hamas, not a word about Israel being at fault for this, too. Where is the outrage for the deaths of so many civilians? If nearly 300 Israeli civilians were massacred by Hamas, imagine the whining and howls of victimization by the media, and the Israeli officials, who would be in tears. Hey, who cares about brown skinned babies?
      Nazis: who cares about Jews?

      • Marnie on July 18, 2014, 12:37 pm

        Why don’t more people see it like this? It’s like the whole world has been lobotomized.

      • Kay24 on July 18, 2014, 1:28 pm

        Most of the world (not corrupted by Israeli lobbies) sees it.

        The US and the American people believe the Israeli propaganda, that they has been drummed into their head for years.
        Israel has spied on us,, sent terrorists to kill Americans, bombed our battle ship, sold our weapons to China, and our intelligence officials say they are the most dangerous in the ME when it comes to our state secrets.

        We must be a nation of fools to keep pampering it with aid and weapons.

    • justicewillprevail on July 18, 2014, 12:39 pm

      Yes, the zombie army stagger about attacking anybody they can, unwilling to admit that there are so few ‘real’ targets that they have to use all of their limited ingenuity to fabricate reasons for dumping their US taxpayer bombs on anyone who crosses their path. It’s a lust for destruction fuelled by the febrile fascist atmosphere stoked so relentlessly by the government and many rabbis. Something must be seen to be done, even it means children, hospital patients and families are to be attacked on the flimsiest, non-existent pretext. It’s called terrorism.

  13. Citizen on July 18, 2014, 12:03 pm

    Obama says Israel does not have to accept Palestinian rockets into Israel. Nothing about the long brutal Israeli occupation, or Israeli settlements stealing more Palestinian land. Watching all this, it’s clear the US government views the masses as stupid animals, unable to ferret out any truth; the US mainstream media encourages this. You, Dick and Jane, are just taxpaying fools, and like all fools, you don’t know it;

  14. iResistDe4iAm on July 18, 2014, 12:10 pm

    The tide is slowly starting to turn. Avaaz have a new petition which concludes “the time has come to turn to sanctions and disinvestment to finally help end the horror for Israelis and Palestinians”.

    205,500 signatures so far. Some extracts…

    The media makes out like this is an intractable conflict between two equal warring parties, but it is not. Palestinian extremists’ attacks on innocent civilians must be condemned and ended but the root of the conflict lies elsewhere — in the dispossession of the Palestinian people. Israel currently occupies, colonises, bombs, raids, and controls the water, trade and the borders of a legally free nation that has been recognised by the United Nations. In Gaza, Israel has created the largest open-air prison in the world, and then blockaded it. Now as bombs fall, the families, literally have no way to get out.

    Our community has worked to bring peace, hope, and change to some of the world’s toughest conflicts, and often that means taking difficult positions to address the root cause. For years our community has looked for a political solution to this nightmare, but with this new round of horror unfolding in Gaza, the time has come to turn to sanctions and disinvestment to finally help end the horror for Israelis and Palestinians.

    • amigo on July 18, 2014, 1:56 pm


    • Walid on July 18, 2014, 3:37 pm

      iResist, it’s not as clear-cut as it appears and the tide may not turning; what you see shiny of Avaaz is not necessarily true. This organization is a spin-off of Move-On and both organizations are headed by 2 of J Street’s founders and funded by the pro-Israel Soros. Read about it:

  15. Qualtrough on July 18, 2014, 12:56 pm

    And all this was ostensibly kicked off by 1500 missiles that to date have produced zero Israeli deaths. Zero. The one Israeli death so far was from a mortar. Iron Dome at best intercepted 25% of those, probably far less. With that statistic in mind I would wager that if you fired 1500 commercial July 4th display rockets willy-nilly into populated areas your chances of killing someone would be far greater than with the missiles being fired from Gaza.

  16. Marnie on July 18, 2014, 1:12 pm

    Obama alway says Israel doesn’t have to accept Palestinian rockets into Israel. But he must think Palestinians have to accept israeli missiles, tanks and troups into their livingrooms because there is no justice for them from uncle sam.

  17. Mooser on July 18, 2014, 1:39 pm

    Gosh, I love this place, it’s just like Israel! I guess Phil has given up doing anything about the settlers. Gosh, why don’t we let them “annex” the site, and give them a page of their own? After all, they’ve been here so long they’re “indigenous”

  18. LanceThruster on July 18, 2014, 1:44 pm

    To the surviving people of Palestine;

    I am truly so very sorry you, your families, your neighbors, and your country suffer so as a brutal slaughter is waged across your land. I have tried to remain informed and active politically so that I could do whatever I can to help prevent my country from inflicting further such tragedies on others. As you might imagine, sometimes I too feel very helpless in this regard. You all have done much to remind me that sometimes courage can be as simple a thing as to just keep moving forward. And for that, you have my sincere respect, admiration, and gratitude. Please forgive us for not doing more to protect you.

    To the dead, there is nothing I can say to lessen the pain. You are missed.

    ~ LanceThruster

  19. LanceThruster on July 18, 2014, 1:46 pm

    MURDER (immoral and unjust killing) as COVER (diversion of focus) for THEFT (taking what is not yours) is NOT *self-defense* (legitimate force for one’s own protection)!

    ~ LanceThruster

  20. Walid on July 18, 2014, 2:16 pm

    According to Laurent Fabius, today Abbas asked him to lean on Hamas to get them to accept the cease-fire.

    A really nice guy.

  21. seafoid on July 18, 2014, 2:45 pm

    Dead kids . The next time they ask “why do they hate us” or whine about delegitimisation , remember the childre n they kill in Gaza.

    • Walid on July 18, 2014, 3:43 pm

      They just killed 5 more kids. There must a bonus placed by the IDF on kids.

      • seafoid on July 18, 2014, 5:10 pm

        As Golda said the Palestinians will never love their kids more than we love blowing their brains out. Am Israel totally fucked up chai.

        Now available in teabags. And tiny bodybags.

      • Walid on July 18, 2014, 5:32 pm

        Correction from Jazeera, it was 4 children and not 5. The mother of one of the dead children, a girl of about 10, said she was sad to lose a daughter but asked that Hamas not quit the fight. That’s the feeling of just about every Gazan and West Banker that are all rooting for Hamas to hold on, except for Abbas, of course, who is busy running back and forth between Egypt, Turkey, Bahrain and Qatar to ask for their help in convincing Hamas to throw in the towel.

        It’s ironic now that Israel is in deep shit, how all the Arab leaders with the Turks are scrambling to save its ass by getting Hamas to quit and play dead. Again, the best thing that could happen to Gaza is a full invasion by the IDF, but Israel wouldn’t do it because they are cowards. After having started their invasion 26 hours ago, the IDF are still only a few meters inside the Gaza border where they broached the fence. Not exactly a successful invasion, so Israel is compensating by killing more people with its indiscriminate shelling of densely populated areas.

        Abbas from Turkey repeated his call for an immediate cease-fire to be followed by negotiations. Israel is desperate to have anyone convince Hamas to quit fighting. The guy with the Egyptians, the Turks and Gulfies are really undermining everything Hamas is doing. Israel screwed up trying to finish off Hizbullah in 2006 and it’s now screwing up trying the same thing on Hamas.

      • seafoid on July 18, 2014, 6:07 pm

        Hamas should stick at it. Negotiations are worthless and the longer the israeli action continues the worse Israel looks. The siege has to go. Israelhas nothing to offer GAza other than misery and death so they should try to leverage international goodwill. The US is hopelessly compromised by jewish lobby money.
        Imagine all the climate change work thst doesn’t happen in dc because of israel taking political priority. It is sick.

      • a blah chick on July 18, 2014, 7:14 pm

        “The mother of one of the dead children, a girl of about 10, said she was sad to lose a daughter but asked that Hamas not quit the fight.”

        Or as my people would say they’re sick and tired of being sick and tired.

        This is all about returning to the status quo and the Gazans are done with that. What is the point of a cease fire that only serves Israel’s interests? They want the blockade to end and the borders opened, these are not unreasonable demands!

        I think Mr Sara overreached. No doubt he was hoping that Hamas would be on the ropes by now and he wouldn’t have to send in the troops. Now he’ll have to and when the body bags really start coming home let’s see how many Israeli Jews are watching that big screen tv at the beach.

      • Walid on July 19, 2014, 12:30 am

        abc, Egypt now more beholden to Saudia than to the US stands between Gaza and its freedom, Turkey talks big against Israel but actually continues being Israel’s biggest ass-kisser, Qatar that holds Gaza’s purse strings is close to Israel and doesn’t want to upset Saudia and its Gulf satellites to get itself shunned again for appearing too Brotherly and Saudia that’s standing over everyone’s head with a big stick wants anything to do with Iran, such as Hamas, obliterated and with Abbas chewing at it from inside, for Hamas to come out of this a winner is going to take a miracle. Light a couple of candles for it.

  22. MahaneYehude1 on July 19, 2014, 12:44 am


    Turkey talks big against Israel but actually continues being Israel’s biggest ass-kisser, …

    I don’t think Turkey is just “talking”. Thursday night, the consulates of Israel in Istanbul and Ankara were attacked by a mob and according to Israeli channel 2 yesterday, the Turkey police didn’t protect those consulates and let the mob attack them by stones chanting “Death to the Jews”. Israeli foreign minister, Lieberman, called to the Israeli representatives families to leave Turkey and return to Israel. Israel called the Israeli citizens not visit Turkey.

    • Walid on July 19, 2014, 11:00 am

      Mahane, the big tanker that delivered its shipment of oil to Israel from Turkey about 10 days ago should tell you exactly how Turkey feels about Israel.

  23. Marnie on July 19, 2014, 1:41 am

    That mother is so brave, what courage but what sense would it make to have a cease fire as much smarter people have said. Why go back to the status quo? Palestinians are killed every day, with or without an actual war. I can’t imagine their suffering and hardship and my prayers are for them.

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