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Gaza War, Day 13, Major ‘Fashla’ Causes First IDF Battle Deaths

Ynet confirms that the first IDF battle deaths which occurred today resulted from a major fashla (“disastrous mistake”).  Because an IDF observation post was abandoned, Palestinian militants not only penetrated Israeli territory via a tunnel, they lay in wait for an IDF patrol to pass by.  They attacked the patrol with RPGs, killing a major and sergeant.  One of the Palestinians was killed, but the remaining eight fighters successfully retreated back to Gaza.  In separate attacks, two other IDF soldiers were killed. Bringing the total IDF death toll to five (one was killed by friendly fire).

The infiltration I mentioned above was adjacent to a Negev kibbutz and the Palestinian force could have attempted to attack that community, in which case there may’ve been even more deaths.  According to Hamas, they deliberately chose to wait six hours to attack an IDF patrol, rather than civilians.

A Palestinian rocket landed on a Bedouin residence near Dimona killing one and wounding others.  Israel largely provides bomb shelters for its Jewish citizens.  There are no shelters provided for Bedouin:

The incident in Dimona highlighted the severe lack of bomb shelters and protective cement structures in Bedouin villages across the Negev. Since many Bedouin communities are unrecognized by the government, many basic services are not provided to them. They are also not protected by Iron Dome, which registers their homes as “open areas” and allows rockets to fall there without attempting interception.

“Their homes are what’s called ‘open areas,’” one relative, Yasser al-Beit, told Ynet, “so Iron Dome doesn’t intercept the rockets. And there’s no warning siren. When you hear of impacts in open areas, sometimes it’s fallen (near) one of our homes. This time it fell on people’s home; hit everyone, a mother and children. We have no protection,” he said.

…Two Bedouin girls aged 11 and 13, were seriously injured after a rocket fell near their home on the outskirts of Beersheba.

The girls’ grandfather, Ibrahim al-Wakil said then that “All the residents of the Bedouin diaspora are in danger, especially in the unrecognized villages. They are defenseless. We’ve asked time and again that they give us protection but nothing has been done.”

Although they live in encampments for which it would be difficult to create permanent shelters, it would not be difficult for create stationary shelters near or between such encampments to which the Bedouin could retreat during attacks.  The problem is that the State refuses to recognize these communities.  They literally don’t exist in the eyes of the government.  So it refuses to offer services to them.  Similary, Israel doesn’t sound air raid sirens for missile launches landing near Bedouin communities.  Nor does it site Iron Dome to intercept rockets landing in these zones.  In other words, Israeli Bedouin are Israel’s “disappeared.”

israeli anti war protest

Israeli anti-war protest in Tel Aviv

Yesterday, an IDF soldier was killed by friendly fire from an IDF tank shell.  The IDF has refused to provide any further information on this incident.

Yossi Melman published a piece in The Forward in which he made the nonsensical claim:

Most Israelis — even many on the radical left — share the view that Israel had no choice.

At first, I though he may be referring to Meretz, which has a history of ardently supporting Israeli wars no matter the circumstance.  Usually it takes about two weeks of fighting before Meretz comes to its senses, screws up its courage, and begins posing tentative questions about the wisdom of the military adventure.  After week two or three, it comes  forward with full-throated criticism.

But not this time.  MK Zahava Gal On has forthrightly portrayed this war as a “bloody Gazan swamp (Hebrew), which will cost the lives of IDF soldiers and innocent Palestinians.”

So who, pray tell, are these mysterious “radical leftists” supporting the war on Gaza?  Use of such pejorative terms by supposed journalists exposes their own political prejudices rather than portray the actual views of those they demean.

Some real Israeli peace activists protested the war yesterday in Haifa.  The police arrested 30 of them (Israeli Palestinians naturally) for having the chutzpah to oppose the national consensus.

Another alarming development was this from a NY Times report:

Four Israeli rockets struck a building in Rafah on the same floor where a dozen foreign and Palestinian journalists were working in an office. They narrowly escaped, and Israel later issued a statement saying it was not responsible for journalists’ safety.

Though reporters are becoming ever more vulnerable in military conflicts (U.S. fire killed a foreign journalist in Baghdad several years ago), Israel attributes no value to free speech or a free press when it is deemed contrary to its interests.  It’s a miracle Israel isn’t ranked even lower than its already low ranking in international press surveys.  No democracy expresses the disdain Israel has expressed for the press.

In Pres. Obama’s press conference yesterday, he mentioned dramatically that air raid sirens sounded during his conversation with PM Netanyahu.  This was supposed to instill sympathy for Israel in the press corps.  But imagine what Obama would hear if he bothered to call Ismail Haniyeh, Gaza’s leader.  He wouldn’t hear air raid sirens.  He’d hear Israeli missiles toppling buildings and the wail of ambulances and screaming children.  He’d hear the overbearing roar of his own nation’s F-16 engines flying low over Gaza, terrifying 1.8 million civilians.  But of course Obama can’t and won’t talk to a Palestinian leader.  Because to do show would show unseemly sympathy for the bad guys in this script concocted by the Israel Lobby.

In a related development, I’ve previously covered here the skeptical views about Iron Dome of Prof. Ted Postol, Haaretz’s late military analyst, Reuven Pedatzur, and Israel Defense Prize winnner, Dr. Moti Shefer.  Shefer has bet the house in his criticism of Iron Dome saying virtually the entire system is an IDF ruse:

Israel Defense Prize laureate and aerospace engineer Dr. Moti Shefer, whose specialty is interception missiles, says Iron Dome is a bluff. It doesn’t intercept anything but rather invents virtual rockets. The explosions we hear are the sounds of Iron Dome missiles self-destructing. As of the writing of these lines, Hamas rockets have done very little damage to people and property. We see this as proof of Iron Dome’s efficacy and reliability; Shefer says the number of rockets coming in from the Gaza Strip is immeasurably smaller than what Iron Dome reports and in any case they are tinpot weapons, so 95 percent of the time we are safe anyway, irrespective of Iron Dome (and the endless “open spaces” with which we have suddenly been blessed, like some new sort of manna rained down upon us by a benevolent deity).

A word of caution is in order.   The anti-missile system Shefer proposed to the IDF was rejected in favor of Iron Dome.  So he does have an axe to grind.  But if he was the only figure criticizing it that might be significant.  Considering there are many experts doing so, his criticism bears taking notice.  Here’s another of those experts expressing his reservations.

The concluding sentence of this Haaretz report on Iron Dome, from which I quoted above, is worthy of serious consideration, and constitutes the reason I’ve paid so much attention to the issue:

It is amazing that none of the media are investigating this assertion [that Iron Dome is a fraud]. No one wants to know.

{ 75 comments… add one }
  • Ronald July 19, 2014, 8:22 PM

    A comment on the Bedouin deaths:
    You are absolutely correct that the state doesn’t provide them with bomb shelters because it doesn’t recognize their villages. It is important to emphasize that the state does provide military protection to Jewish settlers in the West Bank whose settlements it deems illegal. Furthermore, Israel could have placed “Iron Dome” to protect the Bedouin villages, but apparently chose not to. The Israeli Association for Civil Rights appealed to the supreme court against this policy, but the state declined to respond (!). (see here, if you read Hebrew: http://mekomit.co.il/stream/הכתובת-לא-הייתה-על-המפה-הרוג-וארבעה-פצו/) Iron Dome is programmed not to intercept rockets that are not in the track to hit populated area. It looks like the Israeli army excludes the Bedouin villages from Iron Dome’s coverage.
    Thank you for your coverage, Richard.

  • Daniel F. July 19, 2014, 8:59 PM

    “The infiltration was adjacent to a Negev kibbutz and the Palestinian force could have attempted to attack that community, in which case there may’ve been even more deaths”
    They were equipped with sedative syringes and cable ties with the likely intent of kidnapping IDF soldiers.
    Hamas needs to either show a face saving “achievement” or negotiate one, before agreeing to a cease fire .

    • Richard Silverstein July 19, 2014, 9:05 PM

      @ Daniel F.: No there were two groups of Palestinian fighters who attacked. You’re speaking of a separate group.

    • Mordechai Landsman July 20, 2014, 5:06 AM

      “In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies”. This is attributed to Churchill.

    • Donald July 20, 2014, 1:29 PM

      “kidnapping IDF soldiers”.

      Oh my gosh, those terrorists were trying to capture enemy soldiers during wartime. Shocking.

  • Stretch July 19, 2014, 9:58 PM

    IDF soldiers wage war on Palestine are captured, not kidnapped.

  • Blue Moon July 19, 2014, 10:45 PM


    Let me understand. The Iron Dome doesn’t destroy the warhead of an incoming rocket?

    Precisely what’s been happening to those Hamas rockets that have been intercepted over Tel Aviv?
    They reach their apogee, begin their descent on Tel Aviv, and what?

    • Richard Silverstein July 20, 2014, 12:35 AM

      @ Blue Moon: Once again, READ THE ARTICLE. It explains everything. Do not write comments here without reading the links in my post. It’s a total waste of your time and mine.

      • Blue Moon July 20, 2014, 2:26 AM

        @ Richard
        MIT Technology review says, ” As a result, rockets fired from Gaza are probably plunging to the ground with intact explosives.”

        I have neither heard of, nor seen, any report of unexploded ordnance in or around urban Tel Aviv.

        An Iron Dome interception is noted by a ‘ ba-boom’, a double explosion. I’ve heard that sound a dozen times. I presume that the secondary explosion is the rocket’s warhead exploding.

        Is the MIT Review reporting from Israel or Cambridge, Mass.?

        • Richard Silverstein July 20, 2014, 3:40 PM

          @ Blue Moon: If I have a choice of trusting an aerospace engineer or a guy who claims to know a Palestinian rocket has been destroyed based on a sound he hears, I’ll take the aerospace engineer.

        • Daniel Rocha July 20, 2014, 3:52 PM

          Ba-boom means 1 direct sound by the explosion itself (Ba) and the mirrored sound from the ground, which is scatters the sound in a range of angles, thus the long (Boooom).
          You can notice at thunder sound a few kms aways, specially between clouds. It’s like BA-Boom-booooom-woooooooom-wooon… , since the lightning is a long object and so, has much more fuzzy reflection.

    • oh, please, give it a rest July 20, 2014, 2:21 AM

      There are two possible outcomes:
      1) Iron Dome “intercepts” the rocket, in which case a lump of inert metal falls on some random spot somewhere in the vicinity of Tel Aviv.
      2) Iron Dome doesn’t do anything, in which case…. a lump of inert metal falls on some random spot somewhere in the vicinity of Tel Aviv.

  • walter benjamin July 19, 2014, 11:15 PM

    “no shelters provided for Bedouin”
    At least 50% of Israelis do not have shelters including myself in the north. Nothing was built after the 2006 war and seemingly there are no plans. The government is not wiling to subsidise or build for the residents so a lot of the reporting here and in most places is ‘agendized” due to prejudice and not knowing what the conditions really are here.
    Armchair criticism.

    • Richard Silverstein July 20, 2014, 12:34 AM

      @ walter benjamin: It’s bullshit to say you “do not have shelters.” You don’t have shelters perhaps in your apartment building. But you certainly have one close by. Bedouin have none-at-all-anywhere. Not nearby, not anywhere (except possibly Rahat, the state-run ‘reservation’ built for Bedouin).

      I’m personally offended you’ve adopted the name of one of the greatest literary critics of the 20th century, yet articulate ideas that would embarrass him with their chauvinism.

  • Arie Brand July 19, 2014, 11:51 PM

    I notice that the character who called a contributor here “brainwashed” because she said that the IDF gratuitously kills children has not come back after some eyewitness accounts were quoted. This is till unpalatable news to some American broadcasting corporations as well. The reporter who told the world about the brutal killing by an Israeli gunboat of four Palestinian boys who were playing soccer on the beach has been withdrawn. Glenn Greenwald says:

    Ayman Mohyeldin, the NBC News correspondent who personally witnessed yesterday’s killing by Israel of four Palestinian boys on a Gazan beach and who has received widespread praise for his brave and innovative coverage of the conflict, has been told by NBC executives to leave Gaza immediately. According to an NBC source upset at his treatment, the executives claimed the decision was motivated by “security concerns” as Israel prepares a ground invasion, a claim repeated to me by an NBC executive. But late yesterday, NBC sent another correspondent, Richard Engel, along with an American producer who has never been to Gaza and speaks no Arabic, into Gaza to cover the ongoing Israeli assault (both Mohyeldin and Engel speak Arabic).

    Yesterday, Mohyeldin witnessed and then reported on the brutal killing by Israeli gunboats of four young boys as they played soccer on a beach in Gaza City. He was instrumental, both in social media and on the air, in conveying to the world the visceral horror of the attack.

    Mohyeldin recounted how, moments before their death, he was kicking a soccer ball with the four boys, who were between the ages of 9 and 11 and all from the same family

  • Yair July 20, 2014, 12:21 AM

    You sound like you are celebrating the death of the soldiers. As if this makes the Palestinians closer to a normal life. The only thing that will improve their lives is ceasing terror and tring to do something other than building their idiotic rockets.

    • Richard Silverstein July 20, 2014, 12:31 AM

      @ Yair: I could care less what you think I sound like. You didn’t pass reading comprehension in elementary school in Hebrew OR English!

      The only thing that will guarantee safety, security and improve your lives and Palestinian lives is 1967 borders, sharing Jerusalem and allowing return of expelled Palestinian refugees. You can dream about terror ceasing all you like but it won’t happen till you come to your senses. Unless of course you want to watch Israel self-destruct before your very eyes, which is also possible.

      • Yair July 20, 2014, 12:49 AM

        That’s very mature, trying to belittle me because my english is not at your level (not a mother tounge).

        Would love to give the Palestinians a state and share Jerusalem. Problem is they would turn it into another rocket factory like in Gaza.

        • Elisabeth July 20, 2014, 12:57 AM

          Richard was talking about your reading comprehension (in English OR Hebrew). Reading comprehension does not equal knowledge of a (foreign or native) language. It is a related but different talent.

          • Yair July 20, 2014, 1:05 AM

            Can you please direct me to which part i didn’t comprehend? Although i really like your condescending tone, i would love some input

        • Elisabeth July 20, 2014, 1:13 AM

          To you Richard ‘sounds’ like he is celebrating, and I ‘sound’ condescending: You read things that are not there, that’s why Richard mentioned your ‘reading comprehension’. As said, that is not the same as knowing a language.

        • Richard Silverstein July 20, 2014, 1:16 AM

          @ Yair: You don’t “give” the Palestinians anything, chum. That’s the same old patronizing bullshit Israelis have spouted from Day 1. It’s insulting, patronizing, offensive, colonialist. You don’t own Palestine. It’s not yours to give.

          As for “rocket factories” seems to me Israel is a far bigger one, with nukes as well!

          The crack about your reading comprehension had nothing to do with your level of English proficiency. It related to your claim that my post “sounded like” I rejoiced in Israeli dead. I meant that if that’s how you read my post you weren’t reading what I actually wrote, but what you felt I was saying.

          BTW, your English is fine. A lot better than other Israelis who’ve posted here.

    • Elisabeth July 20, 2014, 12:53 AM

      The events over the years, culminating in the hate fest and slaughter of the last months both in the West Bank and in Gaza have made it very hard for me to empathize with these killed solders and their families. What were they doing there anyway? Don’t Israeli’s have the right to refuse service? What is their excuse? Maybe only the age of some of them and the fact that they were indoctrinated from childhood.
      Unequalled support for Israel since the founding of the state from al western nations aimed at making Israel secure and willing to compromise, only resulted in Israels demands steadily increasing. Soft treatment of Israel, hoping the country will respond by being magnanimous for ONCE has been tried for years and clearly does not work.
      How many more soldiers will have to be killed like this before Israel is willing to compromise? Think about that Yair.

      • Yair July 20, 2014, 1:14 AM

        You make it sound so simple. But the reality is that Israel made numerous steps to disengage from the Palestinians, each one resulting in more terror. While I oppose many policies in Israel, I have no doubt that there is no partner for the two state solution right now. The Palestinians still believe that time is on their side and that eventually they’ll get rid of the jews. And another generation lives like this.

        As for the “hate fest” – take a look at the palestinian education.

        • Richard Silverstein July 20, 2014, 1:21 AM

          @ Yair: It IS simple. And “the reality” is nothing of the sort. Israel made no serious step to engage with the Palestinians or seek a real peace or show any willingness to compromise. None.

          As for claiming you “oppose Israeli policies.” Spare me. It’s all shootin’ & cryin’ as far as I’m concerned. As for “no partner” for a 2 state solution–you’re right. Israel under Bibi is certainly not a partner. And that’s why a 1 state solution is what you’re going to end up with, and you’ll deserve every minute of it for your intransigence, smugness & rejectionism.

          As for time being on Palestine’s side, it is. Eventually Israel will consist of Haredim (many of whom won’t fight in the IDF) and Palestinians will vastly outnumber you. And you’ll have only yourself to blame.

          Read my comment rules carefull–Palestinian education is OFF TOPIC. Keep your comments on topic if you want to continue commenting here.

          • Yair July 20, 2014, 2:16 PM

            Israel made Many steps towards a viable Palestinian state. All along buses were blowing up,an dockets were fired.
            Rabin, Peres, Barak and Olmert all were negotiating a peaceful resolution. Only to meet more and more terror.

            As for “no partner” – bibi is no partner, but neither is Abbas. Both leaders are too chickens&£t to face their electorate (even though last time Abbas was democratically chosen was ages ago).

            As for Haredim being the majority – you are wrong. There is a strong movement for secularism that will only grow as technology penetrates their population. I can only wish the same to our neighbors in Gaza. They will be worse off under Sharia law or whatever Sunni extremists come up with next.

            As for Palestinian education and it’s part in the conflict – you are free to ban me, it’s your site. But why on earth is this off topic?? It goes directly into the heart of the conflict, just like the Hamas charter.

          • Donald July 20, 2014, 3:41 PM

            Yair, I often wonder if Israelis and others who talk about Hamas suicide bombing and buses blowing up are ever aware of the fact that during the Second Intifada the vast majority of killed civilians were Palestinians killed by Israelis. Yes, the terrorist attacks by Palestinians were utterly immoral. But you guys never seem to have the slightest awareness of any other civilian deaths. Either you don’t know about them, which is terrible, or you excuse them, which is worse.

  • Arie Brand July 20, 2014, 12:26 AM

    Update: NBC has announced that it will send Moyheldin back to Gaza. Has the widespread indignation about his removal something to do with this?

  • Arie Brand July 20, 2014, 12:31 AM

    Yair the only thing that will improve their lives is your lot lifting the blockade and stopping the sabotage of their lives and activities – not to speak of your murderous incursions at regular intervals (so elegantly described by the perpetrators as “mowing the lawn”).

    • Yair July 20, 2014, 12:57 AM

      I wish that were true. They wasted every opportunity they recieved waiting for something else.

      Every step israel made towards a 2 state solution has been met with terror. How can Israel lift the blockade, knowing that the only thing flowing in will be rockets?

      25% of their GDP goes towards rockets. They wasted the 8 years since Israel withdrew on nothing.

      • Richard Silverstein July 20, 2014, 1:11 AM

        @ Yair: My friend, you’re an amateur hasbarist, not ready for the Big Time.

        Palestinians have been given “opportunities?” By whom? Surely you must be kidding?

        “Every step Israel made toward a 2 state solution?” Israel hasn’t made a serious step toward a 2 state solution since Oslo in 1993. As for lifting the blockade, you’ve been reading IDF press releases for too long. That hasbara crap just doesn’t cut it.

        As for 25% of Gaza’s GDP going for rockets–that’s a laugh. Gaza has NO GDP. What does it produce? Israel dedicated 19% of its GDP to its military/defense/security/intelligence budget. And I’ll tell you Israel’s GDP is probably 1-million times greater than Gaza’s.

        Israel “withdrew” from Gaza. Another fairy tale. Israel never “withdrew” from anything. It is an occupying power violating international law in multiple ways.

        I have very little patience for people spouting hasbara and press releases. If your next comment sounds like this one, I warn you in this environment of war & murder I don’t have the chayshek for it. That could mean moderation or banning. Also, you need a much better hasbara instructor than the one you’ve chosen.

      • Arie Brand July 20, 2014, 1:23 AM

        Please list all those steps Yair – but don’t talk about the Camp David offer by Barak which has been so much lied about. Even one of your own previous foreign ministers, Ben-Ami, has said that in Arafat’s place he wouldn’t have accepted Barak’s offer either.

        The Arab Peace Initiative of 2002, renewed in 2008 I think, has never been given serious consideration in Israel. The crowd around Netanyahu is terrified by peace initiatives. The reason is simple – it simply doesn’t want to return to the borders of 1967. In fact it covets much more than it already has.

        • leeor July 20, 2014, 12:04 PM

          @Arie, it’s interesting that you would quote Ben-Ami. He may have some complaint on how Barak handled the talks once it reached the leadership level, and he admits that Barak was not a pleasant person (although in theory he should have been grateful, since appointing him as the head of the talks did incur quite a political cost from Barak, who had to push aside his right winged and famous for being easily offended foreign minister), but his views are not quite how you describe them…

          Here’s an interesting interview Haazretz had with him back in 2001 – http://www.weizmann.ac.il/home/comartin/israel/ben-ami.html

          Once interesting quote, on the proposal to split sovereignty in Jerusalem: “I remember walking in the fields with Martin Indyk [of the State Department] that night and both of us saying that Ehud was nuts. We didn’t understand how he could even have thought of agreeing. Afterward I wrote in my diary that everyone thinks that Amnon [Lipkin-]Shahak and I are pushing Barak to the left, but the truth is that he was the one who pushed us leftward. At that stage – this was the start of the second week of the meeting – he was far more courageous than we were.”

          As we all know the proposal was met with the usual Palestinian refusal. At this point, according to all records, the Israelis and the American lose faith (and temper), seeing how the Palestinians are clearly not willing for any discussion – not to mention any concession. Ben-Ami continues to describe it well in the interview above:

          Q: Didn’t the Palestinians make a counterproposal?
          A: “No. And that is the heart of the matter. Never, in the negotiations between us and the Palestinians, was there a Palestinian counterproposal. There never was and there never will be. So the Israeli negotiator always finds himself in a dilemma: Either I get up and walk out because these guys aren’t ready to put forward proposals of their own, or I make another concession. In the end, even the most moderate negotiator reaches a point where he understands that there is no end to it.

          Camp David collapsed over the fact that they refused to get into the game. They refused to make a counterproposal. No one demanded that they give a positive response to that particular proposal of Clinton’s. Contrary to all the nonsense spouted by the knights of the left, there was no ultimatum. What was being asked of the Palestinians was far more elementary: that they put forward, at least once, their own counterproposal. That they not just say all the time `That’s not good enough’ and wait for us to make more concessions. That’s why the president sent [CIA director George] Tenet to Arafat that night – in order to tell him that it would be worth his while to think it over one more time and not give an answer until the morning. But Arafat couldn’t take it anymore. He missed the applause of the masses in Gaza.”

          That’s just regarding Camp-David since you brought that up, the other iterations came and went with minor changes in the political makeup. It is interesting however, to note today how things that were considered science fiction or courageous concessions back then are almost commonly and trivially accepted today in Israel (not by Bibi of course, but by the majority of the liberal left and even most the center). In a sense, you could argue that the Palestinian constant refusal did work as intended, as the negotiation points circle closer and closer to their demands as the years fly by. That is, if you ignore the monstrous cost of their strategy in human lives (on both sides, but admittedly – mostly on their own), and the risk of losing everything to extremists like the Hamas, a scenario which i’m sure the PA representatives didn’t anticipate back then even in their darkest dreams.

          • Donald July 20, 2014, 1:47 PM

            I haven’t looked it up, but the Ben Ami concession that Arie referenced was made in a Democracy Now interview, I think. As for the rest of his views, it’s one member of the Israeli government trying to put all the blame on Arafat for what happened. More objective analysts, people not part of the process, said there was blame to share on all sides. Arafat was nobody’s idea of a good leader, but most Zionists have this sense of entitlement that makes them think anything they “offer” to the Palestinians beyond a bare minimum (i.e., some fraction of the Palestinian homeland) is generous. From the Palestinian viewpoint, they wanted to go by what they were owed according to international law. The Americans and Israelis insisted on ignoring that, because Israelis know perfectly well that international law (as well as elementary notions of fairness) were not on Israel’s side. The Americans and the Israelis had all the power, so naturally their views are the ones adopted by the US press, at least at first. Some cracks in the narrative appeared in the reporting of Deborah Sontag in the NYT (I think) and Malley and Agha (sp?) in the New York Review of Books, but by then, the mainstream narrative in favor of the Israelis had, as usual, been set in stone.

          • Richard Silverstein July 20, 2014, 3:29 PM

            @ Leeor: I’m not going to delete this comment, but it’s completely OFF TOPIC. Keep your comments directly related to the post. Don’t drift off into the ether of historical debate/discussion. Also, do not quote long passages of quotation. just provide a link to it. This is all in the comment rules, which proves you haven’t read them. Do so NOW.

        • Richard Silverstein July 20, 2014, 3:41 PM

          @ Arie Brand: You’re encouraging Yair to range way off-topic. I understand the urge to engage in this sort of debate. But it takes the discussion too far afield imo.

  • Stretch July 20, 2014, 1:57 AM

    Yes, Israel ‘withdrew’ from Gaza in 2005 but has kept a vice-like grip on it ever since and has extended its occupation and ethnic cleansing of East Jerusalem and the West Bank. That’s a step to a two-state solution?

  • poirefrais July 20, 2014, 2:38 AM

    I just saw this disgusting statement from Netanyahu. It is plain sickening.
    BREAKING NEWS: Netanyahu’s speech to Hamas.

    I wondered, if this might be in reponse to the recent Hamas ceasefire initiative… incitement and arrogance

    • Arie Brand July 20, 2014, 3:07 AM

      Yes, the arrogance, mendacity and hypocrisy are breath taking. And we certainly won’t be the only ones noticing this. The speech will be read in Foreign Offices around the world and people will wonder. Is this guy of his rocker? Once again it is clear that Netanyahu only has an eye for internal political developments. His main concern is to save his own political skin. He can’t seriously have thought that this threat would induce Hamas to surrender or that this ridiculous performance would impress audiences outside Israel, apart from the usual suspects of course.

      • Yair July 20, 2014, 10:33 PM

        Hamas will surrender because Israel is too strong for this fight. That’s why they shouldn’t have been firing those missiles in the first place. The 2nd Lebanon war, despite the Israeli army making tactical mistakes on the battleground – 8 years of quiet ensued. The “heroic” Hezbollah seem to understand one language, and that is the one which Israel speaks to Hamas now.

        The tragedy is that the Palestinian civilians are caught in the middle, and although most of the Arab world understands that ousting Hamas is the only first step towards resolution, you and much of the world media keeps cheering Hamas to keep fighting.

        The situation is a-symmetrical in a way that can only be resolved by the weaker side stopping provocations of the stronger side.

        • Daniel Rocha July 20, 2014, 11:13 PM

          If they have dignity, and they do, they will fight until the last one of them is dead. That’s what I would do if I were fighting for Hamas, or any freedom fighter group.

  • Blue Moon July 20, 2014, 2:56 AM

    Not that it makes a difference, it was an airstrike that killed the Bakir children–not naval shells, as initial reports suggested.

  • Arie Brand July 20, 2014, 4:09 AM

    It appears that the text of this speech is a hoax. Some blogger wrote that this is the speech he would like Netanyahu to make and then it went around as the real thing. So our hope that he had taken leave of his senses altogether has been somewhat premature. But his performance starts to point in that direction.

    • Deïr Yassin July 20, 2014, 6:52 PM

      If you’re referring to the speech by Bibi posted by Elisabeth, I definitely think it is a hoax. I googled it and it only came up on blogs and sites that I’ve never heard of. Haaretz and other MSM would definitely have referred to a speech held in front of the Knesset, speaking about reoccupying Gaza. And last but not least: Bibi supposedly gave Hamas 24 hours, and the article goes back at least 5 days.

      • Elisabeth July 20, 2014, 10:48 PM

        That wasn’t me.

        • Deïr Yassin July 21, 2014, 3:25 AM

          You’re right ! I’m sorry :-) Don’t know how I mixed you up with the other commenter. Maybe because you’re Dutch as Arie Brand…. association sometimes has its ways.
          To be honest I was astonished that you would post such an important speech with a link to a site that nobody ever heard of. Basic logic sets of an alarm clock in that case.

  • Yonatan July 20, 2014, 4:56 AM

    At first I took Major Fashla to be a real person in the IDF. From now on, any uniformed IDF apologist will be Major Fashla for me.

  • Yonatan July 20, 2014, 9:20 AM

    There are unconfirmed reports that 13 soldiers from the Golani brigade have been killed, possibly in an attack using anti-tank weapons. More senseless death.

    • Daniel Rocha July 20, 2014, 9:46 AM

      From the translation, it seems matters from Ukraine, right?

  • Nimrod Ron July 20, 2014, 9:24 AM

    As for the iron dome part, how about looking at the facts and look at how many missiles/casualties before iron dome was launched and after.

    There is a big big difference in the statistics, since iron dome launched about 3000 rokets hit Israel and three Israelis died, before iron dome launched there was one death for about every 125 rockets.

    What say you?

    • Richard Silverstein July 20, 2014, 3:35 PM

      You’ve offered no proof other than your own word, which I don’t trust. EVIDENCE!

  • ben July 20, 2014, 9:46 AM

    13 dead idf today. Seems to me those tunnels are way more dangerous than the rockets ever could be. Moreover each tunnel itself takes tons of concrete to make. Seems all the complaints about Gaza not being rebuilt is due to hamas using the reconstruction materials to turn gaza into the worlds largest underground fortress.

    Just watched bibi on cnn with wolf biltzer. Bibi now says the point of the operation has shifted to demilitarized gaza. So expect way more deaths on all sides. Sigh atleast the corners will be busy.

    Also interesting is the ceasefire offer penned by israel and adopted by Egypt. But its not only Egypt but also the arab league. Why would the Arab league prop up Israels ceasefire? The only countries against the offer are muslim brotherhood countries qatar and turkey.

    Seems to me the israeli palestinian problem is turning into a regional tug of war.

    • Elisabeth July 20, 2014, 12:19 PM

      What the hell do those ‘tunnels’ (14 in working order I understand) have to do with anything? It is your stupid invasion which killed thise soldiers (and their own willingness to enter into this abject war).
      Brrrr the scary tunnellllllsssss. We used to be scared of the A- bomb but now it is OK to kill hundreds because of…tunnels.

      • ben July 20, 2014, 12:53 PM

        @liz I never said killing hundreds of people was ok you are putting words in my mouth.

        BibI was correct when he said unilateral disengagement was stupid back in 2004. All the pointless deaths for nothing.

        The fact is something needs to be done to stop the bi annual ground hogs day killing fest. IMO this can only be achieved threw the demilitarization of Gaza.

        • Elisabeth July 20, 2014, 3:33 PM

          Who’s Liz?

    • Donald July 20, 2014, 1:50 PM

      As people point out endlessly, on both sides of the issue, the Arab leaders of various countries don’t care about the rights of ordinary Palestinians. Most are dictators who don’t care about their own people’s rights. The Gazans want the blockade lifted, because as ordinary innocent human beings they don’t want to live in an open air prison. Anyone who thinks that a return to the status quo before the latest spasm of violence is okay clearly doesn’t care about the Gazans, no matter what their ethnicity.

  • Daniel Rocha July 20, 2014, 9:53 AM

    What you are doing is complaining that Vietnamese should be tunnels to fight US instead of “rebuilding” the country from the previous war with France. Besides, building a house or an apartment requires and planning than building these tunnels.

    On the other hand, that’s a good answer for the “accusation” of “terrorists” using human shields to protect themselves.

    • ben July 20, 2014, 10:08 AM

      So you are suggesting that if Gaza was demilitarized there wouldn’t be a lift of the blockade or a massive capital injection with international firms bidding to rebuild Gaza?

      Or should there just be an other temp ceasefire where in two years we will be back to square one? Lets say yes there is a ceasefire tomorrow and all the reconstruction materials get used to reinforce the underground network even more instead of building homes and hospitals… what will gaza look like in 10 years? Without any change all there will be is rubble above the ground and a sophisticated fortress under it…

      The similarities between gaza and Vietnam stop with the tunnels. The two wars are completely different.

      Gaza has the ability to become the next Singapore… all that is required is the political will.

      • Daniel Rocha July 20, 2014, 2:39 PM

        No, “demilitarization” (there is no military on gaza) will only lead to another Nakba or at least the lost of all palestinians rights, even those living with Israeli ‘citizenship’, safe for something close to slavery. The only thing stopping that is the constant struggle against the occupation until there is an international sanction against Israel.

        But, given that most Israelis do not even notice they are puppets of US interests, and given US rule of massacring people opposed to its plans and supporting dictators (or the fascist behavior of the elected zionist state)of the worse kind, there is no political will that will solve this so soon by giving concessions.

        • ben July 20, 2014, 3:00 PM

          Daniel stop being obnoxious and silly.

      • Daniel Rocha July 20, 2014, 3:25 PM

        Also, the Palestinian cause needs also to be supported at least by Egypt. Unfortunately, Egypt is an Israeli ally, by influence of US. They, not so much as Israel, get a lot military aid, though they are not spoon fed by high end technology.

      • ahhiyawa July 20, 2014, 3:30 PM

        >…Without any change all there will be is rubble above the ground and a sophisticated fortress under it… <

        That HAMAS has turned Gaza into one vast, interconnected maze of underground bunkers, tunnels and fighting positions, a sophisticated underground fortress" as you yourself have stated would not surprise me. I'd be stupefied if they hadn't. And it will take far more than "political will" to accomplish the destruction of such assets.

        Hurling tons of ordnance around and rearranging the rubble IS NOT THE SAME THING as taking that rubble or destroying underground defenses. That can only be accomplished with troops closing with, killing the enemy, securing and consolidating the battle area above, and in this case below ground as well.

        The US dumped 643,000 tons of 250, 500, 1,000 & 2,000 pound bombs on NVA and Viet Cong bunker complexes, 2 1/2 times more bombs than dropped during the whole course of World War II. Whole regions of Vietnam weren't just rubblized, but turned into landscapes that looked like the surface of the moon as far as the eye could see. And that does not include the wastage of enormous arsenals of artillery, rockets & mortars. Needless to say it hadn't worked as planned.

        From available news reports it appears Israel’s primary offensive effort is selectively rearranging the rubble, which is having the unfortunate consequence of killing far more civilians than HAMAS fighters. A big time propaganda victory for your enemy and public relations disaster for you. I'd say Israel either ups its game, or the game is lost.

  • walter benjamin July 20, 2014, 10:36 AM

    how could you possibly know? i live in the old city where most of the houses are stonework without cement. in 2006 i stayed in the bottom floor of my house all the while hearing the shrieking of katushas going by and falling as close as 100 meters to my house. personally i lost a lot of windows because of the concussions.
    there is one shelter on my street with room for 20-30? people.
    the closest shelter is at least 500 meters away in the middle of the street which one must descend vertically also for about 20-30 people.
    what comes out of this is that you are speaking about something you know nothing about. only since the early ’90’s has it become a law that every new apt. is required to have a ‘security room’.
    in the 36 years that i have lived here there has not been built one public shelter.
    so do your research on the ground and not from an armchair.

    • Blue Moon July 20, 2014, 10:55 AM

      Walter is quite correct, and the situation is no different in the older sections of Tel Aviv.
      Yes, you have shelters, and you have 45 seconds from the sound of the siren to collect the people in your home, get down the stairs and make your way to the shelter. Not easy if your old, infirmed or if you have little kids.

      • Richard Silverstein July 20, 2014, 3:34 PM

        @ Blue Moon: No, Walter is NOT correct. He claimed that his predicament was like that of the Bedouin & it isn’t. Not by a long shot. But neither one of you is complaining about it. I wonder why?

    • Elisabeth July 20, 2014, 11:11 AM

      It still seems there are two shelters in your street for at least 60 people. But anyway: It was about the Bedouin, and the fact that they have none.

    • Richard Silverstein July 20, 2014, 3:33 PM

      @ walter benjamin: So your closest shelter is 1,500 feet away, which is not very far. Compare that to Bedouin who have no shelters anywhere. The don’t live in houses made out of stonework and have no shelter at all in their homes. Now who doesn’t know what he’s talking about? I’d take your situation over the Bedouins an day of the week! Why don’t you do some research on their living conditions or do you, as I suspect, not give a crap about how they live & how much better you have it than them??

    • Donald July 20, 2014, 3:47 PM

      So by your account the shelter system in Israel isn’t so great and yet the rockets are still doing very little damage. I’d be more concerned about the rockets if they were killing hundreds of people. About as concerned as I am about the bombing of Gaza.

  • Piotr Berman July 20, 2014, 5:32 PM

    “No democracy expresses the disdain Israel has expressed for the press.”

    Israel is there in the continuum of Middle Eastern democracies, Turkey, Iran, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt. Lebanon seems to have free press and they do not kill journalists, to my knowledge. Turkey arrests most journalists in the bunch, but without such heavy sentences as in Egypt, Iran has very active censorship, and Israel is tops in killing journalists.

  • walter benjamin July 21, 2014, 5:22 AM

    “Why don’t you do some research on their living conditions or do you, as I suspect, not give a crap about how they live & how much better you have it than them??”

    And just what do you do for the poor in the US? Maybe you should go down to Harlem and hand out food stamps or nickel bags of smack which for most of them is tantamount.
    Or maybe return the land on which you live to the Indian tribe{s} which is now soaked in their blood. Ah, but that was over 200 years ago…..
    And yes I am a racist because being Jewish means we don’t practice miscegenation but we don’t opt for killing a priori. And I assume you are aware of the expression ענייך קודמים.
    So, in truth, I think that you are of the genre בעד הנגד and have no true stance at all.

  • Vaino July 21, 2014, 1:37 PM

    So, Israel is using Bedouin children as human shields (I´m using hasbara logic).

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