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Gaza War, Day 14: 18 IDF Dead, 430 Palestinian Dead

Even for such a bloody war as Operation Protective Edge has turned out to be, the past 24 hours have taken a particularly deadly turn.  In that period, 13 IDF soldiers have died, including seven in a single incident (Hebrew and English) in which an anti-tank rocket slammed into an armored personnel carrier known for its defective, obsolete design.  The day before, five soldiers died after being ambushed near an observation post which IDF personnel had left abandoned.  This is almost twice the number of troops as died in all of Operation Cast Lead.  The first IDF soldier has been captured as well. UPDATE: the IDF denies a soldier was captured.  It says rather that the soldier Hamas claims to have captured was among those killed.

It appears that Hamas has changed its method of defending Gaza.  During the 2009 incursion, when the IDF occupied a good portion of the enclave’s territory, resistance was spotty and the IDF had almost free reign.  But now, the Palestinian fighters have riddled the area with tunnels used both to penetrate Israeli territory and to enable defending Gaza itself.  Though I don’t know whether there is a connection, it’s interesting to note that Hezbollah used a similar strategy during the 2006 Lebanon war.  It dug underground tunnels which allowed its forces to attack IDF armor and troops concentrations from multiple directions, with the Israelis seemingly unaware where the fighters would appear.

israeli bombardment of shjaia

Israel’s massive bombardment of Gaza neighborhood of Shejaia caused 70 deaths. (Mohammed Salem/Reuters)

Further, Hamas has told Gazans to remain in their homes and they appear to be heeding that call in significant numbers.  Though the IDF doesn’t appear to be hindered by the civilian presence (70 Palestinians were killed last night in a single neighborhood), this has caused a drastic rise in the death toll.  This, along with the capture of the IDF soldier, will begin exerting an inevitable “drag” on the Operation.

The Palestinian death toll nears 400, with 70 alone being killed in the Shejaia neighborhood yesterday.

The most devastating attack yesterday against Israelis, was the one on the APC, an American model known as M-113.  This model is the oldest in the IDF arsenal.  It was built in the 1960s and is 50 years old.  It has a design defect which allows penetration of rockets and hasn’t been used in Gaza in a decade.  In 2004, a similar incident cost the lives of 11 soldiers.

It is precisely this mounting loss of its own soldiers which may cause Israelis to take stock of this bloody mess and step back from the brink.  Clearly, Israelis have no sense of proportion or concern when it comes to Palestinian dead.

John Kerry was interviewed yesterday on FoxNews.  Aside from the usual pro-Israel pablum, he made the mistake of telling an aide in front of a “hot” mic, which he didn’t know was on, that Operation Protective Edge had turned into a “helluva pin-point operation.”  No doubt, we’ll hear the usual apology from Kerry today or tomorrow.  But the cat’s out of the bag.  We know what the Obama administration privately thinks of this bloodbath.  Of course, a politician’s private thoughts mean nothing if he’s not willing to turn them into action or public policy.

We know that Kerry wants to get to the Middle East to exert maximum pressure on Israel to end the mess.  He’s scheduled to travel to Egypt and Israel on Monday (but not to Palestine!).  I haven’t a clue why he thinks the Egyptians can play any useful role in this matter since they’re sworn enemies of Hamas.  This is typical of the U.S. ham-handed approach to Middle East policy.  Since we have no long-term constructive policy of engagement with the Arab states, we resort to discredited military dictators who don’t even have the support of their own citizens, let alone Hamas.

My hope is that by the time Monday comes around, that even Netanyahu will be willing to step back from the quagmire into which he’s sunk.  The question will be what Hamas is willing to settle for: will it accept the same empty ceasefire offer cobbled together by Israel a few days ago, which offers Gaza nothing except the temporary cessation of the massacre, with no improvement in their everyday lives?  Or will Kerry and Israel be able to create a ceasefire that will offer real benefits to Gazans like removing the Egyptian-Israeli siege and opening borders?

It’s highly doubtful this is possible given the U.S. unwillingness or inability to recognize Hamas or engage with it in any substantive way.  Obama is simply unwilling to pay the price to the Israel Lobby which it would extract from such a move.  That means Gaza and will continue to prove an intractable obstacle to any long-term prospect for peace.  The collapse of the Kerry peace talks proved in part that there can be no deal without Hamas being included in some way.  A unity government offered such a possibility till it was sabotaged by Netanyahu’s West Bank pogrom which preceded Operation Protective Edge.

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{ 78 comments… add one }
  • RD Sultan July 20, 2014, 3:08 PM

    Hamas, as you pointed out, has done surprisingly well, so far. Not only have they killed 13 soldiers (# might even be higher) but I hear they injured over 400 soldiers.

    That Israel is still bogged down 300 meters within Gaza and doesn’t dare advance is proof that the IDF knows what’s waiting for them on the inside.

    Wouldn’t be surprised if Bibi asks Obama to force him into accepting a ceasefire. That way Israel will save face and extricate themselves from this disaster.

    • Daniel F. July 20, 2014, 4:20 PM

      “Hamas, as you pointed out, has done surprisingly well, so far.”
      Can we say the same for the residents of Gaza?

      • Richard Silverstein July 20, 2014, 8:15 PM

        @ Daniel F: I wouldn’t mind that comment except that it’s of the shooting & crying variety. You show major sympathy for Israeli policy, very little for Palestinians. All of a sudden you’d have us believe you’ve shifted your sympathy to these poor residents of Gaza?

      • RD Sultan July 20, 2014, 9:07 PM

        I doubt you have their best interests in mind.

    • Depends on Bibi's objective July 20, 2014, 5:24 PM

      If Israel is carrying out this ground offensive merely to clear out all tunnels that lead under the wire and emerge inside Israeli territory then the IDF really doesn’t need to go much further than 300 meters inside Gaza.

      But, let’s be honest here, does anyone actually KNOW what Netanyahu’s objectives are? Does he?

      Or is he simply wallowing around like a hapless Water Buffalo, hoping that everyone will mistake that blundering around for “strength of purpose”?

      Apparently even an dumb ol’ ox like Kerry isn’t being fooled.

      So even if Bibi isn’t screaming for Uncle Sam to get him out of this pit, it may just be that Uncle Sam will reach its own conclusion that it has to reach in and save Israel from itself…..

      After all, the IDF isn’t exactly covering itself with glory.

      • Yair July 20, 2014, 11:46 PM

        What do you base the “fact” that there is no need to go deeper than 300 meters to clear the tunnels? Sajaiya, which was the starting point of many tunnels is 1.5k deep from the border.

        Please. let the Hamas do the lying. They are good at it and don’t need any outside help.

    • Yair July 20, 2014, 10:37 PM

      How have they done well? You are as disillusioned as they are. They killed 13 Israeli soldiers and have 60,000 more coming their way. The Gaza strip is going backwards in time (as if it were still possible) and the amount of human tragedy there is inconceivable. All so Hamas can flaunt their idiotic “resistance” to their blind public, which blames everyone (Egypt, US, Israel, Europe) but never looks inside to see what Hamas has accomplished since it took power in 2006.

      Yes. Hamas has done extraordinarily well. And no doubt the best days of Gaza are ahead of it.

      • RD Sultan July 21, 2014, 12:12 AM

        Yair, the old counter insurgency maxim applies here: “the guerilla wins if he doesn’t lose, while the conventional force loses if it does not win.” Face it: despite the Israeli terror in Gaza, Hamas is still shooting rockets at Israel and they’re slipping through tunnels (they just managed to infiltrate southern Israel as I type).

        The purpose of the 2006 Israeli-Lebanon war was to take out Hizbullah, and Israel failed. What we’re having today is a repeat, only this time it’s to take out Hamas. Same end result is in sight.

        • Yair July 21, 2014, 12:18 AM

          That is a shortsighted view. They can claim victory all they want. Their people will continue to live miserable lives. I don’t care if Hezbollah exists or not, as long as they don’t try to fight Israel. Therefore the 2006 war was a huge victory for Israel. Hezbollah are too busy killing Sunnis in Syria and too scared to provoke the Israeli army (but they released a statement! such strong resistance!)

          You can rewrite history all you want. After the 2002 operation in the west bank Hamas also came out and declared victory. 12 years later the west bank is clean of terror. If they want a medal for winning, I’ll be happy to give them one, so they can go back to their narrative and claim victory to their brainwashed population.

          • RD Sultan July 21, 2014, 12:45 AM

            So long as Israel doesn’t set foot in Southern Lebanon, there is no need for Hezbollah to fire missiles. In fact, those missiles keep Israel on their best behaivor.

            I’ve said this in the past and I’ll say it again: the biggest threat to Israel is herself, not Hamas or Hezbollah. Sorry but I can’t see the country surving for much long. The nihilism might last for another 10 or so years but all the money your idiotic leaders diverted from education and social support in favour of YESHA has produced a scary generation bred on ethnocentric hatred. It is very hard to see a positive future for Israel.

            Oh, and please spare me your crocodile tears for the Sunnis in Syria.

          • Donald July 21, 2014, 5:50 AM

            It’s interesting and not at all surprising that Yair thinks that the misery of the Gazan population is a victory for israel and a defeat for Hamas. Of course it is–if you are the sort of person that thinks it’s okay to imprison an entire population and only allow enough supplies in to prevent an outright humanitarian catastrophe. Really something to cheer about. (Now cue the crocodile tears and the passing of the buck entirely to Hamas.)

            So many of Israel’s victories involves deliberate harm to innocent people.

        • Yair July 21, 2014, 12:51 AM

          Answering your latest comment:

          Has Israel stepped into Lebanon between leaving in 2000 and until the 2nd Lebanon war in 2006? Nope. Hezbollah kept provoking Israel because they wanted Israel to attack. It gives them a reason to keep their “resistance”, just like Hamas. If they don’t kill, why do they exist?

          The biggest threat to Israel is radical Islam. The 2nd biggest threat is Israel itself.

          And believe it or not, the situation in Syria saddens me. I don’t care what you think about my tears one bit. It just shows the hypocrisy of the BDS and all other Hamas cheerleaders.

          • RD Sultan July 21, 2014, 1:17 AM

            It’s usually conventional forces and not militias/guerillas that do the provoking. So those provocations were just responses to Israeli provocations.

            Hamas and Hezbollah’s existence are both responses to Israeli military aggression (BTW, Israel had a hand in creating Hamas as a counterweight against the secular PLO). Both are also political parties, so fighting Israel isn’t all they do.

            I have to admire you for acknowledging that Israel is a threat to herself. Kuddos. Not many Zionists have the courage to say so.

  • Daniel July 20, 2014, 3:11 PM

    Thank you for your continued quality coverage, both of the military and the political aspects of this unfolding horror.

  • poirefrais July 20, 2014, 4:08 PM

    Thank you Richard for keeping us informed.
    It’s heart breaking.

  • Stretch July 20, 2014, 5:31 PM

    The 2006 Israeli war on Lebanon ended within a day or so of 26 Israelis being killed in one day by Hezbollah.

    • Yair July 20, 2014, 11:47 PM

      And ended up as a major victory for Israel. 8 years after, the cowards from Hizbollah are to scared to shoot a single bullet towards Israel. Guess some things can be solved with force, eh?

      • RD Sultan July 21, 2014, 12:24 AM

        Anyone who thinks Israel won that war should read the Winograd Commission report which concluded that Israel did not win the Second Lebanon War in 2006.

        The publication of the Winograd report resulted in the resignations of the Israeli defense minister, the IDF chief of staff and several other top generals.

        • Yair July 21, 2014, 12:38 AM

          I’ve read it. It details many of the tactical shortcomings of the war. It wasn’t however equipped with a time machine to tell the long term effect of the war.

          To know the results, you must look at a larger scope. And again – 8 years later, the northern front of Israel is quiet. There is not 1 Israeli that will conclude the war was a failure (even if it came at a huge cost). The mistakes were tactical but the victory was strategic.

          • Donald July 21, 2014, 5:53 AM

            What Yair means is that the killing of hundreds of innocent civilians and the dropping of millions of cluster munitions by Israel was a glorious triumph.

            I don’t think it’s useful to talk about who “won” the 2006 War. It was a series of war crimes and arguing about who “won” just panders to Yair’s amoral outlook on life.

  • Scott Shepard July 20, 2014, 5:40 PM

    Every time we imagine that the reputation of John Kerry has finally hit rock bottom, given whatever is his most recent misstep, bad step, or disgraceful utterance, the former Senator proves us wrong, by dragging himself down further. It appears that Kerry is now in a race against Hillary Clinton for the rank of ‘worst Secretary of State in history.’ I once thought that Condi Rice would be unreachable in that category. To think that we once mourned because this guy failed to unseat George W. Bush.
    I want to say to Kerry, you felt regret for the Vietnamese, suffering defenselessly under the weight of US military power; how is it that you can’t see the Palestinian situation as even worse? The French general who looked over the Algerians in the streets as he planned the French attack, and chuckled, ‘like rats in a cage’ should have seen the people trapped in Gaza. Algeria is a much larger cage than Gaza.
    What an epic disappointment the Obama administration has turned out to be.

    • David July 20, 2014, 7:33 PM

      The Obama Administration? Yeah — the biggest disappointment of all for everyone, for all Americans. If the Republicans weren’t so retarded they could capitalize on the wide feeling of disappointment in Democratic politics. But they are retarded and will continue to do stupid things that nobody can respect.

  • Arie Brand July 20, 2014, 6:08 PM

    “Obama is simply unwilling to pay the price to the Israel Lobby which it would extract from such a move.”

    Richard can you elaborate? Obama’s attitude is a riddle to me.

  • Ahhiyawa July 20, 2014, 6:37 PM

    I believe HAMAS has gone through its own “revolution in military affairs” (RMA) and has synthesized Hezbollah’s tactics and doctrine with their own lessons learned. It appears and likely will prove to be the case that Israel has stumbled into a similar war fighting environment. The only difference is in terrain, where the fighting in Lebanon was rural while in Gaza it’s urban.

    In Cast Lead the IDF was not ready to take on HAMAS after the beating it took in Lebanon, so they had pretty much kept their operations to a Chevauchée, a promenade of raiding and slaughtering civilians throughout GAZA than confronting the arch enemy. In Pillar of Defense the Israelis limited the IDF to a border demonstration, apparently not yet confident enough to take on HAMAS.

    Netanyahu and his staff may have made the decision that 8 years of retraining may have been enough to re-instill the martial spirit into the IDF that had become deficient for some two decades of occupation service in occupied lands. Armies that are tuned into turn-keys, jailers and oppressors of subject peoples destroys their martial elan & fighting capabilities, a fighting military such do not make.

    What will be interesting to me is if S/S Kerry and the international community negotiate a cease fire and then withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Gaza in the next week or so, or if Netanyahu decides to go for broke. Either outcome will tell volumes.

    • Yair July 20, 2014, 11:50 PM

      And 8 years after the war in Lebanon, Hizbollah are too scared to fight Israel, and have turned to killing Sunnis (which no one here sounds to concerned about).

      No doubt Hamas are trying to learn from Hizbollah, and they will hopefully learn the same lesson (for the good of their people – the people of Dahiya quarter have rebuilt themselves and do not want to see all that blown up again).

      • Elisabeth July 21, 2014, 3:21 AM

        Yair, as you are so concerned about the Sunni’s Hizbollah is killing, maybe you should write something about it….on your own website that will be devoted to the welfare of Lebanese Sunnis and the Dahiya quarter. Really, what are you doing here if that is where your real interest lies?

  • Clif Brown July 20, 2014, 7:01 PM

    Richard, I attended the pro-Palestinian demonstration today in Chicago. There were 2,000 to 3,000 people there, many with handmade signs. My favorite, because I think it is so accurate (and original) is possibly too graphic for you to want to have in the comments, but here it is: “Israel pisses on America and America says – ‘oh…it’s only raining.’ “

    • David July 20, 2014, 7:40 PM

      There was a “Stand Up for Israel” today in San Diego attended by maybe 500 or so staunch Zionists. Fortunately, Jewish Voice for Peace provided a counter-demonstration with the aid of Palestinian groups. At one point, some of the pro people were chanting “Death to Arabs” in Hebrew (I am told.) I am hoping to find video of this to discredit the whole Zionist network here.

      Another thing (off topic): If Zionism is the idea of Jews living in Israel and Israel has a ” demographic problem,” why are these hard-core Zionists not living in Israel?? It baffles me.

      • Daniel Rocha July 20, 2014, 8:39 PM

        They also could proselytize or try to marriage with as many as possible non-jews and keep the children in the faith.

      • RD Sultan July 20, 2014, 9:13 PM

        I’m no lawyer but if they did chant “death to Arabs,” they may have committed a crime.

        Encouraging violence, making threats or expressing fighting words are not protected by the first-amendment.

    • Richard Silverstein July 20, 2014, 8:11 PM

      @ Clif Brown: I first heard this joke in the film, Hester Street. That may mean it’s an old Yiddish joke–or maybe not. It went like this: “You can’t piss on my back and make me think it’s rain!”

  • Mary Hughes Thompson July 20, 2014, 7:42 PM

    Just when I hoped Bibi couldn’t go any lower, he comes up with this (in an interview with Wolf Blitzer today)
    “Hamas Wants To Pile Up ‘Telegenically Dead Palestinians.” I was up all night watching livestreaming of last night’s holocaust by a young couple in Gaza, personal friends who are newly married. On Twitter I saw hundreds of photographs pictures of victims, headless babies, eviscerated children & adults, streets flowing with blood, I find it obscene that this monster can refer to them as ‘Telegenically Dead” and claim their deaths are the result of Khamas’s desire to see as many of them as possible so he can use photographs of their corpses to get sympathy.
    I think Netanyahu shows signs of being criminally insane, and I fear for every man, woman & child in Gaza who is a potential victim of his madness.
    http://forward.com/articles/202436/netanyahu-hamas-wants-to-pile-up-telegenically/

  • ahhiyawa July 20, 2014, 8:21 PM

    Gaza crisis: Has a turning point been reached?
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-28394523

    An idea has been rattling around in my brain that HAMAS operational goal may have been to draw Israel’s IDF into an invasion of Gaza, and than lure it into a maze of prepared above & underground defenses. The above article spits that scenario out, which informs I’m not the only one wondering about HAMAS intentions.

    >…”Now the fighting is close-up and bitter and it’s taking a toll on the Israelis as well. This may well be exactly what Hamas military commanders wanted: to draw the Israeli forces into its prepared underground positions in a close urban environment, a difficult battleground for any modern army.”……”Israel’s fundamental goal in whatever remains of this operation will be to significantly disrupt this narrative.”<

    Netanyahu may have no alternative but to go for broke.

  • Arie Brand July 20, 2014, 8:59 PM

    Though in Holland they are very preoccupied with that Malaysian plane (which had 194 Dutch people on board and there is a major tussle to get some of the bodies back) there was yesterday a pro-Palestinian demonstration in Amsterdam by about 3,000 people. They were not only demonstrating against Israel but also against the main public broadcaster, the NOS, for the alleged one sidedness of its reporting. So last night the NOS did come up with the “Israeli side” , to be sure, but it was of people frolicking on the beach near Tel Aviv. Some of them were interviewed and made a point of saying how safe they felt there. One fellow hadn’t been called up yet and said he hoped it wouldn’t happen because he much preferred being there. Well that was “balance” of a kind.

  • Yair July 20, 2014, 10:44 PM

    I am glad you wrote about Hamas preventing its own people from fleeing Sajai’ya. That puts a nice balance on things. I would add that it does so because Hamas knows that the IDF, while using crude force is doing whatever it can to limit civilian deaths in this tragic situation. Many of the 13 deaths yesterday were caused by that exact restrain of power. Most other armies would have left Sajai’ya without going in, simply bombing every house (a la Syria, 2nd Iraq war, Kosovo) instead of sending ground tropps.

    You are IMHO opinion wrong on Bibi wanting a truce. Although public opinion in Israel is fickle, Bibi has widespread support to push Hamas closer to the brink. The 2nd Lebanon war was declared a failure after it ended and apparently it did the job on restraining the cowards from the Hezbollah, which were also fast to send their civilians to die for their war while their leaders hid in their bunkers. My gut feeling is that with the current state of Hamas isolation, they won’t be able to arm themselves the same way as they did prior to this war.

    • Arie Brand July 20, 2014, 11:22 PM

      The Dutch-Israeli military historian Martin van Creveld is, I understand, not too popular over there. However, according to Wikipedia some of his books are requirers reading for United States military officers. Here is a snippet of an interview originally published in the Dutch magazine Elsevier. It explains why Israelis don’t take to him. Though it is about an earlier stage of the conflict it has retained contemporary relevance:

      ” Interviewer: So Israel is beaten in advance?
       Creveld: On that I’ll quote Henry Kissinger: “In campaigns like this the antiterror forces lose, because they don’t win, and the rebels win by not losing.” That certainly applies here. I regard a total Israeli defeat as unavoidable. That will mean the collapse of the Israeli state and society. We’ll destroy ourselves.
       Interviewer: Is there any point to the recent Israeli military offensive?
       Creveld: This offensive is totally useless; it’s only further enraging the Palestinians.”

      http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article1154.htm

      • Yair July 20, 2014, 11:41 PM

        Quoting a persons opinion doesn’t make it a fact. It’s a person’s opinion. Let me give you my take on things:

        Israel will continue to live and prosper. A resolution will be found for the west bank which will see the withdrawal of Israel from most settlements and a land swap for the rest. The refugees will not return and will have to live with that. This will be made possible by the continued secular movement of the Palestinians there which value life over death.

        Gaza will continue to live in the middle ages, trapped between Israel, Egypt and Hamas (and possibly ISIS, cause you can’t keep a murderous Sunni down). They will keep claiming victory every time Israel pounds them to the ground, as it will continue to do every 2 years. Needless to say the people of Gaza will not question the wisdom of their ways and will waste away generation after generation.

        And you can quote me on that in future comments!

        • Arie Brand July 21, 2014, 1:05 AM

          Eerily reminiscent of white Afrikaner predictions. They too had “overwhelming military superiority” (including the Bomb).

          • Yair July 21, 2014, 1:14 AM

            Superficial does it. That’s definitely in line with the Palestinian way.

          • Deïr Yassin July 21, 2014, 3:14 AM

            @ Yair
            We haven’t seen you around here before (except if you’ve changed pen name)
            A quesion: are you sent here by Hasbara Central or are you ‘explaining’ as a private person ?

          • Yair July 21, 2014, 3:19 AM

            Private person. Do you prefer only people applauding the anti-Israeli rhetoric which makes life so simple? Don’t paint the full picture or you might see shades of grey…

          • Arie Brand July 21, 2014, 4:05 AM

            I wasn’t aware that Martin van Crefeld had degenerated into an apoplectic Colonel Blimp. But that too is what occupation does. It dehumanises the occupier.

            Look at this very recent discussion on Crosstalk.

            http://rt.com/shows/crosstalk/174288-israel-latest-invasion-gaza/

        • Elisabeth July 21, 2014, 3:38 AM

          …restrain of power….most other armies would have…the cowards from the Hezbollah…..send their civilians to die …..leaders hid in their bunkers…..
          That is all the usual stuff from the handbook. But in the second post we hear Yair’s own take on things and then it gets really funny. The best line to me was:
          “The refugees will not return and will have to live with that.”
          There’s the Israeli worldview for you in a nutshell. Completely egocentric.

          • Yair July 21, 2014, 3:42 AM

            It’s called realistic. Something you will never understand.

            Yes I think the refugees will not return. Just like many refugees in many parts of the world. If anyone would have cared about them they would have taken them out of their refugee camps. We are now talking about 3rd generation to refugees that have not improved at all, waiting for some miracle that will never happen.

          • Elisabeth July 21, 2014, 4:10 AM

            ” If anyone would have cared about them they would have taken them out of their refugee camps.”
            There you go again! This is just unbelievable.
            YOU put them there. But THEY have to take them out if THEY care.

            And always claiming to be morally above everyone else. Sure…

          • Donald July 21, 2014, 6:02 AM

            Elisabeth, he can’t help it. Cognitive dissonance on moral issues is absolutely central to any defense of Israel’s actions. In the real world, obviously the Arab side has committed many crimes and so has the Israeli side–in fact, Israel couldn’t exist as a Jewish “democracy” without expelling hundreds of thousands of people. Yet they want to be seen as a wonderful democracy with human rights. It can’t be done, so rather than be honest about the crimes of both sides, they simply place the blame for their crimes on the Arabs.

            If they were honest, they’d have to face up to some excruciating dilemmas. It’s easier to lie.

        • Daniel Rocha July 21, 2014, 4:53 AM

          Clearly, it’s not Gaza that is living in the middle ages. They live in the contemporaneous age, in an actual system of repression. It’s Israel that lives in the middle ages, since they are the ones that living as vassals of US.

          So, actually it is Israel that is more and more digging itself in the middle ages.

          • sean doyle July 21, 2014, 11:00 AM

            I can understand why nations might want nuclear weapons in the middle east. That way you dont get pushed around by Israel

  • Arie Brand July 20, 2014, 11:24 PM

    typo: required reading

  • Stretch July 21, 2014, 2:23 AM

    In Lebanon 2006 Israel told civilians to leave southern Lebanon and then attacked them as they tried to flee. And Hezbollah wasn’t hiding in any bunker when Israel lost 26 soldiers and then quickly called it quits.

    • Yair July 21, 2014, 2:58 AM

      Do you have any proof to this account? If Israel wanted these people dead wouldn’t it be easier to bomb them in their houses?

      Is there no end to propaganda lies?

      • Donald July 21, 2014, 6:07 AM

        Human Rights Watch did thorough studies of the war crimes of both sides in the 2006 war. And yes, Israel told people in southern Lebanon to flee and pretended to believe that anyone left was a legitimate target. And they also attacked some vehicles containing civilians that were fleeing.

        Here’s a link to the pdf file

        HRW report

        The usual hasbara response to any and all human rights groups is to say that they are biased against Israel. If anything, HRW leans over backwards to give the Israelis the benefit of a doubt.

      • Elisabeth July 21, 2014, 7:16 AM

        Is there no en to YOUR propaganda and lies Yair?
        How do you explain this? Or is it Palestinians shooting their own people to make Israel look bad?

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBakqLUBWP0

        • Elisabeth July 21, 2014, 8:42 AM

          Hello Yair, are you there?
          Or do you need new instructions now that this video is out?

          • leeor July 21, 2014, 1:25 PM

            @Elisabeth, and that video shows what exactly? A guy walks in the middle of a combat zone, a shot is heard, several seconds are cut out, and he is instantly transferred ~3-4 meters away from where he was standing – what happened in between? was he doing something that could mark him out as a threat?). Meanwhile some yellow vested people are standing a few meters away, completely disregarding the shots from the mysterious sniper, who is naturally never seen.

            Seriously, there are some horrible videos out there, and a lot of blame exchanging by both sides – if you want to make a claim you’ll need something concrete. Israeli snipers may indeed mistakenly fire at suspected characters (i’ve heard of Hamas fighters hiding as civilians, even wearing women clothing – wouldn’t be too far fetched as we know they’ve worn IDF uniform when attempting to infiltrate through the tunnel this morning), but that doesn’t prove IDF would intentionally fire innocents.

          • Elisabeth July 21, 2014, 2:34 PM

            Walks in the middle of a combat zone (there was a cease fire) …Hamas people dressed up as women (right)…. several seconds are cut out (as in the Nakba Day shootings?)….doing something that could mark him out as a threat (empty handed guy, brave IDF indeed) ….the sniper was never seen (duh)…a lot of blame exchanging by both sides…(that line is definitely from Hasbara Central).
            Anything else?
            Look up the comment by the people who were there. This video will not go away.

  • Stretch July 21, 2014, 3:06 AM

    Yair – you don’t happen to be working for the “Israel under fire” project, do you?

    • Yair July 21, 2014, 3:16 AM

      Nope. I’m a private Israel citizen. I like Richard’s blog because I like to get the full scope of opinions and occasionally agree with some of his points (avid Al-Jazeera reader as well). Why are you so surprised?

      • Elisabeth July 21, 2014, 3:40 AM

        You ‘like’ Richard’s blog? And for how long have you been an ‘avid’ Al Jazeera reader? For just as long as you have been commenting here?

        • Yair July 21, 2014, 3:43 AM

          Do I need to explain myself to you? Believe what you want. Your world view is too flat for an intelligent discussion.

          • Elisabeth July 21, 2014, 4:13 AM

            I guess my worldview puts too many moral demands on you for you to handle the discussion.

  • Arie Brand July 21, 2014, 5:31 AM

    Though Richard will tick me off for being off topic if I elaborate too much on this I just want to point out that there are indeed amazing parallels between the Afrikaner and Israeli case. This led in the 70s and 80s to very pally relations in which intelligence was shared and weaponry was exchanged. South African Jewry was at that time, by and large supporting the Apartheid regime though there were exceptions of which Helen Suzman (who didn’t identify as a Jew) is the most well known.

    Another Jewish activist against the Apartheid regime was Ronnie Kasrils who came to visit the Palestinian territories in 2004. He mainly saw the differences with Apartheid.

    “. “This is much worse than apartheid,” he said. “The Israeli measures, the brutality, make apartheid look like a picnic. We never had jets attacking our townships. We never had sieges that lasted month after month. We never had tanks destroying houses. We had armoured vehicles and police using small arms to shoot people but not on this scale.” “

  • Ahhiyawa July 21, 2014, 5:35 AM

    When the ‘Council On Foreign Relations’ (CFR), no friend of Palestinians or HAMAS and a cheerleader for the Israelis declares on the front page of their website: “HOW HAMAS HAS WON”, informs that there is in fact something to this growing stampede in the international community to stop Israeli aggression. It may be that Netanyahu (ever the chameleon) plays the hard ass in public, but in private is begging his patrons and allies to save himself and Israel from a disastrous course of action that has spiraled out of control.

    http://www.foreignaffairs.com/

  • Arie Brand July 21, 2014, 6:56 AM

    “As to how we got to where we are, the general context is perfectly obvious for anyone who wants to see it. A unity government was formed between the PA and Hamas. Netanyahu was enraged at this unity government. It called on the U.S., it called on the EU, to break relations with the Palestinian Authority. Surprisingly, the United States said, “No, we’re going to give this unity government time. We’ll see whether it works or not.” Then the EU came in and said it will also give the unity government time. “Let’s see. Let’s see what happens.”
    At this point, Netanyahu virtually went berserk, and he was determined to break up the unity government. When there was the abduction of the three Israeli teenagers, he found his pretext. There isn’t a scratch of evidence, not a jot of evidence, that Hamas had anything to do with the kidnappings and the killings. Nobody even knows what the motive was, to this point.

    But that had nothing to do with it. It was just a pretext. The pretext was to go into the West Bank, attack Hamas, arrest 700 members of Hamas, blow up two homes, carry on these rampages, these ransackings, and to try to evoke a reaction from Hamas.
    This is what Israel always does. Anybody who knows the history, it’s what the Israeli political scientist, the mainstream political scientist—name was Avner Yaniv—he said it’s these Palestinian “peace offensives.” Whenever the Palestinians seem like they are trying to reach a settlement of the conflict, which the unity government was, at that point Israel does everything it can to provoke a violent reaction—in this case, from Hamas—break up the unity government, and Israel has its pretext. “

    http://truth-out.org/news/item/24996-after-palestinian-unity-deal-did-israel-spark-violence-to-prevent-a-new-peace-offensive

  • Adriana July 21, 2014, 7:17 AM

    Just read that Hizbullah is saying that they will give a help to Hamas.
    Bibi is (sorry to say like that) f…
    18 soldiers dead, 1 soldier captured, international community shocked. Do not know if it can be called a sucessful operation.
    seems a complete desaster.
    no hasbara war room can deal with that.

  • ckg July 21, 2014, 7:24 AM

    Guardian is now (filed Monday 21 July 2014 08.22 EDT) reporting: “Meanwhile, army spokesman Peter Lerner said the IDF could not rule out the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier by Hamas, despite denials late on Sunday by the Israeli ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor. Investigations were continuing, the IDF said.”

    • Richard Silverstein July 21, 2014, 8:09 PM

      @ ckg: Thank you. Very important statement. Hamas definitely has Oron, based on Lerner’s statement. This guy wouldn’t say anything remotely like this unless Hamas captured him.

      • Hey July 21, 2014, 9:30 PM

        [comment deleted: next attempt at snark & you’re gone.]

  • donald July 21, 2014, 7:51 AM

    I know you’ve had your differences with some at the Mondoweiss blog, Richard, but here’s a superb article that deserves more exposure.

    link

    The gist of it is that Pam Bailey interviewed many Gazans (dozens, I think) and found that most rejected the notion of a ceasefire unless the blockade is lifted. They’re not sheep being held prisoner by Hamas, though no doubt many of them dislike Hamas. But they feel that the deaths and injuries they’ve suffered will be meaningless unless the blockade is ended.

  • Danny July 21, 2014, 9:46 AM

    Richard, what does your Israeli source say about Shaul Oron? Hamas claims he has been captured, but Israel’s U.N. envoy says he hasn’t. Meanwhile, complete silence from the army and government. I’m inclined to believe Hamas.

    If it turns out that they did manage to take a soldier P.O.W., it’s a major coup for Hamas and a technical victory for them. Maybe that’s why we havn’t heard anything out of official Israel about this – they don’t want to admit defeat quite yet.

    • Richard Silverstein July 21, 2014, 11:17 AM

      Oron was one of the 13 soldiers killed yesterday. Hamas only has his dog tag. Not his body alive or dead.

  • D. Morgan July 21, 2014, 10:06 AM

    Netanyahu will go to any lengths to maintain his ideal status quo of “peace without peace” (what we are witnessing is the without peace part). Apparently by his calculus it is worth the lives of several hundred Palestinians and several IDF soldiers (and counting) to prevent crude rocket attacks which, while disruptive and disconcerting, have claimed one life. There is no military solution to Gaza and the presence of Hamas there (unless Bibi goes all in on a full invasion and subsequent occupation, and I doubt he intends to). Even if every rocket and every tunnel is destroyed, and every militant is killed, the situation will remain untenable and lead inexorably to more violence. But of course Israel has the right to defend itself…and to undermine it’s long term interests when it does so.

  • Charles Davis July 21, 2014, 10:22 AM

    I’m reading “The Good Spy” by Kai Bird, about the CIA officer who ran a US-PLO back-channel dialogue in the 1970s when that was strictly forbidden. Are we to believe that Kerry doesn’t have something like that going on now with Hamas?

    • oui July 21, 2014, 8:44 PM

      Obama is obviously envious of the decision making ability and backing Netanyahu got from his cabinet and the Knesset. Obama is nearly applauding the israeli military effort in Gaza. Isn’t Qatar the only option, together with Erdogan’s Turkey, to have some leverage with Hamas for truce negotiations?

  • Joseph Escamillo July 24, 2014, 8:45 PM

    Imagine that an Indian tribe in the Canada strip is angry, because your great grandfather had kicked their great grandfathers from the buffalo hunting grounds, which are now an 8-lane highway. So they are lobbing missiles into every city in the North West, targeting kindergartens and heavy downtown areas. They hide the missile launches (smuggled for them frmo North Korea) in schools, clinics, and hospitals.
    Why? Because they want their land back, and hate you.
    The U.N. Human Rights Commissioner (a Stri-lankan Tamil) urges “restraint.”
    What would you do?
    And how long do you think it would take, before the President would order– with sorrow yes– a few dozen F-16’s to flatten out the rocketeers? A month? A week? Two days?
    Some may castigate the pilots. But, as one of them said to the TV broadcaster, Someone must sacrifice his conscience and do the necessary dreck, so that the rest of you feinschmeckers can afford a clean one.

    • Richard Silverstein July 25, 2014, 12:01 AM

      @ Joseph Escamillo: I’m glad you wrote such a ridiculous comment. Yes, it’s hasbara & I did promise that moronic comments of this sort would be moderated. But your comment is a model of its kind and should be seen to be believed. Keep up the “good work.” At this rate, you’ll have everyone who thought to support Israel scurrying away from you as fast as their legs can carry them!

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