we ran an exposé from an ex-jihadi commander yesterday saying morsi had promised land in sinai to the gazans; i think that was cover for an actual promise by sisi

Gaza death toll hits 172 as Israel campaign enters 7th day
AFP, Jul 14 2014

GAZA CITY – Israeli strikes on Gaza claimed the lives of a man and a woman early on Monday, medics said, raising the overall death toll to 172 as the campaign entered its seventh day. Both died of injuries sustained in Israeli air strikes on Sunday, when another eight people were killed. Late on Sunday, Israeli strikes killed a 65-year old man in Deir el-Balah, in the southern part of the strip, a 20-year-old in Rafah adjacent to the Egyptian border, and two in Khan Yunis, also in the south. One strike on the northern town of Jabaliya struck a house, killing a 14-year-old boy, emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said.

160 Dead in Gaza, over 1,000 Injured
Mariano Castillo, Karim Khadder, Tal Heinrich, Khalil Abd’allah, Yon Pomrenze, Talal Abu Rahma, Faith Karimi, CNN, Jul 12 2014

This is so full of detail, I have decided to include it even though it is 2 days old, from Saturday. By the way, CNN now belongs to Time-Warner, but this appeared on a Fox channel. Incestuous, isn’t it? – RB

The language of war leaves something lost in translation. Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon on Saturday spoke of “achievements” and the destruction of “significant targets” in his country’s airstrikes against Hamas targets in Gaza. But on the ground in Gaza, sources talked with CNN not about military targets, but about hospitals pushed to the brink, dead or distressed children, and airstrikes that struck water infrastructure. Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdan, told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer:

No one is talking about the Plastelinan civilians. When you bring up this story, no one is ready to listen. But when it came to Israelis, everyone is taking care and everyone is talking.

Though a full-scale invasion has not occurred, Israeli military forces went into Gaza for half an hour early Sunday and raided a long-range missile launching site, an Israeli military source told CNN. Gunfire was exchanged and four Israeli soldiers were lightly injured, the source said, adding that the mission was accomplished. The death toll from the airstrikes on Gaza this week has topped 160, Ashraf al-Qidra, a spokesman for the Gaza Health Ministry, said early Sunday. More than 1,100 people have been injured. On Saturday, at least 23 people were killed in Israeli airstrikes, said security and medical sources in Gaza. An official at Shifa Hospital told CNN that the morgue there was now full. One airstrike targeted the house of the head of the Gaza police, Tayseer al-Batsh, and killed at least 15 people and injured an unknown number of others, security sources in Gaza told CNN. Aqsa TV showed rescuers frantically digging for survivors. The airstrikes hit the house, which is next to a mosque. The sources say that some of the casualties had been in evening prayers at the mosque. And, an Israeli airstrike hit a facility housing the disabled, killing two women, the health ministry said Saturday. The IDF said it was looking into that claim. Four Israeli airstrikes hit the Arafat Police complex in Gaza city early Sunday, shaking nearby buildings, including the offices of CNN and other media. The Israeli military is telling residents of northern Gaza to evacuate their homes for their own safety, CNN correspondent Ben Wedemen reported Saturday. The IDF says it uses phone calls and drops empty shells on roofs, which it calls “roof knocking,” to warn civilians that airstrikes are imminent.

Concerns about a ground invasion by Israeli forces are growing. The UNSC on Saturday called for a de-escalation and cease-fire between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants. Israel’s stated mission is to get Hamas militants to stop firing rockets into Israel, something that has not happened. Even after days of bombardments from Israeli jets, more than 36 rockets were fired from Gaza on Saturday, and the sun had not even set. Two of those rockets were intercepted by Israeli air defense, and 34 struck Israel. The IDF said at least two rockets fired from Lebanon hit open areas north of coastal Nahariya, but no damage or injuries were reported. Israel asserts its right to defend itself, and so far the Hamas rockets have caused no deaths. Ya’alon said:

Achievements are accumulating in terms of the price that Hamas is paying, and we are continuing to destroy significant targets belonging to Hamas and other terrorist organizations. Hamas is suffering from severe blows and is causing severe damage to its people.

Hamas frames the current conflict as a defensive fight. Hamdan said:

What about the right for the Plastelinans to protect themselves to protect their people? The international solution is asking Israel to leave but they’re not doing that.

More than 500 homes in Gaza have been destroyed or severely damaged, more than 3,000 Plastelinans are displaced, and hundreds of thousands have been affected by damage to water infrastructure, a spokesman for UNRWA told CNN. Electricity is knocked out in major areas of Gaza City, and at least one major line was struck, repaired and promptly struck again, spokesman Chris Gunness said. Nine UNRWA schools have been damaged, he said. On Saturday, some UMRWA warehouses caught on fire, but the cause was a militant rocket that fell short and struck on Plastelinan territory. At least 28 Plastelinan children have lost their lives in the recent fighting, and others are beginning to show signs of mental distress, said Catherine Weibel, communications chief for UNICEF. Israel says that as of Saturday, its military has attacked 1,220 “terror targets,” including 632 launchers, 130 military camps, 106 items of “terror infrastructure” and 220 tunnels. That level of specificity has little meaning in Gaza, where a public utility official told CNN that water, not terror, infrastructure has been hit. Two Gaza water wells took direct hits Saturday, Gaza director of public water Maher Salem said. These water sources, which supply water to 27,000 people, “no longer exist,” he said. Though some Israelis have been wounded, none have been killed by the hundreds of rockets fired by Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza. Israel’s Iron Dome defense system has intercepted dozens of rockets, helping keep fatalities at bay. Neither Hamas nor Israel appear to be backing down, prompting fears of a ground invasion by the latter. Netanyahu left all possibilities open, saying the international community will not influence his actions against Hamas. He reiterated that there is one path to a cease-fire: the cessation of attacks from Gaza. The language seems clear: each side demands the other to stop, but it seems the two sides can’t hear each other while they have their hands pressed on the “launch” button.

In another incident Saturday, an Israeli airstrike killed six Plastelinans in Gaza City, according to local medical sources. An Israeli airstrike hit a group of people near Khan Younis, killing a young girl and injuring five others, according to medical and security sources in Gaza. Attackers in Gaza opened fire and damaged an IDF vehicle patrolling the security fence in northern Gaza, the IDF said. On Saturday, not all of the rockets fired from Gaza landed in Israel. At least two rockets hit open areas in the West Bank. The IDF reported that it has called up more than 35,600 reservists. They are authorized to call up to 40,000. As concerns of a ground invasion by Israeli forces grow, foreigners in Gaza are planning their exit. One of the only crossing points between Israel and Gaza, at Erez, has received about 800 requests by civilians with foreign citizenship to leave, officials there told CNN. The 800 requests have come in over the past three days and have been approved, a crossing official said. That figure includes about 300 Usaians, though that number is unofficial, the source said. (I have already reported that they were scheduled to evacuate via Erez on Sunday morning, and presumably they have done so – RB). Medical sources described overcrowded emergency rooms in Gaza and dwindling stocks of medicine, a situation that mirrored Syrian hospitals at the height of its civil war. At one damaged hospital, eight activists formed a human shield in an attempt to protect it. The activists who formed a human shield are from various countries, including Usaia, Venezuela, Belgium, Britain and Switzerland, said Dr Basman al-Ashi, executive director of the al-Wafa hospital. He said the hospital caters to patients who need 24-hour care, and thus cannot evacuate them. Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza are believed to have about 10,000 rockets of varying ranges, according to the Israeli military. Israel has said some 3.5 million residents live in areas within reach of the rockets.

Israeli commandos in dawn raid after Gaza suffers deadliest night
Al-Jazeera Usaia, Jul 13 2014

Israeli marines clashed with Hamas gunmen (the enemies of Usrael are always just ‘gunmen’, like they were the Capone gang – RB) Sunday in the first reported ground incursion in the latest Gaza offensive. It follows a heavy night of violence during which 18 members of the same family were killed in the deadliest single attack on the besieged enclave in days of shelling. A Plastelinan woman and a girl aged 3 were killed in Israeli raids early on Sunday, Gaza’s Health Ministry said. Hours earlier, the ministry said the house of Gaza’s police chief was bombed from the air, resulting in many casualties. The Israeli army said at least four soldiers were lightly injured on Sunday, as they attacked a site in northern Gaza the army said was being used to launch long-range rockets. Giving details of the naval commando operation early on Sunday, IDF spokesman Lt-Col Lerner said four members of the force were wounded in exchanges of fire with Hamas fighters. Hamas said its fighters had fired at the Israeli force offshore, preventing them from landing in northwest Gaza. Lerner said the forces had completed their mission. Following the operation, Israel later dropped leaflets on northern Gaza urging residents to leave the area, ahead of an expected wider attack on the area. A leaflet dropped by the Israeli military in the town of Beit Lahiya, where 70,000 Plastelinans live, read:

Those who fail to comply with the instructions will endanger their lives and the lives of their families. Beware.

Civilians in three of its 10 neighborhoods were warned to evacuate their residences and move south, deeper into the Gaza Strip, by midnight. In response to the warning, thousands fled their homes Sunday, the sixth day of an offensive that Plastelinan officials say has killed at least 160 people, including about 135 civilians, among them some 30 children. More than 1,000 have been wounded, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry. The Gaza Interior Ministry, in a statement on Hamas radio, dismissed the Israeli warnings as psychological warfare and instructed those who left their homes to return and others to stay put. The warnings cited roads that residents could use safely and said Israeli forces intended to attack “every area from where rockets are being launched.” The Israeli military did not say in the leaflet whether the strike would include ground troops. It was the first time Israel had warned Plastelinans to vacate dwellings in such a wide area. Previous warnings, by telephone or so-called “knock-on-the-door” missiles without explosive warheads, had been directed at individual homes slated for attack. At least 4,000 people fled Beit Lahiya and crowded into eight UN-run schools in Gaza City on Sunday, a spokesman for UNRWA said. Some arrived on donkey carts filled with children, luggage and mattresses, while others came by car or taxi. One man, still in his pajamas, said some residents had received phone calls warning them to clear out. Salem Abu Halima, a 25-yr-old father of two, said:

What could we do? We had to run in order to save the lives of our children.

Despite mounting international pressure to cease fire, hostilities showed no signs of abating. A Hamas source commenting on the air strike against the police chief’s home on Saturday said the officer, Taysir al-Batsh, was in critical condition. All of those killed in the air strike, which television footage showed was reduced to piles of rubble, were members of the police chief’s family. Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesman for the Gaza Health Ministry, said 45 people were wounded in the bombing. On Sunday morning, a long-range salvo triggered air raid sirens at Tel Aviv airport, where flights have been operating normally. In the southern town of Ashkelon, an Israeli teenager was wounded on Sunday by a rocket, emergency services said. On Saturday night, Hamas fighters made good on a threat to send rockets streaking toward Tel Aviv and other areas in central Israel. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis sought shelter from the launchings, the biggest strike yet on the Tel Aviv metropolitan area. Those rockets and the ones unleashed on Sunday were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system. The Israeli military said no one has been killed by the more than 800 rockets fired at Israel since the offensive began. Israel has consistently warned that a ground invasion of Gaza was an option, and mobilized more than 20,000 reservists to do so, but most attacks have so far been from the air. Israel said it has carried out 1,320 attacks on Gaza “command centers,” which have included homes. Plastelinan residents say some of the dwellings hit in the attacks did not belong to Hamas fighters and that attacks on homes have caused numerous civilian casualties. Israel’s north also came under rocket fire late on Saturday, from Lebanon. Hamas, which is not known to have a presence in southern Lebanon, claimed responsibility for the attack, which Israel suspects was launched by other Plastelinan fighters. After three rockets landed, causing no damage or casualties, Israeli artillery fired into Lebanon, the military said.

Still no green light for ground operation in Gaza
Attila Somfalvi, Yoav Zitun, Ynet, Jul 14 2014

The IDF presented the security cabinet with a few possibilities for a ground offensive in the Gaza Strip over the past few days, and was waiting for the green light from the government. But the security cabinet decided not to approve the entrance of IDF ground troops to Gaza on Sunday, with such an authorization depending on future events. For the time being, the security cabinet decided to continue mobilizing troops while persisting in carrying out aerial attacks. The options being explored include the entrance of thousands of ground troops, armored corps and engineering forces to the Strip. All of these forces have already been deployed to the Gaza border. A senior government official said:

As long as the forces on the border of the Strip increase in number, the chances of a ground operation increase as well. The operation will eventually end one way or another. The terrorists will not agree to relinquish their arms.

A senior IDF source said:

The operation did not start in order to bring about the collapse of Hamas, but rather in order to restore peace to the south. We’re taking every necessary step to differentiate the Strip from the West Bank, in order to maintain the understandings reached at the end of the 2012 Operation Pillar of Defense. In the future, we want to see Hamas as a weakened sovereign in the Strip without any offensive capabilities. All of the possibilities are being presented to the political echelon, and it must decide how to proceed. The dilemma is what to strike and when, and the objective is to hurt the least amount of innocent people. As far as international law is concerned, there’s some leeway in hurting a certain amount of innocent people in any operation to thwart terrorism, and we do the best we can to prevent that.

Even though the cabinet authorized the IDF to call up 48,000 reservists, so far only 40,000 have been called up, most of them for reserve battalions that will free up conscript battalions to deploy in Gaza.

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