Today’s Top Stories
1. After a rocket a landed in Ramallah last night, the Globe & Mail‘s Patrick Martin suggests that Hamas deliberately fired at the PA.
The notion that Palestinian militants in Gaza might fire on Palestinian authorities in Ramallah is certainly a new twist to the six-day rocket war being waged between Israel and militant Palestinian groups in Gaza led by Hamas.
But it’s not out of the question. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has blasted the Hamas leadership on two occasions this week for what he considers to be its irresponsible rocket attacks on Israel.
2. The Palestinian representative to the UN Human Rights Council says there’s no chance of the PLO successfully pressing war crimes charges against Israel in the International Criminal Court. That’s because Hamas rocket fire is much worse. Laurie Blank made the same point in The Hill, but its much more powerful coming from Ibrahim Khreisheh. This is a terrific heads up by MEMRI.
3. According to a UN report (pdf format) on the Gaza conflict, 77 percent of the Palestinian casualties are civilians. But what AFP, BBC and The Independent‘s coverage don’t tell you is that the document specifically stated that most of the Gaza casualties received advance warning:
In most cases, prior to the attacks, residents have been warned to leave, either via phone calls by the Israel military or by the firing of warning missiles.
4. Carpet Bombing Gaza: If a France 24 correspondent is to be believed, Palestinian casualties should be a lot higher.
5. Israel Not to Blame: False Photo Caption Corrected: HonestReporting corrects the record.
Israel and the Palestinians
• For details on the weekend news, see today’s liveblogging at the Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, Times of Israel, and i24 News. See also Friday’s live-blog posts at the same papers. Among the more notable developments:
• Raising concerns of a second front, Katyusha rockets were fired at Israel from Lebanon this morning and on on Friday making the Western Galilee a target for the first time since Operation Protective Edge began.
• Palestinians in Gaza scored their deepest rocket strike with a hit near Nahariya, which is on the Lebanese border. That’s a distance of 170 km. More at the Jerusalem Post.
• At a Friday news conference, Prime Minister Netanyahu discussed the Gaza conflict. Although the media event had two things going against Bibi — Friday’s a lousy day in the news cycle, and the prime minister only spoke in Hebrew — David Horovitz says Bibi’s remarks on the collapse of te peace talks and US mediation deserved more attention from the press corps.
• The IDF Spokesperson’s unit said it’s looking into why the air force launched an air strike on a center for disabled Palestinians. One Gazan shed some light for The Independent:
The centre for the disabled had been in Gaza for 24 years, and survived the many episodes of strife in those years between the Israelis and the Palestinians. But the organisation moved to the present location three years ago and one neighbour stated that a member of the Islamic Jihad group and his family had also once lived in the building, although he was not sure about their current whereabouts.
• Memo to Ben Wedeman and CNN: Gaza’s lack of bomb shelters is unfortunate, but instead of spinning the Palestinians as being passive victims to Israeli airstrikes (“This is Gaza. And there is no escape.”), how about asking why are there no bomb shelters? Where did all the concrete go?
• Reuters had a decent video on Israel’s “knock on the roof” strategy.
• Since Hamas already has bunkers underneath Al-Shifa Hospital, what makes international human shields at another Gaza medical facility (who talked to Haaretz, CNN, and the Times of London) so sure the Islamists aren’t capable of hiding assets under the Al-Wafa Medical Rehabilitation Hospital too?
• Is it any wonder that Palestinian women and children die in airstrikes when Hamas stores rocket launchers next to schools? In this IDF video, a rocket on the ground was discharged after the Israeli air strike.
• YNet: Israeli ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor, made Security Council deliberations a little more memorable by playing a recording of an air raid siren, reminding diplomats that Hamas
is “intentionally and indiscriminately” threatening 3.5 million Israelis and “no nation, no people and no government could tolerate this.”
• In a dispatch from Gaza, the Washington Post‘s William Booth notes the difficulty of labeling casualties as “civilian” or “Hamas.”
Are the Nawasrah family members terrorists? I honestly don’t know. We always ask, “Are you resistance? Are you Hamas?” They usually say no. But sometimes a neighbor, or someone in the crowd, will tell us that the fellow who lived in the house was maybe a Hamas operative.
The projectiles were apparently meant to be used in attacks against Israel from the peninsula.
• Here’s the latest outrageous false photo shenanigans on Facebook. Palestine photos posted a still shot from the 2009 horror movie, Final Destination 4, saying the IDF’s killing children in Gaza. IDC Student Union poked fun at Palestine photo’s idiocy with this video that includes the original movie scene. Reminds me of the time Iran’s Press TV illustrated an article about Hurricane Sandy with an image from the New York tsunami scene in The Day After Tomorrow.
• Israeli commandos raided a Hamas rocket facility. The brief incursion marked the first use of Israeli ground forces.
• Not that this is Israel’s biggest priority right now, but Erdogan’s being Erdogan again:
• Hamas is taking a beating in the Arab media. YNet rounds up who said what.
• If you haven’t seen it yet, CNN‘s Jake Tapper made a fool out of former PLO official Diane Buttu.
• Best commentary of the day goes to Tom Doran. Writing at The Independent (yes), Doran explains why — as a liberal — he’s supporting Israel in the current crisis:
A part of me is tempted to voice my very real concerns about where Israeli society is headed, but after a week or two of arguing with people who will do anything but recognize terrorist aggression has dissuaded me.
I still have those concerns, but somehow, I just can’t bring myself to talk about them. Not while my Israeli comrades are rushing to their bomb shelters and being blamed for it at the same time.
I stand with Israel.
• In a Daily Telegraph podcast, Tim Stanley discusses the Gaza crisis with the paper’s chief correspondent David Blair, BICOM’s Alan Johnson, and Chris Doyle of the Council for Arab-British Understanding.
• For more commentary/analysis, see Jeffrey Goldberg (Is Hamas trying to get Gazans killed?), Aaron David Miller (5 myths of the Gaza crisis), Mark Kersten (Intervention by The Hague no Palestinian panacea), Josh Rogin (US should avoid mediating this), Thane Rosenbaum (Numbers don’t tell the story), Gary Rosenblatt (smacking down the NY Times), Jeremy Havardi (Is Israel being disproportionate?), and Ari Shavit (War clouds over my sons’ future). The broken quills and spilled ink continue with Elliott Abrams, Mordechai Kedar, Alan Dershowitz, Daniel Pipes, the Daily Telegraph, National Post, and a staff-ed in The Australian.
• Israeli diplomats are appearing in various newspapers, including Ambassador Ron Dermer (Q&A with Voice of America, and a conference call with Washington Post participation), Mark Regev (on CNN and BBC), and Consul General Meir Shlomo (Houston Chronicle op-ed).