Gaza Conflict Day 16: Ben Gurion Flights Suspended

Today’s Top Stories

1. Foreign airline carriers — all of them — suspended flights to and from Ben Gurion Airport. According to Globes, only Israel’s three airlines — El Al, Arkia, and Israir are “continuing routine operations.” This came after a Hamas rocket struck a house in Yehud, a Tel Aviv suburb five km (three miles) from the airport complex. As a result, Ovda Airport near Eilat will replace Ben Gurion for now.

Israeli officials say the bans amount to rewarding terror, but AP notes that the aviation world is jittery after the downing of a Malaysian Airlines passenger jet over Ukraine. The Christian Science Monitor explains what the airport means to Israel:

Imagine if the United States had only one airport and that driving in and out of the country wasn’t really an option. That should give you an idea of how important Ben Gurion Airport is to both Israel’s economy and its sense of national well-being . . .


The last time major international carriers suspended flights to and from Tel Aviv was in 1991, ahead of and during the first Gulf War, when Saddam Hussein lobbed Scud missiles towards Israel.

El Al


2. According to Arab media reports picked up by the Jerusalem Post, the wife, kids and grandchildren of Mahmoud Abbas left Ramallah for Jordan, and the PA has boosted the Palestinian chief’s personal security. Time to dust off the Jordanian passport?

The departure of Abbas’s family and the tight security measures came in response to growing resentment among Palestinians with the PA president and his policies in wake of the Israeli military operation against Hamas.


Over the past two weeks, many Palestinians have accused Abbas of failing to display strong leadership in light of the operation. Some have gone as far as accusing him of collusion with Israel and Egypt.

3. Following gun and anti-tank fire from the compound, the IDF destroyed an empty Wafa Hospital in Gaza’s Shajaiyeh neighborhood. IDF footage included a recording of the warning telephone call, and clear secondary explosions after the airstrike. More on the story at YNet and Times of Israel.

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4. Foreign Journalists Acknowledge Hamas’ Human Shield Tactics: Buried in quite a few media reports are examples of Hamas embedding itself among civilians.

5. Christiane Amanpour’s Terrible Timeline Tweet: Where has the CNN reporter been the last few weeks?

6. Framing Israel for the War: The blame-Israel brigades are back.

7. VIDEO: Free Speech in Gaza: Do reporters honestly believe that Palestinians are happy being used as “human shields” by Hamas?

Operation Protective Edge

• For details on today’s developments, see live-blogs at the Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, Times of Israel, and i24 News. As the day began, the army reported that 2,160 rockets and mortars have been fired at Israel since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge. Among the more notable developments:

• According to Israeli media reports, hospitalized soldiers report that they encountered Hamas gunmen literally charging at them while holding babies, and that young children were sent out with guns to attack as well.

Parents of wounded soldiers spoke to Kol Yisrael on Tuesday and shared some of the disturbing stories they had heard from their sons. They said soldiers have repeatedly seen young children in Sheijaya, Gaza, be sent out into the streets with guns to try to attack IDF troops.


One parent reported that terrorists had run at IDF soldiers with a gun in one hand and a baby in the other, apparently in hopes that the soldiers would see the child and hold their fire. If soldiers fired, the parent added, the child’s death could be used as propaganda against Israel.

• Jerusalem Post: A foreign worker from Thailand was killed when a mortar hit a hot house near Ashkelon.


Blankfeld Award


• The Abbas-led PLO backs Hamas’ conditions for ceasefire. More at Reuters.

• The UNRWA discovered missiles in another one of its schools — for the second time in less than a week.

• An EU statement denounced Hamas for using human shields and called for “all terrorist groups in Gaza” (yes, terrorist was the EU’s language) to be disarmed. More at the Jerusalem Post.

• Nice CNN look at the issue of Hamas using human shields.

•  The Palestinians are pushing for a UN Human Rights Council inquiry into “violations of  human rights and humanitarian law.” UNHRC commissioner Navi Pillay knows the next step in this diplomatic dance, as this Sky News headline makes clear. Can we call it Goldstone Report: The Sequel?

Sky News
•  Nice BBC background piece on Gaza tunnels by Bar Ilan University’s Dr. Eado Hecht. I also liked a similar New York Times backgrounder.

• Israel’s ambassador to Germany told the Daily Mail that the anti-Semitism on the streets was comparable to 1938 Nazi Germany. Meanwhile, an imam in Berlin is under investigation for giving an incendiary sermon:

He urged God “to destroy the Zionist Jews … to kill every last one of them and not have pity on any of them … Shake the ground under their feet, make them suffer.”

• Paris is bracing for another pro-Gaza demonstration after government accepts “security guarantees” from organizers.

• In Memoriam: The 29 soldiers who gave their lives to protect Israel

Media Angles

• British MP David Ward may be disciplined by the Liberal Democrat party over a nasty little tweet he posted last night. Background at Sky News.

David Ward

• Michael Wolffsohn (Deutsche Welle) on Gaza photojournalism:

Simply speaking, guerrilla fighters, like those of Hamas, abuse their own civilians as hostages. That way, the enemy – in this case Israel and its army and civilians – who has more military clout, is meant to be morally and politically sapped.


Meanwhile, the guerrilla group, in this case Hamas, wins over the hearts and minds of millions of people watching the horrific images on television. These images are extremely valuable for the guerrilla fighters, they are encouraged by them at all times.


Those are the guerrilla tactics. They use them so they can survive and put political pressure on their enemy – on Israel.


Those who produce these pictures, ie. the journalists, are thus being instrumentalized by the guerilla group – whether they like it or not and often without being aware of the situation.


Of course, the viewers and readers rely on the images and the reporting that these journalists deliver and they believe them. The viewers have seen everything and yet understood nothing.

• Sign of the times, or just plain silly?

Netanyahu’s Wikipedia page replaced with Palestinian flag

• The New York Times, Washington Post, AP and the New York Times (again) examine the Israel-Hamas media war.

• Israeli officials continued their media offensive. Naftali Bennett appeared on Sky News, Ambassador Rafael Barak got op-ed space in the Toronto Star, and Ambassador Ron Dermer discussed human shields over breakfast with the Christian Science Monitor (also attended by Time).


• I’m starting off today’s roundup of commentary with real people whose voices deserve some attention.

  1. An Israeli mom writes home to parents in Johannesburg.
  2. From Baltimore: I am the mother of a combat soldier.
  3. As rockets rain, New York teens in Israel stay vigilant
  4. Montreal and Philadelphia federation executives kept solidarity trip diaries of life under fire.
  5. No fear of rockets in Israel’s mini-India.

John Podhoretz sums up my thoughts on the Ben Gurion Airport situation.

If Hamas is rewarded now (with a cease-fire on terms acceptable to it) for having threatened air traffic, the terrorist playbook around the world will have a new and terrifyingly low-cost go-to entry.

• A must read commentary at Forbes strips down the primary legal issues behind Operation Protective Edge to five legal principles.

• Hezbollah to Hamas: You’re on Your Own

• Over at the New York Times Room for Debate, a host of notables square off on the question of proportionate response.

Alan Dershowitz: Hamas’ threat to Israel’s airports threatens two-state solution:

Hamas’ actions in essentially closing down international air traffic into Israel, considerably reduces the prospect of any two-state solution. Israel will now be more reluctant than ever to give up military control over the West Bank, which is even closer to Ben-Gurion Airport than is Gaza . . .


The new reality caused by Hamas’ shutting down of international air travel to and from Israel would plainly justify an Israeli demand that it maintain military control over the West Bank in any two-state deal.

• As a British Jew, Emma Barnett’s now scared to talk about Israel and Gaza.

Where is the hand-wringing from the liberal Left about this new wave of anti-Semitism?

On a related note, see also Gabriel Sassoon (Britain’s hypocrisy over Gaza is shameful).

• Oh puh-leeze: Slate blames Birthright for the death of Israeli lone soldier Max Steinberg. (Haviv Rettig Gur debunks.)

• I’m just going to juxtapose the headline of Mustafa Akyol’s commentary with another headline that’s just a few days old.  Even if you agree with the substance of Akyol’s points, it’s going to be tough sell:

  1. Turkey Can Teach Israel How to End Terror
  2. Erdogan Accuses Israel of Terror in Gaza

• A Wall St. Journal staff-ed (click via Google News) argues that a premature ceasefire will be victory for Hamas.

• David Suissa: Why I side with Israel, and you should too

• See also Jose Maria AznarRon Ben-YishaiUri Dromi, Eugene Kontorovich (Israel, the FAA, and international isolation), David Gardner (Financial Times via Google News), Clive McFarlane, The Hill, and the Toronto Star.

• For a sense of what the other side is saying, see the New York Times, Irish Times, and Mira Bar Hillel.


Featured image: CC BY flickr/Hamed Saber, plane via Flickr/El Al Airlines


For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream and join the Israel Daily News Stream on Facebook.


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