Today’s Top Stories
1. An errant Hamas rockets hit Gaza’s Shifa Hospital and the Al Shati refugee camp. An IDF spokesman told Sky News:
However, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) denied responsibility for the attacks and said it had not been operating in the area.
Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner, an Israeli army spokesman, rubbished the claims as “ridiculous” and told Sky News: “The Israeli Defence Forces did not carry out any strikes in that area. Shifa Hospital was not a target, nor was the Shati Beach camp.
“Both of those locations were struck by terrorist rockets that were launched towards Israel and fell short.”
The IDF also tweeted: “Since the beginning of the operation #IDF has documented approximately 200 rockets & mortars that landed short within #Gaza.”
2. Gaza’s power plant is ablaze after being hit by what Palestinians claim was an Israeli tank shell. Reuters writes:
Electricity was cut to the city of Gaza and many other parts of the Hamas-dominated territory after what officials said was Israeli tank shelling of the tanks containing some 3 million cubic liters of diesel fuel.
“The power plant is finished,” said its director, Mohammed al-Sharif. An Israeli military spokeswoman had no immediate comment and said she was checking the report.
4. 5 Reasons Not to Equate Hamas With the Jewish Underground: An Irish Times cartoon draws some inaccurate parallels between Hamas and the Jewish underground groups of pre-state Israel.
Operation Protective Edge
• Five soldiers were killed last night when terrorists emerged from a tunnel near Nahal Oz. YNet writes:
Army Radio said Hamas fired a rocket-propelled grenade at the soldiers who were in a watchtower and then tried to drag one of the soldiers’ bodies into the tunnel back to Gaza, but failed when troops fired at them, killing one militant.
• Israeli struck a media building housing Hamas-run TV and radio stations. AP coverage.
• The JTA takes a closer look at the Israel-US feud over Turkish and Qatari involvement in cease-fire efforts.
• A survey by the Pew Research Center finds that Americans overwhelmingly blame Hamas for the conflict.
• The witch hunt begins: Hamas reportedly executed 30 Palestinians from the Shejaiya neighborhood for allegedly collaborating with Israel.
• All these non-starter or broken truces make my head hurt. You know things are getting nutty when the Washington Post rounds up all the failed truces of the past three days.
• The Jerusalem Post spent a day embedded with a Israeli Navy ship patrolling the Gaza coast.
• Around the world: A Miami synagogue was vandalized by Hamas supporters. Denmark responds to Islamic anti-Semitism by clamping down on a pro-Israel rally. Andrew Bolt slams the rising anti-Semitism he’s seeing in Australia.
• Yid With a Lid rounded up more documented examples of Hamas using human shields.
Consider the media obsession with the body count. According to a daily tally in the New York Times, NYT +2.19% as of July 27 the war in Gaza had claimed 1,023 Palestinian lives as against 46 Israelis. How does the Times keep such an accurate count of Palestinian deaths? A footnote discloses “Palestinian death tallies are provided by the Palestinian Health Ministry and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.”
OK. So who runs the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza? Hamas does. As for the U.N., it gets its data mainly from two Palestinian agitprop NGOs, one of which, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, offers the remarkably precise statistic that, as of July 27, exactly 82% of deaths in Gaza have been civilians. Curiously, during the 2008-09 Gaza war, the center also reported an 82% civilian casualty rate.
When minutely exact statistics are provided in chaotic circumstances, it suggests the statistics are garbage. When a news organization relies—without clarification—on data provided by a bureaucratic organ of a terrorist organization, there’s something wrong there, too.
• Israeli officials continued their media offensive. Spokesman Mark Regev discussed the situation with CNN‘s Anderson Cooper.
• Mosab Hassan Yousef, the son of one of Hamas’ original founders, was being groomed to follow in his father’s footsteps when he became disillusioned with the organization’s ideology and tactics. He became one of Israel’s highest intelligence sources (who dubbed him The Green Prince), then eventually denounced Hamas and converted to Christianity. Yousef discussed Hamas and the Gaza conflict with CNN.
• Real people: A McGill student working in Tel Aviv over the summer describes life under fire in the Montreal Gazette.
• Blame Hamas and Israel, says international law professor Ben Saul in a Sydney Morning Herald op-ed.
• John Kerry took a beating in today’s op-ed sections, with his diplomacy being blamed for undercutting Israel and emboldening Hamas to continue fighting. See a staff-ed in the Wall St. Journal (click via Google News), Aaron David Miller, David Ignatius, the Daily Telegraph and New York Post.
• Foreign Policy: The US lowers Israel’s diplomatic shield at the UN
• For more commentary/analysis, see Jeffrey Goldberg (Destroying tunnels is the only way to protect Israelis), Richard Cohen (With Israel, the world blames the victim), George Wallance (UN Human Rights Council’s anti-Israel inquiry), David Brooks (No war is an island), Jonathan Spyer (Qatar/Hamas collateral damage), Michael Curtis (indicting Israel for war crimes), and (hold your nose while you this one) Roger Cohen (Zionism and Its Discontents). Last but not least, Fisk’s being Fisk again.
Image: CC BY-NC-SA flickr/Monika