Gaza Conflict Day 24: UN Official Confirms Hamas Rocket Fire Around Its Facilities

Today’s Top Stories

1. Yesterday’s roundup referred to soldiers finding a booby trapped tunnel entrance inside a UNRWA health clinic near Khan Yunis. Turns out the whole building was booby trapped, and three soldiers were killed when terrorists managed to detonate the explosives from further inside the tunnel. According to the Times of Israel, the building may not have been a clinic anyway. Why?

UNRWA did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


However, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, the military unit that implements government policies in the Palestinian areas, later said that the clinic in Abu Daka, outside Khan Younis, was last registered as a sensitive location three years ago, “and it hasn’t been since.”


The spokesperson said the site had not been registered then as belonging to UNRWA, leading to speculation that, perhaps, militants stole the sign and tacked it on the door, posting it as a security umbrella under which a tunnel could be dug.

Does the UNRWA have any problem with combatants using UNRWA symbols as cover for tunnels and terror?

2. A UN official confirmed to CBC News that Hamas fires rockets from the vicinity of UN facilities. John Ging is the director of the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).



3. The buzz around Ramallah is that the PA is about to sign the Rome Statute, the first step in joining the International Criminal Court. According to the Times of Israel:

The move would allow the Palestinian Authority to file suit against Israel for “war crimes” during Operation Protective Edge, as it has repeatedly threatened to do, but it would also be exposing itself to similar allegations.


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4. Casually Smearing Israel With a Charge of Genocide: How does The Daily Telegraph explain a reporter casually accusing Israel of genocide against the Palestinians?

5. Where’s the Syrian Death Count? Why is the New York Times obsessed with graphics about Israel?

6. Jon Snow to Hamas: You Endanger Palestinians With Your Rockets: Channel 4 presenter dogs Hamas spokesman.


Blankfeld Award


Operation Protective Edge

• For details on today’s developments, see live-blogs at the Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, Times of Israel, and i24 News. Among the more notable developments:

• Israel and Hamas may be guilty of war crimes, says the UN’s top human rights figure, Navi Pillay.

• Israel’s calling up an additional 16,000 reservists.

• US resupplies Israel with munitions as Gaza offensive rages.

• The things Hamas prisoners tell Israeli interrogators: They trained in Malaysia for a parachute attack, and the 10th floor of a Khan Yunis Red Cross facility is a sniper position. Sheesh.

• Here’s a video of one mosque where soldiers found weapons and tunnel openings.

And see a related post by Washington Post blogger Terrence McCoy.

• Israeli officials to The Daily Beast: Bibi doesn’t want to eliminate Hamas. Here’s why:

“You have to think through what comes next,” a senior Israeli official said this month when asked why Israel was not pursuing regime change against Hamas. “You don’t want to actually administer Gaza and you don’t want someone worse taking over.”


Another senior Israeli official said that Jerusalem’s military did not even seek to take out the entire stockpile of Hamas rockets. Instead, he said, this latest round of fighting was aimed at creating deterrence and destroying the tunnels. More recently, Israeli officials have said they also seek to demilitarize Hamas.

• The buzz around Ramallah is that the PA is about to sign the Rome Statute, the first step in joining the International Criminal Court. According to the Times of Israel:

The move would allow the Palestinian Authority to file suit against Israel for “war crimes” during Operation Protective Edge, as it has repeatedly threatened to do, but it would also be exposing itself to similar allegations.

Worth reading: How Gaza perverts the army’s rules of engagement

• Did you really think an organization that hides rockets in schools would let these kids travel to Israel for medical treatment? Think again.




• Around the world: Anti-Semitism continues at third Sydney rally. Palestinian flags flew from UK government buildings in Preston, Tower Hamlets, and Bradford, (but not Birmingham). A doctor in Belgium refused to help a Jewish patient, saying she should instead go to Gaza. Flags of Hamas and the Canadian Postal Workers Union flew side by side at an Ottawa demonstration. See also this Washington Post dispatch from Germany.

• Among the first foreign correspondents embedded with Israeli forces were Dan Williams of Reuters and Terry Moran of ABC News.  Moran’s unit came under some brief small arms fire near the entrance to a newly-discovered tunnel. Avi Issacharoff of the Times of Israel also went into Khan Yunis with soldiers.

Arab leaders, viewing Hamas as worse than Israel, stay silent

The Arab states’ loathing and fear of political Islam is so strong that it outweighs their allergy to Benjamin Netanyahu,” the prime minister of Israel, said Aaron David Miller . . .


The dynamic has inverted all expectations of the Arab Spring uprisings. As recently as 18 months ago, most analysts in Israel, Washington and the Palestinian territories expected the popular uprisings to make the Arab governments more responsive to their citizens, and therefore more sympathetic to the Palestinians and more hostile to Israel.

• The Times of Israel takes an in-depth look at Hamas’ capabalities.

• I’m not sure how relevant the issue is at this moment, but McClatchy News discussed with Nabil Shaath what happens to Fatah-Hamas reconciliation after the Gaza conflict.

Media Angles

• Michael Grynszpan, who has directed a few documentaries in the Mideast, shared a fascinating tale of Hamas media intimidation on Facebook.

Michael Grynszpan


• I’m not a fan of Channel 4‘s Jon Snow (wondering why?), but it was refreshing to see him dogging Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdan with hard questions today.

• Fauxtography — or the lack thereof — burned The Atlantic’s David Frum. The senior editor apologized to the New York Times for calling into question the authenticity of some Gaza photos.

• Israeli officials continued their media offensive. Ambassador Ron Dermer discussed the shelling of a UN school with CNN‘s Anderson Cooper, as did Mark Regev with the BBC. And Ido Aharoni weighed in on the UN Human Rights Council in a Time op-ed.


• Tunnels and rockets, but no top brass: Why Hamas leadership is still alive.

• Amichai Magen weighs in on the “something worse than Hamas” myth:

Those, like Flynn, who seek to preserve Hamas’s rule in Gaza under the false guise that it is somehow the lesser evil, understate Hamas’s perniciousness and effectively condemn millions of Israelis and Palestinians to a future of perpetual conflict and misery.


There are other, far better political scenarios for a post-Hamas Gaza. Israelis, Egyptians, Saudis and moderate Palestinians are united as never before in their desire to see Gaza freed from Hamas’s rule. It is high time the leaders of the free world stood with them.

• After turning his pen on Hamas, Times of London cartoonist Peter Brookes disappointed me with this take on civilian casualties. But I’m more disturbed by Dave Granlund, a syndicated cartoonist whose poison pen was spotted by a reader in the Ipswich Chronicle.

Dave Granlund

• For more commentary, see Reuven Berko (Hamas’ death wish), David Harris (Hamas vs. Israel: A Failure of Imagination), Emmanuel Navon (Defying Obama is the right thing to do),

• For a sense of what the other side is saying, see Yousef Munayyer on CNN, former deputy Prime Minister John Prescott in the Daily Mirror, and The Guardian‘s Egypt correspondent, Patrick Kingsley, National Post columnist Davide Mastracci, plus an Australian professor’s take in in the Sydney Morning Herald.


Image: CC BY-NC-SA flickr/Erio


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


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