Israel Daily News Stream 03/13/2012

Everything you need to know about today’s media coverage of Israel and the Mideast.

Israel-Gaza ceasefire holds. Thumbs up all around for Iron Dome. India police finger Iranian agents in New Delhi blast.

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Israel and the Palestinians

Last minute updates as the Israel Daily News Stream goes to press:

  1. 7 projectiles fired after ‘cease-fire’ came into effect
  2. Amid rocket fire, southern kids connect for online support system

HonestReporting readers who contacted the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to complain about Khulood Badawi’s false tweet report they’re finding no UN accountability.

A spokesman for the Popular Resistance Committee confirms that Hamas allows it to launch rockets at Israel.

Here’s a rarity: A quality BBC dispatch from Gaza. When an airstrike destroyed an apartment building, reporter Rupert Wingfield-Hayes initially assumed it was collateral damage:

But on closer questioning the pictures changes.

“I have already lost one son to the struggle for liberation,” the man told me. “I have two more, and I am willing to sacrifice them too.”

One of his sons is in the al-Qasam brigades, he says, the other in Islamic Jihad.

After the attack last night (Sunday) the Israeli Shin Bet (Internal Security) called me on the phone to tell me it was because of my son’s activities,” he says.

I asked another local how it was that so many people could have escaped relatively unscathed from a building that was so completely destroyed.

“Sometimes the Israelis call up the person beforehand and warn them that they have 10 minutes to leave the house, then they strike.”

Your daily dose of moral equivalence, courtesy this Daily Mail headline:

Will Iron Dome’s 90 percent success rate boost international sales?

If Rafael receives additional orders for Iron Dome systems, the production line will operate at a faster rate and likely will result in a drop in the price.

A number of countries have expressed interest in the Iron Dome, including South Korea, the United States and several NATOmember states from Europe that have their militaries currently deployed in Afghanistan.

Amir Peretz

Not bad considering that just a few years ago, nobody wanted it. Amir Peretz, who pushed it through as Defense Minister, told the Times of Israel:

Iron Dome, Peretz reflected, is a political tool, not just a military one. “It allows people to make decisions without panic.”

Lebanese curiousity prompts the Daily Star to ask if Iron Dome would work against Hezbollah. Spoiler alert:

Iron Dome would struggle to defeat the larger Zelzal-2s and M600 missiles, which could strike targets in Tel Aviv and beyond. The David’s Sling system which is supposed to deal with larger caliber rockets is not yet operational.

It can be expected that in the event of another war with Israel, Hezbollah will attempt to overwhelm the Iron Dome system with heavy barrages of shorter-range Katyushas and Uragans, allowing the larger Zelzals and M600s to slip through and strike strategic targets such as military and infrastructure sites. Israel would require a considerable number of Iron Dome batteries to cover the Lebanon front, an expensive undertaking particularly as each interceptor missile costs around $52,000.

How are Australian papers owned by Fairfax Media (most notably the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age) handling the Gaza situation? Not well, in Emily Gian’s assessment at J-Wire.

If you want to talk to debate the effectiveness of targeted killings, it’s worth hearing what Palestinian experts have to say. Here’s what one Gaza professor told AFP:

“The Israeli targeted assassinations against Palestinian resistance groups, especially against their leaders, is very effective,” said Mukhaimer Abu Saada, professor of political science at Al-Azhar University in Gaza City.

“It is definitely a policy that aims at paralysing these groups and stopping them from carrying out future attacks against Israel,” he told AFP.

In such groups, which tend to have a very centralised structure, taking out the top commander “definitely has a very effective and negative impact on their operational methods,” he said.

And although the groups are capable of quickly replacing assassinated leaders, it still takes some time for them to become operational again, and replacing them sometimes creates internal problems, he added.

McClatchy News picked up on the same question. Unfortunately, reporter Sheera Frenkel only talked to Israelis — some of whom are “just” suffering civilians. Without belittling what they’re going through, I gotta wonder if Frenkel’s choice of interviewees reflects her own answer to the question.

Disgusting Quote of the Day:

“I ask all Palestinian resistance movements to fire rockets, to target Israeli schools. This would be the best Mother’s Day gift for me.”

Adila Useila — mother of a 13 year old boy killed in Gaza — to The Guardian‘s Harriet Sherwood.

For more commentary/analysis on the Gaza situation, see AP, NY Times, Globe & Mail, P. David Hornik, YNet, and Haaretz.

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