The Israel Defense Forces launches Operation Tzuk Eitan or Protective Edge. Airstrikes begin on selected targets in the Gaza Strip after 80 rockets are launched in a single day, and sirens are heard as far as as Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh and Gush Etzion announcing another barrage of 30 long range rockets is on its way in as the operation gets underway. The Israel Air Force begins dropping leaflets in various neighborhoods, telling residents to evacuate as it targets the homes of senior Hamas members.
#IDF has commenced Operation Protective Edge in #Gaza against #Hamas, in order to stop the terror #Israel's citizens face on a daily basis
As Operation Protective Edge gets underway, a senior Israel Defense Forces official outlines the strength of the force:
Some 1,500 reservists who will arrive in waves. Most of them are commanders and part of the home front command
Residents of southern Israel are warned to stay 15 seconds from bomb shelters at all times, while the military clears for publication that Iron Dome missile defense batteries are in place in strategic positions throughout the country.
The alleged ringleader of the 2014 Israel kidnappings has been arrested in connection with the abduction of 19-year-old Eyal Yifrach and Naftali Fraenkel and Gil-ad Shaar, both 16, from a West Bank hitching post and their subsequent murder. Hussam Kawasme, a 40-year-old resident of the West Bank city of Hebron, is detained while trying to cross the border with Jordan with false documents/ His arrest and investigation will remain secret for close to a month before being revealed to the public in court proceedings over whether punitive demolition of homes belonging to him and other suspects in the case can be carried out.
The armed wing of Hamas rejects the Egypt-brokered ceasefire offer with Israel and says that it learned of the deal through the media and has not been approached ‘officially or unofficially’ by either of the other two parties. Qassam Brigades:
Our battle with the enemy will continue and will increase in ferocity and intensity
The political wing of the party follows, saying the deal fails to fulfill conditions set by Hamas including a conclusive end of the Israeli and Egyptian blockade and the release of certain prisoners from Israeli jails. Officials are also angered that they only found out about the deal via media. Opinion is divided with at least one Hamas official saying that the group is considering its reaction while others in the political and military wings reject the truce outright.
The outcome of discussions within the internal institutions of the movement was to reject the proposal and therefore, Hamas informed Egypt last night it apologises for not accepting it
Mohyeldin uploads and quickly deletes nearly identical posts each on Facebook and Twitter regarding a statement by the U.S. that Hamas’ rejection of a ceasefire offer has led to the deaths of Palestinian boys on a Gaza beach. The Facebook post:
The #US State Department Spokesperson just said that #Hamas is ultimately responsible for #Israel shelling and killing 4 boys who were cousins aged 9-11 because Hamas didn’t accept the #ceasefire. Discuss among yourselves.
NBC tells Mohyeldin to leave his reporting assignment in Gaza immediately, citing ‘security concerns’ as Israel prepares a ground invasion. He is replaced on Nightly News by NBC Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engels, a fellow Arabic speaker who reports from Tel Aviv over footage obtained by Mohyeldin’s crew of Israeli shelling that killed four children on a Gaza beach earlier the same day. No official statement is issued by the network.
Medics say that four children have been killed in Israeli shelling on a Gaza beach where they have gone to play to avoid the hostilities of the 2014 Gaza conflict. Cousins Ismail, Zakaria, Ahed and Mohamed are members of the Bakr clan which is one of Gaza’s largest extended family groupings, and had wandered toward the port where many of their parents worked as fishermen to avoid airstrikes in their neighborhood, before withdrawing to a nearby beach to play a game called ‘Arabs and Jews.’ The Daily Telegraph is among foreign media who witness the strike, and reports that journalists hear two loud explosions outside the Gaza City hotel nearby the beach, before children are pulled into the restaurant area for treatment. It says a journalist who saw the incident said some of the children who survived were running away when another shell seemed to be aimed at them. The mother of Mohamed Bakr:
Why did he go to the beach and play — for them to take him away from me?
Thousands march in French cities to condemn violence in Gaza, defying a ban on imposed by the French government on demonstrations in Paris, the Sarcelles suburb and the Mediterranean city of Nice. Demonstrators in northern Paris throw projectiles at police, who respond with tear gas and stun grenades, and demonstrators climb atop a building and set a car alight. A police spokesman says 38 demonstrators have been arrested by early evening. President Francois Hollande to journalists during a visit to Chad:
That’s why I asked the interior minister, after an investigation, to ensure that such protests would not take place.
After being threatened and harassed before and during a liveshot, Diana reacted angrily on Twitter. She deeply regrets the language used, which was aimed directly at those who had been targeting our crew.
Israeli troops open fire on a donkey carrying explosives in the southern city of Rafah near the Egyptian border, exploding the apparent improvised bomb after the IDF warns of unorthodox tactics such as using animals to carry out bomb attacks. Army spokesman:
They used this donkey as a human shield, or an animal shield, if you like. Anything, an animal or an international building, that can help make use of innocent people or international [citizens], they will use it. We see it time and again
The IDF says in blog posting that it first encountered animal-borne attacks in 1995 when a Palestinian rode an explosives-laden donkey cart towards an IDF position west of Khan Younis and detonated the explosives, and says Hamas has increased the use of animals in later clashes, including donkeys, horses and dogs.
CNN reassigns Magnay to Moscow following her ‘scum’ tweet, and reiterates its stance that the term was used specifically to describe an Israeli crowd that she says threatened her car during a live broadcast from a hilltop nearby Sderot. The Network says:
She deeply regrets the language used, which was aimed directly at those who had been targeting our crew. She certainly meant no offense to anyone beyond that group, and she and CNN apologize for any offense that may have been taken
Ayman Mohyeldin has done extraordinary reporting throughout the escalation of the conflict in Gaza, filing 25+ reports over the past 17 days, including his invaluable and well-documented contribution to the story on the deaths of the four Palestinian children on Wednesday. As with any news team in conflict zones, deployments are constantly reassessed. We’ve carefully considered our deployment decisions and we will be sending Ayman back to Gaza over the weekend. We look forward to his contributions in the coming days.
A ban placed by the government of France on protests against Israeli action in Gaza is unprecedented in Europe and draws criticism for creating a threat to public order. The Socialist administration bars demonstrations against the conflict in the capital Paris, the Mediterranean city of Nice and the suburb of Sarcelles. A statement issued by the Greens Party:
This ban on demonstrations, which was decided at the last minute, actually increases the risk of public disorder. It’s a first in Europe.
A spokesman for the Party of the Indigenous of the Republic (PIR):
France is criminalising any show of solidarity with the Palestinian people. This is an absolute outrage, it is a continuation of attempts to muzzle the Palestinian people and to get them and their supporters in France to surrender absolutely to Israel’s oppression
Israel says three soldiers have died in the first two days of the ground campaign of Operation Protective Edge in Gaza. Israel Defence Forces Sgt. Eitan Barak from Herzliya is killed in Gaza under unclear circumstances, and the IDF is investigating the incident to determine whether the Nahal Brigade fighter was hit by friendly fire or enemy fire. Sgt. Adar Barsano, 20, of Nahariya, and Maj. Amotz Greenberg, 45, of Hod Hasharon are killed and two IDF officers are wounded, and one Gazan is wounded in a clash in the Eshkol region with a Hamas squad that enters Israel via a tunnel from central Gaza. The Hamas operatives are dressed in IDF uniforms and armed with automatic weapons, rocket-propelled grenades, syringes, sedatives and handcuffs, the Israeli army says. Israeli paratroopers and the Nahal and Givati infantry brigades are operating with the Armored Corps, the Engineering Corps, the Maglan infiltration special unit and other elite units.
John Kerry is captured by a Fox News microphone expressing apparent frustration about the high civilian toll in Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, while also criticizing Hamas leaders as ‘intransigent’ for their rejection of an Egypt-brokered ceasefire deal and defending Israel’s actions as self defense. On a cellphone call with his chief of staff, Jonathan Finer:
It’s a hell of a pinpoint operation. It’s a hell of a pinpoint operation. We’ve got to get over there. Thank you, John. I think, John, we ought to go tonight. I think it’s crazy to be sitting around
Clarifying the comments with Fox News Sunday interviewer Chris Wallace:
It’s very, very difficult in these situations. I reacted, obviously, in a way that anybody does with respect to young children and civilians
John KERRY GRILLED By Chris Wallace on Tougher Sanctions For Russia & Iran. Kerry Fox News Sunday
Photos published by PJ Media apparently show 14 ways in which Hamas ‘weaponizes‘ women, children and animals, including children’s television shows referring to the ‘occupiers,’ children throwing stones and women and children dressed as suicide bombers. Accompanying text:
Netanyahu tells Blitzer that Hamas baits Israel into killing civilians in order to create ‘telegenically dead’ victims that they can use to influence public opinion in the 2014 Gaza conflict:
What choice do we have? We have to protect ourselves. So we try to target the rocketeers. We do. And all civilian casualties are unintended by us, but intended by Hamas. They want to pile up as many civilian dead as they can, because somebody said they use – it’s gruesome. They use telegenically dead Palestinians for their cause. They want the more dead the better.
The Israel Defence Forces suffers its heaviest loss in a single day since the 2006 war in Lebanon as 13 soldiers are killed in Operation Protective Edge clashes in Gaza. The military says seven of the soldiers are killed when militants detonate an explosive device against their armored personnel carrier, three die in clashes as armed forces face hundreds of Hamas fighters, and three are trapped in a burning building. A senior official speaking to reporters in Tel Aviv on condition of anonymity, in line with army rules:
It was a real battle there. They were hiding in the apartments, shooting at the Israeli soldiers from the apartments, from the houses, from the windows.
Netanyahu tells Blitzer that reoccupation of the Gaza Strip would be an ‘excessive military plan’ and that nobody in Israel’s government wants to go to that extent, but doesn’t appear to completely rule out the possibility of retaking the territory:
I support taking whatever action is necessary to stop this insane situation…Just imagine – I mean, imagine what Israel is going through. Imagine that 75 percent of the U.S. population is under rocket fire and they have to be in bomb shelters within 60 to 90 seconds. So, I’m not just talking about New York – New York, Washington, Chicago, Detroit, San Francisco, Miami, you name it. That’s impossible. You can’t live like that. So I think we have to bring back, restore back a reasonable, sustained quiet and security. And we will take whatever action is necessary to achieve that.
When Blitzer asks if that includes possibly reoccupying Gaza:
Nobody wants to go to excessive military plans, but what is happening here is excessive.
Several hundred protestors in the northern suburb of Sarcelles break away from an otherwise peaceful pro-Palestinian demonstration and attack two synagogues as well as setting fire to cars and pillaging stores. The demonstration in the northern suburb of Sarcelles, home to a large Jewish community, is held in defiance of a ban which also extends to Paris and the Mediterranean city of Nice after a previous day of protests also resulted in violence. Jewish group CRIF says that the Sarcelles synagogue has been attacked while in nearby Garges les Gonesse, Molotov cocktails are thrown at another synagogue and start a small fire that is quickly extinguished. The group says that the violence shows anti-Semitic incidents are increasing:
It is time to treat it as a form of terrorist deviation
Netanyahu says that Israel doesn’t ‘obliterate’ Palestinian civilians and has no battle with anyone other than Hamas, but that the brutality results from Hamas’ tendency to place rocket launchers near civilian targets – a tactic which he says is intentional.
People would say in the United States, as they’re telling me, obliterate the people. We don’t obliterate them. We don’t want to – we don’t have any battle with the Palestinians in Gaza.
He adds that having the right to self-defense also means being able to use it:
I appreciate the support we have received from President Obama and many world leaders for Israel’s right to self-defense. But others are saying, yes, you have the right of self-defense, as long as you don’t exercise it. What can a country do? What would you do? What would the people of the United States do if – if your cities were rocketed now, 2,000 rockets falling in American cities?
Netanyahu tells Blitzer that Israel seeks to protect its citizens using its weapons, while Hamas has no interest in protecting civilians and uses its weapons to draw fire onto the Gaza Strip:
We develop anti-missile systems to protect. We use an anti-missile system to protect our civilians. They use their civilians to protect their missiles. That’s the difference. So, against such a cynical, brutal, heartless enemy, we try to minimize civilian casualties.
Everyone’s looking for a conspiracy and missing the real story, which is a news division making mistakes through ratings nervousness
The sources say News President Deborah Turness initially considered using Mohyeldin as an eyewitness reporter for the Nightly News segment on the deaths of four boys on a beach in the 2014 Gaza conflict but is disappointed in his ‘tracking,’ or narration of the package, and gave the script to senior foreign correspondent Engels. Nightly News competes with ABC’s World News for the top Nielsen ratings spot. Network source:
The producers are so paranoid about the ratings, they’ll do anything to stick with the faces viewers know and trust — so that would be Richard over Ayman […] Plus, there is no tolerance if a story is fed in and doesn’t live up to expectations
Obama calls for an immediate halt to hostilities as 120 people are killed in one day of fighting, the bloodiest single day in Gaza in five years. A Gaza emergency services spokesman says more than a third of the victims are women and children. The death toll now totals 476 Palestinians. The Israeli army says 13 soldiers have been killed in Gaza, raising the total of soldiers dead in the first three days of the ground offensive of Operation Protective Edge to 18. A White House statement says Obama called for an ‘immediate truce,’ but that he also reaffirmed Israel’s right to defend itself
Netanyahu tells Blitzer that there are two different groups of Hamas leaders, neither of whom are particularly concerned about the fate of Palestinian civilians. The military wing:
I mean, the Hamas leaders are divided into two. Those who are under – in underground bunkers in Gaza, they don’t care. Let the people there, you know, with the rocketeers and with the attack tunnels, let them die as Israel tries to surgically take them out. But they’re safe underground, the military leaders.
He says Khaled Meshaal, the leader of the political wing, understands even less what the conflict is like for people with no option of leaving Gaza:
And then they have got the political leader, this guy Khaled Meshaal, who is roaming around five-star hotel suites in the Gulf states, having the time of his life, while his people, while he’s deliberately putting his people as fodder for this horrible terrorist war that they’re conducting against us. So this has to stop. And I think many people in Gaza understand that Hamas is destroying Gaza, destroying their lives.
Stuart Steinberg confirms that his 24-year-old son Max is killed fighting for the Israel Defence Forces. Steinberg, whose family lives in Southern California’s San Fernando Valley, was a sharpshooter for the Golani Brigade. According to the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, Max first visited Israelin June 2012together with his younger brother and sister, via the ‘Birthright’ program which aims to attract young Jewish adults from abroad to travel to the country. He attended Pierce College and El Camino Real High School in Southern California. After visiting Israel, he decided to return and join the IDF in December 2012, and was living in Beersheba.
Separately, the IDF says in a statement that 21-year-old Sgt. Nissim Sean Carmeli has been killed in combat in the Gaza Strip. Deputy Consul General Maya Kadosh says Carmeli was from South Padre Island, Texas.
The armed wing of Hamas says it has kidnapped an Israeli soldier, a tactic which the group has used in the past to secure the release of Palestinians imprisoned in Israel. Celebrations are reported in Gaza City and West Bank cities. A spokeswoman says the Israeli military is investigating the claim. An official identified as Abu Obeida:
The Israeli soldier Shaul Aaron is in the hands of the Qassam Brigades
Israel’s UN ambassador Ron Prosor says the rumors are untrue.
A total of 13 Golani Brigade soldiers are killed in a single morning of operations in Gaza while brigade commander Col. Gen. Rasan Alian is moderately wounded in an exchange of fire and hospitalized in Soroka University Medical Center in Beersheba. A timeline released by the Israel Defense Forces:
1:05 a.m., an armored personnel carrier catches fire after an explosive device is set off under it. Seven soldiers are killed. Reportedly, the APC was not fitted with armor that could withstand this type of blast.
1:30 a.m., a soldier is killed when two soldiers get into a firefight with terrorists.
5:45 a.m., another Golani force gets into a firefight with terrorists. Two soldiers are killed.
8:50 a.m., three soldiers are killed when a Golani squad is caught inside a burning building.
Netanyahu tells Blitzer that Hamas has used tens of thousands of tons of concrete, which could have gone towards building other facilities for the community such as schools, into tunnels to attack Israel instead.
You know what they did with that, Wolf? They put 700 tons of concrete into each one of these terror attack tunnels to penetrate Israel. Now, we have discovered dozens of them. So you’re talking about tens of thousands of tons of concrete, instead of going for the benefit of the school, the population, is going for terrorism against Israel.
The Palestinian Envoy to the UN Security Council says the international body has failed to take action to halt violence in Gaza, as the council expresses concern after the death toll from the conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Palestinian territory reaches 476. Ryad Mansour:
The Council failed again and again to shoulder its responsibility
UN ambassador Ron Prosor says Israel agreed to earlier ceasefire offers from Egypt, and is acting in self defence.
Netanyahu tells Blitzer that Hamas and Islamic Jihad call for the destruction of Israel and for the killing of Jews, rather than for legitimate political aims:
I think it – I think the international community has to – once this is put in place, we really have to undertake a program to demilitarize Gaza and to change the situation, because it’s unacceptable. What makes it unacceptable is Hamas and Islamic Jihad. These people are the worst terrorists, genocidal terrorists. They call for the destruction of Israel, and they call for the killing of every Jew wherever they can find them.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency says it has handed over rockets found in one of its schools in Gaza to local police, raising the possibility it may have returned the armaments to a security force under the control of Hamas. UNRWA spokesman Chris Gunness says the rockets were taken away by the local police bomb squad, which he says reports to the Palestinian government in Ramallah.
According to longstanding UN practice in UN humanitarian operations worldwide, incidents involving unexploded ordnance that could endanger beneficiaries and staff are referred to the local authorities. Local authorities fall under the government of national consensus in Ramallah. They pledged to pass a message to all parties not to violate UNRWA neutrality
However, internal security forces including local police are thought to report to the territory’s Interior Ministry, which is controlled by Hamas and the Qassam Brigades. A Senior Israeli official:
The rockets were passed on to the government authorities in Gaza, which is Hamas. In other words, UNRWA handed to Hamas rockets that could well be shot at Israel.
Netanyahu says Israel has the support of the international community for Operation Defensive Edge, as Obama and Cameron express U.S. and UK support for the campaign even as the death toll rises to 476 in Gaza, including 120 killed in a single day. He says:
We are carrying out a complex, deep, intensive activity inside the Gaza Strip and there is world support for this […] very strong support
He adds that troops could end their campaign ‘fairly quickly’ if Israeli demands are met.
Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon on what Hamas must do to fulfill Israel’s demands:
Alian tells his soldiers that they have the support of Israel, as the elite unit joins the ground campaign of the 2014 Gaza conflict with a mission to ‘remove Hamas’ terrorist infrastructure and restore quiet to Israel.’
The Shabbath has just ended. Our nation is behind us, and it has great expectations for Golani. It expects us to weaken Hamas. I am certain that the Golani Brigade will succeed in this mission. Go ahead. Over.
July 20.The Golani Brigade enters Gaza on a mission: remove Hamas’ terrorist infrastructure & restore quiet to Israel http://t.co/UeIm2RQ89F
Gaza health officials say that as many as 548 Palestinians have died in the first 14 days of the 2014 Gaza conflict, after four are killed when the Al Aqsa Martyrs hospital is hit by shelling and as the Operation Protective Edge campaign continues to focus on the Shujai’iya neighbourhood, where 120 people have died in a single day. UN chief Ban Ki Moon at a conference in Doha:
Too many innocent people are dying … [and] living in constant fear
Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon says there is no time limit on Operation Protective Edge and that the campaign could continue until rocket fire ceases from Gaza. Addressing a parliamentary committee:
If needed we will recruit more reservists in order to continue the operation as long as necessary until the completion of the task and the return of the quiet in the whole of Israel, especially from the threat of the Gaza Strip.
The State Department warns U.S. citizens of ‘the risks of traveling to Israel, the West Bank and Gaza due to ongoing hostilities’ and advises deferring non-essential travel.
The security environment remains complex in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, and US citizens need to be aware of the risks of travel to these areas because of the current conflict between Hamas and Israel. Travelers should avoid areas of Israel in the vicinity of the Gaza Strip due to the real risks presented by small arms fire, anti-tank weapons, rockets, and mortars, as attacks from Gaza can come with little or no warning
The U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv is working on reduced staffing and providing only emergency consular services, however is says it is not evacuating U.S. citizens out of Israel
Nasrallah says Hezbollah organization is confident Hamas will defeat Israel in the 2014 Gaza conflict:
Hezbollah and the Lebanese resistance stand firmly on the side of the Intifada and the Palestinian people’s resistance, and support Hamas’ strategy and the just conditions it has set to end the conflict
At least 500 Palestinians and 20 Israelis have been killed and tens of thousands of Gaza residents have been displaced in two weeks of fighting between Israel and Hamas, with more than half of the Palestinian victims – 268 people – killed in the first five days of the ground offensive of Operation Protective Edge.
The UN expresses serious concern about rising numbers of casualties in Gaza, and issues a call for an immediate ceasefire as Israel launches fresh strikes in the Palestinian territory. The the international body’s 15-member Security Council is meeting as the death toll from Israel’s Operation Protective Edge rises to 476 after 120 people are killed in a single day in Gaza, the bloodiest day in the enclave since Israel’s 2009 offensive. Rwandan Ambassador Eugene Richard Gasana, whose country chairs the council:
The members of the Security Council express serious concern about the growing numbers of casualties
Israeli tank shells strike the Al Aqsa hospital in Gaza killing at least four people and injuring 60. The strike is reported to be the third hospital in Gaza that has been hit in Israel’s Operation Protective Edge. Footage on Hamas’ Al Aqsa television station shows casualties being moved into the emergency unit, while doctor Fayez Zidane tells the station that shells hit the third and fourth floor as well as the reception area.The Israeli military says it is looking into the report.
The US Government stops all flights to Tel Aviv for the next 24 hours, after plane had to be diverted when a rocket was fired near the Israeli city’s airport. Delta said its service between Ben Gurion and New York’s John F Kennedy International Airport will be suspended until further notice. Delta:
Delta continues to work closely with US and other government resources to monitor the situation.
Health officials say that at least 649 Palestinians have been killed in the first 15 days of the 2014 Gaza conflict and 4,120 wounded. It is unclear how many are civilian casualties – the Israel Defence Forces says it has killed up to 180 militants while the UN estimates that as many as 70%-80% of the dead are civilians. Israel confirms that 29 soldiers and two civilians have been killed while another soldier, Oren Shaul, is missing and presumed dead.