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by CTuttle

What Ceasefire…?

7:50 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

So, today, our SoS arrived in Jerusalem…

Clinton vows work on Gaza truce “in days ahead”

… “In the days ahead the United States will work with our partners here in Israel and across the region toward an outcome that bolsters security for the people of Israel, improves conditions for the people of Gaza and moves toward a comprehensive peace for all people of the region,” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in Jerusalem.

Clinton spoke after Hamas said an Egyptian-brokered truce deal that it had expected to be in place by Tuesday night was delayed because Israel has not responded to proposals…

“If there is a possibility of achieving a long-term solution to this problem with diplomatic means, we prefer that,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said alongside Clinton, who will travel to Cairo on Wednesday.

But if not, I’m sure you understand that Israel will have to take whatever action is necessary to defend its people.

In fact, Madame Hillary, further expounded…

…”The American commitment to Israel’s security is rock solid and unwavering,” Clinton said at a brief press appearance with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before the two entered closed-door talks.

“That is why we believe it is essential to de-escalate the situation” in the Palestinian territory, said Clinton, who welcomed Egyptian mediation efforts.

Clinton was speaking only moments into a regional tour that will also take her on Wednesday to the West Bank city of Ramallah and on to Cairo for talks with Egypt’s President Mohamed Morsi.

Her arrival in Jerusalem coincided with furious speculation that a Gaza truce announcement by the two sides was in the works and could come as early as Tuesday night…

About that Egyptian-brokered truce, it’s seems that Hamas said Gaza truce was agreed to; but Israel, Egypt say no deal yet…! Funny how it wasn’t due to Hamas’ unwillingness… Indeed, it was quite the opposite…

…According to Izat a-Rishk, a spokesperson for the Hamas terror government, there would be no cease-fire until Wednesday at the earliest, because Israel had rejected Hamas’ conditions for a cease-fire.

“All possibilities are open, and our people are ready for all possibilities,” he said, referring to the still-possible Israeli land invasion of Gaza. Tens of thousands of IDF soldiers are reportedly poised to enter Gaza, to carry out objectives on the ground.

As talk of the cease-fire faded, the IDF increased its hammering of Gaza terror sites. In one raid Tuesday night, IDF planes caused significant damage to the main Hamas government building in Gaza City.

Between 9 and 11 PM Tuesday, the IDF carried out more than 50 bombing forays on targets in Gaza. Twenty terrorists were injured. Over 100 targets were destroyed on Tuesday, bringing the total number of targets the IDF destroyed in the six full days of Operation Pillar of Defense to about 1,500. Half of Tuesday’s raids were on terrorists preparing to fire missiles at Israel, with the balance hitting smuggling tunnels, arms factories, and rocket-launching sites and equipment…

To be sure…Israel delays truce, escalates attacks…! From MSNBC even…Ceasefire postponed, dependent on Israel’s response…

Now, hot on the heels of Regev’s little melee on Al Jazeera… Al Jazeera Host Clashes With Israeli Spokesman, Charges Israel With Targeting Journalists… Of which, Edward Teller, had covered brilliantly earlier… When are Journalists legitimate Military Targets?

Well, today… Israeli Airstrikes Kill 3 Palestinian Journalists… In their own cars…! But, wait, it gets ever better…

Report: IDF strikes Gaza building housing AFP offices

The IAF has struck a building that houses the AFP news agency’s Gaza office. A photographer working for AFP said that three Israeli missiles have hit offices located two floors above the agency’s headquarters. The IDF confirmed the strike, saying the facilities were used by Hamas intelligence operatives…

Wtf, over…?

Meanwhile the Arabs just aren’t buying the Hasbara Spin…

Netanyahu’s game plan

The Israeli attack on Gaza seems to be more of an attempt to draw lines and affect the emerging Middle East following the Arab Spring than just retaliating against Hamas.
In fact, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to engage into a bigger military operation could be seen as sending a message to the newly re-elected President Barak Obama, a test to Egypt’s President Muhammad Mursi and the emerging Islamist forces in the region and on the top of that to serve his narrow political agenda now that an earlier elections have already been called… {…}

Israel apparently was not keen in providing that breathing time. Rather it wants to send a clear message that it is not only part and parcel of the Middle East, but given its military edge and international connections, it is a serious player that could not and should not be sidelined in any talk about a new Middle East.
The message goes in fact even to Israel’s main military, economic and political bankroller, the United States. It is no secret that Netanyahu has been banking on electing Mitt Romney instead, but results ended in a different way bringing Obama back again to the Oval Office. Instead of waiting to be reprimanded by Obama, a military operation will easily shift the discussion from the personal to the more solid partnership between the two states.
Already Obama was quick to raise the issue of the right of Israel in defending itself, but the root causes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will resurface and focus on earlier commitments by Obama to further the two states solutions now that he is supposedly free from re-election strings that have characterized his first term in the Oval Office.

In fact with the quick sands moving in the Middle East, the Obama administration is facing a more complicated region that calls into question the old well established relationships.

The Israeli operation in Gaza sends the clear message that it alone knows best how to deal with the Arabs through excessive militarism that have succeeded in the past in forcing military and secular regimes to come to terms with the reality and recognize Israel. The same could be applied now with the rising Islamists and all Washington needs to do is to continue its unwavering support, leaving the rest to Tel Aviv

All the while… Gaza death toll climbs to 130…

*gah*

by CTuttle

Operation ‘Pillar of Defense’: Cast Lead 2

3:34 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

As Reuters is reporting…

Israel hammers Hamas in Gaza offensive

* Israel says major operation may last days

…Israel launched a major offensive against Palestinian militants in Gaza on Wednesday, killing the military commander of Hamas in an air strike and threatening an invasion of the enclave that the Islamist group vowed would “open the gates of hell”.

The onslaught shattered hopes that a truce mediated on Tuesday by Egypt could pull the two sides back from the brink of war after five days of escalating Palestinian rocket attacks and Israeli strikes at militant targets.

Operation “Pillar of Defence” began with a surgical strike on a car carrying the commander of the military wing of Hamas, the Iranian-armed Islamist movement which controls Gaza and dominates a score of smaller armed groups.

Within minutes of the death of Ahmed Al-Jaabari, big explosions shook Gaza as the Israeli air force struck at selected targets just before sundown, blasting plumes of smoke and debris high above the crowded city.

Panicking civilians ran for cover and the death toll mounted quickly. Ten people including three children were killed, the health ministry said, and about 40 were wounded. Also among the dead were an 11-month-old baby and a woman pregnant with twins.

Army tanks shelled border areas of Gaza in south and the Israeli navy shelled a Hamas security position from the sea… {…}

OBAMA BRIEFED

Israeli President Shimon Peres briefed U.S. President Barack Obama on the operation, Peres’s office said. He told Obama that Jaabari was a “mass-murderer” and his killing was Israel’s response to Palestinian rocket attacks from Gaza.

“Israel is not interested in stoking the flames, but for the past five days there has been constant missile fire at Israel and mothers and children cannot sleep quietly at night,” said Peres, who visited the border town of Sderot earlier…

You can cut the rank hypocrisy of Peres’ words with a butter knife…!

As Tikun Olam’s Richard Silverstein posits…

…It is, of course, no accident that Israeli elections will be held in two months. Israeli prime ministers routinely use wars to bolster their popularity. Menachem Begin attacked the Osirak reactor shortly before elections, which he subsequently won. Aluf Benn offers (Hebrew) a long list of such political opportunism including Operation Grapes of Wrath (1996) and Operation Cast Lead just before the 2009 elections. Bibi, being a master of political tactics (but not strategy, since he has none) wanted to leave no stone unturned in his march to victory in January.

As happened numerous times in the past, including after the Eilat terror attack, when Israel lied in ascribing blame for the attack on Gaza and murdered 30 in revenge strikes, terror in Gaza is not the issue. Gaza is a useful tool or canvas on which Israeli generals and politicians embellish their careers. It’s the utmost in cynicism, but alas all too common in the debased society Israel has become… {…}

It must be said clearly, Jabari’s assassination is not an act of defense or even a response to past terror attacks against it. It is a blatant act of provocation and an act of terror in itself. It is akin to the 2003 assassination of Saleh Shehadeh and will, in the end, cause the deaths of more Israelis and Gazans than that ghastly massacre. These are war crimes and must eventually be held accountable as such.

Israel knows that by murdering Jabari they’ve not dented Hamas’ military capability. Another Jabari will arise who will out-Jabari Jabari just as Nasrallah outdid Abbas Musawi, who Israel assassinated. Bibi needs Hamas. He needs an eternal enemy. It’s what makes him strong. He and the Likud are the political equivalent of Dracula. Just as Jefferson said the Tree of Liberty needed to be refreshed with the blood of patriots and tyrants, the ultranationalists cynically need to drink the blood of dead Palestinians (or Iranians or Lebanese) in order to guarantee their political reign. This is ghoulish. It is insane. Israeli policy is insane.

Not satisfied with pursuing war as a political objective to dominate the Palestinians, the IDF has invoked the Torah in calling this operation Pillar of Cloud (as in “By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way”). No, I’m sorry. God doesn’t walk with killers. My God doesn’t want blood, either Jewish or Palestinian. My God is not an anti-jihadi. He doesn’t hate Muslims or Arabs. Bibi, do not debase my holy texts. Do not exploit them in your attempt to provoke religious wars. I’d prefer calling this new campaign Pillar of White Phosphorus, myself

Amen, Richard…!

Now, +972 Mag’s Dimi Reider, differs from Richard, in that Ehud Barak is pushing the illegal invasion…

Politicians line up behind Israeli assault on Gaza

…My own hunch, and that of several Israeli observers, is that Barak is the prime mover behind this recent escalation. His has been a consistent voice for stronger Israeli military action in previous rounds of escalation in Gaza, and he stands more to gain from a large-scale military operation. Netanyahu is winning the elections with one hand tied behind his back; Barak and his splinter Independence Party, by contrast, have barely been scratching the electoral barrier. Appearing as a decisive, wily and sophisticated military mind next to a wallowing Netanyahu can only do Barak that much good, and Israeli Twitterati have already replaced “Pillar of Defense” the cringe-inducing, Freud-evoking codename for the operation with “Independence War.”

Be that as it may, Netanyahu has signed up for this offensive and it now bears his name as surely as Cast Lead bears those of Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni. In the short term, his gamble might well conclude without political damage (the damage to the lives of Israeli and Gazan residents is clearly of comparatively little consequence to either him or his defense minister, otherwise the deescalation would have been allowed to take its course, as it has throughout Netanyahu’s tenure). In the optimal scenario, Hamas will not escalate the conflagration further, and will not fire the long-range missiles in its arsenal to Tel Aviv and its suburbs, both because an Israeli strike took out much of said arsenal immediately after Jabari was slain, and because this would blow the violence dials sky-high and require an Israeli response at least as forceful as the 2008-2009 Cast Lead operation. After a few exchanges, Egyptians will oblige once again with a ceasefire and Netanyahu and Barak will have brought their electoral chances up a notch…

Now, just when you thought the rank hypocrisy couldn’t get any ranker…

US welcomes reelection to Human Rights Council

Hillary Clinton pledges US support to combat panel’s anti-Israel activity; UN ambassador says HRC delivered “real results.”

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton welcomed America’s reelection to the UN Human Rights Council on Monday and pledged that the country would continue to combat the panel’s anti-Israel activity.

“Much hard work remains to be done,” Clinton said in a statement, “especially ending the council’s disproportionate and biased focus on Israel.”

The US has come under criticism from some in the Jewish community for participating in a group that routinely censures Israel while ignoring many of the most pressing human rights problems in the world, some being committed by countries with representatives on the council.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice welcomed Washington’s reelection, saying that the Human Rights Council “has delivered real results” since the US first joined it in 2010 after running for a seat on it a year before. She cited council action on Syria as a positive example of its work.

However, she also criticized the council’s “excessive and unbalanced focus on Israel.” Advocates of America’s participation, however, say the situation would be worse without a US presence, and that the US has been behind important initiatives challenging Iran’s human rights record and other initiatives

God help us all…!

*gah*