Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Operation Cast Lead: Day 11

For others liveblogging, see Aussie Dave at Israellycool, The Muqata, and Carl in Jerusalem.

Overnight, the Israeli military announced that three more Israeli soldiers were killed. They were members of the elite Golani Brigade, whose predecessors defended Israel's northern borders and who saved Israel from ruin during the 1973 Yom Kippur War when their unit went into the breach and stopped the oncoming Syrian armor from pouring down and out of the Golan Heights. The incident involved an errant tank shell, which shows just how difficult things are for Israeli soldiers fighting in the urban warrens of Gaza City and the refugee camps.

Hamas is busy trying to spin things in their favor, but the fact is that Hamas is desperate for a timeout. They've been hit hard, but they need a hudna. There's no way Israel should relent. Now is time to slam the hammer down on Hamas. Israel's future deserves no less than to ensure that Hamas is destroyed.

Speaking of the diplomatic effort, there's much talk, but not a whole lot of action. It's diplomats doing what they do to look important, but not much else. The UN continues to make statements of moral equivalence - putting Hamas and Israel on equal footing when anyone who knows the difference between good and evil would demand that the UN support Israel against Hamas and see that the terrorist group is destroyed. Of course, the history of the UN since 1948 has been one to try and undermine Israel's right to exist at every turn and the anti-Israel lobby is constantly trying to stop Israel from defending itself. Any ceasefire or truce demands concessions of Israel while the terrorists walk scot-free. Just look at Hizbullah in Lebanon. UNIFIL continues looking the other way as Hizbullah maintains their military forces, despite UNIFIL mandates to disarm Hizbullah.

Israeli Defense Minister Barak is prepping for a long term operation, knowing that Hamas has squirreled away significant weapons caches for a prolonged fight. He needs Prime Minister Olmert to give him the time to carry out the necessary operations to take out Hamas leaders and their thugs who have brought nothing but pain and misery to Gaza.

Hamas doesn't have many allies. Iran claims that they've got 70,000 suicide bombers at the ready, but none of them seem eager to get out there and blow their stuff.

However, Egypt wants to see Israel defeat Hamas. That's a bold position by Hosni Mubarak, who faces his own Islamist mess back home.
It was at that meeting that ministers confided that Mubarak had told them 'Hamas must not be allowed to emerge from the fighting with the upper hand.'

Hamas believes Egypt is trying to broker a ceasefire and sent a delegation to the city on Monday. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert meantime has told visiting French President Nicolas Sarkozy that Israel will not honour a ceasefire imposed by the UN Security Council. It will only honour an agreement that it agrees to, the Israeli prime minister told Sarkozy.

Israel wants the rocket attacks to stop, and the smuggling of weapons from Egypt to cease. Mubarak, whose country patrols the border with Egypt, was insisting Monday there was no smuggling, that supplies to Hamas were coming from ships off Gaza.

Israel has said it is a member state of the UN and should not be put on the same basis as Hamas, which it says is a 'terrorist organization.'
Still, there are two jihadis in particular who are notably quiet about the situation in Gaza. You would think that they'd be out front leading the charge against Israel and the West especially given their prior statements and how they've repeatedly tried to tie everything that happens around the world to Israel and the Palestinians.

You know who I'm talking about: Al Qaeda's own top two - Ayman al Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden.

Both are notable by their silence. Perhaps they're having problems getting their videos out from the undisclosed locations near the ninth plane of Hell or the NWFP (interchangeable under certain circumstances as a little know fact is that Hell can freeze over)? Maybe they're dead? I find it hard to believe that they're having trouble find the words to put together to a video or audio tape, although their propagandists might be having trouble getting the video and audio to sync up properly.

Silence is usually golden, but in this case, it speaks volumes.

Now, it's possible that they will be heard from soon enough. Maybe their next video or audio will mention the situation in Gaza. I just wouldn't hold my breath and I certainly wouldn't expect to hear anything new from them. It's the same story we've been hearing for decades; someone is going to destroy Israel and yet when the latest terrorists and their terror masters try, Israel swats them hard. Each time restraint is mistaken as weakness, although Israel's reluctance means that we have to keep replaying the same stories every few years and more civilians die than if Israel simply fought to defeat its enemies.

The great equalizer, however, is the media war. Hamas still benefits greatly from media sympathizers who will unquestioningly run agitprop for Hamas and savaging Israel's defensive actions. MSNBC is particularly awful at maintaining objectivity in US media. The British media is far worse and I wont even begin to get into the sewers and fever swamps of the state-run propagandists of the Arab world.

I've been going through the photos regularly on Getty Images and Daylife, and if you counted all the photos of injured children and those of injured adults, you'd think that Israel targeted only children. There's a stunning lack of adults being captured on film being brought to the hospitals or receiving medical care at all.

I can't imagine why that's the case. Maybe it has something to do with media bias and the bias of the stringers taking the photos - knowing full well that showing images of terrorists being wheeled in to the hospitals isn't going to make a convincing case that Israel stops bombing, but show a bunch of children dead or injured, and you might get the sympathies sufficiently riled to get the diplomats to stop Israel before Hamas is thoroughly dismembered.

Reuters makes nonsensical claims and headlines, which do nothing but bolster Hamas. They claim that Israel is ignoring the possibility of a truce, but even Reuters had to report that Hamas is urging its fellow terrorists to fight every street and to the last breath and last man. Gabriel Malor at Ace of Spades has the details. So does Omri at Mere Rhetoric, who notes the New York Times doing the same thing.

There's a reason that the Gazan hospitals are crowded with patients and it's left out of practically every report. Israel has stated that Hamas is using hospitals as terror command posts, although doctors there deny it (with the omnipresent Hamas thugs at the facilities, there's no way to trust that without searching every inch of the hospital to be sure). Reports also suggest that Hamas thugs have set up hospital facilities for their wounded terrorists, but are taking aid and relief supplies meant for civilians injured in the fighting.

Israel would not have gone into Gaza had Hamas not fired thousands of rockets at Israel.

Israel left Gaza in 2005, and all it got for that unilateral effort was kassams that rain down on Sderot and other Israeli communities throughout Southern Israel. People within range of the kassams have less time to react than they do to read this post. They have seconds.

That conditions for Gazans is bad now is the fault of no one but the Hamas terrorists who wished for a war with Israel, and Hamas all they could to ensure that one would bring the maximium amount of civilian casualties.

None of this matters to the many anti-Israel demonstrators around the world who display their real intentions. It isn't anti-war sentiments driving much of the demonstrators, but raging anti-Semitism. Israel's existence is sufficient for the demonstrations, and the grievance theater surrounding these displays shows just how deluded so many of these people are. They demand nothing less than jihad and the destruction of Israel - in so many words.

Hamas thugs call for killing Israeli children, as though Hamas hasn't been busy trying to achieve that goal. After all, they tried to blow up this kindergarden class. Sadly, that's not a new call either, as Hamas has routinely called for the murder of Israelis of all ages, and has managed to succeed in their terror attacks on occasion. That they haven't killed more people is the result of Israel securing its borders, manning checkpoints to stop suicide bombers and gunmen, and sealing the border with Gaza to prevent terror attacks.

It was that latter part that sent Hamas scrambling for rockets. Since they couldn't infiltrate Israel with suicide bombers, they went with the next best thing - rockets. And they've sent thousands into Israel - each with the murderous intent to slay Israelis.

A fourth Israeli soldier was killed overnight; a paratrooper in what may have been another friendly fire incident. Hamas thugs continue taking a pounding, although they're still firing rockets at Israel. 30 rockets were fired at Israel, and one such rocket injured an Israeli baby.

The UN Security Council will be meeting shortly to discuss the situation in Gaza. I have no doubt that the focus will be on Israel to stop attacking Hamas. Much less discussion will be had on Hamas and dismantling the terrorist infrastructure. The US has already said that it will veto any plan that is unbalanced.

Much will be made of the fact that Prime Minister Olmert rejected a 48 hour ceasefire, but the fact is that Hamas has said that they would never entertain a ceasefire unless Israel stops attacking and destroying Hamas terrorists. Hamas has never said it would stop firing its rockets into Israel.

Bret Stephens posits an endgame for Israel, one that includes the possibility for peace. Key among Israel's options is that it must assert aggressive deterrence, a policy that had been all but abandoned by Olmert in the runup to both the Hizbullah war and the operation in Gaza.

And, as a reminder to anyone who thinks that Fatah is a preferable alternative to Hamas, many Fatah are sympathizing and showing solidarity with Hamas. They have short memories given that Hamas took to throwing Fatah thugs off rooftops in the Palestinian civil war and has been murdering Fatah in Gaza during the current conflict claiming that they are collaborating with Israel. Both terrorist groups have sought the destruction of Israel, but Hamas has been the more violent of the two, if only because Fatah was lured by kleptocracy.

MSNBC continues its pro-Hamas stance, by claiming that 500,000 Gazans are in danger. No word in the headline about the nearly equal amount of Israelis endangered by Hamas rockets that can reach as far as Ashdod and Beersheeba.

Two separate reports from Gaza indicate that Israeli airstrikes have apparently hit two schools. The NY Daily News reports that an attack on one school killed three, while another wire report says that 30 have been killed in a second attack.

No doubt that the anti-Israel brigade will try to do as much damage politically and with the full force and effect of propaganda from the airstrikes if they killed civilians. The problem is that Hamas is operating in and among civilians, and there's no way to know if Hamas wasn't operating in close proximity to those schools at the time of the attacks. Hamas has no regard for human lives, least of all Gazans, who are simply props for use as propaganda against Israel. If they can't kill Israelis with their rockets, dead Palestinians will suffice since it means that they can use the dead to increase pressure on Israel to stop attacking and destroying Hamas capabilities.

Hamas has repeatedly used UNRWA facilities to operate. The Islamic terrorists have used UN ambulances to transport weapons and equipment, and have repeatedly taken advantage of the refugee camps to wage war against Israel. UNRWA has an obligation to maintain the peace, but has repeatedly chosen to look the other way.

Carl in Jerusalem is reminding readers not to jump to conclusions about what happened in Gaza and the early reports of Israel attacking schools. He reminds people of the Qana incident, which was claimed to be a massacre, but turned out to be no such thing. It was a hoax. He also makes the same observation I did that Hamas is using human shields, and notes Israeli radio reports claiming Hamas was dragging children into buildings where they were operating.

Elder of Ziyon notes that the Guardian has published an op-ed agitprop piece courtesy of Hamas terror master Khalid Meshaal. It's full of lies, distortions, and propaganda claiming that Israel is behind the attacks. Elder of Ziyon cuts through the agitprop and rebuts each of the lies succinctly. Sadly, I expect to see Meshaal's writings (or those of other terrorist sympathizers or spokesthugs) included in the Washington Post or New York Times within the next few days as they make the rounds.

Photo review time:
Palestinian kids carrying fake skeletons on stretchers in protests.

This is why Israel is doing what it must. Hamas is steadfast in their demands that Israel be destroyed. Honor and elevate bloody murdering terrorists. That's what they are, that's what they call for, and the world ignores all that to find fault with Israel instead.

Meanwhile Israeli humanitarian aid to Gaza continues to roll into Gaza to help Gazans, who will take the aid and still demand Israel's destruction; Hamas will steal it and/or use it for their terror purposes, but the world finds fault with Israel.

Ah, now this seems odd. We've got a Reuters caption claiming that the following photo is of the school where an airstrike killed 3.
6 hours ago: Palestinians survey the scene after an Israeli air strike at a United Nations school in Gaza January 6, 2009. An Israeli air strike killed three Palestinians in the United Nations school in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, medical workers and U.N. officials said.
What exactly was fired? Machine guns? Because it certainly wasn't anything larger than that - Hellfires blow up cars and leave craters and bombs leave gaping craters. Here? A small hole punched in the wall and smaller shrapnel holes. I think we've got some real questions about what happened at that school.

Israel may have opened fire on Hamas operating in close proximity to the school, and by the looks of it, used limited firepower in the process. The only sources providing details on who was killed or injured in the attack are Palestinians, who aren't exactly going to say that Hamas thugs were involved.

As a vivid reminder of what Israel is up against, here's Hamas busy firing kassams from outside a Gaza school in 2007. Some things don't change. They're still at it today:

More at Gateway Pundit. So, keep that in mind as the reports come in on the incident in Gaza.

Jules Crittenden kicks the media like a rented mule for its ongoing horrid coverage of the situation in Gaza and how they repeatedly present only one side of the conflict in any detail - that of Hamas and the Gazans, instead of focusing on why Israel is fighting back against Hamas in the first place - because Hamas couldn't stop itself from trying to destroy Israel.

Kenneth at LGF points out that there are now conflicting reports about what happened in or near a school in Gaza. An AP report notes that Hamas fired on Israeli forces from the school and the Israeli return fire set off secondary explosions - meaning that Hamas used the school as a weapons depot:
n Israeli official says Palestinian militants fired on Israeli soldiers from the courtyard of a U.N. school where dozens of people died in fiery explosions.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he said the army is still drafting the country's official response to the incident.

The Israeli official said "hostile fire" was directed at the soldiers from within the school. He said soldiers returned fire and multiple explosions went off, presumably emanating from munitions stored there.

John Ging, head of Gaza operations for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, said most of the casualties at the U.N. school in Jebaliya, where some 350 people had taken refuge, were outside the building. He did not say whether the artillery came from Israeli forces.
For additional coverage of the Gaza school incidents, see my separate post here.

I'd been wondering when we'd hear from Zawahiri. Well, here he goes...
We will never stop until we avenge the death of all who are killed, injured, widowed and orphaned in Palestine and throughout the Islamic world," said Ayman al-Zawahiri in a new 10-minute audio recording released today on extreme Islamist Web forums.

The message is entitled "The Massacre in Gaza and the Siege of the Traitors".

Zawahiri refers directly to President-elect Barack Obama saying he has partnered with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, whom Zawahiri labels as a traitor to Islam.
So, let's see - Zawahiri still considers the US as the enemy, and that Obama isn't going to be treated any different than President Bush.

The mention of Mubarak makes sense, since Mubarak imprisoned Zawahiri and Zawahiri led the Muslim Brotherhood there before joining up and forming al Qaeda.

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