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Sunday
Nov182012

Israel-Palestine Live Coverage: Talk of Ceasefire Fades as Israel Pounds Gaza

Journalists run from an Israeli airstrike this morning (Photo: Mohammad Abed/AFP)

See also Gaza Feature: The Names of the 52 People Who Have Been Killed...So Far
Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Insurgents Take a Military Airport in the North
Saturday's Israel-Palestine Live Coverage: Air Assault on Gaza Expands --- Ground War Next?


2329 GMT: Ma'an news reports:

Jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouthi on Sunday called on President Mahmoud Abbas and PLO leaders to visit Gaza to demonstrate "steadfastness and resistance."

Barghouti condemned the "brutal Israeli aggression" against the Gaza Strip, describing it as an assault on all Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims, and free people of the world, a statement received by Ma'an said.

The jailed Fatah leader urged all Palestinians to take to the streets and organize popular rallies denouncing Israel's attacks on Gaza.

Arab countries, namely Jordan and Egypt, should reconsider their relations with Israel in light of the ongoing Israeli occupation and aggression, he added.

2208 GMT: Morocco has announced that it will set up a field hospital in Gaza. A statement issued earlier today, King Mohammed VI "ordered the immediate setting up of a Moroccan field hospital in the Gaza Strip [with medical staff from the armed forces as well as Moroccan civilian doctors and paramedics". The statement said that through "this humanitarian initiative [Morocco will] help alleviate the suffering of a population victim to several days of military aggression which the kingdom strongly condemns." It added that the efforts would be coordinated with the Palestinian authorities and sought to "reinforce existing medical capabilities".

2138 GMT: Gilad Sharon, the son of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, writes an incredibly hawkish op-ed, published tonight in the Jerusalem Post:

Why do our citizens have to live with rocket fire from Gaza while we fight with our hands tied? Why are the citizens of Gaza immune? If the Syrians were to open fire on our towns, would we not attack Damascus? If the Cubans were to fire at Miami, wouldn’t Havana suffer the consequences? That’s what’s called “deterrence” – if you shoot at me, I’ll shoot at you. There is no justification for the State of Gaza being able to shoot at our towns with impunity. We need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans didn’t stop with Hiroshima – the Japanese weren’t surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too.

There should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing. Then they’d really call for a ceasefire.

Were this to happen, the images from Gaza might be unpleasant – but victory would be swift, and the lives of our soldiers and civilians spared.

There is no middle path here – either the Gazans and their infrastructure are made to pay the price, or we reoccupy the entire Gaza Strip. Otherwise there will be no decisive victory. And we’re running out of time – we must achieve victory quickly. The Netanyahu government is on a short international leash. Soon the pressure will start – and a million civilians can’t live under fire for long. This needs to end quickly – with a bang, not a whimper.

2057 GMT: Several sources are reporting that two explosions have been heard in Eilat. Ynet reports that the "IDF is looking into source, including suspicion that it might result from rocket fire".

2043 GMT: The Committee to Protect Journalists has said it is "alarmed" by the Israeli attacks on media centres overnight. Deputy Director Robert Mahoney said:

Journalists are civilians and are protected under international law in military conflict. Israel knows this and should cease targeting facilities housing media organizations and journalists immediately.

2035 GMT: Today, Israel bombed a home in the Gaza Strip it said belonged to Hamas official Yehiya Rabiah. At least 12 people were killed by the attack, including 4 children and 5 women, all from the same family. Haaretz reports that the intended target of Israel's "surgical" strike may not have been struck at all:

Earlier reports by the IDF Spokesman to the effect that Israel assassinated the head of Hamas' rocket-launching unit Yehiya Rabiah today in an aerial bombing in northern Gaza appear to have been inaccurate. Apparently, the IAF mistakenly bombed the home of one of his neighbors, Mohammed a-Dallo, killing 10 members of his family and two of his neighbors. Rabiah seems to have survived the attack.

2032 GMT: Up to 500 Egyptian activists have reportedly crossed into Gaza in solidarity with the Palestinian people. They are also bringing with them medical supplies. AP quotes one activist, Adam Mubarak, as saying:

We are telling the Palestinians that we are on their side. Our visit is a message to Israel that we will not abandon the Palestinians in Gaza.

2021 GMT: Another Palestinian has been killed following an airstrike in Jabalia. The death toll now stands at 72.

2020 GMT: After reports of an airstrike in south Gaza killing two more Palestinians, Al-Jazeera English updates on the death toll, now at 71:

Children: 20

Women: 8

Elderly: 9

Adults: 34

2017 GMT: Al-Jazeera English reports on the medical toll in the West Bank:

Medical sources in the West Bank tell Al Jazeera that hundreds of Palestinians have been injured in clashes across the West Bank.

Most of those treated for injuries during Sunday's demonstrations suffered from suffocation from tear gas.

A family near Ramallah claim their 20-month-old baby suffered burns from a tear gas canister. Medical sources have yet to verify the family's claim.

In Tulkarem, in the west, more than 120 Palestinians were injured. Of the injured in Tulkarem, 10 were by rubber-coated bullets.

In Bethlehem, another seven people were wounded, including one by a live bullet.

2011 GMT: A spokesman for the al-Quds Brigades, Islamic Jihad's armed wing, has told Ma'an news that the battle against Israel will ultimately result in victory for the Palestinian people. Abu Ahmad said, "Our fighters are going on with missile attacks," and claimed that 16 Israelis in Ashdod, Ashkelon and Ofakimhad had been injured by the al-Quds Brigades today. He also confirmed that the political leadership of Islamic Jihad were in Cairo for talks on a possible ceasefire.

1938 GMT: There are reports that Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoglu may visit Gaza on Tuesday. EA's Ali Kemal Yenidunya comments on the significance:

Hurriyet says Davutoglu is going to visit Gaza if the meeting of the Arab League ministers progresses in Cairo. Plus, Prime Minister Erdogan is going to travel to Gaza afterwards. His visit date is not certain though. Israelis already confirmed that an envoy is in Cairo. This means that Turks might be holding their second unofficial touch with the Israelis now since the Mavi Marmara incident. The first one was between Ben-Eliezer and Davutoglu in 2010. Remember deputy PM Bulent Arinc saying that Ankara should talk to Tel Aviv at least regarding the Gaza situation.

1929 GMT: The Bahrain Ministry of Interior has refused permission to allow opposition societies to organise a "Save Gaza" rally today. The Interior Minister announced a ban on all demonstrations three weeks ago. The societies were told to organise a "solidarity stance" at their headquarters instead.

1926 GMT: More on the ceasefire talks. Egyptian President Morsi has met with "two delegates of Hamas and Islamic Jihad", according to Al-Jazeera English.

1911 GMT: The IDF release footage of their attack on a media centre. They describe the attack as having "surgically targeted Hamas' operational communications capabilities".

1901 GMT: Reporters Without Borders have condemned the attacks by Israeli on two media centers in Gaza. The NGO's director Christophe Deloire said:

Even though the outlets targeted are linked to Hamas, it does not legitimize the attacks. Attacks against civilian targets constitute war crimes.

1857 GMT: Al-Jazeera English has been told by Hamas spokesman Ghazi Hamad that 90 per cent of the terms of a ceasefire currently being discussed in Cairo have been agreed upon.

1856 GMT: Footage from an anti-war protest in Tel Aviv:

1842 GMT: In an officially produced video, the IDF claim that they have overseen the transfer of 124 trucks carrying supplies of gas and food into Gaza via the Kerem Shalom crossing.

Last month, an Israeli court forced the Ministry of Defence to release a 2008 study entitled Food Consumption in the Gaza Strip - The Red Lines, which had been reportedly commissioned to calculate the "red line" of minimum food required to ensure that any blockade of Gaza would not lead to actual malnutrition. According to the BBC, the study "concluded that Israel needed to allow 106 lorryloads of supplies into Gaza every day to allow for the "daily humanitarian portion", which included basic food, medicine, medical equipment, hygiene products and agricultural inputs."

1836 GMT: Speaking to Al-Jazeera English, Hamas deputy foreign minister Ghazi Hamad says that he feels that the Arab world is taking the Palestinian cause more seriously. However he adds that action is now needed, saying "we don't need more words or more statements ... we need more action. Now is a time of action."

1752 GMT: Palestinian sources say that the death toll in Gaza is now 69, including the 11 members of the al-Dallu family killed today when their residence was destroyed in an Israeli airstrike.

Among the 21 people killed are eight children and five women. Four of the children died in the strike on the home of Mohammed al-Dallu, 35, a policeman, in northern Gaza City.

1705 GMT: Haaretz correspondent Barak Ravid reports from Tel Aviv: "Big explosion not far from my house in the centre of Tel Aviv."

1657 GMT: Hamas military wing claims that it fired three rockets toward an Israeli ship.

1652 GMT: Iron Dome intercepts two rockets fired at Tel Aviv.

1645 GMT: Air raid sirens heard in Tel Aviv.

1637 GMT: Israeli Radio quotes PM Netanyahu as saying to French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius that they would be ready to talk when the fight stopped.

1633 GMT: Fatah leader Nabil Shaath is being sent to Gaza to try and stop Israel sending ground troops , says the Palestine Liberation Organisation.

1620 GMT: The IDF assassinated the head of Hamas' rocket program, Yahyia Byya , says army sources.

1615 GMT: Death toll reaches to 68 now.

1612 GMT: Two rockets intercepted over Ashkelon.

1609 GMT: Israeli President Shimon Peres has spoken with Sky News, saying:

We also appreciate the efforts of the president of Egypt to introduce a ceasfire. But until now, Hamas has rejected the proposal of the Egyptian president.

1605 GMT: A picture of a dead child being pulled from the rubble in the aftermath of the Israeli strike on the home in Gaza:

1551 GMT: Al-Jazeera reports that "another 15 people are believed to be still trapped underneath the debris of concrete and steel" following the attack on a Hamas leaders house which left at least 9 dead. Their correspondent says that the plight of "one individual family has gripped Palestinians".

1545 GMT: Senior Israeli official confirms that an Israeli envoy is in Cairo for ceasefire talks. Unnamed official adds that he does not expect any breakthrough in talks as preparations for a possible ground offensive are ongoing.

1540 GMT: A rocket fired from the Gaza strip has landed in Ofakim, near a vehicle, leaving four people injured, according to the Israeli police force.

1517 GMT: According to Al-Jazeera English, the death toll number has now reached 66.

1510 GMT: Israeli deputy PM Moshe Yaalon responded to Israeli peace activist Gershon Baskin's earlier remarks regarding an "ongoing permanent truce negotiations" between Israelis and Hamas at a time when Hamas' Jabari was killed. Yaalon said: I haven't heard about these negs whatsoever" He continues:

Best defense is a good offense. They initiated the vicious cycle in Gaza. We have to deter them, by charging heavy price.

1506 GMT: British Foreign Secretary William Hague has cautioned that "a ground invasion of Gaza would lose Israel a lot of the international support and sympathy". In an interview with Sky News, he also said that Hamas "bears ... principle responsibility for starting al this" adding that "it would be a mistake for the Palestinians" to seek recognition of statehood at the UN at the present time.

It is Hamas that bears, as, as I’ve said before, the principle responsibility for starting all of this and we would like to see an agreed cease fire, an essential component of which is an end to those rocket attacks.

The Prime Minister and I have both stressed to our Israeli counterparts that a ground invasion of Gaza would lose Israel a lot of the international support and sympathy that they have in this situation, that of course it's much more difficult to restrict and avoid civilian casualties during a ground invasion and that a large ground operation would threaten to prolong the conflict.

I think it would be a mistake for the Palestinians to try at this moment, to try in the next few weeks to win observer status at the United Nations, that is what is now being talked about, because it would be so divisive among all the people whose help they need to get the peace process going.

1459 GMT: Egyptian activists are calling for a mass march into Gaza to show solidarity.

1458 GMT: The IDF puts another "surgical" operation video footage reportedly showing targeted Hamas communication center on the roof of a civilian building.

1455 GMT: The IDF says only 302 out of 846 Gaza rockets have been intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system in the last four days. It is also added that additional 99 rockets couldn’t leave Gaza’s air space and exploded inside.

1452 GMT: Al Jazeera's Nadim Baba reports that vehicles have transpoted military hardware through Sderot near the border with Gaza throughout the day.

1451 GMT: The Associated Press is reporting that an Israeli envoy has landed in Cairo for talks with Egyptian authorities on a cease-fire with Hamas in Gaza. Israel has denied it.

1450 GMT: Haaretz reports that Israeli Foreign Minister Lieberman has told journalists that a "cease-fire is contingent upon a total cessation of fire by all terrorist organizations active in Gaza".

1449 GMT:BBC's Paul Danahar reports from the scene of an Israeli airstrike on a house in Northern Gaza which has killed at least 10 Palestinians, including 3 children and 4 women (see previous entry). The IDF reportedly targetted the house because it belongs to a Hamas official, Jamal Dalou.

In front of me too huge diggers are frantically trying scoop rubble from a flattened building in front of me. The narrow ally way is choked with shouts & screams as men swarm around attaching chains to the concrete pancaked together.

Utterly frantic scenes here as people struggle to find survivors. It doesn't look very hopeful. Men are dragging away rocks and rubble with their hands trying to get to the people underneath it seems impossible anyone alive.

I am standing in front of a huge crater which is still smoking. Rescue efforts are now moving toward neighboring houses. Surely no hope for those in main building but chance for those living next door and so rescuers are busy. There 7 people missing.

Lots of men holding folding stretchers hoping for more survivors. Only one little girl brought out. She was dead. Most of the casualties are from the family of a Hamas man whose house was hit. The rest are his neighbors.

1442 GMT:An airstrike by Israeli forces has left ten Palestinians dead, including three children, four women, and three men. Haaretz 1454 GMT:" target="_blank">reports that this raises the overall death toll in Gaza to 65.

More details to come.

1421 GMT: AFP reports on two more deaths in Gaza, including a 13-year old girl:

Two people were killed, one of them a child, when an Israeli missile hit a beachfront refugee camp in Gaza City on Sunday, the Hamas-run health ministry and witnesses said. "The death toll has risen to 52 after two people were killed in an attack on Shati camp -- a man and a girl," health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra told AFP.

Hospital officials named the victims as 13-year-old Tasneem al-Nahal and Ahmad al-Nahal, 25. Both were from the same family but the relationship between them was not immediately clear.

The girl's body was lain in a mortuary in a pink and blue tracksuit, an AFP correspondent reported.

Doctors said she had been killed by massive shrapnel wounds to the head.

1417 GMT: Tomorrow, a delegation headed by the leader of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party will visit Gaza. Saad al-Katatni will make the trip accompanied by "other Egyptian political figures" reports AFP.

1414 GMT: The Arab League has announced that a delegation will visit Gaza on Tuesday. The delegation will be formed by the Arab foreign ministerial council, headed by Nabil al-Arabi. Arab League foreign ministers met in Cairo yesterday.

1412 GMT: BBC's Paul Danahar shares audio of the IDF defending the attack on media buildings in Gaza:

+

1350 GMT: Isreali Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggests that the attack on Gaza is to be expanded. Speaking at a cabinet meeting today he said:

The Israel Defense Forces have attacked more than 1,000 terror targets in the Gaza Strip.

We are exacting a heavy price from Hamas and the terrorist organizations and the Israel Defence Forces are prepared for a significant expansion of the operation.

1345 GMT: Speaking at a press conference in Thailand, US President Obama has voiced further support for Isreali actions:

There's no country on earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders. We are fully supportive of Israel's right to defend itself.

1340 GMT: BBC's Paul Danahar tweets his account of a visit to Shifa hospital in Gaza earlier today:

I'm back down at Shifa hospital. The worse case patients are being loaded into ambulances & taken to Egypt.

Suddenly hospitals busting with activity two children have been brought in one covered in blood his brother hysterical. And more children have come in they look like they've been dug out of rubble. There's screaming and crying and chaos. A nurse has broken down and is crying in the corner her colleagues are trying to comfort her. Awful scenes here.

Shifa hospital went from organized calm to frantic chaos as doctors ran around trying to dress wounds. More ambulances coming now. Sirens screaming another ambulance arrived. Is now unloading a woman. It's utter madness doctors struggling to cope.

Half of the casualties arriving at Shifa hospital in Gaza in last half an hour have been children injured in Israeli air strikes. The injured arriving at Shifa hospital in Gaza are from air attack north of Gaza city. 3 dead - 1 woman 2 children. 10 injured.

1335 GMT: Turkish paper Today's Zaman reports that two Turkish journalists were injured in Gaza following an Israeli airstrike. Cameraman Ömer Şageli and photographer Mustafa Hassune, who work for the state-run Anatolia news agency, went to the scene of the airstrike where Hamas' Al-Aqsa TV studio is located.

[They] were filming the building when Israeli warplanes conducted a second airstrike on the building and they were hit by shrapnel coming down from the building.

One hand of Şageli was broken while his body had several injures. The journalists were taken to Shifa Hospital for a treatment.

1330 GMT: BBC's Middle East Bureau Chief Paul Danahar, who is also the elected Chairman of the Middle East's Foreign Press Association, reports on how the IDF has justified the overnight strikes on buildings housing journalists:

0953 GMT: Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh reportedly told Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi by phone over the weekend that he supported efforts to mediate a temporary cease-fire, but said this must include a "clear guarantee" from Israel that it will not resume its attacks.

The two leaders spoke after Egyptian intelligence officials met with Hamas political bureau chief, Khaled Meshaal, and his deputy, Mussa Abu Marzouk.

0950 GMT: The emergency services have identified the 18-month-old toddler killed this morning, in an Israeli airstrike east of Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza, as Iyyad Abu Khusa.

Iyyad's two brothers were wounded.

0914 GMT: The Israeli military says that its Iron Dome anti-missile system has intercepted two long-range rockets fired towards Tel Aviv.

According to AFP, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he is ready to "significantly" expand the aerial assault on Gaza.

0819 GMT: The Israeli military has said that nine short-range rockets have been fired from Gaza this morning, one of them hitting a house but causing no casualties in Ashkelon.

0739 GMT: An EA correspondent notes:

An IDF [Israel Defense Forces] spokesperson on the news yesterday was, rightfully, noting the 3 israeli dead in the rocket strike [on Thursday].

Then somebody said, "But what about the 2 babies and the pregnant woman [killed in Gaza]?", to which the IDF guy replied, "There's always casualties in war," without a hint of irony.

0734 GMT: The Israeli military justifies its attacks on two buildings used by journalists --- Charlotte Alfred of Maan News Agency reports:

The Israeli Defense Forces had earlier tweeted:

0716 GMT: One of the six journalists injured in Israeli airstrikes on media centres overnight --- Khader al-Zahhar, a cameraman with al-Quds TV --- has had a leg amputated.

0712 GMT: Medics are reporting that a toddler has been killed in an Israeli airstrike.

The Israeli military has said that two rockets, the first fired from Gaza since midnight, have landed in Ashkelon.

There were no casualties.

0705 GMT: As Al Jazeera English correspondent Nadim Baba reports live from Gaza City, there is a boom behind him. He says calmly, "An incoming air strike. I have no idea what that would have been targeting, but it's fairly near to where we are. The media buildings there were hit...both of them a few hundred metres away."

0615 GMT: For a brief period last night --- amid meetings in Cairo of the Arab League, Turkey, and high-level Hamas representatives --- there was chatter of a ceasefire initiative brokered by Egypt. However by last night, Israeli sources, including the Prime Minister's office, were dismissing any prospect of West Jerusalem sending an envoy to Cairo.

Then Israel gave an even stronger response. Overnight airstrikes hit a security office and civilian buildings, with reports of numerous injuries.

Israel is continuing its assault on the Gaza Strip for a fifth straight day, bombarding the Palestinian enclave from both the air and sea.

Several strikes hit Gaza City on Sunday morning. Huge plumes of smoke were billowing in the sky after a security building was hit and there were reports of many injuries.

Two buildings serving as media centres --- one with local Arab media, wounding several journalists from Al-Quds television; one with "Western" reporters, Al-Arabiya, and Hamas' official channel Al-Aqsa TV --- were hit. At least six journalists were wounded.

Two other attacks on houses in the Jabaliya refugee camp killed one child and wounded 12 other people, medical officials said.

Forty-eight Gazas, about half of them civilians and 12 of them children, have been killed in Israel's raids since Wednesday. Three Israelis were killed by rocket fire on Thursday.

The Israeli Defense Force also said there were more attacks on rocket launchers and confirmed that its navy is shelling Gaza.

The IDF said, while more than 500 rockets have been fired from Gaza since Wednesday, no mortars or rockets had been launched since midnight local time.

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