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Monday
Nov192012

Israel-Palestine Live Coverage: 30 Killed in Gaza's Bloodiest Day

See also Gaza Feature: The Names of Those Killed
Gaza 1st-Hand: "We are Trapped. That is Where Our Story Begins and Ends
Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: On "Quiet" Sunday, 78 People Are Killed
Sunday's Israel-Palestine Live Coverage: Talk of Ceasefire Fades as Israel Pounds Gaza


2152 GMT: The Guardian reports:

Two teenage brothers have been killed and an unknown number wounded in an Israeli strike on a home near the Rafah border crossing, according to local reports. The names of the dead were given as Ahmad al-Nasasra, 17, and Mohammed al-Nasasra, 15.

This matches other social media reports we've seen, including this picture which was posted on Facebook:

Ahmad and his brother Muhammed AL-Nasasra were murdered...An Israeli missile leveled a home in Rafah

2132 GMT: Amnesty International has called for an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council "to impose an international arms embargo on Israel, Hamas, and Palestinian armed groups in Gaza".

Speaking about the current crisis, Amnesty International’s MENA Deputy Director Ann Harrison also said that the NGO has "serious concerns" that Palestinians are being killed by "indiscriminate or disproportionate attacks by Israeli forces.

2117 GMT: After hours of relative calm, the airstrikes have restarted in Gaza in the last hour. A contact in Gaza believes he knows the target:

2111 GMT: At the US State Department Press Briefing with Victoria Nuland, Associated Press journalist Matthew Lee engaged in what AP describes as a "spirited exchange". The exchange, which lasted two and a half minutes, suggests a growing frustration from the US press corps concerning American "quiet diplomacy". He even called her back when she tried to move on to a different question. The exchange began as follows and the full video is below:

Lee: You say that it would not be helpful for you to discuss any of your conversations, that quiet diplomacy is the way to de-escalate that. Well, you've been doing your quiet diplomacy now for almost a week. How's it going so far?

Nuland: We are working hard with the parties that--

Did in not occur to anybody that maybe being less quiet might get more results? Squeaky wheel gets grease, that kind of thing?

I'll let the tr--

You're being silent while people are dying left and right.

Matt, we are being far from silent, the President--

You're not telling us anything about what... when the Turks come out, when the leaders of Turkey are coming out and say that Israel is engaged in acts of terrorism and you refuse to say that you don't agree with that, or maybe you do agree with that, that's being silent.

2021 GMT: The IDF gives their latest tally of rockets from Gaza:

In Gaza they are keeping a different tally:

1847 GMT: Israel Defense Forces spokesman Amital Leibovich has put out a tweet which appears to justify Israeli attacks on targets where journalists may be present. She claimed, without further explanation, that this image from Palestinian TV showed Gazan fighters disguising themselves in a journalists' vehicle:

Leibovich's tweets follows three attacks in two days on Gaza City buildings used by Palestinian and international media, which killed at least one person and injured at least eight journalists.

After the initial two attacks on Sunday, Israeli Government spokesman Mark Regev fell back on the defense that "journalists aren't really journalists", especially if they are Arab:

Q: Eight people were injured. One person had his leg blown off. You have to accept that fact."
REGEV: As far as I know, no foreign journalists were hurt whatsoever....
Q: You cannot sit there and say no journalist was injured....That is a fact, you can't argue with that."...
REGEV: Maybe we have a discussion who is a journalist....There is the Al-Aqsa station, which is a station that is a Hamas command-and-control facility....From our point, that is not a legitimate journalist....
Q. So what are you saying, that a local Arab journalist life is not worth that of a foreign journalist?...
REGEV: If you can bring me someone who is a bona fide journalist who is injured....:

1845 GMT: Four more Gazans have been killed by Israeli airstrikes on the Al-Bureij and Nusairat refugee camps, south of Gaza City.

More than 100 Gazans have now been killed in the Israeli offensive since last Wednesday.

1839 GMT: Harriet Sherwood of The Guardian reports from the funeral of the 12 members of Dalou family who were killed in an Israeli airstrike on Sunday:

The bodies of four children wrapped in Palestinian flags were carried above a huge crowd from the rubble of their home, destroyed in an Israeli air strike, to their graves on Monday amid mounting anger over the sharply rising toll of civilians in the six-day-old war in Gaza.

Bulldozers, which were clearing concrete and twisted metal from the site of the Dalou family's home in the hope of finding two bodies still trapped beneath the ruins, stopped work to allow the funeral procession to pass.

"Do these children look like terrorists?" asked grief-stricken relatives and neighbours of the dead. Eight members of the Dalou family, including four children aged between one and seven, were killed when a missile struck their three-storey home at around 2.30pm on Sunday. Two family members are still missing, and two neighbours were also killed.

1808 GMT: In order for a ceasefire to be agreed upon by the Israeli's, the rockets need to stop being launched from Gaza. This is not happening.

1750 GMT: Police officer Rushdi Tamimi has died, two days after he was shot with live ammunition by Israeli forces during a protest in Nabi Saleh on the West Bank.

The Nabi Saleh popular committee said Tamimi was hit in the thigh and stomach.

Hundreds of Palestinians have been arrested and injured during protests since the escalation of the Gaza crisis last Wednesday.

Video of the clashes in Nabi Saleh:

1741 GMT: The Foreign Ministers of the 27 countries of the European Union have issued a statement from their meeting in Brussels today, ". All attacks must end immediately as they cause unjustifiable suffering of innocent civilians....An immediate cessation of hostilities is in everyone's interest, particularly at a time of instability in the region."

Beyond that general call, the EU put the blame for the conflict on Hamas and Gazan groups, while calling on West Jerusalem to not go too far in its response, "The European Union strongly condemns the rocket attacks on Israel from the Gaza Strip which Hamas and other armed groups in Gaza must cease immediately. There can be no justification for the deliberate targeting of innocent civilians. Israel has the right to protect its population from these kinds of attacks; in doing so it must act proportionately and ensure the protection of civilians at all times."

1631 GMT: BBC Middle East Bureau Chief Paul Danahar reports that Israeli officials have told the BBC that they are seeking the following from any ceasefire:

  • No hostile fire of any kind to come from Gaza into Israel including smalls arms fire at Israeli troops near the border.
  • Hamas fighters must be stopped from travelling to the Sinai to carry out attacks against Israel at the Sinai/Israel border.
  • Hamas mustnt be able to rearm. International & regional actors needed for this ("Egypt can play a key role in bringing about ceasefire.")
  • A ceasefire must not simple be a "time-out" for Hamas, it must be an extended period of quiet for Southern Israel.

1600 GMT: Dramatic video from Ashkelon, in southern Israel, where an Al Jazeera crew reported as Hamas rockets and Iron Dome interceptors literally traveled above their heads. The rockets were intercepted:

1550 GMT: An official in Netanyahu's office said that Islamic Jihad was using the people in the Shorouk media center as "human shields." IDF claims that there were at least four high-ranking operatives in the building, at least one of which, Ramez Haarb, is now confirmed to have been killed:

1543 GMT: A senior Israeli Government official has countered Hamas political director Khaled Meshaal's assertion that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanuyahu requested a truce: "Hamas's comments about a ceasefire, alleging that Israel is begging for one, are about as accurate as its claims to have shot down an F-15 (warplane) or attacked the Knesset."

1536 GMT: Khaled Meshaal, head of the political branch of Hamas, taunted the "war criminal and child murderer" Benjamin Netanyahu, warning the Israeli Prime Minister of the "political disaster" of an expanded attack: "Today he is brandishing the ground invasion against Hamas. If he wished to launch it, he would have already done it."

1522 GMT: Islamic Jihad has confirmed that today's airstrike on the Shorouk media center killed one of its leading figures, Ramez Haarb.

Islamic Jihad, a smaller sister group to Hamas, identified the dead militant as Ramez Haarb, a senior figure in its military wing, the Al Quds Brigades. Thick black smoke rose from the building. Paramedics said several people were wounded.

1509 GMT: Video from Russia Today shows the moment that several additional missiles hit the Shorouk media building, reportedly killing at least one high-profile insurgent comander (update below):

1438 GMT: AP is reporting that a top commander for Islamic Jihad was killed in the airstrike on the Shorouk media building. Tom Rayner, of Sky News, reports that his sources near the building say it was Ramez Haarb who was killed in the strike.

1425 GMT: In a press conference in Cairo, Hamas political director Khaled Meshaal has maintained a defiant tone saying that, while Gaza had suffered a terrible blow with the assassination of military commander Ahmed al-Jabari, it had withstood the Israeli assault.

The official said "Hamas was not interested in escalation." At the same time, while effecively confirming that negotations for a ceasefire are ongoing, Meshaal tried to present them as a sign of Israeli concession: "Netanyahu asked for ceasefire."

1417 GMT: Al Jazeera English reports at least one confirmed death in the Israeli airstrike on the Shorouk media building.

The channel says two other people have been killed in the latest Israeli attacks.

Also, the first confirmed pictures of the building:

1357 GMT: Multiple reports indicate that Israeli missiles have struck the Shorouk building, where media organisations are based, for the second time in two days --- the BBC's Paul Danahar:

1327 GMT: Artist and blogger Shahd Abusalama is close to an Israeli airstrike:

1314 GMT: After the conflicting signals over an Israeli ground invasion (see 1246 GMT), an indication from Haaretz that it is being deferred --- for now: "Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman agree to give international efforts to bring about a cease-fire more time."

Journalist Barak Ravid had reported earlier that the three men met from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. over the Egyptian proposal for a ceasefire.

1307 GMT: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has told a conference of the Eurasian Islamic Council in Istanbul, "Those who associate Islam with terrorism close their eyes in the face of mass killing of Muslims, turn their heads from the massacre of children in Gaza. For this reason, I say that Israel is a terrorist state, and its acts are terrorist acts."

1302 GMT: Haaretz reports the landing of Gazan rockets in the last half-hour in or near Beersheba, Ashdod, Ashkelon, and Gan Yavne. A woman was lightly wounded in Ashkelon.

1246 GMT: Back from an academic break to find conflicting signals to the media over a possible invasion of Gaza --- "a senior official close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu" has told Reuters: "We would prefer to see a diplomatic solution that would guarantee the peace for Israel's population in the south. But if diplomacy fails, we may well have no alternative but to send in ground forces."

According to the BBC's Frank Gardner, the former head of the Israeli army has said that Israel is "nearing decision point between a ceasefire or a ground invasion of Gaza".

Journalist Sheera Frenkel has a far different message, however:

And Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil has said, "Negotiations are going on as we speak and I hope we will reach something soon that will stop this violence and counter-violence. I think we are close, but the nature of this kind of negotiation [means] it is very difficult to predict."

1057 GMT: Clashes are reported in the West Bank, with demonstrators blocking roads by the settlement of Ofer and confrontation at the Atara checkpoint near Ramallah.

Protests are planned in Ramallah, Jenin, Bethlehem, Nablus, Hebron, and Qalqilya.

Palestinians stopping the cars of Jewish settlers near Ofer:

1031 GMT: The Israeli military has said that four rockets were fired from Gaza toward Ashkelon this morning --- three were intercepted by the Iron Dome system and one landed in a school parking lot.

Another rocket exploded in an open field outside of Beersheba.

No casualties were reported.

0949 GMT: Israeli Minister of Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz has told Army Radio that, if a truce is not agreed, the Israel Defense Forces "will expand operation within hours, not days".

0939 GMT: The Palestinian Authority reports on Israeli detention of protesters in the West Bank:

0932 GMT: Harriet Sherwood of The Guardian summarises efforts at a resolution of the crisis:

Palestinian official Nabil Shaath said some progress had been made at ceasefire talks in Cairo, but a truce was not imminent.

It was "not likely to take effect in the coming days because Israel is trying to impose its own stipulations ignoring the demands of Hamas and other Palestinian factions," Shaath told the Palestinian news agency Ma'an after being briefed by the Hamas leader, Khaled Meshal, and his deputy, Mousa Abu Marzouq, who are in Cairo.

Israel has also sent an envoy to the Egyptian capital. Reports from Cairo said the unnamed envoy had been taken straight from the airport to secret talks with Egyptian officials. Shaath described the contacts between Israel and Egypt as "serious attempts to reach a ceasefire" but a senior Israeli official in Jerusalem told the Haaretz newspaper that Israel did not expect a breakthrough.

The UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, is due to arrive in the region on Tuesday to shore up efforts to reach a ceasefire. He is to visit Jerusalem, Ramallah and Cairo.

A Gaza City police station destroyed by an Israeli airstrike overnight:

0802 GMT: Dan Williams of Reuters updates the overnight casualties:

0704 GMT: The BBC's Paul Danahar describes the scene in Gaza this morning:

0652 GMT: A "senior Israeli military official" has said that Israel has "gone as far as it can go with airstrikes" --- "Next step: go in, or go home."

0632 GMT: Al Jazeera English reports that nine Gazans were killed overnight by Israeli airstrikes, bringing the total since Wednesday to 84.

The most recent death was that of a child in an attack on the Soraya Government building in central Gaza City. At least two other women and two children were among the dead.

The Israel Defense Forces say they fired at 80 targets last night, bringing the total since Wednesday to more than 1350. Among last night's bombed sites were the Ministry of Youth and Sport and the stage at the Palestine Football stadium.

The IDF claimed 105 rockets were fired on Sunday, with 41 intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile system. Only one was launched after midnight.

0610 GMT: Yesterday morning we posted a feature, "The Names of the 52 People Who Have Been Killed...So Far".

I did not realise how soon the list would be outdated. Thirty people --- the vast majority civilians, including 12 members of one extended family; almost half women and children --- were slain in Israeli airstrikes through the day.

The Dalou family was decimated when missiles from Israeli F-16s decimated a four-storey house in northern Gaza City. The Israeli military initially said it had killed a top Islamic Jihad rocket maker in the assault; hours later, it withdrew the claim.

Five women, including an 80-year-old, and four small children were among the dead.

Earlier in the day, at least three children --- including an 18-month-old infant --- and two women were killed in a air raid east of Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza. The Israelis also deliberately hit two buildings hosting media, claiming they were aiming at "Hamas communications".

The attacks swept away any mention of ceasefire talks, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu promised an expansion of the aerial campaign. US President Barack Obama continued to give full backing to the Israelis. Other countries were more measured in their support of West Jerusalem: Britain blamed Gazan rockets for the strife, but warned that Israel would lose international support if it launched a ground invasion.

With Egyptian-led efforts for a halt to fighting apparently dormant, the Arab League and Turkey announced they would send high-level representatives to Gaza on Tuesday.

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