If standing with Israel means demanding that the Israeli government do everything it can to secure the long-term peace and security of its people, then I will be first in line. If it means playing at public relations for one of the world’s most powerful defense forces, I’ll keep sitting out.
Entries in Israel Defense Forces (14)
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 br>
Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Insurgents Take a Military Airport in the North br>
Saturday's Israel-Palestine Live Coverage: Air Assault on Gaza Expands --- Ground War Next?
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.
1945 GMT: Although the Palestine Liberation Organization has already secured the majority of the members' consents ahead of the UN vote which is to take place on 29 November, the Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas wanted to take credit during the Arab League and European foreign ministers meeting in Cairo.
A joint statement on the endorsement of the UN bid did not come out but the Cairo Declaration called for a negotiated two-state solution and blamed only West Bank settlements and Israel’s security barrier as obstacles.
1900 GMT: Egypt's ruling Muslim Brother accused Israeli government of heating up the conflict with Gazan factions to score political points ahead of elections.
1640 GMT: The inner security cabinet agreed not to fire on the Gaza Strip as long as the rocket fire stops. PM Netanyahu warned:
Whoever thinks that he can routinely attack the daily lives of the residents of the South without paying a heavy price – is mistaken. I am responsible for choosing the right time to exact the highest possible price and so it will be.
1555 GMT: The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine says that Hamas security forces arrested six protesters at a women-led demonstration demanding national reconciliation.
UPDATE 1650 GMT: Israel Defense Forces use water cannon and then board the mini-flotilla:
UPDATE 1435 GMT: Israel Defense Forces have put out a statement:
A short while ago, Israel Navy soldiers boarded the vessels which were en-route to the Gaza Strip, attempting to break the maritime security blockade that is in accordance with international law.
The boarding was carried out following numerous calls to the activists onboard and during different points at sea. Following their unwillingness to cooperate, and after ignoring calls to divert to the port of Ashdod, the decision was made to board the vessels and lead them there.
The Israel Navy soldiers operated as planned, and took every precaution necessary to ensure the safety of the activists onboard the vessels as well as themselves.
Upon arrival of the vessels at the Ashdod port, the activists will be transferred to the custody of the Israel Police and immigration authorities in the Ministry of Interior.
The IDF said there were no injuries during the operation.
UPDATE 1445 GMT: Al Jazeera English has updated on developments, including details of the 477 Palestinians --- the first of two sets of detainees to be released --- who were freed today:
In Israel, 96 Palestinian prisoners left the Ketziot prison, bound for the Ofer military camp near the West Bank city of Ramallah, public radio reported early on Tuesday morning.
Another 334 were transferred to the Kerem Shalom crossing, at the southern-most point of the Israel-Gaza border. The first prisoners were dressed in civilian clothes, with their hands and feet manacled, the radio report said.
A convoy of vehicles left the Israeli Katsiout prison in Naqab, near the Egyptian border, before dawn on Tuesday. Vehicles carrying female prisoners also left HaSharon Prison in central Israel.
At the Beituniya border crossing, a "great sense of excitement" quickly evaporated after a last-minute change of plans meant that prisoners would not be brought in through the checkpoint to meet their families, Al Jazeera's Charles Stratford reported.
After the announcement, the assembled crowd threw stones at the Israeli border post, prompting them to retaliate with tear gas and water cannon.
Israel-Palestine Breaking: Dozens of Palestinians in "Nakba Day" Demonstrations Injured by Israeli Troops (Al Jazeera English)
UPDATE 1620 GMT: The Associated Press says at least 12 pro-Palestinian protesters are dead and dozens wounded. Four were killed in clashes on the Syrian border --- Al Arabiya adds a report of 10 dead on the Lebanese front.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had ordered the military to act with "maximum restraint". He continued, "But nobody should be mistaken. We are determined to defend our borders and sovereignty."
So now it is said that the exchange of hostilities between factions in Gaza and the State of Israel will not bring another war. After the concern of recent days that West Jerusalem might repeat the attack of 2008/9, Operation Cast Lead, suddenly the talk from Hamas and then from Israel was of a cease-fire.
So what happened?
The surface reading had been that an escalation of tension on the Gaza border was useful for Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as this took attention away from any need for concessions in talks on the other Palestinian front --- the West Bank --- ahead of Israeli elections. Indeed, even Washington's statement that it was“deeply concerned” about the construction of another 942 housing units of Israeli settlements in the West Bank could be put aside.
A review of the last two weeks, before Wednesday's explosion of a bomb near a bus in Jerusalem....
The construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank has quadrupled since the end of the temporary freeze last autumn, say Israeli official documents.
Five members of the Fogel family are massacred in the settlement of Itamar. Although this act is condemned by the Palestinian Authority, Israeli government and media organisations consider it a terrorist attack. West Jerusalem’s responds quickly. The Ministerial committee on settlement affairs approves the construction of 500 new homes in several West Bank settlements. The Israel Defense Forces carry out mass arrests in the village of Awarta, and questioned almost all the men.
This is the pursuit of Turkey's "strategic depth", developed by Foreign Minister Davutoglu, through "strategic parts", in this case, a method to solve problems --- eventually --- while maintaining stature after the red alert in relations with West Jerusalem.
But tension cannot be sustained forever. So who gives first? Israel's Netanyahu government or the Erdogan camp in Turkey?
Turkish diplomatic sources say that Israel and Turkey are close to agreeing on a document that will include Israel's apology and compensation for the nine Turkish citizens killed in the May attack on the Freedom Flotilla.
Questions remain. For instance, if Israel offers a clear and simple apology, will there be legal consequences? Will Turkey's immediate political gains crumble when it becomes clear that its other demands have been flatly rejected by West Jerusalem? To sweep away recent tensions and current suspicions over regional manoeuvres by both sides, will a letter of apology be enough?