The foreign ministers of Germany, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia visited Israel Thursday in a show of solidarity as fighting continues with Hamas in the Gaza Strip. They toured sites hit by rockets from Gaza, met ministers and attended briefings.“I am speechless after I witnessed the destruction and terror that Israel has experienced,” said the Czech Foreign Minister after touring a rocket-devastated building in Petah Tikva. Read more here
Around 3,500 rockets (now around 4,000) have been fired towards Israel by the Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror groups in the Gaza Strip since 10/5.
More than 500 rockets have fallen short and exploded inside Gaza harming Palestinian civilians – 1 in 7 of the total number of rockets fired.
On Tuesday evening, IDF launched a strike on a Hamas terror cell firing mortars at Israel from inside a school in Gaza.
Hamas has adopted the unprecedented tactic of firing large barrages of 100+ rockets at a single time from multiple directions in an attempt to overwhelm Israel’s Iron Dome missile defence system.
On the first day of fighting Hamas fired 470 rockets – a major increase of the peak of 192 rockets fired on a single day in the last conflict in 2014.
Over the weekend, rockets exploded in the Arab Israeli town of Tayibe and in a Palestinian village in the West Bank.
The IDF have reportedly destroyed 62 miles of Hamas’s underground tunnel infrastructure across Gaza; seen as a major setback for the terror organisation.
The IDF have discovered that the Lebanese Shiite terror group Hezbollah has dug a network of tunnels hundreds of kilometres long from Beirut to southern Lebanon, just 3km from the Israel border
Rockets fired at Israel by Hamas that fell within Gaza killed 17 Gazan civilians well before any IDF retaliatory airstrikes on Monday last week. On Tuesday, a Hamas rocket that fell short damaged power lines in Gaza, cutting off electricity to 230,000 residents. Power lines to sewage treatment plants have been damaged. Read more here
Hamas attacks are contributing to the humanitarian crisis within Gaza. On Tuesday, a convoy of 24 trucks carrying international aid from Israel came under mortar fire from Palestinian militants as it tried to enter Gaza, according to Israeli and UN officials. Only five trucks got through. The trucks contained medical equipment, animal feed and fuel tanks for the use of international organizations in Gaza. Read more here
New illustrations show how Hamas built an elaborate underground terror network in the heart of densely crowded civilian neighbourhoods Read more here
Rocket & mortar fire on Israeli communities has been unremitting – the following selection of reports give an idea of what Israelis have been subjected to since 10/5:
Almost 300 Gazan rockets were fired at southern and central Israel on Saturday, while 40 landed inside Gaza. Dozens of rockets were intercepted by Iron Dome. Several homes in Israel sustained direct hits from rockets. An Israeli man, age 55, was killed in Ramat Gan. Other rockets fell in the Arab-Israeli town of Taibe and near the West Bank cities of Ramallah and Tulkarem.As at last Monday 17/5 10 civilians and one soldier had been killed in Israel since 10/5. 564 people had been injured, 6 seriously. Read more here
Two Thai workers were killed and eight other people were injured on Tuesday in a direct hit by a rocket on a packing house in an Israeli border community. An IDF soldier was wounded in a mortar attack while assisting in the transfer of humanitarian aid shipments into Gaza through the Erez Crossing. Read more here
The Farag home is one of 146 buildings in Israel hit by rockets fired from Gaza which include homes, apartment blocks, schools, kindergartens and an oil storage tank. So far, 12 people have been killed in Israel and at least 106 suffered shrapnel and blast wounds. Read more here
On Wednesday evening, the IDF said that some 230 rockets and mortar shells from the Gaza Strip were fired toward Israel over the past 12 hours, injuring a soldier & a civilian. Of these, 30 failed to clear the border and landed within Gaza territory. Soldiers operating Iron Dome intercepted roughly 90% of the incoming projectiles heading toward populated areas. Read more here
Rocket fire targeting Israeli civilians in Gaza border communities continued Thursday morning after night barrages targeting Beersheba and Kiryat Malachi. The IDF said 70 rockets and mortar shells were fired between 7 p.m. Wednesday and 7 a.m. Thursday, with 10 falling short in Gaza. Read more here
The IDF repeatedly claims to do everything in its power in order to avoid civilian casualties in Gaza while operating in a complicated reality where Hamas uses civilians as human shields. Faced by international criticism, the IDF decided to publish operational documentation that shows that avoiding hurting civilians is an active and daily aspect of IDF operational reality. Video and audio recordings of Israeli Air Force pilots released by the IDF Sunday show pilots calling off an airstrike after noticing civilians, including children, in the area.
See Twitter link in this article. Article here
Some 160 aircraft flying simultaneously conducted a massive attack on a network of tunnels dug by the Hamas terror group around midnight last Thursday. Read more here
Israeli air and naval forces thwarted a Hamas attack from the sea using an unmanned underwater vehicle. Read more here
Israel destroyed 65 multi-barrel rocket launchers capable of firing between 4 and 9 rockets within seconds. Read more here
Israel insisted that their airstrikes on Saturday which destroyed the Al Jala tower in Gaza, housing offices of Al Jazeera and the Associated Press, did not target a “media centre” as was widely reported. Their. intelligence revealed that the tower was used by Hamas, and Islamic Jihad, for military purposes.
Read more here
Israel shared intelligence with the U.S. showing how Hamas operated inside the same building with the Associated Press and Al-Jazeera in Gaza. A senior diplomatic source said. “I understand they found the explanation satisfactory.” Read more here
The Associated Press has been accused of lying about whether it knew Hamas maintained a military presence in its Gaza headquarters. A 2014 report by journalist Matti Friedman made it clear that A.P. were well aware of Hamas’s presence in the building – and chose not to report it. Read more here
Asked about the disparity in casualties of Israelis and Palestinians, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday: “There is first a very clear and absolute distinction between a terrorist organization, Hamas, that is indiscriminately raining down rockets – in fact, targeting civilians – and Israel’s response defending itself that is targeting the terrorists who are raining down rockets on Israel. Read more here
The workers’ union at the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) announced on Thursday that it will not fix electric lines to the Gaza Strip that were damaged by Hamas missiles until the Israelis being held by terrorist groups there are released. At the moment this is a declaratory step only, because it is currently too dangerous to undertake repair work under enemy fire. Read more here
Six rockets were fired from Lebanon toward Israel late Monday, falling short of the border fence. The army later ordered communities within four kilometres (2.5 miles) of the northern border to open bomb shelters.The previous week, three missiles were fired at Israel from Syria on Friday evening, and last Thursday, three rockets were fired from Lebanon at Israel, all of which landed in the sea.Read more here
Four rockets were fired at Israel from Lebanon on Wednesday with one intercepted by Iron Dome. Read more here
Despite Hamas challenging Iron Dome by firing scores of rockets simultaneously, the system is managing to destroy 90% of the incoming volleys. Read more here
A Jewish man Yigal Yehoshua, 56, who was struck in the head by a brick thrown by Arab rioters in Lod last week, died from his wounds on Monday. Read more here
170 people involved in inter-ethnic rioting over the past 10 days have been indicted, of whom 15 are Jewish and the rest Arab. Police have arrested 1,319 suspects in the unrest, of which 252 are minors. The majority are Arab, while 159 are Jewish. Read more here
Two Arab-Israelis are accused of throwing a Molotov cocktail at a home in Jaffa which left severe third-degree burns on a 12-year-old Arab boy and injured his sister. This incident, which shocked the Israeli public, was initially attributed to radical Jews, however the two suspects, who were caught on surveillance cameras before fleeing, were actually targeting a house inhabited by Jews and had hit the “wrong” target. Read more here
Avi Har-Even, 84, former director of the Israel Space Agency, was in critical condition Thursday after suffering from smoke inhalation when the hotel he was staying at in Acre was torched during rioting by Arab residents of the city. Read more here
An Arab man who last Wednesday was attacked and savagely beaten by a Jewish mob in Bat Yam has spoken about the ordeal, while still calling for Jewish-Arab coexistence. Despite his difficult experience, Saeed Mousa called for peace between Jews and Arabs.Read more here
Over the course of the clashes, some 112 Jewish homes have been torched and another 386 looted amid the rioting. Read more here
Shocked by unprecedented scenes of violence between Jews and Arabs over recent days, Israelis took to the streets to call for peaceful coexistence. In Jerusalem, hundreds rallied in the downtown area, as 300 school principals and educators rallied in front of the Knesset. Crowds also gathered in several other locations throughout the country City council members from Acre, Lod, Haifa, Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Ramle and other mixed Jewish-Arab cities issued a joint call for calm. Leaders of both communities also came together in northern Israel and in the Negev to call for an end to the violence. At Haifa’s Rambam Hospital, Jewish and Arab colleagues posed together with posters calling for peace. Read more here
Ra’am party leader Mansour Abbas said that Arab Israelis will “lead” efforts to repair and rehabilitate synagogues burned down by violent Arab rioters in Lod.Read more here
Hundreds took part in a rally for Jewish-Arab coexistence along the walls of Jerusalem’s old City. Read more here
The kidney of an Yigal Yehoshua, who was killed by an Arab mob in Lod, was transplanted into the body of an Arab woman, Ranadah Awis who said: “I thank Yigal’s family,” adding that Yehoshua’s family “has become part of my family.” “I wish for peace between us — Jews and Arabs. This Jewish kidney has now become a part of me. Read more here
The UAE has reportedly threatened Hamas it will cease all infrastructure and economic investments in the Gaza Strip if it fails to come to a ceasefire agreement with Jerusalem in the near future. An unnamed UAE official said “If Hamas does not commit to complete calm, it is dooming the residents of the Strip to a life of suffering. Its leaders must understand that their policies are first and foremost hurting the people of Gaza.” Read more here
The most widespread sentiment on social media (in the UAE) is criticism of Hamas, an organization which has few fans in the Gulf, mainly because it has brought large-scale destruction to Gaza. Read more here
Stephen Daisley: The British Prime Minister’s “both sides” response to the terrorist attacks on Israel underscores how Western political elites lose all critical reasoning when it comes to one tiny strip of land in the Middle East. Israel is under assault from Hamas, the Islamist mafia that runs Gaza like 19th-century Sicily.
You will have seen a lot of headlines about Israel “storming” the al-Aqsa Mosque. Buried in much coverage is that Israeli police raided the joint because Palestinians were rioting and using this sacred Islamic site to store concrete slabs, rocks and fireworks, which they turned on officers.
The pretence of equivalence between the IDF and a kill-the-Jews terror gang would be offensive if it weren’t so risible, because the values of Hamas and the values of Israel don’t exist in the same moral universe. Israel arrests Jews who try to pray at Judaism’s holiest site while facilitating worship and pilgrimage by Muslims.
Israel is urged to show “restraint,” as though more than a decade of rocket attacks without going into Gaza and toppling Hamas doesn’t show a level of restraint most nations wouldn’t dream of showing.
The international community from the Bush administration on down piled pressure on Israel to withdraw from Gaza, promising international legitimacy and recognition of its right to self-defence in return. When it withdrew, it was calumnied and arraigned for war crimes in the court of international public opinion every time it defended itself. Read more here
Bassem Eid: I was born in the Jordanian-occupied Old City in Jerusalem and lived in a UN refugee camp from 1966 until 1999. In 1996 I founded the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring group. With my background, you might assume that I am against Israel’s current military actions, but this could not be further from the truth. The blame for the bloodshed lies solely at the feet of Hamas.
Hamas is not fighting for a human rights cause; they are committing war crimes to boost their political standing. Hamas sees a lopsided body count as a positive development, as it allows them to claim that Israel is the aggressive party in the conflict they started. Read more here
John Podhoretz: The idea that the act of defending citizens against incoming rocket fire could possibly constitute a war crime is the textbook definition of moral idiocy. War criminals don’t drop “knock-knock” dud bombs on buildings to provide warning to the residents that an attack is coming so they can get out of harm’s way. War criminals don’t telephone the owners of buildings to let them know a strike is coming, so that residents might be evacuated. Read more here
Bret Stephens: Gaza is often said to be utterly destitute. Yet Hamas, which rules Gaza, seems not to have had too much trouble amassing the 1,750 (now around 4,000) rockets it has so far fired at Israel. The usual rule in life is that if you throw the first punch, you can’t complain if you’re counterpunched. Read more here
Gerald M. Steinberg: For many years, Gaza has been a major location for an army of international aid providers. Their reports consistently portray an impoverished Palestinian enclave on the brink of disaster, usually blamed on Israeli policies…Yet no one talked about the massive arsenal of rockets deployed by Hamas and its allies, and the costs involved. Instead of using very limited resources for economic development and to create real jobs, Hamas diverted hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to build a vast war machine. Aid materials disappeared into the rocket assembly lines, and the concrete provided for housing was used to build cross-border attack tunnels. Now, with millions of Israeli citizens targeted and terrorized by Palestinian missiles, many are demanding an end to the years of impunity for Hamas and the international organizations involved in or complicit with this ongoing assault. Read more here
Dore Gold: The current Hamas offensive against Israel should be placed in a broader context of Iranian ambitions. An illuminating study published by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change this February asserted that “the premise that Iran would moderate its commitment to creating and sponsoring militias due to the thaw in U.S.-Iranian relations after the 2015 nuclear deal and sanctions relief for Tehran was false…The number of militias created by the IRGC surged after this period.”…the mistake of the 2015 nuclear deal must not be repeated, with billions of dollars going to Iran, fuelling the next wave of terrorism – including the terror of Hamas. Not only is the security of Israel at stake but the security of the wider Western alliance.Read more here
Jonathan S Tobin: If a greater number of Palestinians die, it is because their Islamist rulers in Gaza think that is an optimal outcome, because it helps besmirch Israel’s reputation. If they cared about saving lives, they would build bomb shelters for their citizens. Gaza, which has what may be one of the world’s most elaborate and extensive tunnel systems, has shelters, but they are for the rockets Hamas shoots at Israel and those who fire them.
When Islamist terrorists rain down missiles on Israel, it’s not enough to talk about complexity or to pray for peace. The only moral thing to do is to denounce the lies, not to talk about restraint from both sides. If you care about justice, and the lives of Jews and Arabs, you have to support efforts to defeat Hamas, not appease or reward it. Read more here
Washington Post Editorial 17/5: Israel did not start the war that now rages between it and Hamas. The Islamist movement began launching missiles indiscriminately at Israeli cities a week ago, using as a pretext several days of unrest in Jerusalem. Israel’s subsequent bombing of targets in the Gaza Strip, which has been aimed at killing commanders of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, eliminating rocket launchers and destroying the tunnel network used by the militant groups, is not morally or legally comparable to the rocket launches, which are war crimes. The Palestinian death toll had reached 200, some of whom may have been killed by the more than 400 rockets fired at Israel that fell in Gaza itself. Ten Israeli residents had died, including elderly and disabled people and a 5-year-old; were it not for the effectiveness of Israeli antimissile batteries, hundreds would have been killed.Read more here
Wall St Journal Editorial: Hamas fires rockets at Israeli cities, Israel retaliates by bombing the source of the rockets in Gaza, Hamas plays up the civilian casualties, and the world leans on Israel to stop defending itself. The truth to keep in mind is that this conflict was started by Hamas and Islamic Jihad. They are attempting to kill Israeli civilians with rockets supplied by Iran, or manufactured in Gaza with parts supplied by Iran. As of Sunday the Islamists had fired 3,000 rockets into Israel. The miracle is that more Israelis haven’t died. The Israeli government is well aware that the diplomatic costs rise each day that bombing continues. But they can hardly stop as long as the rockets keep coming. Read more here
Col. (ret.) Richard Kemp: Hamas could be quickly and much more cheaply defeated by crushing military force were it not for the Israeli need to minimize loss of civilian life… As the media unceasingly show us, the real victims in this campaign have indeed been Gaza civilians. But every one is due to Hamas’ unprovoked aggression against Israel. None would have occurred without it. If Western governments, international bodies and human rights groups are genuinely interested in avoiding suffering in Gaza, they should strive to end Hamas’ reign of terror rather than support it by parroting their narrative. Read more here
Despite the war raging at home in Israel, and social media calls to boycott Israel, Eurovision contestant Eden Alene on Tuesday night won one of the 26 final spots for the song contest on Saturday, May 22. It may have been Alene’s signature “whistle note” in her song “Set Me Free” that won fans over, it being the highest note ever in Eurovision history. View here