The Israeli military said in a statement that the objective of the ground campaign was “to destroy the terrorist infrastructure of Hamas,” the militant Islamic group that controls the area, “while taking control of some of the rocket launching sites” that Hamas uses to fire at southern Israel.…
Officials have stated repeatedly that the aim is not to fully reoccupy Gaza. But it was clear that the military was leaving the door open for a long-term operation; a spokesman said Saturday that the ground push “will continue on the basis of ongoing situational assessments.” And it remained an open question whether Israel would try to eliminate the Hamas government.
The NYT relays the Newspeak that basically tells that we have to believe that Israel’s main objective is to take out Hamas, not to commit genocide and further occupy Gaza. If we’re to believe the NYT, we’re to believe that Israel’s sophistication is faltering.
An Israeli military spokeswoman said the intention was to “take control” of areas from which Palestinian militants have been firing rockets into Israel.
A BBC reporter in Gaza says it appears to be a limited operation with 10 to 15 vehicles crossing the northern border.
Earlier, Israel intensified air and artillery attacks on the territory.
In one raid, at least 13 people were killed when a missile struck a crowded mosque in Beit Lahiya, Palestinian medics said.
Witnesses said more than 200 people had been inside the Ibrahim al-Maqadna mosque for evening prayers when it was struck.
Palestinian medics and Hamas officials said they believed dozens were injured. At least one child was among the dead, they added.
Militants in Gaza meanwhile fired more rockets into southern Israel on Saturday, one of which hit the port of Ashdod, injuring two people.
On Friday, Israel allowed hundreds of foreigners to leave Gaza before taunting Gazans with ‘polite’ leaflets in preparation for this well-coordinated attack of Gazans that occured as people were attending weekly Saturday evening prayer services. Gazan health officials report 480 deaths since Israels attacks began over a week ago.
ei posts the report from Al Mezan Center for Human Rights:
As this press release was being translated into English, initial news reported that Israeli aircrafts bombarded al-Makadma Mosque in Beit Lahia while dozens of people were praying in it. Initial news reported that 25 people were killed in this attack, which would further raise the above-mentioned number of casualties of the Israeli operation. [At the time of The Electronic Intifada’s publication of this release, news agencies reported at least 11 were killed.
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights expresses its strongest possible condemnation of the Israeli military operation against Gaza, which has already caused unprecedented loss of civilian life and suffering for the 1.5 million people living in it. Al Mezan therefore reiterates its calls upon the international community to take effective action to bring to an end these operations without delay. Al Mezan calls upon:
- The United Nations Secretary-General to condemn the Israeli disproportionate use of force and the targeting of civilians and civilian objects in defiance of peremptory rules of international law;
- The United Nations agencies to provide urgent humanitarian aid and safe shelters for Gazans who have been displaced and those living in threatened areas
- The International Committee of the Red Cross to double its efforts to ensure humanitarian access for civilians and ensure tending to the urgent needs for medicines and water;
- The international community to condemn the grave breaches of international humanitarian law (IHL) and human rights by Israel in the Gaza Strip, and take concrete steps to bring them to an end;
- The Human Rights Council to request the UN general Assembly to call for the convening in Switzerland of a conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilians in Times of War, of 1949, to consider the breaches by Israel of its nonderogable obligations under the Convention in the course of its ongoing military actions in Gaza, and to consider the necessary measures to ensure respect of the rules set out in the Convention and its relevant protocols.
- Civil societies around the world to exert pressure on their governments so that they act in conformity with the relevant human rights and humanitarian obligations as prescribed in relevant international law.
Using violent or coercive means to meet political ends is the literal defintion of ‘international terrorism’. The TerrorState of Israel’s Defense Minister/Labor Party leader Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister/Kadima Party candidate Tzipi Livni have received rises in polling numbers to challenge the front-runner, hawkish Likud Party candidate Bibi Netanyahu, since the well-orchestrated attaks on Gaza and public opinion began with tacit consent from their suppliers in the US — as we’ve chronicled the Newspeak in this blog as it’s happened:
AFP: “Mexico Zapatista Leader Slams Obama over Gaza Silence”:
Mexico’s Zapatista rebel leader “Subcomandante” Marcos slammed US president-elect Barack Obama for failing to speak out on Israel’s bombing of Gaza, in a speech on Friday marking the 15th anniversary of his rebellion….
Obama “supports the use of force” against Palestinian people, Marcos said in a speech to some 2,500 leftist politicians and activists from 25 countries.
The Real News Network – “Israel’s Politics Spill into Gaza” – 3 Jan 09 (8:24):
The Arab League (AL) and Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) call for an emergency meeting of the UN Security [sic] Council (UNSC) expressing “disappointment at the failure of the UN Security Council to take the necessary measures to end the Israeli aggression,” that the UNSC “strongly condemned the brutal and sustained aggression which Israel perpetrates against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, killing hundreds of civilians, leaving thousands injured, and wreaking massive havoc on houses, civic facilities and infrastructure,” proposing a mission of observers “to stem the escalation of the conflict and to ensure the stabilisation of the situation,” and draft a resolution for a cease-fire.
An emergency meeting of the UNSC will convene at 7 PM EST. The US has veto power of any resolution, though the UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon is “deeply concerned over the serious further escalation,… conveyed his extreme concern and disappointment” to Israeli PM Ehud Olmert, “is convinced and alarmed that this escalation will inevitably increase the already heavy suffering of the affected civilian populations” and “called for an immediate end to the ground operation.”
AFP: “Iran Security Chief Meets Syria’s Assad over Gaza”:
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Saturday met Iran’s Supreme National Security Council chief Saeed Jalili to discuss the situation in the Gaza Strip, the official SANA news agency reported.
It said Jalili, who arrived in Damascus on Friday night, and Assad held talks on “the dangerous situation the Palestinian people of Gaza are going through because of the Israeli aggression.”
They discussed the “consequences on security and stability in the region of the Israel’s aggression continuing” and “ways Islamic countries can force Israel to immediately stop the massacres against the Palestinian people, end the Gaza blockade and open the crossing points,” SANA reported.
Jalili told Assad of “Iran’s commitment to cooperation and coordination with Syria on Gaza,” it added.
“The enemy is trying to break our frequencies… do not listen to this,” said a broadcast on Al-Aqsa radio.
Earlier the radio’s programme was interrupted with a man’s voice speaking in Hebrew-accented Arabic: “Hamas leaders are hiding in the tunnels and are leaving you on the frontline of Israel’s Defence Forces.”
“Hamas leaders are lying to you and they are hiding in hospitals,” he said. “Launching rockets puts civilians in danger.”
Meanwhile a broadcast on Al-Aqsa television was interrupted with an image of a ringing phone that no one was answering.
“Hamas leaders are hiding and they are leaving you on the front line,” says a voice in accented Arabic.
The Israeli army did not have immediate comment.
On Friday, Hamas’s political supremo Khaled Meshaal was calling on Palestinians to rise up against Israel when his picture suddenly disappeared from the Al-Aqsa TV broadcast.
“Hamas has misled you and abandoned you,” a man’s voice said in Arabic. “If you call any leader of Hamas, nobody will answer.”
An Al-Aqsa official said the Israeli army was behind the spoiler interruption, which was repeated several times during the broadcast of what appeared to be a pre-recorded speech.
From our YouTube Playlist, “Israel Attack Gaza,” Saeb Erakat, Chief Palestinian Negotiator on CNN International (2:29):