Friday, November 16, 2012

Operation Pillar of Defense (Day Three)

Hamas has expanded their target list to include Jerusalem. While the rockets did not land in the city, instead falling on the outskirts of the city, it does mark a major escalation. The escalation is in both the new and highly symbolic target, and in Hamas' range/capacity strike capacity. While Hamas' accuracy is still poor, their rage is bringing an ever increasing number of Israelis under the threat of rocket bombardment.

"Two rockets landed in open fields outside of Jerusalem after air raid sirens sounded in the city sending Israelis running for cover.

It is the first time the holy city has ever been targeted by rockets fired by Gaza militants. There does not appear to be any damage, or any reports of causalities.
Israeli media say the rocket fell north of Jerusalem, as witnesses say they saw a stream of smoke in Mevasseret Zion, a suburb.

Israeli police spokeswoman Micky Rosenfeld said the rocket landed in an open area near Gush Ezion, a collection of Jewish settlements in the West Bank southeast of the city.

In Gaza, Hamas militants said they had attacked Jerusalem. The attack marks a major escalation, both for its symbolism and its distance from the Palestinian territory. Jerusalem had been thought to be beyond the range of Gaza rocket squads.

“We are sending a short and simple message: There is no security for any Zionist on any single inch of Palestine and we plan more surprises,” Abu Obeida, a spokesman for the Hamas militant wing said.

In response to a second day of rocket attacks on Tel Aviv, and attacks targeting Jerusalem, Israel has authorized the mobilizations of 75,000 reservists. All signs are pointing to an Israeli ground incursion into Gaza. If they do go in, expect a 'shock an awe' style assault, as Israel undoubtedly would want to spend as little time in Gaza as possible.

"Israel's cabinet authorized the mobilization of up to 75,000 reservists late on Friday, preparing the ground for a possible Gaza invasion after Palestinians fired a rocket toward Jerusalem for the first time in decades.

Tel Aviv, Israel's commercial centre, also came under rocket attack for the second straight day, in defiance of an Israeli air offensive that began on Wednesday with the declared aim of deterring Hamas from launching cross-border attacks that have plagued southern Israel for years.

Hamas, the Islamist group that runs the Gaza Strip, claimed responsibility for firing at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Israel said the rocket launched toward Jerusalem landed in the occupied West Bank, and the one fired at Tel Aviv did not hit the city. There were no reports of casualties.

The siren that sounded in Jerusalem stunned many Israelis. The city, holy to Jews, Muslims and Christians, was last struck by a Palestinian rocket in 1970, and it was not a target when Saddam Hussein's Iraq fired missiles at Israel in the 1991 Gulf War.

CNN points out the difficulty of such action, which stem mostly from Hamas using Palestinian civilians as human shields.

Video embedded below.

In that context, it is important to maintain and reiterate where responsibility falls in such a battle.

"If the past is any guide, increased conflict in Gaza will be accompanied by international demands for Israeli restraint, frivolous accusations of Israeli war crimes, and perhaps even complaints to the International Criminal Court. Before the outcry even has a chance to build, it’s important to remember how the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC) actually applies to Gaza.
Applying these principles to the Gaza conflict, three truths emerge:
1. Every Hamas rocket attack is a war crime. ...
2. Hamas’s use of civilian buildings changes the status of targets from civilian to military. ...
3. Hamas bears legal responsibility for civilian deaths in Gaza. Unless there is evidence that Israel clearly and intentionally targets civilians, Hamas is responsible for the civilian deaths that result from its decision to wear civilian clothes and launch rockets from civilian buildings even when Israel makes mistakes.

If you have some time, I would encourage you to head to the source above and read the whole post.

Egypt's Prime Minister visited Gaza to show his support for Hamas, as announced he would yesterday. At the same time, Egypt's President called for rallies on the streets of Egypt to show support for Hamas, which occurred in multiple cities.

"Thousands of Egyptians protested against Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip on Friday as Egypt's prime minister visited the Palestinian enclave in a symbolic show of support for the territory's Hamas rulers.

The protests in Egypt highlight public sentiment against the Israeli military operation in Gaza. The latest operation started with the assassination of Hamas' military chief. Israel says it is responding to rocket fire by Gaza militants.

At least 22 Palestinians, including 12 militants and six children, as well as three Israelis have been killed in three days of fierce exchanges between the Israeli military and Gaza militants.

Egyptians on Friday marched in the country's two largest cities, Cairo and Alexandria, many waving Palestinian flags and chanting slogans against Israel. In Cairo's Tahrir Square, a few hundred protesters burned an Israeli flag. The demonstrations were called by Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood group.

Egypt Prime Minister Hesham Kandil's visit did not result in the cease fire as hoped.

Video embedded below.

Since the start of the conflict, Israelis say they have tracked at least 550 inbound missiles, roughly a third of which were neutralized by their Iron Dome system. Israel has reportedly taken out at least 600 separate targets in Gaza. It has also been revealed that along with the new long range rockets, Israel was targeting Hamas' UAVs in their initial strike; apparently successfully at that.

"An Israeli military spokesman said 550 missiles had been fired into Israel since Wednesday - 184 had been intercepted by its radar-protective system, Iron Dome.

The Israelis had hit more than 600 targets in Gaza, the spokesman said.

Israel says the assault is aimed at knocking out rocket-firing facilities. A spokesman said on Friday it had destroyed Hamas's "nascent" unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) programme.

CNN was duped by some of the Pollywood discredited yesterday.

"Last night on CNN's 360 with Anderson Cooper, video footage was broadcast that purported to show injuries and victims of Israeli military operations in Gaza. The footage was exposed as fraudulent here on Breitbart News yesterday."

Head to the source for the video.

The IDF has put out what they are calling 'Pillar Of Defense: Third Day Recap'.

Video embedded below.

The stats seem a bit rosy to me, but they are within the realm of possibility.

The IDF has also put out this clip showing the steps they take to try to minimize civilian casualties.

Video embedded below.

"1. Phone calls ... 2. Leaflets ... 3. Diverting missiles in mid-flight ... 4. Roof Knocking: “Roof knocking” is when the IAF targets a building with a loud but non-lethal bomb that warns civilians that they are in the vicinity of a weapons cache or other target. This method is used to allow all residents to leave the area before the IDF targets the site with live ammunition. 5. Pinpoint Targeting"

You can head to the source to read more. I left the 'Roof Knocking' in because this is the first I have heard of that particular method.

Al-Jazeera is reporting the current death toll at 28 Palestinians and three Israelis. Three Israelis were killed when a rocket struck their apartment building. As for the Palestinians, I have seen reports indicating up to half of those casualties were militants with the others half to slightly more than half being civilians. As a general matter and general rule, you can be fairly confident in the number of Israelis killed while you should take a grain of salt with the number of reported Palestinian deaths and the composition (militants vs civilian) thereof.

"A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip has struck an uninhabited area outside of Jerusalem, causing no damage or injuries, the Israeli army has said, shortly after air raid sirens wailed across the city.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the rocket landed on Friday in an open area near Gush Ezion, which includes several Jewish settlements and Arab villages in the occupied West Bank southeast of the city.

The unprecedented attack came as Israel pounded the Palestinian Gaza Strip for a third day in fighting that has killed 28 Palestinians and three Israelis.

The armed wing of the Palestinian Hamas movement confirmed it had fired a Qassam rocket towards Jerusalem.

An attack on Israel's self-declared capital marks a major escalation by Gaza fighters, both for its symbolism and its distance from the Palestinian territory.

Past Posts on Operation Pillar of Defense (from first to last):
Berman Post: Israel Launches Operation "Pillar of Defense" (Pillar of Cloud)
Berman Post: Operation Pillar of Defense (Day Two)

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