Posts Tagged ‘Gaza’

Meanwhile in Gaza,

Friday, June 4th, 2010

Hamas Thanks Int’l Community By Looting NGOs

As thanks to the international community for supporting Hamas in breaking the Israeli military blockade, Hamas has looted and shut down the offices of international Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) [added: including some affiliated with the U.N.] which provide services to poor and needy Palestinians

Israel’s ambassador Michael Oren writes about the reality:
An Assault, Cloaked in Peace

The mob that assaulted Israeli special forces on the deck of the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara on Monday was not motivated by peace. On the contrary, the religious extremists embedded among those on board were paid and equipped to attack Israelis — both by their own hands as well as by aiding Hamas — and to destroy any hope of peace.

What the videos don’t show, however, are several curious aspects Israeli authorities are now investigating. First, about 100 of those detained from the boats were carrying immense sums in their pockets — nearly a million euros in total. Second, Israel discovered spent bullet cartridges on the Mavi Marmara that are of a caliber not used by the Israeli commandos, some of whom suffered gunshot wounds. Also found on the boat were propaganda clips showing passengers “injured” by Israeli forces; these videos, however, were filmed during daylight, hours before the nighttime operation occurred.

The investigations of all this evidence will be transparent, in accordance with Israel’s security needs.

There is little doubt as to the real purpose of the Mavi Marmara’s voyage — not to deliver humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza, but to create a provocation that would put international pressure on Israel to drop the Gaza embargo, and thus allow the flow of seaborne military supplies to Hamas. Just as Hamas gunmen hide behind civilians in Gaza, so, too, do their sponsors cower behind shipments of seemingly innocent aid.

This is why the organizers of the flotilla repeatedly rejected Israeli offers to transfer its cargo to Gaza once it was inspected for military contraband. They also rebuffed an Israeli request to earmark some aid packages for Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier held hostage by Hamas for four years.

In the recent past, Israeli forces have diverted nine such flotillas, all without incident, and peacefully boarded five of the ships in this week’s convoy. Their cargoes, after proper inspection, were delivered to non-Hamas institutions in Gaza. Only the Marmara, a vessel too large to be neutralized by technical means such as fouling the propeller, violently resisted. It is no coincidence that the ship was dispatched by Insani Yardim Vakfi (also called the I.H.H.), a supposed charity that Israeli and other intelligence services have linked to Islamic extremists.

The real intent of breaking the embargo is to allow rockets to be transported to Gaza from Hamas’s suppliers in Syria and Iran. Israel has already intercepted several such ships laden with munitions. Since Israel’s disengagement from Gaza in 2005, Hamas has fired more than 10,000 rockets and mortars at our civilian population. This week, two Hamas rockets exploded near Ashkelon, one of Israel’s largest cities.

Propaganda against Israel (al Dura, green helmet come to mind) is increasingly prevalent.

The “new” tactic – trading lives for publicity against Israel.

Daniel Henninger looks at why the world’s governments beat up on Israel: because they can.
Beating Up on Israel
The world’s powers find it easier to denounce small nations like Israel than take on large and difficult problems like Iran or North Korea.

Set aside the troubling fact that the Jewish state alone gets this routine treatment. Israel should not be immune from criticism. But if the world’s powers unload like this only on relatively small, isolated nations like Israel, then clearly the keepers of the world order find it easier to be blowhards than statesmen. And that means we have a problem.

A problem that is larger than any one of the countries involved: I agree with David Foster, who says,

The worldwide attacks on Israel, in the wake of the Gaza event, are frightening in their venom and irrationality, and I fear that these responses mark a significant turning toward the abandonment of civilization’s ramparts and the appeasement of terrorist and rogue-state barbarism.

For what it’s worth, Blackfive has a modest proposal for resolving this flotilla business (h/t Instapundit). Timely advice, as Israel Girds for Another Ship Heading to Gaza.

20715

The real beauty queens coming to your flight?

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

At Public Secrets,

According to Dr. Kifah Al-Ramali of the Gaza Islamic University, beauty contests are yet another part of the eternal Western plot against Islam. The true beauty queen, according to Cousin Itt Dr. Al-Ramali, is the “jihad mother” who waits patiently while her menfolk blow themselves up or otherwise get themselves killed trying to murder Jews

In other news, Terrorists ‘plan attack on Britain with bombs INSIDE their bodies’ to foil new airport scanners

an operation by MI5 has uncovered evidence that Al Qaeda is planning a new stage in its terror campaign by inserting ‘surgical bombs’ inside people for the first time.

A leading source added that male bombers would have the explosive secreted near their appendix or in their buttocks, while females would have the material placed inside their breasts in the same way as figure-enhancing implants.

Experts said the explosive PETN (Pentaerythritol Tetranitrate) would be placed in a plastic sachet inside the bomber’s body before the wound was stitched up like a normal operation incision and allowed to heal.

A shaped charge of 8oz of PETN can penetrate five inches of armour and would easily blow a large hole in an airliner.

Security sources said the explosives would be detonated by the bomber using a hypodermic syringe to inject TATP (Triacetone Triperoxide) through their skin into the explosives sachet.

Of course a body cavity search will be useless, but rest assured that the general public will be subjected to them.

Obama’s first formal TV interview with … al-Arabiya

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

President Obama has sat for his first formal TV interview with the Arabic cable TV network Al-Arabiya, ABC News has learned.

Dan Riehl has the video:

The Beeb’s Middle East correspondent says,

It [the interview] will confuse some in the Middle East even further – in particular, perhaps, persuading Iran’s most senior leaders that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is not perhaps the best man to counter the Obama appeal.

No More Miser Nice Blog points out that

George W. Bush gave interviews to Al-Arabiya in May 2004, January 2005, October 2005, October 2007, January 2008, and May 2008 — six interviews, which, as far as I can tell, is six more than Bush gave as president to MSNBC.

Bush was also interviewed on Al-Hurra in May 2004 (the media blitz at that moment was Abu Ghraib damage control) and January 2008.

All that said, it’ll be interesting to see what Obama means by

“…If America is ready to initiate a new partnership [with the Muslim world] based on mutual respect and mutual interest, then I think that we can make significant progress.”

Right now George J. Mitchell, his special envoy for Middle East peace,

on the road until Feb. 3, according to the State Department. He will travel to Israel, the West Bank, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, France and England. He also hopes to go to Istanbul, the site of talks between Israel and Syria.

If, as prior Middle East “peace” missions have attempted, Mitchell is intent in negotiating peace by having Israel make more and more concessions, we all know how that’s going to turn out.

Update
Meanwhile, Al-Hopiyah, Al Changiyah!

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Hamas: The Grand Inquisitors

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

Richard Fernandez writes on the reality about Hamas:

Up to a hundred Palestinians in Gaza who have defied house arrest orders have been tortured in children’s hospitals and schools converted into interrogation centers. People have been shot in the legs or had their hands broken. The campaign has been described as a “new massacre”. One victim had his eyes put out. No one was safe from the torturers, not even those attending funerals. When is will the UN act to put a stop to this horror? Won’t President Obama intervene to stop these barbaric acts? Aren’t international human rights monitors going to put a stop to this? When will War Crimes charges be preferred against the perpetrators?

Never.

Why? Because Hama is in charge of the torture and their victims are simply Fatah members. If it were Israel who had done these things, well then … But since it’s Hamas, the same Hamas for whom thousands have been marching in ’solidarity’, it’s a non-story.

You won’t find this information at the BBC, which has become as close to a Hamas supporter as you can find outside the Middle East; their reports fail to mention that Hamas uses civilians as shields, and that Israel has been sending hundreds of trucks with humanitarian aid every day. I don’t think the Beeb even wants to know about the Hamas torturers.

Richard raises the issue of the ceasefire:

In another strategic world, the Israeli incursion into Gaza would be create an opportunity for peace akin to those which sprang into existence in the latter parts of the Second World War.

Instead, the ceasefire will allow Hamas to rebuild with hundreds of millions of dollars going towards perpetuating its existence.

If you think this has nothing to do with our hemisphere, think again.

Broken link corrected

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Financing Palestinian terrorism: Where Hamas gets its money

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

Two must-read articles, which should be read in their entirety,

First, Rachel Eherenfeld writes in Forbes about Where Hamas Gets Its Money

In a meeting hosted by Abu Dhabi on Jan. 12, representatives from the Palestinian Authority and several donor countries, including Egypt, Britain and the U.S., met to discuss efforts to raise and send undisclosed amounts of money to help Palestinians in Gaza. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) also pledged to rebuild schools, mosques, hospitals and 1,300 damaged Gaza houses. In addition, the Emirates raised more than $87 million in a nationwide telethon on Jan. 9.

How would the money find its way to Gaza? “It is now the job of experts to funnel the cash,” said UAE Foreign Minister Anwar Gargash. The experts do not have to look hard: They can funnel the money through the vast tunnel network that runs from the Egyptian border into Gaza. The Israelis have destroyed many of these tunnels, but enough remain through which to continue to smuggle cash and other supplies, including weapons.

The buildup of this underground complex sped up after March 2007, when the U.S. gave Egypt $23 million in special aid to stop underground smuggling into Gaza. Despite that apparent failure, on Friday, Jan. 16, under American and international pressure, Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni signed an agreement with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, under which the U.S. will commit resources to help Egypt patrol the boundary.

Supplies and cash for Hamas have been pledged from all over the world, not merely from Iran, On Jan. 3, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz donated $8 million of the more than $26.7 million raised in a national fundraising telethon for the “Relief of the Palestinian People in Gaza.” Qatar, which pledged $50 million when Hamas was elected in 2006, promised to send more.

While condemning Israel, the European Union pledged more than $4 million in “humanitarian aid” to Gaza. In 2008, it provided Gaza with $55.6 million. In addition, European Union member states pledged more than $41 million, including $10.5 million from the British government’s Department for International Development. Japan pledged $10 million, and terror-struck India said it would send $1 million. Norway has announced a pledge of about $4.5 million, while Australia is adding $3.5 million in addition to the $32 million it gave in 2008. Additionally, other countries sent tons of medical and humanitarian supplies. This more than meets the UNRWA emergency appeal for $34 million.

Incredibly, Israel also supplies Hamas with cash. It began transferring truckloads of cash to Gaza after Hamas’ violent takeover of the territory in June 2007. The first transfer of more than $51 million (delivered in Israeli shekels) was purportedly to strengthen the influence of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the Gaza Strip and pay the salaries of 35,000 Palestinian Authority employees then allegedly loyal to him. Among those employees, however, were Ismail Haniya, the Hamas-appointed prime minister in Gaza, and Mahmoud Zahar, Hamas’ foreign minister.

You must read the rest of the article, where Rachel explains who Zahar is.

Also this week in Forbes, Claudia Rosett’s article on the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Gaza Bedfellows UNRWA And Hamas: How they keep each other in business.

From an original refugee population listed by UNRWA as some 900,000 in 1950, UNRWA now provides for a Palestinian “refugee” clientele of more than 4.6 million.

They are spread throughout camps–which physically look more like squalid towns–in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza. Into this system flows an annual UNRWA budget now well above $400 million per year, doled out variously in the form of cash, goods, medical care, schooling, job-training programs and so forth.

To handle these operations, UNRWA employs more than 24,000 staffers. That’s more than any other UN agency, including the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR, which with some 6,300 staffers–about one-quarter the manpower of UNRWA–is responsible for all other refugees worldwide, totaling more than 11 million.

At UNRWA, more than 99% of the staff are local Palestinians. They sit at the many local levers of the UNRWA distribution machinery, which under UNRWA policy takes on the coloration of and yields to the policies of host governments–as UNRWA officials explained to U.S. lawmakers who some years ago challenged the use of anti-Israeli textbooks in UNRWA schools.

In today’s terrorist-run Gaza, such an approach carries exactly the kind of deadly implications now playing out–while UNRWA and other UN officials call for an end to the violence.

And it’s not limited to UNRWA:

And, as UNRWA officials have aired their views and demands from the UN stage, handouts for Gaza have been rolling in from all sides–some via UNRWA, some through other channels.

This goes way beyond Israel allowing hundreds of aid trucks into Gaza, even as the Israeli military is battling to shut down the rocket launchers and destroy the arms-smuggling tunnels and weapons caches of Hamas.

Support in cash and kind, in dollars and tons, has been pledged by donors ranging from Iran to Japan to the European Union to the Arab Gulf States to the U.S. (already the top donor to UNRWA, with $148 million in contributions last year, and now promising an immediate $5 million in response to UNRWA’s latest flash appeal for Gaza, plus another $80 million for the agency to spread around in places including Gaza).

Plane-loads of relief, both in goods and services, have been announced by donors ranging from Russia to Libya to Sudan.

When this largesse eventually arrives in Gaza, how exactly will it be spent, distributed and supervised?

Go read the rest.

Both articles show how Hamas’s terrorist enablers continue to finance the Iranian-backed terrorists of Hamas.

If you can, please also listen to my September 27, 2007 podcast with Rachel Eherenfeld.

Related reading:
Claudia Rosett’s articles at Forbes and at Pajamas Media.

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Turkey holds Iranian explosives heading to Venezuela, transition purgatory, and other news items

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

Turkey holds suspicious Iran-Venezuela shipment

ANKARA, Turkey – Turkey was holding a suspicious shipment bound for Venezuela from Iran because it contained lab equipment capable of producing explosives, a customs official said Tuesday.

Suleyman Tosun, a customs official at the Mediterranean port of Mersin, said military experts were asked to examine the material, which was seized last month, and decide whether to let the shipment to go to Venezuela.

Authorities detected the equipment during a search of 22 containers labeled “tractor parts,” Tosun said. They were brought to Mersin by trucks from neighboring Iran, he said. Turkey’s Interior Ministry said an investigation was under way.

“Experts from Turkey’s Atomic Institute determined there were no traces of radioactive material, but said the equipment was enough to set up an explosives lab,” Tosun said. “We have asked the military to send experts to determine whether to resume the shipment.”

In view of that, this news item is particularly foolish, if it’s true, Obama May Use Chavez as First Test for Talking With Adversaries (h/t Maggie)

Venezuela may provide a useful first test for Obama’s pledge to engage rather than isolate antagonists. While President Hugo Chavez is one of Washington’s noisiest critics, frayed relations would likely be easier to mend than those with nations such as Iran and Cuba, whose leaders are even more hostile toward the U.S.

Some Obama advisers privately suggest the president-elect might reach out to Chavez, proposing cooperation on a few issues of mutual interest — drug enforcement, energy, poverty — while asking Brazil and other neighbors to encourage the Venezuelan leader to negotiate in good faith in the interest of regional harmony.

The “mutual interests” are diametrically opposite when it comes to drug enforcement and energy, and Chavez is doing his darnest in keeping his people poor.

Chavez Cuts Off Cheap Oil, Useful Idiot Joe Kennedy Hardest Hit , and, on another Kennedy, Sour Caroline: Public support drops 31 points for Kennedy appointment

Israel’s Quiet Nightmare: Words are Worth a Thousand Pictures.

Maria sends The real story of Israel’s Gaza operation

Astounding Update on Gaza Beach (2006): Father played with unexploded ordnance

Video of Hamas using Gaza UN school to fire mortars at Israel

UPDATE
Via Dan, Hamas Fires From Crowded School; 30 Reported Killed
Booby-Trapped UN School Blows Up When IDF Returns Fire

Signs I’d Love to See at a Peace Rally

Via Larwyn,

I GUESS UKRANIANS, and Europeans in general, would be applauded by the world’s intelligentsia if they started lobbing “homemade rockets” at, say, Belgorod, considering Russia’s strangling by cutting off a vital resource, gas, precisely during a severe cold wave across the continent, no?

Egypt’s Mubarak to EU: Hamas must not be allowed to win in Gaza

Infidels quagmired!

Obama and Capgrass Syndrome

Capgras Syndrome? That’s the delusion, named for the French shrink Jean Marie Joseph Capgras, that “a close relative or friend has been replaced by an impostor, an exact double, despite recognition of familiarity in appearance and behavior.” (See here for more.) How could Obama, who promised Change, assemble an administration virtually indistinguishable from that of Bill Clinton? How could he add insult to injury by asking Bob Gates, George W. Bush’s Secretary of Defense, to stay on? How could he pick Lawrence Summers as his top economic advisor? Didn’t Obama know that Summers had trespassed on one of the most sacrosanct of prohibitions by offering an independent thought touching on what David Stove called “the intellectual capacity of women”? How dare he?

Also from Maggie, Transition purgatory

Dozens of national-security and regional experts who worked intensively as volunteers on policy teams for the Obama campaign — writing talking points, doing debate prep, checking facts, following RUMINT, and rebutting opposition attacks — have grown anxious and quiet as they await word on what jobs they might (or might not) be offered in the new administration.

The Heritage Foundation has a hub for new policy research and conservative alternatives, Economic Stimulus, Rapid response. 7 Reasons to Kill the Obama Stimulus Bill

Mean-Spirited Minnesotan Steals a Senate Seat and The joke’s on us, while Senate Democrats put off plans to seat Franken

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid yielded to Republican threats and agreed on Monday not to immediately seat fellow Democrat Al Franken, whose razor-close victory in Minnesota faces legal challenges.

Senate Republicans had planned to disrupt the opening of the new Congress on Tuesday by blocking Franken’s swearing-in.

And in another ugly fight, Senate Democrats vowed to block, at least for now, the seating of fellow party member Roland Burris whose appointment by embattled Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich carries a whiff of political scandal.

A whiff? Very understated, that!

Cutting marginal tax rates is the proven recipe for restoring vibrant prosperity. This is the Petition to Congress. Sign Up!

My friend Scrappleface is back and in great shape! Laura Bush Inks Deal for Tell-All Memoir Brochure, Bill Clinton: CIA Pick Panetta Can Keep a Secret

Last but not least, my latest post, Bolivia Launches State-Run Media…which will be sponsored by Iran and Venezuela.

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Tolouse: fire-bombing synagogues by car

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

Cars launched at synagogue

TOULOUSE – ATTACKERS launched two cars packed with petrol bombs at a synagogue in France’s south-western city of Toulouse on Monday night, causing damage but no casualties, officials said.

One car was set on fire and pushed by the other until it hit the door of the synagogue, at a time when about a dozen people were attending a class with a rabbi. The building caught fire but all those inside escaped unharmed.

Police found unexploded petrol bombs inside the second car, which did not catch fire. They said they were investigating the attack and had not made any arrests.

In recent years, flare-ups between Israel and the Palestinians have been followed by acts of violence against Jewish people or buildings in France, which has large Jewish and Muslim communities.

Some analysts have attributed the problem to a build-up of resentment among children or grandchildren of immigrants from Arab countries who feel they are poorly integrated into French society and are victims of discrimination in the job market.

Such frustrations, coupled with feelings of solidarity towards the Palestinians, have resulted in attacks on Jewish targets that have been strongly condemned by almost everyone in the French political establishment.

Le Monde’s top article today: Les autorités françaises redoutent des tensions entre les communautés juive et musulmane French authorities fear tensions between the Jewish and Muslim communities.

All this lip service to “fearing tensions” and “attacks on Jewish targets that have been strongly condemned”, and what did Le Monde have in yesterday’s paper?

This:
Logique de purification ethnique à Gaza The logic behind Gaza’s ethnic cleansing, by French-Lebanese writer Dominique Eddé. Not only Israel is accused of ethnic cleansing, but also the USA.

The largest newspaper in the country legitimizes that vile and hate-filled opinion by carrying it, not only on its op-ed page, but featured in its newsfeed, which is where I found it yesterday reading Le Monde’s newsfeed in my iPod.

Anyone surprised by the attacks on synagogues, then?

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Jew-hatred in our streets

Sunday, January 4th, 2009

UPDATED
Please scroll down

San Francisco:
Zombietime
Note in particular the moment at the 0.22 mark in the video when the Palestinian protesters reach across the barricades to attack the five pro-Israel protesters, and have to be restrained by police. At the end, one of the pro-Israel protesters, who were vastly outnumbered, declined to be interviewed by the cameraman, saying, “I’m a little spooked.” After watching this video, I think we’re all a little spooked! It’s as if the battle in Gaza has come to San Francisco.

At the back of the Hill:

The anti-Israel side had one slogan in English, and several more in Arabic.

The English-language slogan: “Palestine will be free, from the river to the sea” – which frankly states the intent to destroy the Jewish state and ethnically cleanse the land.

The Arabic slogans: “Itbach al Yahud” (slaughter the Jews), “Falastin balad’na w’al Yahud qalab’na” (Palestine is our land and the Jews are our dogs), “ba ruh, ba dam, nafdeek ya Falastin” (with our soul, with our blood, we will cleanse you oh Palestine), “al mawt al Yahud” (death to the Jews), “Khaybar Khaybar ya Yahud, jaish-Muhammad saya’ud” (Khaybar Khaybar oh Jews, the army of Muhammad will return).
[That last slogan refers to the battle of Khaybar where the prophet Muhammad opportunistically attacked and slaughtered the Jews who had been hospitable to another Arab tribe. The subsequent sacking of Khaybar by Muhammad’s forces re-energized the brigands who had flocked to his cause, and persuaded several Bedouin tribes to join Muhammad’s forces in hopes of fun and profit.]

Fort Lauderdale:
Via Maria, The Other McCain and Ace, 3:20 minutes into the video, “Get Back to the Oven! You Need a Big Oven!”

How is the media covering this, which is taking place right on our streets? PowerLine contrasts how pro-Israel demonstrators are called “right-wing activists” and everybody else is a “protestor”… or a Peruvian.

UPDATE
Times Square, NYC:
“Free Palestine From The Red Sea to the Sea”

UPDATE 2
Victor Davis Hanson:

Almost no other issue in recent memory has illustrated the moral bankruptcy of much of the international community. Hamas has no pretensions, like the PA, of being a governing authority; it used violence to rout the PA and then bragged that its charter pledging the destruction of Israel remained unchanged. Israel evacuated Gaza; Gazans in response looted their own infrastructure, alienated both the PA and Egypt,and then sent off more than 6,000 rockets against Israeli civilians, while eagerly becoming a terrorist puppet of theocratic Iran.

Nothing could be more clear: either the fact that a constitutional republic was trying to avoid civilian casualties while a terrorist organization was intent on killing Jewish civilians as it used its own citizens as shields to protect mostly young male terrorists; or the world’s craven reaction to all this.

Again all very creepy — the stuff of Tolkien’s Mordor. It is now clear that the so-called and much praised “international community,” the hallowed U.N., the revered EU, all pretty much are indifferent to the survival of a democratic Israel, or are actively supportive of its terrorist Hamas enemy. Only the U.S. (for now) stands by a constitutional state in its war against a murderous terrorist clique, with annhilation its aim and religous fascism its creed.

UPDATE 3:
Chicago
:

I found this image pretty striking — the juxtaposition of a slice of Americana and savages calling for jihad in a foreign language on the streets of Chicago.

(h/t Pamela)

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Israel invades Gaza

Saturday, January 3rd, 2009

Via Memeorandum,
IDF ground troops trade fire with Hamas militants

Israel entered the second week of its offensive against rockets from Hamas-ruled Gaza on Saturday evening by launching a much-expected ground operation into the coastal strip.

Shortly after the ground operation began, a heavy exchange of fire was reported between Israeli troops and Hamas militants inside the Gaza Strip.

“The objective is to destroy the Hamas terror infrastructure in the area of operations,” said Israel Defense Forces Major Avital Leibovitch, a military spokeswoman, confirming that incursions were under way. “We are going to take some of the launch areas used by Hamas.”

The IDF Spokesperson’s office issued a statement, emphasizing that this stage of the operation will further the goals of the eight-day offensive as voiced by the IDF until now: To strike a direct and hard blow against the Hamas while increasing the deterrent strength of the IDF, in order to bring about an improved and more stable security situation for residents of Southern Israel over the long term.

Israpundit:

Defense officials said some 10,000 troops, including tank, artillery and special operations units, were massed on the Gaza border and prepared to invade. They said top commanders were split over whether to send in ground forces, in part because such an operation could lead to heavy casualties but also because they believe Hamas already has been dealt a heavy blow.

More at the WSJ

Over two dozen missiles pounded largely deserted fields on Gaza’s periphery, suggesting an attempt to destroy the network of tunnels and mine fields which constitute Hamas’ first line of defense against an Israeli ground assault.

They also targeted the last standing bridge connecting northern and southern Gaza, and offshore gunboats offshore fired on vehicles traveling along Gaza’s north-south coastal highway, another sign that the Israelis may be trying to halt the movement of weapons, supplies and militants ahead of a ground invasion.

Also don’t miss Mark Steyn, who, as usual, is spot-on.

UPDATE
Liveblogging at Israellycool, Isreal Matzav and Muqata.

More roundup at RBO

Update 2
Barry Rubin is now posting at Red State

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