- 05:40 pm: The ceasefire of this morning, rejected immediately by Hamas while accepted - and observed - by Israel until the middle of this afternoon, is over. Hamas rockets kept on appearing throughout those hours in the skies above many Israeli cities. Now the IDF is again attacking Gaza, and the rockets are continuing as before.
The IDF announced this around 3:00 pm this afternoon. That's about when one of its spokespersons tweeted this:
Here's how the Guardian conveyed the failure of the ceasefire to its fans:
So for a large part of the ,educated, classes, the conviction that "Israel army resumes attack" is the whole story. That the terrorist forces of Hamas didn't even bother to stop shooting at any stage is somehow of marginal interest to The Guardian's editors. That's how things work in parts of the ideology-driven news media.
- 06:15 pm: As distorted as UNRWA's representations of fact frequently are, you can't help but get a sense of the devastation that has somehow fallen out of the sky and struck the Palestinian Arabs of the Gaza Strip. A syndicated AFP report ["UNRWA: Gaza destruction 'immense'"] published in the past hour dwells on much of the human suffering while being strangely short of the sort of context that might help explain how this mess came about. Some highlights:
- "The level of human losses and destruction in Gaza is really immense," said UNWRA spokesman Sami Mshasha. "According to our latest figure, we are talking about 174 killed and well over 1,100 injured. This number will increase. The numbers are increasing by hours," he told reporters.
- "A good number of those killed and injured are women and children. That is a cause of concern for UNRWA," he added. The death toll Tuesday had risen to 192, according to local officials in Gaza.
- Mshasha said that 560 homes had been totally destroyed, while thousands of buildings had suffered damage. Mshasha said that 47 UNRWA facilities had also been damaged by bombing... He called on the warring sides to respect U.N. buildings.
- A total of 17,000 people had found refuge in 20 schools run by the U.N. agency, which has sent their GPS coordinates to Israeli authorities.
- In a separate statement, the International Committee of the Red Cross said the bombing had devastated Gaza's water supply. "Hundreds of thousands of people in Gaza are now without water. Within days, the entire population of the Strip may be desperately short of water," said Jacques de Maio, who heads ICRC operations in Israel and the Palestinian territories. "Water and electrical services are also affected as a result of the current hostilities. If they do not stop, the question is not if but when an already beleaguered population will face an acute water crisis," he said in a statement.
- 06:25 pm: US Secretary of State John Kerry, of whom we have written repeatedly in this blog, spent today in Vienna. This morning, he spoke to the media there, making a statement [via jpost.com] worth reprinting: "I cannot condemn strongly enough the actions of Hamas in so brazenly firing rockets in multiple numbers in the face of a goodwill effort to offer a ceasefire, in which Egypt and Israel worked together, that the international community strongly supports..." Hamas is "purposely playing politics" by continuing the rocket fire, using innocents as "human shields... against the laws of war." "And that is why they are a terrorist organization," Kerry added. Unquote.
- 06:30 pm: As the fighting between the Hamas regime and Israel continues, here's an indication of where US public opinion stands. Herb Keinon, the Jerusalem Post's diplomatic correspondent, has just tweeted [@HerbKeinon] this:
- 06:50 pm: Some more about that Pew survey: "As violence between Israel and Hamas shows no signs of abating, the sympathies of the American public continue to lie with Israel rather than the Palestinians. And dating back to the late 1970s, the partisan gap in Mideast sympathies has never been wider. Currently, 51% of Americans say that in the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians, they sympathize more with Israel. Just 14% sympathize more with the Palestinians, while 15% volunteer that they sympathize with neither side and 3% sympathize with both. These views are little changed from April, before the recent outbreak of Mideast violence. However, the share of Republicans who sympathize more with Israel has risen from 68% to 73%; 44% of Democrats express more sympathy for Israel than the Palestinians, which is largely unchanged from April (46%). The share of independents siding more with Israel than the Palestinians has slipped from 51% to 45%.
Just 17% of Democrats, 17% of independents and 6% of Republicans sympathize more with the Palestinians than Israel. These numbers have changed little since April... White evangelical Protestants remain more likely than members of other religious groups to sympathize more with Israel than the Palestinians (70%). White evangelical Protestants make up nearly a third of Republicans (31% of all Republicans and Republican leaners), so this accounts for at least some of the partisan gap in sympathies. However, even among Republicans who are not white evangelicals, two-thirds (66%) sympathize more with Israel than the Palestinians. This compares with 78% of white evangelical Republicans." [source]
- 06:55 pm: Since 6:00 pm, there have been rocket warnings in these communities: Hof Ashkelon region; Netivot - where Iron Dome intercepted two rockets over the city, and two more fell in open land; Beersheba (several times) - two rockets crashed without causing serious harm; Nevatim; Sderot; Sdot Negev region; Sha'ar Hanegev region.
- 6:58 pm: And in many communities around the country right now, including the Greater Tel Aviv area.
- 07:00 pm: Australia's ambassador to Israel, Dave Sharma drove down to Beersheba today to visit two Bedouin Arab girls injured on Monday in a Hamas rocket attack on their village. He brought with him a toy koala. Mar’am Alwakili, 10, remains unconscious at Soroka Medical Center. Her sister Atil is in moderate condition. “The destroyed home and the fate of the Bedouin children encapsulate the indiscriminate nature of rocket fire, which continues to emanate from Gaza,” Ambassador Sharma wrote in a statement quoted by Times of Israel. Good on ya, mate.
- 07:15 pm: A mortar attack on the Erez Checkpoint has resulted in an Israeli civilian, age 37, being injured critically [Jerusalem Post]. Quoting Channel 2 TV News, they say the man was a volunteer visiting soldiers near Gaza to deliver food to soldiers. UPDATE 07:30 pm: Ynet says he has died from his injuries.
- 07:45 pm: There are multiple Gazan rocket attacks going on right across the land at this moment. Times of Israel says they number 36, and that warning sirens are being heard in Ashkelon, Sderot, and the Shaar Hanegev region. Two buildings in Ashkelon have taken direct hits in the past few minutes.
- 07:50 pm: The BBC's Jeremy Bowen observed what we call here a Fell Short and tweeted about it in the past hour: "@BowenBBC: Just saw one rocket that seemed to fail in flight, dropping back into Gaza”. Do you imagine he has any idea how very common these Gazan-rockets-fall-on-Gazan-heads are? Has he reported on it?