Tuesday, 20 November 2012
Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem 2
A caller on today’s Jeremy Vine show on Radio 2 thought Israel was over-reacting to the ‘rockets’ fired from Gaza; he thought Hamas was making the area like England on November 5!
I’ve just spoken to my friend and colleague David Zadok in Israel. Today he was at a meeting in Jerusalem that was interrupted when missiles were fired from Gaza. The meeting hastily adjourned to a bomb shelter. David also made pastoral calls to Ashkelon, where elderly church members are living in terror.
The Embassy of Israel in the UK released this update today, Tuesday, 20th November.
More than 1,100 unguided missiles have been fired at Israel since Saturday 10th November of which 900+ were fired since the start of Operation Pillar of Defence (14 Nov.) The Iron Dome anti-missile defence system has intercepted over 300 missiles, preventing them from striking populated areas in Israel. 45 per cent of Israelis are within rocket range. In the last decade, over 12,800 missiles were fired from Gaza.
Forty-five per cent of Israelis are within rocket range - the equivalent of 28 million British civilians under the constant threat of missile launching.
Three Israeli civilians killed: Mirah Scharf, 25, Aharon Smadja, 49, and Itzik Amsalem, 24, four in critical condition, six in a moderate condition and 141 lightly injured. On Sunday 18th November, at least seven people were seriously injured in direct hits on a home in Ashkelon and a car in Ofakim. Yesterday, Monday 19th November, a Grad rocket exploded outside an elementary school in Ashkelon. No one was hurt as all schools within a 4o km radius of Gaza are currently closed. Ben Gurion University of the Negev, with 15,000 students, also remains closed.
Three Israeli civilians were killed on Thursday morning: Mirah Scharf, 25, Aharon Smadja, 49, and Itzik Amsalem, 24
Operation Pillar of Defence has obtained significant achievements, and the terrorist organisations of Gaza have been hit hard.
The Israel Air Force has significantly deteriorated the long-range Iran-made Fajr missile stores.
Over the course of the morning (Tuesday 20th November), the IDF targeted eleven terrorist squads who were involved in promoting terrorist activity including the planting of explosive devices and the firing of rockets towards southern Israel. In addition, the IDF targeted 30 underground rocket launchers, as well as a senior terror operative’s hiding place which was used to store weapons and ammunition. As a result, severe damage was inflicted upon the rocket launching capabilities and weapon storage facilities owned by terror organisations operating in the Gaza Strip. Furthermore, tank shells and artillery fire were used.
Israel has no interest and no ambition in conquering land, but we have to stop Hamas firing at our citizens.
It must be noted that Israel disengaged unilaterally and completely from the Gaza Strip in 2005. The result of Israel’s disengagement is that Gaza has become a giant ammunition depot. In addition, it provides a breeding ground for terrorist groups to organize and to operate. All this is done under the rule, responsibility and sponsorship of Hamas.
Israel, as any other state, has the right under international law, and a moral obligation, to act in self-defence, to defend its population and to protect its territory when under attack, as well as to take military action against the terrorist attacks from the Gaza Strip.
Hamas’ actions are in clear violation of the most fundamental principles of international law, including the principle of distinction, which requires Hamas and other terrorist organizations not only to refrain from directing its attacks at Israeli civilians, but also to clearly distinguish itself from its own civilian population.
These terrorist organisations consciously and deliberately violate these principles in a repeated manner, by deploying weapons and command centres in densely populated areas, operating from residential areas, and exploiting the civilian population by exposing them to serious harm. They also deliberately direct their fire at the civilian population of Israel. These acts constitute a double war crime.
Israel directs its actions against the military targets of Hamas and other terrorist organisations. It goes to great lengths to minimise harm to civilians. Israel regrets any injury to civilians and places responsibility squarely on Hamas, which uses the residents of Gaza as human shields. Israel does everything possible to prevent harm to Palestinian civilians. Hamas does everything possible to put Palestinian civilians in harm’s way.
It should be noted that the IDF made tens of thousands of phone calls to Gaza residents to warn them about the military operation.
The IAF dropped flyers throughout the Gaza Strip calling for people to distance themselves from known terrorists, weapons stores and launching sites
In addition, the IDF has called off airstrikes when pilots spotted civilians – even when missiles launched by terrorists were speeding toward their target
Israel is making a major effort to maintain the fabric of civilian life in Gaza, despite the situation of current hostilities.
Sunday 18 November
Kerem Shalom crossing was open for movement of food, medicine and other goods from Israel despite the ongoing missile attacks on the Israeli population and previous attacks on the crossing.
The Erez crossing was open, as on every other day of Operation Pillar of Defence. Seventy foreign journalists entered Gaza today by way of Erez, 26 Gazans entered Israel for medical treatment, and 23 foreign nationals, representing NGOs who until now had been prevented by Hamas from leaving the Gaza Strip, departed.
Tuesday 20 November
The Kerem Shalom crossing opened on Tuesday morning (20 Nov) to allow the transfer of 120 trucks of humanitarian aid. However, when it was targeted by missile fire from Gaza, the IDF was forced to close the crossing to ensure the safety of all those working at the crossing and passing through it. Only 24 trucks of humanitarian aid managed to make it through the crossings prior to the missile strikes.
Click here to watch the video