Gaza

What the UN didn’t show with their maps of Gaza

UN Map

UN Map

Last week, the UN published several maps showing the aftermath of Operation Protective Edge. The maps paint a picture of catastrophe, marking damaged buildings with red dots scattered throughout Gaza.

But those maps tell only half the story: Hamas used many of these buildings  – including houses, hospitals and schools  –  as sites to launch rockets and carry out other attacks.

In many cases, the IDF struck buildings in order to stop Hamas’ violence. This means that the red dots on the UN’s maps represent more than destruction. They show the many cases in which terrorists attacked Israel from heavily populated areas in Gaza.

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The Israeli Navy – Defending the toughest border

Yesterday I was treated to a visit of the Israeli Navy in Haifa.

Security was tight, but not as tight as I expect tomorrow for my trip to IDF Intelligence.

We were told that we could only take photos of soldiers and sailors from behind, or from afar. Every photo had to be inspected.

After a briefing on how the Navy controls all shipping out to and beyond the 12 mile limit and the borders with Lebanon and Gaza we were escorted about a Super Dvora class fast patrol boat to have a look.

This border is their toughest boarder due to the constant movement of vessels, the terror threat along with smuggling and other criminal activity.

One was leaving on patrol and so we were allowed to photograph that as it left the dock.

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Super Dvora class fast patrol boat leaving dock in Haifa. Photo/ Cam Slater, Whaleoil Media

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Today in Sderot [VIDEO + IMAGES]

Entry to Sderot    Photo/ Cam Slater, Whaleoil Media

Entry to Sderot Photo/ Cam Slater, Whaleoil Media

WARNING: This might look like a travel blog post, until you see the video.

You will hear people moaning about the children in the conflict with Gaza and you will hear them moan about civilians and the effect on them.

Yesterday I visited Sderot, a small town of 25,000 near the Gaza border. When I say near…the closest part of Sderot to Gaza is 840m.

Every bus stop – approximately 200m apart, sometimes more is actually a bomb shelter as well. Whether you make it there is another matter as I will demonstrate shortly.

As you drive around you notice that every house also has a bomb shelter attached or is integral to the apartment blocks. This is the investment the people of Sderot and the government makes to protect children and the civilian population.

There is also an Iron Dome protecting Sderot, but due to the proximity to Gaza you only get 15 seconds warning…if that.

We had just finished a visit at the Police station where they have piles of expended Hamas rockets they have collected and I was crossing the road towards the van when an alert was issued. My phone buzzed and over the loud speakers that are everywhere in Sderot came the Hebrew words for Red Alert.

I was walking towards this bus shelter where there were people waiting and IDF Captain Roni Kaplan, who I was with, grabbed me and pushed me towards the shelter. The rest of the group were a fair bit behind and they returned quickly to the shelter at the Police station.

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Bus stop and Bomb shelter, Sderot Photo/ Cam Slater, Whaleoil Media

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Hamas kills 4 year old civilian in mortar attack

Hamas, on top of killing 18 alleged collaborators, have mortared a town in near Gaza and killed a 4 year old at a kindergarten.

A 4-year-old child was killed Friday evening after being critically wounded in the Sha’ar HaNegev Regional Council by mortar fire during a large barrage of rocket fire from Gaza that also reached central Israel.

Hamas claimed responsibility for the fire on central Israel, saying that they had aimed for Ben Gurion International Airport. Iron Dome intercepted one rocket over Tel Aviv during the barrage.

At least 80 rockets were fired at Israel on Friday, with one landing a direct hit on synagogue in Ashdod, lightly wounding two and putting one woman in moderate condtion. Ten were treated for anxiety on the scene.

Earlier rockets fell near a preschool in Be’er Sheva, wounding a man while another landed meters from another preschool in the south, after a quiet night gave residents a much needed rest from renewed fighting which have seen a record number of rockets slam into Israel.

In the late afternoon hours, an apartment in Sderot also suffered a direct hit by a rocket from Gaza. Initial reports from the scene indicated that nobody had been injured in the attack.  

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What does it feel like to be under attack?

Haaretz breaking news page

Haaretz breaking news page

I was watching television in my room, shortly before 6pm last night.

I was about to go to dinner, but a siren started sounding. At the same time a txt message arrived on my cellphone and a push message on the app I downloaded.

This is the IDF’s early warning system at work. Hamas had launched a rocket at Tel Aviv and my hotel was in the calculated landing zone.

The Iron Dome detects the speed, trajectory and makes a calculation then sends out broadcast messages to anyone within about 500m of the calculated target zone. It takes 7 seconds for this to happen.

When you can hear sirens, you are in trouble.

About the time I got up from the bed the intercom system in the hotel announced that sirens and warnings were in effect and for all guests to move to the shelter.    Read more »

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Protecting Israel’s civilian population with the Iron Dome

Me with the Iron Dome    Photo/ Cam Slater, Whaleoil Media

Me with the Iron Dome Photo/ Cam Slater, Whaleoil Media

As you may have heard Hamas has broken the ceasefire and launched rockets again at Israel.

Israel is firing back and they won’t ever stop until Hamas gives it up.

Today I went to an Iron Dome battery in the South of Israel near Ashdod. Now you might think I shouldn’t say where it is, but Israelis and media can drive up and park and watch them in operation. They have to stay back 300m, and media can get within 150m.

We were able to get a little closer but had to remain behind the launchers. Still after a few shots we were asked to go back to 150m.

Before we started we were briefed on procedures should an alert be issued. That would require us to shelter behind a small hillock on the leeside from the direction towards Gaza. The rockets in this location fly low and fast and so the hillock would cop it not us.

Fortunately this battery didn’t fire while we were there. The one near Askelon did though. The battery we were at had engaged 4 rockets during the day out of 80 fired from Hamas. Read more »

The truth comes out, FPA slams Hamas intimidation of journalists

It has long been suspected and revealed by brave journalists once they leave an area, but Hamas has been intimidating journalists.

It has become so bad that the Foreign Press Association has issued a strong condemnation.

The FPA protests in the strongest terms the blatant, incessant, forceful and unorthodox methods employed by the Hamas authorities and their representatives against visiting international journalists in Gaza over the past month.

The international media are not advocacy organisations and cannot be prevented from reporting by means of threats or pressure, thereby denying their readers and viewers an objective picture from the ground.    Read more »

Hamas using controlled demolitions to level neighborhoods: Media swallows hook, line and sinker

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Several days ago we saw footage of an apparent Israeli airstrike bombardment leveling an entire neighborhood. Wails of “genocide” and “extermination” and “war crimes” rocked the media as everyone assumed that what they were seeing was correct, and that the commentary and reporting surrounding this event was indeed factual.

Well, it’s not. And I am about to show you why. Read more »

Face of the day

John-Minto

John Minto has written a letter.

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No support, Hamas is thrown under the bus by Arab neighbours

Seems Israel isn’t the only one tired of radical Islamists, as Arab nations normally opposing to the on again, off again conflict turned a blind eye to Israel pummeling the extremists launching rockets at Israel. Egypt’s own military ousted the Muslim Brotherhood and began a crackdown on the organisation hostile to Zionism in 2013:

CAIRO — Battling Palestinian militants in Gaza two years ago, Israel found itself pressed from all sides by unfriendly Arab neighbors to end the fighting.

Not this time.

After the military ouster of the Islamist government in Cairo last year, Egypt has led a new coalition of Arab states — including Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — that has effectively lined up with Israel in its fight against Hamas, the Islamist movement that controls the Gaza Strip. That, in turn, may have contributed to the failure of the antagonists to reach a negotiated cease-fire even after more than three weeks of bloodshed.

The Arab states’ loathing and fear of political Islam is so strong that it outweighs their allergy to Benjamin Netanyahu,” the prime minister of Israel, said Aaron David Miller, a scholar at the Wilson Center in Washington and a former Middle East negotiator under several presidents.

“I have never seen a situation like it, where you have so many Arab states acquiescing in the death and destruction in Gaza and the pummeling of Hamas,” he said. “The silence is deafening.” Read more »