Gaza update: Hillary Clinton to arrive in Israel, push for ceasefire as IDF strikes over 100 sites overnight
By End the Lie
With attacks between Israel and Palestine only increasing and while bodies continue to pile up, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is heading to Israel, Ramallah and Egypt in an attempt to achieve a ceasefire agreement.
This comes as Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called Israel a “terrorist state” over their strikes on Gaza, an entire family was killed by an Israeli airstrike, Russia is reportedly going to propose a UN resolution on the horrific situation in Gaza, and the Anonymous hacking campaign continues with some dubious results.
While Israel says that they will only consider peace when the rockets from Gaza stop, Hamas has expressed no interest in such conditions.
Some Israelis have expressed a desire to send Gaza “back to the Middle Ages,” further making the possibility of a ceasefire seem unlikely as the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) struck 110 sites overnight according to CNN.
Yet that is precisely what Clinton is apparently attempting to do by “traveling first to Jerusalem to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, then to the West Bank to meet with Palestinian leaders and finally to Cairo to meet with Egyptian officials,” as The New York Times reports.
“This morning, Secretary Clinton and the president spoke again about the situation in Gaza and the they [sic] agreed that it makes sense for the secretary to travel to the region so Secretary Clinton will depart today,” Benjamin Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser to Obama, said.
“Her visits will build on the engagement that we’ve undertaken in the last several days,” he added, without saying what “engagement” the Obama administration has actually undertaken.
Rhodes’ statements align perfectly with the demands of Israel in saying, “any resolution to this has to include an end to that rocket fire” by Hamas. He added “the best way to solve this is through diplomacy” although it is unclear how diplomacy – especially based on the demands being issued by both sides.
Even Amy Teibel and Karin Laub of the Associated Press admit, “Israel and Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers have staked tough, hard-to-bridge positions, and the gaps keep alive the threat of an Israeli ground invasion.”
To make the already hard-to-bridge positions even worse, it seems that the situation is just continuing to spiral downwards.
RT just reported, as of November 20 at 9:19 GMT, “A gunman who opened fire on the US Embassy in Tel Aviv has been taken into police custody, Israeli radio reports.”
The Associated Press, however, reported, “Israeli police say a suspect wielding a knife and an ax attacked a security guard at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv but has been detained.”
They added that the guard opened fire in the air during the attack according to police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld and that Tel Aviv police spokeswoman Orit Friedman identified the attacker as an Israeli in his early 40s with an unknown motive, “but political motives are not suspected.”
The embassy guard was reportedly slightly injured and the U.S. Embassy had not made a comment at the time of publication.
At 8:28 GMT on November 20, RT reported, “The IDF has carried out an air strike on Gaza’s National Islamic Bank, almost totally destroying it. Israel maintains that the Palestinians use the bank to finance Hamas.”
The death toll in Gaza in just the past six days has risen over 100 with numbers ranging from “at least 110” from the Palestinian Ministry of Interior, as reported by CNN, to “at least 105” according to Hamas officials cited by the BBC. Some 900 people have been injured according to CNN although the Associated Press places the number at 840 with 225 children, according to Gaza health officials.
Three Israelis have been killed, leading to some quite shocking calls for revenge from residents of the small town where it hit, Qiryat Malachi.
“I want the army to go into Gaza, flatten it,” said Yossi Dayan, a musician and resident, according to Al Jazeera. “If they won’t give us peace, they deserve it.”
“Our army should do them what we did in Lebanon,” said Yoram Selouk, referring to the month-long war in 2006 which left over 1,200 civilians dead.
“Netanyahu should go all out. But not on the ground,” Selouk added.
“In this situation there is no politics,” said Michel Younis, a Qiryat Malachi resident. “The government has to do what it has to do.”
Unfortunately it doesn’t look like a ground incursion is out of the question with Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman stating on Saturday, “We are ready for a wide-scale ground operation, if necessary, but it should be noted that if the IDF enters Gaza, it cannot be stopped in the middle; it needs to go all the way,” according to The Times of Israel.
One might wonder what “all the way” really means, although the following quote might add some degree of clarity to that disturbing statement.
“The only way to live here in peace and security is to create a real deterrent by causing an overwhelming response, so that they don’t test us again,” Lieberman said.
Yet the U.S. is apparently optimistic about the prospects of Hillary’s visits, evidenced by Rhodes stating that they will support the “de-escalation of the violence and a durable outcome that ends the rocket attacks on Israeli cities and restores broader calm in the region.”
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is also working frantically in an attempt to bring the conflict to a peaceful resolution.
“Immediate steps are needed by all to avoid a further escalation, including a ground operation which will only result in further tragedy,” said Ban, according to The Jerusalem Post.
Ban most recently met with Nabil El-Araby, the Arab League Secretary-General, and he plans to also meet with both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
In addition, a group of sixteen foreign minister from Arab League nations are slated to meet in Gaza along with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, according to an Arab League spokesman.
The prospects don’t look all that great as the Israeli ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, said that Israel has already finished planning for a ground invasion of Gaza.
“We do not want escalation, nor do we call for a ground war,” said Khaled Meshaal, a Hamas leader.
“But we are not afraid of it, nor will we back down,” Meshaal added, while also saying that if IDF troops do invade it would “not be a picnic,” according to CNN.
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