News of the Day (latest update further down!)
Already 360 Palestinians killed and 1.700 wounded on the fourth day of Israel's attack on Gaza have incited anti-Israeli rallies around the world:
Manifestations in Beirut as well as Amman/Jordan where 25.000 rose in protest.
Egypt now opens its border to Gaza for the rescue of wounded Palestinians.
The Muslim majority of Indonesia's 220 million inhabitants opposes Israel's Gaza attack, says Professor Bahtiar Effendy from Islamic State University, Jakarta.
UPDATE (January 4, 2009):
Meanwhile, the figure of Palestinians killed has risen to more than 500. Many Palestinian families lost their homes while Israel's army joint their airforce and navy in the merciless bombardment when it passed the border to separate Gaza City from the rest of the Gaza strip. Voices from all over the world, including the UN Security Council, are demanding Israel to stop the bloodshed.
UPDATE (January 11, 2009):
Latest overall toll of casualties :
January 10 (day 15 of war) - 830 Palestinians killed - 3350 wounded.
January 11 (day 16 of war) - 888 Palestinians killed - 4080 wounded.
13 Israelis killed since war on Gaza began. [All data from Al-Jazeera International]
Israeli bombing of tunnels crossing the Gaza-Egypt border. Those tunnels are being used for smuggling of goods (including cattle !) and weapons:
8-20 m deep
200-1.000 m long
Israel is accused of using white phosphorus in its bombs. Burning phosphorus is known to inflict serious wounds when coming in contact with the human body. A similar devastating effect could be achieved by napalm which the U.S. applied in Vietnam against, both, guerillas and civilists.
Indonesia: 50.000 protest against the war on Gaza.
While U.S. president-elect Barack Obama's presidency is approaching, Israel's president Olmert declares "Israeli military close to fulfilling their goals in Gaza".
As Israel is able to apply nuclear weapons, voices are getting louder that it might plan to use those weapons against Iran, best equipped enemy to the Jewish state. U.S. authorities lately denied a report saying they received a request from Jerusalem for additional weapons.
UPDATE (January 14-15, 2009):
Latest overall toll of casualties :
January 15 (day 20 of war) - 1078 Palestinians killed - more than 5.000 wounded.
Israel accused of shelling UN headquarters in Gaza City while UN general secretary Ban Ki-Moon is holding talks with the Israeli government. Israeli shell hits marked UN vehicle in Gaza.
Gaza's media building hit by Israeli shelling.
Red Crescent hospital in Gaza City hit by Israel.
Voices of the World: Enough is Enough ! يكفي
Qatar calls for emergency summit on Gaza truce.
Israel questions legality of UN emergency meeting.
Venezuela and Bolivia break diplomatic ties with Israel.
Iran is discussing war on Israel.
Oussama Bin Laden (January 14, 2009) is calling for a Holy War on Israel.
بن لادن يدعو للجهاد لوقف العدوان الإسرائيلي على غزة
NHK World TV, Tokyo, (January 14) is discussing the development that led to the current situation: After Hamas won the Palestinian general elections in 2006, differences with its moderate counterpart Fatah increased, thus, resulting in clashes between both groups in 2007. Since then, Gaza has been controlled by Hamas while the former Westbank territory is being ruled by Fatah. Rockets have been launched on Israel from the Gaza strip, steadily but on a low scale, until Israel decided a "bombing out" of Hamas activists from Gaza. A few rockets have even been launched from Lebanon by a small number of Hamas supporters while Lebanese Hizbollah activists were not involved at all.
UPDATE (January 19, 2009):
While Israeli troops are being withdrawn from Gaza, only hours before U.S. president Obama's inauguration, here's the provisional statistics of human casualties among the Palestinian population and of material damage made to their infrastructure.
The death toll of Palestinians cannot be finally determined at this moment as the rubbles of Palestinian homes are just going to be fully removed. The total assessment of human and material damage could therefore last some further days. By the way, about 100.000 Palestinians have been displaced by the war.
When it comes to the evaluation of Israeli losses in the 22 days lasting war: 13 Israelis are reported to be killed, including three civilians.
Israeli Atrocities ReportedThe following images show the urban areas of Gaza that have been shelled by Israeli troops during the last days. Local witnesses in the Rafah area (Gaza's southern border to Egypt) told Al-Jazeera that most damage to houses, plantations and water irrigation devices has been done by Israeli troops while they withdrew from Gaza territory after fighting had ended.
A desperate father reported to Al-Jazeera that his family was ordered by megaphone to leave their home. When they did so, while carrying a white flag, his children were shot from a distance of about ten metres by an Israeli soldier who let their father alive. Images from destroyed homes show Israeli graffiti reading like: "We are the good guys. Yours are the bad ones."
Comment: The Beginning of the End ?
Even though the dead and the wounded are on the Palestinian side now, this attack might turn out to be the beginning of the end of the state of Israel. As foreign support, even from the U.S., is steadily dwindling, Israel might find itself isolated sooner or later while Palestinian rage is steadily rising as well. On the military side, well-equipped Islamic nations could get into trouble when it comes to maintain a half-hearted "neutrality" towards Israel while essential parts of their population are more and more fiercely opposing that neutrality and pressing their governments for immediate action. Not to mention Iran that seems to be the most decided and most dangerous enemy of Israel. Thus, a situation could emerge in a near future when sufficient military power against Israel comes together with a decreasing international support for that country which has been seen by its neighbours as the origin of conflict since the very moment it came into being. The day to come, even Israel's nuclear potential might lose its scaring power. [December 30, 2008]
UPDATE (March 26, 2009):
EPILOGUEAn Israeli airstrike in Sudan is reported by Al-Jazeera. The airstrike targeted a convoy that allegedly transported arms from its Sudanese shipping port, Port Sudan, to the Egyptian frontier with Gaza.
While U.S. Africa Command denied any participation in that military action, Israeli government sources launched a statement that confirmed, Israel would hit their enemies whereever it might be necessary. Up to now, the Sudanese government denied any knowledge of that incident on its territory.
At the same time the use of phosphorous in Israeli grenades during the latest Gaza incursion has become a subject of the public debate on Israeli war crimes in Gaza. Earlier reports by Al-Jazeera already showed evidence that Palestinian civilians and their property had been targeted willfully by Israeli forces during the Gaza offensive (look above).
On March 26, 2009 as well, former U.S. ambassador to Saudi-Arabia, Freeman, confirmed the existence of a strong influence of the pro-Israel lobby in his country under the Bush administration and denied the existance of any pro-Arab lobby. He pointed out that, according to president Obama, such kind of lobbyism should play no further role under the new administration. [Interview by Al-Jazeera]