Palestinian Body Count Tops 100 as Israel Responds to Rockets With Escalating Airstrikes and People on Both Sides Plead for Peace


Violence continues to escalate in Israel and the Gaza Strip Friday. Palestinian sources say the death toll from Israeli airstrikes now totals more than 100 people, at least one third civilians. On Friday morning Israeli fighter jets struck at least 50 targets in Gaza as Hamas militants continued to launch rockets from the area into Israel. A rocket from an unknown party was fired from Lebanon into Israel on Friday morning as well. 

"We expected some activity from Lebanon," army spokesman Peter Lerner told the Los Angeles Times. "Now we have to see if it's symbolic or something more substantial."

Since fighting broke out in the area Tuesday, the Israeli army has targeted some 1,100 sites in Gaza, it says, while at least 400 rockets have landed in Israel. No Israelis have been killed, though several have been injured. 

In a conference call this morning Ron Dermer, Israeli Ambassador to the United States and close adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, called for ending the "moral equivalence language that has crept into the U.S. debate," as Jennifer Rubin at The Washington Post puts it

"In the last 3 days Hamas has fired 400 rockets at Israel," he said. "Six million Israelis have had to rush to bomb shelters. That's 3/4 of our population. That's the equivalent of 200 million people in the United States." Several times he implored the pro-Israel group's members to consider what the U.S. would do under the same circumstances.

"The goal of the operation is to end the rocket attacks and restore quiet not just for a day, not just for a week, but for a good long time," he explained. He emphasized that Israel did try to offer a truce but was rebuffed. 

(…) "Hamas deliberately targets our civilians. The more killed the greater the success. For us, it is an operational failure if an innocent is killed," he said.

Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas accused Israel of "genocide."

The BBC offers heartwrenching personal accounts from ordinary people in both Israel and Gaza. Here's a snippet from Haytham Besaiso, a 26-year-old Palestinian civil engineer living in Gaza City: 

This is the third war in five years. The difference this time is that Israel has no purpose or objective that we can see. All they are doing is killing civilians and targeting homes. In the first war they clearly attacked militants. In the second war they targeted weapons arsenal.

The Western media is portraying this as payback for the deaths of those three Israeli students but no-one on the Palestinian side has claimed responsibility for it. Usually someone does admit responsibility and they are very keen to do so. We don't even know what really happened, yet this feels like collective punishment.

And from Shimon Ben Shelaimi Zalman, a clerk living near Jerusalem:

It gives me no satisfaction when any civilians are injured, whether they be Christian, Jewish or Muslim. I can sympathise with Palestinians whose children must be suffering too. I think the Palestinians are being held captive by Hamas, the terrorist gang they voted into power. Unfortunately I can't see any solution to this.  

I believe most ordinary people want this conflict to be over but there are extremist elements that don't want to see a peaceful resolution. The inevitable outcome of these attacks is that the voices calling for both sides to live in peace will become less popular as the Israeli suffering increases.

And from Dania, a 23-year-old woman and English literature student from Gaza: 

We really want a ceasefire but it has to be observed on both sides.

Earlier today, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas claimed that Israel is only hours away from invading with ground forces and warned international airlines that they plan to attack Tel Aviv's main airport with rockets. 

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  1. The Palestinians can have peace any time they want it. Until they want that, they will get what they want now.

    1. Exactly. First thing’s first; Jordan is Palestine.

      1. Jordan is part of Palestine. I mean, in objective terms, Israel wins. They have the military and moral authority as of this minute. But a two state solution will never happen.

        1. There’s already two states that have been carved out of the Mandate of Palestine. One is Israel and the other is Jordan.

          As far as Israel, Gaza and West Bank are concerned there is only the one state solution. The two-state proposition is simply a means of keeping the fight alive just like the disenfranchisement of the Palestinians by the surrounding Arab states is meant to keep their fires burning.

          1. But again, I’m talking from a practical perspective. As long as Israel exists, there will be war. Israel can either try to wipe out all of the surrounding Muslim countries, or it will have to find some way to deal with the fact that they’re hated just by the virtue of existing. What’s the solution to that problem? I don’t know, but I doubt it’s shipping all the Palestinians to Jordan.

            1. Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria now and at different times have set up extensive “refugee camps” for Palestinians, yet not one single of these states has allowed these Palestinians to reside and work in their respective societies. Instead, entire generations of people live and die in these camps with the misunderstanding that Israelis put them there. This policy of the Arab states is purpose built to increase the suffering of Palestinians in order to turn up the heat on the Israelis.

              Whatever righteousness there ever was in the “Palestinian”* cause is now long gone.

              Prior to the 1940’s, Jews living the area were called “Palestinians” while the Arabs were called Arabs and differentiated by their religion. The whole conflict is based on historical fiction, and not the enjoyable kind like ‘I, Claudius’.

            2. “As long as Israel exists, there will be war. Israel can either try to wipe out all of the surrounding Muslim countries, or it will have to find some way to deal with the fact that they’re hated just by the virtue of existing.”

              So, since the Muslims hate the Jews and continue to lob rockets and generally try to kill random Jews, Israel should close up shop and disappear?
              Has anyone told you that you’re a dolt? If not, allow me.

  2. “The difference this time is that Israel has no purpose or objective that we can see.”

    Then you’re an idiot. Or a lying drama queen. I suspect the second.

    “The Western media is portraying this as payback for the deaths of those three Israeli students but no-one on the Palestinian side has claimed responsibility for it.”

    Complete bullshit. I think the rain of rockets on the south from Gaza might have a wee bit to do with it…

    1. Yeah, well, no one is claiming responsibility for the rockets either. They just sort of, uh, got there somehow.

      1. Actually, Hamas has cheerfully claimed responsibility.

        1. I was joshin’

          1. I know you are, but the morons sometimes need help.

            1. Looks like this is one of the times.

              1. I thought Tulpa, but now I’m leaning toward Richman.

  3. this is what happens when the West decides to steal a piece of land and drop a bunch of European and Russian Jews in the middle of an already unstable area and then just expect it to be a-okay. Why do you think Arab Christians and Jews tend to be on the side of the Palestinians?

    1. briannnnn|7.11.14 @ 12:29PM|#
      “this is what happens when the West decides to steal a piece of land and drop a bunch of European and Russian Jews in the middle of an already unstable area and then just expect it to be a-okay”

      So the Jews are just recent immigrants to that part of the world?

      1. No. That’s why I mentioned Arab Jews who tend to side with other Arabs rather than the Europeans who came after 1945.

        1. “That’s why I mentioned Arab Jews who tend to side with other Arabs rather than the Europeans who came after 1945.”

          OK, my sarc meter caught th…

          1. The European Jews displaced Arab Jews and Arab Christians the same way they displaced Arab Muslims. There was always hatred between Jews and Muslims, but the occupation of the area by Europeans pissed off a lot more people than just Muslims. This conflict didn’t start because of religious issues, it started like most wars: land dispute.

              1. So that’s the end of my point. England basically stole a bunch of land and then gave it to some European, African, and Middle Eastern Jews and then expected everyone to play nice. I don’t know why this is even interesting anymore. No one is ever going to be happy until the other side is annihilated.

                1. Stole? Really? I kinda thought that it was won in a war against the occupying Turks.

                  Here’s a list of all the years that this was an Arab-ruled country:

                  Oh, wait…

                  1. Stole is a harsh word. But won against occupying Turks is a stretch too. I think at the very least we can all agree that the land did not belong at any time to the people who eventually ended up there.

                    1. “Stole is a harsh word.”

                      It’s a lie.
                      England got tired of policing the constant wars and set up states which allowed defensible borders.

                    2. And caused constant war and death. Yay!!!

                    3. briannnnn|7.11.14 @ 1:49PM|#
                      “And caused constant war and death. Yay!!!”

                      Yep, why if there weren’t borders there, why everyone would live in peace!
                      (roll eye icon)

                    4. No, we can’t. That’s somewhere to the left of moronic.

                    5. So you’re a Zionist. That’s fine. I’m not. I equate Zionism to saying that since we kicked the Indians off their land 300 years ago, they have the right to come and reclaim it now.

                    6. I was right, it IS Richman! Well done, Sheldon! You even managed a hilariously inapt analogy, stuffed with incorrect assumptions to make a perfect shit sandwich.

                    7. And you just assume that because I’m not a Zionist that I’m an idiot. We’re both probably making more assumptions that we should, but isn’t that what anonymous internet forums are for?

                    8. And I’d never heard of Sheldon Richman, but a cursory search of his writing leads me to believe that he’s basically a free market capitalist…so I’ll take that as a compliment? (Unless I’m wildly off base :))

                    9. Old Man With Candy|7.11.14 @ 2:30PM|#
                      “I was right, it IS Richman!”

                      I don’t think so. I think is a random lefty idjit.

      2. Arab Jews are on the side of the Palestinians Arab? Really? I suspect you’ve never met a Jew from an Arabic country, and it’s an easy thing to do- until just a few years ago, most of the Israeli Jews were from Arab countries (or their parents/grandparents were), and they’re still a plurality. They remember well why they got out of Iraq, Yemen, Egypt, Morocco… or were expelled after their property was confiscated.

        Didn’t Arabs come from, I dunno, Arabia or someplace like that?

        1. Read up a little on the history of Mizrahi and Sephardic Jews in Israel.

          1. Uh, no.
            You made that claim; don’t tell us to ‘read up’ on some subject.
            Support the claim or buzz off.

          2. Since I’m a Mizrahi Jew, I have some passing familiarity.

            1. Well then you know how horrible relations have been between the European Jews and the Mizrahi. I’m not saying that as of now Arab Jews tend to side with Hamas. I’m saying that the struggle is much more related to the Palestinian Mandate being handed to what the people of the region would have probably thought to be outsiders…including Jews and Christians who already lived there.

              1. Horrible? Not perfect, to be sure, but horrible?

                Is this a Tulpa sock puppet?

                1. Not so bad anymore I agree. But seriously, no one likes it when they’ve lived a certain way for a while and then a superpower comes in and says “these million people are citizens now…deal with it!”

                  1. So the Israelis should just accept the incoming rockets and forget about any sort of defense? Because some of the Jews didn’t like some of the other Jews?

                    1. Of course not. I shouldn’t have even gotten in to this. I’m just saying that if Indians started to try to take over part of Oklahoma, I’d be like “you can’t have Oklahoma, but I get where you’re coming from!”

        2. Oh! And don’t forget Arab Christians! They aren’t big fans of being displaced by Europeans either!

          1. And don’t forget to support your claim!

            1. There was even a Moslem (correct spelling at the time)-Christian alliance developed against the Zionists during and after the Palestinian Mandate.

              1. And don’t forget to support your claim!
                So far, you’ve made claims. Support them or STFU.

                1. I didn’t support that claim? Do you need some sort of link?


                  1. Well, look there! In 1918, some people got together!
                    OK, so?

                    1. Well you asked me to back it up and I did. Don’t be a dick to someone who does what you asked. I don’t see you with any evidence either 😉

                    2. briannnnn|7.11.14 @ 2:06PM|#
                      “Well you asked me to back it up and I did.”

                      And I concede that in 1918 there were some folks who got together in the hopes of peace.
                      And it went nowhere.

                    3. They got together to try to stop Zionism from occurring and remained unified. And it’s going nowhere now. Israel should just crush the little tick that keeps biting its ass, or deal with the fact that Tel Aviv is going to get rocketed every once in a while. It’s a no win situation, but ignoring history doesn’t make it any better.

                    4. briannnnn|7.11.14 @ 2:18PM|#
                      “They got together to try to stop Zionism from occurring and remained unified.”

                      And went nowhere because the Muslims hate the Jews and will not accept a Jewish state.

    2. Which “The West” are you talking about here? Because up through several years after the end of WWII, it was British policy to prohibit the immigration of European and Russian Jews into Mandatory Palestine. Whcih is kind of the precise opposite of “stealing a piece of land and dropping a bunch of […] Jews” off there.

      1. Steal was the wrong word. But it’s not up to the British to decide where to put all of the Zionists. God, we should have just given them Germany. I mean, it was Hitler’s fault in the first place!

        1. “I mean, it was Hitler’s fault in the first place!”

          I’m guessing you never heard of The Pale.

          1. Fine. Hitler and a series of Russian assholes…

            1. briannnnn|7.11.14 @ 2:20PM|#
              “Fine. Hitler and a series of Russian assholes…”

              Not to mention a series of Palestinian assholes.

  4. I can only imagine that the situation would not continue for long if rocket attacks were emanating from Native American Reservation lands into [other parts of] the USA. (Words in brackets are in brackets because I’m not sure how far the sovereignity of the reservations goes.) Rocket attacks from Juarez into El Paso or Tijuana into San Diego… Well, I sure as shit wouldn’t want to be in Juarez or Tijuana after that.

    1. To true!

  5. Time for the obligatory Larry Miller essay. Sigh.…..1yaihr.asp

  6. Clearly, the U.S. government needs to get its hands dirty and send in its best negotiators and work out a solution that pleases everyone and leads to peace in the Middle East! Why haven’t they tried that before?

    1. Part of the Constitutional duties of the President, established of course by the Commerce Clause, is to symbolically travel to Israel and pretend to try to fix the rift, proclaim success followed by a public expression of surprised sadness that it didn’t work out.

      1. Don’t forget that he has to collect his Nobel Prize on the way home too!

  7. And this is why the “civilian” casualty rate is 66% of those killed, because Hamas uses their civilians as human shields, if they die it’s a win for them.

    1. Of course. Israel shows an enormous amount of restraint for a military that could occupy Gaza and the West Bank in a day if it wanted to. I mean, how many militaries provide the water and energy that their enemies use against them?

      1. This sums up to the different approaches to war between Hamas and IDF.

          1. And either way, babies are being killed. I mean, I don’t care why 66% of the casualties are civilians (I mean intellectually I do), I just care that there is a baby in between those two men with guns that didn’t do shit to deserve being shot at.

            I feel like discussions of war frequently leave out that no matter who’s to blame, a bunch of people are getting their heads blown off.

            1. That’s why war and the institutions that make it possible are the paramount evil in the world today. Statism is a scourge on humanity.

            2. “I just care that there is a baby in between those two men with guns that didn’t do shit to deserve being shot at.”

              And so you blame the people being shot at.

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