After more Hamas rocket barrages on Israel, and Israeli strikes on Hamas targets in Gaza, Egypt unveiled a ceasefire proposal late on the seventh day of Operation Protective Edge. The Times of Israel liveblogged Monday’s events as they unfolded. (Tuesday’s liveblog is here.)

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Sirens sound in Nahariya, nearby cities in Western Galilee

Sirens blare in Nahariya, Ma’alot and other cities in the Western Galilee region in northern Israel.

Earlier tonight, a mortar was fired from Syria into the Golan Heights.

On Saturday, three rockets were fired from Lebanese territory into Israel, triggering sirens in Nahariya and the surrounding region. It was the second such incident since Operation Protective Edge began early Tuesday.

Germany wins World Cup

Germany defeats Argentina to win the World Cup in Brazil.

After a goal-free regulation 90 minutes, Germany takes the soccer world championship with a well-worked goal half-way through the second period of extra time.

Three rockets explode in open terrain in northern Israel

Three rockets explode in open territory in the western Galilee, after sirens blared in Nahariya, Ma’alot and other communities in the north.

There were no immediate reports on injuries or damage.

This is the third such incident since Operation Protective Edge began early Tuesday.

IDF returns fire after three rockets from Lebanon land in north

IDF troops respond with artillery fire to the launching of three rockets from Lebanese territory into Israel.

The projectiles landed in open terrain and there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Lebanese media reports that the rockets were launched from an area just south of Tyre.

Google Maps screenshot showing Tyre, Lebanon.

Google Maps screenshot showing Tyre, Lebanon.

Sirens in Eshkol Regional Council, near Gaza

Sirens sound in Eshkol Regional Council, near the Gaza Strip. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

UN chief deplores Palestinian deaths, urges against ground offensive

“Too many” Palestinian civilians have been killed, UN chief Ban Ki-moon says as he urges Israel to scrap plans for a potentially devastating ground offensive.

Repeating his call for a ceasefire, the secretary-general says he “feels a sense of responsibility for the Palestinians who, especially in the Gaza Strip, have long been denied the sense of freedom and dignity that they deserve,” according to a statement released by his spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon delivers a speech at the UN Human rights Council session on March 3, 2014 in Geneva. (photo credit: AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI)

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon delivers a speech at the UN Human rights Council session on March 3, 2014 in Geneva. (photo credit: AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI)

The situation in Gaza, with at least 170 Palestinians killed and no Israeli casualties, “appears to be worsening,” Ban says, noting that the UN Security Council’s call for a ceasefire Saturday had not been respected.

Reiterating his condemnation of the firing of rockets into Israel by Hamas, Ban demands an “immediate cessation of these indecent attacks.”

But a “deeply worried” UN chief also stresses that “too many Palestinian civilians have been killed, and any Israeli ground offensive will undoubtedly increase the death toll and exacerbate civilian suffering in the Gaza Strip.”

“It is in the interest of both sides that steps toward dangerous escalation be replaced with immediate measures to end the fighting, thus preventing further casualties and greater risks to regional peace and security,” the statement adds.

“[Ban] demands both sides move in this direction now.”


Additional sirens in Eshkol Regional Council

Sirens blare in the Eshkol Regional Council for a second time in under two hours. There were no immediate reports on injuries or damage.

Palestinian UN rep says every Gaza missile ‘a crime against humanity’

The Palestinian representative to the UN Human Rights Council says every rocket and mortar fired from Gaza toward Israel is a “crime against humanity.”

Speaking on July 9 to Palestinian TV on the possible risks involved if Palestinians leaders ask to join the International Criminal Court, Ambassador Ibrahim Kraishi says the “Palestinian weakness” in terms of international law is the indiscriminate firing of rockets at Israel.

“The missiles that are now being launched against Israel,  each and every missile constitutes a crime against humanity, whether it hits or misses, because it is directed at civilian targets,” says Kraishi during the interview.

The ambassador says that by contrast, Israel’s actions follows legal procedures, because the IDF warns Gazan civilians to leave sites and areas before they are bombed.

“Many of our people in Gaza appeared on TV and said that the Israelis warned them to evacuate their homes before the bombardment. In such a case, if someone is killed, the law considers it a mistake rather than an intentional killing because [the Israelis] followed the legal procedures.”

“As for the missiles launched from our side, we never warn anyone about where these missiles are about to fall or about the operations we carry out,” he says.

Kraishi also says the “settlements [in the West Bank], the Judaization [of Jerusalem], the checkpoints, the arrests, and so on” are also considered “war crimes” under the Fourth Geneva Convention.”

More than 950 projectiles fired from Gaza since military operation began

Palestinian terrorists in Gaza have fired more than 950 rockets and mortars since Israel’s Operation Protective Edge began early Tuesday, according to the latest IDF figures.

Almost 200 of those have been intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system.

In response, the IDF says it has bombed some 1,400 targets in the Gaza Strip over the past seven days.

On Sunday alone, 130 projectiles were launched into Israel from the Palestinian enclave, of which 22 were intercepted and six landed in Palestinian territory, including one which cut off electricity to some 70,000 Gazans.


UN office says 80% of some 170 Palestinians killed are civilians

The UN Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs in Occupied Palestinian Territory (OCHA oPT) says that 80% of those Palestinians killed so far in Operation Protective Edge, launched early Tuesday in response to continued rocket fire, are civilians.

The UN office released a statement Sunday saying that of approximately 170 Palestinians killed, some 130 are non-combatants and include over 30 children.

“26 members of armed groups and nine persons whose status could not be verified” have been killed in Israel air strikes since Tuesday, read the statement.

Over 1,000 have been injured and 940 homes have been destroyed or severely damaged in the fighting, according to the UN office’s findings.

Saudi king orders transfer of $50 million to Palestinian Red Crescent

Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud orders the transfer of some $50 million to the Palestinian Red Crescent in Gaza, the emergency and medical services society that is part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

According to a report in the Saudi-owned al-Arabiya, the Saudi Press Agency announced that the king wants the funds allocated “for immediate needs of medicines and medical equipment and supplies necessary to treat the victims of the Israeli attacks against the Gaza Strip which claimed the lives of thousands of innocent children, women, elderly and people of special needs.”

After several hours of respite, rockets fired at Eshkol region

After an almost three-hour break, Gaza terrorists fire several rockets toward Israel, triggering sirens in the Eshkol Regional Council and the surrounding communities.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

12 rockets launched at Eshkol region, Hof Ashkelon as dawn breaks

Gaza terrorists launch 12 rockets toward the Eshkol Regional Council and Hof Ashkelon just as dawn breaks.

There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

IAF strikes 75 targets in Gaza overnight

Palestinians report heavy IDF air strikes in several areas in the Gaza Strip overnight.

Aircraft struck three training facilities of Hamas’s military wing around the coastal territory, medics and eyewitnesses said.

Army Radio reports that at least 75 targets were hit.

According to Palestinian media, three people were killed in the raids.

The IAF also hits buildings in Gaza City, Deir el-Balah in the southern part of the strip, and in the northern town of Jabaliya, injuring an unspecified number of people.

There was shelling reported in Beit Lahiya, in the far north of the strip, where Israel had earlier warned residents of an impending assault.

AFP, Times of Israel staff

IDF arrests 5 Hamas lawmakers in West Bank

IDF troops arrest at least five Hamas lawmakers in the West Bank, in Nablus and Jenin, Palestinian security officials told AFP.


Sirens sound in Ashdod

Sirens blare in Ashdod warning of incoming rockets.

At least twelve rockets were launched less than an hour ago at the Eshkol Regional Council and the surrounding communities.

Rocket fired at the Merhavim region

Alarm sirens wail in the Merhavim area, west of Beersheba, followed by a rocket, which falls in an open area.

There are no reports of casualties or damage.

Alarms in Nahal Oz and Alumim

Sirens sound in the Gaza border towns of Nahal Oz and Alumim.

Israel downs drone from Gaza

Israel shoots down an unmanned aircraft near the coastal city of Ashdod.

The drone is shot down with a Patriot surface-to-air missile, the IDF says in a statement.

Navy forces are on the scene to examine the aircraft.

Sirens in Ashkelon, Ashdod

Major southern cities face a morning rocket barrage, alongside smaller villages on the Gaza periphery.

These include Ashkelon, Ashdod, Yad Mordechai, Zikim and towns throughout the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council.

Sirens are sounding in the Ashkelon Industrial Zone.

A rocket lands in an open area near Netivot. No injuries or damage are reported.

IDF counts 20 rockets overnight, 40 airstrikes

Some 20 rockets were fired at Israel overnight, with the Israeli Air Force striking 40 targets in Gaza, the IDF says Monday morning.

“Among the terror targets struck overnight was an ammunition and weaponry storage facility concealed within a mosque in the central Gaza Strip,” the army says in a statement to the press.

Twelve of the rockets launched from Gaza hit Israel in open areas and seven are intercepted by Iron Dome, according to the IDF.

More than 130 rockets were fired at Israel on Sunday, with 22 intercepted by Iron Dome. (Iron Dome only fires if a rocket is headed to a population center.)

“Over the past 24 hours, the IDF targeted over 12 terrorists involved in launching rockets at Israel,” The IDF statement reads.

Since the start of Operation Protective Edge on July 8, at least 980 rockets were fired from Gaza at Israel. 200 rockets were intercepted by Iron Dome.

According to the army’s figures, IDF air, naval and special forces struck some 1,470 “terror targets” throughout the Gaza Strip, including 210 strikes on tunnels, 770 on concealed rocket launchers, 69 on “training bases and militant compounds,” 63 on weapons storage and manufacturing facilities, and other sites “used for terrorist activities.”

The army also reports figures for the continued flow of supplies from Israel into Gaza throughout the fighting, including 260 trucks containing over 4,400 tons of food, 900 tons of gas, some 3.2 million liters of diesel fuel and some 500,000 liters of gasoline. Some 500 units of donated blood also enter Gaza to compensate for shortages in local medical services.

Lebanese man who fired rockets at Galilee: No regrets

Sheikh Hussein Atawi, the man who Lebanese security forces allege was behind rocket fire on northern Israel on Friday, says he has no regrets, Ynet reports.

“I did it for Allah,” Atawi is quoted as saying in the Hezbollah-affiliated newspaper Al-Akhbar. “I don’t have any regrets and I am convinced that my actions were just. I support the people of Gaza who are being murdered by our enemy. The resistance is everyone’s prerogative.”

Hezbollah, whose fighters are bogged down in Syria, has been notably silent during almost a week of fighting in Gaza. Two incidents of rocket fire from Lebanon are blamed, by both Lebanon and Israel, on Palestinian groups in the country.

Atawi has been arrested by Lebanese security services, and is reportedly severely injured from a technical malfunction during one of the rocket launches.

Morning rocket fire focuses on Ashkelon

Rocket fire from Gaza this morning seems to be concentrating on the southern coastal city of Ashkelon. One barrage is confirmed following an earlier one overnight. In all, two rockets are intercepted by Iron Dome over the city Sunday overnight and Monday morning, according to an Army Radio tally.

With a few errant rockets over the Gaza periphery, including one landing in an open area near Netivot, it’s fair to say that as of 9:20 a.m. local time, rocket fire from Gaza has declined to a trickle.

Of course, that’s only in comparison with recent days, which have seen many hundreds of rockets launched at Israeli cities and villages, especially those near Gaza. And, as with any war, quiet often presages a storm.

Rockets seen fired from Gaza into Israel, on the sixth day of Operation Protective Edge, July 13, 2014. (Photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Rockets seen fired from Gaza into Israel, on the sixth day of Operation Protective Edge, July 13, 2014. (Photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Hamas leaders criticized for lavish comfort while Gaza burns

Israel Radio’s Gal Berger reports on Twitter that some Arab voices are expressing anger at Hamas leaders, especially those living overseas who are urging and ordering continued rocket fire on Israel without suffering the consequences of Israeli strikes being felt by ordinary Gazans.

This tweet reads: “A website affiliated with Hamas was hacked and pictures were uploaded showing Khaled Mashaal sprinkling olive oil” — with the unspoken implication: “while Gaza burns.”

Berger quotes a caption accompanying the photo: “This is the true face of Hamas’s leadership.”

In this tweet, Berger quotes an Egyptian journalist, Ahmed Moussa, bitterly complaining about the relative comfort in which Mashaal and Hamas’s former prime minister Ismail Haniyeh are weathering the conflict.

“Here — this is their jihad,” Moussa writes, according to Berger.

Moussa continues, speaking about Mashaal: “Sits in a luxurious hotel in Qatar and slathers olive oil. If he’s a man, let him come to Gaza and join Haniyeh in hiding.”

The Egyptian television clip from which the criticism is taken is here:

Rocket fired every 10 minutes Sunday

The IDF releases its tally of the number of rockets fired from Gaza yesterday, and throughout Operation Protective Edge.

West Bank Palestinian said killed by IDF

A Palestinian is killed by the IDF in a clash south of Hebron early on Monday, his family says.

Relatives identify the man as Munir Ahmed Badarin, in his early twenties.

They say he was shot in clashes near Al-Samua, in the southernmost part of the West Bank, and died later in hospital.


Hamas denies it said it’s leading Gazans to death

Sami Abu Zuhri, Hamas’s chief spokesman in Gaza, apparently has an unfortunate Freudian slip, accidentally declaring that Hamas is leading Palestinians to their deaths.

“We aren’t leading our people today to destruction. We are leading our people to death… I mean to confrontation with this occupier,” he says on Hamas’s Al-Aqsa TV.

As Hamas faces a growing chorus of criticism, including from PA President Mahmoud Abbas, that it has dragged Gaza into violent confrontation for no discernible reason, Abu Zuhri’s efforts to deflect the criticism seem to be going rather poorly.

Now Hamas says the video was fabricated (link in Arabic), and the Hamas spokesman’s voice was actually a voiceover.

Sami Abu Zuhri is the same spokesman who urged Gazans to serve as human shields against Israeli airstrikes.

Sirens in Ashkelon, Ashdod, Gaza periphery

Sirens are sounding in Ashkelon, in the city’s industrial zone, in nearby Ashdod and in several Gaza periphery communities.

Airstrikes reported in eastern Gaza

Social media reports from Gaza suggests the IDF is striking at targets in the eastern Strip.

Area on Gaza border declared closed military zone

The IDF declares an area north of the Gaza Strip a closed military zone.

Speculation is circulating on the significance of the move, which may indicate that ground forces are preparing for battle.

One Israeli news site, NRG, suggests that the move is connected to the downing of a Hamas UAV earlier in the day.

The IDF is continuing to build up ground forces on the Gaza border, but no decision has been made by the cabinet — as far as Israeli media outlets know — to enter Gaza with significant ground forces.

Gaza ‘foreign rescuers’ hailed on Twitter

Some Hamas supporters online are indulging in rather quirky militaristic fantasies, and posting alleged photo evidence to back them up.

Turkey sends humanitarian aid to Gaza

Turkey is not succeeding in brokering a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza, but Ankara is coordinating with Jerusalem the delivery of humanitarian aid to the strip. In coordination with the IDF, the country is sending aid worth $2.5 million to Gaza via the Kerem Shalom border crossing, the Turkish daily Hürriyet reports.

Additional Turkish humanitarian assistance – such as food and medication — is delivered into the coastal enclave through Israeli crossings in line with earlier practices between the two countries, a Turkish official tells the daily. The Israeli embassy in Ankara reportedly contacted Turkish authorities last Friday to offer assistance with the coordination of aid deliveries to the Strip.

— Raphael Ahren

Hamas claims to launch multiple UAVs into Israel

Hamas television in Gaza reports that the organization’s armed wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, is launching multiple unmanned aerial drones into Israel.

The UAVs reached as much as 60 kilometers into Israel, the report claims. “Details to follow,” it promises.

There is no confirmation from Israeli sources as to whether multiple Hamas UAVs are hovering in Israel’s skies.

The report follows an announcement earlier this morning that Hamas is planning a “surprise” for Israel.

Hamas did launch a UAV into Israel earlier Monday, which was shot down by an IDF Patriot missile over Ashdod.

A blurry video has appeared online purporting to show the UAV entering Israeli airspace. Some commentators have suggested the video actually shows a helicopter.

Ya’alon: Hamas will regret engaging Israel

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon says that the IDF has managed to inflict major damage on Hamas and the other terrorist organizations operating in the Gaza Strip.

“When Hamas’s leadership comes out of hiding, they will discover the extent of the destruction that we have caused their organization, and will regret having engaged Israel in this round of fighting,” he said in a statement.

The defense minister adds that Israel is holding the Lebanese and Syrian governments accountable for two incidents of rocket and mortar fire on Israel’s north over the last few days.

Report: IDF hits four homes of Hamas operatives

At least four homes of senior Hamas operatives are destroyed by IDF airstrikes, according to Palestinian sources.

Israel looks to build Iron Dome together with US

Iron Dome is proving its worth, Israeli officials say, diverting over 200 rockets from Israeli population centers and keeping Israel’s death toll from Gaza rocket fire at zero (though some Israelis have been harmed by shrapnel and burns resulting from the rockets’ explosions, and from anxiety while under fire).

That has meant an immense advantage against the primary strategic weapon used against Israel by the likes of Palestinian terror groups and Hezbollah.

Now, even as it builds its eighth battery, Israel plans to co-produce additional Iron Domes together with the United States.

Defense News reports:

In July 11 talks with executives from Rafael, Iron Dome prime contractor, and Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), producer of the system’s multimission radar, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon credited Iron Dome for its “impressive performance” and “strategic significance” in the ongoing campaign.

“First and foremost, it saves lives and grants us expanded opportunities for managing the campaign against Hamas,” Ya’alon said. “And it sends a message to countries and organizations amassing huge quantities of rockets and missiles” for terrorist purposes.

As Rafael works on the eighth battery in parallel to fast-tracked production of intercepting missiles, it is preparing to receive the first Defense Ministry procurement contract for US-based builds in support of Iron Dome.

Israeli soldiers walk by an Iron Dome missile defense system deployed near Jerusalem, September 2013. (photo credit Flash90)

Israeli soldiers walk by an Iron Dome missile defense system deployed near Jerusalem, September 2013. (photo credit Flash90)

Arab League to meet in Cairo over Gaza fighting

Arab League foreign ministers are set to meet in Cairo today to discuss Israel’s offensive against the Gaza Strip, aimed at countering rocket attacks.

With the Israeli campaign in its seventh day, at least 172 Palestinians have been killed and more than 1,230 wounded.

Nearly 1,000 rockets have been fired from Gaza at Israel, with some 200 intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system over population centers. There have not been any Israeli fatalities.

The Arab League meeting comes amid intense international efforts to end the conflict, and with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas seeking UN intervention.

An Egyptian Foreign Ministry statement late on Sunday said Monday’s meeting, due to begin at 9 p.m. local time, 7 p.m. GMT, “is aimed at finding a solution to stop the shedding of Palestinian civilians’ blood and to formulate a common Arab stance on the issue.”

So far, efforts to broker a ceasefire have been unsuccessful, with Cairo taking a hands-off approach.

— AP and Times of Israel staff

Sirens sound throughout south, multiple rockets intercepted

Sirens are sounding in Ashdod, Mitzpe Ramon, Kiryat Malachi and Gan Yavne.

Several rockets are reportedly being intercepted by Iron Dome.

One rocket is believed to have fallen near Ashdod. Security forces are searching for the downed warhead.

Police are reiterating their call to residents not to approach rockets felled by Iron Dome, as warheads may still be active. Residents are asked to call police at the emergency number 100 if they find a fallen rocket.

Iranian Red Crescent offers aid to Gaza

Iran’s Red Crescent sends a letter to the Palestinian Red Crescent offering humanitarian aid to the beleaguered Gaza Strip.

In the letter, sent Sunday, the Iranian aid organization reportedly offers medical supplies and other equipment.

It is unclear how such aid would reach Gaza. Turkey has sent aid to Gaza, but had to coordinate with Israel in order to get it through the Kerem Shalom crossing. With Egypt’s border with Gaza shuttered and Iran unwilling to coordinate with Israel, Iranian aid offers to Gaza may be more theoretical than real.

The Iranian regime, which considers Israel a bitter enemy, has repeatedly condemned Israel’s airstrikes on Gaza since the start of Operation Protective Edge on July 8.

8-year-old boy lightly wounded in Ashdod

An 8-year-old boy is “very lightly wounded” from shrapnel in his hand, according to MDA, when a rocket falls between two apartment buildings in Ashdod.

The boy is being evacuated to Kaplan Medical Center in Rehovot.

One more rocket headed to the coastal city is intercepted by Iron Dome.

UK foreign minister to address parliament about Gaza

UK Foreign Minister William Hague is set to address parliament today about the fighting in Gaza.

He is likely to more or less repeat his previous statement on the issue, delivered Saturday in Vienna:

British Foreign Secretary William Hague at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office in Jerusalem, in May 2013 (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90/File)

British Foreign Secretary William Hague at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office in Jerusalem, in May 2013 (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90/File)

“It is clear that we need urgent, concerted international action to secure a ceasefire, as was the case in 2012. I will discuss this with [US, French and German foreign ministers] John Kerry, Laurent Fabius and Frank-Walter Steinmeier tomorrow [Sunday] in Vienna.

Speaking to PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman over the weekend, he “stressed the need for an immediate deescalation and restoration of the November 2012 ceasefire, our deep concern about the number of civilian casualties and the need for all sides to avoid further civilian injuries and the loss of innocent life.”

Suspected killer of Abu Khdeir once tried to kill his own daughter

The chief suspect in the brutal July 2 kidnapping-murder of Palestinian youth Muhammed Abu Khdeir, 16, once attempted to kill his own infant daughter, court documents reveal.

The Jerusalem resident, 30, confessed to trying to strangle the girl, a fate that was only prevented when his wife walked in on him during the attempt, he said in a confession to police at the time.

The confession was part of a successful temporary insanity plea in the earlier case, and its return in the current case may indicate that Abu Khdeir’s suspected killers, three of whom have confessed to the crime and reenacted it for investigators, are pursuing a defense strategy centered on an insanity plea.

16-year-old Muhammad Abu Khdeir, a Palestinian teenager whose burned body was found Wednesday, July 2 in the Jerusalem Forest (photo credit: AFP via family handout)

16-year-old Muhammad Abu Khdeir, a Palestinian teenager whose burned body was found Wednesday, July 2 in the Jerusalem Forest (photo credit: AFP via family handout)

Photo of Ashdod rocket damage

The rocket misses homes on all sides, slamming into the ground in an alleyway and lightly wounding an eight-year-old boy.

Sirens sound in Ashkelon area

Sirens are sounding in Ashkelon and nearby villages and industrial zones.

In Sderot, a race to bake 1,000 pizzas for soldiers

Two Sderot pizzerias are closing for the next two days to try to bake 1,000 pizzas for IDF soldiers mobilized to the Gaza border.

The pizzas are being funded by online donations. At least 857 pizzas have already been donated as of Monday morning, according to the website.

Jordan’s Abdullah warns of Gaza’s regional repercussions

Jordan’s King Abdullah II calls UN chief Ban Ki-moon.

“The king and Ban discussed developments in the Gaza Strip and the monarch warned against their repercussions for the entire region and its stability,” the palace says in a statement.

The king, whose country has a 1994 peace treaty with Israel, “stressed the need to stop targeting civilians and respect international laws,” it adds.

Jordan’s government has described Israel’s airstrikes on Gaza in response to Hamas rocket fire as “barbaric” and “brutal.”

Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood demands that the government close Israel’s embassy in Amman and expel the ambassador.

— AFP and Times of Israel staff

Hamas says it launched six UAVs into Israel

Hamas says it launched at least six UAVs into Israel today.

It says it has built three different types of drones, each designed for a different mission, such as surveillance or delivery of explosive payloads against enemy targets.

The organization’s military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, adds that one has already hovered above IDF Headquarters in Tel Aviv’s Hakirya complex.

The claims are being met with a healthy dose of skepticism. The IDF, which can detect a Katyusha rocket and accurately track its ballistic trajectory in time to intercept, has not detected the fleet of drones Hamas claims to have launched.

The IDF confirmed Monday morning that it had downed one UAV from Gaza. It was intercepted and destroyed in the sky over Ashdod by a Patriot missile.

Shin Bet reveals details of Abu Khdeir killing

The Shin Bet reveals the details of its investigation into the murder of Muhammed Abu Khdeir.

After a nearly two-week investigation following the murder on the morning of July 2, and seven arrests in the case, investigators have obtained confessions from the three alleged perpetrators of the murder, the organization says in a statement.

The three suspects are related. One is an adult, aged 30, while the other two are minors. All are residents of Jerusalem or nearby communities.

All three confessed to the brutal crime, which included kidnapping, assault and the setting on fire — apparently while he was still alive — of Abu Khdeir, 16.

According to the suspects’ testimonies, the motive for the crime was revenge for the murders of three Jewish teenagers in June in the West Bank by a Hamas-affiliated cell, along with other terror attacks on Jews.

The suspects chose the victim randomly, investigators have concluded, and did not know Abu Khdeir.

The investigation has also confirmed Palestinian claims that Abu Khdeir’s kidnapping followed the attempted kidnapping of an eight-year-old Palestinian boy the night before, at around 1 a.m., by two of the three suspects. That kidnapping was prevented, investigators have concluded (again, in keeping with Palestinian reports), by the boy’s mother chasing away the attackers.

The two suspects left the scene of the attempted kidnapping and tried to set cars on fire in East Jerusalem that they believed belonged to Arabs.

The following night, at about 3:48 a.m., after hours of driving around Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem, the suspects saw Abu Khdeir and decided to kidnap and murder him.

They nabbed him off the street, drove to the Jerusalem Forest and pulled him out of the car, the Shin Bet says. The adult suspect then allegedly hit the Palestinian youth in the head multiple times with a tire iron, and set him on fire with the aid of one of the minors.

According to investigators, the three spent the following few days attempting to destroy evidence of the crime.

Four other people were arrested in the case, all of them relatives of the suspects, but were released when investigators ruled out any possibility that they were involved in the crime.

One of the four told investigators that he knew about the crime after it had taken place.

The case has been under a gag order imposed by the Petah Tikvah District Court. The gag order is lifted on all details of the investigation except the suspects’ identities, which are still secret in order to prevent additional rounds of revenge attacks, this time against the suspects’ families.

House hit in Shaar Hanegev, no one hurt

A rocket from Gaza hits a house in the Shaar Hanegev Regional Council.

According to initial reports, no one is injured in the home.

Arab League calls on world to end Gaza airstrikes

The Arab League calls on the “international community” to end Israeli airstrikes on Gaza and to protect Palestinians, ahead of a foreign ministers’ meeting later today.

The Arab League “affirmed the necessity of urgent steps for an immediate end to the Israeli aggression on Gaza and providing protection for the Palestinians,” it says in a report to be submitted to the ministerial meeting.

Israeli “airstrikes on Gaza have become a matter that cannot be met with silence any more,” it says.

The pan-Arab organization “demands that the international community intervene through its legal and humanitarian institutions to protect the Palestinian people.”


Neil Young donates to joint Arab-Jewish music programs

You’ve already heard that Neil Young canceled his Tel Aviv concert slated for July 17 due to the deteriorating security situation.

“It is with heavy hearts and deep sadness that we must cancel our one and only Israeli concert due to tensions which have rendered the event unsafe at this time. We’ll miss the opportunity to play for our fans and look forward to playing in Israel and Palestine in peace,” a spokesperson said.

But you probably haven’t heard that Young will be making a donation in lieu of the concert that he hopes will help peacemaking efforts between Israelis and Palestinians.

“I will be making donations to both the Louise Tillie Alpert Youth Music Centre of Israel, and Heartbeat, two organizations that teach music to Palestinian and Israeli youth simultaneously by enabling them to play music together.”

Soldier injured by mortar fire on Gaza periphery

A soldier is lightly to moderately injured by shrapnel when a mortar shell from Gaza hits the Eshkol Regional Council area.

Some five rockets are downed by Iron Dome over the past hour.

A rocket falls between two buildings in Ashkelon, lightly wounding a young boy in the hand.

Hamas publishes photo of its drone

Hamas publishes a photo of a drone allegedly built and launched by the organization.

A UAV from Gaza was downed by an IDF Patriot missile on Monday morning over Ashdod.

The Arabic text around the photo says it is an exclusive photo of a Hamas drone, but does not indicate if it is the one downed by the IDF.

‘Iron Dome’ becomes a catchphrase

Iron Dome is undoubtedly successful in military terms. According to the IDF, it is successfully downing over 90 percent of the rockets it attempts to intercept.

But there are other measures of Iron Dome’s success. Here’s one: it is quickly becoming the go-to Hebrew-language analogy (or, more accurately, snowclone) for something that protects Israeli society.

Earlier today, Ashkelon Mayor Itamar Shimoni demanded in an interview on Channel 2 that the government install an “economic Iron Dome” alongside the military one, calling for subsidies from Jerusalem to help businesses in southern towns weather the financial strain caused by the Gaza fighting.

Now Haaretz journalist Uri Misgav, on a panel on Channel 2, calls for a “diplomatic Iron Dome,” a return to the peace process.

If it keeps Israel safe, it’s now an “Iron Dome.”

Netanyahu to Australian PM: Our goal is long-term quiet

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks with his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott, telling him that while Israel seeks to defend its citizens from indiscriminate rocket fire from Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist organizations in Gaza utilize the Strip’s civilian population as human shields to protect their weapons.

The objective of Operation Protective Edge is to restore quiet for Israel’s citizens for a long period of time, and to deal a significant blow to terrorist infrastructure in Gaza, Netanyahu tells the Australian prime minister.

Sirens sound on Gaza periphery

Sirens are sounding in villages near the Gaza border, including Kfar Aza and Kibbutz Saad.

Gaza kids head to Israel for heart surgery

Six children from Gaza are headed to an Israeli hospital for life-saving heart surgery.

The children will be joined by seven more from the West Bank. Their care is being funded by the Israel-based charity Save a Child’s Heart.

All thirteen will arrive in the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon on Tuesday.

Children from Syria and troubled regions in Africa have also been treated at Wolfson as part of the program.

“These children are not our enemy,” the head nurse of Wolfson’s pediatric ICU, Irena, is quoted as saying in a press release. “It doesn’t matter where they are from. If these children do not come to Wolfson and receive treatment, they will have no chance to live.”

SACH supports a free pediatric cardiology clinic for Palestinian children at Wolfson every Tuesday. Dr. Akiva Tamir, chief cardiologist of the charity, insists “children are not part of the conflict. They are not my enemy and I am a doctor; my mission is to save lives of children in need.”

Siren sounds in Shaar Hanegev area

A Code Red air raid siren sounds in the Shaar Hanegev area, minutes after sirens are heard in villages near the Gaza border, including Kfar Aza and Kibbutz Saad.

Rocket strike in Sderot damages cars

After sirens sound in communities on the Gaza border, a rocket lands in Sderot.

The projectile damages two parked cars. No injuries are reported.

Jewish Agency organizes summer camp for 10,000 kids from south

The Jewish Agency is organizing a summer camp for 10,000 children and teens from Israel’s rocket-battered south.

The campers, from grades 1-12, will enjoy rest and recreation activities outside the line of fire throughout the week, in an initiative made possible by the support of the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA).

The children and teens participating are residents of the Ofakim, Shafir, Lachish, Be’er Tuvia, Gan Yavne, and Yoav regional councils, as well as recent immigrants from Jewish Agency immigrant absorption centers in Beersheba, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Kiryat Gat, and Sha’ar HaNegev.

They will enjoy activities in the Jerusalem area, visiting the Kiftzuba amusement park, the Israel Museum, and the Tisch Family Zoological Gardens (the Biblical Zoo).

Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky with a recent immigrant from St. Petersburg, Russia, and her two daughters at a Jewish Agency recreation activity for children from southern Israel at the Tisch Family Zoological Gardens (the Biblical Zoo) in Jerusalem. (photo credit: Nathan Roi/The Jewish Agency for Israel)

Jewish Agency chairman Natan Sharansky with a recent immigrant from St. Petersburg, Russia, and her two daughters at a Jewish Agency recreation activity for children from southern Israel at the Tisch Family Zoological Gardens (the Biblical Zoo) in Jerusalem. (photo credit: Nathan Roi/The Jewish Agency for Israel)

“Thanks to the immediate action of world Jewry, the Jewish Agency is able to offer a real-time response to the residents of southern Israel,” says the organization’s chairman, Natan Sharansky, who met the children earlier today at Jerusalem’s Biblical Zoo.

“It is both moving and inspiring to feel the mighty fortitude of the people of southern Israel—both immigrants and native Israelis—and the powerful solidarity of world Jewry, which draw upon and strengthen one another. The Jewish Agency is proud to serve as a conduit of positive energy between the Jewish world and the people of Israel’s south and we will continue to do whatever we can to support the local residents during this trying time.”

Hamas releases photo allegedly shot from drone

After publishing a photo of a drone allegedly built and launched by the organization, Hamas releases a photo allegedly shot from the same drone.

The photo seems to show a beach, presumably near the Gazan coast.

A UAV from Gaza was downed by an IDF Patriot missile on Monday morning over Ashdod.

Images allegedly shot from the drone launched by Hamas Monday morning, shot down by Israel (Screen capture: Channel 2)

Images allegedly shot from the drone launched by Hamas Monday morning, shot down by Israel (Screen capture: Channel 2)

IDF strikes launcher that fired on Eshkol

After communities in the Eshkol Regional Council are struck by rockets from Gaza, the IDF hits the launcher from which the projectiles were fired.

Palestinians report 175 dead in Gaza strikes

Palestinians say the death toll in IDF strikes on targets in the Gaza Strip has risen to 175.

The Ma’an news agency reports that the death toll rises after the IDF shells targets in the town of Qarara, east of Khan Younis.

Hamas claims it destroys tank near Beit Lahiya

Hamas’s military wing claims it destroyed an Israeli tank east of Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza Strip, according the Palestinian Safa news agency.

There is no other confirmation of the report, and Hamas has made false claims about military achievements in the past.

Hamas says it destroyed the tank completely with a Kornet anti-tank missile.

Earlier Monday, Israel declared the region around Beit Lahiya a closed military zone, likely indicating concerted military action in the area.

IDF tanks and soldiers in southern Israel near the border with Gaza, on the fourth day of Operation Protective Edge, July 11, 2014. (Photo credit: Gili Yaari/Flash90)

IDF tanks and soldiers in southern Israel near the border with Gaza, on the fourth day of Operation Protective Edge, July 11, 2014. (Photo credit: Gili Yaari/Flash90)

Iron Dome intercepts rocket over Ashdod

After sirens sound over Ashdod and Ashkelon, the Iron Dome successfully intercepts a rocket over Ashdod.

No place in Gaza is safe, says WHO representative

Mahmoud Daher, the World Health Organization (WHO) representative in the Gaza Strip, says “no place” in the coastal enclave is safe from Israel Air Force shelling.

Daher says he has had to leave his house due to shelling, and is now staying in the Gaza headquarters of the UN Development Program (UNDP).

“No place is safe in the entire Gaza Strip,” he tells Channel 2.

He adds that while UN personnel in the territory have “memories from 2008 and 2012” of UN buildings being targeted, they feel “more comfortable and calm” staying in UN headquarters in Gaza rather than in their own homes.

“But the shelling can happen anywhere,” he says.

Code Red alert in Tel Aviv

A Code Red siren is heard in the Tel Aviv area, as well as in Herzliya, Ramat Gan, Bnei Brak, Givatayim, Kfar Shmaryahu and Ramat Hasharon.

2 rockets shot down over Dan region

Two rockets are shot down over the  Dan region in central Israel, after Code Red sirens are heard in Tel Aviv.

A third rocket lands in an open space, far from populated areas.

No injuries are reported.

Egypt stepping up efforts to reach ceasefire

A number of sources close to ceasefire efforts between Israel and Gaza tell The Times of Israel that Egypt has increased efforts to broker an end to the fighting, but large gaps remain between the sides.

Since Friday at least, Israel’s demand for a ceasefire has been a return to the understandings reached at the end of the last major round of fighting in 2012. Jerusalem is also demanding that Gaza give up its stockpile of rockets and dismantle any tunnels between the Strip and Israel.

Hamas, meanwhile, is demanding that Israel free 56 operatives arrested last month during the West Bank crackdown on the group following the kidnapping and killing of three Israeli teens. The 56 were previously freed by Israel as part of the Shalit swap in 2011, and Hamas says they have not returned to terror, as per the agreement for their release.

The group is also demanding that the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt be opened, and that money to pay the salaries of 40,000 Hamas civil servants be transferred.

The wages, which have been kept from the workers for weeks, has become a major sticking point in Gaza since the creation of a unity government between Hamas and Fatah.

— Avi Issacharoff

Abbas heads to Ankara in possible ceasefire bid

In a possible bid to broker a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is making his way to Ankara, Channel 2 reports.

IDF confirms Hamas fired at tank

The IDF confirms that Hamas fired at an Israeli tank but denies that it was destroyed, as its military wing had claimed.

“Earlier this afternoon, terrorists in Gaza fired an anti-tank missile at an IDF tank positioned near the security fence in the northern Gaza Strip,” reads a statement released by the military this afternoon.

“The missile was successfully intercepted by the Trophy Active Protection System installed on the tank. No injuries or damage were caused.”

Hamas’s military wing claimed earlier today that it destroyed an Israeli tank east of Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza Strip. Hamas said it destroyed the tank completely with a Kornet anti-tank missile.

Earlier Monday, Israel declared the region around Beit Lahiya a closed military zone, likely indicating concerted military action in the area.

IDF tanks and soldiers in southern Israel near the border with Gaza, on the fifth day of Operation Protective Edge, July 12, 2014. (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

IDF tanks and soldiers in southern Israel near the border with Gaza, on the fifth day of Operation Protective Edge, July 12, 2014. (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

7 Hezbollah fighters killed on Lebanon border

Seven Hezbollah fighters were killed in clashes between Syrian rebels and the Shi’ite terrorist group on the Lebanese border over the weekend, a monitoring group says.

“Seven members of Hezbollah were killed and 31 wounded” in the clashes which raged from Saturday until Sunday night, says Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

He tells AFP that the Syrian rebels lost nine fighters and that 23 of them were wounded in the battle, waged in an undemarcated area of the border between Qalamun in Syria and Lebanon’s Arsal.

Hezbollah initiated the showdown in a bid to rid the region of rebel fighters following a string of daily clashes, says Abdel Rahman.

“But they fell into an ambush by rebels … before Hezbollah reinforcements arrived and the fighting intensified.”


Hamas claims responsibility for Tel Aviv fire

Hamas claims responsibility for the recent barrage of rocket fire over Tel Aviv.

The organization says it fired four M-75 rockets at the bustling metropolis.

Earlier this afternoon, Code Red sirens were heard in the city, followed by explosions as Iron Dome intercepted two rockets. A third fell in an open space in Gush Dan.

Code Red sirens heard from north to south

Code Red alerts are heard both in southern and northern Israel.

The sirens warning of incoming rockets sound in cities of Beersheba and Netivot, as well as in the towns and villages of the Sdot Negev Regional Council.

They also sound in the Galilee and the Golan Heights.

2 rockets land in Beersheba, one intercepted

Two rockets land in Beersheba, in southern Israel, after Code Red sirens sound in the city, and a third rocket is intercepted by Iron Dome.

The rockets land in open areas.

No casualties are reported.

Kerry said headed to Cairo

US Secretary of State John Kerry is headed to Cairo to try to secure a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, Channel 2 political analyst Ehud Yaari reveals.

Earlier, it was reported that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is en route to Ankara, possibly to discuss a ceasefire as well.

Man hurt while running to shelter in Beersheba

One person is injured in an attack on Beersheba after Gaza terrorists fire three rockets at the southern city.

Channel 2 reports that the man was lightly injured while running to a shelter as the rockets rained on the city.

One of the rockets was intercepted by Iron Dome, while two exploded in open areas.

Rocket explodes in Golan Heights

One rocket explodes in the Golan Heights after a Code Red alert is heard there.

No injuries are reported.

Jerusalem Light Rail fully operational again

Jerusalem’s Light Rail transportation system, parts of which were shut down earlier this month after sustaining damage in riots in East Jerusalem, is now operating on its full route.

The route was shut down between French Hill and Pisgat Ze’ev, its final destination, after rioters defaced the three stations between them, all located in the East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Beit Hanina and Shuafat.

In one of the Shuafat stations, graffiti reading “Price Tag. Death to Jews” was spray-painted on what remained of the station, whose glass walls were shattered and whose metal structure was vandalized and burned.

Graffiti reading 'Price Tag. Death to Jews' is seen spray-painted on what remains of a Light Rail station which has been vandalized by Palestinians in the Arab neighborhood of Shuafat, Jerusalem, July 2014. (photo credit: Sliman Khader/Flash90)

Graffiti reading ‘Price Tag. Death to Jews’ is seen spray-painted on what remains of a Light Rail station which has been vandalized by Palestinians in the Arab neighborhood of Shuafat, Jerusalem, July 2014. (photo credit: Sliman Khader/Flash90)

Palestinian reported killed near Khan Younis

A Palestinian man is killed Monday in an Israeli airstrike east of Khan Younis, AFP reports.

At least 175 Palestinians have been killed in the week-long conflict.

Palestinians search in the rubble of a destroyed house where eight members of the Al Haj family were killed in a strike early morning in Khan Younis refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip on Thursday, July 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

Palestinians search in the rubble of a destroyed house where eight members of the Al Haj family were killed in a strike early morning in Khan Younis refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip on Thursday, July 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

Beersheba man said to be seriously wounded

The Beersheba man who was hurt while running to a secure room as sirens wailed in the city, warning of an incoming rocket, is seriously injured.

Earlier, it was reported that the man was lightly hurt.

Injured Ashkelon teen regains consciousness

Avinoam Levy, the father of the 16-year-old who was seriously injured yesterday in a rocket attack in Ashkelon, tells Channel 2 his son regained consciousness this morning, in what he describes as “a great miracle.”

His son Yarin reenacted everything that led up to the rocket attack, which hit 30 meters (98 ft.) away from their home, he says. Yarin, who was outside during the raid, stood behind a wall with his hands on his head.

The projectile fell seconds after the siren sounded, his father says, hitting him with shrapnel in various parts of his body — including a large fragment which pierced his lung.

Rocket that hit Golan fired from Syria — IDF

The rocket that hit the Golan Heights was fired from Syria — probably deliberately, the IDF announces.

The rocket hit an open area in the Golan Heights, causing a fire.

“Initial reports suggest the launching was deliberate,” reads a statement by the IDF.

An Israeli army tank is seen stationed near the village of Majdal Shams, on March 19, 2014, in the Golan Heights. (photo credit: AFP/Jalaa Marey)

An Israeli army tank is seen stationed near the village of Majdal Shams, on March 19, 2014, in the Golan Heights. (photo credit: AFP/Jalaa Marey)

Israel’s UN envoy says human rights chief ‘failed’

Israel’s envoy to the United Nations in Geneva lashes out at the UN’s outgoing human rights chief, Navi Pillay, after she expressed doubt at the legality of Operation Protective Edge.

“In the efforts to safeguard the human rights of Israelis, the UN High Commissioner of Human Rights and her Office have failed dismally,” Ambassador Eviatar Manor writes in a press release.

“The clarity of her message to Israel is in sharp contrast to the opaqueness of her message to Hamas. She has put to shame George Orwell’s doublespeak. She refused, over and over, to acknowledge the fact that Hamas is committing a double war crime: targeting Israeli civilians while hiding behind Palestinian civilians. Israel, on the other hand, is taking measures to avoid harming innocent civilians and minimize casualties.”

Manor writes that he reacted with “total disbelief” to Pillay’s call to made “leaders on all sides… abandon their poisonous rhetoric.” Israeli leaders have acted with “utmost restraint” after rockets starting being launched toward its cities and villages after the abduction of three Israeli teens, and have all condemned the kidnapping and murder of an Arab teen, the ambassador continues.

Israeli diplomat Eviatar Manor (right) presents his credentials to Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of the United Nations Office at Geneva, August 2012 (photo credit: Pierre Albouy/UN)

Israeli diplomat Eviatar Manor (right) presents his credentials to Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of the United Nations Office at Geneva, August 2012 (photo credit: Pierre Albouy/UN)

“The High Commissioner has lost her bearings. Focusing her criticism on Israel is wrong, biased, unjustifiable and ultimately, unhelpful. If she actually wanted to be helpful in this situation, she would have condemned Hamas in the strongest manner,” Manor writes.

On Friday, Pillay had said she had received “deeply disturbing reports” that many of the civilian casualties occurred as a result of strikes on homes. “Such reports raise serious doubt about whether the Israeli strikes have been in accordance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law,” she said.

On September 1, Pillay will leave the post. She will be succeeded by Jordanian Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein.

— Raphael Ahren

Michael Oren visits Sderot

Israel’s former ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, visits the rocket-hit city of Sderot to show support for its residents.

He poses with a local Orthodox woman and her baby, and posts the photo on his official Facebook page.

Hamas sends text messages to Israelis

Hamas sends text messages to Israelis, blaming the “stupid” leadership in Jerusalem for the salvos of rockets fired into Israeli territory since the start of Operation Protective Edge last week.

The messages, from a number identified as “SMSQASSAM,” warn that the rocket fire will continue until Israel agrees to Hamas’s terms for a ceasefire.

Those include the lifting of Israel’s blockade on the Gaza Strip, the opening of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt and the release of Palestinian prisoners Israel has rearrested after freeing them in exchange for kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

The texts, which are signed by the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, read, “The stupidity of your leaders has placed all of Israel under fire and forced all Israelis to enter shelters. We will continue to shoot [rockets] at every place in Israel until all our legitimate demands are met fully.”

A text message sent by Hamas to Israeli phone numbers.

A text message sent by Hamas to Israeli phone numbers.

Two sisters, 11 and 13, hurt near Omer

Two sisters aged 11 and 13 are moderately to seriously injured by rocket shrapnel near the town of Omer, in southern Israel.

The two are injured by shrapnel from a rocket fired toward Beersheba. They are evacuated by their family to the city’s Soroka Medical Center.

Police are investigating the rocket’s landing site.

Sirens in Dimona, Yeruham

Warnings sirens are heard in the Negev cities of Dimona and Yeruham. Details to come.

Kerry to press Egypt to secure ceasefire deal

During Kerry’s Cairo visit, the US will urge Egypt to be more proactive in pushing Hamas and Israel for a ceasefire agreement, Channel 2’s Ehud Ya’ari says.

The Egyptians are also taking advantage of the situation to get President Barack Obama to “speak to them more nicely,” he says.

Britain’s Hague calls for ceasefire, PA control of Gaza

British Foreign Secretary William Hague calls for a ceasefire in Gaza, appealing on all parties that have an influence on Hamas to get it to stop firing rocket at Israel. He also urges the Palestinian Authority to retake control of the coastal strip.

“The UK has three objectives – to secure a ceasefire, to alleviate humanitarian suffering, and to keep alive the prospects for peace negotiations which are the only hope of breaking this cycle of violence and devastation once and for all,” Hague says at the House of Commons in London. “First, there is an urgent need for a ceasefire agreed by both sides that ends both the rocket fire and the Israeli operations against Gaza, based on the ceasefire agreement that ended the conflict in November 2012.”

Reinstating that agreement, which was brokered by the United States and Egypt at the end of Operation Pillar of Defense will require “a concerted effort” between Israelis, Palestinians and Egyptians, joined by others in the international community. “All those with influence over Hamas must use it to get Hamas to agree to end rocket fire,” Hague says.

“Implementation of that agreement must only be part of a wider effort to improve conditions in Gaza. Without that, we are likely to see further such cycles of violence. This should include the restoration of Palestinian Authority control in Gaza, the opening up of legitimate movement and access and a permanent end to the unacceptable threat of rocket attacks and other forms of violence.”

So far, Hague has spoken about the Gaza crisis with Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz, PA President Mahmoud Abbas, and the foreign ministers of Egypt, Jordan and Qatar.

“Israel has a right to defend itself against indiscriminate attacks,” Hague tells the British parliamentarians. “But it is vital that Gaza’s civilian population is protected. International humanitarian law requires both sides to distinguish between military and civilian targets and to enable unhindered humanitarian access.”

Raphael Ahren

‘Take over Gaza and demilitarize it’ — Steinitz

As rockets continue to rain on Israel from north to south, Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz says Israel should take over Gaza and ensure that it is demilitarized.

Speaking in Ashkelon, which has been targeted by rocket launchers, Steinitz says Israel must demilitarize the coastal enclave either by diplomatic means or a military operation.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks on the phone with his Australian counterpart, Tony Abbott, saying the aims of Operation Protective Edge are twofold: to restore calm to Israel’s cities for a long time to come, and to significantly damage the terrorist infrastructure in the Gaza Strip.

Netanyahu stresses that Israel is trying to protect its citizens from rocket fire, and that Hamas uses Gazan civilians as human shields.

Minister of International Relations and Minister of Strategic Affairs Yuval Steinitz speaks to the press in June 2013. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/Pool/Flash90)

Minister of International Relations and Minister of Strategic Affairs Yuval Steinitz speaks to the press in June 2013. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/Pool/Flash90)

IDF targets Syrian launching site

After confirming that two rockets were shot from Syria to Israel, probably deliberately, the IDF returns fire toward the Syrian rocket-launching site.

The two rockets fired from the site earlier today exploded in open areas in the Golan Heights.

Ben Gurion U. to be closed Tuesday

Beersheba’s Ben Gurion University will not hold classes or host events Tuesday.

Kindergartens in Ashkelon and the Yoav Regional Council will also remain closed.

The campus of Ben-Gurion University, Sunday (Times of Israel/Matti Friedman)

The campus of Ben-Gurion University (Times of Israel/Matti Friedman)

Bride takes cover as siren sounds

A Tel Aviv bride ducks as the sirens wail in the region earlier this afternoon.

1,050 rockets fired at Israel so far

Some 1,050 rockets are fired at Israel since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge, and 189 are intercepted by the Iron Dome.

Channel 2 reports that 110 Hamas operatives were killed, and 100 civilians in Israeli airstrikes. The Palestinian Ma’an News Agency reports the death toll at 178.

The UN says one-quarter of the Palestinian fatalities are children.

Facebook group fakes Hamas phishing attack

A popular Israeli Facebook group, “Everyday Normal Guys,” fakes a Hamas phishing attack after Gaza militant groups take over other local Facebook pages — “Status Hunter” and the Israeli Domino’s Pizza page.

The satirical group, which has over 50,000 followers, changes its cover photo to a picture of a Palestinian father holding both a rifle and his two small children, bedecked in Hamas green. Its profile picture is changed to the logo of the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, a coalition of Palestinian terrorist organizations.

Next come the statuses, in both Arabic and intentionally incorrect Hebrew. They are meant to emulate the menacing — and badly translated — statuses posted by Palestinian hackers on other Israeli groups, as well as the propaganda videos released by Hamas. In some cases, the group’s administrators, students Omry Hazut and Alon Hamoudot, used the same phrases as did Hamas in their videos — and even misspelled them in the very same way.

But a closer look reveals that the Arabic accompanying the threatening messages has little to do with the Hebrew “translations” — in fact, they are Arabic translations of popular Western pop songs.

In one instance, Hazut and Hamoudot — both of them students in Middle Eastern Studies — post two lines from the Backstreet Boys’ hit song “I Want It That Way” in Arabic, followed by a Hebrew “translation” reading “Tell me why you Gaaza fire / Zionist is trash you we will destroyy.”

A few hours later, they reveal that the attack was faked.

"Everyday Normal Guys" is taken over in a fake phishing attack. (screen capture)

‘Everyday Normal Guys’ and the fake phishing attack. (photo credit: screen capture)

Bennett urges Gaza ground op

Minister of Economics and Trade Naftali Bennett urges a ground operation in the Gaza Strip, saying it would be a “mistake” to cut short Operation Protective Edge in the way Operation Cast Lead was curtailed in 2008.

“All options are on the table,” he tells a Channel 2 panel. “We are currently in a rare situation where 40,000 of our best soldiers and commanders are ready” for a ground offensive.

“The people are telling us, ‘We are ready to go on enduring this situation, just solve the problem,’ ” Bennett says.

He adds that he believes his words reflect the position of “millions” of Israelis on the ongoing operation.

US ambassador visits Ashdod, shows solidarity

The US ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, visits Ashdod as rockets continue to fall on the southern coastal city, conveying Washington’s solidarity with, and support for, its residents.

“I visited Ashdod today and received an update from Mayor [Yehiel] Lasri on the efforts of the municipality staff to take care of the needs of the city’s residents at this difficult time,” Shapiro posts on his Facebook page.

“I expressed to him, and through him to the residents of Ashdod, the support and solidarity of the United States.”

US warns Israel against ground incursion

The United States on Monday warns against any Israeli ground invasion of Gaza, saying it will put even more civilians at risk than are currently in the crossfire of attacks on Hamas.

But the White House stops short of criticizing Israel over the civilian toll so far in Gaza from the offensive, saying the government has a “right” and “responsibility” to defend its citizens against rocket attacks.


Electric company fixes Gaza power line

Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) crews are repairing the power line damaged yesterday by a rocket fired from Gaza, which fell along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip.

The workers are conducting the repairs under heavy security of Israel Defense Forces troops, while wearing protective gear.

Code Red alert in Yad Mordechai, Netiv Ha’asara

A Code Red alert is heard in Kibbutz Yad Mordechai and the community of Netiv Ha’asara, both in the Ashkelon area.

More details emerge on injured sisters

The two sisters — aged 11, 13 — wounded by rocket fire near Beersheba earlier today have been identified as belonging to the Bedouin community, according to JTA.

There are some 220,000 Bedouin in the Negev, directly in the line of Hamas fire at southern Israel.

Crown Heights family names baby for slain teens

A few hours ago, Yankee and Bina Teitelbaum of Crown Heights, Brooklyn, name their newborn baby Eyal Gil-ad Naftali, in honor of the three slain Israeli teenagers.

Click here for the full story.

Sirens in Beersheba

Warning sirens are heard in the Negev city of Beersheba.

Earlier Monday, a rocket fired from Syria landed on the Golan Heights, starting a fire.

Two rockets explode near Ashkelon

Two rockets explode in open spaces in the Hof Ashkelon area following a Code Red siren.

Just a half-hour earlier, a siren was heard in the same area.

Three rockets fired at Beersheba, one intercepted

After warning sirens sound, two rockets hit open areas near Beersheba, and the Iron Dome intercepts a third one.

A still deserted Old City street in Beersheba (photo credit: Jen Klor)

A still-deserted Old City street in Beersheba (photo credit: Jen Klor)

Shalit mediator says Hamas doesn’t want ceasefire

Gershon Baskin, who mediated the prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Hamas in which kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit was released, says, in citing a senior IDF officer, that Hamas is neither ready for a ceasefire, nor is it aiming for one.

Saying the reports that Hamas has “had enough” are “bullshit,” Baskin says Hamas will not agree to a ceasefire unless Israel meets its demands, which Israel rejected after Baskin relayed them.

“The Israeli officials responded that Hamas had (chutzpa) gall to even make demands and they laughed them off. Hamas’s demands have not changed since then,” writes Baskin on his Facebook page.

Now, he says, Hamas is seeking a “qualitative” achievement “such as blowing up tanks, killing soldiers and/or kidnapping a soldier” in lieu of a ceasefire. If Israel doesn’t agree to its terms, Hamas will simply wait for it to “give up.”

Baskin says the heavy Israeli shelling of Gaza, which the IDF officer claims is making Hamas “run for a ceasefire,” has had the very opposite effect.

“You cannot create deterrence when people are not really afraid to die. Hamas is not running for a ceasefire and is quite prepared to continue the operation until Israel gives up,” he says.

Israeli peace activist Gershon Baskin, November 14, 2012 (photo credit: Elhanan Miller/Times of Israel)

Gershon Baskin (photo credit: Elhanan Miller/Times of Israel)

False alarm in Golan Heights

The siren that sounded minutes ago in the Golan Heights turns out to be a false alarm.

A rocket from Syria struck the Golan Heights earlier Monday, causing a fire.

5 killed in Gaza strike, say Palestinians

Sources in the Gaza Strip say five people were killed in an Israeli attack, Ynet reports. Details to come.

Egypt proposes truce to start at 9 a.m.

Following a deadly week, Egypt puts forward a proposal to stop the conflict in the Gaza Strip, calling on the Israelis and Hamas to cease hostilities as of 9 a.m. tomorrow morning.

According to the proposal, the ceasefire will be followed by talks on easing the flow of goods into Gaza.

The proposal late this evening comes on the eve of a scheduled visit to Egypt by US Secretary of State John Kerry, a traditional broker in Palestinian-Israeli conflicts, to push for a halt to seven days of exchanges that have left 184 Gazans dead.

It also comes shortly before the start of a sit-down of the foreign ministers of the Arab League, who have convened an emergency meeting in Cairo to discuss Israel’s Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip.

The demands Israel is presenting as part of truce negotiations, at least since Friday, are that Hamas accept the terms of the 2012 agreement that came after Operation Pillar of Defense, empty the Gaza Strip of rockets, and close down the tunnels that run between the coastal enclave and Israel.

Hamas is demanding that 56 prisoners who were released as part of the 2011 prisoner swap for IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, and were rearrested in the West Bank following the June 12 abduction of the three Israeli teenagers, be freed. The terror organization is also asking that the Rafah crossing to Egypt be opened, and that the salaries of 40,000 former Hamas employees be transferred to the Gaza Strip.

AFP and Avi Issacharoff

184 dead, 1,287 hurt in Gaza strikes so far

Israeli airstrikes in Gaza have so far left 184 people dead and 1,287 wounded in seven days, according to Palestinian emergency rescue services.

The death toll now exceeds that of Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012.

Earlier today, 10 Palestinians, including a child, were killed in airstrikes, and two others — a man and a woman — died of injuries they sustained yesterday.

Also killed in today’s shelling is a 17-year-old who was shot down by a missile while riding a moped in the city of Khan Yunis, according to Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra.

In the same area, a 37-year-old man is killed when a missile strikes a group of people.

A 60-year-old man is killed in a strike against a house in Deir al-Balah, and two others are killed in separate strikes on the Palestinian enclave.

In the early evening, raids target the south of the Strip, killing three people, including a child, and two others in Rafah and Khan Yunis.
Since the beginning of the Israeli operation Tuesday, four Israelis were seriously wounded by rocket fire, but none were killed.

Code Red alerts in Rosh Hanikra, Shlomi

Code Red alerts are heard in Rosh Hanikra and Shlomi, in the Western Galilee, by the Lebanese border.

No casualties are reported.

Lebanon rocket hits near Nahariya, no injuries

After sirens sound in northern Israel, a rocket fired from Lebanon hits an open area near the coastal city of Nahariya. 9.6 kilometers (6 miles) from the Lebanese border.

No injuries or damage is reported, according to the IDF.

The northern coastal town of Nahariya in 2006 (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons Public Domain)

The northern coastal town of Nahariya in 2006 (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons Public Domain)

Negotiations ongoing, but no deal yet, Hamas official says

Efforts towards a ceasefire between Israel and its Islamist foe Hamas are underway, but no deal has been reached yet, a Hamas official told AFP on Monday.

“There are efforts and communications on the issue of a truce deal but until now there is nothing final,” he said, after Egypt proposed a truce to begin at 0600 GMT on Tuesday.


After rocket fire, IDF shoots into Lebanon

Following a missile attack from Lebanon on northern Israel, IDF artillery fires shells and flares toward launching sites, the army says in a statement.

The IDF also notified the UNIFIL force in Lebanon, stressing the severity of the incident.

Hamas blames ‘Zionist enemy’ for Gaza conflict

With ceasefire proposals on the table, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh says: “The Zionist enemy imposed this war on us, and planned it.”

He adds that “we will not agree to any calm that doesn’t respond to the demands of the Palestinian people, and doesn’t bring honor to its victims.”

“Today we face an important stage in the conflict with the Israeli occupation. Years of blockades did not prevent the resistance from acquiring all the possible means to protect the Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank,” he says.

Cabinet to discuss ceasefire in morning

The security cabinet is set to discuss the proposed Egyptian ceasefire deal in a 7 a.m. meeting, Channel 2 reports.

Arab group urges boycott of Obama’s iftar dinner

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) calls on Muslim invitees to boycott US President Barack Obama’s iftar dinner on Monday, for what they say is the president’s support for Israeli strikes on Gaza, the Washington Post reports.

“We ask that all government iftar invitees stand together on behalf the community and reject the normalization of the continuous breach of our fundamental rights,” a statement from the organization said. “Political engagement is important and having a seat at the table is crucial — but only when that seat is intended to amplify our voice as a community, not tokenize or subdue it.”

Details of the ceasefire proposal

Egyptian media has published details of the ceasefire proposed by the Egyptian foreign ministry as follows:

1. Israel stops all its hostilities against the Gaza Strip in land, sea and air, committing not to launch a land strike or target civilians.

2. All Gaza factions commit to stopping all hostilities against Israel in land, sea, air and underground and targeting Israeli civilians.

3. Border crossings will be opened (not specifying where, likely with Egypt), allowing for people and commodities to move freely.

The ceasefire will begin at 9 a.m. local time and be implemented within 12 hours, until 9 p.m.. 48 hours later Israeli and Palestinian delegations will arrive in Cairo and discuss final security arrangements.

The talks will be based on the 2012 ceasefire agreement brokered by Egypt following Operation Pillar of Defense.

Elhanan Miller

Right-wing MKs decry ceasefire rumors

Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon says the Egyptian ceasefire proposal is “a slap in the face of the citizens of Israel.”

Jewish Home MK Ayelet Shaked says halting the offensive without damaging tunnels and rockets would mean Israel is “caving in” to Hamas.

Danny Danon at his office in the Knesset. (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Danny Danon at his office in the Knesset. (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Meanwhile, MK Miri Regev (Likud) says the agreement “is a danger to the security of the state of Israel and its citizens.”

Israel seriously considering ceasefire proposal

Tomorrow morning, a “special, previously unscheduled meeting of security cabinet” is being held to discuss the Egyptian proposal for a ceasefire.

“Those proposal are being considered very seriously,” diplomatic sources tell the Times of Israel.

Raphael Ahren

Hawkish Knesset members slam ceasefire plans

Hard-line right-wing MKs are furious over reports that Israel and Hamas may be on the brink of an Egyptian-mediated ceasefire agreement in the Gaza Strip.

Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) says a ceasefire with Hamas would be a “mark of disgrace” for the Israeli government.

“Deterrence has not been achieved,” Ariel tweets. “Apparently ‘triumphing’ is a dirty word,'” he says.

MK Miri Regev (Likud) calls on the prime minister not to agree to the deal, urging him to “reach a decisive military victory which will weaken Hamas.”

“This window of opportunity will not repeat itself, and any ceasefire with Hamas will enable it to regain strength,” Regev says.

End of a traumatic week

It’s almost two in the morning here in Jerusalem, at the end of the seventh traumatic day of Operation Protective Edge. The rockets have still been flying in, and the Israeli air strikes have continued, but the last few hours have seen the most serious talk to date of a possible ceasefire — whose terms will be discussed in the next few hours. Our colleague Itamar Sharon has taken up the Tuesday liveblog baton here. We’ll close this liveblog, and wish you all a peaceful night.