The Times of Israel liveblogged events as they unfolded through Monday, August 25, the 49th day of Operation Protective Edge. Hamas pounded southern Israel with about 110 rockets, and Israel hit back at targets in Gaza, all as unofficial truce talks reportedly gathered pace. (Tuesday’s liveblog is here.)
You can also follow @TOIAlerts on Twitter — we’re live-tweeting all the updates there as well.
Day 49 of Operation Protective Edge
PREAMBLE: The 49th day of Israel’s conflict with Hamas began with a major barrage of rocket fire — bringing the number of rockets fired into Israel during Sunday to more than 130.
Earlier, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had said the operation would not end until Israel is safe from rocket fire and other Hamas attacks, and warned that the conflict might run on into the new school year, which starts next week.
On Sunday morning, 4-year-old Daniel Tragerman, killed by mortar fire from Gaza in his home at Kibbutz Nahal Oz, was laid to rest at a funeral attended by hundreds, including President Reuven Rivlin.
‘Abbas to ask UNSC to set date for Israeli withdrawal’
Late Sunday, PA officials said Mahmoud Abbas will ask the UN Security Council to set a deadline for Israel to withdraw from lands captured in 1967 to make way for a Palestinian state. If the council does not approve a resolution, they said, the Palestinians will then pursue war-crimes charges against Israel in the International Criminal Court.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity, because the plan has not been officially unveiled.
Mashaal rejects return to talks
Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal told Iranian TV late Sunday that “resistance” was the only effective means to secure its demands from Israel, and rejected the option of returning to the negotiating table.
“The negotiations did not succeed because Israel did not want to give a positive answer to the reasonable requests of the Palestinians,” he said, according to a translation by Ynet.
“We know resistance is the only way to break free of the burden of the Zionist regime.”
The Qatar-based official also addressed the recent wave of executions of alleged Palestinian “collaborators” with Israel. He said Hamas has managed to “purify” the Palestinians of its “spies.”
Obtaining information on the Palestinians through its intelligence has always been “a strong point of the Zionist regime,” Mashaal added.
135 rockets fired at Israel in past 24 hours — IDF
The army said in a statement just before midnight Sunday that 135 rockets were shot at Israel in the past 24 hours.
Moments ago, 4 rockets were fired at Ashkelon from Gaza. In the last 24 hours terrorists fired 135 rockets at Israel.
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) August 24, 2014
Heartwrenching funeral; pledge from Netanyahu
Sunday was marked by the agonizing funeral of Daniel Tragerman, 4, killed when a mortar shell from Gaza sent shrapnel into his home at Kibbutz Nahal Oz before he could get to the family’s protected room.
As hundreds attended his funeral, Netanyahu was giving a press conference at which he said to residents of Israel’s rocket-battered south: “We are with you, and we will stay with you until the quiet is restored, and afterward as well.”
Gaza terrorists target their own emergency crossing
On Sunday afternoon, the Erez crossing point into Israel was hit by a barrage of fire from Gaza. Several Israeli-Arab taxi drivers — whose job is transport Palestinians from Gaza for medical treatment in Israel — were hurt in the onslaught.
An outraged Israeli-Arab Erez crossing official, who spoke to Army Radio from a secured area at the crossing during a subsequent rocket attack, lambasted Hamas for not caring about the well-being of the Palestinians in Gaza.
“This is an organization that cares about the [Palestinian] people? They’re shooting at the Palestinian terminal,” said the staffer. He stressed that, despite the rocket barrages, the crossing had not closed for emergency medical cases, and that two Gaza females were evacuated “20 minutes ago” via the crossing for life-saving surgery in Israel, and that other taxi-drivers were on hand, “as always,” to transport emergency patients.
Hussein Abu-Einam, an eyewitness on the scene, told Army Radio: “The [drivers] sat in a shed and waited for the passengers and their relatives who were leaving Gaza for Israeli hospitals Ichilov and Tel Hashomer. Then seven shells fell — just one after the other. We didn’t have time to flee; it was a matter of a second.”
Knesset approves financial benefits for reservists
The Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee has approved financial benefits for IDF reservists drafted since the start of Operation Protective Edge through November 15, Ynet reports.
The committee has also approved the drafting of up to 10,000 additional reservists if required.
Meet the Creative Community for Peace, who got 200 A-listers to sign pro-Israel petition
On Sunday morning, the glossy pages of Variety, The Hollywood Reporter and Billboard carried something extra in addition to their news of castings, hirings and firings: a petition, signed by nearly 200 Hollywood elites, bashing Hamas and defending Israel, ToI’s Debra Kamin reported Sunday.
Seth Rogen, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Maher and Sylvester Stallone were among the signatories, as were Amy Pascal (co-chair, Sony Pictures) and Sherry Lansing (former CEO, Paramount).
Six weeks into Operation Protective Edge, with global anti-Semitism said by some to be at unprecedented post-World War II levels, and dozens of Hollywood A-listers — from Penelope Cruz to Selena Gomez to even the Kabbalah-loving Madonna — all taking to the social media airwaves to decry Israel’s actions in Gaza, this petition was a major coup.
Behind the document, which also bears the names of Minnie Driver, Ziggy Marley, Mayim Bialik, Kelsey Grammer and Aaron Sorkin, is an organization called Creative Community for Peace — a defiantly pro-Israel gathering of industry insiders and eager volunteers who, together, have been fighting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement on the world’s glitziest, most celeb-obsessed stage.
Today, the group’s organizers say, there is not a single musical act, from Justin Timberlake to the Rolling Stones to Alicia Keys, that they have not approached and coached in advance of their performance in Israel.
Turkish report: Egypt wants Gaza truce within hours
Egypt is intensifying efforts to reach a truce in the Gaza Strip in the coming hours, Israeli media reports, quoting Turkish news agency Anadolu.
There is no official confirmation of the claims.
Defense Ministry helps relocate Gaza periphery families
The Defense Ministry has relocated 400 families from the Gaza periphery to youth hostels throughout the country in the past 3 days to provide them with a respite from rocket attacks, Haaretz reports.
Iran says it is analyzing a downed Israeli drone
Iran says it is studying the data in an Israeli drone which it claims was brought down on Sunday while flying over the Natanz uranium enrichment site in the center of the country.
“At this stage we are analyzing the data on this aircraft. Our specialists are studying its parts,” says Ramzan Sharif, a spokesman for the Revolutionary Guards.
Night ends quietly after tumultuous beginning
There have been no reports of rocket attacks or IDF strikes in Gaza since midnight.
Just before midnight a flurry of rockets was launched at Israel, though none caused any casualties. The barrage stopped, however, and the past six hours have been quiet.
Islamic Jihad says truce in coming hours
Islamic Jihad official Khaled al-Batsh says a truce between Israel and militant Palestinian factions in Gaza will be announced in the coming hours, Israel Radio reports.
Meanwhile senior member Ziad Nakhleh seems to corroborate that claim, saying Palestinians are set to approve a truce in the next few hours.
Israel Radio notes that Islamic Jihad has suffered a heavy blow during the recent fighting and is highly interested in reaching a truce as soon as possible.
Sirens sound in Kibbutz Be’eri
Rocket sirens heard in Ashdod, Ashkelon, Hof Ashkelon
Two rockets hit the Eshkol region
Two rockets explode in the Eshkol region, near the Gaza border.
There is no report of casualties.
Israel’s UN envoy: Qatar behind every rocket, every tunnel
In an opinion piece in the New York Times today, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor calls on the international community to stop Qatar’s funding of Hamas activities.
“Today, the petite petroleum kingdom is determined to buy its way to regional hegemony, and like other actors in the Middle East, it has used proxies to leverage influence and destabilize rivals,” Prosor writes.
“Every one of Hamas’s tunnels and rockets might as well have had a sign that read “Made possible through a kind donation from the emir of Qatar,” he adds.
Two more rockets hit Eshkol
Another two rockets have exploded in the Eshkol region, one of them inside a community.
No casualties are reported in the attack.
IDF strikes 35 targets overnight
The IDF hit about 35 targets in the Gaza Strip overnight, an army spokesman says.
Among the targets were two terror operatives who the army says had launched rockets at Israeli territory.
The two operatives were hit in the strike, the army says.
Sirens in Yad Mordechai, Netiv Ha’asarah
Sirens in Ashkelon, Nitzanim
Palestinian flag-waving fan booted from UK stadium
A fan of the English Premier League soccer club Queens Park Rangers football club was thrown out of the White Hart Lane stadium Sunday after waving a Palestinian flag during a match with Tottenham Hotspur.
In a video of the incident, the man can be seen as he is escorted out of the stadium by security personnel, as the Spurs’ crowd — famous for their large Jewish following — chanted slogans against him.
Israel mum on new ceasefire talks
Israel hasn’t responded to a statement by Islamic Jihad official Khaled al-Batsh, who says a truce between Israel and militant Palestinian factions in Gaza will be announced in the coming hours.
Hamas official Izzat al-Rishq, meanwhile, says that there “is no news” with regards to ceasefire talks, adding that “if there is any development, we will notify of it.”
Al-Jazeera quotes Palestinian sources who say that there is still no agreement among the Palestinian factions over a new Egyptian ceasefire proposal.
Islamic Jihad has suffered a heavy blow during recent fighting and is keen on reaching a truce as soon as possible, Israel Radio says.
IDF strikes 16 targets overnight
The IDF hit 16 targets in the Gaza Strip overnight, the army says in a statement.
AFP reports that two Palestinians are killed in a raid, citing Palestinian sources.
It adds that according to eyewitnesses, two mosques were targeted by Israel.
Since midnight, seven rockets have struck southern Israel.
135 rockets launched in 24 hours
One hundred and thirty-five rockets were launched at Israel in the past 24 hours, 10 of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome, Israel Radio reports.
Sirens in central Israel
Sirens sound in Tel Aviv, Herzliya, Rishon Lezion and other cities in central Israel.
Iron Dome downs rocket over Tel Aviv
A rocket is intercepted by the Iron Dome over Tel Aviv, Channel 10 reports.
Saudi Arabia pushing for truce — report
Turkish media reports that Saudi Arabia is pressing the Palestinians to accept the Egyptian proposal for a ceasefire. Saudi Arabia has assured the Palestinians that if nothing comes of the talks, it will see to it that the blockade is lifted through the opening of the Rafah crossing, it reports.
The Palestinian Ma’an News Agency reports that the Palestinian factions have accepted a new Egyptian proposal, and are waiting on Israel’s response. However, according to Al Jazeera, Hamas has rejected the call to return to negotiate with Israel.
Last night, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal told Iranian TV the terror organization would not return to Cairo to broker a diplomatic solution to the conflict, and argued that “resistance” is the only way to get Israel to accept its demands.
Mashaal admits Iran, Hezbollah ties
Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal is said to concede that it received financial backing from Iran and Hezbollah to combat Israel.
Khaled Mashaal: "Iran's military and financial support helped us win the battle. We have relations with Iran and Hizbullah."
— Khaled Abu Toameh (@KhaledAbuToameh) August 25, 2014
Sirens in central Israel were false alarm
The sirens that blared throughout central Israel minutes ago were a false alarm, Israel Radio reports.
Rocket explodes in Eshkol region
A rocket lands in the Eshkol region.
There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.
Erez crossing reopens
Israel Radio reports that the Erez crossing into Gaza has reopened for humanitarian aid transfers.
The crossing was closed after a mortar and rocket attack injured four Arab-Israeli taxi drivers yesterday. The four were waiting to transfer wounded Gazans to Israel for medical treatment.
While the crossing was officially closed yesterday, it continued to allow entry for Gazans in life-threatening cases.
No truce yet, IDF strikes to continue — Israeli officials
Responding to reports of an imminent truce, Israeli officials say that no ceasefire agreement has been reached yet, and stress the IDF will continue to strike targets in the Gaza Strip.
Israel remains committed to the Egyptian proposal, the officials tell Walla News, under which the rocket fire must stop before the negotiations resume.
‘Egypt to declare open-ended truce tonight’
An Israeli defense official says Egypt is expected to announce an open-ended ceasefire tonight — for at least a month — which will likely be accepted by both Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Quoted by the Walla news website, the unnamed official says Cairo will open the Rafah crossing to Gaza as part of the arrangement.
49% of IDF recruits agree it’s ‘good to die for our country’
A Channel 2 poll conducted among Israeli teenagers, aged 17 and 18, who are set to be conscripted into the IDF shows that 49 percent identify with the statement “It is good to die for our country.”
Asked whether they agree with the statement, said to be the last words of Zionist war hero Joseph Trumpeldor, 23% say they strongly agree, while 26% say they mostly agree.
The majority of respondents (61%) maintain that Operation Protective Edge has increased their motivation to join the army, with 29% say that the campaign has significantly boosted their motivation, and 32% saying it has moderately increased their resolve to enlist.
Nine percent say that the operation has made them less eager to join the military.
The poll was conducted by the Geocartography research institute, and had 307 participants.
Efforts increased to reach ceasefire — Hamas
Hamas senior official Osama Hamdan says the diplomatic initiatives to reach a ceasefire “have stepped up the pace,” Ynet reports, but does not indicate who is behind the increased truce efforts, or that an accord has been reached.
Sirens in Beersheba
Condition of wounded Israelis improves
The condition of three Arab-Israelis injured at the Erez crossing yesterday improves.
The three are hospitalized in Ashkelon’s Barzilai medical center, and are said to be stable.
Israel targets Hamas official’s home
AP reports that Israeli planes target the Gaza home of Omar al-Bursh, a Hamas justice ministry official.
“Al-Bursh was unharmed in the attack,” the report says.
Iron Dome intercepts rocket over Beersheba
The Iron Dome shoots down a projectile over Beersheba.
Several other rockets land in the Eshkol region, damaging a chicken coop.
There are no reports of injuries.
Sirens in Gaza periphery, Sderot
Israel agrees to resume Cairo truce talks — report
Israel has agreed to return to the Cairo negotiations to secure an open-ended ceasefire, Al-Arabiya reports.
Rocket downed over Sderot
The Iron Dome intercepts a rocket over Sderot, Ynet reports.
At least one rocket hits Eshkol region; no injuries
Palestinians say Gaza death toll at 2,122
Palestinian medical officials in the Gaza Strip tell AFP the death toll has climbed to 2,122 since Operation Protective Edge began on July 8, after two Gazans are killed overnight.
Israel has maintained that hundreds of those killed are Hamas fighters.
Rocket hits pool in Eshkol region; no injuries
Palestinian state won’t come from UN — Livni
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, formerly a chief negotiator for the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, addresses the rumors that PA President Mahmoud Abbas will turn to the UN to set a deadline for Israel to withdraw to its pre-1967 borders and make way for a Palestinian state.
“He [Abbas] needs to understand that a Palestinian state will not come from the UN organizations. What can be obtained for the Palestinian nation, can be secured in the negotiating room,” she tells the Walla news website.
Livni calls for a “comprehensive political process,” and maintains that Abbas’s bid “raises the need for diplomatic negotiations” to reach a peace accord.
“The Palestinian nation very much loves resistance, so Abbas joined in — I assume he will try to make political moves,” she says.
Livni added that with regard to the current Cairo-brokered ceasefire, a truce that sees no lasting change is less than ideal.
“I opposed [Hamas] receiving a seaport and airport as a result of the attacks,” she says.
While Israel has no problem providing humanitarian aid and bettering the economic lives of Gaza’s residents, it wants to ensure that imported materials do not aid terror, she says. “Not money, not cement.”
“A ceasefire for some allotted period — if it has no change — from my perspective, is less good,” she says.
‘No new Egyptian initiative’ for truce — Hamas official
Addressing the rumors that an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire will be announced later today, Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk says “there is no new Egyptian initiative on the table for a ceasefire in Gaza,” according to Army Radio.
It is unclear whether the Hamas official was saying that the present negotiations are based on an earlier Egyptian offer, or whether he was denying that the truce efforts have resumed.
Iron Dome downs three rockets over Sderot
The Iron Dome intercepts three missiles over Sderot, Ynet reports.
More details emerge on Abbas’s UN bid
As part of PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s rumored international bid, the Arab League is set to submit a UN petition for recognition of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders which would call for “a swift end to the occupation,” Army Radio reports.
According to the report, this move would come in addition to Abbas’s demand for an internationally imposed deadline on Israel to evacuate the West Bank, which if rejected would see the PA leader filing war crimes charges against Israel at the International Criminal Court.
Should Abbas turn to the Security Council, he would likely be vetoed by the US, it reports, but if presented to the general assembly, the proposal would likely be met with a supportive majority.
For Israel, this is seen as a “toothless” move, it writes, but one that will most likely be “unpleasant.”
Officials in Israel criticize the PA leader’s poor timing for the move, arguing that the Cairo negotiations for a Gaza truce have presented themselves as a way to possibly restore the peace talks.
“We have a positive opportunity to return to the [peace] negotiations, and therefore this is the least appropriate time for the PA to turn to unilateral measures,” an official says.
However, Abbas is said to have noted in private that “he will achieve through the UN everything Netanyahu wouldn’t give in the negotiations with Kerry.”
Abbas is expected to present the plan to the Palestinian leadership on Tuesday, make a public address, and later meet with US Secretary of State John Kerry on the subject, it reports.
Iran says it will arm West Bank Palestinians
Tehran will “accelerate” arming Palestinians in the West Bank in retaliation for Israel allegedly deploying a spy drone over Iran, which was shot down, a military commander says.
“We will accelerate the arming of the West Bank and we reserve the right to give any response,” says General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh, commander of aerial forces of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards, in a statement on their official website sepahnews.com.
The warning comes a day after the Guards claimed they had brought down an Israeli stealth drone above the Natanz uranium enrichment site in the center of the country.
Rocket hits Sdot Negev; no injuries
Truce draft said to outline four demands
According to an Al-Arabiya report, Egypt and the Palestinians are awaiting Israel’s response to a ceasefire proposal that is largely based on the 2012 Operation Pillar of Defense truce and the Egyptian draft.
It reports four central demands: the halting of hostilities on both sides, the lifting of the blockade and opening of border crossings, rebuilding the Gaza Strip, and extension of the fishing zone gradually to 6 and later 12 miles.
A defense official tells Walla news that the expansion of the fishing zone will only be implemented a month after the truce is declared, should it hold. Similarly, the Kerem Shalom crossing will gradually allow food and other necessities into the coastal enclave, and only later will permit the import of building materials.
Five mortars from Syria land in the Golan
Five mortars fired from Syrian territory explode in the Golan Heights, Ynet reports.
No injuries are reported in the incident.
The IDF assesses that the mortar fire was not intentionally targeting Israel.
Meanwhile, the rocket fire from the Gaza Strip continues to batter southern Israel.
Two rockets are intercepted by the Iron Dome over the Sdot Negev region.
Family of slain toddler won’t return to Nahal Oz
Gila Tragerman, the mother of the slain four-year-old Daniel Tragerman, says her family does not intend to return to their hometown of Nahal Oz on the Gaza border.
After the funeral yesterday, Tragerman tells Army Radio today, “it seems we will not return to Nahal Oz — there is no way.”
“Now it’s very clear, there are no more question marks and I don’t think there will be,” she says. “It’s not the quiet — it’s the memories,” she says of her decision.
Gila Tragerman describes her son as “a sweet boy” and says “the pictures that were publicized of him reflect who he really was.”
She says that during Operation Protective Edge, the family struggled to maintain a sense of normalcy. “Throughout the campaign we didn’t tell them we were leaving because of the operation, we only told them that there were Code Red [sirens] and that it was a little dangerous,” she says of her kids. “After about a month we told them the situation and they understood it.”
Tragerman describes the scene on Friday, when Daniel was killed by shrapnel in their Nahal Oz home. The family only had a three-second warning, she says, and did not reach the shelter in time.
“He left the tent right away, called his sister, and when I called him he stood there with a frozen look. I turned toward the shelter, and then I heard the shriek of the shrapnel and my husband’s scream. It’s just crazy, I have no words. I don’t think about ‘what would have happened if,’ I don’t want to go crazy [thinking about it],” she says.
Egyptian, Palestinian officials confirm new truce proposal
Egyptian mediators have proposed a new ceasefire in Gaza that would open the blockaded enclave’s crossings and allow in aid and reconstruction materials, a senior Palestinian official says.
The Palestinians, including the de facto Hamas rulers of the enclave, would be willing to accept such a deal if Israel does, the official tell AFP.
The proposal would defer to a later date negotiations on disputed points that have prevented a long-term ceasefire deal, he adds.
An Egyptian official confirms that mediators have contacted the Palestinians and Israel with a new proposal.
“There is an idea for a temporary ceasefire that opens the crossings, allows aid and reconstruction material, and the disputed points will be discussed in a month,” the Palestinian official says.
“We would be willing to accept this, but are waiting for the Israeli response to this proposal,” he says, requesting anonymity because of the sensitivity of the negotiations.
Another Palestinian official says Egypt might invite Palestinian and Israeli negotiating teams to return to Cairo in 48 hours.
Nablus teen dies of wounds sustained at Gaza war rally
A Palestinian teenager wounded in clashes with the Israeli army three days ago died of his injuries on Monday, Palestinian medical and security sources say.
Hassan Ashur, 14, was shot in the abdomen with live fire as protesters clashed with Israeli troops at Beit Furik, near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, Palestinian sources tell AFP.
Ashur’s health rapidly deteriorated over the weekend, and he died Monday morning in hospital.
Israel’s army had no immediate comment on the incident.
Four rockets fall in open areas in Sdot Negev; no injuries
IDF says it targeted 3 Palestinian operatives
The Israeli air force struck two Palestinians who fired mortars at Israel today, confirming a hit, the army says in a statement.
Earlier, the IDF said it targeted a man in the northern Gaza Strip who was involved in launching rockets at Israel.
Man lightly injured by shrapnel in Eshkol region
Rockets continue to pound southern Israel
The steady barrage of rockets continues to hit southern Israel, as three projectiles explode in the Eshkol region and four land in the Hof Ashkelon region, according to Ynet.
The rocket attack in the Eshkol region damages a utility pole.
Slain soldier’s family protests tombstone rules
The family of Staff Sergeant Lee Matt, who was killed during Operation Protective Edge, are petitioning the Defense Ministry to change the wording on his tombstone to include the names of his siblings.
“This campaign is a public one. Since not all immediate family members are listed on tombstones, I decided that I have to do something,” says Lee’s father, Moti, at a ceremony at the Mount Herzl military cemetery commemorating the passage of one month since his son’s death.
The Matt family says that they did not want to disrupt the uniformity of the military cemetery by changing the size or type of the tombstone, but rather only to add to the standard text.
Lee’s sister Tal posted an animated video clip to Facebook Sunday titled “Let Me Die in Peace,” which describes the close-knit Matt family life and the petition to add the names of his three siblings to his tombstone in addition to those of his parents.
PA’s UN bid said to have wide support
PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks through international means is backed by Europe and Russia, as well as Egypt, the Arab League, and Hamas, Palestinian sources tell Ynet.
The sources say that the plan to establish a Palestinian state, which Abbas is set to announce tomorrow, calls for international forces to man its future borders with Israel.
Iron Dome intercepts rocket over Hof Ashkelon
The Iron Dome shoots down a rocket over the Hof Ashkelon regional council, according to Ynet.
Another projectile explodes in an open area in Sdot Negev.
There are no reports of injuries or damage.
Truce efforts ‘still underway’ — Hamas
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri tells Turkish media that the truce negotiations are ongoing.
“Up until this moment, there is no definitive word about a ceasefire with Israel. Efforts are still underway to reach a deal,” he says.
Hours earlier, Palestinian sources told the news agency that all Palestinian representatives — including Hamas — accepted the terms of the new ceasefire proposal “without any reservations on the part of any of the Palestinian factions.”
Two rockets hit Sdot Negev region; no injuries
Some 80 rockets fired at Israel today
Since this morning, some 80 projectiles are lobbed at Israel from the Gaza Strip, Channel 10 reports.
Most of the missiles target Gaza border towns, where sirens ring out every few minutes.
Hamas claims it snatched Israeli drone
Hamas’s military wing says it intercepted an Israeli drone, the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency reports.
Press concerned about school year opening
The loss of a small child, and the possible loss of the beginning of the school year, both from Gazan terrorist aggression, make up the twin focuses of the Israeli press Monday morning.
While the tragedy of Daniel Tragerman’s death slowly fades from public view into the private and lonesome agony of his family, the possibility that continuing rocket fire could imperil the September 1 start of the school year across southern Israel — and even points closer to the heavily populated center of the country — rears up like an uninvited bull at a wedding.
If rockets stop, Cairo talks likely to resume — Peri
Science Minister Yaakov Peri, an observer at the security cabinet and former head of the Shin Bet internal security agency, says if the rocket fire stopped, it’s likely ceasefire talks will resume.
“If a ceasefire goes into effect, and it sticks, there is a good chance that the prime minister will instruct the delegation to return to the talks in Cairo,” he tells Israel Radio.
“Generally, we will agree to open the crossings,” he says, referring to Erez and the Kerem Shalom commercial crossing where humanitarian aid passes.
Regarding the Rafah crossing with Egypt, “that is a decision for the Egyptians,” although Israel would support the deployment of Palestinian Authority security personnel at the terminal, he says, defining the broad outline of a limited arrangement.
But a more comprehensive arrangement — involving Israel facilitating the reconstruction of Gaza in exchange for its demilitarization — is “far off,” he says.
Iron Dome downs rocket over Hof Ashkelon
The Iron Dome intercepts a missile over the Hof Ashkelon region, as at least one other rocket falls in an open area.
There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage from the volley, which triggered five sirens within the span of ten minutes.
3 Gazans said killed in strike on car
Three Palestinians are reportedly killed in an airstrike on a car in the Gaza neighborhood of Shejaiya, according to Palestinian media reports.
Several others are said to be injured in the raid.
Three rockets fall in open areas in Hof Ashkelon
IDF says it targeted Shejaiya rocket launcher
The army says in a statement that it struck a rocket launcher used to fire projectiles at Israel earlier today.
The strike took place in Shejaiya, the site of some of heaviest fighting between Israel and Hamas during the ground offensive, and where Palestinian reports said today that three Gazans were killed by Israeli fire after their car was hit.
Condemnation for ‘collaborator’ executions
Human Rights Watch strongly denounces the Hamas executions of some 25 Palestinians accused of being collaborators with Israel.
“Amid all the carnage in Gaza, it’s abhorrent that Hamas officials are adding to it by permitting, if not ordering, the summary execution of Palestinians deemed to be collaborators,” says Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, in a statement. “Hamas authorities need to stop these extrajudicial killings.”
“Hamas authorities should immediately investigate and take appropriate action against all those responsible for these killings and prevent future killings from taking place,” she adds.
“Spying and treason are serious crimes in any jurisdiction, but Hamas leaders should make it clear that death sentences are not the answer, let alone these summary executions.”
Ashkelon mayor ditches meeting with minister in protest
Ashkelon Mayor Itamar Shimoni bails on a meeting with Education Minister Shai Piron and southern municipal leaders today in Beersheba in protest of Piron’s announcement that the school year will begin as scheduled despite the security situation, Ynet reports.
Shimoni says that the school year won’t start in Ashkelon so long as the rocket fire from the Gaza Strip continues. Ashkelon, the closest major Israeli city to the Palestinian territory, has been the target of regular rocket fire since Operation Protective Edge began.
Sirens in Sha’ar Hanegev
Two rockets hit Eshkol region
Two rockets explode in the Eshkol region, without prior warning from a code red siren, Ynet reports.
There are no immediate reports of injury or damage.
Sirens are going off in the nearby Sha’ar Hanegev and Sdot Negev regions, however, as the rocket-battered swath of southern Israel adjacent to the Gaza Strip continues to get pounded.
Hamas shares photo of ‘downed Israeli drone’
Hamas’s Arabic Twitter feed shares a photo of what it claims is part of an Israeli reconnaissance drone it says it downed over the Gaza City neighborhood of Shejaiya.
The authenticity of the photo could not be immediately verified.
— Qassam_Arabic@ (@qassam_arabic1) August 25, 2014
At least 100 rockets fired at Israel today
At least 100 rockets have been fired at southern Israel since this morning, Israel Radio reports. Eleven of the rockets launched were intercepted by Iron Dome.
On Sunday, 140 rockets were launched at Israel.
IDF, Shin Bet confirm strike on car in Shejaiya
The army and the Shin Bet security agency confirm that they cooperated in the airstrike which targeted a vehicle carrying members of the Army of Islam. Palestinian sources say three people were killed in the strike on the car.
Intelligence sources tell Ynet that the Army of Islam operates under the aegis of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and that the activists were engaged in prepping for an impending attack on Israel.
Sirens in Hof Ashkelon, Ashdod regions
2 rockets intercepted en route to Ashdod
The Al-Qassam Brigades claims responsibility for the attack on the southern port city.
Three rockets hit Sdot Negev region
No injuries or damage reported after rockets hit open areas in southern Israel.
An earlier report of two rockets intercepted over Ashdod was only partially correct, as one rocket was intercepted and another exploded in an open area, causing neither injury nor damage.
IAF strikes mosque in Gaza City — Hamas radio
An Israeli airstrike targeted a mosque in the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City, Hamas’s Al-Aqsa radio reports.
There is no immediate report of casualties in the strike.
Sirens in Netivot, Sdot Negev region
Multiple sirens in Sha’ar Hanegev region
Sirens in Netivot
Rocket explodes near Netivot
At least one rocket reportedly hits an open area near the southern town of Netivot, causing no injuries or damage.
Kibbutz Nir Oz, the community where a 4-year-old was killed last week, is under heavy rocket fire and sirens are going off constantly in the kibbutz. There’s no immediate report of how many rockets targeted the community in the past several minutes.
16 rockets hit Sdot Negev region in 10 minutes
Sixteen rockets fired from the Gaza Strip explode across the Sdot Negev region in a matter of ten minutes, Ynet reports. No injuries are reported.
Sirens continue to wail across the area.
Ex-NY judge appointed to UN Gaza probe
The president of the United Nations’ top human rights body has appointed a former New York Supreme Court judge to serve as the third member of a commission investigating possible violations of the rules of war in Gaza.
Gabon Ambassador Baudelaire Ndong Ella, who presides over the UN’s 47-nation Human Rights Council, said Monday that Mary McGowan Davis will join William Schabas and Doudou Diene on the commission created by the council’s July 23 resolution.
Davis, who also was a federal prosecutor and has previous UN experience related to Gaza, will take the place of British-Lebanese lawyer Amal Alamuddin. Alamuddin, who is engaged to marry George Clooney, said she could not accept the role shortly after she had been appointed to it.
A commission report is due in March 2015.
IDF says it’ll hit school where rockets were fired
The IDF has warned that it will strike the school in Zeitoun, a neighborhood of Gaza City, from which the rocket that killed 4-year-old Daniel Tragerman was fired. It calls on refugees taking shelter in the structure to leave immediately.
According to the IDF, it has struck 70 targets in the Gaza Strip since midnight. Over 120 rockets have been fired into Israel in the same span of time.
IDF doesn’t confirm report of downed drone
A military source says it’s not confirming reports by Hamas that it downed an Israeli drone over Gaza City.
Rocket sirens ring out in Gaza area communities yet again
More sirens in Nahal Oz
Rocket sirens ring in Nahal Oz and Alumim near the Gaza border. The area has been pummeled with over a dozen rockets in the last hour.
Two rockets hit Sdot Negev region
Two rockets fired from Gaza exploded in open areas near the border in the Sdot Negev region. No injuries or damage are reported.
Sirens in area near Ben Gurion Airport
Sirens in southern Tel Aviv suburbs
Plane landing at Ben Gurion loops back as sirens wail
A plane landing at Ben-Gurion International Airport calls off its descent as sirens sound in the towns surrounding the airport. The El Al flight from Rhodes to Tel Aviv turned north and looped back over the Mediterranean.
One rocket was intercepted over the Greater Tel Aviv area shortly thereafter.
Horovitz on ‘Daniel Tragerman’s war’
“The killing of Daniel Tragerman, his pure small life extinguished by pure evil, underlines what we are up against, and what we insistently strive for,” ToI’s Editor David Horovitz writes in an op-ed.
“As we have done since 1948, to quote from our Declaration of Independence, ‘we extend our hand to all neighboring states and their peoples in an offer of peace and good neighborliness, and appeal to them to establish bonds of cooperation and mutual help with the sovereign Jewish people settled in its own land.’ Those words apply as well to Abbas, the Palestinian leader now reportedly planning his latest UN gambit to try to impose his terms for Palestinian statehood.”
Horovitz continues: “Were Abbas to abandon his obscene government partnership with Hamas, condemn Hamas for the vicious murder machine it is, and commit himself to leading his embittered people — indoctrinated and poisoned by decades of false narratives — toward recognition of the Jewish nation’s legitimacy, he would have no need to attempt diplomatic extortion.”
Hamas claims rocket fired at Tel Aviv; all Palestinian groups want truce
Hamas claims responsibility for firing an M-75 rocket at the Greater Tel Aviv area just before 8 p.m. The rocket was intercepted by the Iron Dome missile-defense system.
Meanwhile, Israeli and Palestinian delegates are reportedly working toward a new truce deal; Channel 2’s Ehud Ya’ari quotes an Islamic Jihad official in Cairo saying all Palestinian factions want a ceasefire.
Israel is also coordinating with the United States about a possible Security Council resolution to bring a halt to the fighting in the Gaza Strip, Channel 2 reports.
Second IDF ground invasion ‘valueless,’ Palestinian groups say
Israel wouldn’t dare launch another ground invasion of the Gaza Strip, because Palestinian fighters “rubbed the nose of their so-called elite brigades in the dirt in Gaza,” the Palestinian Ma’an news agency quotes Gaza’s Popular Resistance Committees as saying on Monday.
Another group, the al-Mujahideen Brigades, call Israel’s vow to renew the ground battle in Gaza “valueless.”
Truce deal possible tonight, Egyptian official says
An Egyptian source is quoted by Ynet as saying that the Israelis and Palestinians are “approaching an announcement of a ceasefire tonight.”
Poll shows massive drop in Netanyahu ratings
A series of public-opinion polls broadcast Monday find a massive drop in support for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The surveys, conducted by Shiluv Millward Brown and published on Channel 2, show that in the past month Netanyahu’s approval rating has dropped from 82 percent to 38% in the past month, and by 17% in the past four days alone.
The size of the surveyed population, or the questions asked, were not detailed in the Channel 2 segment, and the statistics were not immediately available on the website of Shiluv Millward Brown.
Concerning the impending beginning of the school year, 63% of those polled voiced opposition to the opening of schools in southern Israel. Sixty-eight percent also say the government’s treatment of the south has been unsatisfactory.
Sirens in Sdot Negev, Eshkol regions
Four rockets hit Eshkol Region
Four rockets fired from the Gaza Strip explode in open areas in the Eshkol Region of southern Israel. No injuries or damage are reported.
Sirens in Ashdod
Sirens in Hof Ashkelon
Sirens in Ashdod
Hamas claims it fired three rockets at the southern port city. Two rockets were intercepted over the city by Iron Dome, and a third exploded in an open area outside the city.
Palestinian journalist killed in Israeli shelling, Hamas says
Hamas tweets that 25-year-old Palestinian journalist Abdullah Murtaja was killed in an Israeli bombardment of Shejaiya this morning.
— Al Qassam Brigades (@qassamsms) August 25, 2014
According to Ynet, Murtaja was the son-in-law of senior Hamas official and spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum.
Unconfirmed report that PFLP-GC chief killed by Islamists
Unconfirmed reports say PFLP-GC leader Ahmad Jibril was killed in an IED attack in Syria carried out by the Nusra Front. It’s not clear when or where the attack supposedly took place.
Jibril’s group is a close ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government.
Sirens in Upper Galilee
Air-raid warnings are going off in Kiryat Shmona and the surrounding towns on the Lebanese border with Israel.
Rocket from Lebanon hits Galilee
One rocket fired from Lebanon has hit the Upper Galilee, the IDF confirms.
No details are given on the location of the strike, or on injuries or damage.
This is the second time since Saturday night that rockets from Lebanon have hit Israel.
Three injured in rock throwing in Jerusalem
Police say three children were lightly injured after rocks were thrown at a car in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi al-Joz. A 22-year-old masked man was arrested by police and Border Police while throwing rocks.
Two rockets reportedly fired from Lebanon
According to Ynet, two rockets were fired at Israel from Lebanon moments ago. One landed in an open area near the northern city of Kiryat Shmona and the other exploded near the border.
There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.
The IDF reports only one rocket.
— Peter Lerner (@LTCPeterLerner) August 25, 2014
IDF returns fire into Lebanon
IDF artillery are reportedly returning fire at the source of the rockets fired into Israel from Lebanon.
IDF confirms strikes on Lebanon; Lebanese forces en route to launch site
The IDF confirms that two rockets were fired into Israel from Lebanon and that it has retaliated with artillery fire at the source of the attack.
According to Lebanese news outlet MTV, Israeli planes are flying over the southern Lebanon towns of Nabatieh and Jormok, after the rockets were reportedly fired from the latter town. Lebanese army forces are en route to the launch site, Lebanon’s government news outlet says.
MTV correspondent: Israeli Air Force flying over al-Nabatiyeh and Jormok in South Lebanon
— MTV English News (@MTVEnglishNews) August 25, 2014
Israeli strike on Gaza mosque kills 17-year-old
On Monday night, a 17-year-old boy was killed and about 25 people were wounded in a strike on a Gaza City mosque, UN and Gaza health officials say.
The Gaza religious affairs ministry says Israeli fire during the day destroyed four more mosques, raising to 71 the number of mosques destroyed over the past seven weeks.
Truce efforts advancing, end of hostilities essential, Hamas says
Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri says the Islamist group concedes that there are contacts to reach a truce between Israel and the Palestinian factions and that “the efforts are advancing more than in the past, but we haven’t received a concrete response from Israel.”
“We’re prepared to discuss at a later stage the various controversial issues: the sea port, the prisoners and the airport,” he says. “What’s important at this stage is ending the Israeli aggression, opening the crossings and rebuilding the Strip.”