Secretary of State John Kerry defied a Federal Aviation Administration ban and flew into Israel’s main airport Wednesday in a sign of sheer will to achieve a cease-fire agreement in the warring Gaza Strip despite little evidence of progress in ongoing negotiations aimed at halting fighting that’s left at least 31 Israelis and 650 Palestinians dead.
Kerry’s arrival in Israel came as Israeli troops battled Hamas militants near a southern Gaza Strip town as dozens of Palestinian families trapped by the fighting scrambled to flee the area.
It also came as Israel closed the border crossing into Gaza at Erez “until further notice,” citing the heavy fighting.
Kerry planned to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during what appeared to be a crucial day in the flailing talks.
Something important is missing from the New York Times‘s coverage of the war in Gaza: photographs of terrorist attacks on Israel, and pictures of Hamas fighters, tunnels, weaponry, and use of human shields.
It appears the Times is silently but happily complying with a Hamas demand that the only pictures from Gaza are of civilians and never of fighters. The most influential news organization in the world is thus manufacturing an utterly false portrait of the battle—precisely the portrait that Hamas finds most helpful: embattled, victimized Gaza civilians under attack by a cruel Israeli military.
A review of the Times‘s photography in Gaza reveals a stark contrast in how the two sides are portrayed. Nearly every picture from Israel depicts tanks, soldiers, or attack helicopters. And every picture of Gaza depicts either bloodied civilians, destroyed buildings, overflowing hospitals, or other images of civilian anguish. It is as one-sided and misleading a depiction of the Gaza battle as one can imagine.
Israeli bulldozers demolished more than a dozen tunnels Saturday in the Gaza Strip, and Palestinian authorities reported intensified airstrikes and shelling as the death toll from Israel’s ground offensive rose to at least 342 Palestinians. Diplomats struggled to revive a cease-fire.
Israeli soldiers uncovered 34 shafts leading into about a dozen underground tunnels, some as deep as 30 meters, that could be used to carry out attacks, the military said.
Still, Palestinian gunmen managed to infiltrate Israel from Gaza using another tunnel and killed two Israeli soldiers and injured several others, the military said. At least one Palestinian was killed in the clash. Hamas said 12 of its fighters participated in the attack.
Thousands of protesters in numerous cities worldwide took to the streets Thursday and Friday, from Cairo to Istanbul to Washington, to demand an immediate halt of Israel’s ground incursion in the Gaza Strip and call on the international community to intervene on behalf of Gazans.
In Turkey, Egypt and Jordan, rallies were held in solidarity with the Palestinian cause, some of them turning violent as demonstrators clashed with police forces and vandalized public property. There were also protests in cities including London, Madrid, New York, and Cape Town.
IDF ground forces began to move into the Gaza Strip on Thursday evening, the prime minister’s office confirmed.
The purpose of the operation was to destroy the Gazan terror tunnels leading to Israel, according to a statement released by the prime minister’s office.
“Israel is committed to act to protect its citizens. The operation will continue until its goals are reached: To bring quiet to the citizens of Israel for a long period of time, and to seriously harm Hamas and other terrorist organizations’ infrastructure in the Gaza Strip,” the statement read.