Day 28: Israel Declares 7-Hour Truce for Monday, as PM Says He’s Sorry for Harm to Civilians

Relatives and friends of Major Benaya Sarel who was was killed in combat on Friday in the Gaza Strip seen mourning over his grave during a funeral at the old Jewish cemetery in Hebron, August 3, 2014 (photo credit: Flash90)

US, others, issue harsh rebukes of Israel after shelling near UNRWA school; family remembers Lt. Hadar Goldin, thought captured, at funeral; Israel pulling most troops from Gaza; rocket fire on south persists

The Times of Israel is liveblogging events as they unfold through Monday, the 28th day of Operation Protective Edge. Givati Brigade officer Hadar Goldin, killed in Gaza on Friday morning in a Hamas attack, was laid to rest Sunday — the 64th IDF fatality. The IDF partially redeployed in and around Gaza, as it neared the end of its work demolishing Hamas tunnels, and a Palestinian delegation held talks on ceasefire arrangements in Egypt. Israel was condemned for hitting a UN school, killing 10, and said it was looking into the incident. Gazan health officials put the death toll there at some 1,800. Israel says hundreds of those are Hamas fighters. (Sunday’s liveblog is here.) You can also follow @TOIAlerts on Twitter — we’re live-tweeting all the updates there as well.

Hamas says Monday’s truce aims to ‘divert attention from Israeli slaughter’

Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri responds to the IDF’s declaration of a seven-hour humanitarian truce on Monday, saying it’s a unilateral act which is designed to “divert attention from Israel’s acts of slaughter.”
“We don’t trust this truce and we call to our people to exercise caution,” he says.

French leader condemns strike near UNRWA school

French President Francois Hollande speaks about the strike near an UNRWA school in Rafah that killed 10 Palestinians, calling for those responsible for “this violation of international law” to be held accountable.

Dubai police chief mocks Hamas, calls on it to halt rocket fire

Dubai police chief Dhahi Khalfan Tamim takes to Twitter bashing Hamas and calling for it to cease its launching of rockets at Israel “in vain.”
The policeman, who headed the investigation of the assassination of Hamas strongman Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, writes “make the rockets devastating or do not launch them at Israel in vain,” according to a translation by Ynet.
He even mocks Hamas’s leadership for taking refuge in Qatar, far from the front in Gaza: “Allah helps opposition leader [Khaled Mashaal] who is staying in a seven-star hotel.”

Netanyahu says Gaza op will continue as long as needed

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that Operation Protective Edge will continue until its objectives are obtained, namely the return of silence and security to residents of southern Israel, and dealing a significant blow to terror infrastructure in the Gaza Strip.
He says that the IDF will prepare to continue operations as necessary even after the tunnels are destroyed. He adds that Hamas is interested in the suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza and that the world will blame Israel for it. He reiterates that Israel is not directing its fire at civilians, and that it’s sorry for all unintentional harm caused to them.

Israel declares humanitarian truce for 10 a.m.

Israel declares a seven-hour humanitarian truce for Monday across the Gaza Strip, except for east Rafah. It is set to take hold at 10 a.m. and end at 5 p.m.
Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai says that any violation of the truce will be met with immediate retaliation at the source of the fire.

Southern general says IDF to beef up defenses on Gaza border

GOC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Sami Turgeman speaks to mayors of southern Israeli towns and says he’ll advise military action against any tunnels dug beneath the border with Gaza discovered after the completion of Operation Protective Edge.
“For every tunnel found in the future, I’ll advise a ground attack in Gaza,” the general is quoted by Channel 2 saying. Turgeman adds that “There’ll be a massive upgrade in security protection for residents of the southern area — both with more personnel deployed, and new physical components.”
The mayors said afterwards that he had indicated the IDF had some kind of new physical barrier in mind to help guard against the tunnels
According to Channel 10, Turgeman says all known tunnels penetrating Israeli territory will be destroyed within a couple of days, “but only those we knew about.” He notes that IDF troops will remain in the Gaza Strip after the tunnels are finished being destroyed and that Israel “will fire at any place from which [rockets] are being launched.”

Bandaging the wounds you can’t see

Earlier Sunday, ToI’s Debra Kamin wrote a piece, headlined “How do you bandage the wounds you can’t see?” looking at the traumatic impact of the war.
Israelis in the Tel Aviv area take cover as a warning siren sounds, signaling an incoming rocket, Tuesday, July 8, 2014. (photo credit: Flash90)
Israelis in the Tel Aviv area take cover as a warning siren sounds, signaling an incoming rocket, Tuesday, July 8, 2014. (photo credit: Flash90)

“The Israeli government is still calling the events in Gaza an operation, but for the homefront, it long ago spiraled into a war,” she notes. “The bloody toll in Gaza is horrifying; the loss, destruction and fear sowed among Israeli civilians is shattering. Every day brings more stories of fallen soldiers, their lives snuffed out in an instant of fire and utter injustice. Among the sunflower groves and sheep pastures near the Gaza border, a shovel’s scratching sound twists its way into dreams; in the coffee shops and boutiques of Tel Aviv, pedestrians jump or freeze at the wailing, siren-like sound of each passing motorcycle. The citizens of Israel know that their bodies are protected by the Iron Dome and by a military determined to finish the job. But what about their minds?”
– Read the full piece here.

Horovitz on ‘an unavoidable war, unfinished’

ToI’s David Horovitz posts an op-ed, ‘An unavoidable war, unfinished,’ looking at both sides’ claims of success in the four weeks of bloody fighting. “But an endgame that leaves Gaza’s Islamist rulers capable of doing all this again, except worse, would be their biggest success of all,” he writes.
He writes:
The families of the bereaved were, without exception, noble in their indescribable pain. Heroic. “I loved him utterly,” said one bereaved father of his dead son, speaking to a TV reporter not long after he had received the worst news a parent can ever hear. “But I will not break,” he said tearfully, defiantly. “Our family will not be broken. Israel will not be broken.”

Relatives seen mourning during the funeral of corporal Meidan Biton at the Netivot Cemetery on July 29, 2014 (photo credit: Flash90)
Relatives seen mourning during the funeral of corporal Meidan Biton at the Netivot Cemetery on July 29, 2014 (photo credit: Flash90)

And he adds:
We wait to see if Gazans will turn on Hamas for exploiting them in the way that it has — for ruining their lives, for getting them killed, while its leaders took shelter. The people of Gaza have been devastated by this war. At the same time, many of the people of Gaza firmly support Hamas. Will most Gazans prove willing accomplices in a renewed galvanizing of effort against Israel? One IDF general, describing a neighborhood in Gaza in which his soldiers were operating, said 19 of 28 homes had been utilized in one way or another by Hamas — booby-trapped, or used to store weapons or to conceal a tunnel opening. Did those 19 families choose to partner with Hamas, were they paid off, left no choice, or a mixture of all that and more?”
– Read the full piece here.

Day 28 of Operation Protective Edge

PREAMBLE: Operation Protective Edge enters its 28th day, with the IDF redeploying its troops in and around Gaza, as it nears the end of its mission demolishing the 30-plus Hamas terror tunnels dug under the border.
Ceasefire talks are taking place in Egypt, but Israel isn’t there, having declared that it does not trust Hamas to honor any agreement. This, after Hamas breached a truce on Friday morning and killed three IDF soldiers, including Givati office Hadar Goldin, who was initially believed kidnapped. Goldin was laid to rest Sunday, at a funeral attended by some 15,000 people.
Meanwhile, Israel was slammed for allegedly striking a UNRWA school, killing 10; the IDF said it fired on terrorists on motorcycles near the school, and that it was looking into the incident. And Hamas was still firing dozens of rockets at Israel.
Thousands rally in Johannesburg, South Africa in support of Israel (photo credit: Courtesy)