Thursday, November 15, 2012

Israel’s military assault on the Gaza Strip (Operation Pillar of Defense) continues, and projectile fire from Palestinian factions into Israel intensifies. The IDF kills 9 Palestinians, bringing the death toll since 11/14 to 19, including 6 children. The IDF claims to have struck a total of 300 ‘‘terror activity’’ sites in the Gaza Strip, deploying air strikes, tank, and naval shelling and destroying 70 unmanned missile launch sites. The Israeli army also calls up 30,000 army reservists to prepare for a potential ground invasion. Three Israelis are killed by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip that hits a residential building in Kiryat Malakhi. The IDF cites an estimated 270 rockets fired by Palestinian factions since the start of the Israeli military assault, with over 100 shot down by the Iron Dome missile defense/intercept system. Meanwhile, the Israeli daily Ha’Aretz reports that Hamas leader Ahmad Jabari was negotiating a permanent truce agreement with Israel just hours before his assassination on 11/14 (see Selections from the Press in JPS 166). (BBC, HA, MNA, REU 11/15, 11/16)

Internationally, the U.S. continues to show support for Israel’s operation, with the Senate unanimously passing a resolution backing Israel’s right to defend itself (62 senators were cosponsors). Egypt, Jordan, Russia, and Turkey all condemn Israel’s use of force as disproportionate, while Hizballah leader Hasan Nasrallah calls on Arab countries to support Hamas. PA pres. Mahmud Abbas calls for an urgent Arab League meeting, and Egypt and Tunisia announce plans to send delegations to the Gaza Strip on 11/16 and 11/18 respectively. (Guardian, REU, ToI 11/15)

For a 3d night, Jordanians in various cities across Jordan protest against King Abdullah and a reduction in public fuel subsidies. Islamist opposition groups vow to keep up the demonstrations. Gunmen attack 2 police stations, sparking a clash that leaves 1 attacker dead and 17 people injured (including 13 police officers). (AP, NYT 11/15)