Israeli Forces into Gaza City; Hamas Fighters Brace for Guerrilla Actions

Israeli war planes bombed densely populated Gaza 12 times Sunday night through Monday morning, even as Israeli reservists were sent into the territory and troops engaged in firefights with local forces. Israel postponed the dispatching of its chief negotiator to Cairo, something originally planned for Monday.

Hamas fighters hope to use urban guerrilla tactics to up the Israeli army death and casualty toll, aware that the Israeli publicis averse to heavy losses. Analysts say that even if Israel kills 500 Hamas, the organization is confident that the Gaza public will be so angry about Israel’s invasion that recruiting another 500 to replace them will be no problem.

The al-Mezan Center for Human Rights rounds up the statistics it can verify for deaths, injuries, and displaced persons among the Palestinians of Gaza as of late Sunday. They estimate nearly 3,000 wounded, of whom 600 are children and 385 women. While human rights organizations are saying 20,000 Gazans have been made homeless and sought refuge in shelters, al-Mezan thinks the number is actually as high as 200,000 displaced. (Gaza’s population is 1.5 million).

Russia Today has video of the Israeli advance into Gaza City:

Israel’s war on Gaza is actually increasing the popularity in the Muslim world of radical fundamentalist movements. To the extent that Israel’s military might has cowed governments such as Jordan and Egypt into passively accepting the attack, Israel’s actions are undermining their legitimacy further and increasing the distance between their people and states. So say the analysts quoted in this AFP article. Sounds about right to me. I the past, Israel contributed significantly to the rise of Hizbullah and Hamas, which it now says are its primary regional enemies.

The attack on Gaza has made Mahmoud Abbas extremely unpopular among Palestinians, even more than before. You wonder if he could win another election.

Grand Ayatollah Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah of Lebanon called for a coordinated strategy among Egypt, Turkey and Iran to offset what he sees as overwhelming Israeli military supremacy in the Middle East. I need to look at the Arabic source here because this idea makes no sense as reported in the Lebanese press. Turkey is an active ally of Israel, Egypt has a peace treaty with it; both are predominantly Sunni countries, one with a strongly secular constitution and the other with a more or less secular outlook at the upper echelons; and neither like the government of Iran, which is Shiite and fundamentalist. I can’t imagine the three of them cooperating at all, much less against Israel.

Switzerland is the only European country to support a UN resolution backed by 32 member states condemning Israel for human rights violations against the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip. The only one?

Hugo Chavez of Venezuela is sending humanitarian aid to Gaza and denouncing Israel. Chavez in the past had cultivated fair relations with Israel, so this level of rhetoric against it seems to me new. Chavez has an Arab-Venezuelan minority and has been exploring deals with Syria and Iran as a way of evading Washington’s economic and banking boycotts.

Aljazeera English explores how things went downhill in Gaza after the 2005 Israeli withdrawal from inside the Gaza Strip.

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