U.S. Blasts Hamas for Breaking Ceasefire and Seizing Israeli Soldier

By all accounts except that of Hamas, Hamas broke the latest cease-fire 90 minutes after it began by seizing Israeli soldier, Second Lt. Hadar Goldin. The Obama Administration blasted Hamas for its actions and called for the unconditional release of the soldier. [More...]

"We have unequivocally condemned Hamas and the Palestinian factions that were responsible for killing two soldiers, and capturing a third, almost minutes after a ceasefire was announced," Obama said. "That soldier needs to be unconditionally released, as soon as possible."

Under the terms of the cease-fire, Israel was still going to be searching for and dismantling tunnels. The agreement was for Israel to withhold firing into Gaza, not leave Gaza. Via the New York Times:

Under the terms of the temporary truce, Israeli forces were permitted to remain in place inside Gaza to continue destroying the labyrinth of tunnels that Mr. Netanyahu has said were the prime target of the Israeli ground operation. Both sides said they would respond if fired upon.

According to Israel and news reports, 90 minutes after the cease-fire began, Hamas militants, including a suicide bomber, emerged from a tunnel and attacked Israeli soldiers who were working on it, killing two soldiers and then grabbing a third Israeli soldier, dragging him into the tunnel and back to Gaza.

More here.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also blamed Hamas for breaking the ceasefire. The U.N. says it has not yet independently verified Israel's claims, but if true:

"This would constitute a grave violation of the cease-fire, and one that is likely to have very serious consequences for the people of Gaza, Israel and beyond....Such moves call into question the credibility of Hamas' assurances to the United Nations.

The Times of Israel has this primer on the tunnels and Hamas.

Hamas blamed Israel for breaking the ceasefire initially claiming its action occurred a few hours before the ceasefire by another group. It has not confirmed the capture of the soldier.

On Twitter, there is a lot of debate as to whether the soldier was "kidnapped" or "captured." If Hamas agreed to the cease-fire knowing Israel had announced it would continue searching for and dismantling tunnels, and that's what the Israeli soldiers were doing when attacked by Hamas, then I don't think "captured" is the right word. He was in a place he was expected to be under the terms of the ceasefire, and he was not on a battlefield or engaged in combat. But since the whole area is a war zone, I don't like the word "kidnapped" either. So I'm using the word "seized."

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    This article includes an (none / 0) (#1)
    by oculus on Fri Aug 01, 2014 at 06:24:52 PM EST
    opinion that perhaps the Hamas in the tunnel were unaware of the ceasefire.

    But more interesting, IMO, is that NYT reporters working in Israel are subject to censorship:


    Nothing New (none / 0) (#7)
    by squeaky on Fri Aug 01, 2014 at 07:03:01 PM EST
    Journalists for foreign news organizations must agree in writing to the military censorship system to work in Israel.


    In 1966, the Censorship Agreement was signed between media representatives and the IDF. The media agreed to abide by the orders of the Military Censor, while the IDF agreed not to misuse its role.

    From Constitutional Rights Foundation:

    When U.S. military units went to Saudi Arabia in the fall of 1990, about 1,000 journalists eventually joined them. The Pentagon set ground rules for the press.

    The Pentagon accredited all American journalists and required them to observe the following battlefield press rules:

    1. No reporters could visit any U.S. military unit or travel outside of Dhahran or Riyadh except in a press pool.

    2. No pool was permitted in the field without an escort, usually a U.S. military public-affairs officer (PAO).

    3. No interviews of U.S. military personnel were permitted without an escort present.

    4. All pool dispatches must first pass through the "military security review system." (PAOs at each pool location reviewed all dispatches and could delete or change any "military sensitive information." Reporters could appeal any censorship to the military pool coordinating office in Dhahran and then to the Pentagon.)
    5. Violations of the above rules could result in arrest, detention, revocation of press credentials, and expulsion from the combat zone.

    Iraq War Embedded Journalists:

    On June 14, 2014, The New York Times published an opinion piece critical of embedded journalism during both the U.S. military occupation of Iraq and the war in Afghanistan. It was written by PVT Chelsea Manning, the former U.S. Army intelligence analyst now serving a 35-year prison sentence for leaking the largest set of classified documents in American history.

    At no point during his 2009-10 deployment in Iraq, Manning wrote, were there more than a dozen American journalists covering military operations--in a country of 31 million people and 117,000 U.S. troops. Manning charged that vetting of reporters by military public affairs officials was used "to screen out those judged likely to produce critical coverage," and that once embedded, journalists tended "to avoid controversial reporting that could raise red flags" out of fear having their access terminated.

    "A result," wrote Manning, "is that the American public's access to the facts is gutted, which leaves them with no way to evaluate the conduct of American officials." Manning noted, "This program of limiting press access was challenged in court in 2013 by a freelance reporter, Wayne Anderson, who claimed to have followed his agreement but to have been terminated after publishing adverse reports about the conflict in Afghanistan. The ruling on his case upheld the military's position that there was no constitutionally protected right to be an embedded journalist."

    Even if Hamas (none / 0) (#2)
    by MKS on Fri Aug 01, 2014 at 06:31:33 PM EST
    violated the cease fire, that does not give the Israelis the right to wage a war against civilians in Gaza.

    Is the Hamas practice of... (none / 0) (#3)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Fri Aug 01, 2014 at 06:38:14 PM EST
    ...using schools as middle warehouses, a crystal clear war crime, in no way responsible for civilian casualties?

    You do (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by lentinel on Fri Aug 01, 2014 at 06:41:55 PM EST
    not bomb schools or hospitals. No matter who is hiding there.

    Sure, Hamas would be guilty of (none / 0) (#5)
    by MKS on Fri Aug 01, 2014 at 06:44:22 PM EST
    War Crimes if they have done that.

    I would like more proof of that than just the word of the Israelis.

    Even if Hamas is guilty of War Crimes that does not give the Israelis the right to engage in War Crimes of their own.

    The issue is the kids and people in hospitals.  Don't bomb them.  Should be simple.


    Israel is not waging war against civilians (none / 0) (#6)
    by Green26 on Fri Aug 01, 2014 at 07:00:45 PM EST
    Israel is taking steps to protect its citizens from indiscriminate rocket attacks and attacks through the tunnels. There have been several thousand rockets launched at Israel. The rockets can reach about 3/4 of the population of Israel. In many places, there are sirens and people go to the shelters several times a day. The Israeli rocket shield has been surprisingly, and is knocking down most of the rockets headed for population, at least so far. Imagine the civilian deaths in Israel if the shield wasn't working.

    Israel is relatively precise with its bombings from the air, but war on the ground is never precise. Tank shells are shot in a general direction, often when the tanks or related troops are under fire. Shells get away. War on the ground is an especially ugly thing. Civilians are going to die, especially if Hamas is going to store and shoot their weapons from where civilians are. There have been weapons, etc. found in each of the UN schools that were hit, which is not to say that Israel was intending to hit schools. Hamas, not Israel, deserves the blame for most of the civilian deaths and injuries.

    As Netanyahu has said, Israel uses their weapons to protect and shield their citizens. Hamas uses its citizens to protect and shield their weapons.

    Hamas is an awful organization. It deserves no support. It deserves to be destroyed. That's why Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and UAE are essentially lining up with Israel on this.

    I don't think Israel is backing down. It has 87% of its citizens supporting what Netanyahu is now doing. It has lost about 60 of its soldiers. The tunnels and rockets are going to be severely damaged or destroyed, and Hamas is going to be severely weakened.


    If they did not (none / 0) (#8)
    by CaptHowdy on Fri Aug 01, 2014 at 07:10:09 PM EST
    If Hamas agreed to the cease-fire knowing Israel had announced it would continue searching for and dismantling

    They were not trying very hard because I knew those were the terms last night