Die augenblickliche Anzahl der Opfer der weiterhin aktiven Auseinandersetzungen im Gazastreifen liegt bei 72 Toten. Bestätigt gelten 30 Zivilisten, 32 bewaffnete Kämpfer und zwei IDF-Soldaten als getötet. Acht Opfer müssen noch identifiziert werden. Weiterhin konzentriert sich die Schlacht auf Vororte des Flüchtlingslagers Jabalia in dem ein Minimum von 150 Personen verletzt wurden. Detaillierte Berichte über die einzelnen Vorfälle sind nicht verfügbar [Israeli troops began their operation just after midnight, concentrating on a hilly area near crowded Jabaliya, within two miles of the Gazan border, where many of the rockets have been launched from among the civilian population]. Sieben israelische Soldaten gelten als leichtverletzt. Am Morgen wurde der Amtssitz von Hamas-Chef Haniyeh zerstört. Gegenattacken in Form von Qassam-Raketen fallen heute bislang sporadisch aus. Hingegen werden erste Ausschreitungen in Ost-Jerusalem beobachtet. Der UN-Sicherheitsrat verurteil die Angelegenheit ohne Wirkung. Ramallahs Reaktion bleibt schwach: Verurteilung, Überdehnung "mehr als ein Holocaust", Israeli officials said Palestinian chief negotiator Ahmed Qurie called his Israeli counterpart, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, to call off a meeting due on Monday. But Abbas's aides said no decision to suspend the process had been taken. Ein abweichender Bericht: The Palestinian Authority leadership in the West Bank yesterday announced it was halting peace talks with Israel over raids by the Israel Defense Forces in the Gaza Strip. In the fighting, two IDF soldiers and at least 50 Palestinians - about half of them militants - were killed. Chief Palestinian negotiator Ahmed Qureia notified Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni of the decision yesterday evening.
Verteidigungsminister Barak äußerte sich in seinem ersten statement wie folgt: Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Sunday that the Israel Defense Forces operation against Gaza rocket squads would broaden, and reiterated earlier comments that a major ground offensive was a real and tangible option. "We are not happy about it, we won't shy from it," Barak told Israel Radio. "There are many considerations about the timing," he said, without elaborating. The defense minister said in a separate interview on Army Radio: "This is not the broad ground operation, but whoever says there will not be a big ground operation speaks on his own behalf." One aim of any broad incursion into Gaza would be to "weaken the Hamas rule, in the right circumstances even bring it down," he said. [...] Officials in Jerusalem began preparing the grounds for a large hasbara campaign to try and show the world that Israel's actions in Gaza were "careful" and the harming of civilians was "impossible to avoid" when Hamas terrorists were using civilian grounds to launch rockets into Israel. [...] The European Union has joined the United Nations in condemning what it calls the "disproportionate" use of force by the Israel Defense Forces in Gaza after more than 60 Palestinians were killed in the highest single day toll since fighting erupted in 2000.
Kommentare: Harel + Issacharov: All those calling for a major military operation in the Gaza Strip must take into account its cost. The Givati Brigade's limited operation in the outskirts of Jabalya on Saturday gave an indication of the expected scale of casualties. Two soldiers were killed, as were at least 63 Palestinians, including many civilians. More than 50 Katyushas and Qassam rockets were fired in response on Sderot, Ashkelon and other communities bordering the Strip. And all this was part of a dress rehearsal. The number of casualties in a major, drawn-out operation could be much higher. Why did the casualty rates climb on Saturday? The main reason has to do with the area where the operation took place. The IDF force operated at the edge of the area where Israeli raids are conducted- up to three kilometers from the fence surrounding the Gaza Strip. But this time the Israel Defense Forces hit a sensitive location: the outskirts of a built-up and crowded part of Gaza City, around Jabal Kasef, between Jabalya and Sa'ajiya. Hamas rushed reinforcements to the area, from the start of the operation. [Na, man wird wohl auch die casualitites über Flächenbeschuß erhöht haben, meine Herren.] Zvi Bar'el: "Get ready for the third Intifada": Life in Ramallah is grand, for now. The supermarkets offer a wide array of goods, the discos are hopping and economic growth has exceeded 7 percent since Prime Minister Salam Fayyad took office. Maybe the Palestinian Authority has not received all of the $7.7 billion pledged by donor states but there is a feeling that it is possible to do business, both in the public and private sectors. Evidence of this is the dissatisfaction of Fatah members with the presence of too many technocrats and not enough Fatah appointees in the Fayyad government. They want a share in the goodies, too.
Miftah: The Associated Press reported on the morning of March 1 that 66 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip since February 27. The four day assault has proved one of the bloodiest acts of Israeli violence since Hamas seized the Gaza Strip almost nine months ago. Different agencies disagree over the exact number of Palestinians who have perished in the last four days as the identities and fatalities are still being collected from the devastation and debris caused by the Israeli attacks. + MIFTAH calls on the United Nations and the international community to urgently intervene to halt the bloodshed in the Gaza Strip and to hold Israel responsible for the loss of innocent lives. MIFTAH especially calls on the United States to embrace its duty as the major superpower in today’s world in not allowing for such injustices to be perpetrated with impunity. It also calls on the US and other world countries to give equal value to human lives whether they are Palestinian or Israeli and to apply the same standards to both. The Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy, MIFTAH strongly condemns the recent escalation in Israeli military attacks against Palestinians, particularly in the Gaza Strip. Media sources reported that among the dead were three children, killed when an Israeli air strike targeted a residential building north of Gaza City. As a result of the explosion, one child was decapitated. Also among the dead is Hamza Al Hayya, the son of Hamas leader Khalil Al Hayya. The escalation comes after Prime Minister Ehud Olmert vowed in Tokyo on Wednesday to target Hamas leaders – big and small – in response to the ongoing Qassam rockets that claimed the life of an Israeli man the same day. MIFTAH calls on the international community to intervene on behalf of the innocent civilians in Gaza, who continue to be a target of indiscriminate Israeli military operations. As the occupying power, Israel has an obligation under international law to protect all civilians, which it systematically fails to do. MIFTAH reiterates the necessity to end the Israeli occupation over Palestinian land as means of resolving the ongoing conflict. In this regard, it is the duty of the international community as well as the two parties involved to ensure that a just and comprehensive solution is found for the Palestinians. Furthermore, it is imperative that Israel be held accountable for its unlawful killings of Palestinians in addition to the siege and economic embargo it continues to impose on the entire Gaza Strip.
The Saudi Arabian embassy in Beirut has called on its nationals to leave Lebanon a day after a US warship was positioned off the country's coast. The embassy on Saturday sent SMS messages to Saudis living in Lebanon urging them to leave the country as soon as possible, Al Jazeera's correspondent said. [...] A US deployment of warships off the coast of Lebanon further sharpened tensions in the crisis-plagued country on Friday, as Hizbullah condemned the move and the Lebanese government said it did not ask for the ships to be sent. Hizbullah on Friday denounced Washington's dispatch of the USS Cole and two other vessels to waters off Lebanon as military interference. Hizbullah's condemnation came as pro-government newspapers in Beirut said the deployment was a clear signal to Syria, which is accused by the ruling coalition of blocking a presidential vote in Beirut.