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Eyewitness in Gaza

Abdelrahman Mansour struck the spark that ignited Egypt’s revolution. Now the wired activist is in Hamas territory, filming Israel’s air war from ground level. Sarah A. Topol reports.

Abdelrahman Mansour knows conflict firsthand. In May 2010 he struck the spark that would ignite the Egyptian revolution when he created a Facebook page called “We Are All Khaled Said.” The page, which took its name from a young Egyptian who was beaten to death by the police, eventually called for the protests that toppled the 30-year rule of then-president Hosni Mubarak in early 2011. When Mansour was drafted into Egyptian Army, the page’s administrator kept his identity a secret, shielding him from the risk of military interrogation. Having finished his military service and now working as a journalist, he’s in a house in Gaza City, listening to the incessant buzz of Israeli drones and the boom of intermittent airstrikes.

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Yemenis protest against the Israeli bombardment on the Gaza Strip in the capital Sanaa, on November 18, 2012. (Mohammed Huwais / Getty Images)

As the fighting rages on between Israel and Hamas, these clips reveal five key facets of the conflict, from the IDF’s ongoing propaganda war to the tragically young victims.

Israel Defense Forces Abort Mission

A rise in civilian casualties brings pressure on Israel to end the operation in Gaza. But will Netanyahu order troops to charge? Sarah A. Topol and Dan Ephron report.

Israel is under pressure to bring to an end its almost week-old offensive in the Gaza Strip after a day of airstrikes that killed at least 25 Palestinian civilians.

In the worst of the violence, 11 members of the extended Dalu family were killed Sunday afternoon when their home in Gaza City was leveled by an Israeli missile. The dead included a mother and her four children, all under the age of 10.

ARSENAL

The Ultimate Missile Destroyer

iron dome

Israeli soldiers take cover as an Israeli missile is launched from the Iron Dome defense missile system, designed to intercept and destroy incoming short-range rockets and artillery shells, in Ashdod, Israel, in response to a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip on Sunday. (Jack Guez, AFP / Getty Images)

Israel’s Iron Dome antimissiles can knock down incoming Hamas rockets in the blink of an eye. But at $50,000 a pop, are they worth it? Dan Ephron reports.

Just hours after Israel deployed one of its Iron Dome antimissile batteries in Tel Aviv on Saturday, the system’s indicators lit up with alarming news: two rockets launched from Gaza were heading for the city.

In the span of seconds, the Iron Dome’s electronic sensors analyzed the trajectory of the rockets and determined that one of them was headed for a built-up area of the city. Two missiles darted out of the system’s mobile launcher, painting white streaks across the sky and colliding with the rocket somewhere above Israel’s urban center.

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The Gaza Blame Game

All parties involved share some responsibility for the crisis in Gaza. But Hamas is by far the biggest villain.

When fighting flares over Gaza, world leaders and pundits scamper to the same old and feeble solution: a ceasefire. But that “magic” formula has never worked well and won’t succeed now, at least for long. There is only one path to arrest the latest Gaza killings and reduce risks of future bloodshed, and that is for all parties involved to stop blaming everyone else, and start looking at themselves.

Hamas to blame for Israel Attacks

A Palestinian Hamas militant walks in the rubble of the destroyed house of Hamas militant Mohammad Abu Shmala, following an Israeli air strike in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Friday, Nov. 16, 2012. (Eyad Baba / AP Photo)

Upheaval

Hamas Gets Some International Support

Hamas Gets Some International Support Mohammed Abed, AFP / Getty Images

Arab League supports efforts to halt Israeli offensive.

As the death toll in Gaza rose to 45 Saturday, neighboring countries began to take sides. The Arab League announced it supports Palestinian and Egyptian efforts to stop the Israeli offensive in Gaza. Especially important for Gaza occupiers is the backing of Egypt, Tunisia, and Turkey, all U.S. allies with democratically elected governments. Not only does this represent a shift in the Middle East overall, where many leaders were once wary of Hamas’s hardline Islamist ideology, but the group’s new friends will help to give it a stronger reputation internationally. What that reputation will be has yet to be determined.

Read it at The Washington Post

Middle East

Tale of Two Battlefields

Life in Gaza has ground to a halt as electricity fails, bombs fall, and residents cower. Meanwhile, Tel Aviv's cafes still buzz with activity, even as the sirens wail. By Dan Ephron

The streets are empty. In some areas, the pounding is relentless. Whole neighborhoods have been plunged into darkness.

On the fourth day of an Israeli air-and-sea offensive on Gaza, with the specter of an invasion looming, Palestinian civilians are finding themselves once again trapped in a near-perpetual war zone—a 140-square-mile swath of territory with no escape routes and few places to hide.

Conflict

180 Airstrikes Hit Gaza on Saturday

180 Airstrikes Hit Gaza on Saturday Ariel Schalit / AP Photo

Brings total to 800 since the beginning of the operation.

The total number of airstrikes Israel has launched into the Gaza Strip since the beginning of the current conflict has risen to over 800 after the region was bombarded by 180 attacks on Saturday alone. Targeted in this round were the prime minister's headquarters, a police compound, and a network of tunnels used for smuggling as well as previous targets, such as underground rocket-launch sites and weapon-storage facilities. The attacks came in retaliation to a Palestinian strikes that hit near Jerusalem and Tel Aviv on Friday.

Read it at Los Angeles Times

Cyberwarfare

Gaza’s Twitter War

As rockets fly between Israel and Hamas, the battle for public opinion heats up on social media. Mike Giglio reports.

After a series of rocket attacks last weekend, Jerusalem mounted an air strike on Gaza and assassinated a senior military leader of Hamas, the Islamist group that has ruled over the isolated enclave since 2007. In retaliation, furious Hamas members aimed rockets for the first time at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, to show that they could strike at the heart of the Israeli state, while Israeli troops started to mass on the Gaza border.

The Gaza Social Media War

A picture taken from the southern Israeli Gaza border shows a rockets being launched from the Gaza strip into Israel on November 16, 2012. (Jack Guez / AFP / Getty Images)

CONFLICT

Israel Readies 75,000 Ground Troops

Israel Readies 75,000 Ground Troops Jack Guez, AFP / Getty Images

As Gaza tensions escalate.

Preparing for a possible ground invasion of Gaza, a spokesman for the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the country has approved a call for up to 75,000 reserve troops. Israeli aircraft were already bombing Hamas government buildings in response to rockets fired from Gaza that had landed in Tel Aviv. Meanwhile, President Obama spoke to Israeli and Egyptian leaders to address the increasingly dangerous conflict. Speaking to Netanyahu, Obama encouraged ways to scale back the escalating conflict while reiterating Israel's “right to defend itself.” In a separate call, Obama also praised Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s attempts to ease tensions. 

Read it at Reuters

GAZA

A Risk for All Sides

As the battle between Israel and Hamas continues, there’s an arithmetic that suggests it won’t reach the dimensions of previous conflicts between the two sides.

On the third day of Israel’s war against the Islamic Hamas group in Gaza, most signs are pointing to a further broadening of the campaign. Israel is calling up large numbers of reservists for the first time in years. Flatbed trucks have been spotted carrying tanks toward Gaza. And Israeli officials are using every available platform to signal that the offensive is still in its early stages.

Israeli Soldiers Near Border with Gaza

Israeli soldiers work on their tanks in southern Israel near the border with the Gaza Strip on Friday. (Ariel Schalit / AP Photo)

ATTACKED

Israeli Troops Move Toward Gaza

Israeli Troops Move Toward Gaza MOHAMMED ABED

As militants bomb Tel Aviv.

Israeli forces continued airstrikes on Gaza Friday morning, as at least 12 trucks were seen transporting tanks to the border. Hundreds of rockets launched by Palestinian militants targeted Tel Aviv for the first time. Defense Minister Ehud Barak sent off the first air-raid warning in the city since 1991, and promised, “There will be a price for that escalation that the other side will have to pay.” It’s still unclear whether Israeli troops are laying the groundwork for an invasion. 

Read it at The New York Times

Attention Deficit

Arab World to Israel: Meh

Israel and Gaza? The Middle East has its own problems to worry about. By Dan Ephron.

If Israelis were bracing for a huge protests across the Middle East and harsh diplomatic measures in response to their offensive against Gaza, the Arab reaction so far has been fairly tepid, even as images circulate] of a Palestinian baby apparently burned to death in one of the Israeli assaults.

Palestinian Mourners Carry the Body of Ahmad Jaabari

Palestinian mourners carry the body of Ahmad Jaabari, head of the military wing of the Hamas movement, the Ezzedin Qassam Brigades, during his funeral in Gaza City, on November 15, 2012. Tensions between Israel and Gaza have sparked a furious response from Egypt's Islamist administration, which has close ties with the Palestinian territory's ruling Hamas movement, with Cairo recalling its ambassador in protest at Israel's killing of Jaabari on November 14. (Momen Faiz, APA / Landov )

DEADLY

Gaza Rocket Kills Three Israelis

Gaza Rocket Kills Three Israelis Jack Guez, AFP / Getty Images

First Israeli fatalities since Hamas’s military chief killed.

Three Israelis were killed and another three were wounded on Thursday as rockets fired from Gaza hit the Israeli town of Kiryat Malachi. The deaths are the first for Israel since its military killed Hamas military commander Ahmed al-Jabari on Wednesday. Eleven Palestinians died in that operation, mainly militants but also reportedly some children. Since then, more than 130 rockets have been fired into Israel, police say. A rocket also hit a house in Ashdod, and another landed close to a school in Beer Tuvya. There were reports of more attacks in Ofakim and Ashkelon, and even a missile attack in Tel Aviv.

Read it at BBC News

ATTACK

Obama Talks with Egypt and Israel

Obama Talks with Egypt and Israel MOHAMMED ABED

To discuss Gaza airstrikes.

An emergency U.N. Security Council was called Wednesday night after Israel carried out rocket attacks on the Gaza Strip Wednesday, killing a Hamas military commander in response to days of rocket fire out of Gaza. President Obama also spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi Wednesday about the airstrikes, reiterating his support for Israel’s right to self-defense, but urging the country to avoid civilian casualties. The attack tragically killed the baby of BBC Arabic employee Jihad Misharawi.

Read it at The Washington Post

Clinton Wants 'Durable Outcome' In Israel

Speaking at a press conference in Israel Tuesday evening, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the United States will look for a solution that 'bolsters security for the people of Israel, improves conditions for the people of Gaza, and moves toward a comprehensive peace for all people of the region.'

  1. What's Next for Gaza? Play

    What's Next for Gaza?

  2. Anderson Cooper's Gaza Explosion Scare Play

    Anderson Cooper's Gaza Explosion Scare

  3. How Can Obama Help Israel And Palestine? Play

    How Can Obama Help Israel And Palestine?

On the Ground

First Person Account

Really Living It

Really Living It

Raphael Magarik went into a bomb shelter and decided you don't need to be there to criticize Israel.

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Israel Readies 75,000 Ground Troops

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Hard Left And Too Soft

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D.C. Protesters March For Gaza, Because That's All They Can Do

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Israel-Hamas Conflict