Let Israel say:
“Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me! For my soul trusts in You; and in the shadow of Your wings I will make my refuge, until these calamities have passed by. I will cry out to God Most High, to God who performs all things for me. HE SHALL SEND FROM HEAVEN AND SAVE ME; He reproaches the one who would swallow me up.” Psalm 57

Sirens have blared constantly across Israel’s towns since the beginning of this conflict, today has been no exception. The conflict in Gaza is intensifying as the IDF destroys more tunnels and eradicates more terrorists!

July 20th was the most difficult of days since the beginning of the IDF operation, “Enduring Rock.” As we reported yesterday, 13 soldiers from the Golani brigade where killed. It was the highest one-day death toll since the 2006 second Lebanon War against Hezbollah. Also, over 80 IDF soldiers have been wounded in the ground operation.

The main focus at this stage of the operation is on the destruction of tunnels. Yesterday, IDF soldiers discovered a tunnel that led to a Kibbutz Nativ-Asar. The length of the engineering structure exceeds two kilometers (about one and a quarter miles), according to the military, this is the most equipped of the tunnel, which they encountered. Shortly after this was discovered and eliminated, it was revealed the tunnel exit to the surface was in the dining room of Kibbutz “Kissufim.” No one can dispute rationally any other purpose for the tunnels except to kidnap Israelis or rain down death to Israeli communities.

Also reported by the IDF Press Service: A group of terrorists came through tunnels into Israel to infiltrate settlements near the border with Gaza. The 10 terrorists, as they came out of the tunnel, divided into two groups: one headed toward Kibbutz Erez, and the second toward Kibbutz Nir Am. They were spotted by observers from the field survey units and also in that area was a large force of the IDF. The first group of terrorists moved towards Kibbutz Erez, but were destroyed by the Israeli Air Force. The second group heading for Kibbutz Nir Am, was killed in a gun battle by the IDF. As a result all the terrorists were killed. Sadly, before they were killed, they were able to fire anti-tank missiles in the direction of the soldiers, several soldiers were injured.

Meanwhile, Hamas put out a report that they had kidnapped an Israeli soldier but gave no evidence. Fatah, the military wing of the Palestinian Authority (incidentally, the same bunch the US wants Israel to negotiate with) celebrated the alleged abduction handing out candy in the city of Tulkarem in Samaria (called the West Bank). Israeli Representative to the UN, Ron Prosor, said that messages about the Hamas kidnapping of an Israeli soldier were false fabrications.

A Russian internet news service announced UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon plans tomorrow, July 22, to announce a ceasefire in Gaza. He will do it in the presence of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas (now that’s a trio for you), also held in the Egyptian capital. There’s been no word from other media services I can find.

For those who are donating THANK YOU! We have ordered even more aid for the IDF and they will send their trucks to pick it up (we are not allowed to enter the areas we were before). Someone has suggested we set up an account for wounded soldiers, which we will do.

One last mildly-comical-but-not note, the leader of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh reiterated with drama, the terrorist group would fight “until the last drop of blood” in their attempts to destroy Israel. “We will continue our struggle until we liberate occupied territories, (including) Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque!” BUT…. He then said… However, if Israel is interested in a cease-fire, it must fulfill the conditions of Hamas!!!! and then he listed them and finished with, “and they must continue the power supply!!” (bet you didn’t know the reason for this statement!)

Except for Israelis, few people know, including those who constantly accuse Israel of mistreating the Palestinians of Gaza, Israel has been supplying electricity to Gaza for years. BUT, they haven’t paid and their bill, which is now 220 million shekels, ($65 million). Israelis protested across the country demanding that the government cut off electricity to the Gaza Strip as a non-lethal way to put Hamas on its knees. Said one of the protesters: “If one of us will miss a month or two payments, they turn off the electricity in our house!” He is absolutely right! I missed a gas payment… not seeing the bill, came home one weekend to no stove!

Michael Utterback