OPERATION ‘PROTECTIVE EDGE’ DAY 22: White House, Netanyahu Deny Report of Obama Demand for Unilateral Israeli Ceasefire (LIVE UPDATES)
Follow here for The Algemeiner‘s continued live updates on the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. Our report on the launch of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge can be found here. For details on the rocket attacks that led to Israel’s operation click here. To read The Algemeiner‘s live updates from previous days of the conflict click here. For more information please check our homepage.
Please refresh this page for live updates.
WRAP: The Algemeiner has concluded our live updates for tonight and will continue to report on all developments. Please stay tuned for a new live update blog tomorrow.
6:05 pm – For the third time in recent weeks, UNRWA, the UN agency that deals with Palestinian refugees, has admitted to finding rockets stored at one of its schools in Gaza.
“We condemn the group or groups who endangered civilians by placing these munitions in our school,” an UNRWA spokesman said. “This is yet another flagrant violation of the neutrality of our premises. We call on all the warring parties to respect the inviolability of UN property.”
5:12 pm – Hamas releases the below video of what it says is its attack on an IDF post near Kibbutz Nir Am yesterday. The video shows terrorists emerging from a tunnel, entering an army post and shooting Israeli soldiers. (Warning: graphic content)
3:53 pm – Below is a video report (Hebrew) from Israel’s Channel 1 on the reported harsh conversation between Obama and Netanyahu on Sunday.
In the report Oren Nahari, who reported the alleged conversation, says, “The senior American official who saw the transcripts and gave them to me, told me that the conversation was charged with tension, an unfriendly call.”
Nahari cited the American source as saying: “Obama is showing off all the expertise that he picked up as a lecturer in law, he’s condescending, he’s uncompromising, he’s not willing to listen to any counter argument. The attitude of the administration is hostile.”
He added, “The call displayed a lack of tolerance and a lack of understanding on the part of administration regarding Israel’s troubles.”
“The PM was balanced in his responses to the president,” Nahari said. “He thanked the president for the continued support of the US.”
“It’s important to note that in this conversation there were also positive things that were said, just so there’s no misunderstanding – but the bottom line is, Obama’s demand at the beginning was that Israel implement an immediate ceasefire and not continue any attacks in Gaza. The conversation ended on exactly the same point, with Obama stressing that he expects Israel, and the ministers of the cabinet, to implement his demand for an immediate ceasefire, and in the middle he also included the impossible conditions of the Qataris and the Turks to lift the siege on Gaza.”
3:49 pm – Oren Nahari, the reporter for Israel’s Channel 1 who reported the alleged harsh conversation between Netanyahu and Obama, says he stands by his report and that it was leaked to him by a “senior American official,” The times of Israel reports. Nahari did acknowledge that the reported excerpts were taken from a longer 35 minute conversation.
Israel National News reports that according to Nahari, he was given the recording during a conversation with the U.S. official on Sunday.
3:48 pm – Netanyahu tweets exactly the same denial as the White House of Channel 1’s report on Sunday’s phone call bwteen the Prime Minister and the President.
“We have seen reports of an alleged POTUS-Netanyahu transcript; neither reports nor alleged transcript bear any resemblance to reality”, the PM tweeted. “Shocking and disappointing someone would sink to misrepresenting a pvt convo between POTUS and PM in fabrications to Israeli press.”
3:43 pm – “This ‘transcript of POTUS-PM call’ report is totally false”, White House Deputy National Security Advisor, Ben Rhodes, tweets.
3:34 pm – The White House takes to Twitter to strongly deny the Channel 1 report on President Obama’s conversation with Prime Minister Netanyahu calling it “fabricated.”
“We have seen reports of an alleged POTUS-Netanyahu transcript; neither reports nor alleged transcript bear any resemblance to reality”, the National Security Council tweets. “Shocking and disappointing someone would sink to misrepresenting a pvt convo between POTUS and PM in fabrications to Israeli press”.
2:49 pm – In an explosive revelation, Israel’s Channel 1 publishes what it says is a leaked transcript of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s phone call with President Obama on Sunday. In the reported conversation Obama calls for Israel to unilaterally cease its military action in Gaza and tells Netanyahu that Israel is not in a position to reject Qatar and Turkey, backers of Hamas, as mediators in ceasefire discussions.
The full transcript is below, translated from Hebrew, courtesy of The Times of Israel:
Barack Obama: I demand that Israel agrees to an immediate, unilateral ceasefire and halt all offensive activities, in particular airstrikes.
Benjamin Netanyahu: And what will Israel receive in exchange for a ceasefire?
BO: I believe that Hamas will cease its rocket fire — silence will be met with silence.
BN: Hamas broke all five previous ceasefires. It’s a terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel.
BO: I repeat and expect Israel to stop all its military activities unilaterally. The pictures of destruction in Gaza distance the world from Israel’s position.
BN: Kerry’s proposal was completely unrealistic and gives Hamas military and diplomatic advantages.
BO: Within a week of the end of Israel’s military activities, Qatar and Turkey will begin negotiations with Hamas based on the 2012 understandings, including Israel’s commitment to removing the siege restrictions on Gaza.
BN: Qatar and Turkey are the biggest supporters of Hamas. It’s impossible to rely on them to be fair mediators.
BO: I trust Qatar and Turkey. Israel is not in the position that it can choose its mediators.
BN: I protest because Hamas can continue to launch rockets and use tunnels for terror attacks –
BO: (interrupting Netanyahu) The ball’s in Israel’s court, and it must end all its military activities.
12:15 pm – At a press conference in Washington, John Kerry defends his efforts towards achieving a ceasefire. He also says that Netanyahu recently expressed interest in achieving a truce.
“Last night we talked, and the prime minister talked to me about an idea and a possibility of a ceasefire. He raised it with me, as he has consistently,” Kerry says. “Israel itself had accepted an Egyptian ceasefire with no pre-conditions.”
10:26 am – Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot reports: A senior Hamas official, Izzat Al Risheq – considered to be Khaled Mashal’s right-hand man, denied an earlier Palestinian Authority announcement of a unilateral 72-hour ceasefire, saying: “As of now, there is no internal agreement among the Palestinians for a 72-hour break.”
9:06 pm – The IDF struck 70 terror sites overnight including treasury and propaganda related targets. Here is the IDF’s overview:
Overnight, the IDF targeted over 70 terror sites throughout the Gaza Strip which included 2 sites used as command and control centers belonging to Hamas, 4 weapon storage sites concealed within mosques, a concealed rocket launcher located near a mosque and an offensive tunnel.
In the early hours of the morning, infrastructure of the treasury wing of Hamas which is used to fund and manage Hamas’ terror activities was targeted in Gaza City.
In addition, the IDF targeted the propaganda dissemination capabilities used to broadcast the messages of its military wing. “Al-Aqsa” station broadcast capabilities are used to incite Palestinians against Israel, to transit orders and messages to Hamas operatives and to instruct Gaza residents to ignore IDF warnings regarding upcoming military activity in specific areas.
In the early hours of the morning, the IDF demolished a full terror tunnel route.
Overnight IAF aircraft targeted 10 terror operatives in the central Gaza Strip. Hits were confirmed.
Earlier this morning, militants opened fire at a Paratrooper force operating within the Gaza Strip. The force foiled the attack and neutralized the terrorists. No injuries to IDF soldiers were reported.
PREAMBLE: 8:44 am – Early on Tuesday July 8th Israel launched Operation Protective Edge aimed at stopping “the constant terror activity that Hamas is aiming at Israeli civilians.” The major Gaza initiative comes in response to a significant increase in rocket attacks from the coastal enclave over the past weeks.
Since the start of the initiative Israel has targeted over 3000 terror sites and has seen over 2600 rockets fired from Gaza at Israeli cities including Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Gedera. More than 6 million Israelis are under threat of rocket attacks and many are spending the nights in bomb shelters. Over 1000 deaths have been reported in Gaza and 53 Israeli soldiers have been killed and well as three civilians.
Two weeks ago, while Israel accepted an Egyptian proposed ceasefire, Hamas rejected it and fired volleys of rockets into Israel.
Late on Thursday July 17th the IDF launched an extensive ground offensive in Gaza.