Israel

JERUSALEM – Israel declared a unilateral cease-fire in its 22-day offensive that turned Gaza neighborhoods into battlegrounds and dealt a stinging blow to the Islamic militants of Hamas, but the government said its troops will stay in the Palestinian territory for now.

Both the New York Times and Salon have been looking into the role the USA has into Israel’s military and the Gaza war. Despite the fact that we are in a recession, we are still spending a large amount of money to fund Israel and their war.

Israel said Friday it was close to winding up its offensive against Hamas, and diplomats in Washington said the U.S. will provide assurances on ending weapons smuggling into Gaza as part of a cease-fire.

Israel shelled the United Nations headquarters in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, engulfing the compound and a warehouse in fire and destroying thousands of pounds of food and humanitarian supplies intended for Palestinian refugees.

Al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden urged Muslims to launch a jihad against Israel and condemned Arab governments as allies of the Jewish state in a new message aimed at harnessing anger in the Mideast over the Gaza offensive.

Israeli ground troops battled Palestinian militants in the streets of a densely populated Gaza City neighborhood early Tuesday, destroying dozens of homes and sending terrified residents running for cover as gunfire and explosions echoed in the distance.

All this talk of a proportionate response and Israel defending itself seems to be off the mark by the numbers. If a man hits you and you beat up his whole family is that proportionate response? Is shooting a man for throwing a rock at your window defending yourself?

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights called Friday for an independent war crimes investigation in Gaza after reports that Israeli forces shelled a house full of Palestinian civilians, killing 30 people.

Israeli jets and helicopters bombarded Gaza Friday and Hamas responded with a barrage of rockets on two cities as both sides defied a U.N. call for an immediate cease-fire.

From Phillip Pullella at Reuters: Relations between the Vatican and Israel grew tense on Thursday when the Jewish state condemned an aide to Pope Benedict for calling Gaza “a big concentration camp.”