All Rise For Her Ethicalness

All Rise For Her Ethicalness
By Peter Hannaford
Published 11/22/2006 12:06:49 AM

“We are going to have the most ethical Congress in the nation’s history.” So said House Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi in the afterglow of the Democrats’ Congressional election victory. As it turns out, ethics are malleable. They are in the eye of the beholder.

She pulled out all the stops last week to get the Democratic caucus to elect Rep. John Murtha as Majority Leader of the House. Stories surfaced about Murtha’s involvement in the Abscam caper of 1980. In that one, FBI agents, posing as representatives of an Arab sheik, offered bribes to some members of Congress. Several took them and went down for the count, legally and politically. Murtha was recorded on tape as saying to the fake Arabs, “I’m not interested…at this point.” He lucked out, the only lawmaker involved in Abscam who wasn’t charged with a crime.

Just before the vote for Majority Leader, the Associated Press noted Murtha’s “penchant for trading votes for pork projects.” A bill is afoot to publicize pork engineered by a member in his/her own district, leaving untouched his/her votes for the largess elsewhere. It appears that is the kind Murtha favors.

Murtha, having lost the race to Steny Hoyer, 146-89, says he will go back to his “little subcommittee.” That’s the Defense Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee. It oversees the Pentagon budget, including spending on the war in Iraq. Hence, plenty of opportunities to make mischief and dispense or withhold pork.

It is said that Ms. Nancy, fresh from the defeat of ethicist Murtha, now wants to bypass the currently ranking minority member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Jane Harman, and give the chairmanship in 2007 to Alcee Hastings of Florida. Hastings, another leading ethicist, had been a federal judge, was impeached, convicted and removed from office for accepting a bribe. Nancy Pelosi voted in favor of the action. That was then; this is now.

Over on the Senate side we have Senator Hillary Clinton who redefined “frugality” in her reelection campaign. She did not have serious opposition and won by 30 points; however, to make sure of that, she spent $30 million, more than any other campaign in this year’s election cycle.

Mrs. Clinton pinched every penny to make sure her donors were getting their money’s worth (wink, wink, it’s nearly 2008). In the process she made many a florist, caterer and restaurateur happy. In Las Vegas her campaign spent $6,585 on flowers. In Glendale, Colorado it was $5,397.50 for a caterer and in Manhattan, $80,000 at the Tavern on the Green. She also spent several thousand dollars on hair styling and makeup. After all, one must look one’s best, lest the voters flee to the opponent.

There is not much Her Ethicalness in the House of Representatives can do about a free-spending senator, but at least she has the satisfaction of knowing that her coronation will take place next January. Hillary will have to wait until January 2009.

With Ms. Pelosi stumbling twice in her quest for “the most ethical Congress in the nation’s history,” what are the odds she will achieve her goal? Very good if you believe that shrimps can be taught to whistle and pigs to fly.

Nov. 7 winners: The big media, Iran, Al Qaida, Euro-weenies, and oh yes, the Democrats

‘More of the same’ expected in Gaza

‘More of the same’ expected in Gaza

The IDF will continue to carry out operations in the Gaza Strip, some on a larger scale than those conducted so far, Defense Minister Amir Peretz said Wednesday after the security cabinet convened to discuss the situation in Gaza and the growing threat Kassam rockets pose to southern Israel.

Ministers participating in the meeting said the ideas raised in the meeting were “more of the same,” Israel Radio reported.

The security cabinet instructed the IDF to draw up plans for a large-scale operation in Gaza and present it for approval at a future date.

  • Analysis: Creating a new Gaza realityFollowing the meeting, Shas MK Yitzhak Cohen said that Israel must exact a price for every citizen harmed by Kassam fire.

    “If a rocket falls in a school or a residential neighborhood, we have to respond in kind,” he said.

    Fearing a further escalation in Kassam rocket fire, the defense establishment has begun putting the finishing touches on plans to launch a massive Defensive Shield-like operation into the Gaza Strip.

    Doubtful that Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas will succeed in convincing terror factions to accept a cease-fire, defense officials are seriously considering reoccupying the Gaza Strip in an effort to stop Kassam rocket attacks. “We are not left with many options,” a high-ranking defense official told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday. “What we know can work at stopping the Kassams is a major operation and the reoccupation of the Gaza Strip.”

    The plans that have been drawn up for the major operation in the Gaza Strip include the calling up of reserve units, as well as the possibility of implementing military rule of law in the Palestinian territory.

    Before the meeting, officials in the Prime Minister’s Office said the two main issues on the agenda would be the firing of Kassam rockets from the Gaza Strip and the arms smuggling and buildup of terrorist infrastructure inside the region.

    While Olmert and Vice Premier Shimon Peres have come out in recent days against a widespread military action in Gaza, other voices in the security cabinet – foremost those of ministers Avigdor Lieberman and Avi Dichter – have called for more aggressive action.

    At Wednesday’s cabinet meeting, the ministers also heard assessments of the affect of Tuesday’s assassination in Beirut of Pierre Gemayel on Lebanon and Syria.

    Olmert, in the wake of the assassination, spoke Tuesday with Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi and expressed his hope that the assassination would not destabilize the region. Olmert’s office announced that he would meet Prodi in Rome on December 13.

    Olmert told Prodi that “there is progress in contacts” with Abbas, and that European initiatives – such as the one that Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said Spain, France and Italy would sponsor – only made things more difficult.

    Regarding the contacts with Abbas, Olmert’s chief of staff Yoram Turbowicz and his foreign policy adviser Shalom Turgeman was scheduled to meet Wednesday with Abbas confidants Sa’eb Erekat and Rafik Husseini.

    The meeting comes three days after Peretz infuriated Olmert and set off a political maelstrom by independently talking with Abbas about a cease-fire. Officials in the Prime Minister’s Office said Wednesday’s talks between the Israeli and Palestinian officials would likely focus on trying to set up a meeting between Olmert and Abbas.

    While Olmert has said he was interested in meeting Abbas at the earliest opportunity, his office said Abbas was conditioning such a meeting on the release of Palestinian prisoners, something Olmert has made clear would not be done until kidnapped Cpl. Gilad Shalit was released. While a possible cease-fire was also likely to be discussed, there is a great deal of skepticism in the security establishment about whether Abbas can impose a cease-fire.

    Turbowicz and Turgeman have met Husseini and Erekat a number of times in the past, and Olmert and Abbas’s offices continue to maintain regular contact.

  • What American journalists should be thankful for

    Obama (Democratic ‘Rock Star’) Calls for Cut and Run…

    YouTube, MySpace and jihad

    YouTube, MySpace and jihad

    Via our frequent contributor Noel Sheppard writing on Newsbusters, we learn that YouTube and MySpace are being used to recruit and train jihadis.

    First Coast News in Jacksonville, Florida, did a fabulous piece Tuesday on how terrorists are using websites like YouTube and MySpace to recruit, train, and send messages to their cadre (hat tip to our friend Joe Myers). Some of the transcript was posted at, and the absolutely must-see video is here:

    It’s a video showing a room full of children sharing their dreams. They are not excited about being doctors, lawyers or teachers. Instead, the children shout, “We are the nation of Hezbollah. I shall sacrifice my life for Allah.”

    A group of children in training to be a mujahideen, or holy warrior.

    Online there are videos of those warriors. One suicide bomber announces he is readying himself to blow up a group of American soldiers.

    The parent companies News Corp. and Google must now be aware of this. We await news of their response.

    Thomas Lifson  11 22 06

    Pelosi’s Slap at Security

    Pelosi’s Slap at Security
    By Josh Manchester
    New York Post | November 22, 2006

    House Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi intends to install Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.) as chairman of the House Intelligence Com mittee. But Hastings poses an incredible security risk. He was removed from office as a federal judge in 1989 for taking a $150,000 bribe to render light sentences and other perks to two mobsters. And his latest disclosure forms list $2 million to $7 million in liabilities (mostly for legal fees).

    Were Hastings a regular Joe applying for a security clearance of the lowest kind for a job at the CIA or FBI, he’d be rapidly and roundly denied. His history of public corruption, coupled with his precarious financial situation, makes him ripe to be targeted for espionage.

    Most complaints about Hastings’ possible installation hinge on the Democrats’ hypocrisy – after all, they just won Congress by complaining about the GOP’s “culture of corruption.” Others note that Rep. Jane Harman, now the committee’s top Democrat, is more qualified.

    Yet the national-security issues are far more important. Those who know Hastings may protest, and loudly. But people with patterns of financial irresponsibility or corruption such as Hastings have proven to be security risks since time immemorial.

    Consider the kind of information that would become immediately available to a Chairman Hastings – the most secret of top-secret information. Intelligence Committee members have access to what’s called “top-secret special compartmentalized information” (TS-SCI). This stuff is so sensitive that its aspects are divided into four “compartments” so that anyone privy to one compartment will not have access to the other three. The subject matter includes cryptography, satellite intelligence, data on our intel agencies and details of our nuclear arsenal. Even if Hastings has access to only one of these areas, it would be incredibly risky.

    It’s hard to believe that such sensitive info could be so easily accessed by a man who once sold his office to two mobsters for $150,000. It’s harder to believe that a responsible leader of either party would gladly want Hastings to take the reins of the intel committee.

    This is also a slap in the face to everyone who works in our intelligence bureaucracies – earning a pittance compared to a member of Congress, and often waiting months or even years for the necessary background checks to do their jobs. It will be incredibly demoralizing to see a convicted bribe-taker get the chairmanship. One source who has waited over a year for a background check told me that it would be “hypocrisy” for Hastings to be the chair. Indeed, it’s insult enough that he already sits on the committee.

    There may even be a few who, for whatever reason, have been approached for information, and who now, seeing a corrupt official at the helm in Congress, will think, “Why not?”

    Why not get someone else to lead the Intelligence Committee instead?

    Rep. Pelosi claims to care to about these issues. She called the Plame scandal – involving the Bush administration’s leak of Valerie Plame’s status as a covert CIA operative – “an unprecedented and shameful event in American history” that had “damaged U.S. national security, specifically the effectiveness of U.S. intelligence-gathering.” Her drive to put Hastings in charge of the Intelligence Committee suggests just the opposite: She’s only interested in America’s security when it suits her partisan agenda.

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    Jordanian jihadist: British are enemies of Islam, and Allah blessed him for killing them

    Jordanian jihadist: British are enemies of Islam, and Allah blessed him for killing them

    Where did Nabeel Ahmed Issa al-Jaourah get that idea? Could it be from Qur’an passages such as 9:111, which guarantees Paradise to those who kill for Allah? It says: “Allah hath purchased of the believers their persons and their goods; for theirs (in return) is the garden (of Paradise): they fight in His cause, and slay and are slain”? And there are many more where that one came from. We are always told these passages do not mean what they clearly do mean, and that no Muslims take them literally, and yet again and again we see that they do.

    “Jordanian: British are enemies of Islam,” by Shafika Mattar for AP, with thanks to DP:

    AMMAN, Jordan — A Jordanian accused of opening fire on Western tourists in Amman’s Roman amphitheater, killing a Briton and wounding six others, insisted in court Wednesday that God “blessed” him for the attack and said the British are enemies of Islam.Prosecutors say Nabeel Ahmed Issa al-Jaourah fired a pistol at Westerners visiting the historic site in September, killing British accountant Christopher Stokes. Five other tourists from Australia, Britain, the Netherlands and New Zealand were wounded, along with a Jordanian police officer.

    “God blessed me when I killed a British man and hurt others, because they are fighting the Prophet and his soldiers since (the) Balfour Declaration,” al-Jaourah told the military court. In the 1917 document, the British government promised to support the creation of Israel.

    “The British people … insulted the honorable Quran and women who wear the head cover,” said al-Jaourah, who is a Jordanian citizen of Palestinian origin. He was apparently referring to comments by British House of Commons leader Jack Straw, who said in October that face-covering Muslim veils inhibit communication.

    Al-Jaourah has pleaded innocent to murder charges. But after his comments, the prosecutor said he had confessed and urged the court “to hand him the harshest punishment.”

    Al-Jaourah faces a possible sentence of death by hanging if convicted. The trial resumes in a week.

    The Sept. 4 shooting was a rare attack on tourists in Jordan. Prosecutors have said al-Jaourah acted alone and had no links to terrorist groups….

    In a separate case Wednesday, Jordan’s military court sentenced two Jordanians of Palestinian origin to 10 years in prison for trying to infiltrate Israel with automatic weapons to carry out attacks.

    Another defendant in the case, Osama Taleb al-Mahdawi, 25, from the West Bank town of Tulkarem, was sentenced to a year in prison, and two other defendants were acquitted. The five defendants, arrested Jan. 8, lived in the northern refugee camp of Irbid.

    After the judge read the verdict, the militants shouted, “God is great,” knelt on the floor, and started to pray.

    In another trial, an Iraqi accused of being a member of al-Qaida in Iraq railed at the presiding judge, praised Osama Bin Laden and called Jordan’s King Abdullah II an infidel.

    “Jordan is one of the bases for the American attacks on Iraq and trains the Iraqi police who, with the Shiites, want to destroy Iraq,” Ziad Khalaf Raja al-Karbouly said. “I accuse all the rulers of this era of being infidels, including (King) Abdullah bin al-Hussein.”

    He told the court that he is “proud of being a member of al-Qaida and a soldier for Osama Bin Laden,” adding that, “We in al-Qaida, will continue our holy war and our reward will be the dear virgins of heaven.”

    Good luck with that, Ziad.

    Wal-Mart relents, boycott called off

    Wal-Mart relents, boycott called off
    Family advocates claim victory as retailer says
    it won’t give to controversial issues like ‘gays’

    Posted: November 21, 2006
    9:50 p.m. Eastern

    By Bob Unruh
    © 2006

    The American Family Association is dropping its planned boycott of Wal-Mart for Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year, after the corporation said it would clean up its corporate relationships.

    “Respect for the individual is one of the core values that have made us into the company we are today. We take pride in the fact that we treat every customer, every supplier and every member of our individual communities fairly and equally,” the company said in a statement on its Wal-Mart Facts website late today.

    “Wal-Mart will not make corporate contributions to support or oppose highly controversial issues unless they directly relate to our ability to serve our customers,” the company said.

    The AFA immediately suggested to its constituents, who had been asked to boycott the retailer on what often is the single-most important day for retailers in their fiscal year, that they send the company a ‘Thank you.’

    “You have made a difference!” the AFA said. “(We) are pleased with this announcement.”

    The family-friendly association, along with other groups, had launched the protest campaign because of Wal-Mart’s new affiliation with the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, and several other actions families viewed as less-than-friendly.

    “Wal-Mart does not have a position on same sex marriage and we do not give preference to gay or lesbian suppliers. Wal-Mart does have a strong commitment to diversity among our associates and against discrimination everywhere,” the company said.

    “We are working hard to make our corporate contributions reflect the values of our customers, communities, and associates. As Sam Walton said, ‘Each Wal-Mart store should reflect the values of its customers and support the vision they hold for their community,” the company statement said.

    AFA officials said because of the company’s announcement, they would no longer encourage people to not shop at Wal-Mart or Sam’s Club Friday and Saturday. Those days immediately after Thanksgiving often mean the difference between a good year or bad for a retailer.

    “We believe that Wal-Mart will remain neutral in cultural battles,” the AFA statement said.

    The association, as WND reported, was among the first of several to issue calls intended to get the attention of the retail chain.

    Just in the past few days, another group decided to launching an “information explosion” intended to tell the tens of millions of customers at Wal-Mart Friday that some of their dollars will be going to support a group that works to discriminate against Christians with “hate crimes” legislation and wants marriage expanded to involve same-sex couples.

    “We’re out to help an old friend. Wal-Mart has been a friend of ours for a long, long time,” said Flip Benham, the director of Operation Save America who is working to help coordinate the new efforts by the outreach.

    The AFA had said its boycott effort was to wake Wal-Mart up.

    “Wal-Mart should remember that the majority of people in this country do not support things like same-sex marriage, and don’t want the company giving money to groups that do support it,” American Family Association Chairman Donald E. Wildmon said earlier. “Shopping at retailers other than Wal-Mart might remind the company of that fact.”

    The plan was launched with a different agenda. It is to approach customers directly, to let them know about the company’s moral agenda, and to bring people together in a series of events that will convince the company to return to the values of founder Sam Walton.

    Those were described in a recent WND column by Pat Boone, who knew Walton personally.

    In his commentary, Boone told how he met with Walton, and at Walton’s request offered ideas on how to feature gospel music in his stores.

    “Already at more than 4,000 stores, his music department offered most everything, and he was personally concerned that some of it was anything but family friendly. Increasingly, he would be informed by customers that a number of albums contained profanity, strong and explicit sexual material, angry and violent imagery, all kinds of stuff he didn’t want to sell anybody – but he didn’t know what to do about it, since neither he nor his employees had time to listen to all the records the national distributors would place in his racks,” Boone wrote.

    He than told Walton about the Parents Music Resource Committee, which checked lyric contents and lobbied to have recording companies print the lyrics on the outside of the records or put advisories on the packaging.

    Walton loved it, Boone reported. “It was responsible; it was family friendly. It was right – simply the right thing to do.”

    “We are not protesting. We are proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ,” says the SaveWalMart organization website about Friday’s plans.

    The plans are to have people choose the Wal-Mart nearest either their home or church on Friday, and be there all day to hand out information about the developments involving the company.

    “If you have a portable sound system, let the preacher boys proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ on it! We are a Gospel people! As always, we are going out because we love Wal-Mart and want to see the corporation turn back to the Christian ethic of its founder, Sam Walton,” the website instructs.

    Benham said so far there are plans to demonstrate against the “satan-inspired” agenda at “hundreds” of the stores across the nation. He said it is “foolish” for a company even such as Wal-Mart to drive away an entire classification of customers.

    However, he said it’s a situation almost like blackmail or extortion. He called it “demonic” for its reach well beyond what logic could allow.

    In one city, for example, Benham’s workers offered a regional newspaper nearly $17,000 for an ad about its campaign, nearly double the routine $8,500 for such an ad, he said. The newspaper turned down the ad, which included statements such as, “God blessed Wal-Mart because founder Sam Walton chose to honor Jesus Christ and run his business according to biblical principles!”

    The ad, which also has been prepared as a handout for people to give away on Friday, also said customers should “ask your local Wal-Mart Store Manager” about the changing moral values, and either call Wal-Mart or e-mail the company about the concerns.

    “Wal-Mart is changing! It is departing from the rock from which it was hewn. The faith and love for Jesus Christ and His Word by Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart, is being trashed before our very eyes,” the ad says.

    The facts it cites are basic. Wal-Mart recently joined the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, contributing at least $25,000 to the cause with promises to sponsor various homosexual events.

    Benham told WND that the information campaign was a beginning.

    “Our hope is that thousands and thousands and thousands of people will be put on notice as to what is happening in Wal-Mart,” he said.

    Boone noted that he was shocked when the company agreed to donate a percentage of its online sales directly to a Washington, D.C., community for homosexuals.

    “The man I knew was a conscientious deacon at the Methodist church, and his own family are wonderful people, still honoring their mom, Helen,” Boone wrote. “He was a rock ribbed ‘traditional values’ guy…”

    “The devil is forcing our schools, businesses, government, and churches to honor those things which are an abomination to God. Christians must take a stand! It’s time for our theology to become biography in the streets! It’s time for us to come out of the closet!” the information campaign website says.

    “We are not a protest. We are a proclamation that Jesus Christ is Lord! Wal-Mart can be saved and so can America. It begins with God’s Church!” the website said.

    Wal-Mart, after confirming to WND that it did establish a relationship with the homosexual business group, has been focusing on “diversity” in responses to people concerned about the company’s moral drift.

    To Pastor Rick Barnard’s note that he couldn’t support such a company, Wal-Mart said, “Working with the NGLCC, as we do with other minority enterprise leaders, is our way to help educate corporate America and the public as to the economic benefits of a diverse workplace and the power of creating mutually beneficial relationships with the LGBT and the LGBT-friendly business community.”

    Florida customer Lawrence Reves said he supported Wal-Mart “when the Democrats targeted you, but THIS is something I can not consciously continue to do.”

    “Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.’s commitment to nondiscrimination underscores our understanding of and appreciation for diversity, as well as the growth and influence of emerging consumer markets in the United States, including the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community,”‘ the company responded.

    “American businesses … are being blackmailed by the devil himself. They are being forced by the ‘politically correct’ dogma (abortion, homosexuality, etc) of our day to accept his terms. If one chooses to defy this dogma, he will be forever branded as a right-wing, bigoted fascist, bent on forcing his own religion (Christianity) down everyone else’s throat. If the Church or any business will not accept these terms, or truly honors God, there will be hell to pay!” said the SaveWalMart site. “Now Satan has Wal-Mart in his line of fire!”

    The company also recently offered for sale online a book promoting lesbian sex to girls still young enough to be playing with Barbies, and as WND reported, pulled it when the offering was publicized.

    The company also has had several workers quit their jobs and plan protests because of the support for the “gay causes.”

    Tony Perkins, of the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C., said the problem is that the homosexual business group isn’t just that. While the NGLCC “professes to promote the ‘interests of the LGBT business community,’ this is not all they have done,” he said.

    He said the group recently described efforts to defend traditional marriage as an attempt to “write discrimination into the Constitution …” and it has advocated attaching a pro-homosexual “hate crimes” amendment to legislation intended to protect children from violent sex offenders.

    AFA boycotts in the past have proven effective, even though the organization doesn’t take credit for all of the impacts. An example is the Ford Motor Company which more than a year ago embraced the “gay” community in its advertising and programs.

    The AFA and dozens of other Christian groups joined in a boycott, and since then Ford has lost hundreds of millions of dollars, laid off tens of thousands of workers and is trying to regroup and stabilize.

    UN Envoy Shrugs Off Rocket Attacks on Israel

    UN Envoy Shrugs Off Rocket Attacks on Israel
    By Julie Stahl Jerusalem Bureau Chief
    November 21, 2006

    Jerusalem ( – The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights got a firsthand look at life in an Israeli city under siege on Tuesday when Palestinians launched Kassam rockets at the city of Sderot while Louise Arbour was visiting there.

    But an Israeli official said Arbour’s reaction to the attack was “extremely disturbing.”

    U.N. spokesman in Jerusalem Christopher Gunnes said Arbour had just arrived in Sderot, which has been under daily rocket barrages from the Gaza Strip, when two Kassam rockets hit the city.

    A rocket — one of five launched at Israel Tuesday morning — hit a frozen chicken packing plant, critically injuring one man.

    Arbour visited the site of the attack and expressed shock, said Gunnes. But Arbour’s position is that “Kassam rockets are illegal because they are too inaccurate to distinguish between combatants and civilians,” Gunnes said by telephone.

    According to Gunnes, Arbour’s view is that since the beginning of July, nearly 400 Palestinians have been killed and only four Israelis — so “the Israeli army [is acting] with almost total impunity.”

    The Israeli government had no official response to Arbour’s comments, but one Israeli official told Cybercast News Service that Arbour’s reaction while standing in a place that was being targeted by Palestinian rockets was “extremely disturbing.”

    She “wholeheartedly” expressed her sympathy about the death of Palestinians in an unintentional Israeli attack but did not even find it in her heart to express the same for Israeli civilians who are being targeted by Palestinians, said the official, who asked not to be named.

    Arbour’s spokesman Jose Diaz said that Israel has the responsibility to protect its citizens but must do so “within the human rights and humanitarian law.”

    The Israeli official said that Arbour’s comments sounded as if she were encouraging the rocket fire to continue — as long as Palestinian militants could manage to hit military targets. “It’s very unbalanced,” the official said.

    Arbour, a former Canadian Supreme Court Justice and prosecutor for war crimes trials in Rwanda and Yugoslavia, is on a five-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories.

    She also visited Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, where a home was hit by errant Israeli artillery fire.

    The newly formed Human Rights Council met last week and condemned Israel for the third time since it was newly revamped five months ago. Israel has long complained of unfair treatment at the hands of U.N. bodies.

    The U.N. General Assembly on Friday passed a resolution condemning Israel and calling for an international investigation into the incident in Beit Hanoun several weeks ago when Israeli artillery shells — aiming at rocket launching sites — instead hit a residential area. The unintended attack on civilians killed 18 Palestinians, mostly women and children. Israel blamed the mishap on a technical failure.

    Meanwhile, Hamas threatened on Tuesday to continue to launch rockets at Sderot until all its residents have fled.

    Hamas spokesman Abu Obeida, said there was no limit to the firing of rockets, as Hamas would prove this in the coming days. Abu Obeida advised the residents of Sderot to leave even though the Israeli government is trying to convince them that it can stop the daily attacks from Gaza. “But we say we will continue to launch rockets,” radio reports quoted Abu Obeida as saying.

    Israeli special forces and armored vehicles pushed deep into Gaza City overnight in an operation that was intended to arrest a Hamas militant, the Israeli army said.

    A top Hamas local commander was shot and killed when exchanges of fire erupted between Israeli troops and Palestinian gunmen.