PM asserts Israel will neutralize Hamas,
either militarily or diplomatically; 13 Golani Brigade soldiers killed overnight in heavy fighting focused on Hamas stronghold of Shejaiya, where Palestinians report 60 killed


The Times of Israel liveblogged events as they unfolded through Sunday, the 13th day of Operation Protective Edge. The IDF announced Sunday evening that 13 Golani Brigade soldiers died overnight in fighting in Gaza, raising the Israeli army death toll to 18. The soldiers were killed in heavy combat in the Hamas stronghold of Shejaiya, which also left 60 Palestinians dead, Gaza Health Ministry officials said. Israel said the neighborhood is a Hamas stronghold, and that the army had warned residents to evacuate it. At day’s end, PM Netanyahu vowed that Hamas would be neutralized, and US Secretary said he was heading to Cairo in a ceasefire bid. (Monday’s liveblog is here.)APTOPIX-Mideast-Israe_Horo-121-635x357

Besides Qatar, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is also visiting Bahrain. During a public event in Manama, Abbas reportedly spoke of his efforts stop the fighting in Gaza, according to local reports.


Abbas was greeted by Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, who condemned Israel’s “brutal” operation in Gaza but expressed support for the Egyptian ceasefire proposal.


In a speech, the tiny Gulf state’s ruler “highlighted Bahrain’s support for Palestine and its people and the need to reach a just, comprehensive and durable solution for the Palestinian cause and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, a full Israeli withdrawal from Arab territories occupied in 1967, an immediate halt to Israeli settlement activities, and the commitment to international legitimacy resolutions related to the Arab peace initiative,” Bahrain News Agency reports.


King Hamad further issued a “strong denunciation and rejection to the brutal Israeli aggression on Gaza,” according to the report. He calls on the international community to compel all parties to respect the international law, to immediately halt the fighting and “provide protection for the innocent Palestinian people.”


Jerusalem and Manama never maintained diplomatic relations, but, in 2005, King Hamad boasted to an American official that his state has contacts with Israel “at the intelligence/security level (i.e., with Mossad),” according to a different secret US diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks. The king also indicated willingness “to move forward in other areas, although it will be difficult for Bahrain to be the first.”


In 2009, the Bahraini foreign minister signaled that he was willing to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to try to advance the peace process, but ultimately decided not to go ahead with the plan.


Gaza Health Ministry spokesperson Ashraf al-Qidra updates the casualty toll in Israel’s Operation Protective Edge to 343 killed, 2,600 injured.


On the Israeli side, two civilians and three soldiers have been killed, and two civilians died of heart attacks during air raid sirens.



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