During a special session of the Israeli security cabinet that took place yesterday, Israeli officials announced they had taken a positive view toward an Egyptian-French cease-fire proposal.

They issued an official announcement stating: “Israel thanks Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and French President Nicolas Sarkozy for their efforts to advance a solution for halting terrorist actions from Gaza and the smuggling of war materiel into Gaza from Egypt. Israel views as positive the dialogue between Egyptian and Israeli officials in order to advance these issues.”

As of 4 p.m. local time yesterday, the news headlines on all Israeli radio, TV and news sites proclaimed, “Israel had accepted the cease-fire.”

However, 20 minutes later at 4:20 p.m., during the televised funeral of Israeli soldier Staff Sgt. Alexander Mashvitzky, 21, of Beersheba, who was killed during fighting in the Gaza Strip, air-raid sirens warned BM-21 Grad rockets were headed toward Beersheba.

Everyone ran for cover at the Beersheba military cemetery, despite its lack of air-raid shelters. Two explosions rocked the city, throwing a dozen people into shock, effectively ending the cease-fire. In all, Palestinian militants fired on Israel 22 times yesterday.

At 5 p.m., the Israeli army dropped leaflets on the Rafah, Gaza border with Egypt, warning residents to leave, which was followed two hours later by a heavy bombardment of the town by the Israeli Air Force.

Eli Yishai: We Should Flatten Gaza – So That They Don’t Mess With Us Again

Following the attack on Beersheba, after Israel had agreed to a cease-fire, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Eli Yishai called for Israel to “flatten Gaza” to prevent further rocket attacks on southern Israel.

“Today, we have enormous strength, something we haven’t had for decades. Fraternity, unity of faith, mutual responsibility, which is something that I don’t remember seeing for many years,” Mr. Yishai said. “That is very important. It radiates strength to the other side, and they understand that we’re strong.”

Mr. Yishai said he believed the operation’s objective ought to be the eradication of Hamas’ regime in Gaza – not simply a demand that the Hamas stop firing.

“… This is an opportunity to crush thousands of terrorists’ houses who won’t be able to recover. I hope that this operation reaches its conclusion with great achievements and with the crushing of terrorism and Hamas,” Mr. Yishai said. “I’m of the opinion that we need to flatten them, to destroy thousands of houses and tunnels and industries. Gaza can be destroyed so that they understand that they shouldn’t mess with us any more.”

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.

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