TOPICS > World

As Gaza and Tel Aviv Remain Under Fire, Diplomatic Efforts Begin on Truce

November 19, 2012 at 12:00 AM EDT
LISTEN SEE PODCASTS

TRANSCRIPT

JUDY WOODRUFF: Egypt’s leaders tried today to mediate a truce between Israel and Hamas, but there was no outward sign of progress. Instead, the two sides traded hundreds more airstrikes and rocket attacks.

In Gaza, Palestinians reported more than 100 people killed so far, more than half of them civilians.

We have two reports from Independent Television News, beginning with John Ray in Gaza.  

JOHN RAY: Two sides talking peace, but conducting a war, barely a lull in hostilities before an Israeli airstrike killed another militant leader inside a building used by local and world media.

This was already the day of the dead, when body followed body from morgue to cemetery shrouded in the green flag of Hamas and carried along on a seething river of fury. “No surrender,” this man shouts. “It’s either us or Israel in this land.”

These are the dead from one family: four children who died with their father and mother, their aunts and their sisters. The house where they lived and perished in an instant has been wiped from the earth.

Whether this was the result of a misguided missile isn’t clear. Israel says it was targeting a Hamas official. But both sides know that this grim spectacle adds to the pressure on Israel to hold its fire.

Israel says the high price it extracts from its enemies is its only guarantee of safety. But here in Gaza, often that means it’s the innocents bearing the cost. And that only fuels the hatred and the thirst for revenge.

Fahmi Al Dalou survived the explosion that killed so many of his family. He has run out of hope.

FAHMI AL DALOU, Gaza: Everything is worse than before. Every day, every single day, it’s getting worse and worse and worse.

JOHN RAY: Day six of this war began with the destruction of the Gaza sports stadium, used, Israel claims, as a training camp for terrorists. This conflict has not yet run its course, nor claimed its last life.

JEFFREY BROWN: On the Israeli side, there were no new casualties, despite more than 100 rockets fired from Gaza. Military officials credited a new defense system.

John Irvine has that side of the story.

JOHN IRVINE: A missile-hunting missile whooshes over our heads and finds what it’s looking for. The Israelis have just taken out a Palestinian rocket fired from Gaza.

The Iron Dome interceptor system has given Israel a protective force field. When it’s summoned into action, the odds are that incoming ordnance will be sought and destroyed.

That missile has a 90 percent chance of…

(MISSILE FIRING)

JOHN IRVINE: This remarkable system has saved hundreds of lives and is the main reason this conflict has not escalated — so far, anyway.

This is a Palestinian missile being shot down over Tel Aviv Last night. If one of these got through and exploded in the city instead, the Israeli army would have invaded Gaza by now and the death toll would be much greater.

ALON BEN-DAVID, Defense Expert: I mean, we wouldn’t have been standing here and you wouldn’t have seen Tel Aviv as lively as it is today without the Iron Dome. This would have been a completely different conflict. So, this changes the game.

JOHN IRVINE: However, some Israelis living closer to Gaza have had enough of the conflict and are heading out of range of it.

As they go north, more armor is moving south, bolstering the already sizable force poised to go into Gaza if ordered.

That they haven’t been so far is down to Iron Dome. It’s more peacemaker than weapon. It’s what’s made this just an air war, for the time being, at least.