United Nations Implicitly Recognizes State of Palestine

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United Nations Implicitly Recognizes State of Palestine
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The Palestinian people's campaign to upgrade its international stature finally harvested its fruit when the General Assembly voted in approval of changing Palestine's status from a "non-member entity" to a "non-member state" yesterday, with 41 abstentions and opposition from the U.S., Israel and seven other nations. While its "observer" status is still far away from being recognized as a sovereign state in the U.N., the news of the symbolic victory was greeted by a highly emotional celebration in the streets of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Photo credit: Reuters

What is Iron Dome?

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What is Iron Dome?
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If you've been following the news coverage of the Israeli Defense Forces' Operation "Pillar of Cloud" in Gaza, you probably heard about something called "Iron Dome," as seen in this recently uploaded video that's been making the rounds in the news. Iron Dome is the Israeli military's mobile air defense system designed to track, intercept and destroy short-range rockets or artillery shells launched from distances as far as 43 miles away (shown left). Since the beginning of the hostile exchange two days ago, the system has managed to shoot down at least 184 rockets out of nearly 500 that had been fired into Israeli territories, which isn't the highest performance record in its service history, but still, not too shabby.

You Saw This Coming of the Day

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You Saw This Coming of the Day
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As expected, a fog of war is looming over the Gaza Strip (and on Twitter) following the Israeli Defense Force's air strikes yesterday that killed the Hamas military commander Ahmed al-Jabari and Hamas' retaliatory missile attacks overnight. As of 5:30 p.m. (ET) today, three Israelis and 19 Palestinians have been confirmed as casualties of the hostile exchange, during which 250 target sites were struck by the IDF and 274 rocket missiles were launched by Hamas militants. The toll is expected to rise as IDF reportedly began mobilizing 30,000 reserves along the border. Meanwhile on Twitter:

  • The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) took the news of airstrike operations to Twitter as its jets began attacking.
  • Within minutes, Hamas announced that its top leader had been assassinated by Israeli planes via Twitter.
  • Around the same time, IDF spokesman's office uploaded videos of air strike footage onto YouTube.
  • Twitter users responded with pro-Israeli #PillarOfDefense and pro-Palestinian #GazaUnderAttack hashtags.



You Saw This Coming of the Day is a feature series following the latest news in current events that have been on the ticking clock, as well as news and social media commentaries that are predictable or cyclical in nature.

Say What Now of the Day

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Say What Now of the Day
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Rep. Joe Pitts, R-Pa., is doing some major damage control after he urged "negotiations between a vegetable and a dead man" in a recent letter to a constituent:

With the global war against terrorism, it is now incumbent on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Yasir Arafat to clamp down on Palestinian extremists that have perpetuated violence and to restart a peace process that has collapsed.

The constituent happened to be the father of Ian Rhodewalt, a journalist working for Mondoweiss, a news site that covers the Middle East and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As Arafat died in 2004 and Sharon has been in a coma since 2006, Rhodewalt asks: "I wonder to whom Pitts thought he was giving those standing ovations when (current Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu spoke to Congress?"

[timesofisrael]

Successful Prisoner Swap of the Day

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Successful Prisoner Swap of the Day
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Successful Prisoner Swap of the Day: Gilad Shalit, the first Israeli soldier returned alive from captivity in 26 years, was reunited with his family early this morning at Tel Nof Airbase after nearly 2,000 days in the hands of Hamas.

"I'm very emotional," Shalit said