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On this day July 15, 1099

Christian soldiers take the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem after a week siege.

Throughout the siege, attacks were made on the walls, but each one was repulsed. The Genoese troops, led by commander Guglielmo Embriaco, had previously dismantled the ships in which the Genoeses came to the Holy Land; Embriaco, using the ship’s wood, made some siege towers.

These were rolled up to the walls on the night of July 14 much to the surprise and concern of the garrison. On the morning of July 15, Godfrey’s tower reached his section of the walls near the northeast corner gate, and according to the Gesta two Flemish knights from Tournai named Lethalde and Engelbert were the first to cross into the city, followed by Godfrey, his brother Eustace, Tancred, and their men. Raymond’s tower was at first stopped by a ditch, but as the other crusaders had already entered, the Muslim guarding the gate surrendered to Raymond. Read More…

On this day July 12, 2006

Hezbollah initiates Operation True Promise with a cross-border attack committed by Lebanon-based Hezbollah special forces on an Israeli military patrol on 12 July 2006 on Israeli territory.

The operation was originally named “Freedom for Samir Al-Quntar and his brothers” by Hezbollah, but it was shortened to “Operation Truthful Promise”. Using rockets fired on several Israeli towns as a diversion, Hezbollah militants crossed from Lebanon into Israel and ambushed two Israeli Army vehicles, killing three Israeli soldiers and capturing two.

Hezbollah demanded the release of Lebanese prisoners held by Israel in exchange for the release of the abducted soldiers. Israel refused and launched a large-scale military campaign across Lebanon in response to the Hezbollah incursion. This marked the start of the 2006 Lebanon War. Two years later, on July 16, 2008, the bodies of the two abducted soldiers were returned to Israel by Hezbollah in exchange for Samir Kuntar and four Hezbollah prisoners.

Irish aid ship seized by Israeli Naval Forces

The Rachel Corrie, an Irish aid ship, was seized by the Israeli Naval Forces, as it attempted to challenge the blockade of Gaza.

The military said its forces boarded the 1,200-ton MV Rachel Corrie cargo ship from the sea, not helicopters. It was intercepted in international waters, about 20 miles (30 kilometers) from Gaza’s shore. The Israeli military reports the soldiers didn’t meet any resistance.

Passengers include Irishman Dennis Halliday, a former assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations, and the Northern Irish Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Mairead Corrigan Maguire. And a group of Irish and Malaysian pro-Palestinian activists. Read More…

Israeli forces attack Gaza aid ship

Over nineteen Free Gaza Movement activists died yesterday when Israeli Defense Force commandos boarded vessels in international waters attempting to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza.

Israeli commandos aboard the ship

Reports say over 19 people are dead and over 30 were injured, including a captain. There is a radio and satellite blackout from the ships, which are now under Israeli control.

Over 700 humanitarian activists from the Free Gaza Movement were aboard the vessels, including former UN assistant secretary general Denis Halliday, nobel laureate Mairéad Maguire, and several European members of parliament and MPs from Germany, Belgium, Algeria and Israel. Read More…

Israel rejects call to join anti-nuclear treaty

On Friday, the 189 Parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) agreed to a final resolution calling for steps toward the banning of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in the Middle East.

Benjamin Netanyahu

The resolution directs United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to organize a conference of all the Middle East states.

The resolution singles out Israel, calling on “all states in the Middle East that have not yet done so to accede to the treaty as non-nuclear weapon states so as to achieve its universality at an early date.” In an official statement from the Prime Minister’s Office, Israel said the resolution, “is deeply flawed and hypocritical.

It ignores the realities of the Middle East and the real threats facing the region and the entire world.” Read More…

On this day May 11, 1995

In New York City, more than 170 countries decide to extend the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty indefinitely and without conditions.

Participation in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty

The Treaty to limit the spread of nuclear weapons, was opened for signature on July 1, 1968.

There are currently 189 countries party to the treaty, five of which have nuclear weapons: the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Russia, and the People’s Republic of China (the permanent members of the UN Security Council). Read More…

Hezbollah armed with improved missiles

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, along with Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak, warned yesterday that that the guerrilla group Hezbollah was in possession of more weapons than some governments.

Robert Michael Gates

Gates, after meeting with Barak, said that both Syria and Iran were responsible for providing weapons of “ever increasing capability” to Hezbollah, although he declined to confirm that the group had gained possession of ballistic missiles called Scuds.”

Barak said that missiles owned by Hezbollah had the potential to “disrupt the very delicate balance in Lebanon,” although he stated that a military conflict as a result of the transfer of weapons to Hezbollah was unlikely.

He said that “We [Israel] do not intend to provoke any kind of major collision in Lebanon, or vis-a-vis Syria,” though he added that “we are watching closely these developments and think that they do not contribute to stability in the region.” Read More…