Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Death toll exceeds 30 as Israel and Gaza reach cease-fire deal

By J.J. Rhies - May 06, 2019
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Gaza] [Gaza Blockade] [ceasefire]


Early on Monday morning, Israel and Gaza agreed to a cease-fire mediated by Egypt and Qatar, according to Palestinian sources.


Details of the truce, which took effect at 4:30 a.m. local time (GMT +3), were confirmed by authorities in Gaza, according to Al Jazeera.


Israeli officials have not publicly discussed the matter, but all safety-related warnings and closures in the state have ended.


As a result of the rocket fire from both sides between Friday and Sunday, four Israelis and 31 Palestinians were killed. Among caught in the air-raids were two Palestinian infants and two pregnant Palestinian women.


The Times of Israel claims 11 Palestinian “terrorists” were also among those killed.  


A reported 700 rockets were launched from the Strip, and Israel responded in kind with artillery and airstrikes on some 320 targets, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad locations, an Israeli army spokesman said on Sunday.


The days-long exchange of lethal projectiles began after two Israeli soldiers were wounded by gunfire along the Israel-Gaza perimeter during “Great March of Return” protests on Friday, according to Haaretz.


Israel then bombed a Hamas location later that day, killing two Palestinians.


An unnamed Islamic Jihad official told Al Jazeera the cease-fire agreement depended, in part, on Israel easing its blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has been ongoing for 12 years, devastating the enclave’s economy.  


The official said details of the agreement included that Israel would expand Gaza’s fishing zone to 12 nautical miles and allow further development of its energy infrastructure.


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would continue its military operations in order to protect the security and safety of its land and citizens.


“[T]he battle is not over and requires patience and level-headedness,” he said. “We are prepared to carry on.”


United States President Donald Trump roundly supported Israeli military operations and its “defence of its citizens” on Sunday.


Sami Abu Zohri, a Hamas spokesman, said Netanyahu’s claims were “ridiculous.”


“The resistance factions have succeeded in deterring and humiliating his military,” he said. “Our message is that this round is over, but the conflict will not be until we get our rights.”


The cease-fire brought three days of intense violence - which prompted concern about the possibility of another Israel-Gaza war - to a close.


The last Israel-Gaza war, in the summer of 2014, left more than 2,000 Palestinians and 72 Israelis dead.


The beset Gaza Strip, which former UK prime minister David Cameron once described as an “open-air prison,” has been under siege since 2007.


Unemployment and poverty in the territory, which is home to 2.2 million people, has skyrocketed since the blockade began.


UN officials, Amnesty International and others have called the blockade “collective punishment,” which is unlawful.



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