Sunday, September 27, 2020

Death toll increases in Gaza as Israeli PM says ceasefire with Hamas “not on the agenda”

July 11, 2014
Section: [Main News] [Life under Occupation]
Tags: [Gaza] [US foreign policy] [Gaza Blockade] [UN] [Operation Protective Edge] [Hamas]

At least 98 Palestinians have been killed during the Israeli bombardment on the Gaza Strip, which started at the beginning of the week. Hundreds more have been injured, almost 900 people displaced, and 150 homes destroyed or severely damaged.

Medical officials in Gaza claim that those killed include at least 60 civilians. Israel maintains it has targeted houses used for military purposes, such as weapon storages or communication centers.

No deaths have been reported on the Israeli side. Five have been injured by rocket fire from Gaza, three of them in the town of Ashdod on Friday morning when a rocket hit a gas station and fire broke out. One of three persons is in critical condition.

Israel estimates that Palestinian militants have fired 550 rockets from Gaza since Monday. A military spokesman said on Friday that the Israeli forces have struck 1,100 targets in Gaza but that “hundreds” more still remain to be hit, according to Al Jazeera.

Egyptian authorities opened the Rafah crossing to the Gaza Strip on Thursday after almost a month of closure. Although hundreds of Gazans rushed to the gate in the hope of escape, only severely injured medical patients and holders of Egyptian passport were allowed to cross. In the end just eleven people were allowed to enter Egypt.

Ban Ki-moon: “Hamas needs to stop rocket-firing”

The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting in New York on Thursday, during which both Israeli and Palestinian envoys gave their overviews of the situation.

According to Israeli diplomats, the United States tried to pressure other members of the council, particularly Jordan, to not condemn Israel’s deadly strikes.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called on both sides to agree on a ceasefire, adding that “once again civilians are paying the price” for the conflict. He reportedly urged the international community to do all they can to end the violence.

Yet he claimed that an escalation of the situation could be prevented “only if Hamas stops rocket firing.”

US president Barack Obama said on Thursday that the United States would be ready to negotiate a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, but Obama argued that Israel has the right to defend itself but that both sides should show restraint.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that a ceasefire with Hamas “was not even on the agenda,” indicating the likelihood of a prolonged Israeli military in the besieged enclave.  

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