by Julie Webb-Pullman
Hamas spokesperson Fawzy Barhoum said today that the only way this “one-sided war” will end is when Israel stops bombing Gaza.
“We have sustained high numbers of casualties – over 100 civilians dead, 150 homes destroyed sometimes with families still inside them, we are the victims. We are defending our civilians from a massacre,” he said outside Shifa Hospital in Gaza City early this afternoon.
“We are being attacked from the sea, from the air, from the land – there is massive destruction, and we have the right to defend our people from these attacks. There will be no ceasefire until the occupation stops its shelling of Gaza.” Read more here
In the last hour, Israeli warplanes targeted the following sites in the Gaza Strip:
– The military Site “Abu Atayah” of Nasser Saladin Brigades, west of Rafah.
– The military Site “Saad Sayel” of Qassam Brigades east of Rafah.
– A piece of agricultural land near the site of “Safina” northwest of Gaza City.
No injuries have been reported as a result of the attacks.
In response, Palestinian resistance have launched new rocket attacks, and Israeli planes are flying west of Gaza.
The escalation of hostilities in the past few days was set off by an Israeli airstrike which killed three members of islamic Jihad on Tuesday. Ismail Abu Judah, 23, Shahir Abu Shanab, 24, and 33-year-old Abd al-Shafi Muammar were all killed in southeast Khan Younis near the Sufa crossing.
Khaled al-Batch, an Islamic Jihad leader in Gaza, last night announced they had agreed to restore the calm, but the truce was shortlived, perhaps because of the way it was negotiated.
Ma’an reported that an Egyptian official speaking on condition of anonymity confirmed that Egyptian national security services contacted Israel and the Islamic Jihad, but not Hamas, in order to negotiate the re-activation of the 2012 ceasefire.
al-Batch told Associated Press, “As long as the occupation [Israel] honors the calm, we will honor the calm and instructions are being given right now to al-Quds brigades, our military wing, about this understanding.”
Hamas leader Ghazi Hamad told al-Mayadeen channel that the group was “not informed by Egypt about any agreement, and the Egyptian side should have coordinated with Hamas.”
Other signs that hostilities are likely to continue are that on Thursday, Israeli armed forces called up its air force reserves, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
The Israeli Cabinet met on Thursday morning to dicsuss the situation in Gaza, and the decision to call the reserves was made by Israeli defense minister Moshe Ya’alon. Haaretz noted that calling up reserves requires the approval of the Knesset security and foreign committee, and a waiting period of 48 hours.
Only one thing is certain – as long as Israel coninues to occupy Palestinian territory, as long as Israel and Egypt continue their siege of the Gaza Strip, and as long as the international community continues to ignore Israel’s gross breaches of international law and the impending humanitarian crisis in Gaza, peace will be but a dream.
Al Quds radio reports that Egypt has brokered a truce between Israel and the Palestinian resistance in Gaza, to take effect at 4pm Gaza time.
In another report, Islamic Jihad leader Khaled al-Batsh said, “The Egyptian side managed to stabilize the truce according to 2012 understandings.”
However Israel is on notice, with Islamic Jihad warning that even one breach of the truce will result in them being hit very hard.
Israel has been documented to have breached the previous truce over 150 times since it was agreed to in November 2012.