When I wrote the post “Back to the worst” I couldn’t imagine the situation in Gaza would be so bloody as it has been and it continues being. In just 25 days, 1,499 Palestinians were killed, most of them civilians, and there are 7,000 wounded. The Israeli army have attacked a UN shelter, adducing that nearby there were militants launching an attack against them. So the UN blue banner is not longer a safe haven for the 200,000 internal displaced people trapped in the strip. People have nowhere to go, with their homes bombed and the shelters crowded and under the menace of being shelled.
As always, the civilians are paying with their lives and harsh suffering this disproportional attack by Israel.
The Israeli army has lost 61 soldiers and 3 Israeli civilians have been killed by Palestinian rockets.
Israel have said that its core goal of neutralizing the tunnels that Hamas is using to infiltrate in Israeli soil will be achieved in a matter of days. And Prime Minister Netanyahu said on Thursday that his army will pursue that goal with or without cease-fire.
Precisely today Israel and Hamas have agreed to implement a 72 hour unconditional humanitarian cease-fire. But two hours after it began Israeli tanks and artillery opened fire in Rafah killing 40 people. Israel accused Hamas to fire rockets against it soil.
US State Secretary John Kerry announced it and explained that “the parties are expected to cease all offensive military activities, and neither side will advance beyond its current locations.”
But he also said that “Israel will be able to continue its defensive operations for those tunnels that are behind its lines”. It seems that the Israeli shelling in Gaza today was during a mission to destroy one of those tunnels.
As for the Palestinians, said Kerry, with the truce now inexistent, they “will be able to receive food, medicine, and additional humanitarian assistance, as well as to be able to tend to their wounded, bury their dead, be able to in safe areas travel to their homes, and take advantage of the absence – hopefully, hopefully – of violence for these 72 hours.” Good wishes but nothing in real life.
Kerry continued saying that “as soon as the cease-fire is underway tomorrow morning – I talked to the Egyptian foreign minister tonight – Egypt will issue invitations to the parties to come to Cairo immediately in order to engage in serious and focused negotiations with Egypt to address the underlying causes of this conflict. And we hope and we expect both sides to raise all the topics of concern. The parties, obviously, need to find a way to address Israel’s security concerns and to ensure that the people of Gaza can live in safety and in dignity.”
Now that the cease-fire is not working and violence prevails, all hopes for negotiations fade.