Israel struck Gaza again with airstrikes, and Palestinian militants launched more rockets into Israeli territory on Saturday (15), a clear sign that the end of the worst escalation of violence in the region since 2014, after six days of conflict and in the midst of an increasing death toll is a long way off.
US and Arab diplomats are trying to calm the situation after another night of violence in which militants fired around 200 rockets at towns in Israel, the planes of which hit what they said were targets used by Hamas, the Islamic group that controls the Gaza Strip.
At least 139 people have been killed in Gaza since the start of this new phase of hostilities, including 39 children and 21 women, and 950 others have been injured, according to Palestinian doctors. On Saturday, a 50-year-old Israeli was killed in Ramat Gan, near Tel Aviv, after an attack launched from Gaza, according to emergency services and police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld. Today, the death toll on the Israeli side has reached nine – one soldier at the border and eight civilians, including two children.
Overnight, the Israeli bombing killed at least 12 Palestinians in Gaza, according to medics, including a woman and four of her children, who died after their home in a refugee camp was hit. In Israel, thousands of Israelis rushed to shelters as warning sirens sounded. A rocket launched from Gaza hit a residential building in Beer Sheva, southern Israel, police said. There are reports that people in the city who ran to protect themselves were injured.
In Gaza, Akram Farouq, 36, hurriedly left his home with his family after a neighbor said an Israeli officer called to warn his apartment building would be hit. “We haven’t slept all night because of the explosions, and now I’m on the street with my wife and kids, who are crying and shaking.”
According to Israeli military personnel, the bombings hit rocket launch sites – one of which was believed to have served as a base for firing at Jerusalem – and apartments belonging to militants of Hamas, a radical faction that launched the offensive after tensions over a trial that ordered deportation. Palestinian families in East Jerusalem and in retaliation for clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians at al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest site.
However, the Israeli armed forces also destroyed a building in Gaza that housed news vehicles, such as Al Jazeera and the Associated Press news agency. The military, as Palestinian Farouq described it, called to warn occupants of the building that the site would be attacked within an hour and sent a missile that did not cause serious damage as an evacuation alert.
Regional and international diplomatic efforts have yet to show signs of an end to hostilities. Egypt sent ambulances across its border into Gaza to take Palestinians to Egyptian hospitals, and Hady Amr, the U.S. Assistant Under Secretary for Israeli and Palestinian Affairs, flew to Israel on Friday, ahead of the meeting of the UN Security Council scheduled for Sunday. Washington says it intends to “reinforce the need to work for lasting calm.”
Since Friday, Palestinian victims have spread beyond Gaza. After the clash of protesters and Israeli forces, 11 people were reportedly killed in the occupied West Bank. In Israel, from small towns on the Gaza border to Beer Sheva and Tel Aviv, many are rushing to protect themselves by receiving radio and television warnings and alert messages on their cell phones. On a Tel Aviv beach, there was a stampede after sirens went off to warn of the danger of rockets.
Hostilities between Israel and Gaza have been accompanied by violence in mixed Jewish and Arab communities in Israel. Synagogues have been attacked, shops owned by Arabs and Jews have been vandalized and fighting has erupted in the streets. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, who plays a mostly ceremonial role, has warned of the possibility of civil war.
Egypt has pushed for a ceasefire so that negotiations can begin, according to two security sources in the country. Cairo has supported Hamas and pressured other actors in the conflict, such as the United States, to strike a deal with Israel. The Egyptian and Jordanian chancellors discussed efforts to end the confrontation in Gaza and avoid “provocations” in Jerusalem.
According to a Palestinian official, the negotiations took a “real and serious” path on Friday, with Egyptian, Qatari and UN mediators stepping up their contacts from all sides in an attempt to restore calm in the region, even if it is about ‘an agreement. achieved. The UAE also called for an end to attacks and negotiations. In September, the country and Bahrain became the first Arab states in a quarter of a century to establish formal ties with Israel.
Emirati airlines Etihad Airways and FlyDubai, which began operating in Israel after diplomatic agreements, announced the cancellation of flights to Tel Aviv from this Sunday, following the decision of the American and European companies to avoid the flights. hostilities in the region.
The IDF said on Saturday that some 2,300 rockets had been fired from Gaza against Israel since Monday, of which about 1,000 were intercepted by missile defenses and 380 fell in the Gaza Strip. Civil unrest between Jews and Arabs in Israel has dealt a blow to Israeli opposition efforts to oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after a series of inconclusive elections, hinting at the prospect of an unprecedented fifth election in a bit more than two years.
Naftali Bennet, leader of the ultra-nationalist Yamina party, announced that he had abandoned negotiations to form a new government with a coalition of acronyms of center and left-wing parties.
The post-election scenario remains basically the same: Netanyahu had a chance to form a new government and failed. Now, the main opposing bloc, led by Yair Lapid centrist Yesh Atid, also has no clear path to a majority in the 120-member parliament.
Bennett said he had abandoned coalition talks to prioritize a broader unity government that serves the nation’s interests in times of crisis. Analysts say the collapse of the Lapid-Bennett partnership amid the ongoing violence in Israel gives Netanyahu more time to take political action to stay in power.
“From the start of the fire, the government of change died and Netanyahu was resurrected,” commentator Ben Caspit wrote in the Maariv newspaper on Friday. Lapid still has three weeks to form a coalition government. A “watershed deal”, in which Lapid and Bennett would take turns as prime minister, was envisaged, but would need the support of Arab lawmakers to secure a majority.