Israel-Palestinian War: Israeli warplanes conducted a new wave of major airstrikes in Gaza on Monday, as the world’s deadliest fighting entered its second week and international demands for a truce became louder.
Israeli jets bombed more than nine miles of Hamas tunnels in Gaza overnight and attacked nine residences Monday, the Israeli military said. The Israeli military said the residences belonged to Hamas commanders.
Israel’s military announced that it had struck more targets in Gaza in the last week than it had in the whole year of 2020. Since last Monday, approximately 3,150 rockets have been launched from Gaza at Israeli territory, but the Israeli military reported that several have either missed their target or were intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system.
Israeli attacks in Gaza have killed 200 people, including 59 children and 35 women, and displaced 40,000 more, according to the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza. Sunday was the ministry’s deadliest day ever, with more than 50 people killed.
Additionally, the ministry cautioned Monday that Israeli attacks on houses, medical services, and infrastructure had established the conditions for an “imminent flood” of Covid-19 cases and that those fleeing to shelters would be “exposed to the spread of infectious diseases, including the danger of the coronavirus spreading.”
Israel’s Defense Forces posted photographs on Sunday purporting to show Hamas missile facilities and tunnel entrances located near residential facilities such as hospitals and schools. According to the IDF, “Hamas intentionally and methodically positions military targets within civilian populations, endangering their residents.”
Meanwhile, the IDF reports that rocket fire from Gaza has killed at least ten people in Israel, including two teenagers, since the flareup began. On Monday, a new barrage of rockets launched from Gaza triggered sirens and forced Israelis to evacuate to bomb shelters in Ashdod, Ashkelon, and Beer Sheva. According to the IDF, at least one residential building in Ashdod was struck. Three individuals sustained minor injuries, according to the Israeli Red Cross.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that he will do “whatever it takes” to restore order, adding that it would take time.
On Sunday, at an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council, UN Secretary-General António Guterres begged for peace, warning that an “unprecedented security and humanitarian crisis” could erupt, “further fostering extremism” in Israel, the Palestinian territories, and the region as a whole.
Egypt and Qatar’s mediation attempts have failed on two key issues, a senior Hamas official with direct knowledge of the mediation efforts told CNN on Sunday.
One impediment is Israel’s demand that Hamas launches the truce at least three hours prior to Israel, at which point Israel will comply. Hamas categorically opposed this idea, according to the Hamas leader.
The other stumbling block is Hamas’ demand that any truce entails an end to Israel’s “provocations” at Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque and a resolution of the Sheikh Jarrah eviction threat, according to the Hamas source.
Numerous Palestinian families are battling legal attempts to evict them from their homes in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah area, one of the immediate triggers for the latest round of hostilities. Tensions have since erupted into the region’s worst round of violence since the 2014 Gaza War, which claimed the lives of more than 2,200 Gazans, nearly half of whom were civilians, including more than 550 children, according to a United Nations survey.
The political frenzy occurred on the conflict’s deadliest day to date. At least 52 Palestinians were killed in Israeli attacks in Gaza on Sunday, the health ministry there said.
Israel was also forced to defend itself over the weekend after demolishing a Gaza building that housed offices for foreign news organizations Al Jazeera and the Associated Press. According to the Israeli military, the structure housed Hamas military intelligence facilities.
The AP said in a statement that it “had no proof Hamas was in or involved in the building,” and urged the Israeli government to “present the evidence.”
Blinken said Monday that although he had not seen the intelligence behind the attack, the US had requested additional information “regarding the reason” for damaging the tower.
Prime Minister Netanyahu said in a weekend interview with CBS that the tower was a “perfectly legitimate target” and that Israel shared the information behind the decision with the US.
Reporters Without Borders, a non-governmental organization dedicated to the protection of journalists worldwide, issued a statement requesting an investigation by the International Criminal Court. According to RSF Secretary-General Christophe Deloire, “deliberately bombing media sources constitutes a war crime,” and Israel’s attacks were “obstructing media coverage of a crisis that directly impacts the civilian community.”