Truce ends deadly clashes across Gaza border

A Palestinian boy walks through a hole in a wall of a destroyed house following overnight Israeli missile strikes, in the town of Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip. (AP)
Updated 15 November 2019

Truce ends deadly clashes across Gaza border

  • Spokesman Musab Al-Berim says the Egyptian-brokered deal went into effect at 5:30 a.m. Thursday
  • The fighting broke out early Tuesday after Israel killed a senior commander of the militant group

GAZA: Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad and Israel agreed to halt hostilities across the Gaza Strip border on Thursday, ending a two-day confrontation that left 34 Palestinians dead and more than 100 injured.

The Egyptian-brokered truce went into effect about 48 hours after Israel triggered the exchange of fire by killing the Iranian-backed faction’s top Gaza commander in an air strike.

Fighting between Islamic Jihad and the Israeli army erupted after Israel assassinated a senior commander in the Al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of Islamic Jihad, early on Tuesday.

According to the ministry of information, 190 Palestinian houses were damaged and five completely destroyed in the Israeli bombardment. At least 15 schools were also damaged.

As calm returned to the Gaza Strip, Palestinians expressed relief, but cautioned that the current round of fighting was unlikely to be the last.

“We are living in a constant cycle of escalation and calm,” said Sumaya Al-Rubaie, 55. “Life is difficult in Gaza. No one can live normally in this besieged enclave.”

“My husband and I and four of my children spent two days at home without going out for fear of shelling and rocket fire. We want to live a decent life without fear,” she told Arab News.

Gazans fear the outbreak of a new war in light of the continuing difficult humanitarian and economic conditions in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas and its military wing did not respond to the Israeli shelling, leaving Israel to focus on Islamic Jihad targets.

“The current round is over, but will the suffering of the Gaza Strip end? Certainly not. There is no work, no economy, no stability and freedom of movement is limited. At any time the bombing can come back again,” Ibrahim Al-Danaf, 28, said.

“What the Gaza Strip needs is national unity, a search for the future of youth, and an end to Israeli violations by agreeing on a policy of confrontation, not with every political faction deciding alone.”

Political analyst Hani Habib said that while the Israeli blockade remains and the political split between Fatah and Hamas continues, the Gaza Strip “will continue to suffer from difficult political and humanitarian conditions.” 

The current confrontation and three previous clashes had achieved nothing for Gazans, he said.

“On the contrary, the results were disastrous on more than one level.” 

Israel reopened the Erez crossing with the Gaza Strip on Thursday. The commercial Kerem Shalom border crossing will reopen on Sunday.

Related


Protesters pack Tel Aviv rally against coronavirus cash crisis

Updated 7 min 20 sec ago

Protesters pack Tel Aviv rally against coronavirus cash crisis

  • Event was organized by self-employed, small business and performing artists’ groups angry at coronavirus curbs which have taken away their livelihoods

TEL AVIV: Thousands of Israelis streamed into Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square to protest Saturday against the government’s handling of economic hardship caused by coronavirus curbs.
About 300 officers were deployed in the square, a traditional protest site, to ensure public order and monitor social distancing regulations, police said.
Many participants wore facemasks but most appeared to be less than the statutory two meters (yards) apart.
Some held banners reading in Hebrew: “Let us breathe” — an echo of worldwide protests sparked by the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, during a US police arrest.
The event was organized by self-employed, small business and performing artists’ groups angry at coronavirus curbs which have taken away their livelihoods.
Student unions also took part over the large numbers of young people made jobless by closures.
Israel imposed a broad lockdown from the middle of March, allowing only staff deemed essential to go to work and banning public assembly.
Places of entertainment were closed, hitting the leisure industry hard.
Facing public and economic pressure, the government eased restrictions in late May.
But infections have mounted and rules tightened again, including the closure of event venues, clubs, bars, gyms and public pools.
While salaried workers sent on furlough received unemployment benefits, the self-employed said most had been waiting months for promised government aid.
“There is a very grave crisis of confidence between us and the government,” Shai Berman, one of the protest organizers told Israeli public radio ahead of the rally.
“We are part of a very large public which is feeling growing distress and wants to demonstrate and simply does not believe the promises,” he added.
Berman was among activists invited Friday to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and finance ministry officials in a last-minute government effort to stave off the protest.
“He tried, very politely,” Berman said, adding that an aid package presented at the meeting was a start, but flawed.
Netanyahu promised swift implementation.
“We will meet our commitments including hastening the immediate payments that we want to give you,” his office quoted him as telling the activists.
On Friday, the health ministry announced the highest number of coronavirus infections over a 24-hour period, with nearly 1,500 new cases confirmed.
The country of roughly nine million has now registered more than 37,000 cases, including over 350 deaths.