Monday, July 15, 2024

Netanyahu rejected calls for a ceasefire


Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip continued overnight and into Sunday morning, as Israeli ground forces clashed with Hamas fighters near the Strip’s largest hospital, where health officials said thousands of doctors, patients and displaced people were left without electricity as supplies dwindled.

In a televised address on Saturday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected international calls for a ceasefire until all 239 hostages taken by Hamas in the Oct. 7 attack that led to the outbreak of war are released. War “with all its might.”

Israel has vowed to end Hamas’ 16-year rule in Gaza and crush its military capabilities, while blaming the militants for the war’s heavy toll on the 2.3 million Palestinians trapped in the besieged territory.

As the war enters its sixth week, Israel is under international pressure, even from its closest ally, the United States.

Representatives from 57 Arab and Islamic countries gathered in Saudi Arabia on Saturday for a summit to end the war.

300,000 pro-Palestinian demonstrators organized a peaceful march through London on Saturday, the largest demonstration in the city since the start of the war.

Hospitals are out of service

Residents reported overnight airstrikes and intense artillery fire in Gaza City, including the area around Al-Shifa Hospital.

Israel, without providing any evidence, accused Hamas of hiding its command center inside and below the al-Shifa medical complex, allegations denied by Hamas and hospital staff.

“We spent the night in fear that they would come, and they are outside, not far from the gates,” said Ahmed al-Barash, one of the residents who took refuge in the hospital.

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A premature baby, another baby in an incubator and four other patients died when the hospital’s last generator ran out of fuel on Saturday, Gaza’s health ministry said.

The ministry has mentioned that 37 more children are at risk of dying due to power cuts.

Mounir al-Bursh, director general of the Ministry of Health in Gaza, said Israeli snipers were positioned around al-Shifa hospital and shot dead those who entered the compound.

He said the airstrikes destroyed several houses near the hospital and killed a doctor, his son and his son-in-law.

Al-Barash told the Al-Jazeera news channel in an interview from the hospital that the house housed injured people who could not be reached by ambulance personnel.

He also said that no one can stick their head out of the hospital window.

The Israeli military confirmed clashes outside the hospital and said on Sunday that soldiers would help evacuate children there to safety.

The Israeli military said on Sunday it had a safe corridor for the evacuation of civilians from al-Shifa hospital to southern Gaza.

But some residents who have taken shelter in the hospital say they are afraid to go out.

The Army added that its soldiers would assist in the evacuation of the children, noting that they were in touch with hospital staff.

The Associated Press could not independently confirm the situation at the hospital and the surrounding area.

The Health Ministry in Gaza says there are still 1,500 patients and 1,500 medical staff at Al-Shifa Hospital, and between 15,000 and 20,000 people are seeking shelter there.

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Al-Quds Hospital in Gaza City stopped working after running out of fuel, the Palestinian Red Cross said.

Gaza’s only power plant stopped operating a month ago, and Israel has banned any fuel supplies from entering, saying Hamas could use it for military purposes.

Thousands have been evacuated from Al-Shifa Hospital and other hospitals under attack, but doctors said it was unlikely that everyone would.

In this context, International Committee of the Red Cross Director General Robert Martini wrote on his social media accounts, “The deplorable and unbearable situation at this Shifa Hospital must stop now.”

Elsewhere, the Palestinian Red Cross said Israeli tanks were within 20 meters of Al-Quds Hospital in Gaza City, causing panic and fear among the 14,000 displaced people sheltering there.

With Shifa and other hospitals inaccessible, people seeking refuge elsewhere in Gaza said they were cut off from emergency care.

Red Cross spokesman Nibal Farzak said 6,000 people, including displaced families, patients and medical staff, were still trapped in hospitals.

UN with thousands of families Heba al-Mashla, who took refuge in the compound, said four people were killed and 15 wounded in the raid late Saturday.

“The wounded are bleeding and no one can come to help them,” he said, explaining that the dead were buried inside the compound.

The United Nations Development Program confirmed that one of its compounds was affected.

UN Agencies have been unable to provide services in northern Gaza for weeks.

Netanyahu refuses to visit the US

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that Hamas is responsible for any civilian casualties in Gaza.

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Israel has long accused the movement of using civilians as human shields.

Israel’s military said civilians helped open an exit from the building during the fighting in Gaza City, but were fired upon.

He said his soldiers returned fire, killing two of the gunmen.

On Saturday, Netanyahu began outlining Israel’s post-war plans for Gaza.

Netanyahu said Gaza would remain a demilitarized zone and Israel would maintain security control there, with the ability to enter Gaza from the sea to pursue militants.

He also dismissed the idea that the Palestinian Authority, which currently administers parts of the West Bank occupied by Israel, would at some point control Gaza.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said his country opposes Israel’s reoccupation of Gaza and that it is appropriate to form a unified Palestinian government in Gaza and the West Bank as part of the process to establish a Palestinian state.

Netanyahu’s government strongly opposed the creation of a Palestinian state before the war.

Rolf Colon
Rolf Colon
"Creator. Award-winning problem solver. Music evangelist. Incurable introvert."

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