“We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians” –Nelson Mandela
Palestinian officials say at least 1,875 people have been killed since Israel launched Operation Protective Edge on 8 July. The UN says 1,354 were civilians, including 415 children and 214 women. The announced 2 goals of this war were: stopping rocket fire from Gaza and destroying tunnels. But, according to Israelis officials, the goals haven’t been achieved yet.
Egypt called on both sides to return to the negotiating table, but Israel resumed air strikes in Gaza after Hamas, which controls Gaza, and other Palestinian resistance fighters, fired rockets following the end of a three-day cease-fire – which ended at 08:00 local time (05:00 GMT).
At an earlier point, Hamas rejected any extension of the cease-fire, saying Israel had failed to meet its demands, including the lifting of the blockade on Gaza and the freeing of about 100 prisoners released in exchange for Gilad Shalit in 2011, who have been re-arrested.
Hamas rejected Israel’s call for the demilitarization of Gaza, saying they are ready for “a long war”.
Israeli army replied with a series of airstrikes, killing at least 5 Palestinians, including three children. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said that “militants in Gaza” had fired more than 18 rockets at Israel since the end of the ceasefire on Friday morning. Two Israelis were wounded by rocket fire, police said.
The Latest Cairo Negotiations
The Egyptian foreign ministry declared that the political representatives had reached agreement on “the great majority of topics” and urged an extension of the cease-fire to address “the very limited points still pending.” But Palestinian officials said the Israeli delegation had hardly addressed their demands to opening border crossings, remove restrictions on trade, establish a seaport and release prisoners.
Hamas wants Israel to open Gaza’s borders, following a seven-year closure, but Israel refuse to do it unless Hamas disarms or are prevented from re-arming. Hamas has insisted it will never give up its arms.
A spokesman for Hamas’s military wing essentially warned his political leaders, on Thursday night, that they should pack up and come home unless there is more progress in Cairo.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said late Friday: “We think Israel is dragging its feet. They did not respond to our demands and have not done a thing to show that there is a reason to extend the cease-fire.”
Azzam al-Ahmed, a negotiator who is close to Mr. Abbas, said in Cairo: “As Palestinians, we don’t want escalation, but it is our right to defend ourselves.” Meanwhile, the former head of the Palestinian desk at Israel’s Strategic Affairs Ministry, Kobi Michael, said the negotiations so far had proved to be “a very humiliating treatment of Hamas by Egypt.”
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the renewed rocket fire towards Israel, saying “More suffering and death of civilians caught up in this conflict is intolerable.”
White House press secretary Josh Earnest, also told reporters: “The United States is very concerned about today’s developments in Gaza. We condemn the renewed rocket fire, and we are concerned about the safety and security of civilians on both sides of that conflict.”
War Starts Again, Ibrahim Dawawsa Was The First New Casualty
By late Friday, IDF said via Twitter, that more than 70 rockets had been fired from Gaza into Israel since the truce expired. The official authorities in Israel banned gatherings of more than 1,000 people in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and other places within 80 kilometres of the Gaza border because of the rocket fire.
The mother of 10-year-old victim, Ibrahim Dawawsa, heard a drone drop a missile near the mosque her son was playing around. The drone killed Ibrahim, leaving a pool of blood from his skull next to a crushed SuperCola can and an abandoned flip-flop.
Four other boys were injured when the missile struck the covered building site where another mosque was being reconstructed, after it was bombed in Israel’s attack on Gaza in November 2012.
Ms. Dawawsa, 37, wailed as she clutched a picture of her son at 5 years old in a camouflage outfit, saying “What shall I say? It was only a few minutes after he went out; it was only minutes, only minutes.”
Mr Dawawsa told The Independent: “We had been doing the washing for prayers and I was still at home when Ibrahim left. I heard an explosion and I walked out of the house to see what it was. My son had been going to the mosque. I had no idea I was going to find him dead.”
“His skull was open,” said his father, taxi driver Zuheir Dawawsa, who was wearing a T-shirt that said, “Nothing Is Impossible,” and could hardly speak. “He was already dead.”
He added, however: “My son was the first to be killed after the ceasefire. Where is the ceasefire? Where are human rights when this genocide is going on in Gaza? Where is the international community?”
Earlier in this conflict, the human rights group Amnesty International called for an investigation into what it described was mounting evidence that Israeli forces had purposefully attacked hospitals and health professionals in Gaza. The attacks have left at least six medics dead.