Monday, May 29, 2023

Peace returns to Gaza and Israel after five days of fighting

Peace returned to the Gaza Strip and Israel this Sunday, where the implementation of a ceasefire ended five days of clashes that left 35 dead.

The peace negotiated by Egypt, the traditional mediator between Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups in Gaza, came into effect at 10:00 p.m. (7:00 GMT) on Saturday.

Two rockets were fired 15 minutes after the start of the ceasefire, with no casualties, followed by Israeli shelling.

Kogat, the Israeli Defense Ministry body that oversees civilian activities in the Palestinian territories, announced on Sunday the “partial and progressive reopening” of two Erez border crossings that allow Palestinians to transit through Israel Is.

Kerem Shalom, the only Israeli crossing point carrying goods to the Gaza Strip, was also opened.

A “full opening” would be possible after a fresh assessment of the situation, he said in a statement.

The fighting began on Tuesday with Israeli strikes that killed three commanders of Islamic Jihad, a group considered a “terrorist organization” by Israel, the European Union and the United States.

This is the biggest outbreak of violence between the two sides since August 2022.

“I congratulate the Israeli army, Shin Beth [servicio de seguridad interna israelí] and security forces fully for the actions they took to kill Islamic Jihad terrorists and protect Israeli residents,” Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said on Sunday.

Israel and Islamic Jihad thanked Egypt for its mediating role.

The White House welcomed the ceasefire announcement as well as Tor Vansland, the UN envoy to the Middle East, who lamented the “loss of life and injuries” caused by the attacks from both sides.

– ‘Foolish action’ –

Since Tuesday, clashes between armed groups from Israel and Gaza have claimed the lives of 34 Palestinians, the last of them an activist in Israel who was killed by a Palestinian rocket on Saturday.

According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, some 190 people were injured in Gaza.

On the Israeli side, an elderly woman was killed and 30 people were injured on Thursday in Rehovot in central Israel.

The Palestinians killed included six Islamic Jihad commanders, as well as fighters from that movement and another armed group, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) confirmed the deaths of at least 13 civilians, seven of whom were minors. The Israeli army claims that four civilians, three of whom were minors, were killed by Palestinian rockets that fell inside the strip.

On Palestinian soil, Islamic Jihad spokesman Tariq Salmi warned Israel against “any senseless action or assassination of Palestinian resistance commanders”.

Mohammed al-Hindi, the head of Islamic Jihad’s political wing, reported an agreement in which Israel pledged to “stop attacking the fighters”.

Israel’s response to Egypt’s initiative implies that “the peace response will be calm, and that if Israel is attacked or threatened, it will continue to do whatever it takes to defend itself,” said an official Israeli statement on behalf of Tsachi Hanegbi, National Security Advisor to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Gaza Strip is a poor and sparsely populated Palestinian territory home to 2.3 million people, the scene of several wars with Israel since 2008.

In August 2022, three days of clashes between Israel and Islamic Jihad killed 49 Palestinians, including at least 19 children, according to the United Nations. Over a thousand rockets were fired from Gaza towards Israel on that occasion, injuring three.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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