CAIRO – Violence between Israelis and Palestinians has expanded in new directions on Friday, with deadly clashes destroying the occupied West Bank and anti-Israel protests along Israel’s borders with two Arab neighbors.
The growing sense of chaos in Israel and the Palestinian territories came as Israeli airstrikes brought mass evacuations and funerals to Gaza, and while Hamas rockets sang Israeli towns for a fifth consecutive day.
Hamas and Israeli officials have indicated they are open to a ceasefire amid global calls for peace and fierce diplomacy aimed at bringing about a further break in one of the most difficult battles in the Middle East.
But the violence, which has metastasized with alarming speed compared to previous Israeli-Palestinian conflicts, has found new footholds and threatened the veneer of Israeli society in ways never seen before.
By Friday night, Israel was facing furious protests and new protests across the border with Jordan and Lebanon in at least 60 places across the West Bank, all on top of the vigilance between Arabs and Jews in Israel and the ongoing struggle with militants in Gaza.
The Israeli army claims that it significantly weakened Hamas in its latest offensive by killing dozens of high-ranking officials and damaging the militant group’s tunnel network under Gaza. It was unclear whether such losses led Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum to tell Al Jazeera on Friday night that the group would consider negotiating a “calm” in the fighting if Israel responded to unspecified claims over the “hand lift from Gaza and clashes in Jerusalem.
Israeli media quoted anonymous Israeli security officials as saying they would be open to the ceasefire.
While Gazane waited to hear what would come next, their misery worsened: power was up to five hours a day in some places and water only came out of the pipes once every few days. Attempts to contain a worsening coronavirus infection crisis in Gaza have almost collapsed.
But if the immediate future of the coastal strip was bleak, the multiple front lines of the conflict made it even more difficult to predict what would be next for Israel, where the idea of coexistence between Arabs and Jews, never simple, finally cracked has.
Bullying that has killed and wounded dozens of people across Israel over the past few days – apartments and synagogues burned, stones thrown, Jewish vigilantes clashing with Arab rioters – has shaken the country deeply. And it raised painful questions again about whether years of victories for the Israeli far-right had paralyzed the chances of peaceful paralysis – if, as some Arabs would argue, not necessarily equal “society.”
About 800 people have been arrested across Israel in the past week, of which about 80 percent are Arabs.
A Jewish woman told Kan Radio, the Israeli public broadcaster, that a group of Arab Israelis threw a homemade bomb at her, two friends and her baby in the mixed city of Lod, between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
A ‘war room’ of Jewish volunteers, some armed, formed in Lod a day after violent street clashes broke out there, further destabilizing one of the few remaining places in Israel where Arabs and Jews not only neighborhoods but also buildings Share. On Friday night, clashes broke out in Lod between Arabs and Israeli police at a mosque.
And the war horns are constantly drowning pleas for peace.
“They attacked our capital. They fired missiles at our cities. They are paying and will continue to pay a heavy price for it, ‘Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a video statement on Friday afternoon about Hamas disciples.
Later, he spoke from Lod, where a community center was burned down Friday night despite the introduction of a curfew for the third consecutive night, and Mr. Netanyahu also condemned the Arab attacks on Jews and apparently authorized retaliation by Jews as self-defense.
‘It is certainly not the entire Arab public, it is not even the largest part of the Arab public, but it is a significant minority who carry out violent attacks and also the fabric of life that we have built up here over the years among Jews, impair. and Arabs. It should end, “Mr Netanyahu said, adding later,” People should not be afraid to do what they have to do to protect their own lives as well as the lives of peaceful citizens of Israel. We will do what is necessary to restore peace in Israeli villages. ”
Mr. Netanyahu, whose career has seemed threatened in recent weeks following a fourth indecisive election, has strangely benefited from the crisis, which has raised concerns about Israel’s political network. The crisis also gave momentum to Hamas, the militant group in Gaza that does not recognize Israel’s legitimacy.
Hamas called on Palestinians on the West Bank to “burn the ground beneath the occupation’s.”
“O you free heroes of the West Bank, blessed are your arms,” said a spokesman for Hamas’ armed wing. “We salute your revolution.”
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict
15 May 2021, 19:48 ET
In cities and towns across the West Bank, an accumulation of alleged injustices by Israel in recent weeks – the possible expulsion of families from the Sheikh Jarrah area in east Jerusalem, airstrikes on Gaza and raids on the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem , the third-holiest site in Islam – led to an avalanche of protests on Friday.
At least 11 Palestinians in the West Bank have been killed in clashes with Israeli security forces and more than 200 have been injured, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said, mostly from direct rounds, including about 20 in serious condition. Witnesses said rubber bullets, tear gas and sound grenades were also used.
In interviews, Palestinian witnesses said some of the clashes were provoked by settlers who burned Palestinian fields and businesses near Nablus, Bethlehem and Hebron. In other areas, protesters took part in planned protests against police raids on Al Aqsa.
Mohammad Amira, 28, a factory worker from the town of Ni’lin, said in a hospital in Ramallah, where his critically injured brother underwent surgery to remove bullets fired by Israeli security forces. prayed at the local mosque at 1:30 p.m. to determine that a group of about 25 Israeli settlers had set fire to a vegetable store and a butchery.
“Death to Arabs”, they shouted in Arabic and Hebrew, said Mr. Amira and other residents of Ni’lin said while throwing stones at villagers’ cars. ” We do not want you to live next to us. ”
As the Palestinians moved to confront the settlers, they said seven Israeli soldiers manning the checkpoint at the entrance to the town began spraying tear gas and firing live ammunition. The residents later added by backup, and clashes continued Friday night.
The video, taken in Ni’lin, shows young men running in apparent confusion against a backdrop of dark, undulating smoke, underlined by bright orange flashes and sounds.
Several young men interviewed at the hospital, such as Jihad Khalil, 28, said they would “give up our lives, our wives, our families, our children’s lives for the Aqsa Mosque.”
But the protests were also a sign of solidarity with other Palestinians involved in the systematic abuse by the Israeli occupation. “They are with us and we are with them,” he said. Khalil said. “It’s very difficult for us to go back to the way we used to live.”
Gaza’s health ministry said more than 120 people had been killed in Israeli airstrikes so far, including 31 children injured and 900 injured. The United Nations said 10,000 Gazans had left their homes to take refuge in schools, mosques and other places. In Israel, the hostilities left seven civilians and one soldier dead.
The Israeli strikes continued early Saturday, with one killing seven people in a house in Gaza City, news agencies reported.
Before the current crisis, Gazane had already lived in what one UN human rights official called a ‘toxic slum’ – an unbridled strip of land blocked indefinitely by Israel and Egypt, where about two million people live daily power outages from lasted up to 16 hours and only had running water every other day.
According to an Israeli security official, it is about five hours a day and half of their normal water supply. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the information rules, said the shortages were partly because Israel closed the border crossing through which most of the fuel enters Gaza, but also because Hamas rockets damaged power lines. The claim could not be independently confirmed.
The official said the power lines to two Gaza sewage treatment plants were damaged or shut down, and the UN Humanitarian Aid Coordinating Agency said a water desalination plant was not in operation, cutting off 250,000 residents from the water. About 150,000 people in Gaza City had limited access to water because the power outages affected the pipeline system, the agency added.
According to Gisha, an advocacy group in Gaza, the lack of power has begun to affect hospitals, which were already at full capacity due to the pandemic.
Many countries have called for a peaceful solution to the conflict. U.S., Egyptian and Qatari officials tried to market a ceasefire, with U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Israel and Palestinian Affairs Hady Amr landing in Tel Aviv on Friday.
The United States and other Western countries have insisted that the rocket attacks from Gaza be stopped and stopped to place the blame on Israel.
“Palestinians – including in Gaza – and Israelis also deserve to live in dignity, security and security,” President Biden said in a statement in honor of Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday that concludes the holy month of Ramadan. “No family needs to fear for their safety inside their own home or place of worship.”
Israel on Thursday activated 7,000 military reservists and canceled the leaves for soldiers in combat units, adding to speculation about a possible invasion of Gaza, such as those in 2014 that left more than 2,000 people dead. The Israeli army said early Friday morning that its ground forces had attacked Gaza, and later explained that the troops were firing from Israel and that no one had entered the area.
Hamas rocket attacks continued on Friday, albeit at a slightly slower pace. Israeli authorities said an 87-year-old woman died Thursday night when she rushed to a safe room in the middle of a rocket, bringing the total death toll in Israel to eight. It counts a five-year-old boy who was killed by shrapnel on Wednesday, despite hiding in a safe room.
On Thursday, his family mourned at his funeral when the siren alert warned that Hamas rockets were on their way again.
Reporting was contributed by Iyad Abuheweila of the city of Gaza; Patrick Kingsley, Irit Pazner Garshowitz, Myra Noveck and Jonathan Rosen of Jerusalem; Rami Nazzal of Ramallah, West Bank; Gabby Sobelman of Rehovot, Israel; Adam Rasgon of Los Angeles; Rana F. Welding of Amman, Jordan; and Hwaida Seed of Beirut, Lebanon.