Israel-Gaza Campaign Enters Second Week
Gaza endured heavy Israeli bombing overnight as fighting enters its second week. The Israeli military says over 3,000 rockets have been fired at Israel killing at least 10 people, including two children. In Gaza, the death toll stands at 192, with more than 50 children killed.
Among the dead in Sunday’s bombing raids were two prominent Palestinian physicians, whose deaths, along with reports of damaged medical facilities, have raised concerns of an ensuing health crisis. Ayman Abu al-Ouf, the head of coronavirus response at Gaza’s largest hospital, was reported killed on Sunday along with Moein Ahmad al-Aloul, one of the few neurologists in the territory. Al-Aloul’s five children died with him.
Speaking on Saturday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the campaign in Gaza would “continue as long as necessary.” But reports from Israeli news site Walla on Sunday reported on possible cease-fire talks, mediated by Egypt, in light of the Israeli military’s successes in targeting Hamas and the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza.
As the conflict drags on, calls for a cease-fire have increased. The 57 member states of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation called on Israel to halt its attacks in Gaza and demanded intervention from the U.N. Security Council. Representatives from Turkey and Iran chided recent normalization agreements signed by Bahrain, Morocco, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates as enabling Israel’s behavior. “The massacre of Palestinian children today follows the purported normalization,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said.
Red, white, and blocked. At the United Nations, the United States continues to block a U.N. Security Council call for a cease-fire; 14 of the 15 council members backed a statement on Sunday—introduced by China, Norway, and Tunisia—condemning both Israel and Hamas for ongoing violence and calling for an immediate cease-fire. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said her country is still “working tirelessly through diplomatic channels” to halt hostilities.
Congressional calls. Despite the Biden administration’s inertia, both Democrats and Republicans in Congress are raising their voices. Two Senators on the Committee on Foreign Relations, Chris Murphy, a Democrat, and Todd Young, a Republican, issued a joint statement on Sunday encouraging a cease-fire. It followed a similar joint statement by 28 out of the 50 sitting Democratic Senators urging an “immediate cease-fire.”
Israel’s aftermath. In Israel, the aftermath of days of violence in mixed Arab-Israeli towns has led to a one-sided reaction from state prosecutors: Of the 116 indictments served so far against those arrested last week, all have been against Arab-Israeli citizens, Haaretz reports. Meanwhile, Yair Lapid, whose centrist Yesh Atid party’s chances of forming a coalition government has crumbled since the violence broke out, placed the blame on Netanyahu. If he was in charge, Lapid said on Sunday, no one would have to question “why the fire always breaks out precisely when it’s most convenient for the prime minister.”
Speaking to CBS’s Face The Nation on Sunday, Netanyahu rejected the assertion that he is continuing the bombing campaign to stay in power as “preposterous” and “hogwash.” “I’ll do what I have to do to protect the lives of Israeli citizens and to restore peace,” he said.
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