News / Middle East

Civilians Fear Mideast Violence Could Turn Into Full-scale War

Civilians Fear Mideast Violence Could Turn Into Full-Scale Wari
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Zlatica Hoke
July 09, 2014 1:24 PM
Violence in the Middle East is escalating at a time when there are no new peace talks in sight. Israeli and Palestinian leaders have condemned the brutal deaths of three Israeli teenagers and one Palestinian teen, and have vowed to punish those responsible. But both sides also seem to be gearing up for more fighting. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Zlatica Hoke

Violence in the Middle East is escalating at a time when there are no new peace talks in sight.  

Israeli and Palestinian leaders have condemned the murders of three Israeli teenagers and one Palestinian teen, and have vowed to punish those responsible.  

But both sides also seem to be gearing up for more fighting. Israel has announced plans to deploy 40,000 reservists to its border with the Gaza Strip where Hamas leaders vow to fight Israeli occupation.  

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel will use air and ground forces to put an end to daily rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip.

Palestinians run following what police said was an Israeli air strike on a house in Gaza city July 9, 2014. At least 23 people were killed across Gaza, Palestinian officials said.Palestinians run following what police said was an Israeli air strike on a house in Gaza city July 9, 2014. At least 23 people were killed across Gaza, Palestinian officials said.
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Palestinians run following what police said was an Israeli air strike on a house in Gaza city July 9, 2014. At least 23 people were killed across Gaza, Palestinian officials said.
Palestinians run following what police said was an Israeli air strike on a house in Gaza city July 9, 2014. At least 23 people were killed across Gaza, Palestinian officials said.

"We will not tolerate rockets on our cities and villages, and therefore I ordered a significant enlargement of the Israel Defense Forces operation against Hamas terrorists, and against the terrorists of the other terror organizations in the Gaza Strip," he said. "I did this only after all efforts that were carried out to return to calm were not answered and Hamas chose an escalation."

Palestinians accuse Israel of continued aggression. A spokesman for Hamas, the hard-line group that controls the Gaza Strip, also expressed a determination to fight.

"We will continue to defend our people against these crimes," said Sami Abu Zuhri. "We warn the occupation not to continue its crime against our people and we assure that the resistance is ready to defend [against] this aggression."

Residents on both sides of the Israel-Gaza border fear the conflict could escalate into a full-scale war.

Israelis take cover in a stairwell as an air raid siren, warning of incoming rockets, sounds in Tel Aviv July 9, 2014.Israelis take cover in a stairwell as an air raid siren, warning of incoming rockets, sounds in Tel Aviv July 9, 2014.
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Israelis take cover in a stairwell as an air raid siren, warning of incoming rockets, sounds in Tel Aviv July 9, 2014.
Israelis take cover in a stairwell as an air raid siren, warning of incoming rockets, sounds in Tel Aviv July 9, 2014.

"Every time one side escalates, the other side does too," said Abdel Naser Sharab, a Gaza City resident. "This has affected people's lives, especially since it's Ramadan and people are fasting. Life has become paralyzed because people are afraid.  Now that we are in a war atmosphere, people stay at home and listen to the news. It's a difficult situation."

The Israeli government has urged citizens living near the border with Gaza to stay close to bomb shelters.  Residents of Re'im ran to shelters when they heard bombing.   

"Tonight we had a very noisy night because the Palestinians sent so much rockets to the Israeli side and we had many problems with citizens who were scared," an Israeli emergency worker said. "They are out of shelters where we are living." 

The United States has condemned the rocket attacks and called for de-escalation. But Washington has no influence in Gaza, especially after declaring Hamas a terrorist group.

"Of course, the United States has a strong relationship with Israel, but the lack of relationship and influence on the other side is extremely limiting," said Steve McInerney of Project on Middle East Democracy. "And I think the influence the United States could have to bring about a cease-fire is not very likely."

  • Palestinians run following what police said was an Israeli air strike on a house in Gaza City, July 9, 2014.
  • Smoke and debris rise after an Israeli strike on the Gaza Strip seen from the Israeli side of the Israel Gaza Border, July 9, 2014.
  • Mourners carry the bodies of Palestinians during their funeral in the town of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, July 9, 2014.
  • Israelis run towards a bomb shelter as a siren sounds warning of incoming rockets in the southern city of Ashkelon, July 9, 2014.
  • An Israeli looks at damage to his home in a kibbutz near border with the Gaza Strip, July 9, 2014.
  • An Israeli border police officer surveys the damaged caused to a structure after it was hit by a rocket, near the border with the Gaza Strip, July 9, 2014.
  • Smoke and fire rise from an Israeli missle strike in Rafah, Gaza, July 8, 2014.
  • A police officer gestures as Palestinians inspect the remains of a car which police said was targeted in an Israeli air strike in Gaza City, July 8, 2014.
  • Palestinians gather around the remains of a car which police said was targeted in an Israeli air strike in Gaza City, July 8, 2014.
  • Palestinians search through the rubble of a house destroyed by an overnight Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, July 8, 2014.
  • Palestinians try to salvage what they can from the rubble of a house destroyed by an overnight Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, July 8, 2014.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has made reviving the Mideast peace process a top priority. He shuttled tirelessly between July of last year and April of this year to bring the sides together for talks.

While some progress was made, Israeli and Palestinian leaders hit a growing number of stumbing blocks that kept the two sides apart.

The current outbreak of violence, the worst in the area since 2012, erupted soon after the last round of peace talks was declared dead. 

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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Ali baba from: New york
July 09, 2014 7:10 PM
I am not surprised . The real victim are the women and children . They did not instigate the violence and they suffer a lot. does the people who killed three teens understand the consequence of their action? Sooner or later the entire middle East will fight to each other. Sunni against Shia. Palestine Against Israeli. Sudanese against each other or against south Sudan . It is a mad world .It is the world of extremist . It is the world of Muslim fanatic whom believe that war is the best way to achieve its objective regardless the consequences. regardless of destruction. regardless of woman and children whom trapped in the cycle of violence. How many crime is committed with the name of God?

by: Horrible from: islamabad
July 09, 2014 5:57 PM
Barbisim needs not any comment. They are the worst and beasts targetting to kill the innocents.The US must stop their barbaric attacks on civilians in the populas areas in Gaza strip.

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