News / Middle East

    Civilians Fear Mideast Violence Could Turn Into Full-scale War

    Civilians Fear Mideast Violence Could Turn Into Full-Scale Wari
    X
    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.
    x
    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.
    x
    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. 

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    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.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora