News / Middle East

Israel to Intensify Gaza Offensive

  • Smoke rises after an explosion in the northern Gaza Strip after Israeli airstrikes resumed in the Gaza Strip, July 15, 2014.
  • Relatives of four-year-old Palestinian girl Sarah Sheik al-Eid, who medics said was killed along with her father and uncle in an Israeli air strike, mourn during their funeral in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, July 15, 2014.
  • Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a joint news conference with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (not pictured), in Tel Aviv, July 15, 2014.
  • Israeli soldiers travel in armored personnel carriers, near the Gaza Strip, July 15, 2014.
  • A Palestinian man looks at the damage to a house following an overnight Israeli missile strike in Gaza City, July 15, 2014.
  • A Palestinian man inspects the office of a charitable organization which police said was targeted in an Israeli airstrike, in the southern Gaza Strip, July 15, 2014.
  • Israeli tanks and armored personnel carriers are seen at a staging area outside the Gaza Strip, July 15, 2014.
  • An Israeli soldier sleeps on the ground next to his weapon, near the Gaza Strip, July 15, 2014.
  • People pray next to the bodies of Palestinians, including three members of the Sheik al-Eid family who medics said were killed in an Israeli airstrike, during their funeral at a mosque in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, July 15, 2014.
VOA News

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the military will intensify its offensive in Gaza after Hamas militants rejected a cease-fire proposal and continued firing rockets into Israel.

Netanyahu said Tuesday he would have preferred to solve the conflict "diplomatically," but actions by Hamas leave "no choice but to expand and intensify the campaign against it."

The Israeli military held fire for six hours after agreeing to an Egyptian cease-fire proposal Tuesday. But Israel says it resumed airstrikes after Gaza militants fired about 50 rockets over Israel from Hamas-controlled territory.

An Israeli citizen was killed by rocket fire Tuesday near the Erez crossing into Gaza, the first Israeli casualty since the offensive began last week. Palestinian health officials say 194 Palestinians have died in the latest conflict to date.

The small number of Israeli casualties is attributed in large part to its new Iron Dome missile defense system, which has intercepted rockets above several Israeli cities.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest says the U.S. "is concerned about any innocent civilians who are injured or killed" and believes "there have been far too many innocent civilians who have lost their lives as a result of the violence and conflict in that region."

He stressed that rocket fire launched from Hamas and other groups "needs to stop."

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman defended his country's right to defend itself during a visit to a rocket-hit town with his Italian counterpart.  

"We understand that we're still in the midst of the battles. They still continue with the launching, and Hamas is aiming only [at the] civilian population. And you can imagine if this is to happen in every country. Can you imagine rockets on Roma or Napoli? Can somebody imagine rockets on Washington or New York? And I think that we must retaliate," said Lieberman.

Earlier, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry rebuked Hamas for so far refusing to de-escalate the violence.

"I cannot condemn strongly enough the actions of Hamas in so brazenly firing rockets, in multiple numbers, in the face of a goodwill effort to offer a cease-fire in which Egypt and Israel joined together and the international community strongly supports the idea of a cease-fire, the need, the compelling need to have a cease-fire," said Kerry.

Some Hamas officials had signaled the group had not made a decision Tuesday, but its armed wing says it had rejected the Egyptian plan, which they say would amount to "surrender."

The proposal called for a temporary cease-fire to go into effect Tuesday, followed by the opening of Gaza's border crossings and talks between the two sides in Cairo within two days.

Israel launched its offensive last Tuesday in response to what it said was weeks of heavy rocket fire out of Hamas-ruled Gaza.  

Egypt, the first Arab state to reach peace with Israel, often serves as a mediator between Israel and Hamas. In 2012 fighting between Israel and Hamas, Egypt's then-president Mohamed Morsi brokered a cease-fire.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AFP and AP.

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Comments page of 3
by: Gene Swann from: USA
July 16, 2014 12:27 PM
Almost all of you have your history wrong. There were people living in what is now Israel in ancient times but they weren't Palestinians Palestine is a Roman name given to the land when the Jews were living there under Roman rule. The people living there when the Jews arrived with Moses have become extinct.

The present day people claiming to be Palestinians are actually Arabs who assumed the name in the 1970s for political reasons.The Israeli Arabs had a chance to be an Israeli citizen in 1948 when the land was partitioned but they voted with their feet and left the country.That is why the present day "Palestinians" are stateless without a country.

The surrounding Arab countries won't let these stateless Arabs become citizens because they want to use them to stir up trouble with Israel. The present day issue of Palestinians versus Israel is being exploited by those who want to destroy the land of Israel and massacre their citizens.

That is the reason the Arabs will not agree to a peace treaty or any agreement for a country for the "Palestinians". There must be continuous conflict and war until the Israelis are destroyed.

by: meanbill from: USA
July 16, 2014 12:47 AM
NO MATTER what anybody says, (this is not, nor has it ever been), a sectarian war between the Israeli's and Palestinians, but a fight by the Palestinians for JUSTICE..... The ancestors of the Palestinians possessed the land thousands of years before the Israelites migrated from Egypt.... and the western governments, (that felt guilty of helping kill the Jews), had the UN give part of the Palestinian lands to the Jews, and after the 1967 (6) day war, the Israeli's occupied most of the Palestinian lands, and keep taking more of it, and will never give it back, even though the UN resolutions ordered them to it.....

A ceasefire without concessions from Israel is a surrender, (and all the martyrs that died, would have died for nothing), and shooting rockets and getting bombed and killed, is the only way to get the worlds attention, to hear their cries for Justice, freedom, and the right to live in their own country, without fear of the Israeli's acting like Nazi gestapo's.... fencing and walling the Palestinians in ghettos, imprisoning, torturing, and murdering them, and worst of all, taking their ancestral lands from themselves..... and sooner or later, (somewhere, somehow, at sometime), the Palestinians must draw a line in the sand, and make a last stand, for them, their children, and grandkids..... just for the same rights everybody else has, and enjoys...

A Jew born anywhere in any country, has the right to be a citizen of Israel, but a Palestinian born in Israel, or in a refugee camp in a foreign country, or in occupied Palestinian lands, isn't a citizen of any country, because a Palestinian is an undocumented refuge or a Palestinian without a independent state, or country..... living in ancestral occupied territories, not recognized as a state or country, with no rights, but what the Israeli's give them.... (take my house, and my small piece of land, only after, taking it from over my dead body).... he cried?

by: antibs from: USA
July 15, 2014 11:42 PM
Israel is an apartheid #1 terrorist regime in the world.

by: M A Naser from: Bangladesh
July 15, 2014 7:56 PM
Dear Pad more!Your comments are based on Zionist propaganda which has so far been introduced by the so called Jew's state of Israel established in the holy land of Palestine by the Western powers in 1948.Please be patient, think an arrangement that an Arab state is going to be established in the heart center of Europe by replacing the Europeans and by demolishing their homes,paddy fields,churches and forcefully crushing the european freedom movements through fire power using Democratic sofistication,killing hundreds of people daily basis year after year.Think again and again....Israel has no authority to continue their occupation of Arab Palestinian land,nor they have any legitimacy to carry the endless brutal mass killing.The rising time of Arabian glory & unified Islamic fire power is going to be established in future as long as Israeli destruction continues its inhumane operations.This is the time for wakening the Islamic unity and this is the time for Israel to behave as civilized nation or face ultimate self destruction.Allah or God save the innocents.Israel has detonated self destruction bomb which is much more powerful then 1000 N Bomb.Nothing can save the Jews from cursing themselves as they have always warned by the Almighty as they are blamed for destroying worldwide peace & tranquility. They are not blessed but cursed, as they have killed thousands of Prophets including Prophet Jesus(peace be upon Him) as their beleif,.Still they are waiting for AntiCriest,praying for his coming to kill again Jesus Criest( peace be upon Him) after second coming of Him.I am not a supporter of Hamas,but when Palestinian unity Government was formed Mr.Netanyahu started his campaign to foil & destroy the unity of Palestine & MOSAD has created a mock abduction of ,3 teenage boys of Israel which back fired fighting events...200 killed! They're ready for more & more casualties..... No blessing for killers,murderers..they (Jews )are ought to be perished from the Holy Land as they are not noble,nor they are true believers. They have chosen their fate to abolish themselves from the world,this is the destiny & this is the curse & course of final Destruction of Israel just wait a beat.

by: Roger Miller
July 15, 2014 4:36 PM
This article could have been written any time in my entire adult life since grade school in the 70s. Same story. It will never change. They will hate each other and their children will hate each other. Nothing can change that.
In Response

by: Desmond Scifo from: Malta
July 15, 2014 5:36 PM
Its a war that been going on since Abraam was called by his god, till there is a god to fight for there will be wars, religion is the root of'all evil, with god it's warlord, priest rabbies and'imams his generals, and'the faithfull his idiotic soldiers ,,'One god is one god too many.

by: peter from: london
July 15, 2014 3:54 PM
Hamas knew that a missile barrage into Israel would precipitate a response causing Palestinian deaths. Apparently it was hoping for more than 200. The war goes on.

by: Leroy Padmore from: Jersey City
July 15, 2014 1:56 PM
The leaders of the Palestinians Authority and Hamas don't care for the common people. If Hamas love the Palestinians as they say , they would have sign the cease fire. Cuz they cannot fight Israel, nor defeat Israel. Hamas is only causing destruction for the people of Gaza. And that is the fact. The common people are tired with Hamas, but they can't voice their opinion.

Now the whole world have seen what I have been writing on VOA, even some VOA editor refused to published some of my comments, now they can see what I have been saying. Those people are such of violence people. Israel must finish the job. Enough of this Hamas madness.

The Jews have the right to live and breath this air like everyone. Those Arabs don't like themselves, If they don't like themselves, let them deal with it. Leave our Jewish people alone. Leave our Jewish people alone. Those people didn't bother nobody in that Middle East, they are the only democratic nation in the Middle East. All the Hamas and Palestinians supporters go to Gaza and see what they will do to you, for I can go Israel anytime, but you cannot go to your Gaza.
In Response

by: Leroy Padmore from: Jersey City
July 16, 2014 12:17 AM
Ali Baba, Listen kid, do your personal study, you will come back on VOA and say the same thing I am say, That the land is for the Jews. The Palestinians don't have the right to that land. And let us leave it there, you believed in what you, and let me believed in what I believed. God Bless you
In Response

by: ali baba from: New york
July 15, 2014 8:10 PM
In the matter of fact , i hate Hamas. At the same time ,I have to say the truth. Israel driven Palestine from their land. Palestine live in refugee camp for two generation , they have no jobs. They have no food. not everyone in Palestine belong to Hamas. It is the obligation of Israel to improve their condition .otherwise , the situation will exploded in future
In Response

by: Leroy Padmore from: Jersey City
July 15, 2014 3:35 PM
Ali Baba, are you telling me with all that you know that you know, Israel is obligated to improve the standard of living for the so call Palestinians? Israel is not responsible for these people. They have the Palestinian Authority, they have Hamas. Once again, can you give a reference with a date and time that you know of Israel being the one to start any fight with those people? You can't, Sir Isaac Newton, quote in his third law, " for every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction. Now nothing happened unless something happens. Israel firing into Gaza is out of reaction. Hamas started the action. Israel is the counter acting. Israel is responding to their action. Let us be fair here Ali Baba , you know Hamas is the problem, but you are hiding behind the true. Did you know this morning 1:15 AM, Israel had to respond to an attack from Syria? Why it is not on VOA? Israel hit 12 Syria based this morning , cuz they were fighting into Israel. Listen I love the Jews and so I read about their past, present and future almost everyday. God bless Israel, God bless the Jews
In Response

by: Ali Baba from: New York
July 15, 2014 2:31 PM
You blame Hamas for every violent .Do not forget that is real has an obligation to improve the living condition in Gaza .The Poor condition of Palestine is the factor For violent. a fact ,both of them have to be blamed for violent

by: harry from: australia
July 15, 2014 1:42 PM
How come Israel does whatever irrespective of what the world or the UN thinks.Democracy is meaningless if justice is not seen to be exercised.Occupation and settlement may be achieved from the barrel of a gun but peace and security can only be achieved by mutual respect and dialogue.Guns can maim and kill but they will never stifle a people with aspirations for their own homeland.

by: ali baba from: new york
July 15, 2014 12:49 PM
Hamas Has to accept ceasefire to save lives and avoid further destruction. Hamas Understand that its rocket has no effect at all. they understand that over 200 killed and non from Israel. Hamas acts as a person who refuses to understand. Hamas understand that million are suffering from lack of food and jobs. They know that Arab does not help them . The king and Emir are taking shower in a golden bath and they never look for possible aid to them. The Arab and Palestine who lives abroad are giving money to terrorist but they never for the needy . It is time to look for the fact and Forget that Jews are the enemy of God because Mohammed teaches them so . The ideology of Islam turn the world into miserable world . Those Imam are going to put the last nail in People coffin .Enough is Enough

by: Leroy Padmore from: Jersey City
July 15, 2014 12:33 PM
It is time that Israel destroy Hamas once and for all. This is a repeating story from 2008, and the Jews cannot allow this to keep on happening to them. No way, it is unacceptable. Israel has the right to protect and defend their country. The IC has recognized Hamas as a terrorists organization funded by Iran and Hizbollah. Those two group are committed to the destruction of Israel.

Israel protect their citizens from Hamas rockets, but Hamas protect their rockets by using human shield. This is TV politic they are playing, now what is happening here, the viewer only seeing the kids, the women and civilians dying, but at the same token if you lay down with the dog, you will get up with the fleas.

If Hamas used hospitals to fired at Israel position, Israel will return fire to the hospital. If Hamas used schools to fired at Israel position, Israel will return fired at the schools. Hamas has proof to the world thy they have no interest in peace with Israel, so in such a case, Israel has to fight back. We are not violence people, what we are saying enough is enough. Israel needs to finished the job. This is how it goes Hamas, peace for peace, not war for peace. War for war. What if Hamas the right to killed the Jewish people and Israel cannot do the same? God bless Israel
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