News / Middle East

    Israel, Hamas Resume Gaza Fighting

    Smoke from Israeli strikes rises over Gaza City, in the northern Gaza Strip, July 27, 2014.
    Smoke from Israeli strikes rises over Gaza City, in the northern Gaza Strip, July 27, 2014.

    Israel says it has resumed its raids in Gaza because Palestinians have ignored the 24-hour extension of a humanitarian cease-fire that was requested by the United Nations.

    The military said Sunday "following Hamas' incessant rocket fire throughout the humanitarian window, which was agreed upon for the welfare of the civilian population in Gaza, the IDF will now resume its aerial, naval and ground activity in the Gaza Strip."

    Palestinians say three people have been killed in Gaza since the shelling resumed.

    Militants in the Gaza Strip hit Israel with a barrage of rockets Sunday, several hours after Israel agreed to pause the fighting.

    The Israeli military says seven rockets were fired at southern Israel early Sunday.  It say five rockets landed and two were downed by Israel's Iron Dome air defense system.  

    Israel had agreed Saturday to continue the original 12-hour truce in Gaza another 24 hours through Sunday at midnight local time (( 2100 UTC)).  An Israeli official says the United Nations asked for the extension and the Cabinet agreed.

    The official says Israel would respond to Hamas rocket fire during the extension and continue to search for and destroy tunnels Hamas uses to smuggle weapons and fighters.  Hamas rejected the extension, saying Israel first had to withdraw its forces from Gaza.

    Hamas militants fired several rockets into Israel shortly after the original 12-hour cease-fire ended.  Israeli forces did not respond.

    Saturday's truce gave Gaza residents a chance to return to their homes to see what is left after nearly three weeks of Israeli airstrikes in response to Hamas rocket fire.  Some were able to salvage a few belongings while others found their homes destroyed.

    Palestinians say their death toll has exceeded 1,000.  Most of those killed were civilians, including many children. Israel says 43 Israeli soldiers and two civilians have died.

    Several thousand people gathered in Tel Aviv Saturday evening, calling for an end to Israel's military campaign in Gaza.

    Foreign ministers meet

    Seven foreign ministers, including U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, met in Paris Saturday as part of round-the-clock efforts to stop the fighting.

    French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said the diplomats are urging a lasting cease-fire that addresses Israel's concerns about security while trying to accommodate Palestinian demands for economic development in Gaza.

    Rockets fired from the northern Gaza Strip toward Israel, July 25, 2014.Rockets fired from the northern Gaza Strip toward Israel, July 25, 2014.
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    Rockets fired from the northern Gaza Strip toward Israel, July 25, 2014.
    Rockets fired from the northern Gaza Strip toward Israel, July 25, 2014.

    U.S. officials traveling with Kerry say Hamas believes some of what it was promised in a 2012 cease-fire was never delivered — especially the lifting of the Israeli and Egyptian blockade of Gaza — so they are more skeptical about a deal now.

    Secretary Kerry cannot negotiate directly with Hamas because the United States considers it a terrorist group, so he is working through Turkey and Qatar, which are presently the biggest backers of Hamas.

    Turkey pressing for long-term solution

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Qatari Foreign Minister Khaled al-Attiyah, right, and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu walk down a staircase at the Turkish ambassador's residence in Paris, 26 July, 2014.U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Qatari Foreign Minister Khaled al-Attiyah, right, and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu walk down a staircase at the Turkish ambassador's residence in Paris, 26 July, 2014.
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    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Qatari Foreign Minister Khaled al-Attiyah, right, and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu walk down a staircase at the Turkish ambassador's residence in Paris, 26 July, 2014.
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Qatari Foreign Minister Khaled al-Attiyah, right, and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu walk down a staircase at the Turkish ambassador's residence in Paris, 26 July, 2014.

    In a separate meeting with Secretary Kerry and Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid bin Mohammad al-Attiyah, the Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Ankara is pressing for a longer-term solution to the violence.

    "Turkey will be working very hard to stop this bloodshed on the ground, to reach a sustainable cease-fire, and at the end of these efforts to have a two-state solution which is the real solution for all these disasters and bloodshed," he said.

    US diplomatic efforts

    Secretary Kerry led nine months of talks on a two-state solution that ended in April without success. But those talks were with the Fatah faction of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, not with those from the Hamas-led Gaza strip.

    Israel has long pressed to restrict movement to Gaza to prevent Hamas from importing weapons. Qatari Foreign Minister Attiyah says a Gaza port could be monitored by the international community.

    Injured pro-Palestinian protester evacuated as clashes erupt at Place de La Republique during a banned demonstration in support of Gaza, Paris, July 26, 2014.Injured pro-Palestinian protester evacuated as clashes erupt at Place de La Republique during a banned demonstration in support of Gaza, Paris, July 26, 2014.
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    Injured pro-Palestinian protester evacuated as clashes erupt at Place de La Republique during a banned demonstration in support of Gaza, Paris, July 26, 2014.
    Injured pro-Palestinian protester evacuated as clashes erupt at Place de La Republique during a banned demonstration in support of Gaza, Paris, July 26, 2014.

    "Gaza, I think, deserves now to have a free movement of goods, a free movement of trade. They deserve now to have their own port so they can trade in and out even if it is under international supervision," he said.

    Secretary Kerry has spent nearly one week trying to a get a cease-fire that would lead to broader talks on the future of Gaza with the participation of the international community. But he says Israel cannot have a cease-fire that doesn't protect it from Hamas attacks, and Palestinians cannot have a cease-fire in which they do not believe they are going to have the ability to "live and breathe more freely and move within the crossings."

    "Palestinians need to live with dignity with some freedom with goods that can come in and out, and they need a life that is free from the current restraints that they feel on a daily basis and obviously free from violence," he said.

    Some information for this report comes from AP, AFP and Reuters.

     

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    Comment Sorting
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    by: anonymous
    July 28, 2014 2:47 PM
    Please VOA give us and update on the tunnels, distance, depth construction etc. This subject seems to have been "avoided".

    by: Anonymous
    July 27, 2014 4:40 PM
    If ISRAEL IS WRONG THEN HAMAS WRONG FOR SURE
    In Response

    by: meanbill from: USA
    July 28, 2014 11:41 AM
    Hamas, is a armed military wing for the Palestinian people (and will exist), as long as Israel won't send it's ground forces into Gaza to fight and destroy the Hamas fighters in hand to hand guerilla warfare fighting...... (but), the legend of Hamas will live on.....

    PS; the British had the two state solution in 1947, but other Arab countries rejected it, and that led to the (6) day war, and that resulted in the "Israeli apartheid occupation of Palestinians" we see today.... (and leading to the blood of patriots being shed today, for Palestinian freedom)..... REALLY?

    by: Mohsin from: Maharashtra, India
    July 27, 2014 6:44 AM
    Israelis should remember that 1.7 billion muslims are ready to fight till death for Masjid-al-Aqsa..
    In Response

    by: veev
    July 27, 2014 4:35 PM
    God made a covenant with Israel. that's why no country has ever defeated them Even the middle east countries.
    In Response

    by: ali baba from: new york
    July 27, 2014 12:46 PM
    Do you believe that 1.7 billion will fight to death. Half 1.7 billion are starving to death. all weapons you have is gun and stone. did you see what happen In Gaza. at least thousand is killed .people like you who urge jihad are the main problem .they ignorant ,fanatic and idiot.

    by: riano baggy from: ina
    July 27, 2014 6:35 AM
    israel and hamas must stop fire rockets and back talk again to extend cease fire so red cross and international aids can go to gaza strip to help many palestinians peoples who needs foods and help injured people and their health.

    by: muslim4h
    July 27, 2014 6:00 AM
    I don't get why the nations love to ignore the truths n keep on believing what Israels do to Palestine is right. Thousands of civilians in Palestine are killed but medias spread big fat lies around the world. What has always been highlighted is the "good-side" of Israel. Allah The AlMighty knows and to Him we all return.

    by: Selcuk from: Turkey
    July 27, 2014 5:32 AM
    77 Hamas soldiers (jihadist) died against 43 IDF soldier. That's army resulsts of clashes. However, 2 Israel civilian (one of them is not Jews) died against 995 Palestinian civilians (465 baby and children, 293 women). In addition, there a lot of dies under bulding salvages.

    by: widad from: Ireland
    July 26, 2014 7:18 PM
    what Israel is doing is wrong, its a crime. i think that Hamas is right they are protecting the palestinians. Zionists have no right for what they are doing
    In Response

    by: Jose from: U S
    July 27, 2014 5:58 AM
    Hamas fires rockets at Israel and you agree with them for what reason?
    In Response

    by: Jack from: Toronto
    July 27, 2014 5:03 AM
    Translation of this fool's statement: Israel is wrong from defending it's self from a war that a primitive terrorist group started. Hamas has the obligation to defend their own citizens that they use as human sheilds and once again Israel has no rights. Sponges like widad take freedom of speech and turn it into freedom to promote terror.
    In Response

    by: Nat Turner from: South Africa
    July 26, 2014 8:11 PM
    No Boer Homeland
    Integrate or Go

    by: TechNeck from: Canada
    July 26, 2014 7:12 PM
    I don't get why people hate on Israel so much... Not only is everything they do only reactionary to terrorists They have gone out of their way to minimize civilian casualties. They "soft" rocket most apartments that are targeted first giving the residents time to evacuate before bring it down with arti or bombs, they even call people in the building. They are interested in destroying the launchers Hamas has installed in the buildings, or the weapons caches stored there.
    If Hamas hadn't installed weapons of war in apartments, schools, hospitals and shelters in Gaza, then Israeli wouldn't have to bomb them in the first place.
    As for those who think sending the the troops would result in less damage... Ha, two tours in afghanistan has taught me... when you role to take names and boot down doors, its not by the roads. Going down the roads is silly thats how you get ambushed, In-file and ex-file is best done by the combat roads you make by plowing through peoples property with tanks and dozers. Allied troops have been doing this since WW2.
    With thats said, its far less damaging to blow up the one building you want to... then demolish/damage 15 getting to it with ground troops.

    by: Kafantaris from: Warren, Ohio
    July 26, 2014 6:44 PM
    "When Hamas, in effect, accepted the notion of participation in the Palestinian leadership it acknowledged the determination of that leadership to seek a peaceful solution from Israel - with Israel. That was a real option. They should have persisted in that.” -- Zbigniew Brzezinski
    This is what John Kerry was trying to tell the Israelis after the formation of the Fatah–Hamas government in April: As part of the peace deal, Israel would orderly destroy the Hamas rockets and tunnels. And in destroying the tunnels, Israel would have learned how extensive they were.
    The peaceful destruction of weapons works and we have proof of this from Saddam's Iraq after the First Gulf War.

    by: canadianasterix from: Canada
    July 26, 2014 4:14 PM
    Hamas is crazy - they are trying to fight a much superior Israeli Army with weapons that can pretty much wipe out all of Gaza. Israel is creating its own holocaust; this time it is the Palestinians body counts mounting up instead of Jews. They both need to stop this as we human lives on both sides are precious. Israel, give Gaza its freedom; remember what it felt like when Nazis took your freedom away. Hamas, stop firing rockets at Israel and accept them as your neighbors - they are not going away.
    In Response

    by: meanbill from: USA
    July 26, 2014 6:24 PM
    THINGS YOU DIDN'T KNOW? .... Most all of the Palestinian civilians killed and wounded, would be alive and uninjured today, (IF ONLY), the Israeli ground troops had entered into Gaza city and (bravely) fought the Hamas fighters (hand to hand) with tanks, armored fighting vehicles, and attack helicopters in guerilla urban warfare, instead of sitting back and bombarding Gaza city with every weapon they have at a safe distance, and indiscriminately blowing up everything, and killing and wounding everybody..... (WHY must the Palestinian civilians have to die, because the Israeli army refuses to fight the Hamas militants on the ground?)..... civilians don't shoot back, do they?
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