News / Middle East

    Fighting Resumes as Gaza Truce Expires

    Smoke rises following what witnesses said was an Israeli air strike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, Aug. 8, 2014.
    Smoke rises following what witnesses said was an Israeli air strike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, Aug. 8, 2014.
    VOA News

    Israel pounded Gaza with a series of airstrikes Friday after Hamas resumed rocket attacks against Israel when talks broke down on extending a three-day truce.

    Smoke rose above Gaza as Israeli warplanes retaliated against dozens of rockets fired by Hamas into Israel, restarting a month-long conflict that has already left almost 2,000 people dead.  The latest fighting killed at least five Palestinians and injured two Israelis.

    Israel held its fire for about three hours, but military spokesman Peter Lerner later confirmed airstrikes were being carried out "against terrorist infrastructure" in Gaza. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed a "forceful" retaliation in response to the projectile launches.

    A 10-year-old Palestinian boy was killed and five others critically wounded in the shelling.

    Palestinian Naama Al Attar, 13, waits to collect water at a U.N. school in Gaza City on Aug. 8, 2014.Palestinian Naama Al Attar, 13, waits to collect water at a U.N. school in Gaza City on Aug. 8, 2014.
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    Palestinian Naama Al Attar, 13, waits to collect water at a U.N. school in Gaza City on Aug. 8, 2014.
    Palestinian Naama Al Attar, 13, waits to collect water at a U.N. school in Gaza City on Aug. 8, 2014.

    Israeli police said two people were injured by attacks from Gaza, Reuters reported.

    Government spokesman Mark Regev accused the Hamas-led fighters of indiscriminately targeting civilians.

    "Israel wanted to see this cease-fire succeed,” Regev said. “We redeployed all our forces out of the Gaza Strip. We ceased all offensive operations against the terrorists in Gaza and we took up purely defensive positions.

    "But Hamas this morning has opened fire on targets in Israel, on communities across the frontier."

    Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, said it failed to reach a deal to extend the cease-fire during indirect talks with Israeli in Cairo.

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was deeply disappointed that the parties were unable to agree to an extension of a three-day break in the violence in their talks in Cairo.

    "The extension of the cease-fire is absolutely essential for talks to progress and to address the underlying issues of the crisis as soon as possible," Ban said in a statement.

    On Friday, the Islamist group said it would continue with negotiations there, along with other Palestinian factions.

    Gaza Conflict, death tolls, August 8, 2014Gaza Conflict, death tolls, August 8, 2014
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    Gaza Conflict, death tolls, August 8, 2014
    Gaza Conflict, death tolls, August 8, 2014

    "We are not for escalation. We are ready to continue through our Egyptian brother sin negotiating a final agreement that would return the rights to their owners," Fatah official Azzam Ahmed said, according to Reuters.

    "I mean here lifting the blockade of Gaza," continued Ahmed, who said Palestinians were scheduled to meet later Friday with Egyptian mediators. 

    The blockade has strangled the Gazan economy and kept Palestinians from leaving the coastal enclave.

    But Israel said it will not loosen the blockade until Hamas, which it views as a terrorist group, is disarmed.

    Israel had agreed to prolong the cease-fire but was not willing to continue negotiations once the attacks resumed. The Israeli delegation reportedly left Egypt shortly after Hamas resumed firing.

    Hamas' rejection of an extended cease-fire could further antagonize Egypt. As Reuters pointed out, Egpyt, already hostile to the militant group, controls the vital Rafah border crossing.   

    Death and devastation

    The cease-fire had ended four weeks of fighting that killed nearly 1,900 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and devastated large sections of Gaza. Hamas on Thursday also "executed an unspecified number of Palestinians as Israeli spies," Reuters reported.

    Sixty-four Israeli soldiers and three civilians also were killed. Most of the Israeli casualties occurred during a ground invasion by Israeli troops to destroy Hamas' cross-border tunnels.

    Israel pulled out all of its soldiers from Gaza, saying all known tunnels have been destroyed, but many troops remain massed on the border.

    In the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun, some families that had returned to their homes during the cease-fire were departing again for United Nations shelters, Reuters reported. 

    "Today I am fleeing again, back to displacement," Yamen Mahmoud, a 35-year-old father of four, told Reuters. "I am not against resistance, but we need to know what to do. Is it war or peace?"

    Humanitarian disaster

    Relief groups say Gaza faces a humanitarian disaster. Hospitals are overflowing with wounded. Entire neighborhoods have been destroyed. And 250,000 of the seaside territory's 1.8 million residents have been displaced.

    Some wounded Gazans have been taken to Egypt and Jordan for treatment. Several dozen have been treated at a field hospital in Israel.

    Turkey has asked Israel and Egypt to allow an air bridge to transport wounded to Turkey.

    A convoy of relief supplies from Jordan reportedly arrived in Gaza Friday. Several Western and Arab governments have pledged millions of dollars in aid to Gaza, but its effects have yet to arrive on the ground.

    VOA Jerusalem bureau chief Scott Bobb contributed to this report, and some information comes from Reuters and AP.

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    by: Dr David Hill from: Bern
    August 10, 2014 9:12 AM
    History has shown clearly that politicians cannot devise or put in place a solution to the middle-east problem. The reason is vested-interests of the politicians involved. They may blame religion and extremism, but where foreign policy is dictated by western economic benefit and national interests, not the economic and national interests of the people of the middle-east. Therefore no matter what western politicians say, no long-term solutions will ever emerge because of the Achilles heel that is governed by the interests of the relatively few powerful entities behind the scenes that control what happens, not just in the middle-east, but in all western economies. That is why we have so-called peace envoys as Tony Blair. Therefore political solutions will never work to overcome religious and economic interests dominated by immense global financial and economic entities. Considering this truism, only an independent solution evaluated and executed by non-political/corrupt factions and totally independent of political self-interest and vast economic external benefit, will ever solve the ever-growing hell that the people of the middle-east endure. Abject poverty is at the very heart of why things are as they are and not until a 'master plan' for pan-middle east economic development is put in place, will peace become a reality and war a past memory. This strategy would take 40-years to undertake, but where once in place, it would provide the only sustainable development mechanism in town. In other words, a 'Marshall Plan' for the middle-east transforming the region over time into a dynamic economic bloc. For history has shown also that so-called enemies work in harmony together when economics provides dynamic regional blocs providing growing standards of living. Indeed even religions and long-term human differences come together if it is in the economic interests of all parties. Simple really based on the history of the world and where warlike and terrorist groups have come together, but where the political elite and their backers currently will not let this happen behind closed doors.

    Indeed, keep politicians and powerful interests lurking in the background in, and the whole dire destructive process will continue to be a totally non-ending spiral of horror and genocide...infinitum. The secret is therefore to keep politicians out and where military power has never succeeded in obtaining long-term peace when a nations people post-conflict, are not developed economically. Indeed without the 'Marshall Plan', Europe would have erupted into war many times over after WW2 as poverty would have driven this state to continually exist. In this respect also, this time, the people in the conflict region/zone have to be told first the economic benefits that they will receive, so that internally they know this time that there is a better life to look forward too and so that they will get behind the strategy from the inside out. And where this is possibly the greatest incentive for success.

    'ISRAEL - PALESTINE WAR - The only Solution to what will be a never-ending Conflict if mindsets do not change to applied economic solutions'

    - http://worldinnovationfoundation.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/israel-palestine-war-only-solution-to.html

    by: Leroy Padmore from: JerseyCity
    August 10, 2014 2:40 AM
    Look at all those lies and hateful writing about Israel, VOA need to move your station to Gaza. In America we believed in justice and true.

    by: gaza from: gaza
    August 09, 2014 3:16 AM
    Forwarded message from Gaza

    From

    Mohammed N. Ziara

    Dear Friends, Let me explain very important thing for you !!

    You all must know why our resistance fighters refuse ceasefire after Israel and Egypt refuse our demands
    Resistance fighter put demands for long ceasefire and here is the demands :
    1- Open land borders to enter and leave Gaza freely
    2- Establish maritime corridor & seaport.
    3- Release prisoners "there are more than 7000 Palestinian prisoners on Israeli Jails.
    4- Grant access to Jerusalem Holy Sites for Gazan People.
    5- lift the siege over Gaza and let foods and fuel enter without limitations.
    6- build new power plant

    " we believe our demands do not need negotiations, they are humanitarian rights, basic rights, guaranteed by international law ” !!!!

    Believe me Gazan and I am one of them prefer to die right now rather live under siege and open prison again !

    we will fight till the end to defend our rights to live like all people in this world !

    I ask you all my friend to share this important words everywhere, we need more awareness about this topic !!

    #GazaUnderAttack #AJAGAZA #ICC4Israel

    by: Voice of Free America from: USA
    August 08, 2014 11:24 PM
    The Palestinian Arabs and Jews have been fighting since the Zionists started claiming the lands of Palestine. According to Israeli paratrooper, Zionist and historian, Benny Morris, the Zionists set off the very first terrorist bomb of the conflict used exclusively against a purely civilian target:

    "On July 6, 1938, an Irgun [a Zionist paramilitary group] operative dressed as an Arab placed two large milk cans filled with TNT and shrapnel in an Arab market in downtown Haifa. The subsequent explosions killed 21 and wounded 52. On July 15 another bomb killed 10 Arabs and wounded more than 30 in David Street in Jerusalem's Old City. A second bomb in the Haifa market - this time disguised as a large can of sour cucumbers - on July 25, 1938, killed at least 39 Arabs and injured at least 70. On August 26, a bomb in Jaffa's vegetable market killed 24 Arabs and wounded 39. The bombings were condemned by the Jewish Agency and the Yishuv's middle-of-the-road and left wing political parties and press, which at first refused to believe that the terrorists were Jews." (Benny Morris, Righteous Victims, 1999).

    The Zionists continue the murder of innocent Palestinians, now using American weaponry, taxes and support. Shame on America, the land of liberty, freedom and justice for all.

    by: Abdulkareem Khadi from: Nigeria
    August 08, 2014 2:53 PM
    It is on record that this morning on expiration of the 72 hours declared humanitarian ceasefire PM Netanyahu ordered IDF to resumed operations that led to the West death of a 6 years old girl and 12 others. Palestinians resistance groups only retaliated with bottles (just like in those days when 10s of Palestinians would confront 1 or 2 Israeli soldiers armed with automatic weapons) that injured only 3 Israeli combatants compared to what the mainstream media houses and the West called 'Israeli's rights of defence'. So far, how many civilians killed in Isreal? 3, just like3! over 400 children have been killed, pregnant women were killed by Israeli regime and close to 600 palestinian women were on death list Now, who is killing who?
    In Response

    by: meanbill from: USA
    August 09, 2014 11:01 AM
    The US and European countries felt guilt for standing by, while Hitler and the Nazis massacred the innocent Jews in WW2, (so now), the US and European countries still feeling that guilt, (now stand by), and let the Israeli's massacre the innocent Palestinian men, women, children and babies......

    HISTORY repeats itself, (but this time), those committing the massacres aren't Hitler and the Nazis, and the victims aren't the innocent Jews..... and this isn't WW2..... is it?

    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    August 08, 2014 1:18 PM
    On the negotiation table, Hamas loses points. On the war front, it accrues as much points as possible. Hamas is not a good negotiator, it cannot fight well in the war front either. But it scores all the points there by making Israel seem to do all the wrong things which attract wide uproar and condemnation, especially within a UN and its agency that is dominated by islamist elements from top to bottom. While it is within the elemental structures that the negotiations take place, why is it that Hamas is unable to convince the same people it woos their sympathy to grant it what it wants on the diplomatic front? There are some others who do not agree with Hamas idea to deceive the world while it has its guns cocked to shoot, involved in kidnappings and suicide bombings which its mentors are unable to own up in public as pardonable. The world must tell terrorists to their face that they cannot get what they want in a civil world.

    Something must be done about the situation in Gaza. It cannot continue like this, always asking for what the world knows it cannot manage. Hamas asking for freedom from the blockade is like a toddler asking for a sharp object to toy with, or like a madman asking for a loaded gun. In all reality no one country in the world will allow that to happen. Why is Hamas receiving so much sympathy in the world? 3hours after Hamas broke the truce, Israel patiently waited for a voice of reason to tell Hamas to stop, but I bet that was not forthcoming. Now Turkey is asking to do the right thing, it should not be denied the right to host those wonded Gazans as well as others who may want to join them to find some peace and quiet out there. I hope Turkey can take as little as five hundred thousand until after all the fracas. If Jordan, Qatar and others can follow suit, then a quick solution to Hamas will can found.

    One request I know Israel has not made is to take a full sweep through Gaza to disarm the militants by itself. This idea has been muted to take long time, maybe months or years, but provided the insurgency is tackled in order to bring peace back to the enclave. Is someone raising eyebrows over that suggestion? Britain held Hong Kong until recently handed it back to China; China is holding Taiwan to date even when it has asked for self determination. Tibet is there. Why can’t Gaza be entrusted to Israel until peace is returned there. It is a height of injustice when places thousands of miles away are subjected to countries which nurtured them until an agreed time is reached and they are handed back. Can Israel be allowed to rid Gaza of militancy within a stipulated period, ensuring that Gazans are well taken care of and then handed over to PLO when it is done with the clean up? That is the only way to restore peace to the enclave when Hamas militancy is removed. After all no one really wants what Hamas is doing out there, except they pretend, hence it is an arm of ISIS ravaging all of islamist world.

    by: Sunny Enwerem from: Lagos Nigeria
    August 08, 2014 12:49 PM
    Hamas does not care about its citizens in Gaza after the people voted them into power, they brought this unto themselves and Israel's survival depends on its continues bombing of those that care less of their effect.

    by: sam from: brooklyn
    August 08, 2014 11:45 AM
    This article is about HAMAS breaking the truce, without provocation, by shooting 33 rockets in Israel, 26 of which landed, and causing injuries to two Israeli's, and the two pictures you show are an Israeli defensive shelling, and a Palestinian girl with empty water bottles. No bias there...Also, you seem very happy to keep a running tally of the number of alleged civilians killed, but as for muslim on muslim violence in gaza, are ok with reporting "Hamas 'executed an unspecified number of Palestinians as Israeli spies,' Reuters reported." Lastly, how can you make an inflammatory statement like "the blockade is strangling their economy" without providing any support for this? Does running a wire story absolve you of any responsibility to be fair and unbiased?
    In Response

    by: maithe from: Paris, France
    August 08, 2014 2:24 PM
    I agree with you Sam. And I have the same questions about VOA choices.... Always the same photos, the same one-sided articles.
    I want to believe that those writing this kind of biased pieces here are not VOA journalists.... Well hope so...
    And I ask myself : who is in charge ?.....

    by: meanbill from: USA
    August 08, 2014 10:27 AM
    Hamas told the Israeli's and the world;.. "A ceasefire without Israeli concessions would be a surrender, (and all the innocent Palestinians killed by Israel, would have died for nothing), and Hamas will keep firing the rockets till they run out, and then they'll fight with RPGs and AK-47s till their ammunition runs out, and then they'll throw rocks, (until), the Israeli's lift the illegal blockade on Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem, and then lift the inhumane apartheid occupation of the Palestinian people... (or) the Israeli's go into Gaza and fights Hamas in a ground war?..... Hamas is waiting?

    REMEMBER that famous American that "quote" said;.. "Give me liberty or give me death" _ (Now tell me), what part of the Hamas statement doesn't the Israeli's and the world understand?..... The Israeli's "could show some courage" and go into Gaza and try to defeat Hamas in a ground war, instead of sitting back at a safe distance, bombarding innocent defenseless Palestinian civilians..... (Hamas is undefeated and defiant, waiting for the Israeli troops to enter Gaza).
    In Response

    by: FactsareFacts
    August 08, 2014 5:59 PM
    Yes, a ceasefire would mean the surrender of Hamas terrorist. If they wish to fight to the death, that is also good.
    In Response

    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    August 08, 2014 1:39 PM
    If Hamas must be followed the way it wants, then Israel is also capable of firing missiles until the first to stop surrenders. The Palestinian so-called civilians are the ones to suffer it. If the so-called UN agency there pulls out - they have not been threatened enough that's why they've remained there to proffer lopsided reports and help Hamas store rockets and launch same from population areas so they can flash the photo videos of Israel's response to the world - if the so-called UN agency there helps do the right thing by evacuating so-called civilians without helping Hamas to use them as human shield, then Hamas can be given the war that it wants; then there will be hope of doing it without playing on the intelligence of a diplomatic society - without looking for undue sympathy. I have not heard a single condemnation of the cold blooded killing of Palestinians Hamas suspect to be spying for Israel. That is what I mean the UN agency is biased in its support and reporting. Hamas plays a blame-diplomacy and Israel is not good at that. But the UN agency has been so compromised and biased against Israel to do anything right. So Hamas wants war, it fights its own way, Israel responds. I wish Israel would do it like the Arabs - blockade journalists from Gaza. That way it will be able to finish what it wants to do before the uproar rises to dissuade it.

    by: Lou from: Atlanta
    August 08, 2014 9:00 AM
    Did you see that interview of Mohammed Shityeah by Jake Tapper on CNN? He was totally avoiding answering the questions. Typical Hamas.
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