Strikes on Gaza, commemorations in Israel overshadowed by war

Strikes on Gaza, commemorations in Israel overshadowed by war
Strikes on Gaza, commemorations in Israel overshadowed by war
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May 13, 2024 – 07:58

(Keystone-ATS) Israeli strikes increase early Monday in the Gaza Strip as Israel prepares to celebrate its anniversary “without peace.” This has been overshadowed this year by more than seven months of war against Hamas.

In the early hours after midnight, AFP teams reported strikes in different areas of Gaza, where, according to the UN, there is no longer “a safe place” for the approximately 2.4 million people. ‘residents.

The strikes targeted in particular the city of Rafah (south), populated alone by 1.4 million Palestinians, the majority displaced by bombings and fighting. Ignoring American and European warnings which fear numerous civilian casualties, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to launch a vast ground offensive in Rafah, which he considers to be the last bastion of Hamas.

Over the past week, Israeli forces have called on the population in eastern Rafah to leave the city and carried out “targeted” operations there against the Islamist movement. A vast operation on Rafah would risk creating “chaos”, “anarchy” and “enormous damage” for the civilian population “without resolving the Hamas problem, American Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned again on Sunday.

“There will always be thousands of armed members of Hamas”, even after an operation in Rafah, especially since the armed Islamist movement has “returned to the areas that Israel liberated in the north, even to Khan Younes”, he said. added Mr. Blinken in an interview with NBC.

“Hell”

On foot, aboard vehicles or tricycles, Palestinians continue to flee areas of Rafah to try to find refuge elsewhere in the Palestinian territory. “We experienced hell for three days and the worst nights since the start of the war,” Mohammed Hamad, 24, who is one of the 300,000 Palestinians who, according to Israel, fled the areas of eastern Rafah targeted by bombing after army evacuation orders.

The armed wing of Hamas claimed responsibility for shelling Israeli soldiers and vehicles near the Rafah crossing. “The Israeli authorities continue to issue forced displacement orders (…) This forces the residents of Rafah to flee anywhere,” wrote on X the head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (Unrwa ), Philippe Lazzarini. “Talk about safe zones is false and misleading. No place is safe in Gaza,” he said.

“Crash” the truce

By attacking Rafah, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to “derail” talks on a truce and the release of hostages held in Gaza, Hamas accused on Sunday. The Islamist movement claimed to have accepted a proposal from mediators – Egypt, Qatar, United States – on a truce, but Israel responded that the accepted proposal was “far from (its) demands”.

UN chief Antonio Guterres again called for a ceasefire and the release of hostages at a conference in Kuwait where donors pledged more than $2 billion over two years for humanitarian operations in Gaza.

Egypt, hostile to an operation in Rafah, said it wanted to join South Africa in its request to the International Court of Justice to impose new emergency measures on Israel, taking into account “the “extent of Israeli attacks against Palestinian civilians” in response to October 7.

That day, Hamas commandos infiltrated from Gaza into southern Israel launched an attack which left more than 1,170 dead, mostly civilians, according to an AFP report based on official data. More than 250 people were kidnapped during the attack and 128 remain captive in Gaza, of whom 36 are believed to have died, according to the army.

Immediately after this attack, Israel launched a vast operation in Gaza which caused a humanitarian catastrophe and a heavy human toll: 35,034 deaths, mostly civilians according to the Hamas Ministry of Health. The Israeli army deplored the loss of 272 of its soldiers in the military campaign in Gaza.

“Neither peace nor silence”

After sounding the first time on Sunday evening, the sirens must sound again on Monday at 11:00 a.m. local time (10:00 a.m. in Switzerland), to mark the start of the annual commemorations for the soldiers who fell in the defense of the country and the victims of attacks, at the eve of his 76th birthday darkened by the war in Gaza.

It will be followed by a series of ceremonies in Israel’s military cemeteries. The meditation will give way in the evening of Monday to Tuesday to the celebrations marking Independence Day, the anniversary of the proclamation of the State of Israel on May 14, 1948. Part of the festivities were canceled this year due to the war.

“Tonight we have neither peace nor silence” in our hearts, President Isaac Herzog said during a ceremony at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. At his side, the head of the army, Herzi Halevi, declared that he bore “responsibility for the failure of our mission to protect the citizens of the State of Israel on October 7.

On May 15, the Palestinians must commemorate the Nakba, the “Catastrophe” that the creation of Israel was for them.

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