Richard Ginika Izuora
Israel has sustained bombardment of Gaza with airstrikes and Palestinian militants resumed cross-border rocket fire on Tuesday after; a brief overnight lull during which the UN managed to send a small fuel convoy into the enclave.
Israeli leaders said they would press on, for now, with an offensive to destroy the capabilities of the armed factions Hamas and Islamic Jihad; amid fresh calls by the US and other world powers for an end to the conflict.
“The fighting will not cease until we bring total and long-term quiet,” Israeli defence minister Benny Gantz said; blaming Hamas for the escalation in Israeli-Palestinian fighting.
Hamas began firing rockets eight days ago in retaliation for what it said were rights abuses against Palestinians in Jerusalem.
Two Thai workers were killed by a mortar barrage fired from the Gaza Strip that slammed into a plant in southern Israel; pushing the overall death toll inside Israel to 12.
Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Israel’s 21% Arab minority staged a general strike on Tuesday in solidarity.
“It allows the other side, the Jews, to realise the big impact of the Arabs;” Diaa Rabaya’a, 23, said at Damascus Gate between East Jerusalem and the Old city.
Gaza medical officials say 213 Palestinians have been killed, including 61 children and 36 women.
Israeli authorities say ten people have been killed in Israel, including two children.
Nearly 450 buildings in the Gaza strip have been destroyed or badly damaged; including six hospitals and nine primary care health centres, the UN humanitarian agency said.
More than 52,000 Palestinians have been displaced by airstrikes, the UN aid agency has said; while rights group Amnesty International said Israeli air raids on residential buildings might amount to war crimes.
Israel said more than 3,450 rockets have been launched at it from Gaza; some falling short and others shot down by its Iron Dome air defences.
It says its forces have killed around 130 Hamas fighters and another 30 from Islamic Jihad.
EU foreign ministers called for a ceasefire, but failed to reach unanimity as Hungary, Israel’s closest ally in the bloc; declined to join the other 26 foreign ministers in calling for a truce on their video call.
US defence secretary Lloyd Austin expressed his support for a de-escalation in fighting in a call with his Israeli counterpart on Tuesday; the Pentagon said.
Calling Israeli PM Netanyahu on Monday; US President Joe Biden again said Israel had the right to defend itself but encouraged it to make efforts to protect civilians, the White House said.