Ne­tanyahu de­mands ‘to­tal’ Gaza cease­fire

Gulf Times - - ARAB WORLD -

Is­raeli Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Ne­tanyahu yes­ter­day de­manded a “to­tal” cease­fire from Gaza’s Ha­mas rulers in his first pub­lic com­ments on an­other deadly flare-up be­tween the two sides.

There have been ef­forts by UN of­fi­cials and Egypt to se­cure a longterm truce be­tween Is­rael and Ha­mas, though Is­raeli of­fi­cials have not com­mented on them.

Since July, there have been three ma­jor flare-ups of vi­o­lence.

“We are in the midst of a cam­paign against ter­ror in Gaza,” Ne­tanyahu said at the start of a cabi­net meet­ing.

“It will not end with one blow. Our demand is clear: a to­tal cease­fire. We shall not be sat­is­fied with less than that,” he added.

“Un­til now we have de­stroyed hun­dreds of Ha­mas mil­i­tary tar­gets and with ev­ery round of at­tacks the Is­rael De­fence Forces ex­act an­other heavy price from Ha­mas.”

Ne­tanyahu has come un­der po­lit­i­cal pres­sure to act more strongly against Ha­mas, though both sides are re­luc­tant to start a fourth war be­tween them since 2008.

Is­rael has also sought an end to kites and bal­loons car­ry­ing fire­bombs over the Gaza bor­der fence to burn Is­raeli farm­land.

An in­for­mal truce reached on Thursday night has largely held de­spite the deaths of three Pales­tini­ans since then from Is­raeli army fire dur­ing bor­der protests and clashes.

Thursday saw ex­ten­sive Is­raeli air strikes in re­tal­i­a­tion for the launch­ing of more than 180 rock­ets and mor­tar rounds by Ha­mas and its al­lies be­gin­ning on Wed­nes­day night.

Three Pales­tini­ans were killed in the Is­raeli strikes, in­clud­ing a mother and her 18-month-old daugh­ter, while seven Is­raelis were wounded by Pales­tinian rocket fire as hun­dreds took refuge in bomb shel­ters.

Pales­tini­ans steer their boat as they protest against the more than a decade-long Is­rael’s naval block­ade of Gaza, in Beit Lahya on the bor­der with Is­rael in the north­ern Gaza Strip.

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