Gaza Ceasefire under Pressure after New Israeli Airstrikes

Israel renewed airstrikes in Gaza. (Photo: via Social Media)

The Israeli army said early on Friday it had launched fresh raids on Gaza, despite a ceasefire that came into effect on Thursday morning.

The ceasefire had been agreed between Israel and the Palestinian armed group after two days of fighting in Gaza that began after Israel killed a top Islamic Jihad commander in an air raid.

The morning in Gaza lighting by Israeli attack

Posted by Abed Enen on Thursday, November 14, 2019

The announcement by the Israeli military suggested that the ceasefire, reportedly brokered by Egypt, was breaking down.

Gaza medical officials have put the death toll from the two days of fighting at 34, almost half of them Palestinians civilians and including eight children and three women.

Islamic Jihad spokesman Musab al-Braim told Al Jazeera that his group had secured concessions from Israel.

He said:

“The deal included the occupation’s submission to conditions which is to stop the assassinations, particularly of the protesters in the March of Return demonstrations and to begin practicing the procedures to break the siege”.

The Great March of Return, a series of weekly protests, began in March 2018 call for an end to the 12-year-old land and air siege that is crippling Gaza.

Since then, 313 Palestinian protesters have been killed by Israeli fire and thousands more wounded, according to the health ministry. Eight Israelis have been killed over the same period.

According to another official from the group, the agreement stipulates that Palestinian factions must ensure a return to calm in Gaza and “maintain peace” during demonstrations, while Israel must stop hostilities and “ensure a ceasefire” during demonstrations by Palestinians.

After the ceasefire announcement, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said Israel would follow suit only if Palestinian factions in Gaza stop attacks – denying that Israel had changed its open-fire policy as demanded by the Islamic Jihad group for the truce.

The Gaza Strip has been under a joint Israeli-Egyptian blockade for more than a decade, which has severely curtailed freedom of movement for its two million people. The flow of goods and services, as well as medical supplies, has also been squeezed in the crippling siege.

(Al Jazeera, PC, Social Media)

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