"Ceasefire Is Not Near": Over 100 Children Among 600 Dead in Gaza
Israel’s Justice Minister Tzipi Livni on Tuesday declared that a “cease fire is not near” as heavy shelling of the Gaza Strip continued alongside an increasing number of dead and wounded.
International outrage over the “disproportionate” assault by Israel has done little or nothing to stem the violence and latest figures put the death toll inside Gaza at nearly 600 people, with well over 3,000 injured and more than 100,000 now seeking refuge in UN shelters.
“The past 24 hours marked the deadliest period since the current escalations of violence began, with 107 Palestinians killed, including 23 women and 35 children,” the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) said in its most recent briefing. “Tragically, the total number of children killed in the current conflict has now passed 100 and represents almost one quarter of all Palestinian fatalities.”
Ten Israeli human rights organizations on Monday wrote to the nation’s justice ministry, charging that the assault on Gaza is in violation of international law and an affront to the human rights of Palestinians. The letter sent by the groups questioned the legality of Sunday’s assault on the neighborhood of Shujai’iya, in which more than one hundred civilians were reportedly killed, calling it “a potential violation of the fundamental principles of the laws of war, specifically the principle of distinguishing between combatants and civilians.”
Twenty-five members of a single family were reported killed in Khan Younis late Monday after their home was leveled by a missile strike that arrived with no warning.
A statement from the Israeli Defense Forces on Tuesday said that 27 of its soldiers have been killed so far in fighting and also confirmed that one of its soldiers has been taken prisoner by Hamas.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is in Cairo on Tuesday, meeting with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri to discuss the situation. In comments to the reporters, Kerry once again offered only mild criticism of Israel’s military campaign—which many are calling “war crimes”—as he placed the onus for the death of innocent Palestinians bombed in their homes on Hamas.
Kerry characterized Israel’s bombardment of Gaza as an “appropriate and legitimate effort” to defend itself and added that “only Hamas now needs to make the decision to spare innocent civilians from this violence.”
Though Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, has put forth a clear five-point set of terms for an immediate and lasting cease-fire, neither Egypt nor Israel have shown any interest in the deal.
As Reuters notes:
The Guardian catalogs some of the latest violence as of Tuesday and a call for an end to the bombardment that has now claimed nearly 600 lives in Gaza:
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