Sunday,17 December, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1207, (24 - 30 July 2014)
Sunday,17 December, 2017
Issue 1207, (24 - 30 July 2014)

Ahram Weekly

The war continues

Despite efforts to declare a ceasefire, the Israeli war on Gaza continues, writes Dina Ezzat

world
world
Al-Ahram Weekly

Amid further threats of war and various ceasefire efforts, Gaza is still suffering from the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip. Over the course of the last month close to 1,700 people have been killed, mostly women and children, and over 8,000 wounded.

On Saturday evening, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu shrugged off calls for a three-day humanitarian truce to allow the residents of Gaza to deal with the horrific consequences of the Israeli aerial strikes that have demolished entire residential areas, reduced the electrical capacity of Gaza to close to zero, and left the strip faced with the prospect of disease as a result of the conflict.

Netanyahu, who had suggested that the objective of the ground war had been accomplished with the demolition of the Gaza tunnels, said that the Israeli war on Gaza would continue.

Israeli government officials said that Israel would not be sending a delegation to Cairo on Saturday evening, nor on Sunday, for indirect talks with the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Palestinian factions through US-supported Egyptian mediators in Cairo in a bid to reach a durable ceasefire.

On Saturday afternoon in a joint press conference with the visiting prime minister of Italy, currently heading the European Union, President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi said that the Egyptian initiative, proposed by Cairo to end hostilities before the war entered its second week, remained the only way forward to end the bloodshed in Gaza.

The Italian prime minister gave renewed support to the Egyptian mediation, which some Middle Eastern diplomats suggested was “complementing” US diplomatic efforts.

But Israel has been more engaged in making further threats of war than in pursuing a ceasefire despite earlier promises that it would engage in a diplomatic search for a deal that would relieve the Palestinians in Gaza and “accommodate Israeli security concerns.”

On Friday, Israel shrugged off a ceasefire announced by the US and the UN only hours after a 72-humanitarian truce was promised.

On Sunday, Cairo was hoping to kick start indirect talks with the Palestinian and Israeli delegations. By the early hours the mediators were ready and were joined by Middle East Quartet envoy Tony Blair, a US negotiating team and the Palestinian Authority team, but not the Israeli delegation.

Israel has shown contempt for the diplomatic talks, and Hamas and Islamic Jihad did not arrive either for the meeting as a result of Israel’s reluctance. Meanwhile, demonstrations have been increasing across the world in order to demand an end to the slaughter of civilians, especially of children in Gaza.

In the assessment of several Middle East-based Western diplomats, it will take more public pressure for Western governments, especially Washington, to be “in a position to put more pressure” on Israel.

The US has so far qualified the war as “legitimate self-defence against terror” and the UN Security Council has failed to issue a resolution to end the aggression.

US and Western groups have appealed for an end to the war on Gaza, as have some limited quarters of American Jewry, but these appeals have not thus far affected Israel’s actions.

“The fact of the matter is that Netanyahu has the full support of his government and of public opinion in Israel despite the causalities in the Israeli army. He could continue his war with the support of his people,” commented one European diplomat.

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