ISRAEL headed towards an air, land and sea attack on Gaza yesterday, having killed more than 3,000 Gazans, including over 1,000 children, during the past week.
The Interior Ministry in Gaza said the bodies of more than 1,000 people are decaying under the ruins of buildings destroyed by Israel’s relentless bombardment, warning of humanitarian and environmental crises.
The Hamas movement said in a statement: ‘The Zionist criminal enemy continues to target our innocent, unarmed Palestinian people in steadfast Gaza committing massacres that are a shame on all humanity.
‘The Palestinian people will remain steadfast on their land and will continue to back their valiant resistance until the defeat of the Israeli occupation army.’
Spain’s acting Minister for Social Rights in the coalition government, Ione Belarra, said: ‘Israel is carrying out a planned genocide and war crime in the Gaza Strip by leaving hundreds of thousands of people without water and electricity and demanding their evacuation without any security guarantees.’
Belarra called on the people to take to the streets and demonstrate against Israel’s military offensive, accusing the US and the EU of having ‘double standards’ in the conflict in favour of Israel.
As well as escalating their onslaught on Gaza, Israeli occupation forces launched a large-scale raid and arrest campaign across the West Bank at dawn yesterday.
More than 51 Palestinians were detained during the raids, including two journalists. Ten were rounded up in Bethlehem, including journalist Moaz Ibrahim Amarneh, who lost his left eye three years ago after being shot by an Israeli sniper while covering a protest. Seven youths were arrested in Ramallah, four more in Salfit, three in Nablus and 16 in al-Khalil, south of the West Bank.
United Nations relief agency UNRWA confirmed yesterday that all hospitals in Gaza have a maximum capacity of fuel to run external generators for 24 hours. After that, there will be no power supply whatsoever in the hospitals across the Gaza Strip.
Osama Hamdan, senior Hamas spokesman, warned the Israelis: If they don’t learn the lesson from the last few days, their army will not protect them, their violence will not protect them, even if they are supported by the United States.
‘If they want to be protected they have to acknowledge the Palestinian rights and to implement the international resolutions which gave the Palestinian people their rights. Without negotiation. Those are rights. No-one can negotiate our rights.’
Sunak and Starmer call for ‘two-state solution’
TORY Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labour Party leader Keir Starmer both called for a ‘two-state solution’ in the Middle East in the House of Commons yesterday, both also offered ‘unequivocal support to Israel’.
Sunak said: ‘Mr Speaker, we are working to prevent escalation and further threats against Israel.
‘On Friday RAF surveillance aircraft began patrols to track threats to regional security. I have deployed a Royal Navy Task Group to the Mediteranean… three Merlin helicopters and a company of Royal Marines…
‘We are bolstering our forces in Cyprus and across the region. But let me be clear, we are not engaging in fighting or an offensive in Gaza. We are increasing our presence to prevent broader regional instability at this dangerous moment…
‘We will use all the tools of British diplomacy to sustain the prospect of stability in the region. Obviously, that requires security for Israelis and Palestinians and a two-state solution. I have spoken to prime minister Netanyahu twice in the last week…
‘Our partners in the region have asked us to play a role in preventing further escalation. That is what we will do. However hard it is we need to ask the tough questions about how we can revive the long-term prospects of a two-state solution and the normalisation of regional stability.’
Labour leader Starmer responded: ‘As in any time of great crisis it is crucial that this House speaks with one voice in condemnation of terror and in support of Israel… Labour stands with Israel, Britain is with Israel…
‘We must keep striving for a two-state solution. A Palestinian state alongside a safe and secure Israel. We cannot give up on that hope.’
Richard Bergon, Labour MP for Leeds East, said: ‘What we are seeing in Gaza is civilian areas bombed, food, medicine, electricity and water all cut off. Such collective punishment is a war crime under the Geneva Conventions. So will the prime minister take this opportunity to make clear to the Israeli government that the targeting of civilians must end immediately?’
Sunak replied: ‘I say gently to the honourable gentleman that I actually believe that we should absolutely support Israel’s right to defend itself and to go after Hamas.’