GAZA CITY — One hundred are dead in Gaza as a result of recent events last week, including the killing of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank, followed by the killing in Jerusalem of a Palestinian teenager as a potential act of revenge. Israel blames Hamas for the deaths of the three Israeli youths, although the group has denied responsibility.
Now Israel is facing attack from a second front—a rocket was fired from Lebanon on Friday.
The rocket landed near the northern Israeli town of Metula, between the Israeli Lebanese border. No damages or injuries have been reported and it is unclear who fired the rocket.
Israel is holding the Lebanese government responsible for the attack, increasing the likelihood that Israel will face a two-conflict issue. Hezbollah operates in Lebanon but is caught up in other conflicts in the region, including their involvement in the Syrian civil war.
Regardless of who is responsible, Israel responded with artillery that landed in the vicinity of Kfar Shouba, a Lebanese town. No casualties were reported according to the Lebanese army.
Apart from this new development, Israel is under attack in the Gaza strip by Hamas—the Palestinian group. However, nearly all of the rockets fired by Hamas have been intercepted with the high tech Israeli air defense system. The airstrikes administered by Israel in return however, have been responsible for at least 100 deaths, including 22 children and 20 women.
The hospitals in Gaza do not have the resources to care for the large volume of the wounded, currently at 700. Patients are being treated on the floors as emergency rooms are overcrowded. Medications are running low and there are water shortages due to damage made by airstrikes. The Palestine Liberation Organization said Israeli bombs have hit civilian infrastructure, including a line that provides water to a refugee camp and a sewage plant.
While Israeli airstrikes resulted in the deaths of at least 100, including innocent women and children, the Israeli military said that some 100 rockets were fired at Israel today, including one that was intercepted near the crowded Tel Aviv area.
Given the escalating violence in Gaza, Israel has called for troops out of the reserve army. The Israeli Cabinet has authorized the military to call up 40,000 troops, if needed. This is 10,000 more troops than the number that was called up during Israel’s offensive into Gaza in November of 2012.
In response, Hamas’s military said in a statement on Thursday that it was ready for a prolonged confrontation. According to CNN, Hamas delivered their message via video, stating, “We assure the enemy that we have prepared ourselves for a very long battle, not for a week or 10 days as described by some of the enemy’s commanders, but for very long weeks,” the speaker said in the video, wearing camouflage with most of his face covered by a scarf.
“The world will see the skulls of your soldiers being stepped on by Gaza’s children with their bare feet,” the speaker said.
Residents in Gaza are at the highest risk of being impacted by the violence. Most residents live in low-income housing without safe rooms and weak walls. With worsening conflict, the death tolls are rising every day.
Hopes for a cease-fire appeared grim even as world leaders called for the two sides to stop the violence. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told reporters he has been reaching out to regional leaders in an attempt to help get the two sides to stop the violence in Gaza soon.
“It is imperative not only to restore calm today, but to establish a political horizon for tomorrow,” Ki-Moon said. “Without the prospect of an end to the conflict, the sides will grow ever more polarized.”
U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke by phone to discuss a solution. Despite the conversation, Netanyahu emphasized that “no international pressure will prevent us from acting with all power.”
As of now, it seems there is no clear end to the violence in sight.
– Caroline Logan