Thousands of people gathered in various West Bank towns on Tuesday, including Ramallah and Hebron, after a number of Palestinian groups, including Hamas activists in Gaza and Fatah in the West Bank, called for massive strikes. .
“The first priority of Palestinian political leaders now is for Israel to end its crimes and massacres against our people in Gaza,” Wasel Abu Yousef, member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Executive Committee, told CNN on Tuesday ( PLO) in Ramallah.
Israel imposed a partial closure of the West Bank on Tuesday, an Israeli security source told CNN, with only men over 45 and Palestinian construction workers with work permits allowed into Israel.
Gaza’s Hamas-led health ministry said 213 people, including 61 children, had been killed and 1,400 others injured in the current wave of violence. More than 2,500 Palestinians are now homeless and more than 38,000 are considered internally displaced, according to the United Nations.
Israel briefly allowed trucks carrying international aid to Gaza for the first time since the conflict began last week, but Israeli authorities halted the entry of aid trucks in response to mortar fire at two posts border workers.
On Monday evening and Tuesday morning, a brief respite in southern Israel was caused by militants’ rockets. The Israel Defense Forces did not signal any warning sirens overnight, the first time in a week Israel has spent a night without rocket fire from Gaza.
Attacks resumed later Tuesday, with a mortar killing two civilians at an agricultural packaging factory on the Israeli side of the Gaza border, bringing the total death toll in Israel to 12 since the start of the. Sirens also sounded once again on Tuesday in Ashkelon and other towns, once again sending residents to flee to shelters.
Towards dawn, the IDF destroyed an office building near Gaza. Prior warning was given that the tower would be targeted, witnesses said, and no injuries were reported. Israel has not commented on the incident.
The destroyed building was part of several pieces of infrastructure used by civilians that were targeted by the IDF. Israel has repeatedly accused Hamas of operating “deliberately” near buildings such as hospitals and schools, endangering civilians who risk becoming human shields.
Over the weekend, Israeli forces destroyed a building housing offices for international media Al Jazeera and the Associated Press, claiming it contained Hamas military intelligence assets. Hamas has denied this allegation.
Dozens of Israeli jets bombed more than 14 km of Hamas’s tunnel system in Gaza from Sunday evening to Monday morning and targeted 14 residences on Monday which the IDF said belonged to commanders of the Palestinian militant group.
The ministry had earlier warned that the destruction of medical facilities could lead to an increase in Covid-19 cases as those fleeing to shelters would be “exposed to the spread of infectious diseases, especially the danger of the coronavirus spreading.”
An IDF spokesperson told CNN on Tuesday that it was targeting the main center of operations of Hamas’s internal security forces in the Rimal neighborhood and that the building was close to the clinic.
As Israel continued to trade airstrikes with rockets fired from Gaza on Tuesday, protests broke out in several cities on Tuesday.
Thousands of people hoisted the Palestinian flag and chanted in favor of Gaza at a rally in Ramallah, West Bank. Some of the protesters burned tires and there were clashes with Israeli forces near a checkpoint, said Dr Mustafa Barghouti, chairman of the Palestinian National Initiative, who attended the protest.
Thousands of women and children also took part in a demonstration in Al-Bireh, north of Ramallah. Some demonstrators were heard chanting: “One hand plants collaborators, another plants freedom, covers the martyrs with flags, no peace and no surrender”.
A 30-year-old protester in Al-Bireh told CNN they would “take to the streets until we can end the humiliation and indignity we have to endure.”
Attempts to negotiate a truce between Israel and the militants in Gaza have so far proved difficult.
US President Joe Biden expressed support for a ceasefire on Monday in a phone call with Netanyahu and “discussed the US engagement with Egypt and other partners to that end.” , according to a description of the White House call.
Egypt and Qatar’s efforts to negotiate a truce are stuck on two main points, a senior Hamas leader with direct knowledge of the mediation efforts told CNN on Sunday.
One stumbling block is Israel’s insistence that Hamas must initiate the ceasefire, at least three hours before Israel, at which point Israel would follow. Hamas categorically rejected the proposal, the Hamas chief said.
The Hamas source said the other obstacle is Hamas’s insistence that any ceasefire must include an end to Israel’s “provocations” at the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem – the third holiest site. of Islam – and a resolution of the situation in Sheikh Jarrah, a neighborhood in East Jerusalem where several Palestinian families are at risk of being evicted.
A pro-Jewish settler organization called Nahalat Shimon uses a 1970 law to argue that the owners of the land in question before 1948 were Jewish families, and that the current Palestinian land owners should therefore be evicted and their properties given to the Jews. Israelis.
Palestinians say Israel’s restitution laws are unfair because they have no legal way to recover property they lost to Jewish families in the late 1940s in what has become the state of Israel.
Andrew Carey, Amir Tal, Ben Wedeman, Kareem Khadder and Mick Krever in Jerusalem, journalist Lauren Izso in Ashdod, Joshua Berlinger in Hong Kong, Tara John and Angela Dewan in London, Tamara Qiblawi in Beirut, Eyad Kourdi in Gaziantep and Rashard Rose in Washington contributed to this report.
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