Holy Land: violent attacks in Israel and Gaza



Yesterday was the most violent day in the Holy Land for many months. In Jerusalem many people were injured when an explosion destroyed two buses at 3pm local time. . There were no immediate reports of deaths; however, many injured people have been taken to the Hadassah hospital.

In the Gaza Strip eight people were killed, five of which civilians, and 12 injured, including three children, in a series of attacks by Israeli forces. According to the Palestinian Maan news agency, Israeli forces struck twice Wednesday, the first time with artillery fire, and the second from helicopters, both in the Ash-Shuja’iyya neighbourhood east of Gaza City.

An Israeli air strike last night in the Zeitun neighbourhood of east Gaza left three civilians dead and one injured. A few hours earlier Israeli military interventions killed five Palestinians, including two minors, and injured around ten. The Israeli army justified the actions as an attempt to impede Palestinian militants from firing rockets into Israel.

One person was lightly injured by rocket fire against the southern city of Beersheva, in the Neguev desert: the attack was claimed by the Al-Quds Brigades, armed wing of the Islamic Jihad, which threatened to hit further inside the Israeli territory.

With Israeli-Palestinian negotiations remaining at a standstill, the growing and renewed tension along the Gaza Strip border was the focus of a United Nations Security Council meeting on the Middle East situation. Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Oscar Fernandez-Taranco stressed “the importance of redoubling efforts to break the deadlock as progress towards peace and meeting the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people to statehood could be an important stabilizing force in the Middle East”.

The mounting violence exacerbated concerns that attempts to restart the peace negotiations had produced no visible results, he said, urging: “We must not let the recent surge in violence further undermine the possibility of finding a way towards an agreement on final status issues or undermine state-building achievements thus far”.

Fernandez-Taranco also expressed concern about the Israeli Government’s decision to approve the construction of some 400 housing units in the West Bank in reaction to the heinous murder in Itamar.  Further, on 14 March, the Jerusalem municipality had issued a permit for construction of 14 apartments for Israeli settlers in the Ras El-Amud neighbourhood in East Jerusalem.  

“These are provocative actions that only serve to exacerbate tensions”, he said, once again expressing the position of the United Nations that any settlement activity by Israel in the Occupied Territory was illegal under international law and detrimental to efforts to resume peace negotiations between the two sides.

Source: MISNA

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