With a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants after nearly three days of violence, Gaza’s only power plant resumed operations Monday as Israel began reopening crossings into the area. Israel also lifted security restrictions on communities in southern Israel after the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire went into effect Sunday night.
Fighting died down and war-weary people in Gaza and Israel were picking up the pieces after another round of violence, the worst since an 11-day war between Israel and Hamas last year. Israeli warplanes have been attacking targets in Gaza since Friday, as the Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad militant group fired hundreds of rockets at Israel.
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Gaza game seems to have paid off Palestinian ceasefire, Israel comes into force in Gaza EXPLANATION: What is driving the current violence between Israel and Gaza? The Palestinian Ministry of Health said the dead, including 15 children and four women, and 311 wounded. Islamic Jihad said 12 of the dead were militants.
Israel said some of the dead were killed by rockets fired from Gaza. No Israelis were killed. on the sidelines, possibly because he fears Israeli retaliation and the unraveling of economic deals with Israel, including Israeli work permits for thousands of Gaza residents, tightening Hamas control over
stretches of coastline.
Israel and Hamas have fought four wars since the group invaded the area in 2007. Hamas had a strong incentive to avoid further conflict, which has taken a staggering toll on the impoverished area’s 2.3 million Palestinian residents.
The eruption of violence in Gaza was a crucial test for Israel’s interim Prime Minister Yair Lapid, who lacks experience in directing military operations. He launched the offensive less than three months before a general election in which he is campaigning to keep the job, and may have gained political ground in the process.
Israel began reopening crossings into Gaza for humanitarian purposes
on Monday, saying it will open them fully if the calm lasts. Tankers were seen entering the main cargo crossing for the power plant, which was shut down on Saturday after Israel closed crossings to Gaza last week.
That added to the misery at the height of the summer heat in the area, which is under a stifling Israeli-Egyptian blockade and suffers from a chronic power crisis that provides residents with just a few
hours of electricity per day. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis have been disrupted during the violence.
Israel’s sophisticated Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted many of the missiles fired at Israel, and no significant injuries were reported. Israel launched its operation on Friday by attacking an Islamic Jihad leader and said there were “specific threats” of an anti-tank missile attack on Israelis in response to the arrest of another senior Islamic Jihad member in the West Bank last week.
This arrest comes after months of Israeli raids in the West Bank to apprehend suspects following a series of Palestinian attacks on Israel. He killed another Islamic Jihad leader in an attack on Saturday.
Speaking to reporters in Tehran on Sunday, Islamic Jihad leader Ziad al-Nakhalah said the militant group has remained strong despite losing two of its leaders.” This is a victory for Islamic Jihad,” he said.
Despite that statement, the group undoubtedly took a hit during the fierce offensive. Aside from losing the two leaders, he reduced his arsenal by firing hundreds of missiles.
Israel said some of the deaths in Gaza were caused by misguided militant rockets, including at the Jebaliya refugee camp where six Palestinians were killed on Saturday. A shell hit a house in the same area of Jebaliya on Sunday, killing two men.
The Palestinians blamed Israel for Sunday’s attack, while Israel said was investigating whether the area was hit by unsuccessful rockets. The ceasefire agreement contained a promise that Egypt would work to secure the release of two senior Islamic Jihad prisoners held by Israel, but there were no guarantees that this would happen.
The weekend’s clashes would also complicate Islamic Jihad’s relations with Hamas. An Israeli diplomat said the offensive was successful and set back Islamic Jihad’s capabilities by “decades”, citing among other things the loss of the two leaders and the impact on the group’s missile performance and fire ability.
He spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to discuss the operation with the media. President Joe Biden welcomed the ceasefire.”During these past 72 hours, the United States has worked with officials from Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, Qatar, Jordan, and others across the region to promote an expeditious resolution to the conflict,” he said in a statement Sunday.
On Monday, Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank demolished
the homes of two Palestinians suspected of carrying out a deadly attack on Israelis in the city of Elad in May. The soldiers were confronted with violent protests during the mission, the army said.
The U Security Council was due to hold an emergency meeting Monday over the violence. China, which holds the Council Presidency this month, called the meeting in response to a request from the United Arab Emirates, which represents the Arab nations on the Council, as well as China, France, Ireland, and Norway.
“We underscore our commitment to doing everything in our power to end the ongoing escalation, ensure the safety of civilians and follow up on the Palestinian prisoner file,” said Tor Wennesland, U.S special coordinator for the center peace process east, in a statement.
The Israeli army said militants in Gaza fired about 1,100 rockets at Israel, about 200 of which landed in the Palestinian enclave. The army said its air defenses intercepted 380 of them, including two who fired on Jerusalem.
The army did not say what happened to the others, but they probably fell into open ground or were scattered in the air. Islamic Jihad has fewer fighters and sympathizers than Hamas, and little is known about its arsenal. Both groups call for Israel’s destruction but have different priorities, with Hamas being constrained by the government’s demands.
Over the past year, Israel and Hamas have reached tacit agreements based on trades in work permits and a slight easing of the border blockade imposed by Israel and Egypt when Hamas invaded the area 15 years ago. Israel has issued 12,000 work permits to workers in Gaza and has offered the option of issuing another 2,000 permits.