As pressure mounts for a ceasefire, Hamas lays down its conditions and the missiles and rockets keep flying

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As pressure mounts for a ceasefire, Hamas lays down its conditions and the missiles and rockets keep flying

Be’er Sheva, Southern Israel — As the international community ramped up pressure for a ceasefire deal, senior Hamas officials laid out their conditions on Wednesday for a truce with Israel to end the current cycle of bloodshed in the Mideast. But after Israel’s repeated insistence that airstrikes on Gaza would continue until Hamas stops firing rockets, the militant group’s terms seemed unlikely to bring a breakthrough, and Israeli officials were noncommittal regarding a potential ceasefire. 

As the fighting continued for a 10th day, officials in Gaza said 219 people had been killed by the intense Israeli airstrikes, while Israel reported 12 dead from the ongoing barrage of rocket fire from Hamas.

The airstrikes continued in Gaza overnight, with the Israeli military saying it had attacked dozens of underground Hamas targets. Hamas and its allies continued firing rockets from Gaza at Israel, launching at least 50 early on Wednesday, 10 of which fell short, the Israeli military said.

Hamas officials confirmed the group’s negotiating position to CBS News on Wednesday, saying it would only stop launching rockets at Israel if two conditions were met, both pertaining to Jerusalem: That Israeli forces and police agree to never again enter the al-Aqsa mosque, as they did earlier this month, and that Palestinians living in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in disputed east Jerusalem not be evicted by Jewish settlers from homes their families have lived in since the 1950s.

Palestinians protest over Gaza fighting
A Palestinian demonstrator holds a Hamas flag as he runs during a protest over cross-border violence between Palestinian militants in Gaza and the Israeli military, in Hebron, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, May 18, 2021.

MUSSA ISSA QAWASMA/REUTERS


Israel’s military would not comment on any plans for a ceasefire on Wednesday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has shifted his tone in recent days, saying on Tuesday that he was “holding assessments of the situation and we are making decisions,” after unambiguously stating for days that the attack on Hamas targets would continue, if not expand.

Exactly a week ago, Netanyahu’s Defense Minister said the attacks on armed groups would increase until the rocket fire stopped, and he indicated that Israel wanted also to destroy Hamas’ capacity to carry out any future attacks, vowing to establish “total, long term quiet” from Gaza.   


Palestinians protest in “day of rage” in West…

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The United Nations Security Council has been blocked by the United States thus far from issuing a unanimous statement calling for an immediate ceasefire, as the U.N. Secretary-General has done personally.

On Wednesday, however, Council member France said it would propose a new resolution, along with Israel’s neighbors Jordan and Egypt, calling for a ceasefire and a renewed push for a two-state solution — the establishment of an independent state of Palestine alongside Israel — to address the underlying cause of conflict.

Washington also appeared to be ratcheting up the pressure on Israel, with President Biden telling Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a phone call on Wednesday morning that “he expected a significant de-escalation today on the path to a ceasefire,” according to a description of the call from the White House.

Meanwhile, Palestinians in Israel and the occupied West Bank have taken to the streets in the biggest protests seen in years to denounce the Israel for its military assault on the densely-populated Gaza Strip.


Calls for international cease-fire in Middle …

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Many Palestinian businesses remained closed on Tuesday as an organized strike coincided with the so-called “day of rage” protests. Four protesters were shot and killed during clashes with Israeli forces.

“We are trying to give one message that we are one people, one country, one land for the whole Palestinians,” protester Maisoon Ali, 55, told CBS News at a demonstration in Ramallah, in the West Bank.

But the violence showed no signs of yielding. In the southern Israeli city of Be’er Sheva, near Gaza, alarms sounded again on Wednesday to warn of a new salvo of rockets incoming from the tiny Palestinian enclave.

Resident Liav, 40, told CBS News he wasn’t worried.

“We’ve lived here a long time. We’re used to this kind of trouble. Civilians here in Israel need to do what they do best: protect themselves and let [the Israeli military] win.”

One of the big questions that remained unanswered on Wednesday was what the Israeli government would deem a win.



This article is sourced from CBS News

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