Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The IDF strikes over 50 targets across the Gaza Strip, including the Interior Ministry building and a hospital, killing 23 Palestinians. Among these are 4 children, who are killed when IDF troops shell a beach nr. Gaza City, an attack witnessed by a number of international journalists. IDF troops also destroy the house of a high-ranking Hamas political figure. Palestinians fire more than 60 rockets into Israel, including rockets aimed at Ashqelon and Ashdod. Iron Dome batteries intercept 4 of the projectiles. Rockets cause damage in Ashdod and Tel Aviv, and 1 soldier is injured. In the West Bank, the IDF conducts house searches and arrest raids in Hebron and 1 nearby village at night. (AFP, AP, HA, MNA, NYT, REU 7/16; PCHR 7/17)

UNRWA says that the Gaza Strip’s health system is on the brink of collapse, with 600,000 people facing water shortages and 22,000 seeking refuge in school shelters. (AP, HA, MNA, NYT 7/16)

Israeli DM Ya’alon asks Netanyahu’s security cabinet to authorize the mobilization of another 8,000 reserve troops, adding to the approximately 30,000 that have already been called up since 7/8. (AP, HA, NYT, REU 7/16)

After Hamas rejected the Egyptian cease-fire proposal the previous day, Dep. Hamas leader Abu Marzuq meets Egyptian officials and offers terms Hamas seeks in a cease-fire deal, such as “fully lifting the blockade on Gaza, including opening all the crossings and releasing the rearrested prisoners.” (See the Quarterly Update in JPS 173 for more on Hamas’s terms.) Pres. Abbas meets with Abu Marzuq in Cairo, and separately with Egypt’s Pres. al-Sisi and FM Sameh Shoukri, as well as Arab League chief al-‘Arabi. He also speaks with Hamas leader Mish‘al by telephone. Meanwhile, Secy. of State Kerry says that the U.S. is doing “everything in our power” to end the violence, in remarks he makes on an official visit to Luxembourg. Kerry speaks with the FMs of Egypt, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. Pres. Obama says that the U.S. supports Egypt’s efforts to secure a cease-fire and restoration of the 11/2012 agreement. (AFP, AP, HA, MNA, REU, YA 7/16)