Thursday

19th Jul 2018

Gaza fighting continues as diplomatic efforts falter

The Israeli incursion into the Gaza Strip continued on Tuesday (6 January), reaching Gaza city, despite international calls for ceasefire and multiplying diplomatic efforts in the region.

Israeli troops clashed with Palestinian militants on the edge of the densely populated Gaza City, home to around 1.4 million people, on Monday night, with fighting still raging in the city in the early hours of Tuesday, news agencies report.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... our join as a group

Israeli tanks also entered Khan Yunis, the largest city in southern Gaza.

The third night of Israel's ground assault - the eleventh day of the war on Gaza - brings the death toll on the Palestinian side to around 550 people, including around 100 children, according to emergency services figures reported by the AFP news agency.

More than 2,500 have been wounded.

For its part, Hamas has continued its rocket fire on Israel. Five Israeli civilians and one soldier have been killed so far by Hamas militants, while three Israeli soldiers died and 24 were wounded in a "friendly fire" incident in northern Gaza.

Meanwhile, international calls for a truce have continued, with the US State Department saying it was seeking a unlimited tripartite ceasefire focussing on Hamas - including a halt to rocket firing into Israel, a re-opening of crossings on the border and addressing the issue of tunnels used for smuggling via Egypt - and a high-level EU delegation meeting both Israeli and Palestinian politicians on Monday.

But Czech foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg – whose country currently holds the rotating EU presidency – said the EU's role in the conflict would be limited to trying to mediate a solution at this stage, rather than looking into the content of a possible truce proposal.

"We didn't have a specific plan for the ceasefire because the ceasefire must be concluded by the parties. We can help it, mediate, assist a solution, but it is not up to us to propose the conditions of the ceasefire," which "should be established as soon as possible," Mr Schwarzenberg said, the Jerusalem Post reports.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy also met both Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in Jerusalem and Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas in Ramallah on Monday, and expressed his "deep concern" at the situation.

He called the Hamas rocket attacks on Israel "irresponsible and unforgivable," while calling on Israel to "take the risk of peace."

Following his statement that Hamas bore "a heavy responsibility for the suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza," Mr Sarkozy was accused by Hamas of being "totally biased."

Israel rejects immediate ceasefire

Despite the appeals, Israel rejected the possibility of an immediate ceasefire with foreign minister Tzipi Livni saying: "Hamas targets Israel whenever it likes and Israel shows restraint."

"This is no longer going to be the equation in this region. When Israel is being targeted, Israel is going to retaliate."

Mr Olmert also later told the French president that Israel's invasion would continue as long as Hamas could fire rockets at Israel.

"The results of the operation must be ... that Hamas must not only stop firing, but must no longer be able to fire," he was quoted as saying by AFP.

Meanwhile, an official from Mr Olmert's office told the Jerusalem Post that Tel Aviv was aware the war would end "one day," while stressing the international community's role in the process.

"Ultimately, we understand that on the day this is over, regional and international actors will have an important role to play in maintaining the quiet, and specifically in preventing the re-arming of Hamas," the official said.

EU and Japan wave light in Trump's 'darkness'

EU leaders and Japanese prime minister signed a series of agreements, including the EU's biggest trade deal ever, designed as an answer to the disruption of the world order by the US president.

Stage set for Trump-Putin finale

Trump hoped to befriend Putin at a showcase summit in Helsinki, following US president's attacks on Nato and British leaders this week.

Opinion

EU must create safe, legal pathways to Europe

As the rapporteur for the European Parliament on an EU regulation on resettlement, my colleagues and I have outlined an effective plan based on solidarity and humanitarian principles.

News in Brief

  1. Trump threatens EU over Google fine
  2. Spain withdraws arrest warrant for Catalan separatists
  3. EU readies counter-measures on possible US car tariffs
  4. EU Commission launches probe into Hungary's 'Stop Soros' law
  5. EU warns Turkey on anti-terror bill
  6. Report: EU secretly scorns UK's Brexit paper
  7. Hungary: UN treaty could 'inspire millions' of migrants
  8. Nato reacts after Trump disparages Montenegro

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. IPHRCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  2. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  4. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  6. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  8. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  9. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  11. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future
  12. ACCAEmpowering Businesses to Engage with Sustainable Finance and the SDGs

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersCooperation in Nordic Electricity Market Considered World Class Model
  2. FIFAGreen Stadiums at the 2018 Fifa World Cup
  3. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Work Together to Promote Sustainable Development
  4. Counter BalanceEuropean Ombudsman Requests More Lending Transparency from European Investment Bank
  5. FIFARecycling at the FIFA World Cup in Russia
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersOECD Report: Gender Equality Boosts GDP Growth in Nordic Region
  7. Centre Maurits Coppieters“Peace and Reconciliation Is a Process That Takes Decades” Dr. Anthony Soares on #Brexit and Northern Ireland
  8. Mission of China to the EUMEPs Positive on China’s New Measures of Opening Up
  9. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOld White Men are Destroying Macedonia by Romanticizing Greece
  10. Counter BalanceControversial EIB-Backed Project Under Fire at European Parliament
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersIncome Inequality Increasing in Nordic Countries
  12. European Jewish CongressEU Leaders to Cease Contact with Mahmoud Abbas Until He Apologizes for Antisemitic Comments

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us