The U.N. Security Council has issued a presidential statement calling for an “immediate and unconditional humanitarian ceasefire” in Gaza as the Palestinian toll tops 1,000. The weekend saw a series of ceasefire announcements by both Israel and Hamas. On Saturday, more than 130 bodies were pulled from Gaza’s rubble during a 12-hour truce. Many displaced residents tried to return home only to find their neighborhoods reduced to rubble. One Gaza resident said the area of Beit Hanoun had been totally destroyed.
Ibrahim Abuodah: “The human beings are dead, the houses are damaged, the trees are dead, and the livestock is dead, as well. So they destroyed the land, the trees and everything. They totally destroyed it.”
Just before the truce took effect, an Israeli strike on a house in Khan Younis killed 20 people, including 12 members of the same family. After initially rejecting a ceasefire, Hamas on Sunday called for a 24-hour truce to mark the Muslim holiday ending Ramadan. Overall, the Palestinian death toll has now reached 1,031, mostly civilians, including at least 226 children. Israel says 43 of its soldiers have died, along with three civilians inside Israel. The United Nations says more than 180,000 Palestinians have been displaced and are now living in U.N. shelters. In the West Bank, nine Palestinians were also killed by Israeli soldiers and settlers over the weekend.
Kerry Denies Israeli Rejection of Ceasefire Offer
Secretary of State John Kerry has been intensively involved in an effort to reach a ceasefire. On Friday, the Israeli Cabinet rejected Kerry’s latest proposal, with Israeli sources calling it too skewed toward Hamas demands, including lifting the seven-year blockade of Gaza. The Israeli rejection was issued in private so as not to strain U.S. ties. But at a news conference, Kerry denied that Israel had rejected his ceasefire plan, claiming it was never formally proposed.
Secretary of State John Kerry: “There was no formal proposal or final proposal or proposal ready for a vote submitted to Israel. Let’s make that absolutely crystal clear. And Prime Minister Netenyahu called me a few minutes before this to make it clear that that is an error, inaccurate, and he’s putting out a statement to that effect. They may have rejected some language or proposal within a framework of some kind of suggestion at some point in time, but there was no formal proposal submitted from me on which there should have been a vote or which a vote was ripe.”
Hundreds in NYC, 3,000+ in Tel Aviv Protest Israeli Invasion of Gaza
Protests against the Israeli invasion of Gaza continue around the world. On Friday, hundreds rallied in New York City’s Times Square.
Protester 1: “Make sure that you’re sending a message to the U.S. government that you will not allow your taxpayer dollars to kill children in Gaza.”
Protester 2: “[Gazans] want us to know that Gaza is not a territory, it is not a prison, it is not a concentration camp. It is where resistance and liberation is born.”
On Saturday, some 3,000 people gathered for an antiwar demonstration in Tel Aviv, the largest such protest in Israel so far.