Outrage and Impotence: Israel retires from Gaza for 72 hours
Gaza – The 72 hours truce agreed by Israel and the Islamist group Hamas in the Gaza Strip began today right after a flurry of last-minute attacks by both Hamas and the Israeli army. The ceasefire mediated by Egypt, began at 08:00 local time (0500 Spanish local time).
Both parties agreed to stop fighting and to indirectly hold meetings in Cairo in the hopes they can reach a permanent truce.
The Israeli army has been completely removed from the Gaza Strip shortly before the ceasefire agreed between Hamas and Israeli forces began early today. The announcement was made by a spokesman for the Israeli army in the early hours of this morning.
According to the spokesman, Peter Lerner, “the army has been deployed outside the Gaza defensive positions at the time of the entry into force of the ceasefire.”
The Executive of Israel accepted the truce proposal brought to the table by Egypt, which includes a ceasefire of 72 hours starting on Tuesday morning, according to a government source quoted by Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
Palestinian chief negotiator, Ahmed Azam, said Monday that the Palestinian factions accepted the ceasefire proposed by Egypt, which should come into force from 0500 GMT on Tuesday.
Ahmed, leader of the Fatah movement, said in a statement that during the truce, Egypt will develop contacts with Israel and the Palestinian negotiating teams, which include members of other groups such as Hamas, to “get Palestinian demands to stop aggression and end the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip”.
Egypt has officially urged both sides to accept the initiative and stop the bloodshed to restore stability in the region.
UN calls for accountability for War Crimes
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said today that Israel must bear responsibility for the mounting evidence of war crimes committed by the Israeli army in Gaza.
In a statement, Pillay highlighted the need, now more than ever, to assign responsibility for the growing evidence of war crimes and the number of civilian casualties, including 250 children.
“Six UN schools have been attacked by the Israeli army since the start of the genocidal campaign. Bombing UN schools resulted in the death of women and frightened children as well as elderly men. The dead include UN staff and doctors, who sought refuge away from the conflict, said Pillay.
Outrage and inaction from International Community
British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Sayeeda Warsi, announced his resignation today because of the position taken by the British Government against on the Gaza crisis, while calling for more action to achieve an “immediate ceasefire” and to avoid “the killing of innocent civilians.” Baroness Warsi announced the resignation through a message on her Twitter account in which she explained that she can’t support British policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict any longer.
“With great regret, this morning I wrote to the Prime Minister, David Cameron, and announced my resignation,” Warsi said.
In recent days, Warsi has called for more action by the international community to end the crisis in Gaza after the start of the Israeli offensive on 8 July. “Killing innocent civilians must stop”, she said.
“You need a ceasefire in Gaza. It requires leadership on both sides to stop this suffering,” she said on July 21.
Three days later, Warsi published another message asking people to “stop justifying the killing of children in Gaza,” adding: “Whatever our policies, there can never be a justification for this, only regret.”
The Baroness is part of a group of MPs from the Conservative who have called on David Cameron to take a harder line with Israel’s actions against the Palestinians. Lady Warsi, born in Dewsbury, in the county side of West Yorkshire, worked as a lawyer before entering politics.
The baroness became the first Muslim woman to sit in the Cabinet of Cameron where she arrived in 2010. After that she became the Secretary of Foreign Affairs in 2012 while also being in charge of the office of Secretary of State for faith and community matters.
The silence of the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, about the indiscriminate bombing of civilians in Gaza by Israel on Monday blew the lid of public opinion and that of his main political rival, Ed Miliband, the Labour Party leader, who days ago asked Cameron to speak out in the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
“Targeting civilians is wrong and illegal,” Cameron told the BBC when asked about the words of the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, who has accused Israel of committing “a moral outrage and a criminal act“. Moon referred to the bombing on Sunday of a UN school shelter.
The outrage expressed by Ms. Warsi has now spread beyond the United Kingdom. French President François Hollande, raised his tone yesterday to demand an end to “the slaughter” of civilians in the Gaza Strip after the weekend attack on a school in Rafah, which killed at least 10 Palestinians.
More striking of an announcement was that of Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius, who considered that the right of defense of Israel, while “total”, “does not justify” the killing of civilians, and demanded the imposition of a political solution by the international community. With this, Paris adds to a growing number of international critics who now disapprove of Israel’s genocidal campaign in Gaza.