After the failure of yet another humanitarian cease-fire Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to continue the operation in Gaza, despite an earlier announcement that almost all of Hamas’ “terror tunnels” have been destroyed. Troops were to redeploy into Gaza and strikes have resumed.
"We've struck Hamas and the terror organizations with a harsh blow,” Netanyahu said. “We have no intention of harming the residents of Gaza. It is Hamas that is harming them and also trying to prevent them from receiving humanitarian aid.”
"What is about to end,” he added, “is the Israeli military's handling of the tunnels, but the operation will end only when a prolonged period of quiet and security is restored to Israel's citizens."
The announcement came on the heels of an Israel-imposed seven-hour humanitarian cease-fire. Hamas claimed Israel bombed a house after the pause in fighting began, effectively violating its own truce. The cease-fire was meant to be both unilateral and partial, as the army would not end ongoing operations, namely in Rafah.
The Israeli military confirmed it carried out a strike on a home in the al-Shati refugee camp, which is not near Rafah, “a few minutes after” the start of the cease-fire. The strike killed a 8-year-old girl and wounded at least 29 others.
On that same day, Human Rights Watch accused Israel of committing “war crimes” when Israeli forces reportedly fired on and killed unarmed Palestinians in three incidents July 23-25 in Khuza’a, a town in Khan Younis in southern Gaza. Interviews with local residents indicate Israeli forces "opened fire on civilians trying to flee Khuza’a, but no Palestinian fighters were present at the time and no firefights were taking place.”
“Deliberate attacks on civilians who are not participating in the fighting are war crimes,” the report said.
Israel’s “Operation Protective Edge” reached the end of its fourth week Monday. The death toll in Gaza is at least 1,831, most of them civilians, and Israel has lost 64 soldiers and three civilians.