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Israel told military to end Gaza attacks before Eurovision

One of the participants will represent Germany at the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv, Isreal in May 2019 [Gina Wetzler/Getty Images]
One of the participants will represent Germany at the Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv in May 2019 [Gina Wetzler/Getty Images]

The Israeli government ordered the military to end its strikes on the occupied Gaza Strip before the upcoming Eurovision Song Content, according to Haaretz.

Citing unnamed defence officials yesterday, the paper said that the political leadership’s position conflicted with the military’s view “that it should show its willingness to keep fighting”.

Haaretz noted that “according to the army’s assessments”, the fighting “will resume within days or weeks” if “the political leadership does not make progress on implementing the agreements to improve Gazans’ daily lives”.

The report stated that while Palestinian factions were ready for a ceasefire on Sunday morning, the army “believed that it was more important to send a message that Israel is unafraid to act”.

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In addition, however, Israel’s security establishment has also “advised the political leadership that without an increased political effort to improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza, the current calming of tensions will not hold, even in the short term”.

“In the most recent prior round of hostilities earlier in the year,” Haaretz noted, “Israel also promised a significant easing of the situation for residents of Gaza, which has been under an Israeli and Egyptian blockade, but Palestinian factions are reserving judgment.”

Although the “senior political leadership” claimed that the upcoming Israel Independence Day, Memorial Day and the Eurovision Song Contest “were not determining factors in deciding whether to continue the fighting”, Israel’s “military leadership operated throughout with the understanding that the escalation must end quickly”.

Haaretz also reported that “the Israel Air Force and military intelligence attempted to carry out a more aggressive campaign in Gaza than in recent rounds”, but also “maintained the caution required to avoid promoting Hamas and Islamic Jihad from firing at the Tel Aviv metropolitan area – a situation that could have escalated into more days of fighting”.

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