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Poor living conditions in Gaza fuelling violence, says Israel’s military

Gaza after Israeli strikes on 5 May, 2019 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
Damaged buildings are seen after Israel carried out air strikes in Gaza on 5 May 2019 [Mohammad Asad/Middle East Monitor]

In a rare display of public disagreement, Israel’s military appeared to point the finger of blame at the country’s policy towards Gaza over the latest escalation of violence in the besieged enclave.

Speaking at a press briefing yesterday, the military said the country needed to make changes to its strategic policy to improve living conditions in the Gaza Strip if it did not want another flareup of violence in coming weeks, the Times of Israel reported.

The Israeli newspaper pointed out that the army has been pushing for measures to make the lives of Palestinians in the Strip more bearable. However the political leadership is said to be more hesitant, fearing, what it described as “being portrayed as giving in to terror, especially with Hamas holding Israeli captives and the remains of soldiers”.

Israel blamed Hamas and Islamic Jihad for this round of violence which resulted in the death of 27 Palestinians and 156 wounded. Thirteen schools were also severely damaged in an offensive by Israel’s air force.

READ: Israel told military to end Gaza attacks before Eurovision

Officials of the Islamist party however, according to the Washington Post, said that they escalated the violence to push Israel to stick to the terms it had agreed after another such flare-up in March, when rocket fire had caused Netanyahu to cut short a trip to Washington. Hamas accused Israel of reneging on the deal to allow in cash assistance of $30 million a month from Qatar, expand fishing rights and ease the restrictions on imports and exports that have choked Gaza’s economy.

A New York Times report which claimed that “Gaza Militants Fire 250 Rockets, and Israel Responds With Airstrikes” admitted in paragraph 14 that the violence was related to Israel’s killing of four Palestinians. The Post article came under sharp criticism for what critics have described as an attempt to “obfuscate” Israel’s role in the escalation of violence.

Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib denounced the Post headline in a tweet saying: “When will the world stop dehumanizing our Palestinian people who just want to be free? Headlines like this & framing it in this way just feeds into the continued lack of responsibility on Israel who unjustly oppress & target Palestinian children and [familie]”

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