Palestinian resistance group Hamas is willing to agree to a conditional ceasefire, ABC News has reported citing a senior official, but the Israelis have no interest in ending their onslaught on the besieged Gaza Strip.
The latest figures show that more than 230 people have died including 65 children, 35 women and 16 elderly people, while a further 1,700 have been injured during the Israeli offensive which began on 10 May. Twelve Israelis are also said to have been killed by.
“We informed all parties that we would accept a mutual ceasefire between Israel and Hamas with two conditions,” Dr Basem Naim, a former Palestinian health minister who is now head of Hamas’ international relations council, told ABC News on Tuesday evening.
Laying out the condition for a ceasefire, Naim said: “One, Israeli forces must stop incursions into the Al-Asqa compound and respect the site. Two, Israel must stop the forced evacuation of the Palestinian residents in the Sheikh Jarah neighborhood. This condition is in accordance with international law, not only a condition expected by the Hamas authority.”
Israel, however, is not interested in a ceasefire, according to an Israeli official with direct knowledge of the matter.
“We say to stop prematurely is to give Hamas the victory it wants,” the Israeli official told ABC News on Tuesday evening. “Hamas has to come out of this defeated.”
Pressure has been mounting on Israel to stop its onslaught. US President Joe Biden yesterday urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to de-escalate tensions with Gaza “on the path” to a ceasefire. The far-right Likud leader, however, has rejected any call to end the Zionist state’s bombardment of Palestinians.
The latest assault on Gaza has unified every Palestinian community including the 2.1 million citizens of Israel. It began following weeks of provocation and ethnic cleansing in the occupied East Jerusalem. In April settlers descended on the city chanting “Death to the Arabs” and beating up Palestinians.
Early May expulsion orders targeting Palestinian families in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah loomed large. Around the same time Israeli troops stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, during the holy month of Ramadan, attacking worshippers with tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets, resulting in hundreds injured.