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Calls for ceasefire mount as Israel and Hamas pound rockets at each other

The Arab League appealed to the international community to help

Share on Facebook July 15, 2014, Reporter : BigNewsNet, Reader : 397

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GAZA/JERUSALEM Israel and Hamas continued to exchange fierce salvos of rocket fire as worldwide pressure mounted for a cease-fire in the weeklong fighting that has claimed over 180 lives in Gaza.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended the deadly offensive in Gaza in an interview on CBS' "Face the Nation".

"Sometimes you just have to fight against people who want to murder you," he said.

Netanyahu said Hamas terrorists brought the carnage upon the people of the Gaza Strip. He would not rule out a full ground assault. "We'll use whatever means are necessary to defend our people, as would the United States or any other government."

"The difference between us is that we're using missile defense to protect our civilians, and they're using their civilians to protect their missiles," he said. "So naturally, they're responsible for all the civilian deaths that occur accidentally. We're sorry for any accidental civilian death, but it's Hamas that bears complete responsibility," Netanyahu said, defending the civilian casualties.

He brushed off international calls for a ceasefire, saying Israel's goal was to hurt Hamas enough to achieve long-term security from its rockets, not just a temporary halt. "We need to have quiet restored to our people for a sustainable period of time, and not just for five minutes," he said.

The Palestinian envoy in Washington Maen Rashid Areikat backed a ceasefire and blamed Israel for targeting civilian buildings. "So far, Israel has carried out 1,300 air strikes against the Gaza Strip, more than 1,000 tons of explosives on the most densely populated area in the face of Earth," he said. "Hospitals, mosques, schools were targeted. . . . Palestinian innocent civilians, children and women are paying the price for these massive Israeli air strikes."

The Arab League appealed to the international community to help end the Israeli airstrikes, saying the bombardment of Gaza "cannot be met with silence any more."

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has demanded both sides take immediate steps to end the fighting.

In a statement late Sunday, Ban said Hamas rocket fire goes against international law, while "too many Palestinians have been killed" by Israeli airstrikes. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he has appealed to Ban for "international protection" for the Palestinian people.

Meanwhile, Israel's Haaretz daily quoted sources in the Egyptian Foreign Ministry as saying that Egypt has proposed a cease-fire outline to Israel and Gaza: The cease-fire will start at 9 A.M., meaning Israel will stop aerial, naval and ground operations against the Gaza Strip and promise not to engage in a ground offensive or harm civilians. At the same time, all the Palestinian factions will hold their fire.

Crossings between Gaza and Israel will be reopened, and restrictions on the passage of commodities and people will be eased, in return for a halt to hostilities.

Within 48 hours of the cease-fire, Israeli and Palestinian delegations will arrive in Cairo for continued indirect talks to discuss the details of the truce and its implementation. Egypt will receive guaranties from both sides, and promises to implement the outline, said Haaretz.

The worst flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian violence in almost two years was sparked by the murder of three Israeli teenagers and the revenge killing of a Palestinian youth.

In a related development, Israel charged three Jews Monday with the kidnapping and murder of a Palestinian teenager, whose death sparked days of violent protests in Arab areas of Jerusalem and northern Israel.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld says the three suspects-- a 29-year-old man and a pair of 17-year-olds-- appeared before a court Monday and admitted to abducting 16-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir.

Israel's Shin Bet security service on Monday released the findings of its investigation into Abu Khdeir's murder. During the investigation, the three admitted to abducting Abu Khdeir and setting him on fire, according to the security agency. They also re-enacted the murder.

Shin Bet investigators said the suspects, whose names were not released, were motivated by revenge following the killing of three Israeli teenagers who were kidnapped and found dead in the West Bank on June 30.

Four others were being investigated and remained under house arrest for their involvement in the killing, it said.> BNN

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