It is with deep regret and strongest condemnation that I must inform you that, despite the efforts made for and the assurances given regarding the 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire that was jointly announced last night by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and United States Secretary of State John Kerry, Israel, the occupying Power, has continued with its killing spree against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip, killing today more than 130 people, including many children and women. At least 28 more bodies have been recovered from under the rubble of Palestinian homes, adding to the escalating toll of death.
Although the ceasefire was to go into effect today at 8:00am (Palestine time), the situation on the ground has further unraveled as the Israeli occupying forces have persisted with the wanton killing of civilians and the destruction of civilian homes and properties, particular in the south of Gaza in Rafah and Khan Younis, and the Israeli government has issued threats of more “crushing” reprisals. Among those murdered today by the occupying forces were 9 people, all from the same family (Al-Farra family) who were killed in their home in Khan Younis by Israeli tank shelling. Just hours after the above took place, the occupying Power, declared that the ceasefire was effectively over due to the claimed capture of an Israeli occupying soldier in Gaza. Here, it must be noted that, even after the occupying Power declared the cease fire to be over, the Palestinian side in its entirety, reaffirmed their respect for the ceasefire and President Mahmoud Abbas reaffirmed his commitment to dispatch a delegation representing all Palestinians, to head to Cairo to engage in discussions to negotiate a durable, comprehensive ceasefire to bring an end to this horrific violence and to lift the siege of Gaza and address the longstanding, underlying causes of the current crisis. [Read more...]