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Russia ready to help Palestine, Israel reach reconciliation — MP

July 21, 2014, 20:04 UTC+3 TEL AVIV
On July 21, Palestinian radicals from Gaza delivered air strikes on Tel Aviv, the Israeli army’s press service says
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TEL AVIV, July 21. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia is ready to facilitate reconciliation between Palestine and Israel, Russia’s parliamentarian Mikhail Margelov said on Monday.

“It is very important for us that the parties complied with the UN resolutions. Our position remained unchanged: we want the Jewish and Arab peoples to live in peace and accord. We’re ready to facilitate the peace process at the bilateral level and within international organisations,” Margelov told ITAR-TASS.

“Amid the ground operation in Gaza the logic of events prevails over political expediency. In Gaza there are different groups that do not maintain contacts. The situation is not controlled by a single centre. This complicates attempts to find a political solution,” he said.

Commenting on the Hamas movement’s refusal to agree with Egypt’s initiative on a ceasefire in Gaza, Margelov said, “The Egyptian leaders took a tough attitude towards the Muslim Brotherhood, particularly towards HAMAS. The Muslim Brotherhood is a personal enemy for Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi.”

Speaking about Israel’s operation, he said, “Israel does not stop. It is obvious.”

“I’ve received a clear signal from my interlocutors in Jerusalem: no one stops. I feel that Israeli partners have no final plan of action. They will react to what the Hamas movement does,” Margelov said.

On July 21, Palestinian radicals from Gaza delivered air strikes on Tel Aviv, the Israeli army’s press service said.

Israel’s Iron Dome air defence system has destroyed two rockets. No casualties have been reported, it said.

On July 8, 2014, the Israel Defense Forces announced the start of the operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip against Hamas militants. The IDF made strikes on 50 targets in the Gaza Strip, most of which were launching platforms for rockets. Five Palestinians were killed and some 20 were wounded.

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The immediate reason for the operation was that cities in southern Israel were massively shelled by Hamas military wing Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. According to the Israeli army’s press service, on July 7, some 90 missiles were fired on Israel from the Gaza Strip. As of early July, 450 missiles had been fired since the start of 2014.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the IDF to prepare for a possible ground operation. Israel announced mobilization of 1,500 reservists and sent two army brigades to the border with Gaza.

Later, on July 15, there was a brief ceasefire. Israel, the IDF said, abstained from strikes on the Gaza Strip for six hours on Tuesday since 09:00 local time while abiding by a ceasefire agreement suggested as part of Egypt’s peace initiative. But Palestinian militants rejected Cairo’s plan and continued rocket attacks on Israel all this time. At 15:00 local time, Netanyahu ordered the IDF to resume strikes against Gaza.

Hamas regularly shells Israel’s territory with homemade rockets. In response, Israel shells Gaza and holds military operations there to suppress militant activity and destroy Hamas’ military structure. According to Hamas, 1,365 Israelis died in 1987-2011 in terrorist attacks made by its militants.

The UN Human Rights Council will gather for a special session on July 23 over the situation in Gaza. US Secretary of State John Kerry is currently in the region on a visit to persuade Israel and the Hamas movement to sign a truce agreement.

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