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MOSCOW, July 25. /ITAR-TASS/. Russia's Foreign Ministry has called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza under Egypt's initiative.
"The events in Gaza arouse growing concern. We condemn the death of innocent people, primarily children, during the attack on the UN school in Beit-Hanoun," the ministry said on Friday.
Humanitarian truce should be announced in Gaza during the Muslim feast of the Eid al-Fitr, which signals the end of the holy month of Ramadan, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Friday. The week-long Eid al-Fitr starts on Monday, July 28.
Israel does not seek control over Gaza
Israel does not intend to take over Gaza upon completion of Operation Protective Edge, Israeli deputy ambassador to Russia Olga Slov said on Friday. “Israel left Gaza not to return there,” she said.
The purpose of Operation Protective Edge “is to take measures for destroying the Hamas terrorism infrastructure in Gaza”, Slov said. In addition, she said, “Gaza’s demilitarization will help resume talks on the settlement based on the principles of the two states.” “It is difficult to say how it can be achieved. I believe that the global community will be able to put forth proposals for solving this problem,” Slov said.
West Bank protests turn violent
Two people were killed and about 200 Palestinians were injured in clashes with the Israeli army which took place Thursday not far from the Qalandia checkpoint near the West Bank city of Ramallah.
The Sky News Arabia TV channel reports the mass disorders burst out north of Jerusalem during a demonstration of protest against the military operation of the Israeli army in the Gaza Strip. Several thousand people took part in the demonstration. Protesters started throwing Molotov cocktails at the security forces, and the soldiers opened fire in response.
Flight safety in Israel
Israel ensures flight safety over its territory despite fighting in Gaza, spokesman for the Israeli Embassy in Moscow Alex Kagalsky said on Friday.
“Our national airline continues flights to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport. We have also alternative runways in the Negev desert, near Eilat,” Kagalsky said.
The aggravation of military confrontation between the Israeli army and Palestinian radicals has caused mass suspension of international flights to Tel Aviv. On July 22, more than 70 rockets fired from the Gaza Strip exploded in the territory of Israel, including the capital. Moreover, the unstable situation persists around the international airport Ben Gurion. As a result, 15 companies from 10 countries have suspended flights to Israel to date.
It was done after the European Aviation Safety Agency issued warnings about the danger of flying to this region of the Middle East. The agency is expected to make an official statement on this matter that would include “strict recommendations” to all European air carriers.
Among the air carriers that cancelled their flights to Tel Aviv are Brussels Airlines, Air Baltic, Lufthansa, SWISS, Austrian Airlines, Germanwings, Air France, KLM, Cyprus Airways, Turkish Airlines, Air Serbia and Air Canada.
Israeli-Palestinian relations grew sour after June 12, 2014, when three Jewish teenagers were abducted in the West Bank. Later the teenagers were found killed. Israel accused militants of the Palestinian militant Islamist group Hamas (Islamic Resistance Movement), which controls the Gaza Strip, of committing the crime.
The operation to search for the teenagers continued for more than two weeks and was accompanied by searches, arrests of Palestinian activists and shellings of the Palestinian territory.
On July 1, 2014, a 16-year-old resident of the East Jerusalem’s Palestinian Arab neighborhood of Shuafat was kidnapped and killed. Six ultra-right Jewish activists were arrested for the crime. The death of the Palestinian teenager caused riots among Palestinians.
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.
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.
Since the start of their activity on December 14, 1987, Hamas militants set a course for liberation of Israel-occupied Palestinian territories. The group has made a few dozen terrorist attacks against military and civilian facilities of Israel.
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.