By Ibrahim Sultan
On Thursday, November 14, 2019, after two days of increased fighting, 34 Palestinians were killed in Israeli air raids, sent to kill Islamic Jihad militants in Gaza.
A ceasefire has been reached between Israel and the group Islamic Jihad. Brokered by Egypt, both sides agreed to a scale down, shortly after an Israeli air raid killed an Islamic Jihad commander, Baha Abu al-Ata.
Israel also killed Rasmi Abu Malhous who it claims was a top leader in the Islamic Jihad group, in an air strike along with eight members of Malhous’ family, though many residents of the targeted area who knew him disputing that he was not even affiliated with Islamic Jihad. The rockets fired by Islamic Jihad have allegedly caused injuries among 60 people in Israel.
The escalation in violence came two days before the anniversary of the Palestinian National Council’s Declaration of Independence on November 15, 1988. Friday also marks the beginning of weekly protests by Palestinians called the Great March of Return, a protest that has been ongoing since March 2018.
Early on Friday, new rounds of Israeli missiles hit sites thought to belong to Islamic Jihad militants, further straining the recently agreed ceasefire. Israel stated it was in retaliation to five rockets launched from Gaza into Israeli territory.
The IDF claims regardless of the cease fire it would continue to carry out strikes if Israeli civilians are perceived to be in danger. The situation is ongoing and both sides are prepared to continue to retaliate if provoked.
The Israel/Gaza ceasefire continues to hold, last Saturday new strikes had been made for the first time in this round of fighting as Israel fired rockets at Hamas sites, after two days of having limited its attacks to sites belonging to the rival faction in Gaza, Islamic Jihad. Hamas has mostly stayed out of the fighting, Israel claims it will launch an investigation into the reported death of Palestinian civilians in its airstrikes, the ceasefire though shaky continues to hold.