The fighting in Gaza continues at a great cost to both sides

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

International pressure to end hostilities between Palestinian armed forces and the Israeli military in Gaza is mounting. The conflict is intensifying after two weeks of fighting and several days of ground clashes.

Despite Israeli ground maneuvers in the Gaza Strip, Hamas is maintaining rocket fire towards Israel and simultaneously battling the Israeli forces on the ground. Furthermore, Hamas is continuing its attempts to execute effective attacks against Israel, sending operatives through a tunnel into Israel on Sunday. Ten operatives were located and eliminated by the Israeli military.

On the same day, a gory battle occurred in a Palestinian town Shaja'ia, dubbed a "terror stronghold" by Israel. According to the BBC, at least 60 Palestinians were killed during the ongoing offensive on the town, the harshest offensive of the operation so far. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon denounced the offensive and described it as "an atrocious action".

The Palestinian side has seen over 500 deaths. On the Israeli side two civilians died as a result of the rockets launched from Gaza, while 18 soldiers died during the clashes. Palestinian news channels have shown damage to civilian infrastructure in Gaza. The Israeli military claimed that armed militants were using the buildings to store and fire rockets towards Israel.

The UN has reported that 70% of Palestinian dead were not armed. Israel blames Hamas for the death of the innocent residents, since, according to Israel, Hamas tells residents to stay in their homes, in spite of Israel's instructions to evacuate the area and save themselves. Over 83 thousand Palestinians adhered to the instructions and found shelter in UN complexes.

In light of the ongoing clashes, American officials have addressed the escalation of the conflict and have called for a ceasefire. "No country, no human being, is comfortable with children being killed, with people being killed" said the American secretary of state, John Kerry. The Whitehouse stated that President Barack Obama "raised serious concern about the growing number of casualties, including increasing Palestinian civilian deaths in Gaza and the loss of Israeli soldiers."