Netanyahu says IDF's Gaza campaign to continue as UNSC to meet Sunday
Israel's military campaign against Hamas in Gaza "will continue as long as necessary," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated early Friday morning as the IDF pummeled Gaza and Palestinians barraged the south with rockets throughout the night
A 50-year-old woman died on Friday after being injured three days ago on her way to bomb shelter, Walla reported., making her the ninth victims since cross border violence intensified on Monday. An 87-year old woman died as well, from a head injury sustained as she headed to a bomb shelter during a rocket attack. A 57-year old man and a three year old boy were also injured during the overnight rocket attacks.
In advance of a potential ground operation, Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Thursday called up 9,000 reserve soldiers.
Egyptian efforts to mediate a cease-fire have not born fruit.
Egypt had offered Israel a one-year agreement for a ceasefire, as part of mediation between Israel and Hamas, according to a report on the Al-Arabiya network early Friday.
Israel declined Egypt's offer however, according to the news source.
As a result Al-Arabiya said Egypt will suspend other issues it has with Israel and has warned Israel not to continue its military operation.
Egypt had previously sent two delegations of security personnel on Wednesday to Tel Aviv and Gaza in the hopes of promoting calm between Israel and Hamas, Al-Arabiya had reported, but has allegedly left Israel due to the decline.
Egypt's ceasefire deal demanded Israel "stop the settlement enterprise," "supporting extremists in the Al-Aqsa riots," discontinue its assassination of Hamas military officials in Gaza.
Israel was not interested in the ceasefire, before eliminating Hamas' military unit, according to Al-Arabiya.
"I said that we would exact a very heavy price from Hamas and the other terrorist organizations. We are doing so and we will continue to do so with great force. The last word has not been said and this operation will continue as long as necessary in order to restore the quiet and security to the State of Israel," Netanyahu's word put to rest any hope of an immediate cease fire.
IDF officials also spoke of an extensive campaign against Hamas, which has forcibly use Gaza since 2007. This newest campaign, dubbed Operation Guardians of the Wall, would be the fourth following hostilities in 2014, 2012 and during December 2008 and January 2009.
An IDF report late Thursday that three rockets were fired from Lebanon into the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of northern Israel," raised the specter of a possible two-front war.
The international community has called for calm. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres tweeted, "I appeal for an immediate de-escalation and cessation of hostilities in Gaza and Israel. Too many innocent civilians have already died. This conflict can only increase radicalization and extremism in the whole region.".
The UN Security Council plans to hold an open meeting on the violence on Sunday, following two closed door meetings. The US, which is one of five nations on the 15-member body with veto power, had initially objected to such a meeting. It has also prevented the publication of a joint statement on the situation.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Thursday he hoped waiting a few days for the open UNSC meeting would allow for “diplomacy to have some effect and to see if indeed we get a real de-escalation,” adding that Washington was “open to and supportive of a discussion, an open discussion, at the United Nations."
US President Joe Biden spoke of his support for Israel. He told reporters on Thursday that "there has not been a significant overreaction" by the Israelis to the attacks. "The question is how they get to a point where there is a significant reduction in the attacks, particularly the rocket attacks that are indiscriminately fired into population centers," he said. "It's a work in progress right now."
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told his Israeli counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi that he "condemned" Hamas attacks but called for a "proportionate" IDF response. France is also a UNSC member.
The IDF-Hamas violence comes amid intense clashes between Jews and Arabs across Israel. Netanyahu spoke of how Israel was conducting a campaign on two fronts, Gaza violence and civic unrest.
"The second front – Israel's cities. I repeat what I said earlier today: We give 100% backing to the police, to the soldiers of the Border Police and to the other security forces in order to restore law and order to Israel's cities. We will not tolerate anarchy. We back the police in using all means with full powers, including in conjunction with the IDF and the ISA.
"We have given powers for an emergency situation here. All of these measures are important, legitimate and necessary in order to halt this lawlessness in the State of Israel," Netanyahu said.
"I again call on the citizens of Israel not to take the law into their own hands; whoever does so will be punished severely," he said.