Israel-Gaza conflict: Benjamin Netanyahu blames Hamas for civilian casualties in Gaza Strip - Middle East - World - The Independent

Israel-Gaza conflict: Benjamin Netanyahu blames Hamas for civilian casualties in Gaza Strip

 

Jerusalem

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has defended his country’s military offensive in the Gaza Strip saying Israel will do “what is necessary” to defend itself.

Asked if a ground invasion was imminent, he said Israel would use any means necessary to accomplish its goal of degrading Hamas’s rocket-launching capability. “Whether we’re at the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning I’m not going to tell you that right now,” he told Fox News Sunday.

On Sunday, Israel’s security cabinet met as the air force appeared to be preparing for intensive bombardments of northern Gaza.

But Mr Netanyahu took pains to absolve Israel of responsibility, claiming the blame lay with Hamas, the Islamist movement that governs Gaza. “We are hitting Hamas with increasing strength,” he said. “It must be understood that our enemy hides in mosques, puts weapons stores under hospitals and situates command posts next to kindergartens. The enemy uses the residents of Gaza as a human shield and inflicts disaster on them. The responsibility for harm to the citizens of Gaza lies on the shoulders of Hamas and Israel regrets every harm to them.”

 

He added: “The difference between Israel and Hamas is that we use missiles to defend the citizens of Israel while they use the civilian population to defend the stores of their missiles.”

In the face of the mounting casualty rate, the army has distributed a video with English subtitles of a pilot cancelling an air strike in Gaza because he sees civilians in the target range. “There are people close to our target. It looks like there are people, maybe children,” the pilot says. Another voice can be heard responding: “We won’t attack this target now, let’s go on.”

READ MORE: Human cost of Israel’s onslaught continues to rise
Israeli ‘knock on roof’ missile warning technique revealed in video
Israelis 'cheer as missiles strike targets in Gaza'

Militant groups in Gaza kept up their missile barrages against targets in central and south Israel and sirens sounded in Nahariya near the Lebanese border.

In the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, a 16-year-old boy was seriously wounded by shrapnel and a 50-year-old man was lightly wounded in the same attack, media reported. Eighty-seven missiles were fired at Israel on Sunday, bringing to 896 the number launched since the fighting began, an army spokeswoman said. There have been no Israeli fatalities due in part to the Iron Dome aerial defence system which intercepted two missiles over the Tel Aviv area on Sunday.

The Internal Security Minister, Yitzhak Aharonovich, said at the scene of the Ashkelon attack that no end date has been set for the operation. Regarding the possibility of a ceasefire, he said: “We are not dealing with it now. We are hitting Hamas. We are not counting hours or days. They still have capability. We have to continue hitting them till in the end it finishes.”

READ MORE: When German police let anti-Israeli protesters use their megaphone
Israeli air strike demolishes home for the disabled
Medics struggle to treat Gaza's casualties

But Yossi Beilin, architect of the 1993 Oslo Agreement with the Palestinians, told The Independent last night that Israel should “immediately” give Hamas a chance to stop firing. “Rather than search for mediators, we should declare that we accept the security council’s call for a ceasefire. We should stop the air strikes for 48 hours and if they stop too, then fine. If they do not, we can consider upgrading the air strikes or a ground operation as a last resort.’’

Palestinian families travel to a UN school in Gaza City to seek shelter Palestinian families travel to a UN school in Gaza City to seek shelter “There are more and more victims on the Palestinian side, more difficult pictures and we are paying a high diplomatic price,” Dr Beilin said.

US Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to Mr Netanyahu by telephone, telling him the US was prepared to broker a ceasefire, a senior State Department official said.

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior QA Engineer - Agile, SCRUM

£35000 - £50000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior QA Engineer (Agil...

Marketing Executive - West Midlands - £28,000

£26000 - £28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Digital Marketing Executive (SEO, PP...

Retail Business Analyst

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our retail client ...

Senior C++ Developer

£400 - £450 Per Annum possibly more for the right candidate: Clearwater People...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week