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Gaza ‘bombarded’ as signs of cease-fire between Israel and Hamas fade

July 27, 2014 at 3:46 PM EDT
International efforts to create a lasting cease-fire between Israel and Hamas appear to have broken down, with more Israeli shelling of Gaza and new Hamas rocket fire into Israel on Sunday. For more about the situation on the ground in Gaza, Nicholas Casey of the Wall Street Journal joins NewsHour via Skype from Gaza City.

HARI SREENIVASAN: For more about the situation on the ground in Gaza, we’re joined once again tonight via Skype by Nicholas Casey of The Wall Street Journal. So, we’ve heard basically that all signs of the truce are off, that there is continued rockets being hurled at Israel from Hamas, and that the shelling continues from Israel on Gaza.

NICHOLAS CASEY: Basically, that’s what’s happening, unfortunately. I saw just right outside my hotel window three rockets from Hamas, or one of the affiliated groups, going out toward Israel. And most of the morning, we were getting bombarded really heavily right around this hotel.

We have no idea what the Israelis were trying to hit, but they were trying to hit it multiple times. So the sounds of the booms were so loud that it was shaking the windows, scaring everybody out of the rooms. And I’ve no idea what the situation was like just a couple of blocks away where these targets are getting hit.

HARI SREENIVASAN: There seem to be different motivations for both sides on whether to agree to a cease-fire or not.

NICHOLAS CASEY: There are. I think agreeing to these temporary cease-fires is most within Israel’s interest, because when the firing stops, Israel generally continues to go after the Hamas tunnels and have its troops still stationed within the Gaza strip for the promise from Hamas, that Hamas will attack it. Whereas for Hamas, its infrastructure, its weapons facilities and its tunnels continue to be destroyed by Israel as the people of Gaza get a small, brief break to get food and water. Whereas the troops from Israel remain in the Gaza strip, and it is unable to attack them by its own agreement.

HARI SREENIVASAN: We also received information today about a Red Cross building that was damaged. What happened there?

NICHOLAS CASEY: The Red Cross building a bit south of here that was torched. It’s not clear why people came after the Red Cross building, but the fact is what’s going on in Gaza now is that there’s a foreign army who’s attacking it. There are a lot of foreigners here who are trying to photograph, document and also help Gazans and there’s a tremendous feeling of frustration and entrapment here.

The other thing that had gone on was that there was a bit of anger toward the Red Cross based on some rumors that had gone around before the evacuation – or the attempted evacuation – of a U.N. shelter in the North of here in Beit Hanoun. I don’t know if this had anything to do with it, but what had happened was that there was a rumor going around that there were Red Cross vehicles that were going to get people out of the shelter. Then, as people were gathering, there was an attack on the shelter that killed 16 people.

One of the days that I was in the hospital where these people were being treated, there were people yelling at the Red Cross, saying ‘Why didn’t you come to rescue us?’ And the driver from the Red Cross was trying to explain that he himself couldn’t get into the area because it was too dangerous that day.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Alright, Nicholas Casey of The Wall Street Journal joining us via Skype from Gaza, thanks so much.