Netanyahu: Israel should prepare for ‘prolonged campaign’ in Gaza
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GWEN IFILL: A brief pause in violence between Israel and Hamas came to an abrupt end today. A Palestinian park and a hospital were hit by Israeli strikes. Among the dead were nine children. The overall death toll from three weeks of fighting grew to 1,050 Palestinians and on the Israeli side 52 soldiers and three civilians.Hamas-run Al Aqsa TV showed a frantic scene outside Gaza City’s Shifa Hospital, the wounded from the blast at a nearby park being rushed inside for treatment. Palestinian officials blamed an Israeli airstrike, while an Israeli army spokesman pointed to misfired Hamas rockets from inside Gaza. The park attack occurred just minutes after Shifa’s outpatient clinic was hit, wounding several people.
In Southern Israel, the Israeli military reported that four of their soldiers were killed in a mortar strike by Hamas and another five were killed in combat in Gaza. At a midnight meeting, the United Nations Security Council called for an immediate and unconditional humanitarian cease-fire.
This morning in New York, the U.N. secretary-general, Ban Ki-Moon, reiterated that, calling for the protection of civilians.
BAN KI-MOON, Secretary-General, United Nations: We cannot continue to see many people continuing to be killed like this way. Why these leaders are making their people to be killed by others? It’s not — it’s not responsible, morally wrong.
GWEN IFILL: Ban added that more than 173,000 Gazans are seeking shelter at U.N. facilities, 10 percent of the total population.
In Washington, Secretary of State John Kerry added to the growing calls for a true cease-fire. Gaza, he said, must be demilitarized.
JOHN KERRY, Secretary of State: We also believe that any — any process to resolve the crisis in Gaza in a lasting and meaningful way must lead to the disarmament of Hamas and all terrorist groups. And we will work closely with Israel and regional partners and the international community in support of this goal.
GWEN IFILL: In a televised address today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the country should be — quote — “ready for a prolonged campaign” — unquote — in the Gaza Strip.
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, Prime Minister, Israel (through interpreter): We knew that we would have difficult days. This is a difficult and painful day. Stamina and determination are required in order to continue in the struggle against a murderous terrorist group that aspires to destroy us.
GWEN IFILL: Speaking with PBS’ Charlie Rose in Doha, Qatar, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal said Israel must end its occupation of Gaza and the West Bank.
KHALED MESHAAL, Hamas Leader (through interpreter): I’m ready to coexist with the Jews, with the Christians and with the Arabs and non-Arabs and with those who agree with my ideas and those who disagree with them.
However, I do not coexist with the occupiers, with the settlers, and those who…
CHARLIE ROSE, Host, “The Charlie Rose Show”: It’s one thing to say you want to coexist with the Jews. It’s another thing you want to coexist with the state of Israel. Do you want to coexist with the state of Israel? Do you want to represent — do you want to recognize Israel as a Jewish state?
KHALED MESHAAL (through interpreter): No. I said I do not want to live with a state of occupiers.
GWEN IFILL: The day’s violence came as Muslims observed the Eid al-Fitr holiday, marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
That Charlie Rose interview you just saw a portion of will air in its entirety on most PBS stations later tonight. We will return to the situation in the Middle East after this news summary, with a focus on why there appears to be no diplomatic end in sight.