Israel orders Palestinians to leave Gaza

London, Jul 16: Israel has ordered thousands of Palestinians in eastern and northern Gaza to leave their homes as airstrikes continue, a media report said on Wednesday. This order came after an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire proposal Tuesday to stop the on-going attacks on the Gaza Strip failed, BBC reported.

Under the terms of the Egyptian initiative, the ceasefire should have been followed by a series of meetings in Cairo with high-level delegations from the two sides. Israel had agreed to the ceasefire which would put an end to the eight-day-old Operation Protective Edge.

Hamas rejected the truce saying that the ceasefire agreement was a “surrender” and insisted Israel release 56 Palestinians affiliated to the organisation, arrested in an Israeli military operation in the West Bank last month.

“Hamas hasn’t received any initiative from anyone and what has been said about demilitarising the movement is not negotiable because resistance is a legal right for the occupied people,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said.

Izzat al-Resheq, a senior Hamas official, wrote on his Facebook personal page, that Hamas, Islamic Jihad or any of the Palestinian resistance powers were not invited to discuss or debate the Egyptian initiative. The ceasefire was supposed to start at 9 a.m. Tuesday and last for 48 hours.

After Hamas rejected the Egyptian proposal, Israeli air strikes resumed and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that he had “no choice” but to step up the military campaign. Shortly after the truce deal came into effect Tuesday, about 50 rockets were fired at southern and central Israel. Operation Protective Edge started a week ago with the Israeli Air Force striking more than 1,500 targets, killing 178 Palestinians and injuring 1,100.

More than 700 rockets and mortars were fired at Israeli communities in the past week throughout south, south central and central Israel, with some rockets hitting the northern city of Haifa, some 130 km north of the Gaza Strip.