08/20/2014, 00.00
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Violence resumes in Gaza. Israel "is not defending itself, its defending its occupation”

Fr. Manawel Musallam, formerly the long time pastor of Holy Family in Gaza speaks to AsiaNews. Shortly before the end of the last cease-fire, 34 Hamas rockets hit Tel Aviv and Beersheba, causing no casualties. Israel has responded with airstrikes 70. The target was the leader of the al-Qassam Brigade, instead his wife and daughter were killed.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) - "By its very actions, Israel is not defending itself, but its occupation of Palestine", says Fr. Manawel Musallam, former and long time pastor of Holy Family Parish in Gaza, commenting on the resumption of hostilities between the Israeli army and Hamas.

Ten people were killed in Gaza under Israeli shelling overnight and this morning, and at least 100 were injured. Hostilities resumed a few hours before the end of the cease-fire: Israel yesterday launched about 50 rockets and 20 others on the Strip today, in response to 34 rockets fired by Hamas. They have reached Tel Aviv and the southern city of Beersheba, causing no casualties or injuries.

The main objective was Mohammed Deif, head of the al-Qassam Brigade, the armed wing of Hamas. It is not clear if the man survived, but his wife, his daughter and a nephew lost their lives.

Deif is accused of masterminding a suicide bombing in Israel years ago, and has survived several assassination attempts, which have left him with severe disabilities. In addition to his family, seven other people died today in an attack in a central area of ​​Gaza. Among these, even a pregnant woman in her ninth month and her three children. The doctors were unable to save the unborn child.

Israeli Interior Minister Gideon Saar says that Deif is a "legitimate target" and that if there is the opportunity to eliminate him, it should be taken.

With the outbreak of new violence, the talks in Cairo were interrupted without reaching an agreement. Delegates from both sides will leave Egypt today. For Israel, "Hamas rockets have broken the truce and with it the foundation on which the talks rested".

According to Fr. Malawal Musallam "Israel is not willing to end the occupation of Palestine. Its sole aim is the development, progress and security of its people." The Israeli authorities, he tells AsiaNews, "realize that spreading fear among its own people is the only way to convince them that they can not withdraw from Palestine. They have convinced people that they must stay here to ensure their safety".

In the Gaza Strip, where the priest is a school principal, "the population is terrified. In Cairo, the Palestinians have no strategies: they have not discussed the Israeli withdrawal, the surrender of Jerusalem or the problem of the colonies. They only asked for access to the sea, openness to trade, work and feed their children. They want to live, but Israel is stopping this.  It is a question of human rights".(GM)



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