Monday, November 19th, 2012
Israeli bombing on Gaza Strip continued Monday as well as rocket attacks on Israel , but with less intensity, on the eve of the visit of the UN chief to Jerusalem and an Arab delegation in the Palestinian territory.
Israeli air strikes have killed some 30 people Monday, bringing to over 100 the number killed in six days of the offensive, according to medical sources in Gaza.
The propaganda chief of the Islamic Jihad military wing, Ramez Harb, was killed in a strike on a media center in the heart of Gaza City, according to sources within the Palestinian group. In a statement, the Israeli army claimed to have targeted a cache used by senior Islamic Jihad executives involved in rocket attacks against southern Israel from the northern Gaza Strip.
In the West Bank, a Palestinian injured Saturday in clashes with the Israeli army during a demonstration in solidarity with Gaza, died Monday from his injuries, according to Palestinian medical sources. It is the first death of a Palestinian in the West Bank since the start of the offensive against the Gaza Strip five days ago.
Faced with the threat of a major escalation – Israel raised for several days the threat of a ground invasion prompting diplomatic visits and negotiations. The Foreign Ministers of the European Union called for the “immediate” cessation of hostilities, saying that a cease-fire would be “in the interest of all.”
Special Envoy of the Quartet for the Middle East, Tony Blair, was received on Monday in Jerusalem by Israeli President Shimon Peres and said he hoped a cessation of hostilities in the coming days.
He said that Egypt, Qatar, the United States and the UN worked for a cease-fire.
On his part, the Secretary General of the Arab League, Nabil al-Arabi, is expected to go on Tuesday as the head of a ministerial delegation to Gaza including Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs Riyad al-Malki.
Secretary General of the UN, Ban Ki-moon arrived in Cairo on Monday evening to work for a truce, then he will travel to Jerusalem, where he will be received by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
German Minister of Foreign Affair Guido Westerwelle will also meet with both leaders on Tuesday.