A doctor working at the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza has rejected claims from the Israeli military that a mortar round was fired from the isolated Strip into Southern Israel. This comes after Hamas also denied any involvement in the reported attack, which would mark the first since a ceasefire was agreed in late August.
Apart from Hamas, none of the other resistance groups currently operating in Gaza have claimed responsibility for the shelling. According to Dr. Bassel Abu Warda, they had yet to receive any information to suggest that the attack had even taken place.
“What we can tell you now is that it is fully claimed from the Israeli side, to try and worsen the situation and try to get it back to what it has been in the last few months,” he suggested.
Reports have also emanated from Gaza that Israel may be attempting to tighten its blockade, particular against fisherman. There have been suggestions that Israeli warships have fired on Palestinian fisherman who have strayed more than 5 nautical miles from the Gazan coast, despite the terms of Israel’s blockade meaning they were to be afforded a leeway of 6 nautical miles.
Abu Warda acknowledged that a number of fishermen had been targeted in recent weeks. Furthermore, he some were also being arrested by Israeli authorities, and detained in Israel itself.
“These are the real broken sides of the truce that has been announced. So far this has happened more than 5 times, and still we can’t see it in the media. But once we hear something has happened from the Palestinian side, every news site in the world has spoken about it,” he said.
Despite the ceasefire agreement, Abu Warda said the situation in the region had barely changed, with border remaining closed, and Palestinians still unable to freely move around and travel.
“The situation is still the same. It might even be worse because nothing has been promised to lift the siege, and nobody really cares whether it is lifted or not,” he said.
There have been reports that a unity government between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas may also be on the rocks, following the lengthy Israeli conflict in Gaza. Abu Warda said the widespread belief in Palestine was that the Israeli aggression was motivated by the formation of the unity government, possibly as a means of destroying it. However, he suggested the situation was getting better, with the respective sides continuing to remain united.
“This is what frightens Israel. They don’t want to see the Palestinians united, they want them to be separated to make them weak, so that they can do whatever they want with them,” he suggested. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)