A 21 May ceasefire has effectively put an end to the recent escalation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that has left hundreds of people dead, mostly in the Gaza Strip, as the two sides exchanged rocket fire following weeks of tensions during Ramadan.
Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz has called upon the international community to rebuild the Gaza Strip, which has been hit hard by Tel Aviv’s military strikes against Hamas. He told Channel 12 that these efforts should involve the Palestinian National Authority and other actors in the region.
“Gaza is in ruins because of Hamas’ actions,” he added, while slamming “the victory narrative” pushed by the group’s leaders following the Thursday ceasefire announcement that came into effect on 21 May.
Israeli politician Benny Gantz gestures as he speaks during a conference in Jerusalem, Sunday, March 7, 2021
After 11 days of heavy conflict that left some 248 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead according to health officials, both sides have claimed victory following the new round of regional tensions. But according to Gantz, “Hamas didn’t manage to do anything effective.”
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Israel Defence Forces (IDF), Hidai Zilberman, confirmed this week that the country’s military made at least two attempts to kill long-wanted Hamas’s military wing leader Mohammed Deif during the latest operation against the group, but failed.
“It will not be the last time we try,” Gantz told the channel.
A Palestinian woman puts her hand on her head after returning to her destroyed house following Israel- Hamas truce, in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, May 21, 2021
Deif, the supreme military commander of Hamas’ Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, is being directly blamed for a large number of Israeli deaths in recent terror attacks in the country, including bus bombings in Jerusalem and Ashkelon. He has been Israel’s “most wanted” person for over 25 years now, with the Israeli security services carrying out at least five attempts to assassinate him in recent years, none of which succeeded, despite heavily injuring Deif, who reportedly lost both his legs and an arm in a 2006 airstrike. In 2014, his wife, three-year-old daughter, and infant son were killed by Israel during conflict in Gaza.
The defence minister earlier said that the 21 May ceasefire has facilitated diplomatic efforts to build a new reality “on the rubble of the homes of the Hamas leaders.”