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Israel—Gaza: land operation, refusal to cease fire and Hamas response

The conflict in the Middle East between Israel and Palestine continues to heat up. There is no end in sight of the hostilities between the parties, and the proposal for a long-term truce has been rejected.

The Page continues to monitor the situation and has compiled a digest of the events.

Truce issue

According to Al Arabiya TV channel, Israel rejected the request of the Egyptian delegation concerning the achievement of a humanitarian truce—a long-term truce before the end of military operations.

It was about a one-year truce that would be coordinated by Cairo, within the framework of mediation between Israel and the Hamas movement. Egypt often acts as a mediator between Israel and Hamas, and has been a key player in ceasing the past rounds of hostilities. The officials first met with Hamas leaders in Gaza and then held talks with the Israelis in Tel Aviv, as two Egyptian intelligence officials said, AP reports. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to communicate with the media. The group reported that exiled Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh also maintained contact with the Egyptians.

A Hamas spokesman said that his group had rejected a three-hour hiatus to allow negotiations on a full ceasefire to continue. He said Egypt, Qatar, and the United Nations are leading the truce efforts.

However, Israel refused a long-term truce and coordination, and after that Cairo decided to "freeze" cooperation with Israel in some areas.

Israel's response

Despite these efforts, the hostilities have only intensified. According to Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel intends to inflict heavy damage on the Palestinian movement Hamas and will continue the operation in the Gaza Strip "as long as necessary." He said that Israel is fighting on two fronts: and in the Gaza Strip, and regarding the conflict between Arabs and Jews inside the country.

Israel announced the start of air and land operations on the night of Friday, May 14, 2021. The Israeli military conducted the largest operation since the beginning of the current conflict against military targets in the Gaza Strip. According to the Israel Defense Forces, 150 targets were struck and many kilometers of the Hamas ‘Metro’ network were damaged.

"Our aircraft have just struck a number of Hamas launch positions and observation posts in Gaza," the Army added later.

At the same time, the Iron Dome Aerial Defense System intercepted a Hamas UAV that was en route from Gaza to Israel. Hamas was about to launch new missiles, but Israel stopped them "before they could."

Hamas action

The Hamas movement stated that the UAV struck an Israeli chemical plant. It was located near the border with the Gaza Strip.

"The al-Qassam Brigades attacked a chemical plant in Nir Oz with several improvised Shehab suicide drones," the al-Qassam Brigade reports.

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