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Israel: no end to Gaza offensive

July 11, 2014

Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu has said he will continue a broad military offensive in the Gaza Strip despite international pressure to end the operation. He blamed Hamas for more than 100 Palestinian casualties.

Israel Palästina Konflikt Unruhen
Image: Reuters

Prime Minister Netanyahu pledged to continue Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip, which entered its fourth day on Friday.

He told a news conference that international pressure would not halt what he described as a "determined effort" to stop rocket fire by Palestinian militants into Israeli territory.

Netanyahu said he had been in touch with numerous world leaders including US President Barack Obama and the leaders of Britain, France, Germany and Canada.

He said he had "good discussions" with his counterparts and told them no other country would tolerate repeated fire on its citizens.

The Israeli leader blamed Hamas for causing civilian casualties by hiding in residential areas and criticized the group for targeting highly populated areas.

"No international pressure will prevent us from striking the terrorists who are attacking us," he told a news conference in Tel Aviv.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also expressed concern about the heavy civilian casualties in Gaza.

Meanwhile, the UN's human rights chief, Navi Pillay, said the Israeli air campaign may violate international laws prohibiting the targeting of civilians.

"We have received deeply disturbing reports that many of the civilian casualties, including of children, occurred as a result of strikes on homes," she said on Friday.

No peace talks in sight

During the press briefing, Netanyahu also talked around a question on possible ceasefire efforts to end the conflict.

"I will end it when our goals are realized. And the overriding goal is to restore the peace and quiet," he said.

The Palestinians have suffered major losses in the conflict with the death toll at 103.

The Health Ministry in Gaza confirmed that dozens of civilians were amongst the dead.

No deaths have been reported so far on the Israeli side, in part because of a new defense system that intercepted more than 100 incoming rockets in recent days.

Israel launched the military offensive on Tuesday, calling it a response to weeks of heavy rocket fire out of Gaza.

lw/msh (AFP, AP, dpa)