BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday warned of "extensive and deeper action" in Gaza as militant groups announced a joint operation room in the enclave.
"We neither chose nor initiated this escalation but if it continues we are prepared for much more extensive and deeper action," Netanyahu said during a tour in Ashkelon, near the Gaza border.
"Whoever intends to attack Israeli citizens needs to know that he will bear the consequences," said the Israeli premier, who is seeking a renewed mandate in Israel's Jan. 22 election.
Opposition leader Shaul Mofaz accused Netanyahu of "stuttering" on Hamas and said he had not been decisive enough during his term in office, Israeli media reported.
Hamas accused Israel of stepping up its air strikes in the Gaza Strip to vent its anger over Qatar's Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani's visit to Gaza on Tuesday and pledged to "continue to hold a gun ... until Palestine is liberated". more
Palestinian detainee, Ayman Ash-Sharawna, has been on hunger strike for 115 days, and stopped drinking water on Wednesday, escalating his strike as Israel still refuses to release him, and due to pressures practiced against him by the Prison Administration.
A lawyer of the Palestinian Prisoner Society (PPS) managed to visit Ash-Sharawna on Tuesday at the Ramla Prison Clinic; the detainee told him that he refuses to be exiled in exchange for his release, and will continue his strike “until freedom or death”.
He added that the Prison Administration keeps moving him from one room to another, and completely isolated him from the rest of the detainees, in an attempt to prevent him from getting the needed rest, and to deprive him from communicating with other detainees.
“Officers of the Prison Administration held several meetings with me, and proposed deporting me or placing me under Administrative Detention without trial”, Sharawna stated, “I will never accept to be deported or imprisoned without charges, I will continue my strike”. more
More than two-thirds of Israeli Jews say that 2.5 million Palestinians living in the West Bank should be denied the right to vote if the area was annexed by Israel, in effect endorsing an apartheid state, according to an opinion poll reported in Haaretz.
Three out of four are in favour of segregated roads for Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank, and 58% believe Israel already practises apartheid against Palestinians, the poll found.
A third want Arab citizens within Israel to be banned from voting in elections to the country's parliament. Almost six out of 10 say Jews should be given preference to Arabs in government jobs, 49% say Jewish citizens should be treated better than Arabs, 42% would not want to live in the same building as Arabs and the same number do not want their children going to school with Arabs.
A commentary by Gideon Levy, which accompanied the results of the poll, described the findings as disturbing. "Israelis themselves … are openly, shamelessly and guiltlessly defining themselves as nationalistic racists," he wrote. more
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Multiple Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip have killed four people and injured eight since late Tuesday, medics said.
Early Wednesday, Israeli warplanes struck a target in Rafah, killing Muhammad al-Sheikh, 32, a member of the PRC's military wing the Nasser Saladin Brigades.
One other person was also injured.
Israel's army said it was targeting a launching squad which moments earlier had fired a rocket at southern Israel.
At midnight, an airstrike on Beit Lahiya in Gaza's north killed Ismail al-Tally, a member of Hamas' al-Qassam Brigades, and injured three others, Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra told Ma'an.
Another overnight strike in an area northwest of Beit Lahiya killed Loai Abed al-Hakeen Abu Jarad, 24, and Yousef Abu Jalhoum, al-Qidra said. One other person was seriously wounded.
Israel's army said it targeted a squad in the northern Gaza Strip "during its final preparations to fire rockets towards southern Israel."
Hamas officials also reported Israeli tanks firing into Gaza. A military spokesman confirmed that report. more