At least 15 Palestinians, including senior Hamas commander Ahmed al-Ja’abari, have been killed in the Israeli airstrikes on the besieged Gaza Strip since November 14. On Thursday, three Palestinians were killed in the latest round of the airstrikes in the southern city of Khan Yunis while two others were killed in the northern region of the coastal enclave. Ten people were killed during the violence on Wednesday and more than 100 others sustained injuries. Also on Thursday, three Israelis were killed when Palestinian rockets hit a house in the southern town of Kiryat Malachi.
The Tel Aviv regime has given Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as well as the ministers for military and foreign affairs the authority to decide on expanding the offensive against Gaza.Meanwhile, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has expressed concern over the “deteriorating situation” and the “new cycle of bloodshed” in the besieged Palestinian territory. On Wednesday, during a telephone conversation with Netanyahu, Ban said that he was concerned about the situation in the region and the “targeted killing by Israel of a Hamas military operative in Gaza.” However, US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice defended the Israeli offensive against Palestinians at an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on the same day. The Israeli military frequently carries out airstrikes and other attacks on the Gaza Strip, saying the actions are being conducted for defensive purposes. However, disproportionate force is always used, in violation of international law, and civilians are often killed or injured. Gaza has been blockaded since June 2007, a situation that has caused a decline in the standard of living, unprecedented levels of unemployment, and unrelenting poverty. The Israeli regime denies about 1.7 million people in Gaza their basic rights, such as freedom of movement, jobs that pay proper wages, and adequate healthcare and education. YH/MKA/HSN/MA