A top Israeli general has admitted to the rising missile power of the Palestinian resistance groups, saying the Israeli regime is now faced with “the highest ever rate of rocket attacks” in the midst of its latest onslaught on the besieged Gaza Strip.
In a press conference on Sunday, Major General Ori Gordin said Palestinian resistance groups based in Gaza had fired around 3,000 rockets toward the occupied territories over the past several days, surpassing the pace seen during an escalation in 2019 and the 2006 war with Lebanon's Hezbollah resistance group.
Retaliatory rocket attacks by Hamas and Islamic Jihad against Israeli targets come in response to Israel’s relentless airstrikes on the densely-populated enclave.
According to Palestine’s health ministry, 188 Palestinians, including 55 children and 33 women, have so far been killed and 1230 others injured in Gaza in the latest round of aggression by the Israeli regime that began on Monday.
Gordin, who is commander of the Israeli regime's home front, displayed a graphic that showed some 570 rockets had been fired from Gaza toward Israeli targets over three days of conflict between Israeli forces and Islamic Jihad in November 2019.
The high-ranking commander also said that in the 2006 war with Hezbollah, a total of 4,500 rockets had been launched against Israeli targets over the course of 19 days.
When asked whether the latest conflict has seen the highest rate of rockets being launched against Israeli-occupied territories, he said, “Not only do I agree, this is what I present.”
Palestinian FM slams moves to 'normalize' Israel ties
Separately on Sunday, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malik lambasted countries that moved to normalize their relations with Israel last year, as the regime’s war machine constantly breathes fire on Gaza.
“Normalization and running toward this colonial Israeli system without achieving peace and ending the Israeli occupation of Arab and Palestinian lands represents support for the apartheid regime and participation in its crimes,” he told an emergency meeting of foreign ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
The Israeli regime has significantly stepped up its much-criticized land grab projects since its normalization deals with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain - followed by Sudan and Morocco.
Palestinians across the occupied territories and all Palestinian factions have strongly condemned the so-called normalization deals.
“This colonial occupation must be confronted, dismantled, ended, and banned. The recently accelerated normalization will not have an impact on the sentiments of the Arab world or change their assessment,” Malik stressed.
Lieberman voices concern over Israel’s weakness against Hamas
In an interview with Israel’s Channel 12 on Saturday evening, Avigdor Liberman, the regime’s former minister of military affairs, harshly criticized Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the way the current conflict with Palestinian resistance groups, particularly Hamas, has been playing out.
Liberman, who was Netanyahu’s former ally, called on Israelis to ask themselves the question, “If this is our situation against Hamas, what will our position against Hezbollah and Iran look like?”
“Netanyahu endangers our existence and leads us to destruction,” the leader of the Yisrael Beytenu party stressed.
Pointing to Israel’s weakness in the face of the Palestinian resistance groups, Liberman said “the Arab world is watching us and will say what will Israel’s position be like against Hezbollah and Iran if its position against Hamas is like the way we see now.”
“The strategic goal of this round of conflict is to improve Netanyahu’s status among the Israeli public, in order to drag us to fifth elections… So long as the mandate to form a government is with Yair Lapid, Netanyahu will try to drag out the conflict,” Liberman added.
“Hamas for the first time created an internal front against us inside Israel. Hamas has taken control of the Palestinian streets. The winner of this operation is Hamas,” he further noted.
Liberman noted that the current operation against Gaza would be vain if it ended without the disarmament of Hamas and the return of the bodies of two Israeli soldiers.
Egypt ‘opens’ Rafah crossing early for Palestinian travelers
Separately on Sunday, Egypt opened the Rafah border crossing a day earlier than scheduled to allow the passage from the Gaza Strip of students, people who are in need of medical treatment, and other humanitarian cases, Reuters reported, citing two unnamed sources.
Three buses carrying 263 people crossed the border by 1 p.m. local time (1100 GMT), one of the sources said. The crossing had been closed for the Eid al-Fitr holiday and was due to reopen on Monday.
Even before Sunday's reopening, Egypt had been picking up people wounded in Israeli bombardments at the crossing. Egypt has so far sent 16 ambulances to pick up casualties, most of whom had suffered serious injuries that required immediate surgical procedures, medical sources said.
Pope warns of ‘spiral of death’ in Israeli atrocities
Additionally, on Sunday, Pope Francis condemned the Israeli regime’s killing of innocent people as “terrible and unacceptable,” warning that the latest conflict could get even worse.
“In these days, violent armed clashes between the Gaza Strip and Israel have taken over, and risk degenerating into a spiral of death and destruction,” the pope said following his Sunday Regina Caeli prayer.
“Numerous people have been injured, and many innocents have died. Among them, there are also children, and this is terrible and unacceptable,” the 84-year-old pontiff added.
Pope appealed for calm and urged involved parties to put an end to the hostilities and called on the international community to intervene.
Saudi Arabia condemns Israel’s 'flagrant violations'
During the OIC’s emergency meeting on Sunday, Saudi Arabia, as the host, denounced Israel’s atrocities against Palestinians in Gaza and urged the international community to swiftly intervene to end the aggression.
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan called on the international community to take “urgent action” to stop the Israeli military attacks and the regime’s “flagrant violations” of Palestinian rights. He also called for the revival of “peace talks” aimed at securing the so-called two-state solution.
He also condemned the violation of the sanctity of Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem al-Quds.
“Preserving Jerusalem [al-Quds] is the responsibility of all of us,” stressed bin Farhan, whose country has not formally normalized ties with Tel Aviv but is known to maintain clandestine relations.