- Protests along the border have been ongoing since March 30 as Palestinians demand the right to return to homes their families fled or were expelled from in 1948
- There have been efforts by UN officials and Egypt to secure a long-term truce between Israel and Hamas
JERUSALEM: Another round of fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip is inevitable, Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Monday, despite attempts to reach a long-term truce.
Lieberman said in a video statement distributed by his office that “the question is not to know if the next confrontation (with Hamas) will take place, but when.”
Lieberman also appeared to suggest that all Palestinians killed in the Gaza Strip since protests and clashes along the border began on March 30 were linked to Hamas.
“Hamas has suffered 168 dead, 4,348 wounded and dozens of terror infrastructures destroyed,” he said.
Many of those killed have been young people protesting or clashing with soldiers near the border fence in the blockaded Gaza Strip. Two journalists and, according to the World Health Organization, three medics have been among those killed.
Israel says its actions are necessary to defend the border and stop infiltrations or attacks. One Israeli soldier has been killed since March 30.
There have also been three major military flare-ups between Israel and Hamas since July on top of the months of tension along the border.
Thursday saw extensive Israeli airstrikes in retaliation for the launching of more than 180 rockets and mortar rounds by Hamas and its allies beginning on Wednesday night.
Three Palestinians were killed in the Israeli strikes, including a mother and her 18-month-old daughter. It was one of the most serious escalations since the 2014 Gaza war and followed months of rising tensions.
There have been efforts by UN officials and Egypt to secure a long-term truce between Israel and Hamas, though Israeli officials have not commented on them.
On Monday, the Health Ministry in Gaza said a Palestinian shot three months ago in clashes along the Israel-Gaza border has died while being treated in Egypt.
Wissam Hijazi, 30, was shot on May 14 during a day of huge protests against the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem, said ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qudra.
The body has not yet been returned to Gaza, he said.
Hijazi’s death brings the Palestinian death toll from the May 14 protests and clashes to 63. No Israelis were killed.
Protests along the border have been ongoing since March 30 as Palestinians demand the right to return to homes their families fled or were expelled from in 1948 during the war surrounding the creation of Israel.
At least 169 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since March 30.