CMEP Bulletin: Gates Visits Middle East Amid Intensifying Violence
Amid a fresh wave of rocket fire and terror attacks, tensions in Israel and Gaza have risen to their highest levels since Israel’s invasion of Gaza in late 2008.
The latest violence began when Hamas militants fired more than fifty rockets into southern Israel from Gaza on Saturday, March 19 and Sunday, March 20. The rocket fire included at least four Grad rockets, a more sophisticated weapon, and threatened residents in the coastal towns of Ashkelon and Ashdod.
The Israeli response to the rocket fire was swift. On Monday, March 21 Israeli air strikes in Gaza injured eighteen Palestinians, including seven children and two women, as well as least four confirmed militants. The following day errant fire from an Israeli tank killed seven Palestinians; among the dead were three children who had been playing soccer, as well as the grandfather of one of the children.
Violence continued on Wednesday, March 23, when a bomb exploded outside Jerusalem’s central bus station. The blast, which was the first bombing in the city since 2008, killed at least one person and wounded over twenty-five others. No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
The heightened conflict has revealed just how fragile the situation remains. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton emphasized the tenuous state of affairs is saying, “violence only erodes hope for a lasting and meaningful peace and the final realization of two states for two peoples.”
CMEP denounced the violence, saying “The quickly rising tensions and violence in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza are detrimental to the goal of peace and demand that the all parties involved work urgently to get the peace process back on track.”
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- Gates visits West Bank
- Miral to be released
- CMEP supporters meet with local Congressional offices