Sirens were heard in Tel Aviv on Saturday after the Israeli military claimed members of the Islamic Jihad launched rockets near the Gaza border.
The recent escalation has been described as the worst since the 11-day conflict in May 2021, with the Israeli military on Saturday threatening to “launch a pre-emptive operation.”
This comes after the Israeli military launched airstrikes at Gaza on Friday. A five-storey building in Gaza was destroyed in the airstrike.
Fifteen Palestinians – including a five-year-old girl, Alaa Abdullah Kaddum – were killed and 120 injured, as reported by the Palestinian Ministry of Health.
Eyewitnesses said Kaddum had a pink bow in her hair and a wound on her forehead, as her body was carried by her father at her funeral.
Watch: Airstrike in Gaza
UK ‘stands by Israel’
On Saturday, UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the UK “stands by Israel and its right to defend itself”.
“We condemn terrorist groups firing at civilians and violence which as resulted in casualties on both sides. We call for a swift end to the violence”.
Truss failed to acknowledge the Palestinian lives lost in Israel’s attack on Gaza.
South Africa’s response
Meanwhile, in South Africa, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) condemned Israel’s attacks on Gaza, saying:
“It is of particularly grave concern that Israeli military statements indicate that the operation would ‘take a long time’ and that the ongoing attacks continue to place innocent civilians at severe risk”.
Dirco said Israel “has specific obligations in terms of international human rights and humanitarian law, which it continues to breach without being held accountable”.
“The killing of children by Israeli Gov must urgently be addressed”.
Palestinian children deserve security
Back in July, Minister Pandor addressed the Conference of Palestinian Heads of Mission in Africa, saying South Africa and highlighted the plight of children during war times.
She said the continued human rights violations in Gaza “reiterates that such violations only contribute to the fostering of hatred”.
She said Israel will not find security “in the annexation of all Palestinian territories, the imprisonment of Palestinians, or the continued blockade of Gaza.”
“Rather it lies in a peaceful and stable neighbour, a sovereign and independent Palestinian State, whose children, like Israeli children, can go to school, play, attend places of worship and compete in sporting activities in peace and security”.
No ceasefire negotiations
As reported by AFP, an Israeli military spokesman said its forces were “preparing for the operation to last a week,” adding that the army is “not currently holding ceasefire negotiations”.
Meanwhile, Islamic Jihad’s leader in Gaza, Mohammed al-Hindi, said the “battle is still at its beginning”.
“Islamic Jihad is reacting in a limited manner and by doing so is preventing the occupation (Israeli military) from intensifying its air strikes,” Mohammed al-Hindi said.
Images and quotes from Israeli military spokesperson and Jihadist leader Mohammed al-Hindi from AFP.