Turkish PM says Israel is guilty of ‘ethnic cleansing”
As explosions terrorized both Palestinians and Israelis for a seventh day Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will head to the region in an attempt to help resolve the incessant violence, CNN informs. Meanwhile, Israel said it’s holding off on a military ground offensive in “to give time – limited time – for a diplomatic solution,” an Israeli official close to the negotiations said. “That solution must result in no more Hamas rockets fired on Israel.” Clinton left Cambodia late Tuesday for a trip to Israel, Ramallah and Egypt. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is among the diplomats scrambling to help find a solution before airborne attacks escalate to a ground war. Ban is set to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss the crisis. On the ground, a fresh barrage of airstrikes pummeled Gaza as rockets pounded Israel on Tuesday. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday accused Israel of “ethnic cleansing” in Gaza, as six Palestinians were killed in a new wave of Israeli strikes on Gaza, medics said, raising the Palestinian toll from six days of bombardment to 116, Middle East Online informed. Erdogan said Israel’s air raids could not be considered self defence. “Israel is committing ethnic cleansing by ignoring peace in this region and violating international law,” Erdogan said. “It is occupying the Palestinian territory step by step.” “Sooner or later, Israel will answer for the innocent blood it has shed so far,” he said. On Monday, Erdogan said the United Nations “turned a blind eye” on Israeli attacks against Palestinians, accusing the international body of double standards against Muslims.The Israel Defense Forces said it targeted 100 sites overnight, “including underground rocket launchers, terror tunnels and ammunition storage facilities.” The IDF said the “terror tunnels” were used as hideouts by Hamas operatives. Israel has sent at least 1,350 airstrikes to Gaza, the IDF said. The Gaza Ministry of Health said five people were killed Tuesday morning, including a child in northern Gaza. The ministry said 114 Palestinians have been killed and more than 900 injured since Israel’s week-long attacks started. According to a senior Hamas official involved in the talks, Israel has agreed to abide by some of Hamas’ conditions – but not all at once. The Hamas official said Israel would end air assaults and gradually ease Israel’s blockade of four crossings into Gaza, as long as Hamas stops firing rockets toward Israel. But Hamas officials rejected Israel’s response, saying they wanted a full agreement to their conditions and the opening of all four crossings at the same time. Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said late Monday that “negotiations are going on,” though he didn’t offer any details. Diplomats hope to avoid a repeat of 2008, when at least 1,400 died after Israeli troops invaded Gaza after a similar spate of rocket attacks. Israel has signaled it is open to a cease-fire, but only if Gaza militants halt rocket attacks.