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AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, Democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman.
Leaders in Israel and Gaza have reportedly reached a ceasefire agreement after an intense three days of fighting that left 25 Palestinians and four Israelis dead. Palestinian authorities said the dead in Gaza included two pregnant women, a 14-month-old girl, and a 12-year-old boy. The latest round of violence began on Friday. According to The Washington Post, Israeli forces shot dead two Palestinian protesters taking part in the weekly Great March of Return, which began 13 months ago. Palestinians then reportedly shot and wounded two Israeli soldiers near the border.
In response, Israel carried out an airstrike on a refugee camp, killing two Palestinian militants. The heaviest combat took place Saturday and Sunday as militants in Gaza fired about 700 rockets into Israel while Israel launched airstrikes on over 350 targets inside Gaza. The weekend has been described as the heaviest combat in the region since the 2014 Israeli assault on Gaza. Residents there fear the ceasefire will not last.
MAHMOUD AL-WEHDI: [translated] This truce will be the same as the previous ones. Each time, there is a truce for a week or two, and then they are back to fighting again. This is how it has been throughout the history of the Palestinian people. We are suffering from the fight—airstrikes that target civilians, they strike residential buildings, and we are left with our clothes we are wearing. There was no time to take personal stuff.
AMY GOODMAN: The violence comes at a time when Israel is facing accusations it has reneged on an agreement to ease the devastating 12-year blockade on Gaza. In late March, Israel and Hamas agreed to a deal brokered by Egypt for Israel to expand the fishing zone for Palestinians off the coast of Gaza, but Israel shrank the fishing zone last week. The Israeli rights group Gisha described the move as an act of collective punishment.
To talk about the crisis in Gaza, we go to Gaza City where we are joined by Raji Sourani, an award-winning human rights lawyer. He is the director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza and a member of the executive board of the International Federation for Human Rights.