"Gaza Government": Israel burned 3,000 housing units during the war

The government media office estimated in a statement that the losses resulting from the army’s burning of residential units amounted to “tens of millions of dollars.”

The government media office in Gaza said on Wednesday that the Israeli army had burned “about 3,000 housing units during its war on the Strip since October 7, with losses estimated at about tens of millions of dollars.”

The government journalist added, in a statement reached by Anatolia: “The occupation army burned 3,000 housing units during the genocidal war on Gaza.”

He added, “The losses of the occupation soldiers’ burning of homes and residential units owned by Palestinians amounted to tens of millions of dollars, and most of these residential units were in the Gaza and northern governorates.”

He explained that “the burning operations were carried out according to clear and direct instructions and orders from the commanders of the occupation army to transform the housing units into places completely uninhabitable, which exacerbated and doubled the suffering of the residents, as they were already suffering from difficult conditions due to displacement and war.”

The government journalist held Israel and the international community “fully responsible for these ongoing crimes against the Palestinian people.”

On February 1, the Hebrew newspaper Haaretz revealed that Israeli army commanders had issued orders to their soldiers to burn homes in Gaza “without legal approval.”

According to the newspaper: “In recent weeks, Israeli soldiers have begun setting fire to homes in the Gaza Strip, based on direct orders from their commanders, without obtaining the necessary legal permission to do so until they become useless.”

Blinken: The cost of Israel’s attacks on civilians in Gaza is “very high”

The US Secretary of State said that he suggested to the Israelis ways to ensure the protection of civilians in Rafah in Gaza, without elaboration.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Wednesday evening that the cost of Israeli military attacks on civilians in the Gaza Strip remains “very high.”

This came during a press conference he held in Israel on the sidelines of his fifth tour in the region, since the outbreak of the Israeli war against the Gaza Strip on October 7, 2023.

He added: “The toll of the Israeli military attack on civilians in Gaza is still very high, and in all my visits I have put pressure on Israel to provide greater protection for civilians.”

He added that the United States “is still determined to pursue a diplomatic path and achieve security for the entire region, especially Israel.”

Blinken considered that “the Israeli operations, which came in response to the deadly Hamas attack on October 7, are completely justified,” he said.

But on the other hand, he saw that “civilians in Gaza had nothing to do with the events of October 7.”

Regarding the negotiation process between Israel and Hamas, Blinken explained that Washington “sees in Hamas’ response a space that makes it believe that it is possible to continue negotiations and reach an agreement.”

He stressed that the efforts made by the United States in this regard will focus on efforts to return Israeli detainees from Gaza.

In response to a question about whether it was acceptable for the United States for Hamas to play a role in governing Gaza, the American minister answered, “No.”

The White House previously announced, months ago, that the United States does not believe that Hamas can participate in ruling the Gaza Strip in the future, after the end of the war with Israel.

Blinken’s statements came shortly after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described Hamas’ demands to complete a prisoner exchange deal as “crazy and unacceptable,” vowing to continue fighting in the Gaza Strip and work to expand military operations in the city of Rafah, south of the Strip, on the border with Egypt.

As such, Blinken said during the press conference that he “proposed to the Israelis ways to ensure the protection of civilians in Rafah, south of Gaza,” without clarifying the details or nature of these proposals.

On Tuesday, Hamas announced that it had delivered its response to Egypt and Qatar regarding the “framework agreement” for the prisoner exchange proposal and a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli mini-ministerial council is scheduled to discuss Hamas’ response to the proposal for a truce deal in Gaza and the prisoner exchange, on Thursday.

Tel Aviv estimates that there are about 136 Israeli prisoners in Gaza, while it holds no less than 8,800 Palestinians in its prisons, according to official sources from both parties, but there is no confirmation of the final number by both parties.

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