06:13 GMT15 July 2020
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    Violence unfolding in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank is part of the Israeli army's "collective punishment" on Palestinian inhabitants, Samer Makhlouf, a Palestine-based activist, told Sputnik.

    Over the weekend, tensions escalated between the two warring parties when Israel reportedly launched a botched raid in Gaza that ultimately killed seven Palestinians and a Hamas commander, according to the BBC. Palestinians later retaliated by launching "dozens of rockets" at Israeli-controlled areas, footage released by the IDF shows.

    Hours later, both sides agreed to an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire. "Egypt's effort led to the cessation of fire between the resistance factions and the Zionist enemy," a joint statement released by Hamas-led groups reads. "The Palestinian movements will adhere to it, provided that the enemy does the same."

    ​Makhlouf spoke with Radio Sputnik's By Any Means Necessary on Tuesday to discuss the latest ceasefire agreement and the disproportionality of the violence that's been taking place in the region.

    "Hopefully this [ceasefire] will be a deescalation for the Gaza situation, and hopefully we will not see anymore damages or losses in lives, because the past two nights were really difficult — especially difficult on the inhabitants of Gaza," Makhlouf told host Eugene Puryear, noting the violence that Palestinians have endured is part of a "collective punishment."

    "When you put 2.5 million Palestinians in the biggest prison on Earth, that's collective punishment," he said. "Anything that happens in Gaza or around the Gazan border, Israel punishes all the Gazan inhabitants… and they fire left and right without considering any rules of engagement; they don't consider any international laws or respect for international rules… when they fire against Gaza."

    Regarding military tactics the Israeli army has used to target Palestinians, Makhlouf told Puryear that the disproportionality in violence between the parties is shocking when one considers the sophisticated military equipment that Israeli forces are using. "You can't even imagine it," he stressed.

    Though few details have been offered regarding the US' yet-to-be unveiled Palestinian-Israeli peace deal, some reports have indicated that it may contain a clause marking Jerusalem as a joint capital to be shared between Israel and Palestine.

    "Trump wants a deal, and he's very serious," a senior Israeli official told the Yedioth Ahronoth daily paper. "To the Americans, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is relatively easy to solve."

    The Times of Israel reported that the US' deal will be based off a give and take strategy, forcing participants to offer a concession that the other side agrees to, or face a penalty. However, such a deal may be put off until after 2019 Knesset elections.

    For Makhlouf, though, the deal is unlikely to have a strong impact.

    "I don't think this will have any chance to get off the ground or be successful… [Those working on the US deal] are just making more complications for this conflict and [pushing] peace further away," he concluded.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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