Amid the fierce fighting in Shejaia, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the BBC Arabic on Sunday that Israel was focusing on the focal points of terror, and Shejaia was such a focal point.
During the interview, which was arranged before Sunday's fighting, Netanyahu said that Israel asked the residents of Shejaia in various different ways to leave the area, but Hamas told them to stay and serve as “human shields.”
He called on the residents to leave, saying Israel – unlike Hamas – had no desire to harm them.
“Hamas is responsible for the escalation, and Hamas is responsible for the harm befalling civilians,” he said.
Thousands of terrified Palestinians fled through the streets of Gaza City on Sunday, escaping IDF shelling of Shejaia, home to around 100,000 people. Gazan medical personnel have said more than 60 people had died in the assault last assault on the neighborhood.
Netanyahu also appeared on a number of US networks Sunday afternoon, telling CNN that the current operation would continue until quiet is restored, and saying on ABC that after restoring the quiet, Israel will work with the international community to demilitarize Gaza.
Netanyahu pointed out that Hamas has violated every attempt at a cease-fire or a lull in the fighting, including the Red Cross brokered temporary humanitarian cease-fire in Shejaia on Sunday, the UN-brokered humanitarian cease fire on Thursday, and the Egyptian cease fire proposal last Tuesday.
Asked on CNN how long it would take Israel to complete an operation it says is intended to destroy Hamas weapons tunnels, Netanyahu said it was being done "fairly quickly," but gave no time frame.
Netanyahu will convene a security cabinet meeting this evening, and before hand hold make a statement to the press and hold a press conference.