GAZA CITY Fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants roared on Monday despite a strong statement from the United Nations Security Council calling for an immediate and unconditional cease-fire.
The air strikes and rocket attacks took place even as the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, celebrating the completion of month-long dawn-to-dusk fasting for Ramadan, began Monday. Hamas had agreed Sunday to hold fire ahead of the holiday.
The Israel Defense Forces said its jets hit two rocket launchers and a rocket manufacturing facility in central and northern Gaza in three airstrikes ordered in response to Hamas rocket attacks on Israel. The military said eight rockets had been fired at Israel since midnight Sunday. Hamas has fired more than 2,500 rockets into Israel, including several into Tel Aviv, since the Israeli military operation began, IDF said.
The Israeli military opened artillery fire on Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza in response to the rocket fired at Ashkelon, the office of Israel's military spokesman said in a statement. Quiet will be met with quiet, it said.
At least two more Palestinians were killed Monday. A 4-year-old boy died when tank shells hit his family's house in Jabaliya, in the northern Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Health Ministry said. Another person was killed by tank shelling in a separate incident, also in Jabaliya.
The U.N. Security Council called for the truce at its meeting early Monday morning and urged Israel and Hamas to accept and fully implement the humanitarian cease-fire into the Eid period and beyond. The statement is not a resolution and is not binding.
Palestinian U.N. Ambassador Riyad Mansour did not hide his disappointment. He said the council should have adopted a strong and legally binding resolution a long time ago demanding an immediate halt to Israel's aggression, providing the Palestinian people with protection and lifting the siege in the Gaza Strip so goods and people can move freely.
You cannot keep 1.8 million Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip in this huge prison, Mansour told reporters. That is a recipe for disaster. It is inhumane, and it has to be stopped and it has to be lifted.
Some Palestinians said Israel's ongoing siege of Gaza will not help topple Hamas and that an alternative strategy would be a better solution.
We want an real solution to our misery we just want to have a decent life, said Gaza City resident, Sadai Ahmad, 57. We want an airport, a seaport, we do not want to rely on Egyptians or Israelis whenever we want to travel or trade.
I cannot understand how the on-going Israeli siege is helping Israelis get rid of Hamas, he added, before referring to prior conflicts with Israel. Collective punishment did not work before.
Some Israeli residents called the ceasefire a joke, adding that Israel had to defend itself from Hamas attacks.
The ceasefire is a joke. Every time there is an official ceasefire, the Hamas breaks it, Jonathan Font Moxo, 39. I really wish it would stop, but I don't think it will stop unless Hamas stops throwing missiles.... If they don't stop doing it then the Israeli army can't stop. It's just what any other country would do in the world.
Israeli U.N. Ambassador Ron Prosor criticized the U.N. statement though from a very different perspective saying it lacked balance because it didn't mention Hamas, the firing of rockets into Israel or Israel's right to defend itself.
Israel says it started its Gaza operation July 8 to stop the rocket fire from the coastal territory and intensified it on July 17 to neutralize Hamas cross-border tunnels built to carry out attacks on Israeli territory.
But as Israel's Cabinet considered the Eid truce offer, rockets fell on southern Israel and Israeli strikes could be heard in Gaza.
Hamas and Israel had agreed to a 12-hour lull Saturday, but they were unable to extend the truce.
Hamas said that due to the lack of commitment by Israel, it resumed its fire. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Hamas showed it could not be trusted.
Israel is not obliged and is not going to let a terrorist organization decide when it's convenient to fire at our cities, at our people, and when it's not, Netanyahu said on Fox News Sunday.
President Obama urged a humanitarian cease-fire during a phone call with Netanyahu.
The president underscored the enduring importance of ensuring Israel's security, protecting civilians, alleviating Gaza's humanitarian crisis, and enacting a sustainable cease-fire that both allows Palestinians in Gaza to lead normal lives and addresses Gaza's long-term development and economic needs, while strengthening the Palestinian Authority, a White House statement said.
The nearly three-week long conflict has left more than 1,030 Palestinians dead, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza. In Israel, 46 have died, including 43 soldiers, two civilians and a Thai worker, the Israeli military said.