- Sputnik International, 1920
Get the latest news from around the world, live coverage, off-beat stories, features and analysis.
Smoke billows from a fire following Israeli airstrikes on multiple targets in Gaza City, controlled by the Palestinian Hamas movement, early on May 16, 2021.  - Sputnik International

Live Updates: Netanyahu Orders IDF to 'Continue Striking at the Terrorist Targets' in Gaza

Armed hostilities between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement which serves as the de facto government of the Gaza Strip, have continued throughout the past week.

The current escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict started earlier this month, when unrest began in East Jerusalem over an Israeli court's decision to evict several Palestinian families from the area.

As of Sunday evening, some 3,100 rockets have been launched from the Gaza Strip into Israel and about 1,210 of them have been intercepted, while the Israeli Air Force has struck what it claims are Hamas infrastructure buildings in Gaza.

The situation on the border have resulted in the death of nearly 200 Palestinians, including 58 children. Israel, meanwhile, has reported 10 people killed and 50 others seriously injured, while the Palestinian Red Crescent says that more than 1,300 Palestinians have been injured amid tensions with Israel.

Follow Sputnik’s feed to find out more. 

Table of contents
New firstOld first
01:45 GMT 18.05.2021

The only coronavirus laboratory in the Gaza Strip is no longer able to conduct COVID testing after an Israeli airstrike partly destroyed the Al-Rimal clinic housing it, the AFP reported, citing local authorities.

According to the report, Gaza's health ministry has also been hit. Medical staffers at the ministry were reportedly wounded, some critically, according to the Hamas-run enclave's deputy health minister, Yousef Abu al-Rish.

00:38 GMT 18.05.2021

Israeli ships attacked targets off the coast of the Gaza Strip on early Tuesday, Israeli media outlet Maariv reported, citing Palestinian sources.

00:10 GMT 18.05.2021

GAZA (Sputnik) - The Israeli authorities have blocked a fuel shipment for the Gaza power station, Raed Fattouh, Head of the Coordination Committee for entry of goods in the Gaza Strip, told Sputnik.

On Monday, local media reported that the Israeli authorities had given the green light for a shipment of Qatari-bought fuel to Gaza, which is experiencing major electricity shortages amid the escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"Israeli authorities today refused permission to transport fuel for the power plant in the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom checkpoint," Fattouh told Sputnik.

According to Monday media reports, Gaza’s electricity distribution company is expected to run out of fuel in two to three days, as fighting and airstrikes have damaged power lines.

Many households in the Gaza Strip are already getting only a few hours of power a day due to the closure of the Kerem Shalom crossing with Israel through which Gaza receives its fuel.

22:54 GMT 17.05.2021
Ships in the port of Livorno (Tuscany). - Sputnik International, 1920
‘Our Hands Won’t Get Covered in Blood’: Italian Port Workers Hold Up Israel-Bound Weapons Cargo
22:09 GMT 17.05.2021

PARIS (Sputnik) - French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Monday his plans to work with the leaders of Egypt and Jordan to develop proposals on the Israeli-Palestinian truce, as hostilities in the Gaza Strip entered their second week.

The announcement came after Israel reportedly turned down Cairo's plan for the year-long humanitarian ceasefire with the Palestinians proposed by an Egyptian delegation during a visit to Tel Aviv.

"One of the elements that would restore confidence in the short term is a ceasefire ... We reiterate our call for an early ceasefire and dialogue between the parties. In the coming days, I will hold talks with President [of Egypt Abdel Fattah] Sisi and King of Jordan [Abdullah II], in order to jointly work out concrete proposals on this aspect," Macron said at a joint press conference with the head of Sudan's Sovereign Council, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, and Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok.

22:07 GMT 17.05.2021
Screenshot from a video allegedly showing the IDF responding to rocket fire in the area of Misgav Am, in the northern part of Israel - Sputnik International, 1920
Video: Israeli Artillery Responds After 6 Rockets Fired From Lebanon Towards Israel, IDF Says
21:37 GMT 17.05.2021

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US President Joe Biden in a telephone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu encouraged Tel Aviv to do everything possible to protect civilians and reiterated his support for Israel's right to self-defense in the conflict with the Palestinians, the White House said in a release.

"The President spoke today with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu. The President reiterated his firm support for Israel’s right to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks," the release said on Monday. "He encouraged Israel to make every effort to ensure the protection of innocent civilians. The two leaders discussed progress in Israel’s military operations against Hamas and other terrorist groups in Gaza. The President expressed his support for a ceasefire and discussed US engagement with Egypt and other partners towards that end."

Biden also welcomed efforts to address intercommunal violence and to bring calm to Jerusalem, the release also said.

20:16 GMT 17.05.2021

UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) - The UN’s World Food Program (WFP) Executive Director David Beasley on Monday urgently requested that humanitarian access be provided in Gaza to assist the Palestinians in need.

“The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has caused suffering and destruction that is affecting the lives of millions of people. We urgently appeal for peace and access, so that WFP can reach everyone in need of humanitarian assistance in Gaza,” Beasley said via Twitter. “Families need help [as soon as possible].”

20:13 GMT 17.05.2021

DOHA (Sputnik) - Two Palestinians became victims of an Israeli strike on the Qatar Red Crescent building in the Gaza Strip, and 10 people were injured, the organization said on Twitter.

"As a result of the attack on the office of the Red Crescent in Qatar in the Gaza Strip, two Palestinians were killed and another 10 people were injured," the statement says.

The organization called the bombing of their Gaza office "a clear violation of international law", demanding that Israel stop attacks on humanitarian workers.

20:12 GMT 17.05.2021

UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) - The latest bombardment of the Gaza Strip may constitute a form of collective punishment in contravention to international law, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) said in a statement on Monday.

“In the Gaza Strip, where [nearly] 70% of the population are Palestine refugees, the latest bombardment is being carried out as the besieged coastal enclave enters the 14th year of a blockade, which may amount to collective punishment contrary to international law,” UNRWA said via Twitter.

20:02 GMT 17.05.2021

UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) - The US mission to the United Nations said on Monday it blocked another statement by the UN Security Council on the hostilities between Israel and Palestinians because it is engaged in diplomatic efforts at the highest levels to end the conflict.

"As we have communicated consistently to Council members over the last week, the US is engaging in intense diplomatic efforts at the highest levels to try to bring an end to this conflict," a spokesperson at the US diplomatic mission told Sputnik.

Earlier in the day, diplomatic sources said the UN Security Council once again could not issue a press statement as the United States broke the silence procedure and blocked the element.

Washington had already blocked a statement by the Security Council on the ongoing violence in the Middle East following Sunday's emergency meeting on the situation.

The spokesperson explained the United States intends to ensure that any statement by the UN Security Council on the issue will support its settlement efforts.

"We are continuing to focus on crucial diplomatic efforts underway in the region, in Washington, and in New York to develop a pathway to deescalation," the spokesperson stated.

Washington also remains prepared to render its support and mediation should the parties aim to reach a ceasefire, the spokesperson added.

The UN Security Council, in the statement, expressed grave concern over the Gaza crisis and deaths among the civilian population. It called for deescalation, cessation of violence and respect for international humanitarian law.

It also urged to protect civilians and humanitarian facilities, stressed the need of bringing aid to the Palestinians in need and called to respect the status quo at the holy sites and the right of Muslims to pray at the Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.

The statement welcomed all efforts to reach a ceasefire agreement, including from the Middle East Quartet, and urged all actors to support these efforts.

19:32 GMT 17.05.2021

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday said that he ordered the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) "to continue striking at the terrorist targets", vowing to "operate as long as needed to restore quiet and security to all Israelis."

"The directive is to continue striking at the terrorist targets. The IDF is doing this very well. Today it targeted a senior Islamic Jihad commander. We struck at the Hamas naval unit and are continuing to strike at underground targets – Hamas's "metro" and there are other targets", Netanyahu said.


19:16 GMT 17.05.2021

Jordan's King Abdullah II, in a call with UN Secretary General António Guterres, said that the "recurrent provocative Israeli actions against Palestinians have led to the ongoing escalation, pushing the region towards more tension", according to a Monday tweet by The Royal Hashemite Court.

"International community must shoulder its responsibility, move actively to stop Israeli violations in #Jerusalem, aggression on Gaza", the tweet quoted Jordan's King as saying.

According to the tweet, the King also said "he has always warned against altering the historical and legal status quo in Jerusalem."

19:05 GMT 17.05.2021

The Foreign Ministry of Qatar on Monday said that the office building of the Qatari Red Crescent Society was bombed by Israel, and the attack resulted in "several deaths and injuries".

"The State of Qatar calls on the international community to condemn this sinful act and to exert further efforts to put an end to Israeli’s continuous crimes in the occupied territories, and to protect civilians, journalists, medical practitioners and humanitarian workers", Qatar's Foreign Ministry stated.

18:28 GMT 17.05.2021

US President Joe Biden will be speaking with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later today, Biden announced following a Monday press conference.

“I’ll be speaking with the Prime Minister [of Israel] in an hour and I’ll be able to talk to you after that,” Biden said in response to a question about the possibility of a ceasefire to the conflict.

The conflict, composed largely of rocket exchanges, has left roughly 200 Palestinians dead, including 58 children, as well as 10 Israelis. Biden reaffirmed his support for a two-state solution and the right for Israel to defend itself earlier in the day.

18:23 GMT 17.05.2021

Israel became fully responsible for ongoing violence in the Gaza Strip after deciding to turn down Egypt's humanitarian ceasefire initiative, Palestinian Ambassador in Cairo Diab Allouh said on Monday.

Al-Arabiya broadcaster reported last week, citing sources, that Israel had rejected Cairo's plan for the year-long humanitarian ceasefire with the Palestinians proposed by an Egyptian delegation during a visit to Tel Aviv. Israel reportedly feared the start of a ground military operation.

"Egypt has put forward an initiative to end the violence in the Gaza Strip, but Israel refused and now is refusing to stop the hostilities ... Israel bears full responsibility for the continuation of the violence and its consequences," the ambassador said.

Violence between Palestinians and Israelis erupted last week on the border of the Gaza Strip.  Some 3,100 rockets have since been launched from the enclave into Israel, with about 1,210 of them intercepted, while the Israeli military launched hundreds of rockets at what it claimed were Hamas infrastructure buildings across the border.

Since the start of the hostilities, over 200 Palestinians, including 58 children, have been killed, and about a thousand injured, while Israel reported 10 people killed and 50 others seriously injured.

17:30 GMT 17.05.2021

At least two rockets were fired from the territory of Southern Lebanon into Israeli settlements on the border, Al Jadeed TV channel reported.

It's been unclear whether the rockets reached the Israeli territory. 

17:23 GMT 17.05.2021

The United Nations believes it is important to establish details around the bombing of a building in Gaza that housed media outlets, including the Associated Press and Al Jazeera, UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said in a press briefing on Monday.

"The Secretary-General was extremely disturbed to see the destruction of the media building," Dujarric said. "We don't have any additional information about the incident, but I think it would be very important to elucidate what exactly happened."

Dujarric emphasized it was also important to ensure that journalists who work in Gaza should be able to do so without fear of harassment and destruction of their offices.

On Friday, Israeli fighter jets bombed the 15-story building, which housed Al Jazeera and the Associated Press offices in Gaza. The Israeli Defence Forces said they struck the building because Hamas used it for military intelligence purposes.

The non-governmental organization Reporters Without Borders called on International Criminal Court chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to include the Israeli airstrikes on media outlets in the Gaza Strip in her investigation.

16:53 GMT 17.05.2021

"As of 19:00, since 07:00 about 190 launches from the Gaza Strip into Israel have been identified. About 25 launches fell in the Gaza Strip. Dozens of missiles were intercepted," IDF says. 

16:42 GMT 17.05.2021

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday conducted talks with Jordan Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Ayman Safadi and the two officials agreed the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians must urgently be addressed to bring about "sustainable calm," State Department spokesperson Ned Price said.

"The Secretary and the Foreign Minister expressed their shared concern about the violence in Israel and the West Bank and Gaza," Price said. "Both agreed on the urgency of working towards a sustainable calm. The Secretary reiterated that both Israelis and Palestinians equally deserve to live in safety and security."

16:31 GMT 17.05.2021

The Palestinian Authority welcomes Russia’s efforts to reassemble the Middle East Quartet to mediate an end to fighting in Israel and the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian ambassador to Russia said on Monday.

"We welcome any effort of Russia’s to this end and greatly appreciate Russia’s help and support at the official level," Abdel Hafiz Nofal said.

Tensions between Israelis and Palestinians boiled over last Monday, with the Israeli military and the Gazan authority Hamas exchanging thousands of cross-border strikes over the week. Ten died and 50 were wounded seriously in Israel. Palestinians reported 220 deaths, 58 of them children.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday called for an urgent meeting of the four international mediators — Russia, the United States, the United Nations and the European Union — to defuse the crisis.

Nofal said that the mediators needed to revive negotiations on a two-state solution to the decades-old land dispute. He criticized the United States for allowing Israel to act "outside of the international legal framework."

16:29 GMT 17.05.2021
16:28 GMT 17.05.2021

Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio has discussed the renewed hostilities in and around the Gaza Strip during a meeting with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif, calling missile launches from the enclave "unacceptable," the Agenzia Nova news agency reported on Monday, citing diplomatic sources.

The meeting took place as part of Zarif's European tour that kicked off last week. The minister arrived in Italy earlier in the day after cancelling his trip to Vienna over the weekend due to Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and the Austrian foreign ministry raising the Israeli flag over their office buildings in a show of solidarity amid the hostilities.

According to the news agency, Di Maio told Zarif that missile launches from the Gaza Strip were unacceptable and "must be stopped." The Italian diplomat also pointed to the need to take immediate measures to resolve the situation, as too many innocent people have been already killed.

Earlier in the day, Pope Francis met with the Iranian minister. However, the Vatican did not disclose any details about the content of the talks. According to local sources, the situation in the Middle East was most likely on the agenda.

16:13 GMT 17.05.2021

"Fighter jets recently attacked the main security unit of the terrorist organisation Hamas in the Rimal district in the northern Gaza Strip," IDF said.

16:07 GMT 17.05.2021
This picture taken from the southern Israeli city of Sderot shows rockets fired from the Gaza Strip being intercepted by the Israeli Iron Dome missile defence system, on May 16, 2021. - Sputnik International, 1920
US Yet Again Blocking UN SC Statement Calling for Israel-Gaza Border Ceasefire, Report Says
15:51 GMT 17.05.2021
15:48 GMT 17.05.2021

The UN Security Council is currently working on a draft statement on the Israeli-Palestinian escalation that entered its second week, a diplomatic source at the Security Council said on Monday.

On Sunday, the council met for an emergency meeting over the deadly fighting in Gaza and Jerusalem. However, at the end of the session, the UN’s global body for ensuring international peace failed to speak in one voice for the necessity of ending the confrontation.

“The work at the Security Council on the draft statement is ongoing,” the source said.

In the draft, seen by Sputnik, the UN Security Council expresses “grave concern” regarding the tensions in Gaza and deaths among the civilian population. It calls for a cessation of violence and stresses the need to provide aid to the Palestinians immediately.

The council also welcomes all diplomatic efforts to lower tensions and to reach a ceasefire deal, including from the Middle East Quartet.

The UN Security Council last week held three meetings on the current situation in the Middle East. All previous attempts by the council to conclude the meetings with a concrete result – a statement – were blocked by the United States.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Washington has been working hard through its diplomatic channels behind closed doors to end the hostilities.

15:46 GMT 17.05.2021

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has called on the Biden administration to step in in order to put an end to "Israeli aggression" and help find a political solution to the ongoing crisis on the border with Gaza, the WAFA news agency reported on Monday.

This call was made during Abbas' meeting with US Deputy Assistant Secretary for Israeli and Palestinian Affairs Hady Amr, during which they discussed the situation in Jerusalem and the continued violence in the Gaza Strip, which has killed over 200 Palestinians.

The Palestinian leader noted that the political solution to the conflict should be based on UN resolutions and international law, the state media reported. Abbas reiterated that "ending the military occupation of the Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, is a prerequisite for regional security and stability."

Abbas highlighted that the Palestinian Authority stood ready to cooperate with the international Middle East Quartet — the United States, Russia, the EU and the UN — with a view to attaining a just and comprehensive peace that would guarantee the Palestinian people's inherent rights to freedom and independence.

The Palestinian leader also thanked US President Joe Biden for resuming American assistance to the nation through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which was cut under the Trump administration.

In turn, Amr stressed the need to defuse regional tensions, and pointed out that Washington has made concerted efforts with all parties to put an end to the hostilities.

In early April, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the US was planning to restore $235 million in aid to Palestinians, including development and economic funding, peace-building programs and humanitarian support for UNRWA.

The current episode of the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict broke out last week on the border of Israel and the Gaza Strip. Ongoing violence sparked demonstrations in support for both Israel and the Palestinian Authority across the world, with protesters calling on the international community to take urgent measures.

On Sunday, the UN Security Council gathered to discuss possible steps to end the hostilities.

15:37 GMT 17.05.2021
15:16 GMT 17.05.2021

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called the current health situation in Israel and Gaza "highly concerning" amid the recent escalation of their conflict.

"The health situation is also highly concerning and in the recent escalation of conflict, dozens of incidents involving health workers and health facilities have occurred. Furthermore, COVID-19 testing and vaccination has been severely impacted. This creates health risks for the world as a whole," Tedros said at a press briefing.

"It's essential that the norms of international humanitarian law be fully respected. In particular, health workers and infrastructure should always be protected, and I call for leaders on all sides to ensure respect for these vital humanitarian laws," the WHO director-general added.

15:07 GMT 17.05.2021

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Twenty-seven Democratic senators and Independent Bernie Sanders have issued a statement calling for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians, US Senator Tammy Baldwin said on Monday.

"To prevent any further loss of civilian life and to prevent further escalation of conflict in Israel and the Palestinian territories, we urge an immediate ceasefire," the 28 senators said in a joint statement according to a press release from Baldwin’s office.

The group includes senators Jon Ossoff, Sherrod Brown, Cory Booker, Tom Carper, Tammy Duckworth, Dick Durbin, Martin Heinrich, Mazie Hirono, Tim Kaine, Angus King, Amy Klobuchar, Patrick Leahy, Ben Ray Lujan, Ed Markey, Jeff Merkley, Chris Murphy, and Patty Murray, the release said.

Other senators signing the statement were Jack Reed, Bernie Sanders, Brian Schatz, Tina Smith, Jon Tester, Chris Van Hollen, Mark Warner, Raphael Warnock, Elizabeth Warren, and Sheldon Whitehouse, the release added.

13:52 GMT 17.05.2021
12:53 GMT 17.05.2021
12:42 GMT 17.05.2021
Palestinian men remove salvageable items from the bombarded Al-Jawhara Tower in Gaza City on May 17, 2021, five days after it was targeted by Israeli airstrikes. - Sputnik International, 1920
White House Reportedly Approves $735 Mln Arms Sale to Israel Amid Escalating Tensions With Hamas
12:40 GMT 17.05.2021
12:09 GMT 17.05.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Federation of African Journalists, the regional organization of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) affiliates in Africa, on Monday strongly condemned the Israeli armed forces' attacks targeted against media workers and organizations in Palestine.

According to FAJ, citing the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS), at least two journalists have been arrested while another 30 were assaulted in attacks by soldiers of the Israeli armed forces. On Friday, Israeli fighter jets flattened the building, which housed Al Jazeera and The Associated Press offices in Gaza.

"The attacks on the buildings housing news media organisations are unjustified and constitute war crimes. Besides the significant material losses occasioned to local and international media organizations by the unjustified attacks, a large number of journalists lost their workplaces and personal belongings, and were lucky to get away with their lives," FAJ President Sadiq Ibrahim Ahmed said, as quoted in the statement.

The pan-African organization further stressed that it stood in full solidarity with PJS and all journalists working in Palestine.

"FAJ ... calls for immediate accountability and for the perpetrators of war crimes and attacks on journalists not to go unpunished," the statement read.

The current escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict started earlier this month when the unrest began in East Jerusalem over an Israeli court's decision to evict several Palestinian families from the area. The situation on the border between Israel and the Palestinian Gaza Strip has been deteriorating for the past week amid heavy rocket exchanges that have resulted in the death of nearly 200 Palestinians, including 58 children. Israel has reported 10 people killed and 50 others seriously injured, while the Palestinian Red Crescent says that more than 1,300 Palestinians have been injured amid tensions with Israel.

11:42 GMT 17.05.2021

LONDON (Sputnik) - London mayor Sadiq Khan said on Monday that more police patrols will be deployed in Jewish communities, synagogues and schools after an alleged pro-Palestinian motorcade was spotted during the weekend shouting and making obscene threats against Jews in the north part of the city.

"There will be an increased police presence (in Jewish neighbourhoods)," Khan told ITV´s Good Morning Britain show when asked about Sunday´s incidents that eventually led to four arrests.

The recently re-elected Labour mayor also said that he was in "regular contact" with local organisations working with the Jewish communities in London, their families and leaders.

"My message is that anybody who is the victim of race crime is please report it," Khan stressed.

A video that went viral on social media on Sunday showed a convoy of vehicles draped with Palestinian flags moving around Finchley Road and passengers from at least one of the cars yelling anti-Semitic slurs and threats through a megaphone.

Few hours later, the Metropolitan Police said that four men had been arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated public order offenses, while the Community Security Trust, an organization that monitors the security of the Jewish community, said that the men had traveled 200 miles from the northern English city of Bradford, to attend a protest about Israel's ongoing military actions against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson also took to Twitter to warn that "there is no place for antisemitism in our society" and voiced his support for the Jewish community.

11:35 GMT 17.05.2021
Screengrab of IDF footage of attack on Gaza Coast. - Sputnik International, 1920
Israeli Air Force, Navy Say They've Struck Hamas 'Submarine' Near Gaza Coast - Video
10:27 GMT 17.05.2021

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The European Commission is concerned over the recent destruction of media offices in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza, spokesman Peter Stano said on Monday.

On Tuesday, EU foreign ministers are set to discuss the recent outbreak of hostilities during an extraordinary videoconference.

"The media have to be able to work in a free environment so that they can independently report about what is going on, and this is even more important in the situation of conflict ... So, in this sense, I can only say that the destruction of media offices in Gaza is extremely worrying, and the safety and security of journalists and all their colleagues ... is essential," Stano said at a briefing.

10:19 GMT 17.05.2021
09:55 GMT 17.05.2021
09:12 GMT 17.05.2021
08:53 GMT 17.05.2021
08:13 GMT 17.05.2021
06:51 GMT 17.05.2021
05:38 GMT 17.05.2021

The Israeli army launched a third series of attacks on the Metro underground network of units of the Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip, neutralizing 15 kilometres (9.3 miles) of the underground structures in the north of the Palestinian enclave, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said on Monday.

05:26 GMT 17.05.2021
05:19 GMT 17.05.2021

The United States is again blocking attempts at the UN Security Council (UNSC) to pass a joint resolution condemning the violent escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, The Times of Israel reports citing two diplomats.

An emergency UNSC meeting was held on Sunday to discuss the ongoing hostilities between Israel and the Gaza Strip. Most of the countries participating in the virtual meeting urged both sides to agree to a ceasefire.

The Times of Israel reported on Sunday that a joint statement criticizing both sides for the ongoing violence was proposed by Norway, Tunisia and China following the virtual UNSC emergency session. However, the US blocked the statement.

Two UNSC diplomats told the newspaper that member states have until Monday noon to wrap up negotiations over the joint statement.

This is the third time in a week that the UNSC holds an emergency session over Israel-Gaza violence. During the previous two meetings, attempts to pass a joint resolution calling for a ceasefire were blocked by the US, which asked for more time for its own diplomatic efforts.

A US official told The Times of Israel commenting on the impasse that the US remains "focused on the intensive diplomatic efforts underway, including those Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield discussed at today’s Security meeting."

During the Sunday emergency session, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan called on UNSC to "unequivocally" condemn Hamas' attacks and support Israel's right to defend itself. Erdan said that Palestine's Hamas premeditated the ongoing escalation in Gaza to gain political power.

Meanwhile Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyadh al-Maliki said that Palestinians were not going to remain silent amid Israeli "occupation," as Israel continues to "terrorize" Palestinians who are being denied the same right to security that Israel is now demanding for itself.

According to a Sputnik correspondent, dozens of people gathered at the UN headquarters in New York City on Sunday, calling on the United Nations to take some action and support Palestine amid the sharp escalation of the conflict with Israel.

04:39 GMT 17.05.2021
To participate in the discussion
log in or register
Заголовок открываемого материала