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May 17, 2021 / 11:01 PM IST

Israel-Palestine Conflict Highlights: Biden administration approved $735 million arms sale to Israel

Israel-Palestine Conflict Highlights: Speaking at the UN Security Council meeting, India’s Permanent Representative reiterated support for a 'two-state solution'.

Israel-Palestine Conflict Highlights: The conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants continues to escalate. Israeli fighter jets unleashed a series of heavy airstrikes at multiple locations in Gaza City earlier today. This came hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signaled the fourth war with Gaza's Hamas rulers would rage on. Hamas also pressed on, launching rockets from civilian areas in Gaza toward civilian areas in Israel. Hamas, the Islamist group
that controls Gaza, launched the rocket attacks last week, in retaliation for Israeli police clashes with Palestinians near al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam's third holiest site, in East Jerusalem. According to Israel’s defence forces, more than 2,000 rockets had been fired from Gaza into Israel since the start of the conflict, around half of them intercepted by the ‘Iron Dome’ air defence systems. Civil unrest between Jews and Arabs in Israel itself dealt a strong blow to efforts by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's opponents to unseat the Israeli leader after a series of inconclusive elections, giving rise to expectations that Israelis will go to the polls for an unprecedented fifth time in just over two years.
  • May 17, 2021 / 10:42 PM IST

    Israel-Palestine Conflict LIVE Updates | US blocks third draft UN statement on Mideast violence: Diplomats

    The United States on Monday blocked -- for the third time in a week -- the adoption of a joint UN Security Council statement calling for a halt to Israeli-Palestinian violence and the protection of civilians, diplomats said.

    The text drafted by China, Tunisia and Norway was submitted late Sunday for approval Monday by the Council's 15 members, as Israeli jets continued to pound the Gaza Strip and the death toll from nearly a week of violence passed 200.

    The United States indicated that they "could not currently support an expression" by the Security Council, one diplomat told AFP.

    The text, obtained by AFP, called for "de-escalation of the situation, cessation of violence and respect for international humanitarian law, including the protection of civilians, especially children."

    It voiced the Council's "grave concern" at the Gaza crisis and its "serious concern" regarding the possible eviction of Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem, opposing "unilateral actions" likely to further escalate tensions.

    The draft also welcomed international efforts to de-escalate the situation, without reference to the United States, and reiterated the Council's support for a negotiated two-state solution allowing Israelis and Palestinians to "live side by side in peace within secure and recognized borders." (AFP)

  • May 17, 2021 / 10:56 PM IST

    Israel-Palestine Conflict LIVE Updates | Biden administration approved $735 million arms sale to Israel

    President Joe Biden's administration approved the potential sale of $735 million in precision-guided weapons to Israel, and congressional sources said on Monday that US lawmakers were not expected to object to the deal despite violence between Israel and Palestinian militants.

    Three congressional aides said Congress was officially notified of the intended commercial sale on May 5, as part of the regular review process before major foreign weapons sales agreements can go ahead.

    Congress was informed of the planned sale in April, as part of the normal informal review process before of the formal notification on May 5. Under US law, the formal notification opens up a 15-day window for Congress to object to the sale, which is not expected despite the ongoing violence. (Reuters)

  • May 17, 2021 / 10:20 PM IST

    Israel-Palestine Conflict LIVE Updates | Israeli strikes hit Gaza tunnels as diplomats work for truce

    The Israeli military unleashed a wave of heavy airstrikes Monday on the Gaza Strip, saying it destroyed 15 kilometres (9 miles) of militant tunnels and the homes of nine Hamas commanders as international diplomats worked to end the weeklong war that has killed hundreds of people.

    Israel has said it intends to press on for now with its attacks against Hamas, the militant group that rules Gaza, and the United States signalled it would not pressure the two sides for a cease-fire.

    The latest attacks destroyed the five-story building housing the Hamas-run Religious Affairs Ministry and killed a top Gaza leader of Islamic Jihad, another militant group whom the Israeli military blamed for some of the thousands of rocket attacks launched at Israel in recent days.

    At least 200 Palestinians have been killed in the week of airstrikes, including 59 children and 35 women, with some 1,300 people wounded, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Ten people in Israel, including a 5-year-old boy and a soldier, have been killed in the ongoing rocket attacks launched from civilian areas in Gaza toward civilian areas in Israel. (AP)


  • May 17, 2021 / 09:54 PM IST

    Israel-Palestine Conflict LIVE Updates | UN General Assembly to meet over Mideast violence on May 20

    The UN General Assembly will meet on Thursday over fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants, General Assembly President Volkan Bozkir said on Monday as the fiercest hostilities in the region in years entered a second week.

    Niger and Algeria, chairs of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation group and Arab group in New York, asked the 193-member General Assembly meet publicly "in light of the gravity of the situation and its rapid deterioration."

    The 15-member U.N. Security Council met publicly for the first time on Sunday over the flare-up in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.

    The council has been unable to issue a public statement because the United States - a strong ally of Israel - worries it could harm behind-the-scenes diplomacy. China said on Sunday it would again push the council to try and agree a statement. (Reuters)


  • May 17, 2021 / 09:38 PM IST

    Israel-Palestine Conflict LIVE Updates | Gaza reels under Israeli strikes as violence enters second week

    Israeli jets kept pounding Gaza Monday afternoon, as the enclave's residents cowered indoors and the violence that has killed more than 200 people, most of them Palestinians, entered a second week.

    Before dawn, within just a few minutes, dozens of Israeli strikes bombarded the crowded Palestinian coastal strip controlled by Islamist group Hamas.

    Flames lit up the sky as intense explosions shook Gaza City, sparking widespread power cuts and damaging hundreds of buildings, local authorities said.

    Some 3,200 rockets have been fired by Palestinian militants toward Israel since the conflict escalated on May 10 in the heaviest exchange of fire in years, sparked by unrest in Jerusalem. (AFP)


  • May 17, 2021 / 09:09 PM IST

    Israel-Palestine Conflict LIVE Updates | Secretary Blinken indicates no immediate US press for Mideast cease-fire

    US Secretary of State Antony Blinken signalled that the United States still was not joining calls for an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers as fighting entered its second week, with more than 200 people dead, most of them Palestinians in Gaza.

    Blinken's stand comes despite growing pressure from the United States' UN Security Council partners, some Democrats and others for President Joe Biden's administration and other international leaders to wade more deeply into diplomacy to end the worst Israel-Palestinian violence in years and revive long-collapsed mediation for a lasting peace there. (AP)


  • May 17, 2021 / 07:17 PM IST

    Israel-Palestine Conflict LIVE Updates | 6-year-old Gaza girl survives Israeli strike that shattered her family and home

    Six-year-old Suzy Eshkuntana woke up alone in Gaza’s largest hospital where she was rushed by rescuers from the rubble of her home, which had been wrecked by a pre-dawn Israeli strike that killed her mother and all four of her siblings.

    The young girl, trapped for seven hours under the debris, was reunited in Shifa hospital with her father, who was also being treated for his wounds.

    "Forgive me, my daughter. You screamed to me to come to you, but I couldn't come," Riyad Eshkuntana told her after medics brought them together in adjoining beds.

    The Palestinian family's home was hit in Israeli air strikes early on Sunday on Gaza City, a wave of attacks that Gaza health officials said killed 42 people including 10 children and raised the death toll in Gaza from a week of bombardment to 192.

    Israel says it is attacking the militant Islamist Hamas movement that controls the densely populated Gaza Strip and that along with Islamic Jihad and other militant groups has fired 2,800 rockets towards Israeli cities.

    Those rocket barrages have killed 10 people in Israel, including two children. They have also sent millions of Israelis scrambling to "safe rooms" and shelters as rocket warning sirens go off at all hours of the day and night. read more

    "The reason we have these casualties is because Hamas is criminally attacking us from civilian neighbourhoods," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told U.S. broadcaster CBS. (Reuters) 

  • May 17, 2021 / 06:41 PM IST

    Israel-Palestine Conflict LIVE Updates | US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says he has not seen any Israeli evidence of Hamas operating in Gaza building

    US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says he has not seen any Israeli evidence of Hamas operating in Gaza office building hit by airstrike over the weekend. Blinken says he has asked Israel for justification for the strike.

    Blinken spoke at a news conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, as pressure is increasing on the Biden administration to ask for a ceasefire in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    Israel destroyed a building housing The Associated Press and other media, and claimed that Hamas used the building for a military intelligence office.

    “Shortly after the strike we did request additional details regarding the justification for it,” Blinken said. He declined to discuss specific intelligence, saying he “will leave it to others to characterize if any information has been shared and our assessment that information.”

    But he said, “I have not seen any information provided.”

  • May 17, 2021 / 05:10 PM IST

    Israel-Palestine Conflict LIVE Updates | Turkey urges Pope to back sanctions on Israel

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has asked Pope Francis to support sanctions against Israel, saying Palestinians will continue to be “massacred” as long as the international community does not punish Israel.

    During a telephone telephone call Monday with the pope, Erdogan also said that “continued messages and reactions” from Francis in support of Palestinians would be of great importance for the “mobilisation of the Christian world and of the international community,” according to a statement from the Turkish presidential communications directorate

  • May 17, 2021 / 04:47 PM IST

    Israel-Palestine Conflict LIVE Updates | Israeli air strike kills Islamic Jihad commander in Gaza

    An Israeli air strike killed a top commander with the Islamic Jihad militant group in Gaza on Monday, the Israeli military and a source in the group said.

    The killing of Hussam Abu Harbeed, Islamic Jihad's northern division commander, was likely to draw a fierce response from the militant group as Israel's fighting also rages on with the enclave's Islamist rulers Hamas.

    In a statement confirming it had killed Harbeed, the Israeli military said he "was behind several anti-tank missile terror attacks against Israeli civilians."

    The military said those attacks included one on the first day of the current round of fighting that it said had injured a civilian in Israel.

    Harbeed had been a commander with Islamic Jihad for 15 years, the military said. (PTI).

  • May 17, 2021 / 04:11 PM IST

    Israel-Palestine Conflict LIVE Updates | China urges US to play constructive role in Gaza diplomacy

    China on Monday renewed calls for the US to play a constructive role in ending the conflict in Gaza and stop blocking efforts at the United Nations to demand an end to the bloodshed.
    Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said China, as rotating head of the Security Council, has urged a cease-fire and the provision of humanitarian assistance, among other proposals, but that obstruction by “one country” has prevented the council from speaking with one voice.

    “We call on the United States to assume its due responsibility and take an impartial position to support the council and play its due role in cooling down the situation and rebuilding trust for a political solution," Zhao said at a daily briefing.

    China “strongly condemns" violence against civilians and calls for an end to air strikes, ground attacks, rocket fire and “other actions that aggravate the situation," Zhao said.

  • May 17, 2021 / 03:55 PM IST

    Israel-Palestine Conflict LIVE Updates | To the outside world, the scenes of rocket fire, bombing raids and angry protests in West Asia last week may have looked familiar. To the people of Israel and the Gaza Strip, they were anything but routine.

    In Pictures | Israel-Palestine conflict: Fear, grief grip Gaza anew amid familiar glare