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May 18, 2021 / 11:02 PM IST

Israel-Palestine Conflict Highlights | Hungary FM slams EU's 'one-sided' statements on Israel

Israel-Palestine Conflict Highlights: US President Joe Biden expressed support for a ceasefire but stopped short of demanding an immediate stop to fighting

Israel-Palestine Conflict Highlights: The conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants continues to escalate. In a phone call with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, United States President Joe Biden reportedly expressed support for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, but stopped short of demanding an immediate stop to the eight days of Israeli airstrikes and Hamas rocket barrages. 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 18, 2021 / 11:02 PM IST

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  • May 18, 2021 / 10:43 PM IST

    Israel-Palestine Conflict LIVE Updates | Hungary FM slams EU's 'one-sided' statements on Israel

    Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto slammed the EU's "one-sided" statements on Israel as his European counterparts called for a ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians.

    "I have a general problem with these European statements on Israel... These are usually very much one-sided, and these statements do not help, especially not under current circumstances, when the tension is so high," Szijjarto told AFP in an interview.

    EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Tuesday called for the implementation of a ceasefire to stop fighting between Israel and the Palestinians.

    "The priority is the immediate cessation of all violence and the implementation of a ceasefire," Borrell said after a video conference of EU foreign ministers, adding the statement was backed by all the bloc's member states except Hungary. 

    Szijjarto himself did not attend the meeting. Hungary has recently used its veto power to block EU statements on China.

    In the interview with AFP, Szijjarto insisted that blocking decisions "is a right of every country in the European Union".

    "EU diplomacy should not consist only of judgements, negative statements and sanctions," he said.

    "So I think less judgement, less lecturing, less criticism, less interference and more pragmatic cooperation could give back a lot of strength to the European Union."

    Israel's intense bombing campaign has killed 213 Palestinians, including 61 children, and wounded more than 1,400 people in Gaza in more than a week of fighting against Islamist group Hamas, according to the health ministry in Gaza.

    The death toll on the Israeli side rose to 12 on Tuesday when a volley of rockets Hamas fired at the southern Eshkol region killed two Thai nationals working in a factory and wounded several others.

    Source: AFP

  • May 18, 2021 / 10:14 PM IST

    Israel-Palestine Conflict LIVE Updates | Israeli forces wound 5 Lebanon protesters near border: Report

    Five people protesting on the Lebanon-Israel border against air strikes in Gaza were wounded Tuesday by tear gas cannisters and smoke bombs fired by Israeli forces, Lebanese state media said.

    "A number of demonstrators climbed a concrete border fence, raised Hezbollah flags and banners, and threw stones," the official National News Agency reported.

    "Israeli forces fired tear gas and smoke bombs, leaving five people wounded."

    A Lebanese demonstrator was killed by Israeli fire on Friday after he tried to cross the border fence into northern Israel.

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  • May 18, 2021 / 09:39 PM IST

    Israel-Palestine Conflict LIVE Updates | Israel troops targeted by gunfire in West Bank as Palestinian shot dead 

    Israeli troops were targeted by gunfire in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday, the army said, as the Palestinian health ministry said a man was killed in a separate shooting.

    The violence came as Palestinians across the West Bank and in east Jerusalem observed a general strike in support of those under bombardment in the Gaza Strip, with clashes reported throughout the territories.

    The Israeli army said that "during a violent riot" near Ramallah, "a number of rioters fired extensively" Israeli soldiers who "responded with fire".

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  • May 18, 2021 / 08:54 PM IST

    Israel-Palestine Conflict LIVE Updates | EU set to call for Israel-Palestinian peace talks with US, Russia

    European Union foreign ministers are set on Tuesday to call for a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, offer more humanitarian aid and try to relaunch peace talks, Malta's foreign minister said.

    EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell began an emergency call with member states' foreign ministers after criticism of the West's response to violence that flared last week, including from Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.

    "I think I'm not being too optimistic (to say) that at a minimum, what will probably come out (of the EU meeting) is the call for a ceasefire, an offer of humanitarian aid, and then seeing how to restart the political process," Bartolo told Reuters via video link after the ministers' call began.

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  • May 18, 2021 / 08:40 PM IST

    Israel-Palestine Conflict LIVE Updates | Pentagon chief supports de-escalation in Israel-Palestinian conflict

    U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin expressed his support for a de-escalation in fighting between Israel and Palestinian Islamist group Hamas in a call with his Israeli counterpart on Tuesday, the Pentagon said.

    "Austin reiterated the United States' unwavering support for Israel's right to defend itself and to protect Israeli civilians, and lamented the loss of innocent Israeli and Palestinian lives," Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said.

    "Austin expressed his support for de-escalation of the conflict and the restoration of calm," Kirby added.

    Source: Reuters

  • May 18, 2021 / 07:53 PM IST

    Israel-Palestine Conflict LIVE Updates | Angela Merkel, Jordan king call for 'swift' Mideast ceasefire

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Jordan's King Abdullah II urged a "swift" ceasefire in the conflict between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas in a video call Tuesday, her spokesman said.

    "They agreed that initiatives for a swift ceasefire should be supported to create the conditions for the resumption of political negotiations," the spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said in a statement.

    Source: AFP

  • May 18, 2021 / 07:05 PM IST

    Israel-Palestine Conflict LIVE Updates | Germany calls for truce in Israel-Gaza violence, offers more aid

    Germany called for a ceasefire in fighting between Israel and Palestinian Islamist group Hamas and offered more aid to help Palestinians on Tuesday before emergency European Union talks that are expected to highlight divisions over the conflict.

    The call for a truce follows U.S. President Joe Biden's support for a ceasefire during a call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday.

    Germany made the comments before a video call of the EU's 27 foreign ministers chaired by chief Josep Borrell to discuss how to end the conflict, although diplomats warned that differing opinions over the Middle East would marginalise the bloc's role.

    "An end to the violence is the first priority," German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in a video statement streamed on social media, as the fiercest hostilities between Israel and the Palestinians in years continued.

    "Today, I will lobby for a better humanitarian supply in Gaza," Maas said, pledging 40 million euros ($48.86 million) to ramp up humanitarian aid for civilians in Gaza.

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  • May 18, 2021 / 06:50 PM IST

    Israel-Palestine Conflict LIVE Updates | UN agency says 52,000 displaced in Gaza, Amnesty wants war crimes investigation

    More than 52,000 Palestinians have been displaced by Israeli air strikes that have destroyed or badly damaged nearly 450 buildings in the Gaza Strip, the UN aid agency said on Tuesday.

    In a separate statement on the conflict, rights group Amnesty International said Israel air strikes on residential buildings might amount to war crimes. Israel says it hits only legitimate military targets and that it does all it can to avoid civilian casualties.

    About 47,000 of the displaced people have sought shelter in 58 UN-run schools in Gaza, Jens Laerke, a spokesman for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Geneva, told reporters.

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  • May 18, 2021 / 06:14 PM IST

    Israel-Palestine Conflict LIVE Updates | Two Thai workers killed in rocket attack on Israel: police

    Two Thai workers were killed in southern Israel by rocket fire from Gaza on Tuesday, police said, raising to 12 the death toll in the Jewish state since the conflict broke out.

    "In the last wave of rockets that landed in the Eshkol region, two people were killed," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said, identifying the dead as workers from Thailand.

    A week ago, a Thai national was wounded by another rocket fired from Gaza, and a farm labourer from Thailand was killed in the 2004 Israel-Gaza war.

    Magen David Adom, Israel's equivalent of the Red Cross, said seven other foreign workers were wounded by shrapnel in the latest attack, one of them seriously.

    They were all taken to Soroka hospital in the southern town of Beersheba.

    According to the United Hatzalah volunteer rescue service, the Gaza rocket hit a packaging factory near the border.

    Source: AFP

  • May 18, 2021 / 05:46 PM IST

    Israel-Palestine Conflict LIVE Updates | Egypt sends medical aid to Gaza after Israeli strikes

    Egypt has sent 65 tonnes of medical aid to neighbouring Gaza after a week of Israeli strikes left more than 200 Palestinians dead and hundreds more wounded, health officials said.

    With hospitals in Gaza overwhelmed by patients, the critical surgical supplies include specialist burns treatment as well as "ventilators, oxygen tanks (and) syringes," Health Minister Hala Zayed said late Monday.


  • May 18, 2021 / 05:33 PM IST

    Israel-Palestine Conflict LIVE Updates | Israel re-shuts Gaza crossing after mortar fire

    Israel said it had closed a crossing into Gaza shortly after opening it Tuesday to allow in humanitarian goods, after mortars were fired at the area as aid trucks passed through.

    Israel had opened the Kerem Shalom crossing to allow in "trucks carrying civil aid donated by international aid organisations to the Gaza Strip," said COGAT, the Israeli military branch responsible for civil affairs in the Palestinian territories.

    "After a firing of mortar bombs towards the Kerem Shalom Crossing... it has been decided to stop the entry of the rest of the trucks," the COGAT statement said.

    Source: AFP