New night of bombing in Gaza, diplomatic deadlock at the UN
While the new confrontation, which began on May 10 between Israel and the Palestinian armed groups in Gaza, alarms the United Nations (UN), the Security Council of the international organization met on Sunday, May 16, for a third emergency session, without the adoption, at this stage, of a joint declaration or of proposals leading to a cessation of hostilities .
The current crisis erupted on May 10 with rockets fired by Hamas at Israel in “Solidarity” along with the hundreds of Palestinian protesters injured in clashes with Israeli police in East Jerusalem. At the origin of the demonstrations, the threat of forced eviction of Palestinian families for the benefit of Israeli settlers in the district of Sheikh Jarrah. Hostilities spread this week to the West Bank, another Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967, where clashes with the Israeli army have left 19 dead since May 10, according to a Palestinian record.
- The heaviest daily toll for a week
The Israeli army carried out an intense series of bombings in Gaza in the early hours of Monday, May 17. During the night from Sunday to Monday, the Israeli air force shelled the Gaza Strip dozens of times in the space of a few minutes, causing power cuts, a journalist from Agence France-Presse noted (AFP ).
Hundreds of buildings were damaged, according to local authorities, who did not immediately report any casualties. The IDF said in a statement Monday that it had targeted nine houses belonging to senior Hamas commanders, some of which were used for “Stockpile weapons”.
“There has never been a strike of such magnitude”, testified Mad Abed Rabbo, 39, who lives in western Gaza City, expressing his “Horror” and his “Fear”. “I felt like I was dyingsaid another Gaza resident, Mani Qazaat. Netanyahu must realize that we are civilians, not soldiers. » According to the health ministry in Gaza – a poor enclave of two million inhabitants under Israeli blockade for nearly fifteen years – more than 40,000 people have fled their homes in the past week to hide from Israeli bombing. The UN agency for Palestinian refugees explained that it had opened some 40 schools there to accommodate the displaced.Read the testimonials: In Gaza, under the bombardments, fear and devastation: “Silence has disappeared from our lives, we are exhausted”
These new Israeli strikes come as the Palestinian enclave, controlled by the Islamist movement of Hamas, recorded its heaviest daily toll on Sunday since the start of this new episode of violence: 42 Palestinians, including at least eight children and two doctors died in raids, according to the health ministry. This is the heaviest daily death toll since the violence began: in total, since May 10, 197 Palestinians have been killed, including at least 58 children, and more than 1,200 injured. On the Israeli side, ten people were killed, including a child, and 294 injured after shooting by Palestinian armed groups from Gaza, including Hamas in power.
These armed groups – including Hamas – have fired more than 3,100 rockets at Israel since the start of the deadly hostilities, much of which had been intercepted by its anti-missile system, the IDF said on Sunday. This is the highest rate of projectiles ever fired on Israeli soil, the military said. “The intensity of this conflict is something we have never seen before”, alarmed Robert Mardini, director general of the Red Cross.Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Young Palestinians in the West Bank: “This is ours”
- The building housing the offices of Associated Press and Al-Jazeera in Gaza pulverized: “a perfectly legitimate target” for Netanyahu
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in an address to the Israelis reiterated that the operation was still going ” take time “ and called on his compatriots to limit their “Outdoor activities”. “Our campaign against terrorist organizations continues at full speed”, he said.
In an interview with the American channel CBS, he also justified the strike which pulverized the 13-story tower housing the premises of the Qatari news channel Al-Jazeera and the American news agency Associated Press (AP). It was “A perfectly legitimate target”, he said, claiming to be based on information from the intelligence services.Read the story: After destruction of building housing international media in Gaza, outrage and anger against Israel
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) seized the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Sunday after several raids against premises housing media, considering that they could fall under “War crimes”. The IDF, which said it targeted Hamas premises and equipment, as well as some commanders and underground tunnels, accuses the Islamist movement of establishing itself near civilians to use it as a “Shield”.
Crossing a new level in its offensive against Hamas, the Israeli army also announced that it had attacked the homes of Yahya Sinouar, head of Hamas in Gaza, and his brother, “A terrorist militant”, posting images of a house sprayed in a cloud of dust. Palestinian security sources confirmed the strike, but the fate of the Hamas leader in Gaza is unknown.
- No diplomatic progress at the UN
The UN Security Council met on Sunday for a new emergency session on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the third in a week, without the adoption at this stage of a joint declaration or of proposals allowing for ‘lead to a cessation of hostilities. The session gave rise to exchanges of diatribes between the two opposing parties.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al-Maliki accused Israel of “War crimes”, denouncing “Aggression” of the Hebrew state against ” the people “ Palestinian and his “Holy places”. “Hamas has chosen to accelerate tensions, used as a pretext, to start this war” which was “Premeditated”, retorted the Israeli ambassador to the United States and the UN, Gilad Erdan. The Israeli diplomat called on the Security Council to condemn the “Indiscriminate rocket fire” while the Palestinian minister demanded at the instance “To act” to stop the Israeli offensive, wondering how many Palestinian deaths it was going to take to “Scandalize”.Article reserved for our subscribers Read also Israel-Palestine: Joe Biden is reluctant to intervene in the new crisis
Violence “Has the potential to trigger an unmanageable security and humanitarian crisis and further encourage extremism”, warned UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Sunday at the opening of an emergency meeting of the Security Council. “This insane cycle of bloodshed, terror and destruction must end immediately”, he insisted, while this third virtual session did not lead to any progress.
“The clashes risk dragging Israelis and Palestinians into a spiral of violence with devastating consequences for both communities and for the entire region”, warned Mr. Guterres on Sunday.
The United States continued, Sunday, to refuse any joint declaration allowing a rapid end to hostilities. At the same time, the head of US diplomacy, Antony Blinken, has stepped up talks with his counterparts in several key regional states, including Qatar, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, in an attempt to end the violence, according to the State Department.
For a week, Washington, isolated, has already rejected two texts proposed by three members of the Council: Norway, Tunisia and China. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi regretted « l’obstruction » United States to have a declaration adopted.Read the editorial: Israel-Palestine: international powerlessness
The World with AFP