Israeli Airstrikes Kill 42 Palestinians; Death Toll at 192
The United States does not engage with Hamas as a matter of policy, making any dialogue complicated.
As Israeli airstrikes continue to bombard Gaza, the death toll in Palestine reached 192 on Sunday, 16 May. As per the Gaza Health Ministry, as many as 58 children have been killed due to the airstrikes.
On Sunday itself, an Israeli airstrike destroyed several homes, killing 42 Palestinians, including 10 children. The Israeli military, however, said that the civilian casualties were unintentional.
It said in a statement, “The underground military facility collapsed, causing the foundation of the civilian houses above them to collapse as well, leading to unintended casualties.”
However, Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri said, “What happened this morning was a pre-meditated killing,” Reuters reported.
Meanwhile, the Israeli military said that Hamas, regarded by Israel, the United States, and the European Union as a terrorist movement, has fired more than 2,800 rockets from Gaza since last Monday, when the violence escalated on Jerusalem Day. As per Israeli authorities, ten people have been killed in Israel, including two children.
As the UN Security Council convened to discuss the worsening situation, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel's attack in Gaza will continue at "full force".
AP and Al Jazeera Offices Destroyed
Israel, on Saturday, destroyed a 12-storey building, which housed the offices of Associated Press and Al Jazeera. Netanyahu defended the strike saying that the structure also housed a militant group's intelligence office and was thus a legitimate target.
The Associated Press, however, condemned the strike and asked Israel to show its evidence that Hamas was in the building.
What is the Conflict?
At the heart of the conflict in East Jerusalem, which has been in the news for the escalating conflict in the holy month of Ramadan, is an Israeli Supreme Court ruling.
The ruling is on a long-running legal case regarding the eviction of Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, a neighbourhood near the Damascus Fate that was given to Israeli settlers.
As the date for the ruling neared, Palestinians and left-wing Israelis held more and more demonstrations, stating that this eviction would pave the way for further removal of people from the area.
On 7 May, Israeli security forces attacked worshippers at the Al-Aqsa mosque. In the attacks that were caught on camera, the forces can be seen using tear gas, stun grenades, and rubber-coated bullets.
While Israeli military has said that the attacks are a retaliation to the Palestinian firing of rockets into Israel, experts have condemned Israeli attacks by stating that the escalation was a result of Israel’s own attacks in Sheikh Jarrah.
Palestinian doctor Ahmad Abu al-Aouf, who served as director of internal medicine at Gaza’s al-Shifa hospital, was killed in the bombing on Sunday.
Israel Has Full US Support
US President Joe Biden's envoy Hady Amr arrived in Israel on Friday for talks to try and calm down the situation.
An official with knowledge of Amr's meetings was quoted as saying, “He voiced what the administration has been saying openly about Israel having full US support for defending itself,” Reuters reported.
The official added, “He made clear that no one expects Israel to do otherwise, and that this is clearly not something that can be wrapped up in 24 hours.”
The United States and most Western countries do not engage with Hamas as a matter of policy, making any dialogue complicated.
On Sunday, the United States told the United Nations Security Council that it has made clear to Israel and the Palestinians that any support will be offered, "should the parties seek a ceasefire" to end the worsening violence.
(With inputs from AP and Reuters)
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