Wednesday, May 19, 2021
“Still enough missiles”
The Middle East firing continues
Palestinian militants fire rockets at Israeli cities, Israeli army bombs Gaza Strip – the mutual attacks continue for the tenth night in a row. Israel’s military believe that Hamas will not run out of weapons anytime soon. The UN Security Council is still unable to come up with a joint resolution.
The international community is stepping up diplomatic efforts to end the violence in the conflict between Israel and militant Palestinians. “The priority is the immediate stop of all violence and the implementation of a ceasefire,” said the EU foreign affairs representative Josep Borrell after consultations with the EU foreign ministers on Tuesday. The UN Security Council was unable to agree on a joint declaration on the conflict at its fourth emergency meeting.
The international appeals for a ceasefire went unheard, and both sides continued their attacks with undiminished severity on Wednesday night. The Israeli Air Force bombed the Gaza Strip again. The houses of several Hamas fighters who were used as command centers or weapons depots were destroyed, said the Israeli military. Early Wednesday, the Israeli artillery also fired on targets in the southern Gaza Strip, eyewitnesses reported.
Palestinian militants fired rockets at the cities of Ashdod, Ashkelon and Beersheba, and thousands of people sought refuge there in air raid shelters. Clashes also flared up in the occupied West Bank. The Fatah movement of Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas proclaimed a “day of anger” on Tuesday. According to the military, Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian who tried to attack them with a rifle and improvised explosives. Another Palestinian was killed by Israeli forces during a demonstration in the West Bank, the Ministry of Health announced. The military said the soldiers came under fire and shot back. According to police, two people were killed in a rocket attack from the Gaza Strip in the Eshkol region in southern Israel.
More than 150 people in Jerusalem and the West Bank had to be treated for gunshot wounds, among other things, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent. According to the Israeli army, two Israeli soldiers were injured in an attack north of Ramallah.
So far 229 dead and numerous wounded
Israel has announced that it will continue the offensive against Hamas and Islamic Jihad. An Israeli military spokesman said the groups had “still enough rockets to fire” with an estimated 12,000 rockets and mortar shells. The mutual attacks are now going on for the tenth day in a row. The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians escalated massively at the beginning of last week. One of the triggers was the threat of eviction from Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem.
According to the Israeli army, more than 3,450 rockets have been fired at Israel by the Gaza-ruling Hamas and other radical Palestinian groups since the fighting began. The military killed around 160 extremists with air strikes and artillery fire. The authorities in the Gaza Strip speak of 217 Palestinians killed, including 63 children. More than 1,400 people were injured. According to the authorities, twelve people were killed in Israel, including two children.
Emergency meeting ends without result
Heads of state and government from all over the world have recently appealed ever more urgently to the parties to the conflict to bring about an end to the violence. After consultations on Tuesday, the EU foreign ministers called for a ceasefire and criticized the high number of civilian casualties as “unacceptable”. Hungary was the only country not to support the joint declaration by the EU foreign ministers. Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed the conflict with the Jordanian King Abdullah II on Tuesday. Both agreed “that initiatives for a speedy armistice should be supported,” said Merkel’s spokesman after the video conference.
However, there does not seem to be an end to the violence. “We will continue as long as necessary to bring peace back to the people of Israel,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday when visiting an air force base. Hamas has received “blows it did not expect”. The Palestinian Organization was “thrown back by years”.
The UN Security Council was unable to agree on a joint position on the Middle East conflict at the fourth emergency meeting in eight days on Tuesday. According to diplomats, the declaration failed again because of resistance from Washington, which refuses to condemn its ally Israel. The Palestinian envoy to the UN, Riyad Mansour, called this “shameful” and asked the UN to launch an urgent appeal for humanitarian aid to the people of the Gaza Strip.
Israel on Tuesday closed a crossing to the Gaza Strip that had been opened for humanitarian supplies by international organizations. The reason given by the Israeli authorities was that the Kerem Shalom crossing had been shelled. Observers fear a humanitarian catastrophe in the desperately poor Gaza Strip. According to UN figures, 58,000 Palestinians were displaced and 2,500 were left homeless as a result of the latest escalation of violence.