Biden says he expects Gaza crisis to end ‘sooner than later’

13 Mai, 2021, 07:37 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Streaks of light are seen as Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system intercept rockets launched from the Gaza Strip towards Israel as seen from Ashkelon

Israel's Magen David Adom ambulance service said a 50-year-old woman was killed when a rocket hit a building in the Tel Aviv suburb of Rishon Lezion, and that two women had been killed in rocket strikes on Ashkelon on Tuesday.

The death toll from Israeli air strikes on Gaza has climbed to 65, including 16 children, as the United Nations warned of "full-scale war".

"My expectation and hope is that this will be closing down sooner than later, but Israel has a right to defend itself when you have thousands of rockets flying into your territory", he said.

Biden did not explain the reasons behind his optimism.

Since Monday, militants have fired more than 1,050 rockets from Gaza, according to the Israeli military, and Israel has conducted hundreds of strikes in the tiny territory where 2 million Palestinians have lived under a crippling Israeli-Egyptian blockade since Hamas took power in 2007.

Israel launched its offensive after Hamas fired rockets at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv in retaliation for Israeli police clashes with Palestinians near al-Aqsa mosque in East Jerusalem during the fasting month of Ramadan.

Biden's administration earlier in the week appealed to ally Israel to reroute a flashpoint parade in Jerusalem and prevent evictions of Palestinians in the holy city, the immediate trigger for the new round of violence.

For Israel, the targeting of the two major cities posed a new challenge in the confrontation with Hamas, regarded as a terrorist group by Israel and the United States.

"This violence takes us further away from that goal", Blinken said.

Violence flared once again on Wednesday in the occupied West Bank, where one 16-year-old Palestinian boy in Aqqaba and one 26-year-old in a refugee camp near Hebron were killed by Israeli gunfire. The fighting has triggered the worst Jewish-Arab violence inside Israel in decades.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared a state of emergency in Lod, near Tel Aviv, after reports emerged on Tuesday of Jews stoning a vehicle that was being driven by an Arab resident and of Arabs allegedly setting fire to a synagogue.

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A Palestinian man stands near the remains of a tower building which was destroyed in Israeli air strikes in Gaza City, May 12, 2021.

"We must not win the battle in Gaza and lose the battle at home".

However, in a rare tragedy, shrapnel from the rocket punctured the shelter's window, critically wounding the boy and also injuring his mother.

"The EU is dismayed at the large numbers of civilian deaths and injuries, including children", he said in a statement.

USA energy corporation Chevron said it had shut down the Tamar natural gas platform off the Israeli coast as a precaution.

At least two USA airlines cancelled flights from the United States to Tel Aviv on Wednesday and Thursday.

The plane was forced to fly in circles for an hour due to the rocket fire before it could land at a different Israeli airport.

Around 130 rockets rained down on Tel Aviv last night and Israel's main airport, Ben Gurion has been closed as a result.

The conflict has led to the freezing of talks by Netanyahu's opponents on forming a governing coalition to unseat him after Israel's inconclusive March 23 election.

Gaza's health ministry said 17 of the people killed in the enclave were children and six were women. They've had a lot of problems going on with the Palestinian Authority.

These include Washington's recognition of disputed Jerusalem as Israel's capital, a USA plan to end the conflict that they saw as favourable to Israel, and continued settlement building.

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