Thursday, October 28

Israel-Gaza conflict: France joins US ceasefire pressure as violence erupts | Israel

France has increased pressure on the United States to publicly call for a ceasefire in the Israel-Gaza conflict after a UN security council meeting ended without a joint statement, and air strikes and rocket fire they continued until evening.

France is promoting a draft resolution, coordinated with Egypt and Jordan, which aims to focus on some basic points: the cessation of violence and the access of humanitarian aid agencies. There will be no set timetable, but the resolution steps will be presented as urgent.

The United States would have to use its veto power to block the resolution, something the Biden administration will be reluctant to do. The United States has repeatedly blocked joint statements calling for an end to the violence.

During Tuesday’s closed-door meeting, the fourth since the conflict escalated more than a week ago, US envoy Linda Thomas-Greenfield said: “We do not believe that a public statement at this time will help reduce the escalation, “a diplomatic source quoted AFP as saying.

Zhang Jun, Beijing’s ambassador to the UN, told reporters that his team had heard the French ceasefire proposal and that China was “supportive.”

Meanwhile, sporadic shelling of Gaza City continued into the night, with residents staying awake as Israeli planes flew low, said an AFP correspondent in the strip.

The attacks came after an AFP photographer saw streaks of light in the sky as Israel’s air defense system intercepted rockets launched from Gaza. The Israel Defense Forces said rocket launch warning sirens sounded in the south on Wednesday morning.

Randa Abu Sultan, 45, said his family no longer knew what sleep was like. “We are all terrified by the sound of explosions, missiles and fighter jets,” said the mother of seven. “We all sat together in one room. My four-year-old son tells me he is afraid that if he falls asleep he will wake up and find us dead. “

During a visit to an air base in southern Israel on Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Hamas and Islamic Jihad had “received blows they did not expect” that had delayed them “many years” and that the operation would continue for so long. as necessary to restore calm.

Tuesday saw fresh unrest across the region, with serious clashes in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank as Palestinians participated in a day of protests and strikes over the Israeli bombing of Gaza.

One Palestinian was killed and more than 70 wounded, including 16 by live fire, in clashes with Israeli troops outside Ramallah, according to the Palestinian Authority’s Health Ministry. Two Israeli soldiers were injured.

Hundreds of Palestinians burned tires and threw stones at an Israeli military checkpoint. Troops fired tear gas canisters into the crowd. Large crowds also gathered in Nablus, Bethlehem, Hebron and other West Bank cities.

In Jerusalem, police deployed water cannons in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, where Palestinian families are facing eviction from the houses in which they have lived since the 1950s. The threat of eviction has been a key factor in the increase. of the tensions in the city during the last weeks. There were also clashes at the nearby entrance of the Damascus Gate to the Old City.

Many Palestinian-owned businesses in the Old City were closed as part of a “day of rage” over the eight-day conflict. Support for the general strike was high in cities within Israel.

Israeli airstrikes have killed 217 Palestinians, including 63 children, and injured more than 1,400 people in just over a week in the Hamas-run enclave, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.

The death toll on the Israeli side has risen to 12 after rockets fired by Hamas into the southern Eshkol region killed two Thai nationals working in a factory, police said.

The humanitarian crisis has deepened in the impoverished strip, and the UN said 72,000 Palestinians have been displaced.

But a convoy of international aid trucks that began rolling into Gaza through a border crossing from Israel, Kerem Shalom, came to a halt when Israel quickly shut it down again, citing a mortar attack in the area.

Before the last UN meeting, Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser to US President Joe Biden, said Washington was engaged in “quiet and intense diplomacy.”

His comments came after Biden issued a statement expressing his support for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas for the first time, following a telephone conversation with Netanyahu.

However, he fell short of calling for an immediate halt to Israeli air strikes and rocket bombardments by Hamas. “The president reiterated his strong support for Israel’s right to defend itself from indiscriminate rocket attacks,” the White House statement said.

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