New Delhi: With Israeli planes renewed airstrikes in Gaza and Hamas militants’ retaliatory rockets launched into Israel, the age-old cross border conflict between Israel and Palestine entered fifth day on Saturday (May 15, 2021).
The Palestinian religious affairs ministry said Israeli planes destroyed a mosque. A military spokesman said the army was checking the report. Sirens sounded in two major southern Israeli cities warning of incoming fire from Gaza. Hamas claimed responsibility for launching rockets.
132 people killed in Gaza : The Palestinian authorities also revealed that at least 132 people have been killed in Gaza since the violence broke out on Monday, including 32 children and 21 women, and 950 others have been wounded in theb area.
Additionally, over 11 people were killed in the occupied West Bank amid clashes between protesters and Israeli security forces.
Israel launched day-long attacks on Friday in order to destroy, what Israeli defence forces claim to be, several kilometers (miles) of tunnels, launch sites and weapons manufacturing warehouses used by the militants in an effort to halt the rocket attacks.
On the other hand, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday called for a unified Security Council over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and regretted the lack of multilateralism.
“What we would like to see is … a strong, unified voice for de-escalation, for a cessation of hostilities and a push to get the parties back on track to find a political solution to this conflict that has been going on and on and on,” questioned Guterres’ spokesman Stephane Dujarric on the issue, adding that, Guterres is concerned about the state of multilateralism “as we’ve seen it during the pandemic and as we`ve seen it in other aspects.”
“We would like to see member states put to action the ideals that we all have to live up to within this organization,” he added.
With regard to the Security Council, he said the more unified the council is, the stronger its voice and the stronger its impact.
Israel’s president warns of civil war : Across central and southern Israel, from small towns bordering Gaza to metropolitan Tel Aviv and southern Beersheba, people have adjusted to sirens wailing, radio and TV broadcast interruptions and the beeps of cellphones bearing red alerts that send them rushing for cover.
The aftermaths of cross-border hostilities between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza has also been seen entering the small cities now, with increased number of violence and street fights in mixed communities of Jews and Arabs, the Israel’s president has now warned of civil war.
Diplomatic talks underway : Egypt was leading regional efforts to secure a ceasefire. Egypt’s pushing for both sides to cease fire from midnight on Friday pending further negotiations, two Egyptian security sources said, with Egypt leaning on Hamas and others, including the United States, trying to reach an agreement with Israel.
“The talks have taken a real and serious path on Friday,” a Palestinian official said. “The mediators from Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations are stepping up their contacts with all sides in a bid to restore calm, but a deal has not yet been reached.”
The United Arab Emirates on Friday called for a ceasefire and negotiations while offering condolences to all victims of the fighting.
More than 2,000 rockets fired : Meanwhile, the Israeli military said more than 2,000 rockets had been fired from Gaza into Israel since the start of the conflict, around half of them intercepted by missile defence systems and 350 fell into the Gaza Strip.
Civil unrest between Jews and Arabs in Israel itself dealt a strong blow to efforts by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s opponents to unseat the Israeli leader after a series of inconclusive elections, giving rise to expectations Israelis will go to the polls for an unprecedented fifth time in just over two years.