World Calls mount for Gaza-Israel cease-fire, greater US efforts
Red Cross Asks Gaza, Israel to Engage in Cease-Fire, Even for 'A Couple of Hours'
The head of the Red Cross sub-delegation in Gaza, Mirjam Muller, called for a pause in fighting Thursday to allow for "a breather" so people can shop for food, see a doctor if needed and tend to their needs.The head of the ICRC sub-delegation in Gaza, Mirjam Muller, called for a pause in fighting Thursday to allow for "a breather" so people can shop for food, see a doctor if needed and tend to their needs, the Associated Press reported.
The U.N. Security Council and Muslim nations convened emergency meetings Sunday to demand a stop to civilian bloodshed as Israeli warplanes carried out the deadliest single attacks in nearly a week of unrelenting Hamas rocket barrages and Israeli airstrikes.
President Joe Biden gave no signs of pressuring Israel to agree to an immediate cease-fire despite new calls from some Democrats for the Biden administration to get more involved. His ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, told an emergency high-level meeting of the Security Council that the United States was “working tirelessly through diplomatic channels" to stop the fighting.
Israel Opposition Leader Yair Lapid Accuses Netanyahu of Jeopardizing Relationship With U.S.
"After 11 days of this operation, every Israeli citizen will ask themselves: What did the government really want to achieve with this military operation? What is its policy and strategic long-term aim concerning Hamas in Gaza?" Lapid wrote.The U.S. has called for Israel to end the fighting and agree to a cease-fire. Netanyahu has refused the requests, and appears determined to inflict maximum damage against Hamas in a war that could save his political career, the Associated Press reported.
But as fighting in Israel and Gaza surged to its worst levels since 2014 and the international outcry grew, the Biden administration — determined to wrench U.S. foreign policy focus away from the Middle East and Afghanistan — showed no immediate sign of deepening its involvement. Diplomatic appeals by other countries for Hamas and Israel to stop their fire showed no sign of progress.
Greenfield warned that the return to armed conflict would only put a negotiated two-state solution to the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict even further out of reach. And in Israel, Hady Amr, a deputy assistant dispatched by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to try to de-escalate the crisis, met with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who thanked the U.S. for its support.
Israel-Hamas ceasefire holds, Egyptian mediators shuttle between the two sides
Israel-Hamas ceasefire holds, Egyptian mediators shuttle between the two sidesGAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) - A ceasefire between Israel and Hamas-led Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip held on Saturday as Egyptian mediators pressed on with talks with the two sides on securing longer-term calm, officials said.
Blinken himself headed out Sunday on an unrelated tour of Nordic countries. He made calls from the plane to Egypt and other nations working to broker a cease-fire, telling Egypt that all parties “should de-escalate tensions and bring a halt to the violence.”
Rep. Adam Schiff, Democratic chairman of the House intelligence committee, on Sunday joined Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent, in calling on Biden to step up pressure on both sides to end current fighting and revive talks to resolve Israel's conflicts and flashpoints with the Palestinians.
“I think the administration needs to push harder on Israel and the Palestinian Authority to stop the violence, bring about a cease-fire, end these hostilities, and get back to a process of trying to resolve this long-standing conflict,” Schiff, a California Democrat, told CBS's “Face the Nation.”
The blockade on Gaza hampers life and reconstruction
Israel and Egypt have imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip since 2007. Israel says it’s for security reasons but the UN has called it “collective punishment.” Now that the fighting has stopped, reconstruction in Gaza will be painfully slow.People walk by the rubble of the al-Jalaa building following a cease-fire reached after an 11-day war between Gaza's Hamas rulers and Israel, in Gaza City, May 21, 2021. The building housed The Associated Press bureau in Gaza City for 15 years.
Biden administration officials have urged calm but said nothing publicly about prodding Israel immediately to go along with a push by Egypt and others for a cease-fire. Thomas-Greenfield said U.S. diplomats were engaging with Israel, Egypt and Qatar, along with the U.N.
Israeli airstrikes on Gaza City flattened three buildings and killed at least 42 people Sunday, medics said, bringing the toll since Hamas and Israel opened their air and artillery battles to at least 188 killed in Gaza and eight in Israel. Some 55 children in Gaza and a 5-year-old boy in Israel were among the dead.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Israelis in a televised address Sunday that Israel “wants to levy a heavy price” on Gaza's militant Hamas rulers. That will “take time,” Netanyahu said, signaling the war would rage on for now.
Representatives of Muslim nations met to demand Israel halt attacks that are killing Palestinian civilians in the crowded Gaza strip.
The meeting of the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation also saw Turkey and some others criticize a U.S.-backed push under which the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and other Islamic nations signed bilateral deals with Israel to normalize their relations, stepping over the wreckage of moribund international efforts to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians long-term.
Cease-fire in Gaza: What we know about the Israel, Hamas agreement
What's next after Israel's cease-fire? How many died in the conflict? How did it start? These questions and more answered.The move followed growing pressure from President Joe Biden's administration and others foreign leaders to de-escalate the conflict – which wrought far more devastation in Gaza than Israel and killed significantly more Palestinians. Hamas fired rockets indiscriminately into civilian areas in Israel while Israel pounded Gaza with airstrikes.
“The massacre of Palestinian children today follows the purported normalization,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said.
At the virtual meeting of the Security Council, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the U.N. was actively engaging all parties for an immediate cease-fire.
Returning to the scenes of Palestinian militant rocket fire and Israeli airstrikes in the fourth such war between Israel and Hamas, “only perpetuates the cycles of death, destruction and despair, and pushes farther to the horizon any hopes of coexistence and peace,” Guterres said.
Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump, had thrown U.S. support solidly behind Israel, enthusiastically welcoming Netanyahu as an ally in Trump's focus on confronting Iran. Trump gave little time to efforts by past U.S. administrations to push peace accords between Israel and the Palestinians, instead encouraging and rewarding Arab nations that signed two-country normalizations deals with Israel.
Biden, instead, calls Middle East and Central Asia conflicts a distraction from U.S. foreign policy priorities, including competition with China.
He's sought to calm some conflicts and extricate the U.S. from others, including ending U.S. military support for a Saudi-led war in Yemen, planning to pull U.S. troops from Afghanistan, and trying to return to a nuclear deal with Iran.
Biden officials haven't listed deeper Israel-Palestinian peace efforts at the top of their agenda.
The problem won't go away, said Tamara Cofman Wittes, a former deputy assistant secretary of state for the Middle East in the Obama administration.
Current fighting “reveals how deeply unstable is the ‘status quo’ between Israelis and Palestinians, and how urgently a new political path is needed to move this conflict toward negotiated resolution,” she said.
Knickmeyer reported from Oklahoma City and Lederer from New York. Associated Press writer Jon Gambrell in Dubai and AP Diplomatic Writer Matthew Lee contributed to this report.
How Team Biden orchestrated a shorter war in Gaza .
With lessons learned from earlier Israel-Hamas conflicts, the administration banked on quiet leverage and negotiation to bring a quicker end to hostilities.The last two major conflagrations between Israel and Hamas militants who control the Gaza Strip took place in those years. The 2012 fighting lasted eight days, killing at least 160 Palestinians and six Israelis. Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton played a key role. The 2014 episode is often described as a war; it lasted some 50 days, killing more than 2,200 Palestinians and over 70 Israelis. John Kerry, Clinton’s successor, was deeply involved in trying to broker a resolution.