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France circulating draft of Security Council resolution calling for ceasefire

Biden will have to issue first UN veto if US to continue blocking efforts by top international panel * Rocket fire renews after 3 hour lull * Israel advances to Eurovision final

  • French President Emanuel Macron (R) and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi attend a video conference with Jordan's King Abdullah II (on screen) to work on a concrete proposal for a ceasefire and a possible path to discussions between Israel and the Palestinians at the Elysee Palace in Paris, on May 18, 2021. (SARAH MEYSSONNIER / POOL / AFP)
    French President Emanuel Macron (R) and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi attend a video conference with Jordan's King Abdullah II (on screen) to work on a concrete proposal for a ceasefire and a possible path to discussions between Israel and the Palestinians at the Elysee Palace in Paris, on May 18, 2021. (SARAH MEYSSONNIER / POOL / AFP)
  • Rockets fired by Hamas terrorists in Gaza into Israel, seen over the central Israeli town of Kiryat Gat on May 18, 2021. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)
    Rockets fired by Hamas terrorists in Gaza into Israel, seen over the central Israeli town of Kiryat Gat on May 18, 2021. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)
  • Smoke billows after an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, May 18, 2021. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)
    Smoke billows after an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, May 18, 2021. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)
  • Palestinian rioters clash with Israeli security forces near the Huwara checkpoint, south of the West Bank city of Nablus, May 18, 2021. (Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90)
    Palestinian rioters clash with Israeli security forces near the Huwara checkpoint, south of the West Bank city of Nablus, May 18, 2021. (Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90)
  • Family and relatives attend the funeral of Yigal Yehoshua on May 18, 2021, in Hadid. Yehoshua succumbed to injuries sustained in an attack during riots by Arab Israelis in Lod. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
    Family and relatives attend the funeral of Yigal Yehoshua on May 18, 2021, in Hadid. Yehoshua succumbed to injuries sustained in an attack during riots by Arab Israelis in Lod. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)
  • Rockets are launched by Palestinian terrorists in the southern Gaza Strip toward Israel, May 17, 2021. (Said Khatib/AFP)
    Rockets are launched by Palestinian terrorists in the southern Gaza Strip toward Israel, May 17, 2021. (Said Khatib/AFP)
  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the Israel Air Force base at Hatzerim, May 18, 2021. With him are Air Force chief Amikam Norkim (left) and deputy IDF chief of staff Eyal Zamir
(Kobi Gideon / GPO)
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the Israel Air Force base at Hatzerim, May 18, 2021. With him are Air Force chief Amikam Norkim (left) and deputy IDF chief of staff Eyal Zamir (Kobi Gideon / GPO)
  • Israeli police officers seen during clashes with Palestinian protesters at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City, May 18, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
    Israeli police officers seen during clashes with Palestinian protesters at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City, May 18, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
  • An apartment building in the southern city of Ashdod is seen on May 18, 2021, after it was damaged by a rocket fired by Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip, lightly hurting several people. (Avi Roccah/Flash90)
    An apartment building in the southern city of Ashdod is seen on May 18, 2021, after it was damaged by a rocket fired by Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip, lightly hurting several people. (Avi Roccah/Flash90)
  • A top view shows the remains of a six-story building which was destroyed by an early morning Israeli airstrike, in Gaza City, May 18, 2021, amid fighting between the Israel Defense Forces and the coastal enclave's Hamas rulers. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
    A top view shows the remains of a six-story building which was destroyed by an early morning Israeli airstrike, in Gaza City, May 18, 2021, amid fighting between the Israel Defense Forces and the coastal enclave's Hamas rulers. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

The Times of Israel liveblogged Tuesday’s events as they happened. For live coverage of today’s news, click here.

IDF says over 150 terrorists killed in Gaza fighting, most from Hamas

The Israel Defense Forces says it has killed over 150 terrorist operatives as of last night, the majority from Hamas, during the fighting in the Gaza Strip.

According to Gaza’s Hamas-run Health Ministry, over 200 Palestinians have been killed so far in the fighting, including more than 50 minors and three dozen women. It is not immediately clear if the ministry’s tally includes all of those killed or if there are Hamas operatives not included in the count.

According to IDF Spokesperson Hidai Zilberman, more than 120 of those killed were members of Hamas and over 25 were members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad as of Monday night. Additional terrorist operatives were likely killed overnight, but he says he has yet to receive updated assessments regarding the exact number.

IDF believes Palestinian faction behind Lebanon rocket attack

The Israel Defense Forces believes that a small Palestinian faction — not the Hezbollah terror group — is responsible for the attack on northern Israel from Lebanon last night, spokesperson Zilberman says.

According to Zilberman, the attack, in which six projectiles were fired toward northern Israel, came from a town north of Mount Dov, also known as Shabaa Farms, in southern Lebanon. IDF artillery returned fire toward the source of the launch.

The IDF believes that rocket and mortar attacks from Lebanon are likely to continue as the military fights Hamas in Gaza, as they did in the 2014 Gaza war.

IDF says another 15 km of Hamas tunnels destroyed in overnight strikes

In overnight airstrikes, the Israel Defense Forces destroys some 15 kilometers (nine miles) of Hamas underground tunnels in Gaza City and Khan Younis, according to Zilberman.

This is the fourth in a series of attacks on Hamas’s sprawling network of defensive bunkers and passages within the Gaza Strip, dubbed “the metro” by the IDF, which have already destroyed upwards of 100 kilometers (62 miles) of tunnels, Zilberman says.

The attack was conducted with some 60 planes, dropping over 100 bombs on some 65 targets over the course of roughly 30 minutes beginning at 3:45 a.m. Tuesday, according to the spokesman.

He says the purpose of the strike, along with the previous three, is to convince Hamas and its operatives that its underground infrastructure is no longer safe and cannot be relied on.

IDF says multi-barrel rocket launchers hit in Gaza strikes

The Israel Defense Forces says it destroyed at least 10 multi-barreled rocket launchers in overnight strikes throughout the Gaza Strip, including six that were aimed at Tel Aviv with long-range missiles.

Over 65 multi-barreled launchers have been destroyed by the IDF so far, though the effort to destroy Hamas’s rockets on the ground before launch has been a limited one, Zilberman says.

Some 90 rockets fired by Gazan terrorists overnight — military

Between 7 p.m. last night and 7 a.m. this morning, Palestinian terrorists in Gaza fired some 90 rockets at Israel, according to the military.

The Israel Defense Forces says roughly 20 of those rockets failed to clear the border and landed in Gaza.

It also says the Iron Dome missile defense system intercepted “dozens” of the rockets, without specifying the number.

Gaza rocket strikes home in southern Israeli community; no injuries

The Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council says a rocket fired by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza directly strikes a home in one of the communities under its jurisdiction.

The occupants aren’t home at the time of the strike and no one is injured, according to the regional council.


Cops treating deadly assault of Lod man by Arab mob as a ‘terror attack’

An officer in the Israel Police’s investigative unit says police are treating the probe into the death of a Jewish man who was fatally wounded by Arab rioters in Lod as a “terror attack for all intents and purposes.”

“We’ll get to the murderers in the coming days,” Commander Yigal Ezra tells Army Radio.

Yigal Yehoshua, a 56-year-old resident of Lod, died yesterday, six days after being critically injured during unrest in the ethnically mixed central city.

Yigal Yehoshua, 56, died after being struck in the head with a brick while driving home in Lod. (Courtesy)

Mother of Jaffa boy hurt in firebombing wants cops to nab ‘real suspects’

The mother of a 12-year-old Arab boy from Jaffa seriously injured in a firebombing says she hopes police track down “the real suspects,” after an Arab man was arrested yesterday for his suspected involvement in the attack.

“To say this is an Arab from Jaffa who thought this is the home of a Jew isn’t correct. You can tell it’s a Muslim home because the Ramadan lights were still hung up,” Muhammad’s mother, Nura, tells Army Radio.

She also asserts homes in the area have previously been targeted “because we’re Arabs.”

Government extends state of emergency in Lod by 48 hours

The government signs off on an extension of the state of emergency in Lod by 48 hours, according to Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s office.

The central city has been the epicenter of Arab-Jewish rioting that erupted last week amid the fighting in Gaza and ongoing tensions over Jerusalem.

IDF spox: Hamas leaders in Israel’s ‘sights,’ no talk of ceasefire in military

IDF Spokesman Zilberman says all Hamas leaders are in Israel’s “sights” when asked about the prospect the military will take out the Gaza-ruling terror group’s top chiefs.

“We are trying to strike them and when the operational conditions come to fruition I hope that we’ll succeed,” he tells Kan public radio.

In a separate interview with Army Radio, Zilberman says IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi has delivered his instructions and goals for the fighting over the next 24 hours.

“The IDF isn’t talking about a ceasefire,” he says.

Arab Israeli group holds general strike over Gaza fighting, Jerusalem and ethnic unrest

Cars are blocking a road in the central city of Tira as part of a general strike called today by the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel.

The umbrella organization called the strike in protest of the fighting in Gaza between Israel and the Hamas terror group, the “assault” on Palestinians in Jerusalem — which has been a flashpoint amid tensions over the Temple Mount and Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood — and violent acts toward Arab Israelis amid ethnic unrest over the past week.


Fatah urges West Bank Palestinians to clash with Israeli forces on ‘day of rage’

Along with the general strike called by the High Follow-Up Committee for Arab Citizens of Israel, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement and the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group have declared a “day of rage,” with the former urging Palestinians to clash with Israeli forces in the West Bank.

Israel downs drone approaching the border from Jordan

Israeli troops downed a drone approaching northern Israel from Jordan earlier this morning, the Israel Defense Forces says.

According to the military, the unmanned aerial vehicle was flying toward the area of Beit She’an in northern Israel when it was brought down.

“The UAV was being monitored by IDF air control units. The fragments of the UAV were collected by security forces,” the military says.

Though the drone approached the Israeli border from Jordan, it is not immediately clear that it originated there. In 2018, an armed Iranian UAV launched from Syria’s T-4 Air Base entered Israeli airspace in a similar area before it was shot down by an Israeli helicopter, prompting the IDF to launch major raids on Iranian assets in Syria.


Israel said to acknowledge that strike on Gaza media tower fueled US discomfort

Army Radio quotes an unnamed Israeli source saying a strike on high-rise building in Gaza that housed the offices of The Associated Press and other media outlets — and that Israel maintains was being used by Hamas military intelligence — put the Jewish state in an uncomfortable spot vis-a-vis the United States.

The comment comes after US Secretary of State Antony Blinked said yesterday that he asked Israel for evidence that the Gaza-ruling Hamas was using the building, adding that he hasn’t seen any himself.

IDF reports attempted attack in Hebron; assailant ‘neutralized,’ no Israelis hurt

The Israel Defense Forces says a Palestinian assailant was “neutralized” during an attempted attack in the West Bank city of Hebron.

No Israelis were injured and the IDF says it is looking into the matter.

Two men charged over far-right assault on journalists in Tel Aviv

Prosecutors file charges at the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court against two far-right rioters filmed assaulting journalists in southern Tel Aviv last week.

The suspects are named in the indictment as Yosef Peretz and Yosef Maatuf.

Among the charges filed against the two are assaulting a public servant, as the cameramen and reporter they attacked work for the Kan public broadcaster.


Meretz MK urges government to reach ceasefire in Gaza

MK Tamar Zandberg of the left-wing Meretz party calls on the government to reach a ceasefire to immediately end the fighting in Gaza between the Israel Defense Forces and Hamas.

She says the hostilities, now in their ninth day, are “no different” from previous bouts of fighting in recent years that generally lasted for a few days.

“If we don’t change the approach, [the current round] also won’t be any different from those that follow it,” Zandberg writes on Twitter.

She says the fighting is causing the “death of innocents, destruction and despair on both sides” without changing anything and that there is no military solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Zandberg also says “peace is the thing that most scares” Prime Minister Netanyahu and right-wing politicians and accuses the government of “speaking with Hamas and branding Abu Mazen a terrorist,” referring to PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg at a Knesset faction meeting on April 26, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israel to weigh reopening Kerem Shalom crossing with Gaza

Israel’s military and political leadership will hold discussions today to consider a reopening of the Kerem Shalom Crossing into the Gaza Strip, which has been closed since the start of the fighting last Monday.

In light of the closure, Gaza’s sole electrical plant has nearly run out of fuel and the Strip has seen major power cuts throughout the ongoing battle, which have also affected its water supply and sewage treatment.

Last night, Palestinian officials said they had received word that Israel would reopen the crossing as a humanitarian gesture.

Israel Defense Forces Spokesperson Hidai Zilberman initially dismissed the report this morning, telling reporters “there’s no opening and no Kerem Shalom.” Another military spokesperson later clarifies that no decision has yet been made on the matter, but that it is being considered.

Trucks passing through the Kerem Shalom crossing, the main passage point for goods entering the Gaza Strip from Israel. (Said Khatib/AFP)

Hundreds in Indonesia protest against Israel outside US Embassy

JAKARTA, Indonesia — Pro-Palestinian protesters march to the heavily guarded US Embassy in Indonesia’s capital to demand an end to Israeli airstrikes in the Gaza Strip amid fighting between the Israel Defense Forces and the enclave’s Hamas rulers.

Waving Indonesian and Palestinian flags and signs that read “Free Palestine,” several hundred demonstrators gather along a major street in Jakarta that runs outside the embassy. More than 1,000 police are deployed around the compound, which is blocked off by concrete road separators.

Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim majority nation, does not have formal diplomatic relations with Israel and there is not an Israeli Embassy in the country.

One group of protesters, organized by the United Indonesian Muslim Student Action group, chants “God is Great” and “Freedom for Palestine” as they march. Their banners and placards slam the airstrikes in Gaza and denounce America’s staunch support of Israel.

Another group, organized by the Confederation of Indonesian Trade Unions, holds a similar rally a few hundred meters (yards) from the embassy. They yell “Save Palestinians” as they march through downtown Jakarta to the United Nations mission.

Similar protests organized by union workers are held at the same time in other Indonesian cities, including in Surabaya, Bandung, Yogyakarta, Makassar and Riau.

Authorities warned protesters to maintain social distance during the demonstrations to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The hostilities in Gaza, now in their ninth day, erupted last week after Hamas fired several rockets at Jerusalem amid escalating Israeli-Palestinian tensions over the city.

A Muslim women hold posters and shout slogans during an anti-Israel protest in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia, May 17, 2021. (AP Photo/Trisnadi)

IDF: Palestinian tried to shoot, throw explosive at troops in Hebron before being shot

The Israel Defense Forces says a Palestinian who tried to attack Israeli troops in the West Bank city of Hebron was armed with explosives, a makeshift Carlo-style submachine gun and a knife.

“The IDF soldiers spotted the terrorist who was approaching them and tried to shoot and throw an explosive toward them. The soldiers responded with fire and neutralized the terrorist,” a statement from the IDF says.

No Israeli soldiers were injured.

Police arrest 2 more suspects over brutal assault on Arab driver in Bat Yam

Police announce the arrest of two more suspects over a brutal assault last week on Arab motorist by a Jewish mob in the coastal city of Bat Yam.

The two were arrested over the weekend and brought before a court last night, which approved extending their remand until Thursday, according to police.

Police say three people have so far been arrested over the attack — a minor from Holon and two men from Bat Yam.

EU foreign policy chief speaks with Blinken about ending Gaza fighting

EU Foreign Minister Josep Borrell says he spoke with his American counterpart Antony Blinken about ending the fighting in Gaza between Israel and the Strip’s Hamas rulers.

They also discussed how to “reduce tensions” between Israel and the Palestinians, Borrell writes on Twitter.

He adds: “Looking beyond, we also need longer term initiatives to break the dynamics of conflict and revive the prospect of a peaceful future for all.”


Over 5 hours since Gaza rocket fired at Israel amid ceasefire push

More than five hours have passed since Palestinian terrorists in the Gaza Strip have fired rocket at Israel from the enclave, as international mediators attempt to broker a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel.

The most recent attack occurred at 6:15 a.m., when projectiles were fired toward the community of Ein Hashlosha near the Gaza border in the Eshkol region of southern Israel.

Israel, meanwhile, has not yet stopped conducting airstrikes, according to Palestinian media reports.

Egyptian intel delegation may visit Israel on Tuesday — report

A delegation of Egyptian intelligence official may visit Israel today, according to the Saudi-owned broadcaster Al Arabiya, amid international efforts to halt the ongoing fighting between the Israeli military and the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group.

Convoy of Arab Israelis filmed waving Hamas flags on highway

The Kan public broadcaster publishes video from Route 444 in central Israel in which Arab Israelis are seen waving Hamas flags as they drive in a convoy of vehicles whose license plates have been concealed.


Warning sirens heard in south after no Gaza rockets fired for over 5 hours

Rocket warning sirens are heard in a number of southern Israeli communities, after no projectiles were fired by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza for over five hours.

IDF hits Hamas anti-tank missile cell in southern Gaza

The Israel Defense Forces says it just struck a cell of Hamas operatives in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis who were involved in firing anti-tank missiles.

The military says the strike prevented anti-tank missile fire at Israel.

Rocket sirens sound in pair of Gaza border communities

Rocket warning sirens are heard in two southern Israeli communities near the Gaza Strip.

Rocket warning alert heard in Ashkelon

Rocket sirens are now also heard in the southern coastal city of Ashkelon.

IDF: Houses of 12 Hamas commanders in Gaza hit over past day

The Israel Defense Forces says it has struck the homes of 12 Hamas commanders in Gaza over the past day, including three this morning.

It says the three this morning were on the home of “the deputy commander for the northern brigade in Gaza City,” the home of a “company commander” in Khan Younis and the home of another “company commander.”

The commanders used their homes as command and operations centers, according to the IDF.

Military liaison says still no decision on Gaza crossing as UN hails reopening

The United Nations on Tuesday hails what it says is an Israeli decision to open the Kerem Shalom crossing to allow aid into Gaza, and urges the opening of a second location to let in humanitarian workers.

“We very much welcome the Israeli authorities’ opening of Kerem Shalom crossing for essential humanitarian supplies,” Jens Laerke, a spokesman for the UN humanitarian agency OCHA, tells reporters in Geneva, saying the Erez crossing should also be opened.

However, Israel’s military liaison to the Palestinians, known as the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, says no decision has been made on the matter. A Gaza-body that coordinates with Israel on the crossings says it has already been informed it will open.

Fresh rocket alarms in several Israeli communities near Gaza

Fresh sirens sound in Israeli communities east of Gaza: Nahal Oz, Kfar Aza, Nirim and Ein Hashlosha.

Rocket sirens sound in kibbutz next to Gaza crossing as it reportedly reopens

Incoming rocket sirens sound in Kibbutz Kerem Shalom, adjacent to the main commercial crossing into the Gaza Strip, which reportedly reopened a short while ago to allow humanitarian aid into the enclave.

Israel closed the crossing last Monday night, after the Hamas terror group fired a number of rockets at Jerusalem and launched additional barrages at cities and towns throughout southern and central Israel.

IDF says it hit 9 rocket launch pads in Gaza

The Israel Defense Forces says it has struck nine rocket launch pads — including some underground — at sites throughout Gaza since 8 a.m.

European FMs convene to mull ways to end Gaza fighting

BRUSSELS — European Union foreign ministers are meeting to discuss how to use the 27-nation bloc’s political clout to help diplomatic efforts to end the fighting in Gaza between the Israel Defense Forces and Palestinian terrorists.

The EU has been united in its calls for a ceasefire and the need for a political solution to end the latest conflict — now in its second week — but the nations are divided over how best to help. No firm decisions involving threats of sanctions or other measures are likely from the ministers’ videoconference.

European Commission spokesman Peter Stano says today’s meeting is aimed at working out “how best the EU can contribute to defusing the tensions, stop the escalation and stop the ongoing violence.”

Residents of Gaza border municipality told to stay in bomb shelters amid rocket fire

The Eshkol Regional Council instructs residents of communities within four kilometers of the Gaza border to remain in bomb shelters as Palestinian terrorists fire projectiles at the area.

IDF strikes Islamic Jihad operatives preparing to fire rocket from Gaza

The Israel Defense Forces says it just bombed a group of Palestinian Islamic Jihad operatives preparing to launch a rocket toward Israel.

The IDF says the strike occurred in central Gaza.

Earlier IDF strikes targeted Hamas rocket-launching squads.

More rocket sirens in Ashkelon, nearby communities

Fresh rocket sirens sound in the industrial park south of the city of Ashkelon and in the nearby communities of Netiv Ha’asara and Zikim.

Sirens are also heard in Kibbutz Kerem Shalom.

There are no immediate reports of injuries.

Israeli reported injured in bombardment of Erez crossing into Gaza

The Hamas terror group says it launched a recent barrage of mortar fire at Israeli soldiers stationed outside the Gaza Strip.

One person has been reported injured in the latest bombardment near the Erez Pedestrian Crossing between Israel and Gaza.

Leaders of France, Egypt and Jordan to hold talks on Gaza ceasefire

PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron, his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah el-Sissi and Jordan’s King Abdullah II will hold talks today aimed at seeking a ceasefire in the conflict between Israel and the Gaza-ruling terror group Hamas, the French presidency says.

Sissi is currently in Paris for summits on Africa while Abdullah will join by video conference, the Elysee says.

“The trilateral meeting aims above all to work for a rapid ceasefire and prevent the conflict from extending,” the presidency says.

Medics say Israeli hurt in mortar attack suffered light shrapnel wounds

Medics say the person injured in a mortar attack outside the Gaza Strip is a 19-year-old man, who sustained light shrapnel wounds to his legs.

He is fully conscious and being taken to Asheklon’s Barzilai Medical Center for further care, medics say.

Energy minister: Hamas apparently tried to fire torpedo at offshore gas platform

Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz tells Army Radio that Hamas appears to have tried to launch a torpedo at Israel’s Tamar natural gas field in the Mediterranean Sea as part of the Gaza-ruling terror group’s efforts to strike the offshore rigs.

Gas rigs in the Tamar field, off the coast of Israel, in June 2014. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

Rocket warning alerts heard in Gaza border communities

Further rocket warning sirens ring out in numerous communities near the Gaza Strip.

Rocket warning sirens spread to further southern communities

Palestinian terrorists in Gaza continue to fire projectiles at Israel, with rocket warning sirens spreading to southern communities further away from the Strip, such as the city of Kiryat Gat.

Gantz: Nothing in Gaza ‘immune,’ we have thousands more targets to strike

Defense Minister Benny Gantz says the military has no shortage of targets left to strike in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, as international calls grow to halt the fighting between the Islamist terror group and Israel.

“No person, area or neighborhood in Gaza is immune. We have thousands more attack targets that are only further accumulating. The IDF has many plans to continue striking Hamas and the fighting won’t stop until we bring about complete and long-term calm,” Gantz says while touring a navy base in the southern port city of Ashdod.

He adds: “The international community also needs to understand that it was the Hamas terror group that opened fire and that is continuing to fire indiscriminately toward civilian populations, and it bears responsibility and is paying the price.”

He also comments on the northern border, following the military’s downing of a drone of unclear origin this morning and after rocket fire from Lebanon.

“The IDF is deployed and ready on all the borders and will thwart any attempt by foreign elements to harm the citizens of Israel or its sovereignty,” Gantz says.

IDF: Soldier lightly hurt by Hamas mortar was helping transfer aid to Gaza

The Israel Defense Forces says the person injured in the mortar attack was an IDF soldier assisting in the transfer of humanitarian aid shipments into the Gaza Strip through the Erez Crossing.

The soldier sustained light injuries and has been taken to Ashkelon’s Barzilai Medical Center for further care, medics say.

Earlier today, Israel temporarily reopened both the Erez and Kerem Shalom crossings into Gaza, allowing many truckloads of fuel, medical equipment and animal feed into the enclave, according to Israel’s military liaison to the Palestinians.

While the crossings were opened, terrorists in the Strip launched a large mortar barrage across the border, including at Kerem Shalom and Erez.

10 people hurt, including 4 seriously, by mortar barrage from Gaza

At least 10 people are injured, four of them seriously, in the latest mortar barrage from the Gaza Strip at the Eshkol region of southern Israel, medics say.

Rocket warnings heard in numerous southern cities, including Beersheba

Rocket warning sirens are now heard in numerous southern cities, including Beersheba, Ashdod, Ashkelon and Ofakim.

Barn, residential buildings in border municipality damaged by Gaza projectiles

The Eshkol Regional Council says the volley of projectiles fired by Palestinian terrorists in nearby Gaza directly struck a barn, damaging it.

It also says a rocket landed near residential buildings in a community in the region and damaged them.

No one was injured.

The barrage included at least 50 projectiles fired toward Eshkol, according to the regional council.

Emergency service pronounces death of person wounded in Gaza mortar attack

One of the people hit in the latest mortar attack from Gaza has died of their wounds, medics from the United Hatzalah emergency medical service say.

2 foreign workers confirmed dead in mortar attack – medics

The Magen David Adom ambulance service confirms that a second person injured in the recent mortar fire on Israeli communities outside Gaza has died of his wounds.

Both of the men killed are foreign nationals in their 30s, medics say.

Another seven foreign workers were injured in the attack, including one person in serious condition and another who was moderately wounded. The other five sustained light injuries, according to MDA.

The seven were all taken to Beersheba’s Soroka Medical Center for treatment in ambulances and helicopters, the medics say.


Rocket sirens sound in Ashdod

Rocket warning sirens sound in the southern port city of Ashdod.

Rocket hits building under construction in Ashdod; no casualties

Footage shows a rocket directly hitting a building under construction in Ashdod.

Reports say there are no casualties.


IDF says it struck rocket launchers used in latest deadly barrage

The Israel Defense Forces says it bombed one of the rocket launchers used in the latest barrage on the city of Beersheba in northern Gaza.

“IDF fighter jets attacked a rocket launching post belonging to the Hamas terror group in the northern Gaza Strip from which a launch was conducted a short time ago at Beersheba,” the military says.

No casualties in rocket attack on Beersheba — medics

No Israelis were directly injured in the attack on Beersheba, medics say, as some of the rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system and the rest landed in open fields.

Some reports earlier said a rocket had hit a car.

More rocket alarms sound in, around Ashkelon

More rocket sirens blare in and around Ashkelon as the major barrage from Gaza at the south continues.

There are no immediate details on impacts or casualties.

Sa’ar said weighing going first as PM in power-sharing government with Netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and New Hope leader Gideon Sa'ar (R). (Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and New Hope leader Gideon Sa'ar (R). (Flash90)

Gideon Sa’ar, the head of the right-wing New Hope party, is weighing the option of signing a deal for a power-sharing government in which he goes first as prime minister, followed by Benjamin Netanyahu, the Haaretz daily reports.

The report says Sa’ar has softened his objection to any political cooperation with Netanyahu after Yamina leader Naftali Bennett last week backed down from efforts to form a government that would replace the incumbent premier.

The negotiations are said to be mediated by Religious Zionism chairman Bezalel Smotrich.

If confirmed, the development is a major shift for Sa’ar, who ran in the election on a staunchly anti-Netanyahu ticket.

New Hope sources deny the report, saying they’re “unaware” of any such offer by Smotrich.

Analyst: Hamas sees itself as having unified Gaza, West Bank, Jerusalem, Israeli Arabs as single entity opposing Israel

Arab affairs analyst Shimrit Meir (Channel 12 screenshot)
Arab affairs analyst Shimrit Meir (Channel 12 screenshot)

Amid the latest surge of Hamas barrages deep into southern Israel, Arab affairs analyst Shimrit Meir tells Channel 12 that, for all the talk of Israel staving off pressure for a ceasefire and the assertions that Hamas wants one, “Hamas is seeking still greater achievements.”

She notes that Hamas is still issuing “demands regarding Jerusalem as part of the parameters of a ceasefire — including regarding Sheikh Jarrah — and demanding  prisoner releases, and so on.” Hamas’s “state of mind is still for a lengthy battle.”

Meir, a former Army Radio Arab affairs correspondent, notes that Hamas feels it is achieving further successes today not only in its ongoing, deadly rocket barrages, but in the “day of rage” it has provoked in the West Bank, and the general strike in the Arab sector in Israel. Hamas sees this combination as “unifying ‘Palestine from the river to the sea’ in a collective protest [against Israel’s presence].”

“This is an important moment, from a narrative and propaganda point of view, for Hamas. It sees itself as the trigger that has unified the ‘Palestinians of 1948’ — Palestinian citizens of Israel — together with Gaza, the West Bank, and Jerusalem into a single entity, protesting as one, acting as one.”

Police arrest 8 at Damascus Gate over attacks on officers

Unrest is developing in Jerusalem, with Channel 12 news reporting many Palestinians gathering and rioting at Damascus Gate.

Police say they have arrested eight suspects who assaulted officers with rocks and fireworks.

Council head: 2 men killed by rocket worked in area without proper protection

The foreign nationals who were killed and injured in a Hamas mortar attack from the Gaza Strip were working in an area without proper fortifications, local government officials say.

The head of the Eshkol Regional Council of southern Israel, where the attack took place, says a packaging facility was directly struck by the projectile.

“The impact was within a community without protection, which was not included in the fortification policy and this is the terrible result we had today,” says Gadi Yarkoni, referring to a requirement for all communities within a close distance of the Gaza border to have proper protection on all buildings.

However, under the military’s current restrictions, businesses operating in the Eshkol area are regardless only allowed to be open if they have ready access to a bomb shelter.

Asked why these workers apparently did not have access to such fortifications or know to enter them as air raid sirens blared throughout the region, an Eshkol spokesperson says they did have access to a portable domed bomb shelter but that the matter is being looked into.

“They had a ‘bell’ shelter. I don’t yet know why they didn’t go into it,” she says.

Magen David Adom: 12 killed in Israel in rocket attacks, 312 injured

The Magen David Adom ambulance service says it has treated a total of 324 people nationwide due to rocket attacks since the current round of fighting began last week.

There were 10 people who were killed from direct hits or shrapnel wounds and two who died of injuries sustained during a rush to a bomb shelter.

MDA says 114 people were injured by shrapnel or rocket or glass shards, including 7 seriously wounded and 12 moderately. The rest suffered mild injuries.

Another 198 people were hurt while rushing to a shelter when sirens sounded, including 1 in serious condition and 5 in moderate condition.

In addition, 226 people were treated after suffering acute anxiety attacks.

MDA adds that in the widespread ethnic unrest in many mixed Jewish-Arab cities, its medics have treated 194 people, including one who was critically injured and later died from the wounds, 10 who were seriously injured and 29 moderately injured.

Rocket sirens blare in Beersheba, Dimona, Ofakim

Fresh rocket alarms sound in Beersheba, Dimona — home to Israel’s main nuclear reactor — and Ofakim as well as other northern Negev communities.

There are no immediate reports of impacts or casualties.

Blinken says Israel shared intel with US about Gaza media building strike

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says Israel has given the United States information about its bombing of a Gaza building housing The Associated Press, Al-Jazeera and other media outlets.

Israel has claimed that Hamas had a military intelligence office in the Gaza building which it leveled in a weekend airstrike. It has not publicly provided evidence. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said Israel will share any evidence of Hamas’s presence in the targeted building through intelligence channels.

Blinken says from Iceland that “we have received some further information through intelligence channels.” He declines to characterize the material, saying “that’s not something I can comment on.”

Netanyahu says Israel will escalate response to rockets in a few days — reports

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly met local leaders in Gaza-adjacent communities and told them the military operation will continue for several more days, after which Israel will start escalating its response to each rocket.

“The operation will go on for several more days; [rocket] fire after that will draw very severe responses,” Netanyahu says, according to several Hebrew media outlets.

Palestinian rioters shoot at IDF soldiers near Ramallah

The widescale unrest is continuing also in the West Bank, where footage published by Palestinian media shows Palestinian rioters firing shots toward Israeli soldiers near Ramallah.

The Kan public broadcaster says the scene is from the entrance to the city. There are no reports of injuries.


Egypt pledges $500 million to rebuild Gaza, sends medical aid

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi speaks during a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron, not seen at the Elysee palace, in Paris, December 7, 2020. (Michel Euler/AP)
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi speaks during a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron, not seen at the Elysee palace, in Paris, December 7, 2020. (Michel Euler/AP)

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has pledged $500 million to help reconstruction efforts in Gaza, his office says, after a week of Israeli airstrikes on the Palestinian enclave in response to almost nonstop rocket attacks by terrorists against Israel.

“Egypt will provide $500 million… for the reconstruction process in the Gaza Strip as a result of recent events, with expert Egyptian construction companies implementing the rebuilding,” the presidency says in a statement.

Cairo has sought to mediate a ceasefire between the Hamas terror group and Israel since the deadly violence erupted on May 10.

Sissi is holding talks in Paris with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron and Jordan’s King Abdullah II aimed at seeking a rapid truce to the lethal conflict.

Egypt also sent 65 tons of medical aid to neighboring Gaza, its health ministry says.

Initial reports say 2 IDF soldiers injured in West Bank shooting

The Israel Defense Forces reports a shooting attack in the area of the West Bank settlement of Beit El, without immediately providing more details.

According to initial Palestinian reports, “armed clashes” have been taking place near Beit El and the northern entrance to Ramallah.

At least two Israeli soldiers have been wounded, according to reports.

Palestinians have declared a general strike in the West Bank, with large crowds amassing in Ramallah, Nablus, Hebron and elsewhere.

So far, 7 Palestinians have been shot by Israeli live fire, according to the Palestinian Authority Health Ministry.

Hundreds of Palestinians riot in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah

After being forced away from the Old City’s Damascus Gate by police forces, hundreds of Palestinians have begun rioting in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.

As the rioters reportedly throw stun grenades, police forces have arrived with horses and water cannons to try to control the unrest.

2 soldiers shot in legs, injured during violent riot near Ramallah

Two IDF soldiers, a man and a woman, have been injured in the shooting near the West Bank settlement of Beit El following a violent riot by hundreds of Palestinians at the entrance to the nearby city of Ramallah, according to Hebrew media.

One of those injured is in moderate condition, and the other has mild injuries, the reports say. They were shot in their legs.

President Rivlin undergoes medical checks after ‘unusual’ back pain

President Reuven Rivlin announces he is tasking Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid with forming a new government, during a speech at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, May 5, 2021. (Haim Zach/GPO)
President Reuven Rivlin announces he is tasking Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid with forming a new government, during a speech at the President's Residence in Jerusalem, May 5, 2021. (Haim Zach/GPO)

President Reuven Rivlin has undergone medical examinations at Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus due to “unusual” back pain he has experienced in recent days, his office says.

Rivlin will receive medicine and will undergo further medical checkups.

11 Gazan minors killed in strikes said to be part of program dealing with trauma

The Norwegian Refugee Council says in a statement that 11 Gazan minors killed in the fighting with Israel over the past week were enrolled in its psycho-social program helping them deal with trauma.

The organization publishes a list of their names and ages, spanning from 5 to 15.


Palestinian said killed amid major riots in 25 hotspots across West Bank

Riots and protests are ongoing at 25 loci of friction throughout the West Bank, according to Channel 12 news.

There have been numerous reports of gunfire directed at Israeli soldiers during the riots, the network says.

At least one Palestinian has been killed near Ramallah, the report says, with unconfirmed accounts of another fatality.

Merkel, Jordan’s Abdullah call for ‘swift’ Gaza ceasefire

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Jordan’s King Abdullah II have urged a “swift” ceasefire in the conflict between Israel and Palestinian terror group Hamas in a video call, her spokesman says.

“They agreed that initiatives for a swift ceasefire should be supported to create the conditions for the resumption of political negotiations,” the spokesman, Steffen Seibert, says in a statement.

Gantz thanks US counterpart for support for Israel, condolences to victims’ families

Defense Minister Benny Gantz, left, fist-bumps US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at the Nevatim Air Base in southern Israel on April 12, 2021. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)
Defense Minister Benny Gantz, left, fist-bumps US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at the Nevatim Air Base in southern Israel on April 12, 2021. (Ariel Hermoni/Defense Ministry)

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has spoken with Defense Minister Benny Gantz on the phone, the Defense Ministry says.

Gantz “expressed his appreciation… for the American administration’s support of Israel’s right to self-defense and thanked him for the condolences conveyed to Israeli families who have lost loved ones to Hamas’ rocket fire,” the statement says.

Gantz also “detailed the significant military objectives that have been achieved over the past few days” and adds the operation will continue with the aim of achieving “long-term quiet.”

“Israel will continue to act responsibly, both in terms of its security and foreign policy,” Gantz tells Austin.

Israel said to hand US proof of Hamas activity in targeted Gaza media building

Defense officials say that before Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s phone call with US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, senior officials in Israel’s defense establishment handed Pentagon officials classified intelligence pointing to Hamas military operations conducted from the Gaza high-rise that also housed major media outlets.

The information on terror activity inside the building comes amid demands by the Associated Press, Al-Jazeera and countries to investigate Israel’s flattening of the building.

Rocket alarms sound in Ashkelon

Rocket sirens blare in Ashkelon and nearby communities as massive barrages at southern Israel continue.

There are no immediate reports of impacts or injuries.

Palestinian killed, dozens wounded in West Bank protest — PA Health Ministry

The Palestinian Authority Health Ministry says a Palestinian protester has been killed and dozens more wounded when gunshots rang out at a large demonstration in the West Bank.

The Israeli military says protesters opened fire at troops at the demonstration. It says two soldiers were shot in the leg and had to be hospitalized. Palestinian protesters often clash with Israeli troops in the West Bank but the demonstrators are rarely armed.

The Health Ministry identifies the deceased as 25-year-old Muhammad Hamid. It says 46 others were wounded, including 16 with bullet wounds. It says four of them are in serious condition.

Hundreds of protesters gathered on the outskirts of Ramallah, where the Palestinian Authority is headquartered, to protest against Israel’s actions in Gaza and Jerusalem. They burned tires and hurled stones at the Israeli troops, who fired tear gas at them.

A general strike is being observed by Palestinians in Israel and the West Bank.

Home directly hit in Hof Ashkelon; no injuries

A projectile launched by terrorists in the Gaza Strip has directly hit a house in the Hof Ashkelon region.

The rocket caused significant damage but no injuries since the family wasn’t home.


Other projectiles have been intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system or landed in open areas.

Amid heavy barrages, the Eshkol Regional Council has told residents not to leave their bomb shelters.

IDF says it bombed 120 Gaza terror targets in 24 hours

The Israel Defense Forces says it has bombed 120 targets in the Gaza Strip over the past 24 hours, including 10 rocket launchers.

According to IDF Spokesperson Hidai Zilberman, many of the strikes were conducted in the affluent Rimal neighborhood of Gaza City, home to many Hamas leaders.

Zilberman says the IDF has an “intensive night ahead of us,” as it prepares to strike “new locations” and to continue targeting Hamas’s sprawling underground tunnel network, which Israel refers to as “the metro.” IDF jets have bombed various parts of this subterranean passage complex every night for the past four nights, destroying more than 120 kilometers (75 miles) of tunnels.

IDF: Rocket sirens in Dimona, near nuclear plant, were false alarm

The Israel Defense Forces says the sirens triggered earlier today in the town of Dimona, home to Israel’s main nuclear reactor, were a false alarm.

Netanyahu says Israel set Hamas ‘years’ back, enemies will ‘draw the conclusion’; rocket alarms sound

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the Israel Air Force base at Hatzerim, May 18, 2021. With him are Air Force chief Amikam Norkim (left) and deputy IDF chief of staff Eyal Zamir
(Kobi Gideon / GPO)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the Israel Air Force base at Hatzerim, May 18, 2021. With him are Air Force chief Amikam Norkim (left) and deputy IDF chief of staff Eyal Zamir (Kobi Gideon / GPO)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the Hatzerim airbase near Beersheba and says Hamas has “received blows it didn’t expect” and Israel has set back the terror group by “years.”

Rocket alarms sounded in the base during Netanyahu’s visit.

“Our enemies see what price we exact for aggression against us, I’m sure they’ll draw the conclusion,” Netanyahu says, adding that the operation will go on “as long as needed to restore calm for the citizens of Israel.”

Soldier dies in military prison; suicide suspected

A soldier in a military prison was found in serious condition in his cell and later pronounced dead in a suspected suicide, the Israel Defense Forces says.

The soldier was incarcerated in the military’s newly opened Neve Tzedek prison complex in central Israel.

As the base is run by the IDF Military Police, the military’s internal affairs investigatory unit has launched a probe into the circumstances of the soldier’s death. Though suicide is suspected, no official cause of death has been designated.

Lebanese, Palestinians protest along northern border for 5th straight day

Scores of Palestinians and Lebanese protesting along the border with Israel have thrown rocks and climbed the cement wall snaking around the frontier, and drawn tear gas from Israeli forces.

Lebanon’s National News Agency says five people were injured and others suffered from smoke inhalation. A number of protesters in the Lebanese border village of Adaisseh climbed the wall to plant Lebanese flags and the yellow flags of the Hezbollah terror group.

It is the fifth straight day of protests along the border as support for the Palestinians swells against an Israeli military campaign in the Gaza Strip in response to rocket fire by the Hamas terror group toward Israeli cities.

Hundreds of protesters have also marched in Lebanon’s capital today in support of Gaza. The march went from Beirut’s refugee camp of Mar Elias toward the city center.

Yesterday, rockets fired from Lebanon fell inside Lebanese territory.

Last week, the Israeli army shot and killed one protester along the border. Hezbollah later identified the person killed as one of its fighters.

IDF declares ‘special situation’ in some West Bank settlements due to rocket fire threat

The Israel Defense Forces declares a “special situation” in several West Bank settlements following a security assessment.

The military says the declaration is due to the threat of rocket fire from Gaza, not the unrest in the West Bank.

The settlements where emergency rules will go into effect are Oranit, Alfei Menashe, Elkana, Etz Efraim, Tzofim, Karnei Shomron and Sha’arei Tikva.

Rocket alarms blare in Gaza-adjacent communities after hour-long lull

Fresh air raid sirens sound in the town of Sderot and surrounding communities after a nearly hour-long lull in rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

Right-wingers cut ties with cellphone provider Cellcom after it backed Arab strike

Several settler leaders and right-wing organizations have cut ties with major cellular phone provider Cellcom after it briefly ceased its operations earlier today in solidarity with a strike being observed by Palestinians and Arab Israelis to protest the military strikes on Gaza and ongoing unrest.

The leaders of the Gush Etzion and Binyamin regional councils say they will boycott Cellcom after it stopped its operations for an hour, saying it was in support of Jewish-Arab coexistence and solidarity.

The Bnei Akiva religious youth group also sends a letter to Cellcom saying “we will have to halt our years-long partnership.”

Religious Zionism party chief Bezalel Smotrich urged the public to “break away” from Cellcom since the company has “broken away from Israel.”

Cellcom has conceded their timing was not optimal.

Israel strikes homes of 3 Hamas commanders

The IDF says it has launched strikes on three apartments from which Hamas commanders have directed rocket attacks against Israel.

The military says the homes belong to the commanders of three regiments of the terror group.

Another airstrike has targeted a storage site where equipment and machines for manufacturing Hamas weapons were kept.

EU top diplomat urges Israel-Palestinian ceasefire

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell calls for the implementation of a ceasefire to stop fighting between Israel and the Palestinians.

“The priority is the immediate cessation of all violence and the implementation of a ceasefire,” Borrell says after a video conference of EU foreign ministers, adding the statement is backed by all the bloc’s member states except Hungary.

US Foreign Affairs Committee head won’t urge White House delay to Israel arms deal

US Rep. Gregory Meeks speaks during a news conference outside the USPS Jamaica station, August 18, 2020, in the Queens borough of New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
US Rep. Gregory Meeks speaks during a news conference outside the USPS Jamaica station, August 18, 2020, in the Queens borough of New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

US House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer tells reporters that Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Gregory Meeks will not be sending the White House a letter asking to delay a $735 million sale of precision-guided missiles to Israel.

“Chairman Meeks has indicated that he’s going to [instead] pursue discussions with the administration on this,” Hoyer says.

The comments come a day after Meeks told Democrats on his panel that he was considering the somewhat unprecedented measure of slowing a White House arms sale to Israel amid criticism from more progressive members on the committee who opposed the timing of the transfer in the middle of the ongoing Gaza escalation, a House staffer told The Times of Israel.

Those pushing back thought, at the very least, that the funds should be used as leverage to pressure Israel into agreeing to a ceasefire with Hamas as the death toll continues to mount.

The Washington Post on Sunday broke the story regarding the weapons sale, about which the White House notified Congress on May 5 — five days before the Gaza escalation began. According to the staffer, several members of Meeks’s committee had not been aware of the notification before the Washington Post report. Congress has 15 days to raise objections to such sales once they’ve been notified.

Another congressional aide says that given that the procedures involved in delaying a purchase, the committee likely would not have been able to do so even if they wanted to, given that only two days remain before the deadline.

Hamas releases video boasting of rocket attack that killed 2 Thai workers

The Hamas terror group releases a video in which it boasts of its rocket attack toward southern Israel today.

The terror group takes pride in a barrage of Q20 rockets toward the town of Ohad, which resulted in the death of two Thai workers, and the injury of eight others.

Hungarian FM slams EU’s ‘one-sided’ statements against Israel

Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto in his office in Budapest, Hungary, June 14, 2019. (Attila Kovacs/MTI via AP)
Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto in his office in Budapest, Hungary, June 14, 2019. (Attila Kovacs/MTI via AP)

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto slams the EU’s “one-sided” statements on Israel as his European counterparts call for a ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians.

“I have a general problem with these European statements on Israel… These are usually very much one-sided, and these statements do not help, especially not under current circumstances, when the tension is so high,” Szijjarto tells AFP in an interview.

Hamas official says it sought ceasefire, Israel first demanded rocket halt for 2-3 hours

Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk, September 18, 2014. (AP/Khalil Hamra)
Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk, September 18, 2014. (AP/Khalil Hamra)

Senior Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk tells The New York Times that the Palestinian terror group has been seeking a ceasefire in Gaza.

However, he says, “Israel demanded that Hamas unilaterally hold its fire first for 2-3 hours before Israel decides if it will do the same.”

Abu Marzouk says Hamas will agree to a ceasefire that is “simultaneous and mutual.”

Israel denies the report, saying there have been no negotiations.

IDF said pushing for assassination of Muhammad Deif, other Hamas commanders

Hamas military wing commander Muhammad Deif (courtesy)
Hamas military wing commander Muhammad Deif (courtesy)

The Israel’s military is pushing to kill the highest-ranking members of terror group Hamas, including Muhammad Deif, the chief of staff of its military wing, Channel 12 news reports.

According to the report — which says it has been approved by the military censor — IDF officials have told the government that the current situation presents an opportunity to assassinate Deif or other top Hamas officials.

2nd Palestinian dies after West Bank clash with IDF forces

A second Palestinian has died from Israeli live fire in Ramallah’s main public hospital, the Palestinian Authority health ministry reports.

The Palestinian, who has yet to be publicly named, was killed by a bullet wound in his upper chest, according to the ministry. He was apparently shot when armed Palestinians clashed with Israeli soldiers near Beit El earlier today.

Palestinians report 3rd death in West Bank clashes

A third Palestinian has died of their wounds after being shot by live Israeli fire during clashes with Israeli soldiers in Bil’in, near Ramallah, the Palestinian Authority health ministry reports.

According to Palestinian media, Islam Fahmi, a Palestinian teenager from Bil’in, was shot in the head. He arrived at Ramallah’s main public hospital in critical condition before being pronounced dead.

The Israel Defense Forces does not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Rockets fired at Gaza-adjacent communities, Ashdod; no casualties

Several rounds of rocket sirens blare in Ashdod and Gaza-adjacent communities.

No casualties or damage is reported, as some projectiles are intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system.

Rocket sirens heard in Ashkelon

Fresh rocket alarms are heard in Ashkelon, as Gaza terrorists continue their barrages at Israeli cities.

There are no immediate reports of impacts or casualties.

IDF says it struck Hamas cell launching mortars from Gaza school

The Israel Defense Forces says it has launched a strike on a Hamas terror cell firing mortars at Israel from inside a school in Gaza.

The incident “proves again how the Hamas terror group purposefully places its military assets in the heart of the civilian population.”

Police chief vows action against ‘terrorists from both sides,’ drawing right-wing fury

Israeli Police Chief Kobi Shabtai on January 8, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Israeli Police Chief Kobi Shabtai on January 8, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai meets the mayors of the mixed Jewish-Arab cities of Lod and Ramle, which have seen major unrest that has somewhat subsided in recent day, and says “we will bring terrorists from both sides to justice.”

That remark immediately draws outrage from right-wing politicians and pundits.

Shabtai adds that police will offer that the government adopt “a police model for the mixed cities that will include technological means for safer cities.”

Some Jewish residents of Lod say they turned down an invitation to meet Shabtai to protest the long-running police inaction that preceded last week’s riots and violence by Arab mobs, which have resulted in one death and in Jewish revenge attacks.

Report: Egypt offers truce from Thursday; Hamas agrees, no comment from Israel

Egypt has proposed an Israel-Hamas ceasefire through private channels that would enter effect on Thursday at 6 a.m., Channel 12 news reports.

The report cites Palestinian sources saying Hamas has agreed to the offer, while there has been no response from Israel.

IDF official says Gaza operation a ‘success’ if it yields calm for 5 years

File: Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva, head of the IDF's Operations Directorate, in an undated photograph. (Israel Defense Forces)
File: Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva, head of the IDF's Operations Directorate, in an undated photograph. (Israel Defense Forces)

The head of the IDF Operations Directorate says that if the current round of fighting yields five years of calm, he will consider this campaign to have been a success.

“If you force me into a corner and ask me what is reasonable to consider a success, I would say at least five years and even more than that,” Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva tells the Kan broadcaster.

In a candid on-air interview, Haliva acknowledges that the military did not fully anticipate Hamas’s decision to fire rockets at Jerusalem last week, believing that the Gaza-ruling terror group would have preferred to maintain quiet ahead of the approaching Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr in order to allow residents of the Strip to celebrate in peace.

Yet Haliva says that while Hamas initiated the current round of violence, the IDF responded far more forcefully than the terror group expected.

IDF has twice tried to kill head of Hamas military wing in current fighting

The Israel Defense Forces attempted to kill the head of Hamas’s military wing, Muhammad Deif, at least twice during the current round of violence, but both times he escaped unscathed, IDF Military Intelligence believes.

This information has only now been allowed to be published.

Throughout the IDF’s ongoing campaign in the Gaza Strip against Hamas, the military has said that one of its primary goals is killing top leaders of the terror group, who have largely gone into hiding to avoid IDF strikes.

Deif has been on Israel’s most-wanted list for over 25 years for his involvement in the planning and execution of large numbers of terror attacks. The Israeli military considers Deif to be a skilled field commander.

Before Israel’s two failed attempts this month, Israeli security services have tried to kill Deif at least five times over the years. The first such attempt took place in 2001, a second in 2002, costing him his eye, and a third a year later. Another strike was conducted in 2006 in which he was seriously injured, losing the use of his legs and one arm.

In 2014, during that year’s Gaza war, Israel again attempted to kill Deif, but narrowly missed him, killing instead his wife, infant son and 3-year-old daughter. Though Israel initially believed that Deif too had been killed in the strike, he was later determined to have indeed survived.

Amid unrest, Israel competes in scaled-down Eurovision Song Contest

In a story that would likely draw focus if not for the pandemic and the major fighting in Gaza, Israel and the West Bank over the past week, Israel is currently competing in the first semifinal of the Eurovision Song Contest which was delayed from last year.

Israeli representative Eden Alene will sing the song “Set Me Free,” which according to most betting sites is expected to fail to make it to Saturday’s final.

With international fans largely barred from attending the event in Rotterdam, Netherlands, the show is already significantly scaled down from normal and is far from the normal festive atmosphere.

With or without a connection to the Gaza fighting, pro-Palestinian activists are staging a demonstration outside the venue.

IDF says it struck 6 Hamas posts used to launch rockets

The IDF says it has targeted six rocket launchers in the past few hours.

It says Air Force jets bombed the Hamas posts throughout Gaza that were used to launch projectiles at Israeli cities.

Minister pans police chief’s ‘outrageous’ remark about ‘terrorists from both sides’

Minister of Public Security Amir Ohana at the annual Jerusalem Conference of the 'Besheva' group in Jerusalem, on March 15, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Minister of Public Security Amir Ohana at the annual Jerusalem Conference of the 'Besheva' group in Jerusalem, on March 15, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Public Security Minister Amir Ohana (Likud) slams Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai for vowing to prosecute “terrorists from both sides” in the recent Jewish-Arab riots in mixed cities.

In a tweet, Ohana says it is an “outrageous remark by the commissioner that shouldn’t have been made.”

“To deal with the problem, one must acknowledge it: Arab rioters attacked Jews, police officers, synagogues,” he says. “The policy is to deal aggressively with the terrorist rioters. There is no moral equivalence and there never was.

“Yes, the few who attacked Arabs will also be dealt with severely. But it’s a long way from that to saying ‘both sides.'”

Israel conducts dozens of airstrikes in Gaza — reports

Israeli jets have launched dozens of successive airstrikes in the Gaza Strip in the last 30 minutes, Gazan media reports.

The strikes were concentrated in the eastern parts of Khan Younis, the reports say.

4th Security Council session on Gaza violence ends with no result

The UN Security Council chambers in New York. (Norway Mission to the UN/Twitter)
The UN Security Council chambers in New York. (Norway Mission to the UN/Twitter)

The UN Security Council emergency meeting earlier today on the situation in Gaza ended without any result, four diplomats involved in the meeting tell The Times of Israel.

The closed-door session was the fourth in nine days held by the top UN body and came a day after the US blocked a joint statement by calling for a ceasefire for the third consecutive time.

While the Norwegian, Chinese and Tunisian missions that called the meeting did so to increase international pressure for a ceasefire, two Security Council diplomats say they weren’t sure why a fourth consultation was held, given that the sides knew that the US position would not budge in the two days that passed since the last session.

During the closed meeting, US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield defended the Biden administration’s position against a joint statement from the Security Council, insisting that it would not help lower tensions on the ground.

“We have not been silent and neither have you,” Thomas-Greenfield told member states, according to a diplomat involved, confirming Reuters’ reporting.

Unlike previous meetings on the matter since the escalation started, the UN’s Special Envoy for the Middle East Peace Process Tor Wennesland wasn’t even available to brief member states on the situation on the ground as he was busy this morning. Instead, Under-Secretary-General Rosemary DiCarlo, who is currently in New York, briefed the council.

Norway’s mission has continued to call for the council to “speak with one voice” on the escalation in Gaza, but with the US insistent on pursuing its own avenues in order to bring about a ceasefire, the top UN body has been placed in a “wait and see mode” for the time being, one diplomat says.

On Thursday, the UN General Assembly will be meeting for the first time on the same topic and a majority of countries are expected to voice solidarity with the Palestinians, call for a ceasefire and criticize Israel. There is not yet an expectation that the meeting will include an effort to pass a resolution on the matter, diplomats said.

Israel-Hamas truce expected on Thursday, top Israeli official quoted as saying

Barring any unexpected developments, a ceasefire between Israel and Gazan terror groups will enter effect on Thursday, a senior Israel official has said, according to the Haaretz daily.

“There is no decisive result and there won’t be one,” the official is quoted as saying. “We are all tired.”

Various Hebrew media outlets are reporting — mostly without citing sources — that a ceasefire is indeed expected within 2-3 days since both sides have met their main stated goals in the current conflict.

However, a diplomatic source familiar with Egypt’s efforts to broker a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas tells The Times of Israel that talks are still ongoing and that no such agreement has been reached.

Channel 12 news has cited “foreign reports” — without detailing them — saying Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has informed Washington that he’s ready for a ceasefire starting Thursday.

A report earlier said Egypt has proposed a truce starting Thursday at 6 a.m., and that Hamas has agreed to the offer.

Biden said pressuring Netanyahu to end Gaza fighting within days

Left: US President Joe Biden speaks about Russia in the East Room of the White House, Thursday, April 15, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik); Right: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at a memorial ceremony for fallen soldiers at the Yad LeBanim House on the eve of Memorial Day, in Jerusalem, Tuesday, April 13, 2021. (Debbie Hill/Pool Photo via AP)
Left: US President Joe Biden speaks about Russia in the East Room of the White House, Thursday, April 15, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik); Right: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at a memorial ceremony for fallen soldiers at the Yad LeBanim House on the eve of Memorial Day, in Jerusalem, Tuesday, April 13, 2021. (Debbie Hill/Pool Photo via AP)

US President Joe Biden and administration officials have encouraged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other top Israeli officials to wind down the bombardment of Gaza, a person with knowledge of the discussions is quoted as saying by multiple US media outlets, as the Israeli and Palestinian death tolls mounts and pressure grows on Biden to move more forcefully to stop the fighting.

Top Biden administration officials have underscored to the Israelis yesterday and today that time is not on their side in terms of international objections to nine days of Israeli airstrikes and Hamas rockets, and that it is in their interest to wind down the operations soon, AP quotes the official as saying, adding that they are not authorized to comment publicly on the private talks and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The account shows Biden administration officials going further privately in messaging to Netanyahu than they have previously revealed. A White House readout of a Biden call to Netanyahu yesterday said Biden had expressed support for a ceasefire, but said nothing about the US urging Israel to bring fighting to a close.

Meanwhile, The New York Times — citing two people familiar with yesterday’s phone call between the two — similarly reports that Biden has warned Netanyahu that he won’t be able to hold off international pressure for much longer.

Rockets in Ashdod, Ashkelon, Shfela region

Rocket sirens blare in many Israeli communities, including Ashkelon, Ashdod, Gan Yavne and more in the Shfela region.

There are no immediate reports of injuries. Several rockets are intercepted and others land in open areas.

Hamas denies reports of imminent ceasefire

A senior Hamas official denies Israeli media reports of a pending ceasefire.

“It is not true what some enemy media reported that Hamas agreed to a ceasefire on Thursday. No agreement or specific timings for the ceasefire were reached,” Izzat al-Rishq, a member of Hamas’s leadership, says in a statement.

The efforts to coordinate a ceasefire — led by the United Nations, Egypt, Qatar and other countries — are ongoing, al-Rishq says.

“While emphasizing that the efforts and contacts of the mediators are serious and continuous, the demands of our people are clear and well-known,” al-Rishq says.

Biden jokes he’ll run over reporters who ask him about Israel

While test driving a new Ford electric truck during a visit to the company’s plant in Michigan, a reporter asks US President Joe Biden if she can ask a question about Israel.

“No you can’t. Not unless you get in front of the car as I step on it,” he responds, before smiling and adding: “I’m only teasing.”

US officials and their spokespeople have been bombarded with questions on the situation in Gaza since the start of escalation last week.


Israel qualifies for Eurovision finals

Israeli Eurovision contestant Eden Alene has made it into the singing contest’s finals.


 

Hamas says it was aiming at 6 IAF bases in last barrage

The Hamas terror group claims to have launched rockets at six Israeli Air Force bases in southern and central Israel during the last barrage.

“The bases that the Al Qassam Brigades targeted are Hatzor, Hatzerim, Nevatim, Tel Nof, Palmachim, and Ramon,” the terror group says.

There are no reports of injuries or damage in the latest bombardment.

Rocket sirens sound in central and southern Israel

Fresh rocket sirens sound in central and southern Israel, including in Ashdod and Rehovot.

No immediate reports of damage, injury in latest rocket barrage

There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage in the latest rocket bombardment on southern and central Israel, which triggered sirens in Ashdod, Yavne, Rehovot and the Palmachim Air Base.

Pogba, Diallo display Palestinian flag after Manchester United match

Paul Pogba and Manchester United teammate Amad Diallo hold up a Palestinian flag on the Old Trafford pitch after Tuesday’s 1-1 draw against Fulham.

United midfielder Pogba appeared to be given the flag by a fan as the players made their way around the pitch during the traditional lap of honor after their last home game of the Premier League season.

French World Cup winner Pogba and Ivorian winger Diallo, both Muslim, display the flag in support of the Palestinians, with around 10,000 fans watching on after coronavirus restrictions were lifted.


Rashida Tlaib confronted Biden on Michigan tarmac over Gaza

During his visit to a Ford plant in Dearborn, Michigan, Biden warmly addresses Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who sits in the audience, saying he will pray that her Palestinian grandmother and other family are well in the West Bank.

“I promise you I’m going to do everything to see that they are,” says Biden, who met Tlaib and fellow Michigan Democratic Rep. Debbie Dingell earlier at the Detroit airport where all three huddled in conversation on the tarmac for several minutes.

Tlaib confronted Biden on the tarmac and said he must do more for the Palestinians, amid the conflict between Israel and Gaza terror groups, according to The New York Times.

“It was a very compassionate, honest discussion,” says Dingell. “But the president doesn’t deal with these kinds of issues in public, and he doesn’t negotiate in public.”

President Joe Biden speaks with Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich, right, as he arrives at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport in Detroit, Tuesday, May 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

White House: Trump didn’t do ‘anything constructive’ to bring Mideast peace

The White House dismisses the Abraham Accords brokered by the Trump administration that saw the establishment of diplomatic ties between Israel and several Arab states.

“Aside from putting forward a peace proposal that was dead on arrival, we don’t think they did anything constructive, really, to bring an end to the long-standing conflict in the Middle East,” says Press Secretary Jen Psaki, when asked specifically about the normalization agreements.

It was not clear whether Psaki was referring to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in particular or broader Israel-Arab ties in the region, though she only referred to the former.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki holds a press briefing at the White House in Washington on April 12, 2021. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP)

US condemns Erdogan over ‘reprehensible’ antisemitic remarks

Washington denounces Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his “antisemitic” comments on the Jewish state.

“The United States strongly condemns President Erdogan’s recent antisemitic comments regarding the Jewish people and finds them reprehensible,” the State Department says.

“We urge President Erdogan and other Turkish leaders to refrain from incendiary remarks, which could incite further violence. We call on Turkey to join the United States in working to end the conflict.

“Antisemitic language has no place anywhere. The United States is deeply committed to combatting antisemitism in all of its forms. We take seriously the violence that often accompanies antisemitism and the dangerous lies that undergird it. We must always counter lies with facts and answer crimes of hate with justice,” it adds.

In this March 24, 2021, file photo, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gestures as he speaks during his ruling party’s congress inside a packed sports hall in Ankara, Turkey. (Turkish Presidency via AP, File)

Erdogan has accused Israel of “terrorism” against the Palestinians and recently said, “It is in their nature.”

“They are murderers, to the point that they kill children who are five or six years old. They only are satisfied by sucking their blood,” he said.

Erdogan on Monday said US President Joe Biden had “bloody hands” because of his support of Israel in the raging conflict in the Gaza Strip.

“Palestine territories are awash with persecution, suffering and blood, like many other territories that lost the peace with the end of the Ottomans. And you are supporting that,” Erdogan told Biden.

He also lashed out at Austria for flying the flag of Israel in a sign of solidarity with the Jewish state last week.

“I condemn Austria for hanging the Israeli terror state’s flag,” Erdogan said.

“The Austrian state seems to be trying to make Muslims pay the price for (its role) in the Holocaust.”

Saudi Arabia: Gaza conflict pushing region in ‘wrong direction’

The Israel-Gaza conflict is pushing the whole region “in the wrong direction,” Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan says, calling for an end to the fighting.

“This all pushes us absolutely in the wrong direction. It means that we are making a path toward a sustainable peace more difficult,” bin Farhan tells AFP, as the international community steps up its diplomatic efforts to push for de-escalation.

The conflict is “empowering the extremists,” he adds.

“It empowers the most intolerant voices in our region and makes (finding) a path to real peace harder,” he adds, speaking on the sideline of summits in France on Sudan and Africa.

“We have to all work together to encourage all the parties to engage (seriously), he says. “First of all, to de-escalate, to stop the violence and then to engage in serious peace talks toward a final settlement.”

That final settlement “must include a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital,” Saudi Arabia’s top diplomat stresses.

Pelosi urges ceasefire between Israel and Hamas

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urges a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza terror groups.

“Hamas exploited a volatile situation to initiate hostilities against Israel, launching more than 3,000 rockets, and as always, Israel has a right to defend herself,” Pelosi says in a statement, calling Israel “our friend and ally.”

“Now, after more than a week of hostilities, it has become even more apparent that a ceasefire is necessary,” she said. “There must be a serious effort on the part of both parties to end the violence and respect the rights of both the Israeli and Palestinian people.”

Speaker of the US House Nancy Pelosi during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 19, 2021. (Graeme Jennings/Pool via AP)

Rocket sirens triggered in Sderot, Gaza border communities

Rocket alert sirens are sounding in Sderot and Gaza border communities.

France circulating draft of Security Council resolution calling for ceasefire

The UN Security Council chambers in New York. (Norway Mission to the UN/Twitter)
The UN Security Council chambers in New York. (Norway Mission to the UN/Twitter)

NEW YORK — The French mission to the United Nations has circulated a draft resolution to members of the Security Council that calls for a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza terror groups, as countries on the top UN body continue their efforts to weigh in on the ongoing violence despite US objections.

French President Emmanuel Macron’s office publicly announced the matter following a trilateral meeting he held earlier today with Egyptian counterpart Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who is currently visiting Paris, and Jordan’s King Abdullah II, who joined via video conference.

French President Emanuel Macron (R) and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi attend a video conference with Jordan’s King Abdullah II (on screen) to work on a concrete proposal for a ceasefire and a possible path to discussions between Israel and the Palestinians at the Elysee Palace in Paris, on May 18, 2021. (SARAH MEYSSONNIER / POOL / AFP)

“The three countries agreed on three simple elements: The shooting must stop, the time has come for a ceasefire and the UN Security Council must take up the issue,” the Elysee Palace says in a statement.

In addition to demanding an immediate end to the violence, the core of the resolution’s text stresses the urgent need for humanitarian assistance to Gaza, a Security Council diplomat told The Times of Israel.

Axios reported that the French move surprised the US mission, which has three times in the past week blocked joint statements with similar messaging, insisting that such measures would not help advance a ceasefire and that it wanted time for its own efforts to play out.

A Security Council resolution carries more weight than a joint statement, and blocking one backed by every other member would require the US to issue a veto — something it likely wants to avoid as Biden has vowed to take a more multilateral approach to diplomacy and improve ties with longtime allies that were damaged by his predecessor Donald Trump.

While Biden “expressed his support for a ceasefire” during a phone call with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a source familiar with the matter said no deadline was demanded from the Israeli premier for when IDF operations in Gaza must conclude. However, the president did warn that he would not be able to hold off pressure from within his party and in the international community for an immediate ceasefire for much longer and urged Netanyahu to bring the fighting to a close.

The French resolution includes rhetoric and messaging similar to what has been heard from Biden on the matter in recent days in an effort to make it more difficult for the US to explain why it won’t back the measure, the Security Council diplomat said.

The original draft of the statement does not make mention of Hamas rocket fire but the diplomat said such amendments could be added by other members in the coming days.

“The strategy is to convince all parties, so the text should be very focused and acceptable to everyone,” the diplomat said, adding that a date for when the resolution will be brought before the Security Council has not yet been set. “We will try to move as soon as possible.”

“The issue is concerning for everyone, and members cannot be silent on the issue,” the diplomat said, noting that Biden himself has backed a ceasefire and that the US should therefore be comfortable getting behind the measure.

Israel has opposed such efforts, and its Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan on Sunday urged members to “unequivocally condemn Hamas,” rather than calling on both sides to exercise restraint. The Israeli mission asked the US to oppose the joint statements introduced over the past week.

Macron had on Monday underlined the importance of Egyptian mediation after talks in Paris with Sissi.

China’s UN ambassador Zhang Jun said that during a closed-door meeting, members “heard the proposal made by our French colleague in the Council and for China, definitely, we are supportive to all effort facilitating the ending of the crisis and the coming back of peace in the Middle East.”

AFP contributed to this report

‘My country has been through so much’: Eden Alene emotional after qualifying for Eurovision final

Eden Alene performing at the semifinal round of the 2021 Eurovision in Rotterdam, Netherlands (Courtesy screengrab)
Eden Alene performing at the semifinal round of the 2021 Eurovision in Rotterdam, Netherlands (Courtesy screengrab)

Asked by reporters how she feels after qualifying for the Eurovision final with her song “Set Me Free,” Israeli contestant Eden Alene gets emotional.

“I feel like I’m going to explode because of the excitement,” she says holding back tears.

“I’m so happy for my country because we deserve this. We’ve been through so much,” she says, in an apparent reference to the ongoing conflict with Gaza terror groups.

“I love my country, and I’ve been through so much. And I’m so happy!”


Palestinian envoy to UN calls on Biden to show results of his ceasefire efforts

Palestinian Ambassador to the United Nations Riyad Mansour address a UN Security Council meeting on the Palestinian and Israeli conflict at UN headquarters, March 26, 2019. (Bebeto Matthews/AP)
Palestinian Ambassador to the United Nations Riyad Mansour address a UN Security Council meeting on the Palestinian and Israeli conflict at UN headquarters, March 26, 2019. (Bebeto Matthews/AP)

The Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations is challenging the Biden administration to show results from its diplomatic efforts to achieve a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers, pointing to the US repeatedly blocking UN Security Council action on grounds it would interfere with its diplomatic efforts.

Riyad Mansour says “if the Biden administration can exert all of their pressure to bring an end to the aggression against our people, nobody is going to stand in their way.”

But he says the facts speak for themselves, and nobody has succeeded yet, so the US argument that a council statement would interfere with efforts to achieve a ceasefire “does not hold water.”

Mansour spoke at a press conference as the Security Council again met in closed consultations at the request of China, Norway and Tunisia who have been pressing for the UN’s most powerful body to respond to the Gaza conflict, now in its second week. But council diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity because the discussion was private, said the United States reiterated again that a statement would not help diplomatic efforts despite the 14 other members calling for council action.

Democratic senator urges Iranian envoy to pressure Hamas to agree to ceasefire

US Senator Christopher Murphy attends a talk at the third day of the 53rd Munich Security Conference (MSC) at the Bayerischer Hof hotel in Munich, southern Germany, on February 19, 2017.  (AFP PHOTO / Christof STACHE)
US Senator Christopher Murphy attends a talk at the third day of the 53rd Munich Security Conference (MSC) at the Bayerischer Hof hotel in Munich, southern Germany, on February 19, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / Christof STACHE)

Democratic Senator Chris Murphy met today with Iran’s UN Ambassador Majid Takht-Ravanchi in a rare sit-down between US and Iranian officials.

“I made the case directly to Iran’s Ambassador to the United Nations Majid Takht-Ravanchi today for the Iranians to engage with seriousness and urgency in nuclear negotiations, pressure the Houthis to end the war in Yemen, urge Hamas to accept a ceasefire and end rocket attacks into Israel, and release Morad Tahbaz from prison,” says Murphy in a statement.

After 3-hour lull, rocket sirens sound in Gaza border town

After a three-hour lull, rocket sirens have been set off in the Gaza border town of Ein HaShlosha.

show results of his ceasefire efforts
Palestinian Ambassador to the United Nations Riyad Mansour address a UN Security Council meeting on the Palestinian and Israeli conflict at UN headquarters, March 26, 2019. (Bebeto Matthews/AP)
Palestinian Ambassador to the United Nations Riyad Mansour address a UN Security Council meeting on the Palestinian and Israeli conflict at UN headquarters, March 26, 2019. (Bebeto Matthews/AP)

The Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations is challenging the Biden administration to show results from its diplomatic efforts to achieve a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers, pointing to the US repeatedly blocking UN Security Council action on grounds it would interfere with its diplomatic efforts.

Riyad Mansour says “if the Biden administration can exert all of their pressure to bring an end to the aggression against our people, nobody is going to stand in their way.”

But he says the facts speak for themselves, and nobody has succeeded yet, so the US argument that a council statement would interfere with efforts to achieve a ceasefire “does not hold water.”

Mansour spoke at a press conference as the Security Council again met in closed consultations at the request of China, Norway and Tunisia who have been pressing for the UN’s most powerful body to respond to the Gaza conflict, now in its second week. But council diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity because the discussion was private, said the United States reiterated again that a statement would not help diplomatic efforts despite the 14 other members calling for council action.

Democratic senator urges Iranian envoy to pressure Hamas to agree to ceasefire

US Senator Christopher Murphy attends a talk at the third day of the 53rd Munich Security Conference (MSC) at the Bayerischer Hof hotel in Munich, southern Germany, on February 19, 2017.  (AFP PHOTO / Christof STACHE)
US Senator Christopher Murphy attends a talk at the third day of the 53rd Munich Security Conference (MSC) at the Bayerischer Hof hotel in Munich, southern Germany, on February 19, 2017. (AFP PHOTO / Christof STACHE)

Democratic Senator Chris Murphy met today with Iran’s UN Ambassador Majid Takht-Ravanchi in a rare sit-down between US and Iranian officials.

“I made the case directly to Iran’s Ambassador to the United Nations Majid Takht-Ravanchi today for the Iranians to engage with seriousness and urgency in nuclear negotiations, pressure the Houthis to end the war in Yemen, urge Hamas to accept a ceasefire and end rocket attacks into Israel, and release Morad Tahbaz from prison,” says Murphy in a statement.

After 3-hour lull, rocket sirens sound in Gaza border town

After a three-hour lull, rocket sirens have been set off in the Gaza border town of Ein HaShlosha.

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