Israeli strikes on Gaza kill more Palestinians
Arab League says Israel had provoked an earlier escalation in violence by its actions in Jerusalem and atacks in Gaza were a ‘miserable show of force at the expense of children’s blood’; hospital fills up ater clashes
A confrontation between Israel and Palestinians sparked by weeks of tensions in contested occupied Jerusalem escalated on Tuesday as Israel unleashed new airstrikes on Gaza.
Since sundown on Monday, 28 Palestinians — including 10 children and a woman — were killed in Gaza, most by airstrikes, health officials there said. In a sign of widening unrest, hundreds of residents of Arab communities across Israel staged overnight demonstrations denouncing the recent actions of Israeli security forces against Palestinians. It was one of the largest protests by Palestinian citizens in Israel in recent years.
Two women were killed by rockets fired from Gaza that hit their homes in the southern city of Ashkelon — the first Israeli deaths in the current violence.
Ater those deaths, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said officials decided to “increase both the strength and rate of the strikes” against Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip.
Late on Tuesday, Israeli airstrikes have demolished a 12-storey building in Gaza City that housed the offices of top Hamas officials.
A gathering of representatives of Muslim nations has condemned Israel for the outbreak of violence in the Al Aqsa Mosque compound.
The emergency meeting of the 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) was held on Tuesday in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to present a unified response from the Muslim world to the soaring tensions between Israel and the Palestinians and the latest violent confrontations in Jerusalem.
In a communiqué, the meeting denounced Israel’s “continuous violations” of the sanctity of Al
Aqsa Mosque, “barbaric atacks” against worshippers and movement restrictions on Palestinians at the compound. It said that it considered the Israeli actions a “provocation of the feelings of Muslims around the world and serious violation of international law.”
It called on the international community to hold Israel liable for the escalation and to press it to halt atacks that threaten “the security and stability of the region.” It also reaffirmed the long-standing Arab stance of support for an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.
The head of the Arab League (AL) has blamed Israel for the escalation of violence in the Palestinian territories, warning that Israeli policies would blow up the situation in Jerusalem.
Ahmed Aboul Gheit, secretary-general of the 22-member organisation, spoke on Tuesday as Arab foreign ministers were meeting to discuss the latest bout of violence between the Palestinians and Israelis.
He decried what he called Israel’s provocative practices in the Al Aqsa Mosque compound and the planned eviction of Palestinian families from Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in east Jerusalem.
“What we have witnessed is, clearly and frankly, a provocation by the Israeli occupation, that targeted the holiest Islamic sanctities, at the most sacred time,” he said, referring to the Holy
Month of Ramadan. He urged the UN Security Council to take action.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has denounced Israel’s use of force against Palestinians.
Imran said that he had asked his foreign minister to contact his Turkish and Saudi counterparts to discuss how to collectively respond. Earlier, Pakistan’s foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi at a news conference urged the world community to take notice of Israel’s use of force against innocent Palestinians worshippers.
Dozens of Pakistanis have rallied in Karachi to condemn Israel’s use of force against the Palestinians.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Tuesday that escalating violence between Israel and the Palestinians must stop immediately.
“Israeli security forces must exercise maximum restraint and calibrate their use of force,” Guterres said in a statement. “The United Nations is working with all relevant parties to de-escalate the situation urgently,” Guterres said. US calls on Israel, Palestinians to end ‘deeply lamentable’ civilian deaths.
Egypt’s top diplomat says he has conveyed messages to Israel and other nations to help deescalate the outbreak of violence in Jerusalem and the Palestinian territories.
Arab and Muslim footballers have been expressing support for Palestinians in recent days, including on social media, amid clashes between Israeli security forces and protesters in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.
Dozens of Palestinians, including 10 kids, killed in air raids; Arab League, OIC, Pakistan PM slam Israeli actions in Jerusalem, Gaza; Israel-palestinian violence must stop, says UN chief; Arab, Muslim footballers express support for Palestinians.
The head of the Arab League condemned on Tuesday deadly Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip as “indiscriminate and irresponsible” and said Israel had provoked an earlier escalation in violence by its actions in Jerusalem.
The violence began with confrontations between Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces at Al Asqa Mosque in the heart of Jerusalem’s walled Old City on the compound known to Jews as Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary.
“Israeli violations in Jerusalem, and the government’s tolerance of extremists hostile to Palestinians and Arabs, is what led to the ignition of the situation in this dangerous way,” Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit said in a statement.
The atacks in Gaza were a “miserable show of force at the expense of children’s blood,” he said.
Aboul Gheit called on the international community to act immediately to stop the violence, saying continuing “Israeli provocations” were an affront to Muslims on the eve of the Eid holiday at the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
Arab League foreign ministers are holding a virtual meeting on Tuesday to discuss the situation in Jerusalem.
Violent clashes escalated sharply on Monday when Israel launched air strikes on Gaza ater Palestinian militant groups fired rockets close to Jerusalem.
Health officials in Gaza said at least 20 people, including nine children, were killed.
Amnesty International said Israel is using “abusive and wanton force against largely peaceful Palestinian protesters” in east Jerusalem clashes that have wounded hundreds of demonstrators and dozens of police.
Israel on Tuesday firmly defended the conduct of its officers, insisting they have responded to violent Palestinian rioters with appropriate measures.
But the London-based human rights group described some of those measures as “disproportionate and unlawful,” accusing security forces of “unprovoked atacks on peaceful demonstrators.”
Amnesty’s statement came amid surging tension in Israeli-annexed Jerusalem, much of it concentrated at the flashpoint Al Aqsa mosque compound, Islam’s third holiest site.
At Al Aqsa and in clashes elsewhere in east Jerusalem, police used stun grenades, rubber bullets, tear gas and skunk water cannons in response to Palestinians who hurled stones, botles and fireworks at officers.
Amnesty said Israel has used excessive force over multiple weeks of east Jerusalem protests.
In one incident, it said Israeli forces last week broke up a peaceful circle of Palestinians chanting against an atempt by Israelis to evict them from their homes in the city’s Sheikh Jarrah district.
Forces on horseback sprinted toward the crowd, trampling a man who was trying to run away, Amnesty said. The rights group called on the international community “to hold Israel accountable for its systemic violations.”
The Israeli police did not respond to specific allegations, but told AFP in an email: “We will not allow disturbance of order while harming the fabric of life, inciting to harm police forces and violence against police officers and civilians.”
Police commissioner Kobi Shabtai told Israeli N12 TV on Monday that in Jerusalem in recent days “we showed too much restraint.”
“We are at the stage of taking off the gloves,” he said.
Clashes on Monday let more than 500 Palestinians wounded, while 37 officers were injured.
Amid the Jerusalem violence, Palestinian militant groups in Gaza fired more than 200 rockets towards Israel, including seven directed towards Israel.
Israel responded with more than 130 strikes on what it described as military targets in Gaza.
Health authorities in Gaza reported at least 22 deaths, including nine children.
The group Save the Children, also based in London, said it was “horrified” by the Israeli air strikes and demanded a stop to “the indiscriminate targeting and killing of civilians.”
Israeli army spokesman Jonathan Conricus said Israel “was doing everything possible to limit collateral damage” and he said there was no confirmation Israeli strikes had impacted Gaza civilians.