OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, Palestine: Nearly 200 Palestinians were killed, including 58 children, in the Gaza Strip as Israeli bombardment enters second week. The Israeli military launched another series of air raids on the Gaza Strip early on Monday, hours after Israel’s caretaker Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the attacks on the Palestinian enclave would rage on.
Explosions rocked Gaza City from north to south in a bombardment that was heavier, wider and lasted longer than the air raids that killed at least 42 Palestinians and wounded dozens more on Sunday. One Palestinian was reported injured.
At least 198 people, including 58 children, have been killed in the Gaza Strip since the latest violence began a week ago. More than 1,300 Palestinians were also wounded.
Earlier, Hamas, the group that governs the Gaza Strip, fired rockets towards the Israeli cities of Ashkelon and Beersheba. Israel has reported 10 dead, including two children.
The UN Security Council met on Sunday to discuss the violence but failed to agree on even a joint statement of concern.
China said it was the United States that obstructed the council from speaking “with one voice”.
United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the US remains greatly concerned over the escalating violence, while the US is working “extensively” behind the scene to bring hostilities to an end.
The US diplomat, speaking at a news conference in Copenhagen, Denmark urged all parties to ensure the protection of civilians and repeated that Israel has an extra burden to do everything to avoid civilian casualties.
THREAD This Sunday, we formally seized the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Fatou Bensouda, about the bombing of local and international media installations and equipment in #Gaza since May 11, which we consider to be war crimes. https://t.co/nrk3k7rcsg pic.twitter.com/Lpxr7tNjCm
— Christophe Deloire (@cdeloire) May 16, 2021
Blinken also said that he has not seen any Israeli evidence of Hamas operating in the Gaza office building hit by airstrike over the weekend. Blinken says he has asked Israel for justification for the strike.
Gaza-based journalist Youmna Al Sayed, reported in front of the al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, a few minutes after she said an Israeli missile hit a car a few metres away from her killing three people.
“Hospitals are running out of resources, corridors and all departments, including the administration, are filled with beds and mattresses,” she said.
“Electricity comes from one to three hours at best, which is a crisis for hospitals as well while generators are running out of fuel,” Al Sayed said, adding that the power crisis triggered a water shortage as well.
The foreign ministers of Qatar, Egypt and Saudi Arabia have discussed the deadly Israeli air attacks on Gaza and Israel-Palestine tensions with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken
Medical workers and health organisations have decried the killing of two senior doctors – a neurologist and the head of internal medicine at Gaza’s largest hospital – in Israeli attacks on the besieged Palestinian enclave.
The deaths further exacerbate a medical staff and expertise shortage in the Gaza Strip, the result of a 14-year-long blockade that prevents freedom of movement, causes dire supply and equipment shortages and hinders medical advancement.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged Pope Francis to help end what he called Israel’s “massacre” of Palestinians, which should be punished with sanctions, his office said.
Erdogan told the pope in a call that “Palestinians will continue to be subjected to a massacre unless the international community punishes Israel… with sanctions”, adding that the pope’s messages were of “great importance to mobilise the Christian world and the international community.”
Reporters Without Borders and Amnesty International asked the International Criminal Court to investigate Israel’s bombing of a building housing media organisations as a possible war crime.
The Israeli attack on al-Jalaa building destroying homes & @Aljazeera & @AP offices must be investigated as a war crime. The strike fits a pattern of Israel’s collective punishment of the Palestinian population.
— Amnesty Israel Palestine (@IOTPA) May 16, 2021
“Deliberately targeting media outlets constitutes a war crime,” said RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire. “By intentionally destroying media outlets, the Israel Defence Forces are not only inflicting unacceptable material damage on news operations. They are also, more broadly, obstructing media coverage of a conflict that directly affects the civilian population,” Deloire added.
A spokesman for the power plant in Gaza said that large damage was done in many areas of the enclave.
“Electricity workers are not able to reach the areas where they are needed. Our teams are trying as much as they can to help people in need and provide electricity to houses and hospitals,” he said.
He added: “We are at a point that we cannot repair, because our stocks are almost empty. We urge everyone who can help to allow the electricity company to get the necessary tools for maintenance.”
The spokesman stressed that the company was suffering from a large shortage of cash, adding that they were also out of fuel for the plant.
Palestinian Wafa news agency said that various locations were hit overnight by Israeli air raids.
These include the northern town of Jabaliya and Beit Lahia, the al-Bureij refugee camp in the centre of the Strip and the one of Khan Younis in the south. The news agency also reported that civilian houses, factories, and agricultural land were damaged.
A foam factory east of Jabaliya, on Salah Eddin Street, set on fire after an Israeli air raid, Wafa reported.
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh urged countries to offer more concrete action, rather than words, against Israel.
“Frankly speaking it’s not enough at all to have declarations,” said Shtayyeh, speaking from the city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.
“The UN must issue a resolution that describes all these actions as illegal and illegitimate against the Palestinian people,” he said, calling for sanctions against Israel.
Shtayyeh also urged allies to summon ambassadors of Israel, to halt trade relations with the country and stop aid coming from the US and the EU “until Israel respects human rights”.
“Those children who are in the blood, who lost their lives before even practicing life.. these are crimes to be punished by international law,” he said.
“The license of killing has been renewed for Israel and this must be stopped immediately,” he said.