Israel-Palestinian Conflict: Live Updates – The New York Times


The funeral for some of those people killed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City on Sunday.
Credit…Samar Abu Elouf for The New York Times

International pressure to bring an end to the raging conflict between Israel and Hamas militants mounted on Sunday, even as local health officials said an Israeli airstrike in Gaza overnight killed more than two dozen people, the single deadliest attack of the current hostilities.

The dead included women and children, the Gaza Health Ministry said. Rescue workers combed through the rubble of three buildings flattened in the airstrike as the hostilities between Israelis and Palestinians escalated to levels not seen since a 2014 war.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said there was no clear end in sight to the violence. “It will take some time,” he said on CBS’ Face The Nation on Sunday.

With the conflict stretching into its seventh straight day, the United States stepped up its diplomatic engagement and the United Nations Security Council met to discuss the conflict in public for the first time on Sunday.

Secretary-General António Guterres was the first of nearly two dozen speakers on the agenda of the meeting, led by Foreign Minister Wang Yi of China, which holds the council’s rotating presidency for the month of May.

“This latest round of violence only perpetuates the cycles of death, destruction and despair, and pushes farther to the horizon any hopes of coexistence and peace. “Mr. Guterres said. “Fighting must stop. It must stop immediately.”

Palestinian and Israeli diplomats used the meeting as a high-profile forum to vent longstanding grievances, in effect talking past each other with no sign of any softening in an intractable conflict nearly as old as the United Nations itself.

Riad Al Malki, the foreign minister of the Palestinian Authority, implicitly rebuked the United States and other powers that have defended Israel’s right to protect itself from Hamas rocket attacks, asserting that Israel is then “further emboldened to continue to murder entire families in their sleep.”

Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, who spoke after Mr. Malki, rejected any attempt to portray the actions of Israel and Hamas as moral equivalents. “Israel uses missiles to protect its children,” Mr. Erdan said. “Hamas uses children to protect its missiles.”

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, The United States ambassador to the United Nations, said President Biden had spoken with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, while U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken had also been engaging with his counterparts in the region. She called on Hamas to stop its rockets barrage against Israel, expressed concerns about intercommunal violence and warned against incitement on both sides.

“The human toll of this past week has been devastating,” she said, and added, “it’s time to end the cycle of violence.”

Mr. Netanyahu of Israel vowed late Saturday to continue striking Gaza “until we reach our targets,” suggesting a prolonged assault on the coastal territory even as casualties rose on both sides.

In separate calls on Saturday, President Biden conferred with Mr. Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, about efforts to broker a cease-fire. While supporting Israel’s right to defend itself from rocket attacks by Hamas militants, Mr. Biden urged Mr. Netanyahu to protect civilians and journalists.

Even before Sunday morning’s attack, Israeli airstrikes had intensified over the weekend, with an attack on a house in a refugee camp in Gaza that killed 10 members of an extended family, including women and children, and another that destroyed a high-rise that housed media outlets including The A.P. and Al Jazeera.

Israeli defense officials said the building housed military assets belonging to Hamas and they provided advance warning to civilians in the building to allow evacuation. No casualties were reported in that strike.

At least 192 Palestinians had been killed in Israeli airstrikes and shelling in Gaza, including at least 58 children, according to Palestinian health authorities, and 12 Israelis had died in Hamas rocket attacks.

Credit…Samar Abu Elouf for The New York Times

Over the past week, the 15-member U.N. Security Council met privately at least twice to discuss ways of reducing tensions. But efforts to reach agreement on a statement or to hold an open meeting had faced resistance from the United States, Israel’s biggest defender on the council.

American officials said they wanted to give mediators sent to the region from the United States, Egypt and Qatar an opportunity to defuse the crisis.

But with violence worsening, a compromise was reached for a meeting on Sunday.

Security Council meetings on the Israeli-Palestinian issue have often ended inconclusively and served mainly as a platform for supporters of both sides to air their grievances. But they have also demonstrated the widespread view among United Nations members that Israel’s actions as an occupying power are illegal and that its use of deadly force is disproportionately harsh.

A building on fire in Gaza City following an Israeli airstrike overnight.
Credit…Hosam Salem for The New York Times

The violence showed no sign of abating on Sunday, as Israel made the single deadliest airstrike yet on Gaza in the weeklong bombing campaign, and the number of rockets fired at Israel from Gaza approached 3,000.

The Israeli bombing in Gaza City killed at least 33 people, including 12 women and eight children, and wounded 50 others, according to Palestinian health authorities. They said the toll was likely to climb as rescuers picked through the rubble searching for victims and survivors.

Israel’s military acknowledged civilian deaths in the strike.

An Israeli aircraft “struck underground military infrastructure belonging to Hamas terror organization which was located under the road in the relevant area,” an Israeli Defense Forces spokesman said. “The underground military facility collapsed, causing the foundations of the civilian house above to collapse as well, causing unintentional casualties. The aim of the I.D.F. strike was military infrastructure.”

In a separate strike, the Israeli military said it had bombed the home of Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that controls the Gaza Strip, in the southern town of Khan Younis. It released a video of the bombing.

At least 192 people — most of them civilians, including 58 children — have been killed by Israeli planes, drones and artillery since the campaign began on Monday, Palestinian officials said.

Israel says it has killed 75 Palestinian militants, primarily Hamas operatives, and accuses the group of using civilians as human shields. In airstrikes that claimed civilian casualties, Israel has often described the targets as weapons caches or militant operations centers.

In Israel, 12 people have been killed by Hamas rockets, Israeli authorities say.

Israeli forces have hit more than 1,500 targets, causing serious damage to Hamas infrastructure, including the network of tunnels it uses to move people and weapons, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other top officials said at a press briefing after a meeting of the security cabinet.

“Hamas’s underground has gone down the drain,” he said. “The metro has turned from a strategic asset to a death trap for the terrorists.”

He described Israeli fores as “doing everything we can to minimize as much as possible any harm to civilians.”

Far more rockets have been fired at Israel than in any week of previous conflicts, and some of them have greater range than Hamas’ arsenal has demonstrated in the past. Israeli officials have admitted to being surprised by the reach and intensity of the barrage. Hamas, which has had help from Iran in building…



Read More: Israel-Palestinian Conflict: Live Updates – The New York Times