World leaders call for end to Israeli-Palestine hostilities
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MUCH of the world has called for an immediate end to hostilities in Israel and Gaza.
The death toll has risen overnight to more than 120 Palestinians, including 31 children and 19 women, according to Gaza’s health ministry. There have been 830 injuries.
Israel’s death toll has risen to eight.
The South African government has said it “strongly condemns the attacks and planned evictions of Palestinians from annexed East Jerusalem to make way for settlements”, adding: “Israel’s actions are in stark violation of international law, and in disregard of international humanitarian law and numerous UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions.”
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an immediate end to hostilities. "Out of respect for the spirit of Eid, I appeal for an immediate de-escalation and cessation of hostilities in Gaza and Israel," Guterres said. "Too many innocent civilians have already died. This conflict can only increase radicalisation and extremism in the whole region."
The UNSC also called an urgent meeting tomorrow (Sunday) to discuss the violence.
An update from the UN’s Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that more than 200 housing units and 24 schools had been destroyed or severely damaged in the Gaza Strip in Israeli air raids. The agency also sounded the alarm over access to fresh water and impact of the hostilities on Gaza’s Covid-19 response.
Israeli soldiers massed on the edge of the blockaded territory yesterday, and army spokesman Jonathan Conricus took responsibility for an erroneous Thursday report that ground forces had entered Gaza.
People across Gaza are fleeing their homes and taking refuge in temporary shelters.
Families arrived in pick-up trucks, on donkeys and by foot at schools in the Strip run by the UN, hauling pillows and pans, blankets and bread. Men lugged large plastic bags and women carried infants on their shoulders, cramming into classrooms.
The violence and mayhem play directly into prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hands. Until this week, Netanyahu appeared to be on the verge of losing his position at the helm of Israeli politics after 12 years as prime minister.
The country’s fourth inconclusive general election in two years had led to opposition leader Yair Lapid being asked to try to put together a coalition, one that would probably require the support of Arab Israeli parties. But the flow of rockets and the intercommunal violence within Israel itself has complicated those efforts.
Lapid has until June 2 to form a workable coalition, while Netanyahu is seeking to reinforce his reputation as a strong leader willing to stand up to Palestinians with uncompromising rhetoric about inflicting mortal blows on Hamas and “iron fists”. - Reuters/Sputnik/Twitter
The Independent on Saturday