Israel continues Gaza raids as Palestinians hold general strike

Four Palestinian protesters killed in West Bank during demonstrations against Israel’s bombardment of Gaza.

Palestinians stand behind tyres during a protest near Hawara checkpoint near Nablus in the Israeli-occupied West Bank [Raneen Sawafta/Reuters]

Dozens of air raids pounded Gaza on Tuesday as US President Joe Biden expressed support for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in a phone call with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

At least 218 Palestinians, including 63 children, have been killed in Gaza since the attacks began. About 1,500 Palestinians have been wounded. Twelve people in Israel have died, including two children, while at least 300 have been wounded.

Biden held his third phone conversation with Netanyahu since violence flared on May 10 and expressed support for a ceasefire. But the US president stopped short of demanding an end to the violence.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell called for the implementation of a ceasefire, following a video conference of EU foreign ministers, adding that the call was backed by all the bloc’s member states, except Hungary.

Meanwhile, in the occupied West Bank, Israeli forces killed four Palestinian protesters during demonstrations.

Here are Tuesday’s developments – as they happened:

Gaza violence pushing region ‘in wrong direction’: Saudi FM

Continuing violence in the Gaza Strip is pushing the whole region “in the wrong direction”, Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan said on Tuesday, calling for an end to the armed conflict.

“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 told AFP.

Israeli air raids on Gaza since May 10 have killed over 200 Palestinians in the besieged territory [Khalil Hamra/AP Photo]

US Muslim advocacy group urges Biden to cancel $735m weapons sale to Israel

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is urging US President Joe Biden to halt a planned $735m weapons sale to Israel.

The sale, CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad said on Tuesday, includes “the same type of missiles that have been used to kill more than 200 people in Gaza”.

Tlaib ‘confronts’ Biden about Israel support: New York Times

The New York Times reported Representative Rashida Tlaib confronted President Joe Biden as he arrived in Michigan to visit a Ford factory near her congressional district.

Biden and Tlaib were seen shaking hands on a tarmac where she told “the president that he must do more to protect Palestinian lives and human rights”, according to an aid who spoke to the paper the condition of anonymity.

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

Tlaib’s family is from the occupied West Bank, where her grandmother, Muftia Tlaib, still lives.

Biden said he prays Tlaib’s “grandmom and family are well. I promise you, I’ll do everything to see that they are.”

‘Root causes’ of conflict need to be tackled: NRC

Karl Schembri, a media adviser for the Norwegian Refugee Council, said the continuing Israeli blockade and occupation of the Palestinian territories are the central causes of the current violence.”

These escalations that we see every few years are going to going on in this way … unless these root causes are actually tackled and the systemic injustice and historic injustice towards Palestinians is really tackled,” Schembri told Al Jazeera.

The NRC said earlier on Tuesday that 11 children it had been providing with psycho-social trauma care, had been killed in the ongoing Israeli bombing campaign.

CNN directs staff to say ‘Hamas-run Gaza Ministry of Health

US news network CNN has directed its staff to refer to the Gaza health ministry as “Hamas-run”, AJ+ presenter Dena Takruri said on Twitter, sharing a photo of an internal CNN memo.

“This is a page straight out of Israel’s playbook,” Takruri wrote. “It serves to justify the attack on civilians & medical facilities”.

60 ‘intensive air strikes’ on southern Gaza Strip – Correspondent

Al Jazeera’s Safwat al-Kahlout said Israeli carried out a wave of 60 air raids on Khan Younis and Rafah in southern Gaza.

Gaza’s health ministry reported that one Palestinian woman was killed and eight other people were injured in this latest wave of bombings – bringing the total death toll to 218 since the Israeli military began its offensive on May 10.

Palestinian armed groups, meanwhile, fired more rockets towards Israel, al-Kahlout said.

Palestinian FM urges ICC to investigate Israel’s war crimes

The Palestinian foreign minister has sent a letter to the International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor’s Office, calling for an investigation into Israel’s “war crimes” in Gaza, the West Bank, and Jerusalem.

According to a Twitter post by the Palestinian Mission to the Netherlands, Ambassador Rawan Sulaiman delivered the letter by hand from Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki, calling for “accountability for the war crimes and crimes against humanity that continue to be committed in Palestine, including in Sheikh Jarrah and Gaza.

“The State of Palestine continues to consistently provide the Court with information and documentation on the new and ongoing crimes falling within the jurisdiction of the Court in the context of the ongoing investigation in the situation,” it added in the statement.

No more COVID tests in Gaza: Health Ministry

Dr Ashraf al-Qidra, the health ministry spokesperson has said that the main laboratory which serves the enclave has ceased to operate and all COVID-19 tests have stopped as a result, journalist Sami Abu Salem has said.

“This constitutes a new danger besides the bombings and killings,” Abu Salem said, reporting from inside the health ministry’s compound which was severely damaged during Israeli bombing.

“Another thing he mentioned is that there is a shortage of disposables and medication inside Gaza and he urged international organisations to help Gaza’s population, especially in helping it meet its medical needs.

The municipality has also mentioned that there is a shortage of equipment in order to be able to repair the networks of electricity and water. There is a shortage of water because a desalination station by the sea has stopped working because of Israeli bombing.”

France pushes for UN Security Council resolution

France’s presidency has called for a resolution at the United Nations Security Council to stop the fighting.

“Overall, the 3 countries agreed on 3 simple elements: the shooting must stop, the time has come for a ceasefire, the UN Security Council must take up the subject and we have also called for a vote on a resolution on the subject,” the presidency said in a statement after talks between President Emmanuel Macron, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Jordan’s King Abdullah.

The statement added that the three countries had also agreed to launch a humanitarian initiative for the civilian population of Gaza in conjunction with the United Nations.

US encouraging Israel to wind down Gaza offensive: AP Source

Biden and administration officials have encouraged Netanyahu and other top Israeli officials to wind down the bombardment of Gaza, a person with knowledge of the discussions has told The Associated Press.

Top Biden administration officials underscored to the Israelis on Monday and Tuesday that time is not on their side in terms of international objections to nine days of Israeli air raids and Hamas rockets, and that it is in their interest to wind down the operations soon, according to the official, who was not authorised to comment publicly on the private talks and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Israeli forces kill four Palestinians in occupied West Bank

The health ministry says four Palestinians have been killed in the occupied West Bank, while the Israeli army said its troops were targeted by gunfire there.

Two Palestinians were killed during the general strike after being shot in the chest and another protester died after being shot in the head.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said its teams had treated more than 150 people in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank, including 35 with live bullet wounds and more than 80 suffering from tear gas inhalation.

Palestinian authorities say Israeli forces have killed 24 Palestinians in the West Bank since May 10.

Egypt proposes truce: Israeli media

Egypt has offered a truce proposal to take effect on Thursday, an Israeli media outlet has reported.

“Cairo suggested the truce start at 6:00am (04:00 GMT) next Thursday,” according to the report by Channel 12. It added that Hamas agreed to the proposal.

US correspondent: ‘A shift in strategy’ following phone call

Al Jazeera’s Kimberly Halkett reporting from Washington, DC says that White House spokesperson Jen Psaki has acknowledged there has been “a shift in strategy as a result of that phone call between the US president and the Israeli prime minister.

“This nudge if you will, a very measured one, supporting a ceasefire that appears to have gone unheeded, this has certainly caused some division here in the United States,” Halkett said.

“There are the president’s critics, particularly on the Republic side, that say the president has abandoned a long-standing support for Israel and its right to defence but certainly, this is something that members of his own Democratic Party have been pushing for at least on the more progressive wing.”

Palestinian UN ambassador challenges Biden admin

The Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations is challenging the Biden administration to show results from its diplomatic efforts to achieve a ceasefire, pointing out that the US has repeatedly blocked UN Security Council action, saying it would interfere with its diplomatic efforts.

Riyad Mansour said, “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 said 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 news conference as the Security Council again met in closed consultations.

France floats possibility of UN resolution: Diplomats

France has floated the possibility of pushing for a UN Security Council resolution during a private meeting of the 15-member body, diplomats have said.

The French mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Analyst: Netanyahu using tragedy ‘to stay in power’

Al Jazeera’s political analyst Marwan Bishara said that Netanyahu is using “this tragedy … to stay in power.

“We all know, if he loses the premiership, he is more likely to end up in prison because he’s on trial over serious charges for fraud corruption,” Bishara said.

“He is cynically using the tragedy of Gaza, continuing the war and rallying support among right-wingers in Israel as well as the United States and others to stay in power.”

Analyst: Netanyahu admits Israel is ‘committing outright terror’

Al Jazeera’s political analyst Marwan Bishara said that Netanyahu’s statement is “quite cynical”.

“He said that we are going to continue fighting, we are going to continue shooting and bombarding Gaza until other parties in the region learn the lesson,” Bishara said.

“That’s a very cynical statement coming from the prime minister of Israel. It’s quite arrogant because that means Israel is committing outright terror and admitting it.

“Using the Palestinians in order to show or teach a lesson for a political end, as it were, that’s quite a dangerous thing.”

Death toll in Gaza rises to 217

The death toll in the continuing Israeli attacks on Gaza has risen to 217, including 63 children and 36 women according to the Ministry of Health.

Abby Martin: US political establishment, corporate media obfuscating the problem

American journalist and filmmaker Abby Martin told Al Jazeera, “I’m surprised by the callousness of the US political establishment and the outright complicity of the corporate-owned media apparatus that continues to obfuscate and complicate unnecessarily a very straightforward problem here, which is as articulated by Roger Waters, a settler-colonial state that’s premised on the ongoing ethnic cleansing and expulsion of the indigenous population.

“These atrocities are unfolding with audacious silence from our entire political establishment. It is atrocious that this continues to happen every few years with the US standing in the way of international accountability,” Martin said.

US envoy tells UN: ‘We have not been silent, neither have you’

The US ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, has told a private meeting of the UN Security Council that Washington believes a public statement by the body would not help calm tensions between Israel and the Palestinians.

“We have not been silent and neither have you,” Thomas-Greenfield told the 15-member body’s third closed meeting on the violence, according to a UN diplomat familiar with her remarks.

“Our focus has been and will continue to be on an intensive diplomatic engagement to bring this violence to an end,” she said. “President Biden expressed support for a ceasefire.”

Biden praises Congresswoman Tlaib

During his speech in Dearborn, Michigan, Biden addressed Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, saying, “And from my heart, I pray that your grandma and family are well. I promise you I’ll do everything to see that they are, on the West Bank. You’re a fighter and God thank you for being a fighter.”

Israeli forces kill Palestinian protester in occupied West Bank

One Palestinian has been killed and dozens wounded by Israeli gunfire during clashes at the Beit El military checkpoint near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.

Muhammed Ishaq Hamid, 25, was critically wounded during the clashes and was pronounced dead upon arrival at a hospital in Ramallah.

Two Israeli soldiers were also reported to be injured by Palestinian gunfire.

Read more here.

Arab Americans rally outside Michigan police station ahead of Biden’s arrival

Dozens of Arab Americans and Palestinians have gathered outside of the police station in Dearborn, Michigan to denounce the US’s position on the violence taking place in occupied East Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza.

President Joe Biden is due to arrive in Michigan to speak at a vehicle plant.

Dearborn is home to one of the largest Arab and Muslim populations in the US.

A short video clip circulating on social media showed protesters holding signs and waving Palestinian flags before Biden’s arrival.


UN political chief calls for cessation of hostilities

At the UN meeting, political chief Rosemary DiCarlo speaking on behalf of the secretary-general, called for a cessation of hostilities, which she said is crucial for “delivering much-needed humanitarian aid to the affected people in Gaza”.

Guterres urged to issue emergency appeal for humanitarian funding

The Palestinian Ambassador to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, has urged
Secretary-General António Guterres to issue an emergency appeal for humanitarian funding for Gaza.

More than 50,000 Palestinians have been displaced in the past week and they are seeking protection under the UN flag, Mansour told a UN meeting with parliamentarians.

“They need to eat, they need medicine, they need inoculation against a pandemic, they need blankets, they need ambulances, and they need doctors,” Mansour said.

The ambassador also appealed to the International Criminal Court to begin an investigation into possible war crimes committed by Israel.

Hungary FM slams EU’s ‘one-sided’ statements on Israel

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto has slammed the EU’s “one-sided” statements on Israel.

“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 told the AFP news agency in an interview.

Szijjarto insisted that blocking decisions “is a right of every country in the European Union”.

“EU diplomacy should not consist only of judgements, negative statements and sanctions,” he said.

EU – minus Hungary – calls for ceasefire

European Union foreign ministers have called for a ceasefire and boosted humanitarian aid for Gaza, but failed to reach the unanimity that might give the EU leverage in peacemaking.

Hungary, Israel’s closest ally in the bloc, declined to join the other 26 foreign ministers in calling for a truce on their video call.

Nevertheless, the other ministers promised that the EU would try to relaunch the peace process along with the United States, Russia and the United Nations.

Read more here.

A ‘ruthless apartheid occupation’

Commenting on the conflict, Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian ambassador to the UN, said at the UN Security Council press conference that Palestinians are saying “enough is enough”.

“Look at what’s happening to the vulnerable Palestinian people who are saying enough is enough. Fifty-three years of occupation with this kind of ruthless apartheid occupation against our people and 73 years since the Nakba in which our people, who are citizens of the state of Israel, instead of acquiring their national rights, and living in freedom and dignity there in their ancestral homeland,” Mansour said.

“Look at the Israeli media, they’re accusing them for what they’re doing to resist the onslaught against the Palestinians.”

‘Root causes’ of conflict need to be addressed: UN

Speaking at the UN Security Council mews conference, Sofiane Mimouni, the Algerian ambassador to United Nations said the “root causes” of the problem needed to be addressed.

“The resolution to the Palestinian issues require addressing the root causes of the problem – occupation, enabling Palestinian people to exercise their rights to have their independent state within the 1967 borders, with al-Quds (Jerusalem) as the capital, is the only acceptable solution and the unique way to bring a real and sustainable peace to the region,” Mimouni said.

26 Palestinians shot with live ammunition in occupied West Bank

The Palestinian Ministry of Health says 70 people have been hospitalised in the occupied West Bank due to confrontations with Israeli forces, five of them in a serious condition.

Israeli forces killed 25-year-old Mohammad Hamid after shooting him in the chest at the entrance to al-Bireh, northeast of Ramallah.

According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, 26 Palestinians were shot by live ammunition near the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit El.

“It’s definitely calmer than what it was two hours ago but we hear a shot every once in a while and then we hear an ambulance taking a Palestinian to the hospital,” Al Jazeera’s Nida Ibrahim reported.

EU top diplomat urges ceasefire

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has called for the implementation of a ceasefire.

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

Mapping Israeli occupation

In the following series of graphics, Al Jazeera describes why Israel’s military occupation of Palestine remains at the core of this decades-long conflict and how Israeli colonialism shapes every part of Palestinians’ lives.

View the 13 maps here.

Israel troops targeted by gunfire in occupied West Bank

Israeli troops have been targeted by gunfire in the occupied West Bank, the army has said, as the Palestinian health ministry said a man was killed in a separate shooting.

The Israeli army said that “during a violent riot” near Ramallah, “a number of rioters fired extensively” at Israeli soldiers who “responded with fire”.

“Two soldiers were injured in their legs, and were evacuated to a hospital for further medical treatment,” it said in a statement.

Unusual scene as gunshots heard from Palestinians in occupied West Bank

Al Jazeera’s Nida Ibrahim, reporting near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, by the Israeli illegal settlement of Beit El, said Palestinians were seen throwing rocks at the Israeli army near the Israeli military checkpoint.

“An hour or two after that, we heard gunshots coming from the Palestinian side and we believe they are from Palestinian militants and then the Israeli military responded with live ammunition,” Ibrahim said.

“Confrontations continued after that escalation and we’ve been hearing more and more rounds – sometimes they’re rubber coated steal bullets, sometimes it’s live ammunition by the Israeli army towards the protesters.

“It is definitely not a usual scene [since] there are not many arms here in the occupied West Bank. If there are, the Israeli army comes in and arrests those Palestinians,” Ibrahim said.

Protests to continue in occupied West Bank

Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett, reporting from Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, said the protests there are likely to continue.

“It is another expression of protest, of trying to confront and make known these people’s feelings about what they’ve been seeing on their televisions and on their phones just as we all have, coming out of Gaza and Jerusalem and also their experiences on a daily basis,” Fawcett said.

Pentagon chief supports de-escalation

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has expressed his support for a de-escalation in a call with his Israeli counterpart, the Pentagon has said.

“Austin reiterated the United States’s unwavering support for Israel’s right to defend itself and to protect Israeli civilians, and lamented the loss of innocent Israeli and Palestinian lives,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said.

“Austin expressed his support for de-escalation of the conflict and the restoration of calm,” Kirby said.

Palestinian killed, dozens wounded in West Bank

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

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

The health ministry identified 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.

Turkey never to stop backing Palestine: Foreign minister

Ankara will “never give up supporting the Palestinian cause”, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has told lawmakers in parliament.

Asserting that the atmosphere in Turkey on the Palestinian issue was one of joint solidarity, Cavusoglu said: “We need to be sensitive on preserving this.

“It is the duty of all of us to be careful not to carry this issue into the competitive language of domestic politics and not to make oppressed people happy who have the same mentality with [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu,” he said.

1,700 Palestinians arrested by Israel since April: NGO

Israeli forces have detained 1,700 Palestinians since April 13, according to a Palestinian NGO.

In a statement, the Palestinian Prisoner Society said more than 400 people were arrested in occupied East Jerusalem and 450 others in other areas across the occupied West Bank.

According to the statement, more than 850 Palestinian Israelis were arrested by Israeli police since May 9.

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

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has pledged $500m to help reconstruction efforts in Gaza, his office has said.

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

Cairo has sought to mediate a ceasefire between Gaza’s Hamas and Israel.

EU to seek peace talks with US, Russia, Malta says

An emergency European Union video meeting is set to call for a ceasefire between Israel and  Hamas, offer more humanitarian aid and try to relaunch peace talks, Malta’s foreign minister has said.

Malta’s Foreign Minister Evarist Bartolo told the Reuters news agency that Biden’s openness to seek a solution to the conflict was crucial, “because unless we address the root causes, [the violence] will happen again”.

“I think I’m not being too optimistic [to say] that at a minimum, what will probably come out [of the EU meeting] is the call for a ceasefire, an offer of humanitarian aid, and then seeing how to restart the political process,” Bartolo said via video link.

After a ceasefire, the EU would “work with the United States, work with Russia to try and deal with the situation,” he added.

Germany’s Merkel, Jordan’s king call for ‘swift’ ceasefire

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Jordan’s King Abdullah II have urged a “swift” ceasefire in a video call, her spokesman has said.

“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, said in a statement.

Germany calls for truce, offers more aid

In comments made before a video call of the EU’s 27 foreign ministers, Germany has called for a ceasefire and has offered more aid to help Palestinians.

“An end to the violence is the first priority,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in a video statement streamed on social media.

“Today, I will lobby for a better humanitarian supply in Gaza,” Maas said, pledging 40 million euros ($48.86m) to ramp up humanitarian aid for civilians in Gaza.

Why is the US unequivocal in its support for Israel?

With Israel bombarding Gaza for a second week, US President Joe Biden and his administration are sticking to a long-established script in Washington, expressing unequivocal support for Israel and its “legitimate right to defend itself” from Hamas rocket attacks.

That narrative fails to acknowledge the profound advantages the state of Israel enjoys over the Palestinians when it comes to military prowess, wealth and resources.

It also turns a deaf ear to growing cries from progressive Democrats in Congress to take a harder line with Israel over its military assault on Gaza.

Read about it here.

Then-US Vice President Joe Biden, left, shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on March 9, 2016 [File: Debbie Hill/Pool via Reuters]

Over 90 Palestinians injured, three arrested amid protests

A total of 97 Palestinians were injured as violence escalated with Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank, according to the Palestine Red Crescent Society.

In a statement, the society said five people were injured by live bullets, another five by rubber bullets, while 84 suffered from gas inhalation.

An Israeli security force member detains a protester during a demonstration held by Palestinians to show their solidarity amid Israel-Gaza fighting, at Damascus Gate just outside Jerusalem’s Old City [Ammar Awad/Reuters]

Three people have also been arrested at the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City where Israeli police used rubber bullets, stun grenades and skunk water to disperse protesters, according to Al Jazeera’s Ibrahim Husseini.

Israeli security force members detain a Palestinian protester during a demonstration held by Palestinians to show their solidarity amid Israel-Gaza fighting, in Jerusalem’s Old City [Ammar Awad/Reuters]

US has received more information on media tower strike: Blinken

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Washington had received further information about Israel’s destruction of a Gaza highrise that housed the offices of the Associated Press and Al Jazeera, but failed to provide further details.

“It’s my understanding that we’ve received some further information through intelligence channels, and it’s not something I can comment on,” Blinken said at a joint briefing with Iceland’s foreign minister in Reykjavik.

Two killed in strike launched from Gaza: Police

Israeli police say two Thai workers inside Israel have been killed in a strike launched from the Gaza Strip.

Seven others were wounded in the afternoon attack that hit a packaging plant in southern Israel, police said.

Israel says it reshuts Gaza crossing after mortar fire

Israel said it had closed a crossing into Gaza shortly after opening it to allow in humanitarian goods, after mortars were fired at the area as aid trucks passed through.

Israel had opened the Karam Abu Salem crossing to allow in “trucks carrying civil aid donated by international aid organisations to the Gaza Strip,” said COGAT, the Israeli military branch responsible for civil affairs in the Palestinian territories.

“After a firing of mortar bombs towards the Kerem Shalom Crossing … it has been decided to stop the entry of the rest of the trucks,” the COGAT statement said.

AP news agency quoted Israeli medics saying that 10 people were wounded, four seriously, after a rocket attack from Gaza targeted southern Israel.

Israeli police fire tear gas to disperse Palestinian protesters

Israeli police in Bethlehem have fired tear gas, injuring at least seven Palestinian protesters, Al Jazeera’s Harry Fawcett reported from the scene.

Injuries were also reported at a checkpoint in Ramallah, where Israeli police also used tear gas against protesters.

Palestinians also held rallies in other cities, including Nablus and Hebron, amid a general strike.

A Palestinian demonstrator uses a sling to hurl stones at Israeli forces during a protest in Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank [Mussa Qawasma/Reuters]

France, Egypt, Jordan to hold talks seeking ceasefire

France’s President Emmanuel Macron, his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Jordan’s King Abdullah II will hold talks aimed at seeking a ceasefire in the continuing conflict, the French presidency said.

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

Why India’s Hindu nationalists are backing Israel?

Hashtags such as #ISupportIsrael, #IndiaWithIsrael, #IndiaStandsWithIsrael and #IsrealUnderFire have trended on Indian social media over the past week, with many calling Palestinians “terrorists” – a term used by Israel for Palestinian resistance groups.

As Israel faces criticism for its bombing of Gaza, it has received support from India’s Hindu nationalists, why is it so?

Read the story here.

More than 58,000 Palestinians displaced in Gaza: UN

More than 58,000 Palestinians have been displaced by Israeli air strikes that have destroyed or badly damaged nearly 450 buildings in the Gaza Strip, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

About 47,000 of the displaced people have sought shelter in 58 UN-run schools in Gaza, Jens Laerke, OCHA spokesman, told reporters.

Laerke also said 132 buildings had been destroyed and 316 had been severely damaged, including six hospitals and nine primary healthcare centres.

Palestinian ministry of health calling for blood donors

Gaza-based journalist Youmna al-Sayed, reporting from Gaza City, said that the severity of the situation at Al-Shifa Hospital is increasing.

“The ministry of health said that Gaza is struggling with an acute shortage of medical supplies and medicines, while it is calling for volunteers to donate blood,” she said, adding that the hospital is also dealing with electricity and water shortages.

The Gaza Power Company announced that some of the lines that were partly destroyed by Israeli air raids, have been restored.

Children from the Palestinian Abu Dayer family cry in Al-Shifa Hospital following the death of family members in an Israeli air strike on the family’s home in Gaza City [Mahmud Hams/AFP]

‘Imperative’ to end Israel-Palestine violence: Russia

Russian President Vladimir Putin says the international community should carry out “an active search of the solution” in the conflict between Israel and armed groups in Gaza.

Speaking at a meeting with world ambassadors to Russia, Putin said any solution should be “based on relevant resolutions of the United Nations Security Council”.

“During the last days … we became witnesses of the escalation in the Middle East. The explosion of the escalation between Palestinians and Israelis have already led to the big number of casualties among civilian population, including children. We consider imperative the end of violent acts,” said Putin.

UN hails Israel decision to open crossing for aid into Gaza

The United Nations hailed an Israeli decision to open the Karam Abu Salem crossing to allow aid into Gaza, and urged the opening of a second location to let in humanitarian workers.

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

EU set for emergency meeting

The European Union is set to call for a ceasefire of the continuing fighting at an emergency video meeting of the block’s 27 foreign ministers from 12:00 GMT.

“We have reached out to partners to see how we can defuse and contribute to stopping this very dangerous and worrying escalation of violence,” said EU spokesperson Peter Stano.

The EU is Israel’s biggest trade partner and a big aid donor to the Palestinians but has been reluctant to use such leverage or discuss possible economic sanctions on Israel’s government.

‘Does God really feel what we are feeling now?’

Khaled Abu-Shaaban, a humanitarian worker in the Gaza Strip, told Al Jazeera that children living in the enclave were deeply traumatised as a result of Israeli air raids.

“My older girl, she is seven years old. She asked, ‘Does God really feel what we are feeling now?’” he said.

“I answered her, but I started thinking what is the mental state and the emotional state she is going through to be asking such an existential question,” he added.

‘Nothing on the table’ for a ceasefire: Report

A senior Israeli official cast doubt on the possibility of a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian armed groups.

Asked by Reuters news agency if any ceasefire was in the works, a senior Israeli official said: “There is no such thing right now. There is no negotiation. There is no proposal. There is nothing on the table.”

‘To rise as one’

Salem Barahmeh, executive director of the Palestine Institute for Public Diplomacy, said the goal of the general strike currently under way in the occupied Palestinian territory was to unite everyone against Israel’s bombardment on Gaza and its oppression against Palestinians.

“It is important to rise as one and try to transcend the forced fragmentation imposed on Palestinians by Israel,” he told Al Jazeera.

He also said that Palestinians on the streets and social media are shaking “Israel’s dominant and unchallenged narrative,” exposing it as the “apartheid regime it is”.

General strike across Palestinian cities in full swing

Shops were shuttered across cities in Gaza, the occupied West Bank and in villages and towns in Israel as Palestinians observed a general strike to protest against Israel’s bombardment of the enclave.

The strike, which is supported by both Hamas, the group running Gaza, and Fatah, the ruling party of the Palestinian Authority, led to the suspension of all economic activity and closure of educational institutions.

“It’s the first time in decades that we see Palestinians across the political divide take part in such a general strike,” said Al Jazeera’s Nida Ibrahim, reporting from Ramallah.

People walk past shuttered Palestinian stores in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron [Hazem Bader/AFP]

Pro-Palestinian protests in Indonesia, South Korea

Demonstrators in Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, gathered to protest against Israel’s bombardment of Gaza and express their solidarity with Palestinians.

Members of Indonesian labour organisations carry placards during a protest against Israel outside the United Nations building in Jakarta, Indonesia [Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana/Reuters]

A similar protest was also staged outside Israel’s embassy in South Korea’s capital, Seoul.

Palestinian people and South Korean activists stage a protest against Israeli attacks on Gaza, in front of the Israeli Embassy in Seoul, South Korea, on Tuesday, May 18, 2021 [Ahn Young-joon/AP]

Gaza’s first 3D printer destroyed

Tashkeel3D, Gaza’s first 3D printer, which manufactured medical devices for years, has been destroyed by an Israeli air raid, according to Dr Tarek Loubani, a Palestinian Canadian physician and founder of the Glia Project, Tashkeel3D’s partner.

Tashkeel 3D was started with a 3D printer made by its founder from scratch, following open-source designs online, because the printers were not allowed into Gaza by Israel.

The company, who represented half of Gaza’s 3D printing capacity, was producing stethoscopes and tourniquets to support Gaza’s medical system.

Israeli military says it downed UAV near Jordan border

The Israeli military said that its forces downed a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) that approached Israel’s border with Jordan, without specifying where the aircraft might have originated.

Iran’s FM reacts to US blocking UNSC statement and selling more arms to Israel

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif slammed the US administration for approving the sale of $735m in weapons to Israel, while blocking a joint UN Security Council statement.

The arms sale, which Congress was notified of on May 5, a week before the current escalation began, includes Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAMs), which are used to turn bombs into precision-guided missiles, according the the Washington Post.

More blasts in Gaza as day breaks

Israel continued its air raids on Gaza as day broke on Tuesday.

Explosions were heard and balls of fire and plumes of smoke were seen rising from several buildings in Gaza City.

Smoke and flames are seen following an Israeli attack on a building in Gaza City on May 18, 2021 [Mohammed Salem/ Reuters]
Smoke rises following an Israeli attack on a building in Gaza City on May 18, 2021 [Mohammed Salem/ Reuters]

Jordan’s king blames ‘provocative’ Israeli actions for escalation

Jordan’s King Abdullah II spoke to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday and said it was Israel’s “recurrent provocative” actions against Palestinians that have led to the continuing escalation.

The king also told Guterres that the “international community must shoulder its responsibility, move actively to stop Israeli violations in Jerusalem, aggression on Gaza,” the royal court wrote on Twitter.

Argentinians protest against Israel’s actions in Gaza

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered near the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires to protest against Israeli attacks on Gaza.

The demonstrators held banners that read “No to the Palestine genocide” and “Everybody with Palestine”.

Protesters hold a banner that reads ‘No to the Palestine genocide’ during a demonstration against Israel and in support of Palestinians, in Buenos Aires, Argentina [Victor R Caivano/ AP]

One protester held a sign that said “Boycott Israel” while another carried a placard that called on the Argentinian government “to break relations with Israel”.

Riot police blocked the demonstrators from reaching the Israeli embassy.

Blasts in Gaza City as dawn approaches

Explosions lit up the night sky over Gaza City early on Tuesday as Israeli forces continued to shell the Palestinian enclave.

There were about 30 Israeli air attacks overnight, as well as bursts of Palestinian rocket fire.

A ball of fire explodes above buildings in Gaza City as Israeli forces shell the Palestinian enclave, early on May 18, 2021 [Mahmud Hams/ AFP]
Israeli jets kept up a barrage of attacks against Gaza following a week of violence that has killed more than 200 people [Mahmud Hams/ AFP]

UN: Situation in southern Lebanon is ‘now calm’

The United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) said it is enhancing security controls in southern Lebanon, in coordination with the Lebanese army, after detecting rocket fire from the area.

UNIFIL added on Twitter it has intensified patrols “to prevent any further incidents that endanger the safety of the local population and the security of southern Lebanon”.

It added the “situation in the area is now calm”.

Amnesty condemns US approval of arms sales to Israel

Human rights group Amnesty International has condemned US plans to sell weapons worth $735m to Israel amid the latest conflict with Palestinian armed groups, saying the approval undermines the US commitment to upholding human rights around the world.

“By supplying weapons that could be used to commit war crimes, the US government is taking the risk of fuelling further attacks against civilians and seeing more people killed or injured by US weapons,” Philippe Nassif, Amnesty International USA’s advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement urging Biden to reconsider the decision.

Israel shells southern Lebanon after ‘failed rocket launches’

Six shells were fired from Lebanon towards northern Israel on Monday but did not cross the border, the Israeli military said.

It said that in response, artillery was fired at “the sources of the launches” in Lebanon.

The UN Interim Force in Lebanon said it had detected rocket fire around Rashaya al-Foukhar and urged all parties to “exercise maximum restraint”.

Gaza images suggest Israel committing ‘war crimes’, law professor says

Ardi Imseis, a law professor at Queen’s University in Canada, said Israel is responding with disproportionate force in the Gaza Strip and probably committing war crimes as a result.

“We have reasonable grounds to believe that war crimes are being committed, violations of international humanitarian law, primarily through lack of respect for the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution,” Imseis told Al Jazeera.

The violations appear to come “primarily from the Israeli side, but not exclusively”, Imseis said.

US ‘delay’ in ceasefire support ‘has caused slaughter of children’: Ilhan Omar

US Congresswoman Ilhan Omar said US President Joe Biden’s delay in expressing support for a ceasefire “has caused the slaughter of children and destruction of lives”.

The tweet came after Biden told Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu in a phone call that he backed a ceasefire.

At least 61 Palestinian children have died since Israel began its bombardment on May 10, following Israeli attacks on Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem and rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip. Two children in Israel have also died.

Biden backs ceasefire, repeats support for Israel

US President Joe Biden “expressed his support for a ceasefire” during a conversation with Israeli caretaker Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday afternoon, according to a White House readout of the conversation.

Biden also “welcomed efforts to address intercommunal violence and to bring calm to Jerusalem” and “encouraged Israel to make every effort to ensure the protection of innocent civilians”.

Israel has come under criticism for the civilian death toll during its air raids.

Still, Biden “reiterated his firm support for Israel’s right to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks”, the readout said.

For all the updates from Monday, May 17, click here.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies