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Calls mount for Gaza-Israel cease-fire, greater US efforts

APTOPIX Israel Palestinians
Posted at 4:00 PM, May 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-16 21:06:18-04

U.N. Security Council diplomats and Muslim foreign ministers have convened emergency meetings to demand a stop to civilian bloodshed in the Mideast.

Sunday's urgent appeals came as Israeli warplanes carried out the deadliest attacks yet during nearly a week of unrelenting Hamas rocket barrages and Israeli airstrikes.

President Joe Biden has given no signs of pressuring Israel to agree to an immediate cease-fire. That's despite more calls from some Democrats for the Biden administration to step up mediation efforts.

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations says the United States “has been working tirelessly through diplomatic channels” to try to end the conflict between Palestinians in Gaza and Israel, and is warning that the current cycle of violence will only put a negotiated two-state solution to the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict further out of reach.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield told a high-level emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council that President Joe Biden spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday and Secretary of State Antony Blinken has spoken with senior Israeli, Palestinian and regional leaders.

At the same meeting, Israel’s U.N. ambassador called the rocket attacks launched by Gaza’s Hamas rulers against Israel “completely premeditated” to gain political power and replace the Palestinian Authority as the leader of the Palestinians.

He said the rocketing of Israel was part of “a vicious plan” by Hamas, which not only seeks the destruction of Israel but is vying to take power in the West Bank and was frustrated when Abbas postponed elections last month that would have been the first in 15 years.

Israel stages new round of heavy airstrikes on Gaza City
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip -- Israeli warplanes have unleashed a series of heavy airstrikes in Gaza City hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signaled the fourth war with Gaza’s Hamas rulers would rage on.

Explosions rocked the city from north to south for 10 minutes early Monday.

The attack was heavier, on a wider area and lasted longer than a series of air raids 24 hours earlier in which 42 Palestinians were killed.

The strike early Sunday was the deadliest single attack in the latest round of violence between Israel and the Hamas militant group that rules Gaza.

In a televised address Sunday, Netanyahu said Israel's attacks were continuing at “full-force” and will “take time.“

Hamas also pressed on, launching rockets from civilian areas in Gaza toward civilian areas in Israel.