Blinken: U.S. favors Security Council meeting on Israeli-Palestinian conflict early next week

Secretary of State John Blinken said Thursday that the United States favors a Security Council meeting early next week on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The U.S. Department of State says it is “extremely concerned” about the violence in the streets of Israel. The U.S. government has sent officials to mediate in the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The U.S. government has called for an end to the fighting between Israel and the Palestinians.

AFP – Secretary of State John Blinken said Thursday that the U.S. endorses a meeting of the U.N. Security Council early next week on the Israeli-Palestinian situation. This comes after diplomatic sources said “the U.S. is blocking an emergency video conference of the Security Council on the Israeli-Palestinian situation. I think we could consider holding a meeting of the Security Council early next week, and hopefully that would give diplomats some time to try to get results,” Blinken told the media Thursday. Blinken also said he was “extremely concerned” about the violent situation in the streets of Israel.

Earlier, AFP reported that a spokesman for the Chinese delegation, which holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council, said Thursday that no Security Council meeting would be held Friday. A diplomatic source said the United States did not agree to hold a video conference on Friday. AFP quoted another diplomatic source as saying that the U.S. side wanted to hold the meeting in question next Tuesday, a move that would dilute the urgent nature of the Security Council meeting.

Despite U.S. support for Israel’s rejection of U.N. Security Council involvement in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, Tunisia, China and other countries have called for an urgent Security Council meeting Friday to discuss the deteriorating Israeli-Palestinian situation.

The council has held two closed-door video conferences since the 10th, and Israel’s close ally, the United States, has opposed the adoption of a joint statement, which the U.S. believes will not help reduce tensions.

Hamas fired heavy rockets Thursday in the direction of Ramon Airport near Israel’s southernmost port city of Eilat, urging all international airlines to immediately halt flights to Israel.

For days, Israel and militant groups in the Gaza Strip have been attacking each other. Militants have fired 1,600 rockets at the Israeli side, while Israeli forces have conducted air strikes and shelled hundreds of targets in Gaza.

Israel has also amassed tanks and troops on the Gaza border in preparation for a ground offensive.

Israel says it has destroyed three multi-story buildings with Hamas facilities since Monday.

The number of dead Palestinians rose to 87, including 18 children and eight women, and 530 others were wounded, according to Gaza’s health authorities. Islamic Jihad confirmed the deaths of seven militants, and Hamas acknowledged the deaths of 13 people under its umbrella, including a top commander. Israel, for its part, said the number of dead militants was much higher.

On the Israeli side, seven people were killed, including a soldier and a 6-year-old child.

It was also reported that Egypt sent officials to mediate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, first meeting with Hamas leaders in Gaza and then traveling to Tel Aviv for talks with Israeli officials.

Russian President Vladimir Putin called on both Israelis and Palestinians to stop fighting in a video call with U.N. Secretary-General Guterres on Thursday. The Kremlin issued a statement saying the escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and that the priority is to stop the violence on both sides and ensure the safety of civilians. The statement added that both Putin and Guterres support the adoption of a “two-state solution” to secure peace between Israel and Palestine.