On May 11, 2021, Israel responded to a Hamas rocket attack by launching air strikes on the Palestinian Gaza Strip.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Wednesday (12) that the Biden administration will send a senior State Department diplomat to the Middle East “immediately” in an effort to de-escalate the deadly conflict between Israel and Hamas.
At least 53 Palestinians and seven Israelis have been killed as deadly rocket fire and air strikes by the extremist Palestinian group Hamas and Israel continued Wednesday. It is the worst outbreak of violence between the two sides since 2014, and there are no signs that the conflict will end.
U.N. Middle East envoy Tor Wennesland warned Wednesday that the situation “is escalating toward full-scale war.
U.S. President Joe Biden is under increasing pressure to help stop the violence. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday that Biden will nominate “a qualified and experienced ambassador to Israel” in the next few weeks. She also said the U.S. and Israel have had 25 high-level calls on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including 10 yesterday alone.
Biden told reporters Wednesday night that he had spoken with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Biden expects an early end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, while stressing Israel’s right to self-defense.
Aaron David Miller, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a U.S. think tank, and an expert on the Middle East, said, “We’re not going to say… . that Israel should back off, not when the Ben Gurion airport is closed and Israelis are living in shelters.”
Miller said the White House could intervene more directly if the conflict continues for another two weeks.
Goldenberg, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, a Washington think tank, said the U.S. is an important player in the conflict, but “we need to be realistic about We need to be realistic about what we can do.” He noted that Hamas is a U.S.-designated terrorist organization and that U.S. officials do not communicate directly with Hamas.
“The most important mediators are Egypt and the United Nations.” Goldberg stressed that Biden needs to make clear to Israeli leaders that the U.S. will support these mediation efforts and tell other international actors to keep their heads above water.
“The question is whether it will happen in 48 hours or in 50 days.” Goldberg is concerned that the early results are not promising at all and that this is a very dangerous time.
James Cleverly, the British Foreign Office minister of state for the Middle East and North Africa, said Thursday that “Israel has a right to defend itself” and called on Hamas to stop firing rockets into Israel.
“It’s important for both sides to take a step back.” “However, we are seeing rocket attacks on Israel at an unprecedented level,” Cleverly told Britain’s Sky News.