Israeli warplanes bomb central Gaza, U.S. envoy arrives for separate talks with both sides

Gaza after Israeli air strikes May 15, 2021.

Israeli warplanes bombed central Gaza on the night of May 14-15. Ten members of one family died in the bombing, according to Gaza’s emergency services on Saturday. It followed a full day of deadly violence in the West Bank. The U.S. special envoy for negotiations has arrived and is in Jerusalem and the West Bank today to negotiate with the Israeli and Palestinian sides, respectively.

Hadi Amr, the State Department’s top official for Israeli-Palestinian affairs, met with Israeli leaders in Jerusalem today, Saturday, before traveling to the occupied West Bank for talks with Palestinian officials. According to State Department deputy spokeswoman Jalina Porter, the U.S. envoy hopes to encourage the two sides to achieve a “lasting calm.

Washington has been criticized for not doing more to end the violence after the U.N. blocked a Security Council meeting on the Israeli-Palestinian crisis that was scheduled for Friday.

The Israeli Air Force attacked several locations in Gaza Friday night. Meanwhile rockets from Gaza were again fired into Israel.

So far this week, Hamas and other Islamist forces in Gaza have fired more than 2,000 rockets into Israel, killing nine people, including a child and a soldier, and wounding more than 560. According to the Israeli military, their “Iron Dome” missile defense system has intercepted about 90 percent of the rockets.

Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip has killed 126 people, including 31 children, and wounded 950 since Monday, according to the latest statistics provided by the Palestinian Authority.

Egypt opened its Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip on Saturday to allow 10 ambulances carrying seriously injured Palestinians to enter Egyptian hospitals for treatment, according to medical officials.

As the international community called for détente, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned that Israeli forces would inflict a “serious setback” on the “terrorist” Hamas movement that controls Gaza. He added: It’s not over yet.” Hamas is paying a price and will continue to pay a heavy price.”

For Israel, the battle lines are growing exponentially. In the West Bank, from Nablus to Hebron and throughout the territory occupied by Israel since 1967, Palestinians have thrown stones, Molotov cocktails and other projectiles at the Israeli army, which has responded with rubber bullets and, in some cases, live ammunition.

Clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces left 11 Palestinians dead and about 250 injured on Friday alone.

Nighttime tensions were also seen in the Shuafat neighborhood of East Jerusalem, where masked Palestinian youths set fire to miscellaneous items and Israeli police responded with tear gas.