Violent Israeli-Palestinian conflict enters second week, U.S. calls for end to conflict

Israel continued its airstrikes on Gaza Monday morning (May 17, 2021). An Associated Press report said the Israeli strikes targeted from north to south, and the airstrikes lasted 10 minutes, striking harder and wider than on Sunday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that he does not intend to immediately stop the airstrikes on the Gaza Strip.

On that day, Israeli jet fighters blew up three construction buildings, killing at least 42 people in the deadliest airstrike in the latest round of violence between Israel and the Hamas militant group that controls the Gaza Strip.

Also on Sunday, Hamas fired rockets from civilian areas in Gaza into Israeli civilian areas, hitting a synagogue in the southern town, but no injuries were reported.

The Gaza Health Ministry says at least 197 Palestinians have been killed since clashes began May 10, including at least 58 children and 34 women. In addition, rockets have killed at least 10 Israelis, including a 6-year-old child.

U.S. Secretary of State John Blinken called the foreign ministers of Egypt, Qatar, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and France on Sunday to discuss “urgent action to stop the conflict that is deeply affecting Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.”

The U.N. Security Council met the same day to discuss ways to quell the normal conflict. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who holds the Council’s rotating presidency, told the meeting that the Palestinians and Israelis should immediately cease military and hostile actions, and that Israel in particular should exercise restraint. He added, “The Council has so far failed to issue a unified voice because of the obstruction of one country. We call on the United States to assume its due responsibility and take a fair position.”

The United States has repeatedly voted against relevant resolutions in the Council to stop what Washington says is unfair treatment of Israel by the Council.