Netanyahu to continue attacking Gaza despite Biden’s deescalation request

Jerusalem, May 19 (EFE).- Israel and Gaza on Wednesday were in their 10th day of armed conflict as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted on continuing the military operation against the STrip despite the call by US President Joe Biden to make a significant “deescalation” in the fighting.

Just as in recent days, even as air raid alarms sounded in Israeli towns because of rockets in the air indiscriminately fired from Gaza toward Israeli territory and the Jewish state’s army continuing to attack targets in the enclave, Netanyahu said that the offensive against the Islamist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad will continue “until its aim is met,” showing no signs of deescalating the violence despite international calls for a ceasefire.

Netanyahu said he was determined to continue with the military operation until peace and security had been restored to Israel’s citizens.

This is the stance he has taken since the eruption of the violence on May 10, but he reiterated it without beating around the bush on Wednesday after speaking with Biden.

Earlier on Wednesday, the White House had released a readout of a telephone call between Biden and Netanyahu saying that the US president told the Israeli premier that he “expected a significant de-escalation today on the path to a ceasefire.”

However, the Israeli government and military are continuing to beat the war drums. After attacking more than 1,000 targets in Gaza over the past 10 days, they are saying that they have determined that there are still many sites that need to be bombed and they will not give in to Hamas and Islamic Jihad, militia members of which have fired some 4,000 rockets at Israeli territory since the start of the conflict.

So far, the violence has resulted in 227 Palestinian deaths in Gaza, including 64 children and 38 women, while 1,620 people have been wounded.

In Israel, 12 people have died in the rocket attacks, including two children, and the number of wounded exceeds 340.

The two million residents of Gaza awoke on Wednesday to the smell of death, dust and explosives after another night of fear and anxiety regarding the intense bombardment by Israeli warplanes and artillery, which killed 15 more people in the past 24 hours.

The neighborhood of Remal, in the Gaza capital, has been devastated, with buildlings reduced to rubble and bodies trapped inside the ruins, as well as roadways and key infrastructure destroyed, EFE determined.

That neighborhood, one of the most elegant and lively in the enclave, has also lost almost all its taller buildings, which have been toppled by Israeli bombs and artillery fire.

In the same district, three members of a family – a disabled man, his pregnant wife and their daughter – died as they were shaltering in their home.

“What’s happening against the civilians in the Gaza Strip is a terrible massacre,’ said Ashraf al-Qedra, the spokesman for the Gaza Health Ministry, who urged the international community to intervene.

A total of 1,174 homes have been completely destroyed and 7,073 have been damaged, while 156 residential buildings have been toppled, and 57 schools and medical centers have been damaged.

All this is creating an ever-worse humanitarian crisis, which was denounced on Wednesday by the US agency for Palestinian refugees, which issued an urgent call for $38 million with which to begin to repair the damage in the Palestinian territory.

France is trying to push forward in the UN Security Council a resolution about the Middle East conflict, but the US, which so far has blocked any pronouncement by that body, expressed its opposition to such a move on Wednesday.

For now, the Security Council remains officially silent on the violence in the Gaza Strip after Washington blocked several attempts to move forward with a declaration of agreement calling for a ceasefire.

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