International efforts to defuse the biggest military conflict between Israeli and Palestinian militants intensified in the seven years before the UN Security Council meeting on Sunday, one night after the war.
The Security Council, chaired by China, will meet in New York on Sunday.
The United States, Egypt and Qatar have been discussing a brief ceasefire to get fuel for Gaza’s only power plant in the Mediterranean enclave, which has been under Israeli blockade since 200 west, two Western diplomats told the Financial Times. An Israeli official estimates that by Monday, the Gaza Strip, home to 2 million people, will be out of fuel.
Israel’s defense minister will meet on Sunday to discuss Hamas’s long-term war proposal, an Israeli government aide told FTK. The army wants the Palestinian group to return the bodies of the two soldiers. The fate of two Israeli nationals detained in Gaza is also at stake, the source said.
Meanwhile, the bombing continued on the seventh day. The Israeli military says it struck the home of Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar and his brother. Sinwar was released from an Israeli prison during a prisoner exchange in 2011 and has since risen to the top of the Hamas leadership. An Israeli official described him as the “biggest threat.”
Hamas fired rockets at cities near Tel Aviv around midnight on Saturday and near the Gaza Strip on Sunday morning.
The death toll in Gaza has risen to 181, including 63 women and children, health officials say.
Local doctors said Israel had received reports of 10 deaths, including two children.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday night, “We are still in the middle of this operation, it is not over yet and this operation will continue as long as necessary.”
Netanyahu defended Israel’s 2014 war with Islamist groups as the “war of justice and morality” against Haman. He added: “We are doing everything we can to avoid or limit harm to civilians as much as possible, but we are doing everything.”
His comments came after Israel destroyed al-Jala’s residential and office blocks, hosted by the US news agency Associated Press and the Qatari television network Al Jazeera. The White House said on Saturday that US President Joe Biden had raised “concerns about the safety and security of journalists” in a one-button bombing of Netanyahu and “strengthened the need to ensure their safety.”
“In recent years … UN Security Council resolutions have not been sincerely implemented, and in particular the right to an independent Palestinian state has continued to be violated,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi was quoted as saying by state media.
The West Bank was relatively calm until Israeli security forces killed 11 Palestinians on Friday, as Arab protesters fired tear gas and Molotov cocktails at Israeli troops during a night of protests. Two Palestinians were killed overnight, including a bullet fired by Israeli forces in the abdomen.
The seat of Fatah, a rival Palestinian group of Hamas, has been occupied by Israel since the 1967 war, and there are about 50,50,000 Jewish settlements, including at least 200,000 in East Jerusalem.
Israel is seeking to quell riots across the country by arresting about 900 people.
Israeli Arabs carry about one-fifth of the population of the Jewish state, carry Israeli passports and have the right to vote. But they say they have suffered discrimination and are targeting the rights of Israeli politicians.
The crisis erupted in the vicinity of Jerusalem and after weeks of tensions when police used rubber bullets, tear gas and stun grenades against Palestinian protesters on the grounds of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest site. More than 60,000 Palestinians were injured.
The Al-Aqsa Mosque is housed in a compound – known to Muslims as the Haram Ash-Sharif or Nobel Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount – sacred to both religions.
Hamas, which claims to have fired rockets into Israel on Monday and to settle Jewish settlers in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem, fought on Monday to demand an end to harassment of Arab residents awaiting eviction orders from Israeli courts.
Additional reports from Katrina Manson in Washington and Primrose Rewordon in Hong Kong