the the worst Israeli-Palestinian fighting in years overturned Tuesday in a ninth day as the IDF shelled Gaza and southern Lebanon and Hamas militants fired rockets at towns in southern Israel, hours after President Biden expressed support for a ceasefire during a call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Mr Biden’s carefully crafted statement did not respond to an immediate request from Israeli bombing campaign in Gaza, which showed little sign of an end after Mr. Netanyahu said on Monday that his country’s armed forces “would continue to hit terrorist targets.”
Despite growing concern in foreign capitals over violence – and among some of Israel’s staunchest defenders in Washington – the region’s most violent clashes since the 2014 war have threatened to escalate. Late Monday, the IDF fired artillery shells at Lebanon for the first time since hostilities began, hitting what it said were Palestinian militants who had attempted to fire rockets at Israel.
The IDF said it believed a small Palestinian faction in Lebanon – not the militant group Hezbollah – fired the rockets, most of which failed to reach Israeli territory. The United Nations peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon tweeted that he had stepped up patrols in the area and that the situation on Tuesday morning was calm.
But the civilian toll continued to rise. As of Monday evening, the Israeli bombardment killed 212 people in Gaza, including dozens of children, and Hamas rockets killed at least 10 in Israel.
The IDF said Hamas fired almost as many rockets in eight days – 3,350 – as it did during the 50-day war the two sides fought in 2014. About 90 percent of them were destroyed in the air by the Iron Dome, an anti-missile. defense system funded in part by the United States, the IDF said.
The fighting has focused on the Gaza Strip, the overcrowded coastal enclave ruled by Hamas, as the IDF shells the infrastructure and underground tunnels that Hamas uses to support its military operations. But protests and violence also erupted in the West Bank and Israel, where Arabs clashed with Israeli police and Jewish residents.
Palestinian activists from the three territories have called for a general strike Tuesday to protest the Israeli bombing of Gaza and decades of occupation and discrimination against Palestinians. This initiative enjoys the support of Hamas and its rival Fatah, the ruling Palestinian Authority party which exercises limited autonomy in parts of the West Bank.
The Biden administration has stepped up its diplomatic engagement, dispatching an envoy to the region last week. During a reading of Mr. Biden’s appeal with Mr. Netanyahu, White House officials said the president had “expressed support for a ceasefire and discussed the commitment of states- United with Egypt and other partners to this end ”. But Mr. Biden had “reiterated his strong support for Israel’s right to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks,” the statement added.
The Biden administration previously avoided using the term “ceasefire”, with senior officials like Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken referring instead to the need for “lasting calm” and others referring to the need for “lasting calm”. the need for “restraint”.
While a ceasefire would be welcomed by the White House, Mr. Netanyahu has made it clear in recent days that he intends to continue bombing until Israel destroys the rocket stockpile. , launchers and Hamas tunnels from which Hamas fighters operate. Speaking on Monday after meeting with Israeli security officials, Netanyahu said, “We will continue to take all necessary measures to restore calm and security for all residents of Israel.”
In his conversations with Middle Eastern leaders, Mr. Biden attempted to shift the United States to a more neutral role as a peacemaker, after four years of former President Donald J. Trump in favor of Israel.
On Saturday, the White House underscored Mr. Biden’s recent “decision to resume assistance to the Palestinian people, including economic and humanitarian aid for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza,” and his renewed call for “a two-state negotiated solution. as the best way to achieve a just and lasting resolution. “
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters on Monday that the administration would not disclose full details of Biden’s communications with conflict leaders. “Our approach is through silent and intensive diplomacy,” she said. “This is how we think we can be the most effective.”