Jerusalem Aflame: EU Urges Israel to Defuse Violence as Airstrikes Kill Paletinian Civilians

Written by | Tuesday, May 18th, 2021

The EU and US have voiced alarm over growing violence in Jerusalem, while urging Israel to curb settlement expansion. Three nights of unrest in the city, which erupted on Friday (7 May), have left over 300 people and dozens of policemen injured, while the fighting between Israelis and Palestinians has intensified, with civilians on both sides killed. Over the past three days, just after daybreak, Israel hit Gaza City with dozens of airstrikes targeting police and security installations. Gaza militants continued to fire a barrage of rockets at the densely populated Tel Aviv metropolitan area, setting off air-raid sirens and explosions throughout the city. The Israeli military said more than 1,300 rockets have been fired by Palestinian militants since Monday night, with about 90% of them either intercepted by Israel’s missile shield or falling on Israel, and at least 200 falling on the Palestinian side.
The international community has called on both sides to de-escalate the situation. United Nation’s Secretary-General Antonio Gutteres called on Israeli security forces to “exercise maximum restraint and calibrate their use of force” and said that the “indiscriminate launching of rockets and mortars towards Israeli population centres if unacceptable.” Also European Council President Charles Michel called on Israelis and Palestinians to halt fighting and avoid civilian casualties, after speaking with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. “Very worried by the recent upsurge of violence and indiscriminate targeting. Priority should be de-escalation and prevention of the loss of innocent civilian lives on both sides,” Michel said on Twitter. But the spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday (12 May) said her government “condemns these incessant rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip against Israeli cities in the strongest terms”, saying they “could not be justified”. “Israel has the right to self-defence against these attacks,” he added.
Meanwhile, the chief prosecutor of The Hague-based International Criminal Court voiced concern at the escalation of violence between Israel and the Palestinians and said “crimes” may have been committed. “I note with great concern the escalation of violence in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as well as in and around Gaza, and the possible commission of crimes under the Rome Statute [which founded the ICC],” Fatou Bensouda said on Twitter on Wednesday. Israel faced heavy criticism over the bombing of residential buildings in Gaza during the 2014 war, among several tactics that are now the subject of an investigation by the ICC into possible war crimes. Israel is not a member of the court and has rejected the probe.

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