US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has called on Israelis and Palestinians to spare the lives of civilians and children in their struggle.
As of Monday last week, a total of more than 200 people have been killed, including civilians and children in the Gaza Strip and in Israel.
Blinken also said he had received no information about an Israeli attack on an apartment building in Gaza where, among others, the AP news agency and news channel al-Jazeera had an office. Israeli media suggests that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would have spoken to US President Joe Biden about it even before that attack. But Blinken said the US had asked Israel for “details and a justification” for the bombing.
The US is Israel’s central pillar of support. In a high tone of this ally, it has not yet demanded that a ceasefire with the Palestinian Hamas movement and the Islamic Jihad fighting group should be swiftly agreed upon. The Israeli army announced on Monday that it killed a leading Jihad commander, Husam Abu Harbid.
Israeli media view the US government’s reluctance as support for the attacks on the Gaza Strip. Biden and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, recently said that Israel is defending itself against attacks. But in their Democratic Party, there has long been a current that has strongly criticized Washington’s unconditional support for Israel. On Sunday, 28 Democratic senators demanded a ceasefire from Israel and the Palestinian fighters in a joint statement.
In the Security Council, the US UN ambassador, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, did not do that this weekend. She just said her country is ready to help if the warring factions want a truce. Thomas-Greenfield did call for actions that would fuel violence, such as evicting Arab residents of East Jerusalem from their homes. All parties should respect the “historical status quo of those sacred sites”, she says.
The current escalation of violence is in response to the threat of deportation of a series of Arab families to make way for Jewish settlers.