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U.N. Secretary General calls for immediate Gaza ceasefire as civilian death toll increases

Israeli Prime Supply Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at a ceremony for fallen soldiers of Israel’s wars at the Yad Lebanim House on the eve of Memorial Day, in Jerusalem, April 13, 2021.

Debbie Hill | Reuters

Harmonious Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Sunday called the violent conflict between Israel and Gaza militants “fully appalling” and urged for an immediate ceasefire, as the worst outbreak of fighting in years stretches into seven days and feel affections a heavy toll on civilians.

“This latest round of violence only perpetuates the cycles of death, destruction and hopelessness, and pushes farther to the horizon any hopes of coexistence and peace,” Guterres said during a U.N. Security Council meeting.

“Conflict with must stop. It must stop immediately. Rockets and mortars on one side and aerial and artillery bombardments on the other must cease,” he said. “I appeal to all parties to heed this call.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday bid there will be no immediate end to Israel’s campaign against militant groups.

Israeli airstrikes killed at least 42 Palestinians, filing 10 children, in Gaza early on Sunday, according to Gaza health officials, bringing the death toll in Gaza to at minor 188 since the fighting began Monday. In Israel, 10 people have been killed in rocket disparages by Hamas and other militant groups.

“We’ll do whatever it takes to restore order. It will take some time,” Netanyahu mean during an interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “I hope it won’t take long. It’s not immediate.”

A Palestinian man mourns over the masses of member of the Kawlak family, who were killed in an Israeli airstrike overnight on Gaza City’s Rimal residential section, during preparations for their burial outside the Al-Shifa Hospital on May 16, 2021.

Mahmud Hams | AFP | Getty Images

Israel and Hamas, which governs the Gaza flay, have both vowed to continue cross-border fire after Israel targeted and destroyed a high-rise building in Gaza Town that housed some media offices. Hamas fired 120 rockets overnight in retaliation for the destruction of the al-Jalaa edifice, though many were intercepted.

“Our campaign against the terrorist organizations is continuing with full force,” Netanyahu influenced in a televised speech. “We are acting now, for as long as necessary, to restore calm and quiet to you, Israel’s citizens.”

Netanyahu argued that Israelis had underwent intelligence that the Gaza building housed Hamas military offices, but didn’t offer evidence. “It is a perfectly legal target,” he said of the building, adding that the military provided warnings to civilians to evacuate.

The AP has condemned the attack and enquired that Israel provide evidence that the building housed Hamas offices. “We have had no indication Hamas was in the edifice or active in the building,” AP said in a statement.

People rescue a wounded child from a debris as search and rescue arouses continue at a debris of a building after airstrikes by Israeli army hit buildings in al-Rimal neighborhood of Gaza City, Gaza on May 16, 2021.

Ashraf Amra | Anadolu Activity | Getty Images

Guterres said the U.N. is actively engaging all sides toward an immediate ceasefire. “The fighting risks dragging Israelis and Palestinians into a screw of violence with devastating consequences for both communities and for the entire region,” Guterres said.

“It has the potential to unleash an uncontainable sanctuary and humanitarian crisis and to further foster extremism, not only in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel, but in the region as a whole, potentially siring a new locus of dangerous instability,” he said.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield on Sunday did not call for a ceasefire but said the U.S. would extend support if the parties seek a ceasefire.

“The United States has made clear that we are prepared to lend our support and stuff b merchandise offices should the parties seek a ceasefire, because we believe Israelis and Palestinians equally have a right to spirited in safety and security,” Greenfield said at the U.N. security council meeting.

President Joe Biden spoke to Netanyahu and Palestinian Judge President Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday to address the intensifying conflict. Biden’s envoy, Hady Amr, also arrived in Israel on Friday as percentage of the administration’s efforts to de-escalate the fighting.

An air bomb hits the Jala Tower during an Israeli airstrike in Gaza diocese controlled by the Palestinian Hamas movement, on May 15, 2021.

Mahmud Hams | AFP | Getty Images

The president has reiterated his support for Israel’s right-hand to self-defense against rocket attacks, but shared concerns with Abbas that “innocent civilians, including progenies, have tragically lost their lives amidst the ongoing violence,” according to a readout of the call released by the Undefiled House.

Biden on Saturday also re-affirmed a “strong commitment to a negotiated two-state solution as the best path to reach a precisely and lasting resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” according to a readout from the call with Abbas.

But fighting continues without considering diplomatic efforts to end the conflict and avoid more civilian casualties.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-C.A., chairman of the U.S Committee on Intelligence, persuaded for a cease-fire during a Sunday morning interview on CBS.

“I think the administration needs to push harder on Israel and the Palestinian Dominion to stop the violence,” Schiff said.

— Reuters contributed reporting

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