Calls mount for Gaza-Israel cease-fire, greater US efforts
UN Security Council diplomats and Muslim foreign ministers convened emergency meetings on Sunday to demand a stop to civilian bloodshed as Israeli warplanes carried out the deadliest attacks in nearly a week of Hamas rocket barrages and Israeli airstrikes. Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden gave no signs of stepping up public pressure on Israel to agree to an immediate cease-fire.
'US working through diplomatic channels to stop the fighting'
US ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, told an emergency high-level meeting of the Security Council that the US was working through diplomatic channels to stop the fighting. The Biden administration, determined to wrench US foreign policy focus away from the Middle East and Afghanistan, has declined so far to criticize Israel's part in the fighting or send a top-level envoy to the region.
The armed conflict pushes a solution further away: Thomas-Greenfield
Thomas-Greenfield warned that the return to armed conflict would only put a negotiated two-state solution to the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict even further out of reach. However, the United States, Israel's closest ally, has so far blocked days of efforts by China, Norway, and Tunisia to get the Security Council to issue a statement, including a call for the cessation of hostilities.
US reportedly hasn't urged Israel to join in a cease-fire
Biden reportedly focused on civilian deaths from Hamas rockets in a call with Netanyahu on Saturday, and a White House readout of the call made no mention of the US urging Israel to join in a cease-fire that regional countries were pushing.
Close to 200 people have lost their lives
Israeli airstrikes on Gaza City flattened three buildings and reportedly killed at least 42 people on Sunday, bringing the toll since Hamas and Israel opened their air and artillery battles to at least 188 killed in Gaza and eight in Israel. Some 55 children in Gaza and a 5-year-old boy in Israel were among the dead.
Netanyahu has signaled that the war will continue
Meanwhile, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu in an address said that Israel wants to levy a heavy price on Hamas. That will take time, Netanyahu said, signaling the war would rage on for now. Representatives of Muslim nations met to demand Israel halt attacks that are killing Palestinian civilians in the Gaza strip. Saudi Foreign Minister called on the international community to take urgent action.
UN working to reach an immediate cease-fire: Guterres
At the virtual meeting of the Security Council, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the UN was actively engaging all parties for an immediate cease-fire. Eight foreign ministers spoke at the session, with almost all urging an end to the fighting. Earlier, Biden's predecessor, Donald Trump, had thrown US support solidly behind Israel, embracing Netanyahu as an ally in Trump's focus on confronting Iran.