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Calls grow for Israel to end bloodshed as death toll rises in Gaza

Members of the Palestinian Abu Dayer family cry at the al-Shifa hospital after the death of family members in an Israeli airstrike on Gaza City on May 17, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

Calls are growing worldwide for Israel to end its bloody military aggression on the Gaza Strip as more Palestinians fall victim to the occupying regime’s onslaught on the besieged coastal sliver.

According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, 219 people, including 63 children and 36 women, have been killed and at least 1,530 others wounded, in the Israeli bombardment of Gaza since May 10.

More than 52,000 Palestinians have been displaced in the military offensive that has destroyed or badly damaged almost 450 buildings in Gaza, including six hospitals and nine primary carehealth centers, the United Nations humanitarian agency said.

France, Egypt, Jordan work on truce

Egypt and UN mediators have stepped up diplomatic efforts, and the UN General Assembly is expected to discuss the conflict on Thursday.

France has also proposed a resolution with the UN Security Council (UNSC) calling for a ceasefire, the president’s office said in a statement late Tuesday.

French President Emmanuel Macron and his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, agreed on the resolution in a video conference with Jordan’s King Abdullah II, the statement read.

“The three countries agreed on three simple elements: The shooting must stop, the time has come for a ceasefire and the UN Security Council must take up the issue,” the Elysee Palace said.

The UNSC has so far failed to adopt any declaration on the conflict, with the United States, a staunch Israel ally, having already rejected three draft resolutions proposed by China, Norway and Tunisia.

Smoke billows following an Israeli airstrike on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on May 18, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

EU (except Hungary) calls for ceasefire

On Tuesday, European Union foreign ministers called for a ceasefire and boosted humanitarian aid for Gaza, but failed to reach unanimity.

Hungary, Israel’s closest ally in the 27-nation bloc, declined to join the other 26 top diplomats in calling for a truce in their video call, convened by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.

Nevertheless, the other ministers vowed that the EU would try to re-launch the peace process along with the US, Russia and the UN, that comprise the Middle East Quartet.

“The priority is the immediate cessation of all violence and the implementation of a ceasefire. Not only to agree but to implement a ceasefire. The purpose is to protect civilians and to give full humanitarian access in Gaza. The second is to consider that the upsurge of violence in the last days has led to a high number of civilian casualties, dead and injured, among them a high number of children and women, and that this is unacceptable,” Borrell said.

Palestinians stand near debris in the aftermath of an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City, on May 19, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

France says conflict may engulf region

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian warned that the conflict could spread throughout the region if no ceasefire is agreed, saying he hoped that Israel would not launch a ground operation in Gaza.

“Each day brings greater risks: the risk of the conflict spreading to the West Bank, the risk of violence inside Israel itself, the risk that the conflict becomes a regional one,” he told reporters in Paris.

Le Drian also noted that “one of the reasons for the dramatic situation today is precisely because there is no perspective for a political process. What we need to do is find the path to a political process, but before anything else, to ensure that there is an end to the hostilities.”

Germany backs mediation efforts

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas emphasized the role of the Middle East Quartet, saying, “We are in favor of further expanding his mediation efforts.”

“We must use our relationships with both sides to encourage confidence-building steps that could lead to calming the situation …,” he added. “Only that way will it be possible to talk again about a lasting solution to the Middle East conflict.”

Iraqi official urges EU to take serious stance on Israeli assaults

In a meeting with German Ambassador to Iraq Ole Diehl, head of Iraq’s al-Hikma (Wisdom) National Movement Ammar al-Hakim said the European countries must take “a serious stance” on the Zionist regime’s brutal attacks on the Palestinian people.

Iraqi cleric hopes Palestinian uprising will bring end to Zionists

In a series of tweets, Iraqi Shia cleric Muqtada Sadr, who heads the Sadrist Movement, expressed hope that “the current Palestinian uprising would be the beginning for an end to the the Zionists and the starting point of stability in the entire region.”

“Many predicted that the Palestinian uprising was over, so the United States accelerated the sale of Jerusalem al-Quds to the terrorist Zionists, and other countries normalized relations with the Zionist enemy,” he said.

“This time, however, the Palestinian uprising is limited neither to stones nor Gaza. It covered all the alleys of holy al-Quds, Ramallah and all the occupied lands. This issue also included all those who believe in the Palestinian cause and not just the Arabs, in a way that the scope of support for the Palestinian nation has reached Indonesia,” the Iraqi politician added.

Protesters and activists shut down a street as they voice anger at Israel and support of Palestinians in New York City on May 18, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

Iraq’s Hezbollah Movement says ready to support Palestinians

The head of the political bureau of Iraq’s Hezbollah movement will spare no efforts to support Palestinian fighters.

He made the remarks in a telephone conversation with Ismail Haniyeh and Ziyad al-Nakhalah, leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad resistance movements based in Gaza.

Turkey says will never stop backing Palestine

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Ankara would never stop supporting the Palestinian cause.

"Under the leadership of our president [Recep Tayyip Erdogan], and with the power vested in us by our parliament, we will never give up supporting the Palestinian cause," he told lawmakers at the parliament.

"Turkey is pioneering diplomatic efforts on the Palestine issue and will continue to be the voice of conscience and justice in the world.”

He also complained that the international community's reaction to the Israeli onslaught on Gaza was "weak" and that some countries had "closed their eyes to the war crimes" committed by the Tel Aviv regime.

The UN could not release a statement of condemnation on Israeli violence against the Palestinians due to the United States' opposition, as Washington considers the oppressor and the oppressed equal, Cavusoglu stressed.

Pro-Palestine protests hit several cities

On Tuesday, several cities across the world witnessed protests in solidarity with the Palestinians.

Members of the Palestinian community in Chile take part in a protest against Israel's military operations in Gaza and in support of the Palestinian people, in Santiago on May 18, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

Lebanese protesters gathered in the southern village of Adaisseh on the border with the occupied territories. They threw rocks at Israeli forces who fired tear gas and smoke grenades at the demonstrators.

Another pro-Palestine rally was also held in the Lebanese capital, Beirut.

Additionally, Baghdad was the scene of similar protests throughout Tuesday called by Iraq’s Islamic Dawa Party and politician Khamis Al-Khanjar.

Pro-Palestine demonstrations were further held in the Brazilian cities of Sao Paulo, Recife and Manaus as well as the Chilean and Mexican capital of Santiago and Mexico City.

In New York, thousands gathered outside the Israeli consulate to voice their support for Palestine.

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