President Joe Biden pauses while speaking in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, the United States, Monday, May 10, 2021.
Chris Kleponis | Bloomberg | Getty Images
President Joe biden Thursday called for a de-escalation of violence in Israel and the Gaza Strip as attacks escalate and more people are killed.
The president told reporters at the White House that he planned to have additional conversations with leaders in the region.
Israeli ground forces bombed and sent troops and tanks at the Gaza border after Palestinian militants fired more rockets at Israel on Thursday.
At least 103 people have been killed, including 27 children, in Gaza in the past four days, according to Palestinian medical officials. Seven people have been killed in Israel, including a soldier and civilians, amid airstrikes and rocket attacks between the IDF and the militant group Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip.
A photo shows the explosion after an Israeli strike targeted a building in Gaza City on May 14, 2021.
Mahmud Hams | AFP | Getty Images
Israel has said it is deploying troops to the Gaza border ahead of a possible ground invasion of Hamas-ruled territory after four days of continuous cross-border conflict. The heightened military response also followed violence among Arab and Jewish crowds on the streets of Israel this week, which led to dozens of arrests.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned in a televised speech that the escalation of the conflict had put Israel in two fighting campaigns – in Gaza and in cities of Israel – and reiterated his pledge to deploy military personnel to combat violence in the towns.
“I call once again on the citizens of Israel not to take justice into their own hands; anyone who does will be severely punished,” Netanyahu said. “We will act with all our might against enemies from outside and offenders from within in order to restore calm to the State of Israel.”
An invasion of Gaza by ground troops has yet to be announced. Some world leaders and lawmakers have condemned the conflict and urged addressing the violence that they say could escalate into all-out war.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin has called for a “senseless civil war” amid unrest in cities. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for “an immediate de-escalation and cessation of hostilities” in the region.
“Too many innocent civilians have already died,” Guterres wrote in a tweet. “This conflict can only increase radicalization and extremism across the region.”
Palestinians assess the damage caused by Israeli airstrikes in Beit Hanun in the northern Gaza Strip on May 14, 2021.
Mahmud Hams | AFP | Getty Images
Senator Chris Murphy, D-Conn., The chairman of the foreign relations subcommittee, has called for a ceasefire in the region as quickly as possible to prevent more civilian deaths.
“Ground operations will not prevent rockets from falling on Israel, nor will they solve the basic security challenges facing Israel,” Murphy said in a statement Thursday. “Only a short-term ceasefire and a real path to a viable long-term two-state future can achieve this.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed on Wednesday that the United States will send Hady Amr, Assistant Under Secretary of State for Israeli and Palestinian Affairs, to urge Israelis and Palestinians to defuse violence.
The US State Department on Thursday also raised his travel advice in Israel, citing the armed conflict and civil unrest, and told people not to travel to Gaza due to Covid-19 and the conflict.
– Reuters and Associated Press contributed reporting
Israeli soldiers from an artillery unit gather near the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip on the Israeli side on May 14, 2021.
Amir Cohen | Reuters