During an open debate at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) revolving around the circumstances in the Middle East due to the ongoing conflict between Palestine and Israel, India’s permanent representative to the body, Ambassador TS Tirumurti, taking a diplomatic stance, condemned both the camps for their indiscriminate firing of rockets. He said, “We urge both sides to show extreme restraint, desist from actions that exacerbate the tensions, and refrain from attempts to unilaterally change the existing status quo, including in East Jerusalem and its neighbourhood.” He stated that immediate de-escalation was the need of the hour.
India also mourned the loss of the 30-year-old nurse from Kerala, Soumya Santosh, who was killed in a rocket firing by Gaza towards Israel. India said, “We deeply mourn her demise along with all others who have lost their lives in the current cycle of violence, provocation, incitement, and destruction.” It was mentioned that she was on a call with her husband when the rocket took her life.
In yet another major development, as far as the conflict is concerned, the Times of Israel had reported that Israeli Defence Forces had managed to eliminate an Islamic Jihad terrorist on Monday, May 17th. The terrorist, Hussam Abu Harbeed was killed in his home in northern Gaza by an Israeli airstrike. Reportedly, he was the commander of the terror outfit’s operations in northern Gaza. As per the Israeli Defence Forces, Harbeed had led attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians for 15 years.
On the other hand, a rocket from Gaza had hit a chicken coop in southern Israel which led to a fire breaking out. Besides this, a number of Israelis were slightly injured after a rocket hit a home in Ashdod.
Meanwhile, the USA President Joe Biden has approved the sale of $735 million in- precision guided weapons to Israel. Joe Biden has also told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he expected a certain degree of de-escalation in the military action of Israel against Palestine, which may then lead to a ceasefire.
With Palestine and Israel being at loggerheads, Syria and Lebanon have jumped into the scenario as well. Earlier on Friday, 14th May, Syria had shot three missiles at Israel. One had fallen inside Syria itself and two others in open lands of the Golan Heights. After which, on Monday, 17th May, Lebanon had launched six rockets against Israel, but all of those had fallen inside Lebanon itself. As a retaliatory response, Israel had then launched rockets towards the source of the Lebanese launches. Last Thursday too, Lebanon had fired rockets towards Israel but all three of those had fallen into the Mediterranean Sea.
6 rockets were just fired from Lebanon toward northern Israel, all of which fell inside Lebanon.
In response, our artillery forces fired toward the sources of the launches.
— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) May 17, 2021
Amidst the conflict, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has asked Hamas to reach a ceasefire agreement with Israel. The UAE has been in talks with Hamas about various infrastructure projects and investments to be made by them in the Gaza Strip, for the betterment of the people living there. A senior UAE official said, “We are still ready and willing to promote civil projects in cooperation with the Palestinian Authority and under UN management (in Gaza) but our necessary condition is calm.”
Last year, the USA under the Donald Trump administration had helped broker a peace deal between the UAE and Israel in the form of ‘Abraham Accords’.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas will now travel to Israel and the Palestinian territories on Thursday, May 20th, for political talks. The talks will focus on the current increase in the violence and ways through which the same can cease to exist.
Besides this, the Arab League Parliament organized a meeting on Wednesday in Cairo and expressed their solidarity with the Palestine state, and condemned Israel. Israel was accused of being an apartheid State which was colonizing in nature and of carrying out ‘ethnic cleansing’.
On the other hand, Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday said that the military action and bombing campaign was aimed at subduing Hamas but did not rule out a campaign to ‘conquer’ the enclave’s Islamist rulers. He said, “There are two ways that you can deal with them. You can either conquer them, and that’s always an open possibility, or you can deter them, and we are engaged right now in forceful deterrence, but I have to say that we don’t rule out anything.”