Palestine Live Coverage: Updates from Gaza and the West Bank

Palestine Live Coverage: Updates from Gaza and the West Bank
Live Story
18 May, 2021

Israel's bombardment of the Gaza Strip entered its ninth consecutive day on Tuesday, amid a climbing death toll and attacks on essential infrastructure in the besieged enclave.

More than 200 Palestinians, including at least 58 children, have been killed in Gaza, east Jerusalem and the West Bank in the past week, most of them in Israeli airstrikes and shelling on the densely populated coastal strip.

More than 5,000 others have been wounded across the Palestinian territories.

Check this feed as The New Arab provides regular updates on events in Gaza and the West Bank.

11:59 PM

We are concluding our coverage this evening, after another day of heavy Israeli bombardment across the Gaza Strip and Israeli violence against protesters in the West Bank.

At least 217 Palestinians, including 63 children, have been killed in Israeli airstrikes and shelling on the Gaza Strip since Monday last week, according to Gaza health authorities. More than 1,500 have been injured.

In the West Bank, 24 Palestinians have been killed, and at least 4,713 have been injured by Israel fire.

Please check back tomorrow for more live updates from the Gaza Strip, Jerusalem and the West Bank.

11:30 PM

No more Covid-19 tests in Gaza: Health Ministry

The main laboratory that serves the enclave has ceased to operate and all Covid-19 tests have stopped as a result, Dr Ashraf al-Qidra, the health ministry spokesperson has said, according to Al Jazeera.

A strike on Monday knocked out Gaza's only Covid-19 testing laboratory, the health ministry said, and the Qatari Red Crescent said a strike damaged one of its offices.

Hospitals in the territory, which has been under Israeli blockade for almost 15 years, have been overwhelmed by patients and there are frequent power blackouts.

11:15 PM

Pro-Palestine rally held in Michigan during Biden visit

More than 1,000 rallied and marched through the streets of Dearborn in support of the Palestinian cause as US President Joe Biden visited the Michigan city that boasts a sizeable population of Arab Americans.

Biden's efforts to spotlight his big infrastructure plans are suddenly being overshadowed by the escalating violence between Israel and the Palestinians.

Outside the local police department, only a few miles from where Biden spoke, protesters chanted, "Free, Free Palestine!" and waved Palestinian flags.

Amer Zahr, leader of a group called New Generation for Palestine, said Biden was not welcome in the city that is 47% Arab American, most of them Muslim, the highest percentage among cities in the US.  

"We are not going to stay silent while he waltzes into our city while saying he is giving unwavering support to the Israeli government," Zahr said.

10:58 PM

France pushes for UN Security Council resolution

France’s presidency has called for a resolution at the UN Security Council to stop the violence.

“Overall, the 3 countries agreed on 3 simple elements: the shooting must stop, the time has come for a ceasefire, the UN Security Council must take up the subject and we have also called for a vote on a resolution on the subject,” the presidency said in a statement after talks between President Emmanuel Macron, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Jordan’s King Abdullah.

The three countries had also agreed to launch a humanitarian initiative for the civilian population of the besieged Gaza in conjunction with the United Nations, the statement added.

10:26 PM

Israeli jets launch series of violent airstrikes on southern Gaza, injuring seven

Several Palestinian civilians were injured tonight during a series of violent Israeli airstrikes that targeted the southern besieged Gaza Strip, WAFA reported.

Israeli warplanes targeted, with at least 40 missiles, the eastern parts in the cities of Rafah and Khan Younis, in the southern Strip, injuring at least seven people.

The injured were transferred to hospitals for medical treatment.

10:22 PM

Palestinian girl ‘seriously injured’ by Israeli gunfire in Sheikh Jarrah

A 12-year-old Palestinian was seriously injured Tuesday evening amid violence that broke out with Israeli forces in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of Jerusalem.

Eyewitnesses reported that the Israeli forces shot Sabreen al-Kiswani 12, while she was in her house in Sheikh Jarrah. The girl was taken to hospital for treatment.

The Gaza ministry announced that four Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire in the occupied West bank on Tuesday.

Two Palestinians were killed during the general strike after being shot in the chest and another protester died after sustaining a gunshot wound to the head.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said its teams had treated more than 150 people in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank, including 35 with live bullet wounds and over 80 suffering from tear gas inhalation.

Palestinian authorities say Israeli forces have killed 24 Palestinians in the West Bank since May 10.

10:03 PM

Israeli settlers erect outpost on Palestinian lands in Salfit, West Bank

Israeli settlers erected a new outpost in the Palestinian town of Deir Istia, west of Salfit City in the West Bank, a local official said.

The settlers placed four wooden sheds in the town's western side, with the clear intention of establishing a new settlement outpost, mayor of Deir Istiya Sa’eed Zidan said.

The new outpost is located several meters away from the illegal "Nofim" settlement.

Also on Tuesday, Jewish settlers attacked the mayor of Qarawat Bani Hassan town in the West Bank.

Mayor Ibrahim Assi said five settlers threatened him with weapons when he tried to reach the site of the new outpost, according to WAFA.

9:11 PM

Gaza health ministry updates wounded to 1,442

Gaza's health authorities updated figures of the Palestinians wounded by Israeli bombardment of the besieged strip to 1,442.

The death toll still stands at 213, including 61 children.

7:37 PM

Palestinians fault UN over inaction

The Palestinian ambassador to the United Nations said the inaction of the UN Security Council is costing lives.

"Nobody is succeeding in bringing Israel into compliance to this global call for ending this aggression," Riyad Mansour told reporters on Tuesday. "What is the U.N.'s business if it does not come rushing to help?"

“Look at what’s happening to the vulnerable Palestinian people who are saying enough is enough,” Mansour said.

“Fifty-three years of occupation with this kind of ruthless apartheid occupation against our people and 73 years since the Nakba in which our people, who are citizens of the state of Israel, instead of acquiring their national rights, and living in freedom and dignity there in their ancestral homeland,” he added.

5:46 PM

Israeli forces wound 5 Lebanese protesters near border: media

Five people protesting on the Lebanon-Israel border against air strikes in Gaza were wounded Tuesday by tear gas cannisters and smoke bombs fired by Israeli forces, Lebanese state media said.

"A number of demonstrators climbed a concrete border fence, raised Hezbollah flags and banners, and threw stones," the official National News Agency reported.

"Israeli forces fired tear gas and smoke bombs, leaving five people wounded."

NNA did not say if those injured were Lebanese citizens or Palestinian refugees.

Since last week, a series of protests along Lebanon's frontier have been held against Israel's air campaign on Gaza, a densely populated Palestinian enclave.

5:42 PM

Hungary FM slams EU's 'one-sided' statements against Israel

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto slammed the EU's "one-sided" statements on Israel as his European counterparts called for a ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians.

"I have a general problem with these European statements on Israel... These are usually very much one-sided, and these statements do not help, especially not under current circumstances, when the tension is so high," Szijjarto told AFP in an interview.

5:26 PM

France, Egypt, Jordan hold talks seeking Mideast ceasefire

France's President Emmanuel Macron, his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Jordan's King Abdullah II held talks Tuesday aimed at seeking a ceasefire between the Israelis and the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

Sisi is currently in Paris for summits on Africa while Abdullah joined by video conference, the Elysee Palace said. 

The French presidency said that the trilateral summit meeting aimed "above all to work for a rapid ceasefire and prevent the conflict from extending".

A statement from Sisi's office added after the meeting that the talks sought "to develop a common approach of the three countries to put an end to the violence" and contain "the dangerous escalation" in the Palestinian territories.

5:16 PM

EU top diplomat urges Israel-Palestinian ceasefire

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Tuesday called for the implementation of a ceasefire to stop fighting between Israel and the Palestinians.

"The priority is the immediate cessation of all violence and the implementation of a ceasefire," Borrell said after a video conference of EU foreign ministers, adding the statement was backed by all the bloc's member states except Hungary. 

4:52 PM

US Pentagon chief says Israel has its unwavering support

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin expressed his "unwavering support" for Israel and called for a de-escalation of violence during a call with his Israeli counterpart, the Pentagon has said.

“Austin reiterated the United States’ unwavering support for Israel’s right to defend itself and to protect Israeli civilians, and lamented the loss of innocent Israeli and Palestinian lives,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said.

“Austin expressed his support for de-escalation of the conflict and the restoration of calm.”

4:00 PM

Egypt sends medical aid to Gaza, pledges $500m for rebuilding

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi pledged $500m to aid Gaza's reconstruction efforts in Gaza, Al Jazeera reported.

“Egypt will provide $500m… for the reconstruction process in the Gaza Strip as a result of recent events, with expert Egyptian construction companies implementing the rebuilding,” the president's office was quoted saying.

This comes as Egypt seeks to mediate a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel.

3:56 PM

Almost 2,000 Palestinians detained by Israel since April: NGO

About 1,700 Palestinians have been arrested by Israeli authorities since April 13, according to a Palestinian NGO cited by Al Jazeera.

More than 400 people were arrested in occupied East Jerusalem and 450 others in areas spanning the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Prisoner Society said.

They added that around 850 Palestinian Israelis were apprehended by Israel's police since May 9.

3:47 PM

Blinken insists US not 'in the way of diplomacy' at UN

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday insisted the US was "not standing in the way of diplomacy" in the UN by not backing a Security Council statement on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The UN Security Council is due to meet for a fourth emergency session on Tuesday. Washington has so far refused to adopt a declaration calling for a halt to the violence.

China has accused the US government of obstructionism in the Council's efforts to speak with "one voice."

But diplomats from US allies have also regretted the stance, as President Joe Biden promised to return America to the multilateral arena after his predecessor Donald Trump distanced the country from international cooperation.

3:35 PM

Merkel, Jordan king call for 'swift' Mideast ceasefire

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Jordan's King Abdullah II urged a "swift" ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas in a video call Tuesday, her spokesman said.

"They agreed that initiatives for a swift ceasefire should be supported to create the conditions for the resumption of political negotiations," the spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said in a statement.

3:13 PM

Death toll climbs amidst Israeli attacks on Gaza and frantic diplomacy

Heavy air strikes and rocket fire in the Israel-Gaza conflict claimed more lives on both sides Tuesday as tensions flared in Palestinian "day of anger" protests in Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank.

The UN Security Council was to hold an emergency meeting amid a diplomatic push to end the fighting, a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed Israel would "continue striking at the terrorist targets", AFP reported.

Israel's intense bombing campaign has killed 213 Palestinians, including 61 children, and wounded more than 1,400 people in Gaza in more than a week of fighting against Islamist group Hamas, according to the health ministry in Gaza.

The death toll on the Israeli side rose to 12 when a volley of rockets Hamas fired at the southern Eshkol region killed two Thai nationals working in a factory and wounded several others, police said. 

2:45 PM

More than 90 Palestinians injured and three protesters arrested

The escalating violence on the part of Israeli forces resulted in injuries suffered by 97 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, the Palestine Red Crescent Society said. 

Israeli police also arrested three people at the Damscus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City, while using rubber bullets, skunk water, and stun grenades to disperse protesters, Al Jazeera reported.  

The live and rubber bullets injured 10 people, while 84 people suffered gas inhalation.

12:56 PM

Israel closes Gaza crossing after mortar fire

Israel said it had closed a crossing into Gaza shortly after opening it Tuesday to allow in humanitarian goods, after mortars were fired at the area as aid trucks passed through, AFP reported.

Israel had opened the Kerem Shalom crossing to allow in "trucks carrying civil aid donated by international aid organisations to the Gaza Strip," said COGAT, the Israeli military branch responsible for civil affairs in the Palestinian territories.

"After a firing of mortar bombs towards the Kerem Shalom Crossing... it has been decided to stop the entry of the rest of the trucks," the COGAT statement said.