The health ministry of Gaza said the dead included 64 children and 38 women.
On the 10th day of the escalating violence, US President Joe Biden discussed the Gaza events with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying he expected “a significant de-escalation today on the path to a ceasefire”.
However, Netanyahu said after the phone call with Biden that he was “determined” to continue bombarding Gaza until Israel’s “aim is met”.
Meanwhile, diplomatic efforts for a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas government have failed to make much headway.
The United States continued to block the UN Security Council from issuing a joint statement urging an end to the hostilities, telling diplomats that a public statement would not help calm the tensions.
France, however, says it is working with Israel’s neighbours, Egypt and Jordan, on a new ceasefire resolution. China said it was “supportive” of the French proposal.
Here are Wednesday’s developments – as they happened:
South Africa president says Israel is an ‘apartheid’ state
South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa said in an interview with television outlet France 24 that the Israeli treatment of Palestinians resembles apartheid-era South Africa.
“Palestinians want their own self-determination rights. They want their own state. They want to be able to run their own affairs and have freedom, and not have to be restricted to move around,” Ramaphosa said.
The way the Israelis “have been denying the Palestinians their rights, the way they’ve been bombing the area, one could quite easily characterise it as an apartheid-type of state”, he said.
“I have no other reference point to describe what the Israelis are doing against the Palestinians,” the South African leader said.
Rights group urges independent probe of Israeli strikes on Gaza
Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq is calling for an international investigation into Israeli attack in Gaza, including on journalists and media organisations.
The group pointed to the destruction of al-Jalaa tower, which housed the offices of Al Jazeera and The Associated Press, among other attacks, as “unlawful”.
UN member states must “condemn Israel’s unwarranted targeting of media buildings”, Al-Haq said, and “pressure Israel to urgently and immediately treat media personnel and media buildings as protected civilians and civilian objects, and respect their humanitarian immunity”.
Netanyahu promotes extremist politics in Israel: Bernie Sanders
“In more than a decade of his right-wing rule in Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu has cultivated an increasingly intolerant and authoritarian type of racist nationalism,” said Senator Bernie Sanders in Senate floor remarks.
At the same time, Sanders condemned the Palestinian group Hamas as a “corrupt” and “repressive” organisation.
“We must stand in solidarity with those Palestinians and Israelis working to build a future of peaceful co-existence and not with those who would destroy it,” said Sanders, who called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.
click h; https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/5/19/ceasefire-elusive-as-israel-continues-to-pound-gaza-live