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Biden expects ‘significant de-escalation’

GAZA CITY: US President Joe Biden told Zionist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he expects “significant de-escalation” yesterday in the military confrontation with the Palestinians, amid intense efforts to reach a ceasefire. Deafening air strikes and rocket fire once more shook Gaza in the conflict that has, since May 10, claimed 219 Palestinian lives according to the Gaza health ministry and killed 12 people in the Zionist entity according to Zionist police.

“The president conveyed to the prime minister that he expected a significant de-escalation today on the path to a ceasefire,” the White House said after a fourth phone call in a little over a week. As diplomatic efforts intensified to stem the bloodshed, Germany said its top diplomat was heading to the Zionist entity for talks today. Netanyahu earlier yesterday issued a tough threat against the Gaza Strip’s Islamist rulers Hamas, who the Zionist entity says has fired around 3,700 rockets at the Zionist entity since May 10.

“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,” he told foreign ambassadors. “But I have to say we don’t rule out anything.” But a Zionist military official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said in a separate briefing that the Zionist entity was assessing at what stage it may stop its military campaign. “We are looking at when is the right moment for a ceasefire,” said the source.

The Zionist entity was evaluating whether its objective of degrading Hamas’ capabilities had been achieved, the military source said, and “whether Hamas understands the message” that its rocket barrages towards the Zionist entity cannot recur. Warplanes hit Gaza City again in the predawn hours, as the Zionist military kept targeting militant leaders and infrastructure in the crowded enclave which has been under Zionist blockade for nearly 15 years.

Gaza mother-of-seven Randa Abu Sultan, 45, recounted how her family crowded into one room to sit out another night of fear. “We’re all terrified by the sound of explosions, missiles and fighter jets,” she said. “My four-year-old son tells me he’s scared that if he falls asleep, he’ll wake up to find us dead.”

The United States, a key Zionist ally, has repeatedly blocked adoption of a joint UN Security Council statement calling for a halt to hostilities. A UN Security Council meeting broke up without issuing a statement late Tuesday, but France then said it had proposed a resolution calling for a ceasefire, in coordination with Egypt and Jordan. Beijing’s ambassador to the UN, Zhang Jun, told reporters his team had heard the French ceasefire proposal and China was “supportive”.

But the United States said yesterday it would not support the proposed resolution, saying it could undermine efforts to de-escalate the crisis. “We’ve been clear and consistent that we are focused on intensive diplomatic efforts underway to bring an end to the violence and that we will not support actions that we believe undermine efforts to de-escalate,” a US spokesperson at the UN told AFP. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas was to meet the Zionist entity’s foreign and defense ministers today and travel to Ramallah to hold talks with the Palestinian premier, his office said.

Zionist air strikes have killed at least 219 people in Gaza, including 63 children, and wounded 1,530, according to health ministry figures. In the enclave’s north, a journalist working for Hamas-linked Al-Aqsa radio was killed when a Zionist strike hit his home, authorities said. The Zionist entity bombing campaign has also left Gaza’s two million population desperate for relief.

Hospitals have been overwhelmed by patients, there are frequent blackouts and sewage from broken pipes has flooded some areas. Some 72,000 civilians have fled their homes, seeking refuge in UN-run schools and other public buildings, the United Nations says.

The latest escalation was sparked after clashes broke out at east Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound, one of Islam’s holiest sites. This followed violence over the planned evictions of Palestinian families from homes in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah district. The conflict has since sparked mob violence between Jews and Arabs, and sharply heightened tensions in the occupied West Bank.

Palestinians clashed with police in multiple towns and in annexed east Jerusalem Tuesday after Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement had called for a “day of anger”. The Palestinian health ministry said a Palestinian woman was shot dead yesterday near Hebron, as the army said she had tried to attack Zionist forces. The death brought to 25 the Palestinians killed in the West Bank since May 10. In the Zionist entity’s north, the army said it fired artillery shells toward southern Lebanon, in response four rockets launched at the Zionist state from Lebanese territory, in the third such attack in less than a week. – AFP

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