Wednesday, 23 Jun 2021

Joe Biden keeps pressure on Israel for ceasefire as more violence forecast in coming days

Israel Palestine: Biden expecting 'de-escalation' says expert

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President Joe Biden has made repeated phone calls to Prime Minister Netanyahu as international demand grows for a ceasefire to end the latest round of clashes between Israelis and Palestinians in Gaza. A statement from the White House has confirmed Mr Biden “expected a significant de-escalation on the path to a ceasefire.” While Israeli journalist Tal Schneider has argued an end to hostilities is drawing near, the regional expert has warned the final stages of the fighting could see violence intensify sharply.

The Times of Israel contributor told Times Radio a ceasefire was “very likely” in the coming days.

She said: “In Israel, we have the pressure of the American President he’s been calling our Prime Minister Netanyahu about three or four times.

“In their last call, he actually said he expects to see a ceasefire, a de-escalation of the violence coming.

“So people here are talking about Friday midday, 24 hours from now.”

However, Ms Schneider continued: “Unfortunately we are very experienced with weeks of fighting.

“We had this in the past and every time it ends up in a ceasefire.

“But I have to tell you that in the last 24 hours before the ceasefire we usually see lots of violence.

“Lots of shooting from both sides,” added the reporter.

Israel-Gaza: Air strike destroys building in Gaza City

Mr Netanyahu is expected to hold a meeting with the Israeli Security Cabinet to discuss ceasefire arrangements this afternoon.

It comes as a Hamas spokesperson announced that moves to bring the fighting to a close could succeed in “a day or two.”

Moussa Abu Marzouk confirmed on Lebanese TV that there were “ongoing efforts regarding the ceasefire.” 

He added: “I expect a ceasefire to be reached within a day or two, and the ceasefire will be on the basis of mutual agreement.”

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Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad began launching rockets into Israel from Gaza on May 10 after Israeli security forces and Palestinians in East Jerusalem clashed around the Al-Aqsa Mosque, a highly sensitive holy site in the Old City.

In response, the Israeli airforce has carried out multiple sorties against infrastructure and militant linked targets across Gaza.

At least 230 people have been killed in the Hamas controlled territory in ten days of fighting while in Israel, 12 people have been killed, including two children. 

According to the Israeli Defence force, as many as 4,000 rockets have been launched by armed groups operating from Gaza since the outbreak of violence.

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