US Ready to Help Israel, Palestinians If They Seek a Ceasefire

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The United States told the United Nations Security Council on Sunday it has made clear to Israel, the Palestinians and others that it is ready to offer support “should the parties seek a ceasefire” to end the worsening violence between Israel and Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza.

“The United States has been working tirelessly through diplomatic channels to try to bring an end to this conflict,” U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the 15-member council. “Because we believe Israelis and Palestinians equally have a right to live in safety and security.”

As the U.N. Security Council convened to discuss the worst Israeli-Palestinian violence in years, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel’s campaign in Gaza was continuing at “full force.”

Netanyahu also defended an Israeli air strike on Saturday that destroyed a 12-story building where the Associated Press and the Al Jazeera TV network had offices. He said the structure also housed a terrorist group’s intelligence office and was thus a legitimate target.

“We are acting now, (and) for as long as necessary, to restore calm and quiet to you, Israel’s citizens. It will take time,” Netanyahu said in a televised address after meeting with his security cabinet.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the United Nations is “actively engaging all sides toward an immediate ceasefire” and called on them “to allow mediation efforts to intensify and succeed.”

The truce efforts by Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations have so far offered no sign of progress. The United States sent an envoy to the region and U.S. President Joe Biden spoke with Netanyahu and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday.

“In all these engagements with Israeli officials, the Palestinian Authority, and all regional partners, the United States has made clear that we are prepared to lend our support and good offices should the parties seek a ceasefire,” Thomas-Greenfield said.

The death toll in Gaza jumped to 192, including 58 children, its health ministry said, amid an intensive Israeli air and artillery barrage since the fighting erupted last Monday. Ten people have been killed in Israel, including two children, in thousands of rocket attacks by Hamas and other terrorist groups.

Israel’s U.N. Ambassador Gilad Erdan said Israel’s response to indiscriminate attacks by Hamas strictly adhered to international law and that the country was taking “unparalleled steps to prevent civilian casualties.”

“Israel uses its missiles to protect its children. Hamas uses children to protect its missiles,” Erdan said.

Beyond the current flare up in the conflict, the 22-member Cairo-based Arab League called on Biden’s administration “to engage in a more active and influential and deeper way in the Middle East peace process,” Arab League U.N. envoy Maged Abdelfattah Abdelaziz told the Security Council.

The Palestinians want a state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip with east Jerusalem as its capital, all territory captured by Israel in 1967.

Epoch Times staff contributed to this report



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