Gaza: Building collapses following Israeli airstrikes
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Violence between Israelis and Palestinians has intensified in recent days. It is the result of the decades long and unresolved conflict between the two countries. Heavy bombardment intensified on the Gaza Strip on Wednesday, as Israeli fighter jets bombed sites belonging to Palestinian armed groups, as well as police buildings and apartment blocks.
Since the conflict restarted on Monday, Gaza’s health ministry says at least 51 people have been killed, including 14 children.
More than 300 others have been injured.
Six people are believed to have been killed in Israel, according to medical officials.
A Palestinian source said truce efforts by Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations were continuing but without progress so far.
UN Middle East peace envoy Tor Wennesland said the United Nations was working with all sides to restore calm.
The international community has long since attempted to help Israel and Palestine come to an agreement in the disputed territories.
The efforts have not been without strain, however.
In 2011, all member countries voted for a UN Security Council resolution condemning settlements that was vetoed by the US.
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The resolution was carefully worded so as to reflect American policy on settlement building in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, but the US wielded its veto for the first time under then President Barack Obama.
Among those who voted for the resolution was Germany.
In response, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu telephoned Chancellor Angela Merkel to say he was disappointed that she had voted for it.
Mrs Merkel reacted furiously, according to a German official quoted by Hareetz, and said: “How dare you?”
She added: “You are the one who has disappointed us.
“You haven’t made a single step to advance peace.”
A spokesman for the Israeli prime minister at the time said he could not confirm the report.
It was during this period than an impasse in the Israeli-Palestinian talks had set in.
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Many European countries believed Israel was stalling or impeding progress.
Reaction to the slow progress among Palestinians was angry, as demonstrations were held across the West Bank, in Ramallah, Nablus and Bethlehem.
Similar scenes can be seen today.
As Jeremy Bowen, the BBC’s Middle East editor, noted: “Just because the conflict has fallen out of international headlines in recent years does not mean it has ended.
“The issues do not change, neither does the hatred and bitterness that not years but generations of trouble and killing have engendered.”
For more than a hundred years, Jews and Arabs have struggled to control and claim the land that sits between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea.
Since Israel became independent in 1948, it has inflicted a series of defeats on Palestine.
The latter is now hemmed into two slithers of land either side of Israel, known as the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
Renewed tensions in the region have taken many political leaders by surprise.
US President Joe Biden is unlikely to have thought he would be faced with the Israel-Palestine question, his attention having been focused on deteriorating relations with Russia, Iran and China.
The Guardian reports that the upsurge in violence has caught the new administration on the back foot, under-staffed and without a clearly defined approach.
There is currently no nominee for the post of US ambassador to Israel.
The US’ approach to the situation has so far been described as “hands-off”.
Many believe this will likely change in the course of the next week as things are predicted to become worse.
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