Israeli PM vows to finish off Hamas, strikes on Gaza to continue

Last Updated: Sunday, 16 May 2021 (11:16 IST)
People turned out across the globe to mark and voice support for Palestinians. Meanwhile, a tower housing several media organizations collapsed after being hit by an airstrike. Follow DW for the latest (PIC-UNI)
Israeli ambassador to Germany calls on Jews and Muslims to come together against hate
Israeli ambassador to Germany Jeremy Issacharoff called on Jews and Muslims to come together against hatred and polarization.
"The Jewish and Muslim communities can have a lot in common and in some places in Germany there are close contacts between these communities," Issacharoff told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper.
Issacharoff said it helps "when Jews and Muslims come together, exchange ideas and discuss common challenges. That can also be the basis to tackle growing hatred together."
This week, several synagogues and a memorial site were vandalized in Germany in antisemitic acts amid the high tensions between and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip. Muslims have also been targeted by hate crimes in Germany. 
'Israel faces new rocket barrage,' IDF says
Hamas has continued firing rockets at Israel, targeting cities such as Beersheba, according to the Israeli military. 
"After threatening to fire rockets at Tel Aviv, Hamas has fired a heavy barrage of rockets from Gaza into central and southern Israel," the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) said in a tweet. "Men, women, children, and the elderly are currently in shelters, protecting themselves from rockets aimed at them."
Israel has reported 10 dead so far from the violence. At least 149 people have been killed in Gaza, according to health officials in the Palestinian enclave.
UN chief expresses concerns over rising casualties, airstrike on media building
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is "dismayed" and "disturbed" by rising casualties in the Gaza Strip and an Israeli airstrike targeting a building which contained the Gaza offices of Al-Jazeera and the Associated Press.
"The Secretary-General is dismayed by the increasing number of civilian casualties, including the death of ten members of the same family, including children, as a result of an Israeli airstrike last night on the al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza," his spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric, said in a statement. 
Guterres was also "deeply disturbed" by the airstrike on a building that housed residential apartments in addition to news bureaus.
"The Secretary-General reminds all sides that any indiscriminate targeting of civilian and media structures violates international law and must be avoided at all costs," the spokesperson added.
German Foreign Minister outlines three-stage plan for deescalation
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Sunday outlined a three-stage plan to deescalate the current round of tensions between Hamas and Israel. Maas told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper that Israel has the right to protect its people from "Hamas' rocket terror."
"It is now all the more urgent to 1. Stop the rocket terror 2. Put an end to the violence and 3. Return to discussions about confidence-building steps between Israelis and Palestinians," Maas told the paper. 
Maas has previously called for deescalation and denounced antisemitic attacks in Germany amid the current round of tensions.
Pro-Palestinian demonstrators take to the streets across North America
Thousands of Pro-Palestinian demonstrators took to the streets across North America on Saturday, as Israel's military operation towards Gaza continued. Demonstrations took place in cities such as New York, Boston, Washington D.C. and Montreal. 
The protesters waved flags and shouted slogans such as "Freedom for Gaza." Many of the demonstrators wore Palestinian symbols such as Keffiyeh scarves.
President Joe Biden has expressed support for Israel's military operation, but has also signaled concern over the loss of Palestinian life in Gaza. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has urged Hamas and Israel to deescalate tensions.
Israel will strike 'as long as necessary,' says Netanyahu
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel will continue to strike in Gaza as he blamed Hamas for starting a week of hostilities.
The Israeli leader pledged to "avoid or limit, as much as possible, harming civilians and to directly strike terrorists instead."
"The party that bears the guilt for this confrontation is not us, it's those attacking us," Netanyahu said in a televised speech.
"We are still in the midst of this operation, it is still not over and this operation will continue as long as necessary."
Hamas says it will not retreat
A top Hamas leader said militant groups in the Gaza Strip will not retreat in the face of attacks by Israeli forces.
"We warned that the blessed Al-Aqsa mosque was a red line and we told Netanyahu: 'don't play with fire'," Ismail Haniyeh, who lives in exile, told hundreds of supporters at a pro-Palestinian protest in the Qatari capital Doha.
"The title of this battle today, the title of the war, and the title of the intifada (uprising), is Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Jerusalem," he said.
Haniyeh added that as the Israeli attacks escalate, "the resistance will increase [its force] to a higher level.''
Israel says electric power lines to Gaza damaged
Israel's Electric Company said five out of 10 high voltage lines supplying the Gaza Strip with electricity were damaged by Palestinian militants' rocket fire.
The company said it could not fix the damaged lines due to lack of access to the area.
Power outages have been a daily occurrence in Gaza, recently up to 12 to 15 hours per day.
Indian police arrest 21 Kashmiris in pro-Palestinian rallies
Police in India-controlled Kashmir arrested 21 people for disturbing public order in pro-Palestinian protests, AP reported, citing a local police chief.
Police said they were keeping a "close watch on elements who are attempting to leverage the unfortunate situation in Palestine to disturb public peace and order'' in Kashmir.
In a statement, police added they were "sensitive to public anguish," but wouldn't allow those sentiments to "trigger violence, lawlessness and disorder."
AP quoted police inspector-general Vijay Kumar as saying that 20 people were arrested in Srinagar, the region's main city, and one from a village in southern Kashmir.
Biden says US committed to two-state solution
US President Joe Biden stressed the need for Gaza's ruling militant group Hamas to halt firing rockets into Israel as he spoke to the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
During the phone call, Biden expressed US support to enable Palestinians "to enjoy the dignity, security, freedom, and economic opportunity that they deserve," according to a White House statement.
The official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that Abbas urged Biden "to intervene in putting an end to Israeli attacks on Palestinians."
Abbas also told Biden that "security and stability will be achieved when the Israeli occupation ends," adding that Palestinians were willing to work towards peace with international mediators, according to Wafa.
Biden emphasized his commitment to a two-state solution as the best resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the White House said.
Demonstrators march in Iraq in solidarity with Palestinians
Thousands of protesters gathered in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq against Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip and violations in Jerusalem.
People rallied following a call from the influential Shiite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, known for his anti-US rhetoric, according to Iraq's state news agency INA.
Protesters carried the Iraqi and Palestinian flags and chanted slogans against Israel, witnesses said.
Some demonstrators set fire to the Israeli and US flags during the march amid a heavy security presence, witnesses added.
Pro-Palestinian protesters march along Lebanon-Israel border
Hundreds of Lebanese demonstrators held pro-Palestinian protests along the Lebanon-Israel border for the second day in a row.
Lebanon's state-run National News Agency reported that Israeli forces fired warning shots near the Lebanese border village of Adaisseh, injuring one person who was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.
Some protesters climbed a border wall and placed Palestinian and Hezbollah flags on it, according to AP.
On Friday, Israeli troops opened fire at protesters who crossed a border fence, killing a 21-year-old Hezbollah member.
Iran praises Hamas' 'successful response' to Israel
The head of an expeditionary force of Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard praised Hamas during a phone call with the head of the militant group, according to an Iranian state broadcaster.
Iran's Quds Force commander Esmail Ghaani said Hamas offered a "unique and successful response'' to Israel, Al Alam, the Arabic-language service of the Iranian state television, reported.
Hamas officials have praised Tehran for supplying weapons and aid in its fight against Israel, Iran's regional rival.
Iran cancels Austria meeting over Israeli flags
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called off a visit to Austria originally planned for Saturday after Israeli flags were raised on government buildings in Vienna.
The bilateral talks were supposed to focus on the nuclear deal negotiations. 
"We regret the step, but we will not remain silent while Hamas fires 2,000 rockets at civilian targets in Israel," said a spokeswoman for Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg.
Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said flying the flag over the federal chancellery on Friday was in solidarity with Israel amid clashes with Hamas.
Israel says Gaza airstrike targeted Hamas leader
A senior Hamas leader was the target of the Israeli airstrike on Gaza that killed 10 civilians, including children, Israeli military spokesman Jonathan Conricus told DW. 
"Hamas has turned residential areas in the Gaza Strip into military strongholds," the IDF said following the deadly airstrike.
"When Hamas uses a tall building for military purposes, it becomes a lawful military target," the IDF added.