Biden says Israel has not over-reacted to Gaza rocket strikes

US President Joe Biden (Stefani Reynolds-Pool)

Middle East Monitor  /  May 14, 2021

Israel has not over-reacted in its response to rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, US President Joe Biden said on Thursday as the violence continued to escalate, Anadolu Agency reported.

“One of the things that I have seen thus far is that there has not been a significant over-reaction,” Biden said at the White House. “The question is how we get to a point where, how they get to a point where there is a significant reduction in the attacks, particularly the rocket attacks that are indiscriminately fired into population centers.”

Ongoing Israeli attacks on Gaza killed 15 more Palestinians on Thursday, raising the death toll to 87, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. Fatalities include 18 children and eight women, while 530 people have been injured, the ministry said in a statement.

Residential areas have been targeted by Israeli airstrikes in the densely-populated coastal enclave, and at least three multi-story buildings have been levelled.

To date, seven Israelis have been killed in recent violence — six in rocket attacks in addition to a soldier who was killed when an anti-tank guided missile struck his jeep.

Tensions have been running high in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem since last week when an Israeli court ordered the expulsion of Palestinian families from the Palestinian-majority area. The Israeli Supreme Court later delayed a hearing on an appeal.

Palestinians protesting in solidarity with residents of the neighbourhood have been targeted by Israeli forces and far-right settler groups.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and annexed the entire city in 1980, in a move that has never been recognized by the international community.