12 May 2021

Johnson implores leaders in Palestine and Israel to ‘step back from the brink’

12 May 2021

Leaders in Israel and Palestine have been urged to “step back from the brink” by Boris Johnson after violence intensified.

Rockets were fired from Gaza while Israeli forces bombarded the territory with air strikes in the most serious fighting since the 50-day war in 2014.

The Prime Minister called for restraint and said the UK is alarmed at the mounting toll of civilian casualties.

Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza have fired hundreds of rockets at Tel Aviv and other cities.

Israel has responded with air strikes targeting police and security installations, although the Palestinian authorities said there have been civilian casualties.

The death toll in Gaza rose to 35 Palestinians, including 12 children and three women, according to the health ministry, with some 233 people injured.

Israel Palestinians (AP)

Five Israelis, including three women and a child, were killed by rocket fire on Tuesday and early on Wednesday, and dozens of other people were injured.

Mr Johnson said: “I am urging Israel and the Palestinians to step back from the brink and for both sides to show restraint.

“The UK is deeply concerned by the growing violence and civilian casualties and we want to see an urgent de-escalation of tensions.”

The latest upsurge in violence has been triggered by tensions in Jerusalem during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

A focal point was the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, a holy site sacred to both Jews and Muslims, while there were also clashes over the threatened eviction of dozens of Palestinian families by Jewish settlers in the Sheikh Jarrar neighbourhood of east Jerusalem.

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