The UN General Assembly will hold an emergency session today to review the fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip.
The session was requested by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the group of Arab countries at the United Nations.
A number of foreign ministers will attend the session in person. This is the first time such a summit has been held at UN headquarters in New York since the pandemic began. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who has called for an immediate end to the conflict, will chair the special session.
Today, rocket exchanges between Israel and the Palestinians intensified further. Israeli airstrikes hit the city of Gaza as well as the cities of Deir al-Balah and Khan Younis.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas went to the region on Thursday to meet with Israeli and Palestinian officials. He called the visit “a sign of solidarity with people on both sides who, he said, fear for their lives day and night, while Israel must defend itself against Hamas terror with rockets.”
“It is about how the international community can contribute to ending violence and a lasting ceasefire,” he wrote on Twitter. “We need to talk about how to pave the way for peace negotiations.”
Yesterday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ignored US President Joe Biden’s call for a “significant reduction” in Israeli bombing.
Mr Netanyahu said in a statement that he was “determined to continue this operation until his goal is achieved”.
He said he “highly appreciated the support of the American president”, but that Israel would continue its efforts to restore peace and security to its citizens.
As of late last night, the death toll was 227 in Gaza, including 64 children, according to health officials there, and 12 in Israel, according to Israeli authorities.
The White House said President Biden had told Mr Netanyahu “he expected a significant de-escalation on the road to a ceasefire”.