Operation Guardian of the Walls entered its ninth day. As of May 18, 2021, about 3,350 rockets had been fired, most of them with a range of up to 40 kilometers (25 miles) targeting the southern Israeli coastal cities of Ashqelon and Ashdod, as well as at the Israeli communities near the Gaza Strip border. However, there were several barrages targeting Beersheba, Israel’s largest southern city. Since May 15, 2021, no rockets have been fired at the Greater Tel Aviv area. So far 11 people have been killed by rocket fire; and an IDF soldier was killed by an anti-tank missile.
The IDF continues its response to rocket fire with attacks on Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip. On May 17, 2021, a targeted IDF attack killed the commander of the PIJ’s Northern Brigade. Buildings which housed senior terrorist operatives and the terrorists’ underground infrastructure were also attacked. According to reports from the Gaza Strip, extensive damage has been done to the infrastructure, including buildings, roads, businesses. Also attacked were sites for the manufacture of weapons.
In Judea and Samaria there have been terrorist attacks as well as solidarity demonstrations and riots, especially in the cities. The Palestinians and Israeli Arabs declared May 18, 2021, a “day of rage” and called a general strike, including demonstrations. Another barrage of rockets was fired at Israel from Lebanon, probably by one of the Palestinian terrorist organizations. A UAV was intercepted in the eastern part of the country, apparently carrying explosives.
Israel continues to reject appeals for a ceasefire, and remains determined to continue its activity in the Gaza Strip. According to reports, many discussions were held by world leaders and the international community called for a ceasefire. Senior Hamas figures still condition a ceasefire on Israeli concessions in Jerusalem and Sheikh Jarrah. In view of the worsening humanitarian situation, figures in the Hamas administration, such as the mayor of Gaza City, expressed a desire to end the hostilities.
Rocket and mortar shell fire has continued unabated, although during the past two days the large barrages occur further apart. Between the beginning of Operation Guardian of the Walls and May 18, 2021, 3,350 rockets were launched at Israel, about 500 of the falling inside the Gaza Strip. About 90% of the rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome aerial defense system. So far rocket fire from the Gaza Strip has killed 11 people; one IDF soldier was killed when an anti-tank missile hit his jeep. Hundreds of civilians have been injured, and there has been extensive damage to residential housing, public institutions and industrial buildings throughout Israel. Responsibility for most of the rocket fire was claimed by Hamas and the PIJ.
Most of the rocket fire from Gaza during the past two days has had a range of about 40 kilometers (25 miles) and for the most part targeted the Israeli communities near the Gaza Strip border, the coastal cities of Ashqelon and Ashdod, and the southern cities of Netivot and Ofakim. Several barrages targeted Beersheba. Since the afternoon of Saturday, May 15, 2021, rockets have not been fired at the Greater Tel Aviv area or the coastal plain. Abu Obeida, spokesman for Hamas’ military wing warned that Israel’s increased attacks on civilian structures in the Gaza Strip would lead to a renewal of rocket fire at Tel Aviv. The PIJ promised to avenge the death of the commander of its Northern Brigade.
Some of the more serious attacks were the following:
On May 17, 2021, a rocket hit an apartment house in Ashdod. The building was severely damaged but the residents gathered in the stairwells and were not harmed.
On the evening of May 17, 2021, a rocket hit an empty kindergarten in Sderot, damaging the building.
The Israeli media reported that Hamas attempted an attack on the Tamar gas platform off the Ashqelon coast, firing dozens of rockets and launching armed UAVs which were intercepted by the Israeli Air Force aircraft.
On May 18, 2021, after a hiatus of several hours, a heavy barrage was fired at the Israeli communities near the Gaza Strip border. Three direct hits were recorded. Two civilians were killed and ten injured. A packing house and cow shed took direct hits and several homes were damaged (western Negev spokesman’s unit, May 18, 2021).
On May 18, 2021, a mortar shell fell close to the Erez Crossing in the northern Gaza Strip and shots were fired at the Kerem Shalom Crossing, which is used for the passage of people and the delivery of merchandise. As a result the Crossing was closed to the passage of trucks carrying humanitarian assistance to the Gaza Strip, including drugs, food and fuel.
Operation Guardian of the Walls – Rocket Fire into Israel
According to IDF Spokesman
On May 17, 2021, the IDF prevented a naval commando attack with an unmanned underwater vehicle. The IDF simultaneously attacked both the vehicle and the car of the terrorists who delivered it. According to the IDF the vehicle was remote controlled and could reach Israel’s shores or Israeli navy boats (IDF spokesman, May 17, 2021).
The IDF continues attacking terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip from the air, on land and from the sea. The damage to the infrastructure, including buildings, residential housing, roads, businesses and sources of energy has been extensive. According to reports from the Gaza Strip the humanitarian situation is deteriorating. IDF attacks included the following:
Targeted killings: The IDF killed Husam Abu Rabid, commander of the PIJ’s Northern Brigade, in the Jabalia refugee camp.
Targeted killing in Gaza City (Wafa, May 17, 2021)
Compounds and facilities belonging to the military-terrorist wings of Hamas and the PIJ: Hamas’ military intelligence facility was attacked. The attack was made possible by the joint efforts of the IDF information- communications technology and cyber defense unit and Israeli Air Force intelligence (IDF spokesman, May 17, 2021).
A tunnel shaft: A Hamas tunnel shaft in the southern Gaza Strip located near a kindergarten and mosque (IDF spokesman, May 17, 2021).
Rocket launching squads: On the morning of May 18, 2021 the IDF attacked nine underground and aboveground rocket launching positions. A PIJ rocket launching squad in the central Gaza Strip was attacked while making preparations for a launch (IDF spokesman, May 18, 2021).
An anti-tank missile-launching squad: The IDF identified a Hamas anti-tank missile-launching squad in Khan Yunis and prevented it from attacking Israel (IDF spokesman, May 18, 2021).
The underground terrorist infrastructure: More than 160 Israeli Air Force aircraft attacked more than 150 underground terrorist targets in the northern Gaza Strip, inflicting severe damage on several kilometers of Hamas’ strategically important underground infrastructure (IDF spokesman, May 16, 2021). The attack on the tunnel in the al-Wahda region of Gaza City caused its collapse and extensive damage to buildings above it. The IDF spokesman said the IDF’s objective was the tunnel and not the buildings on top of it (IDF spokesman, May 16, 2021).
Operational apartments: The IDF attacked a number of Hamas operatives who were in an apartment used for terrorist purposes in the al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza City. The attack allegedly killed ten members of a family. The IDF is investigating the incident (IDF spokesman, May 15, 2021).
Houses of terrorist operatives: Twelve houses of senior Hamas operatives were attacked in various locations in the Gaza Strip. The buildings were part of Hamas’ terrorist infrastructure, some of them serving as weapons storehouses. Among the houses attacked were those belonging to: the deputy commander of the Northern Brigade, the commander of the Khan Yunis Company, a military-terrorist commander in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip, the Beit Hanoun Company commander, the commander of the Gaza City Company, the commander of the Shati Company in the Gaza City Brigade and a military intelligence operative in Sajaiya (IDF spokesman, May 18, 2021)
Multistory buildings: The IDF continued attacking multistory buildings in Gaza City, among them the Anas Bin Malik Building, the al-Mashrak Building, the al-Muhand Building in western Gaza City and the Faisal al-Shawa Building (Shehab, May 17, 2021). Regarding the building leveled by the IDF which housed the foreign media outlets, the IDF spokesman said the building also housed Hamas military intelligence, which situated its transmitters in the building so they would be protected by the civilian transmitters (IDF spokesman, May 16, 2021).
Institutions and Hamas administration buildings: The IDF attacked the offices of Hamas’ internal security, where part of its military-terrorist infrastructure was also located (IDF spokesman, May 17, 2021). The Palestinian media reported that the ministry of Muslim endowments in the western part of Gaza City was completely leveled (Palinfo, May 17, 2021).
Right: Street in Gaza City after an IDF attack (Palinfo Twitter account, May 18, 2021). Left: IDF night attack (QudsN Facebook page, May 18, 2021).
Salameh Maarouf, head of the Hamas administration media office in the Gaza Strip, said the damage done to the Gaza Strip totaled about $210 million. He said Israel had deliberately attacked Gaza’s infrastructure, which provided vital services for local residents, and alleged the planes had attacked more than 300 facilities with the intention of destroying the Gaza Strip’s economy. He also claimed about 1,000 buildings had been leveled and about 6,000 had been damaged and that Israel had attacked 132 residences and completely destroyed 33 communications offices and the offices of dozens of organizations, 68 government and public offices and 36 schools (al-Quds, May 17, 2021).
Hamas spokesman Abd al-Latif al-Qanua claimed Israel’s attacks on civilian targets were] “crimes against humanity” and reflected “Israeli barbarity.” He claimed the strength of Israel’s attacks on the infrastructure, roads and houses were no match for the attacks of the “resistance” [i.e., terrorist organizations]. He said Israel’s refusal to meet [Hamas’] demands for a ceasefire were an effort to cover its failure (Dunia al-Watan, May 17, 2021).
Iyad al-Buzum, spokesman for the ministry of the interior in Gaza, claimed videos and pictures proved Israel was committing war crimes against the Gazans (Filastin al-Yawm, May 17, 2021).
According to the ministry of health in Gaza, as of May 18, 2021, Israeli attacks had killed 213 people and wounded 1,442. Among the “civilian casualties” were allegedly 36 women, 16 senior citizens and 61 children (ministry of health in Gaza Facebook page, May 18, 2021).
As opposed to previous rounds of escalation, this time the Hamas administration has been careful not to reveal the organizational affiliation of the terrorist operatives killed in IDF attacks in an effort to represent Israel as attacking only civilians, not terrorist operatives. To that end, the bodies in the funeral held for Palestinians killed in IDF attacks on the Rimal neighborhood of Gaza City were wrapped in white shrouds (Palinfo Twitter account, May 17, 2021) and not the flags of the organizations they belonged to.
Bodies of the dead in the Rimal neighborhood of Gaza City
(Palinfo Twitter account, May 17, 2021).
The overall situation in the Gaza Strip
Figures in the Hamas administration, for example Gaza City Mayor Yahya al-Sarraj, said they were under pressure and wanted to end the hostilities, calling for international intervention. Al-Sarraj accused Israel of deliberately destroying the Gaza Strip’s infrastructure, adding that the attacks caused immense damage, including to water and sewage stations. He called for an end to “Israel’s aggression,” claiming the attacks on civilian services were “collective punishment” for the Gazans (Palinfo Twitter account, May 17, 2021).
Attack on Gaza City infrastructure: roads (Palinfo Twitter account, May 17, 2021).
A report by al-Ghad TV on May 17, 2021, dealt with the hardships in the Gaza Strip. According to the report, the damage to the infrastructure was about $200 million, and closing the Kerem Shalom Crossing, the only crossing for merchandise into the Gaza Strip, had resulted in a crisis. The report claimed so far there were no shortages but there definitely would be in the coming days. There was, however, a crisis in the supply of electricity, and fuel was necessary to operate the power station. In addition, more than 3,000 fishermen were out of work, and as a result of the attacks about 40,000 people had evacuated their houses and moved into UNRWA schools. Therefore, on May 18, 2021, Israel transferred food and fuel to the Gaza Strip.
Muhammad Thabet, spokesman for the Gaza electric company, said the company was facing many hardships because five of its main lines, which provided between 60 and 65 megawatts had been hit, causing extensive power outages. The company was currently providing 107 megawatts of the 400 megawatts needed by the Gaza Strip. There was also a shortage of fuel for the turbines. He claimed they did not have the necessary financial resources to repair the damage. He called on international organizations to help the Gaza Strip (al-Ghad, May 17, 2021). On another occasion the electric company reported that according to initial assessment, the company had lost about $8 million. It called for pressure to be exerted on Israel to open the Kerem Shalom Crossing for the delivery of fuel to the Gaza Strip (Filastin al-Yawm, May 17, 2021).
The ministry of public works and housing reported that about 10,000 residential units had incurred superficial to moderate damage and about 800 had been completely destroyed (Dunia al-Watan, May 17, 2021). The ministry of health in Gaza announced it was suspending coronavirus tests because Israel’s attacks had disabled the central laboratory (Dunia al-Watan, May 17, 2021).
Foreign aid for the Gaza Strip
On May 16, 2021, the Rafah Crossing was opened for evacuating the wounded to hospitals in Egypt. According to Egyptian sources 96 Gazans were transferred to Egypt (Sky News, May 16, 2021). Dozens of ambulances were sent from Egypt to take them (al-Jazeera, May 16, 2021).
The first group of wounded Gazans exits the Gaza Strip en route to medical treatment in Egypt (Twitter account of journalist Hassan Aslih, May 17, 2021).
UNRWA spokesman Adnan Abu Hasna said the agency had begun providing basic necessities to Gazans who had left their houses. He said UNRWA needed immediate help to be able to continue helping the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip (Filastin al-Yawm, May 17, 2021). It was also reported that UNRWA centers could house 50,000 people but the number who needed someplace to sleep was far higher (Dunia al-Watan, May 15, 2021).
The ministry of health in Gaza asked for immediate, urgent medical equipment in light of the Israeli attacks on medical institutions, which had forced medical staffs to stop working (Amad, May 16, 2021).
The ministry of the interior in Gaza announced that since the beginning of the hostilities the security forces and police had detained 43 people suspected of spreading rumors (Shehab, May 17, 2021).
Hamas and PIJ Responses
PIJ secretary general Ziyad al-Nakhalah spoke with Ali Akbar Velayati, advisor to Iran’s supreme leader for international affairs, and with Esmail Ghaani, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Qods Force. Both supported the right of the Palestinian people to “defend themselves” against Israel’s [so-called] aggression. Velayati also spoke with Isma’il Haniyeh and reiterated Iran’s support for the Palestinians and their leadership.
Spokesmen for Hamas and the PIJ continue stressing their respective operational capability to deal with Israel, claiming Israel’s mission had failed. They also noted that a ceasefire would be based on settling the issues of al-Aqsa mosque and Sheikh Jarrah.
Isma’il Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, said in an interview that the “resistance” was stronger and more determined than what Israeli believed, and that Hamas’ achievements so far were a turning point in the overall battle. He claimed the battle they were fighting in the Gaza Strip did not relate to their demands but rather the issue was the battle for Jerusalem, and the intifada of the people living in Jerusalem, the uprising in the West Bank and the anger of the Arabs who live in Israel all indicated that the objective of the battle was Jerusalem (al-Akhbar, May 17, 2021).
PIJ secretary general Ziyad al-Nakhalah gave a speech at a demonstration held in the Dahia, the Shi’ite suburb south of Beirut, where he said that today the Palestinians were writing a new chapter in the hostilities with Israel. The battle, he said, was being waged in Gaza, the West Bank and within the 1948 lines to defend Jerusalem and al-Aqsa mosque. He claimed Israel was helpless and that the “resistance” had made Israel weaker than a spiderweb (a quote originally from Hassan Nasrallah). He claimed they had caused Israel many losses and that Israel preferred attacking from the air to fighting on the ground.
Usama Hamedan, Hamas representative in Lebanon, speaking at a demonstration, said that during the recent battle the [terrorist] organizations had proved their unity. He said the “resistance” had created a new equation and progressed to the stage of “resistance” for the sake of liberation. Israel, he claimed, would soon be decapitated (al-Manar, May 17, 2021).
Khalil al-Haya, deputy chairman of the Hamas political bureau, said in a recorded message that Israel had met a “resistance” that could stand up to it. Israel, he claimed, had failed to achieve a “picture of victory,” and the “resistance” had leveled Israel’s cities [sic]. He appealed to the Gazans to be strong, and promised Hamas would stand by them, rebuild the ruins and build a Palestinian state. He said “We are victorious for the sake of Jerusalem, the sake of al-Aqsa mosque, the sake of the holy sites and Sheikh Jarrah” (al-Aqsa, May 17, 2021).
PIJ spokesman Da’ud Shehab said the current confrontation had proved the strength of the Gaza Strip and surprised Israel. He claimed the events in the West Bank would develop into an “armed resistance.” He said the organization’s leader was conducting deliberations to end Israel’s aggression, including the lifting of the occupation on Jerusalem (Filastin al-Yawm, May 17, 2018).
The Palestinian Authority (PA)
At the weekly government meeting, PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh said the UN had to issue a condemnation of the illegal measures Israel was using. He claimed an ordinary condemnation was insufficient and that ambassadors had to be recalled, at the very least for consultations. He called on the Arab states not to allow Israelis to enter and to stop all commerce with Israel. He said Mahmoud Abbas had instructed all the ministries to supply the Gaza Strip with medical equipment and for the government to work with Egypt and humanitarian organizations to accelerate the transfer of the equipment. He called on the international community to intervene to stop the “aggression,” noting that Israel obeyed no one (Wafa, May 17, 2021).
Mahmoud Abbas met with Hady Amr, deputy assistant secretary for Israeli and Palestinian affairs in the bureau of Near Eastern Affairs in the American State Department. Also present were Hussein al-Sheikh, chairman of the civilian affairs commission, Majed Faraj, head of Palestinian general intelligence, and Majdi al-Khaldi, Mahmoud Abbas’ advisor for diplomatic affairs (Dunia al-Watan, May 17, 2021). Mahmoud Abbas briefed Hady Amr on what he claimed were the hardships of Jerusalem and the attacks of the settlers, who called for Arabs to be killed, the attacks on the worshippers in al-Aqsa mosque and the escalation in the hostilities in the Gaza Strip. He stressed the importance of the intervention of the American administration in ending Israel’s [so-called] “aggression” (Wafa, May 17, 2021). Muhammad Shtayyeh also met with Amr to discuss the need to stop Israel’s “aggression” (Wafa, May 17, 2021).
Given the events in the Gaza Strip there has been an increase in terrorist attacks and attempted attacks in Judea and Samaria:
On May 15, 2021 – Shots were fired at IDF forces near the security fence southeast of Nablus. A soldier was superficially wounded.
On May 16, 2021 – A vehicular ramming attack was carried out near Sheikh Jarrah in east Jerusalem. Six Border Police fighters were wounded. The terrorist was shot and killed. The attack was praised by a spokesman for the PIJ; Abu Obeida, spokesman for Hamas’ military wing; and the Popular Resistance Committees. The Palestinian media reported that the terrorist was Shaher Abu Khadija, 40, married and father of five, from Kafr ‘Aqab, north of Jerusalem (QudsN website, May 16, 2021).
Right: The scene of the vehicular ramming attack in Sheikh Jarrah in east Jerusalem. Left: Palestinian terrorist Shaher Abu Khadija (QudsN website, May 16, 2021).
On May 16, 2021 – Shots were fired and an IED was thrown at the Israeli security forces at the Qalandia roadblock.
On May 17, 2021 – Shots were fired from a moving vehicle at an Israeli vehicle west of Hebron. The vehicle was damaged. An IDF force at the site also reported being shot at.
On May 17, 2021 – Shots were fired from a moving vehicle at IDF fighters in the Hebron area. The soldiers returned fire. No casualties or damage were reported.
On May 17, 2021 – A vehicular ramming attack south of Nablus. A soldier was superficially injured. The driver was apprehended and detained (Rescue Without Borders in Judea and Samaria, May 17, 2021).
On May 18, 2021 – A Palestinian armed with an IED, a Carlo improvised machine gun and a knife tried to carry out a combined attack on IDF fighters near the Jewish settlement in Hebron. The fighters identified the terrorist approaching them, who tried to shoot at them and throw the IED. They shot and killed him. The Palestinian media reported the terrorist was Islam Ghu’ad Muhammad Zahada, 32, from Hebron. He was imprisoned in Israel between 2016 and 2017 (Ma’an, May 18, 2021). The PIJ issued a mourning notice for him, claiming he was an operative in the organization (PIJ website, May 18, 2021).
Right: The scene of the terrorist attack in Hebron near the Cave of the Patriarchs
(Wafa, May 18, 2021). Left: Islam Zahada (Ramallah News, May 18, 2021).
Riots and solidarity demonstrations in Judea and Samaria
In Judea, Samaria and east Jerusalem riots and confrontations with the Israeli security forces continued. A Palestinian tried to throw a Molotov cocktail at an IDF force at the entrance to the al-Aroub refugee camp, north of Hebron. He was shot and killed. the Palestinian media reported the terrorist was Obeida Jawabra, 18, from the al-Aroub refugee camp (QudsN Facebook page, May 17, 2021).
Before dawn on May 18, 2021, a rally in support of Hamas and the Gaza Strip was held in Nablus. Demonstrators shouted their support for al-Aqsa mosque, Muhammad Deif [commander of Hamas’ military wing], the Izz al-Din Qassam Brigades and the Jerusalem Brigades, and held pictures of military-terrorist operatives who had been killed (QudsN Facebook page, May 18, 2021). In Ramallah armed Fatah operatives fired their guns into the air, shouted condemnation of the PA and announced the renewal of the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades activities. In Jenin residents showed solidarity with the Gazans by driving in a convoy (QudsN Facebook page, May 17, 2021).
Right: Protest demonstration in Nablus (QudsN Facebook page, May 18, 2021). Left: Military display, including shots fired into the air by armed Fatah operatives in Ramallah (QudsN Facebook page, May 17, 2021).
Despite the turbulent demonstrations, the PA is apparently trying to ensure Hamas does not take control of events in Judea and Samaria. They allow Hamas flags at the demonstrations but the PA security forces supervise the events to keep them under control.
Fatah’s Central Committee and all the Palestinian organizations declared a general strike and a “day of rage” in Judea, Samaria and east Jerusalem, and called on all Palestinians to confront the Israeli security forces at the friction points. The Palestinian government announced it would join the general strike (Sawa, May 17, 2021). The initiative included Israeli Arabs and was adopted by Fatah. The public health system in the PA announced it was on alert. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum called on the Palestinian leadership in Judea and Samaria to attack settlers and soldiers everywhere (al-Aqsa, May 17, 2021).
Masked Palestinians set tires on fire at the entrance to Anata, north of Jerusalem (QudsN Facebook page, May 18, 2021).
Rocket fire from Lebanon
On the evening of May 17, 2021, a barrage of between five and seven rockets was fired at Israel from Lebanon. The rockets fell inside Lebanese territory. In response the IDF shot a number of shells at the source of the rocket fire. No organization claimed responsibility, but the rockets were probably fired by a Palestinian organization. It was third rocket fire attack from the north since the beginning of Operation Guardian of the Walls (on May 13, 2021, rockets were fired from Lebanon and Syria). On May 18, 2021, the day after the rocket fire, it was reported that the Lebanese army had located the rocket launchers. According to reports, the leaders of the Palestinian refugee camps in south Lebanon and Sidon told their operatives that they had been instructed by Hezbollah to make sure no group carried out an action from south Lebanon. Hezbollah made the leaders responsible for any hasty event that could cause an unwanted confrontation with Israel.
Demonstrations in support of the Gaza Strip were held along the border security fence between Israel and Lebanon. Rioters tore out the security cameras and flew Hezbollah flags (al-Manar, May 16, 2021). The Lebanese army erected roadblocks to direct the movement of the demonstrators. UNIFIL advised that they were coordinating with all the sides to ensure stability.
It can be reported that before dawn on May 18, 2021, a UAV was intercepted near Beit Shean, in the eastern part of Israel. The source of the UAV was not reported and it is being examined for explosives. The security forces collected the pieces of the UAV. The country from which it came and the path it had taken were not revealed (IDF spokesman, May 18, 2021).
Diplomatic efforts are being made to bring the hostilities in the Gaza Strip to a close. According to reports world leaders have held consultations and the international community has issued increasingly frequent calls for a ceasefire. A Palestinian source reported that the many efforts made to mediate between the two sides, led by Egypt, have so far not succeeded in ending the “aggression against the Gaza Strip.” According to the source, the mediators want a ceasefire on both sides, the Palestinians, however want to force is to stop its “aggression against Jerusalem and the holy sites” before a lull or ceasefire agreement (Filastin al-Yawm, May 17, 2021).
Isma’il Haniyeh said in an interview that they were in contact with Egypt, Qatar, Russia and the UN. He claimed they all agreed [sic] what was currently happening was the result of Israel’s intransigence and determination to Judaize Jerusalem, expel the residents of the Arab neighborhoods and to attack al-Aqsa mosque. He claimed that in view of the Palestinian victims and the heroic acts of the “resistance” it was clear they would not accept an “inappropriate solution” (al-Akhbar, May 17, 2021). Musa Abu Marzouq, deputy head of Hamas’ political bureau, said the efforts to mediate had failed, and if they succeeded in the future they would be on Hamas’ conditions. He said the United States was responsible, after Israel, for the blood shed by the Palestinians.
PA Prime Minister Muhammad Shtayyeh met with Tareq Tayel, the Egyptian representative in the PA. They discussed Egypt’s efforts to “stop Israel’s aggression” against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, and opening the Rafah Crossing to ease the Gazans’ suffering. Tayel briefed Shtayyeh on Egypt’s efforts to stop “Israel’s aggression” (Wafa, May 16, 2021).