SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 23 June 2021, Wednesday |

Putin calls for de-escalation in Israel-Palestinian clashes

Moscow, Russia: Russian President Vladimir Putin Wednesday urged Israel and the Palestinians to halt fighting in a call with Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who said the world needs to give Israel a “strong” lesson.

“Serious concern was expressed about the continuing clashes and the growing number of people killed and wounded,” the Kremlin said in a statement adding that Putin had “called on the parties to de-escalate tensions and peacefully resolve the emerging issues”.

The Israeli army has launched hundreds of air strikes on the Gaza Strip since Monday, where Hamas and other militants have responded by firing back volleys of rockets on Israeli cities.

The worst violence in seven years has claimed 50 lives since breaking out last Friday.

The world needs to give Israel a “strong” lesson Erdogan told Putin, as the UN Security Council prepared to address surging Israeli-Palestinian violence.

Erdogan, a vocal advocate of the Palestinian cause, has stepped up diplomacy, speaking to a range of regional leaders and condemning Israel’s “terror”.

Erdogan told Putin in the call that “the international community needs to give a strong and deterrent lesson to Israel,” the Turkish presidency said.

The UN Security Council, where Russia is a permanent member, must “deliver a determined and clear messages for Israel to stop its attacks,” Erdogan said.

UN Security Council will hold an urgent meeting later Wednesday, its second such session in three days, diplomatic sources said Tuesday.

The first, held Monday, ended without a joint statement, with the United States expressing reluctance to adopt a draft statement proposed by Norway “at this point.”

Erdogan said nations should also discuss the “idea of sending an international protection force to the region in order to protect Palestinian civilians,” the presidency said.

The surge in violence has sparked successive nights of large protests in Istanbul and Ankara, which have been held in support of the Palestinian cause despite tough coronavirus restrictions.

Turkey additionally has also withdrawn an invitation for Israel’s Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz to attend the Antalya Diplomacy Forum in the southern coastal city June 18-20.