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Biden Supports Israel-Gaza Cease-Fire, as Fighting Rages Into Second Week

JERUSALEM — President Biden for the first time expressed support for a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas militants in Gaza on Monday, as the devastating rocket and missile war there gave no sign of easing after the deaths of dozens of Palestinian children.

But he also reiterated that Israel had a right to defend itself, stopping short of publicly calling on Israel to change its approach despite rising international condemnation.

The statement, issued after Mr. Biden spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was the furthest that the president has gone toward calling for an end to the conflict. But it also reflected a continued and deep reticence by world leaders to criticize Israel, and a failure of diplomacy to persuade the two sides to curb a rising cycle of violence.

For their part, Israel’s leaders have said that they are in no hurry to end the airstrike campaign and have insisted that the military will continue until it reaches its goals of stopping Hamas’s rocket barrages and making the group “pay a price.”

“The directive is to continue striking at the terrorist targets,” Mr. Netanyahu said on Monday after meeting with Israeli security officials. “We will continue to take whatever action necessary in order to restore quiet and security for all the residents of Israel.”

Over eight days, Hamas has fired nearly as many rockets — 3,350 so far — as it did over all of the 50-day conflict between Israel and Hamas in 2014, and has killed nine civilians in Israel, including two children, and at least one soldier.

But in Gaza, Palestinian families have paid a much greater price. Since May 10, at least 212 Palestinians had been killed in Gaza, including 61 children, according to health officials there, and many have been left homeless. Gazan officials said that more than 600 homes or businesses had been destroyed and more than 6,400 damaged, and United Nations officials said that at least 800,000 residents lack regular access to safe drinking water.

Though civil unrest by Palestinians and Arab citizens of Israel quieted down in recent days, a general strike and demonstrations have been called for Tuesday afternoon to protest Israel’s air campaign in Gaza and other measures targeting Palestinians, organizers said.

In Washington, Mr. Biden’s language was carefully couched. It notably avoided a demand that the cease-fire be “immediate,” language that Democratic senators used in a letter to the president earlier in the day.

It appeared to be an effort to press Israel to suspend its airstrikes — assuming Hamas also ended its barrage of rockets into Israeli cities — despite Mr. Netanyahu’s declaration that Israel would keep fighting until it had gravely reduced Hamas’s military capacity, including an extensive network of underground tunnels.

In the statement, the White House made clear that it expected others in the region to play a major role, saying Mr. Biden “expressed his support for a cease-fire and discussed U.S. engagement with Egypt and other partners toward that end.”

But he set no deadline and did not appear before cameras to make a public demand — just as he avoided making statements or taking questions during outings this weekend near his home in Delaware.

The Israeli military says it is focusing on airstrikes against the tunnel network because Hamas, which controls Gaza, uses the tunnels to move people, weapons and equipment around the densely populated coastal strip undetected. Referring to the subterranean transit system as the “metro,” Israeli officials say the air campaign against the network, which was years in the making, marks a new phase in the long battle between Israel and the militant groups.

Concern over the role of Gaza tunnel networks in attacks against Israelis was a rationale for the military ground invasion of Gaza in 2014, which caused huge loss of life.

Since then, Hamas has greatly expanded that network, according to Israeli intelligence officials. But they say the militants’ focus now is not on passages that reach all the way into Israel, but rather on the creation of shelters for Hamas commanders and fighters within Gaza — from 20 meters beneath the ground to as deep as 70 meters — and a sprawling transportation network for weapons and fighters.

An Israeli Air Force official, who briefed reporters on Monday on the condition of anonymity, in line with military rules, said that reinforced concrete tunnels ran for hundreds of miles inside Gaza. Israel was not trying to destroy it all, he said, but to create “choke points” that would seal sections off and make parts of the network inoperable.

But above ground, whole structures within Gaza are tumbling down or being scorched and blasted while the airstrikes continue.

At least seven Palestinians were killed in Gaza in Israeli strikes on Monday, officials said, including a man Israeli officials described as an important commander for the militant group Islamic Jihad. At least two civilians were reported killed when one strike hit an office building, Gaza officials said.

On Sunday, intense Israeli bombing made it the deadliest day yet for Palestinians, with at least 42 people killed, including at least 10 children, after an attack on a tunnel network caused three buildings to collapse.

Raji Sourani, of the Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights, said that the main effect of Israel’s bombardment has been to terrorize Gazan civilians and ruin their homes and businesses. He called Israeli bombardment of the tunnels in recent days “meaningless” given the network’s scale.

“They want the civilians to revolt against the resistance,” he said, referring to provoking a public Palestinian uprising against Hamas rule. “And this is not going to happen.”

Since the underground tunnel system is clandestine, Hamas officials are evasive when asked about its existence, let alone how badly it has been hit or whether operatives have been trapped inside by the Israeli bombardments over the past week.

“It is the right of the resistance to possess all types of weapons and means to defend itself,” Abdel Latif al-Qanou, a spokesman for Hamas, said in an interview on Monday. “And tunnels are one of the means of self-defense.”

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and Israel live under different governments and have increasingly developed separate identities. But leaders from across all three announced that they would stage a general strike on Tuesday to protest Israel’s air campaign in Gaza and other measures targeting Palestinians, organizers said.

The initiative also has the backing of both Hamas, and Fatah, the ruling party of the Palestinian Authority that exercises limited self-autonomy in parts of the West Bank.

“We want to send a clear message that we stand together in saying enough to the aggression on Gaza,” said Essam Bakr, one of the organizers. “But we are also saying enough to the attacks on the Aqsa Mosque, enough to the occupation and settlement-building, and enough to the unjust treatment of Palestinians.”

As the rocket and airstrike barrages have continued, Hamas has been vague about its calculations and goals. The group does not recognize Israel as a legitimate state, and the group has tried to establish itself politically as a forceful defender of the Palestinian people and Islamic holy sites, like the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

In the fighting, rockets have been Hamas’s go-to weapon, raining down on Israeli towns and cities at a much faster rate than in 2014. On Monday, Israelis rushed to shelters again, and rockets were reported to have hit in Ashdod, Ashkelon and Sderot. No one was reported killed in those strikes.

But Israeli officials say that the militants have also been trying surprise tactics, including sending drones loaded with explosives across the border. Those have been thwarted so far, officials say.

Hamas also tried to take to the sea on Monday, according to the Israeli military, with a naval unit suspected of preparing a “submergible naval weapon” for action. The military released a video showing Israeli forces destroying the vessel.

Mr. Netanyahu’s open-ended statements about the need to destroy Hamas’s capability have appeared to put Mr. Biden in a corner, which was reflected in the careful wording of the White House statement Monday.

In what amounts to the first Middle East crisis of his presidency, Mr. Biden wants to avoid the political risk of appearing to have his appeals ignored. But he also has little leverage over Israel, unless the United States is willing to threaten a cutoff of aid or arms — not politically likely at a moment that Hamas is firing rockets at Israeli citizens.

On Monday, the White House press secretary, Jen Psaki, told reporters that the administration would not reveal all the details of Mr. Biden’s communications with leaders in the conflict. “Our approach is through quiet, intensive diplomacy,” she said. “That is how we feel we can be most effective.”

It is a sharp shift from President Trump’s approach, embraced in the Middle East plan he issued a year ago. That was widely viewed as ignoring many of the Palestinians’ interests, in favor of Israel’s demands.

Earlier in the day, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, speaking to journalists in Copenhagen, said the Biden administration was “working intensively behind the scenes to try to bring an end to the conflict.”

He added, “We will immediately resume the work, the vital work, of making real the vision of Israel and a Palestinian state existing peacefully, side by side, with people from all communities able to live in dignity.”

Mr. Biden has been under intensifying pressure from prominent Democrats on Capitol Hill to more forcefully push for peace, as it has become increasingly clear the center of his party is shifting away from the kind of unflinching support for Israel’s prerogatives that has long been bipartisan.

After more than half of Senate Democrats, for instance, called for an immediate cease-fire in a statement Sunday night, half of the Jewish Democratic members in the House made a similar demand. They warned Mr. Biden that “the United States cannot simply hope and wait for the situation to improve.”

Reporting was contributed by Iyad Abuheweila from Gaza; Ronen Bergman from Tel Aviv; Adam Rasgon and Irit Pazner Garshowitz from Jerusalem; Gabby Sobelman from Rehovot; and Dan Bilefsky and Marc Santora from London.

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With Official Housing Scant, French People Open Their Homes to Migrants

PARIS — Walking home one night several years ago in a suburb of Paris, Raphaël Marre was horrified to see a group of migrants and asylum seekers sleeping on the street outside his home.

Why wasn’t the government housing them? he wondered. After witnessing the same scene for several weeks, he and his wife decided to do it themselves, signing up with a nonprofit that links migrants with people in the Paris region willing to open up their homes for a few nights.

“That was a triggering moment,” Mr. Marre said. “We thought, ‘This can’t be happening, we have to do something.’”

Five years after a migrant crisis that convulsed Europe, France is still struggling to accommodate the thousands of people who have applied for asylum in France. And Mr. Marre is still welcoming them into his home.

France, and much of Europe, was facing a large influx of migrants from the Middle East and Africa, driven from their homes by war and economic deprivation.

introduced an initiative that would create 4,500 new spaces in 2021. However, it is “still far from enough to meet the needs,” said Ms. Le Coz.

France’s struggle to accommodate migrants and asylum seekers has become particularly conspicuous in the streets of the Paris region. In what has become a seemingly never-ending cycle, the police regularly clear out hundreds of migrants and raze their tents and shacks, often offering them no alternative but to move somewhere else.

Utopia 56 relies on a network of volunteers, private citizens, parishes and private companies that have sheltered nearly 3,000 people during the pandemic.

Xavier Lachaume, 31, and his wife have hosted eight families in their apartment in Saint-Denis, a northern Paris suburb, since January. For now, visitors stay in their spare bedroom for a couple of nights, which they plan to turn into a room for a baby they expect in coming months.

82,000 asylum applications in 2020, according to Eurostat, Europe’s statistics agency. First-time applicants declined more than 40 percent from 2019, a drop partly attributed to the coronavirus. But Mr. Manzi predicts another surge once the pandemic passes.

President Emmanuel Macron told Brut, an online news site, in December that “the slowness of our procedures means that” asylum seekers “can indeed find themselves for weeks and months” without proper accommodation.

right-wing politicians and conservative news media increasingly drawing a link between illegal migration and terrorism. Mr. Macron’s government has adopted a tougher approach on immigration, hoping that lures voters away from the far right.

Mr. Sanogo said he had arrived in France in 2016 after fleeing Ivory Coast, citing continuing turmoil stemming from the 2011 civil war that tore apart the country, and has lived in a series of workers’ hostels, making money off the books as a construction worker. His wife and their 9-year-old daughter joined him last month, but they were not allowed to stay in his hostel, forcing them to sleep in the Gare de Lyon train station in Paris.

Mr. Sanogo, 44, said his asylum application when he arrived in 2016 had been rejected because he did not make the request in Italy, where he first arrived in Europe, as he was supposed to do under E.U. rules. But he said he had an appointment with a lawyer to make a new application in France, this time with his family.

As he boarded the Metro with his family to go to their hosts, Mr. Sanogo recounted how he had made his away from Ivory Coast to Libya, were he said he was beaten up and robbed by traffickers, and eventually made it to Italy after a perilous boat trip across the Mediterranean.

Mr. Sanogo seemed grateful for Mr. Marre’s hospitality, but mindful that it was only for a night, said he had hidden a bag full of clothes and sheets on the outskirts of Paris.

“If we have to sleep outside,” he said.

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Violence in Israel Shakes Trump’s Boast of ‘New Middle East’

WASHINGTON — It was, President Donald J. Trump proclaimed in September, “the dawn of a new Middle East.”

Speaking at the White House, Mr. Trump was announcing new diplomatic accords between Israel and two of its Gulf Arab neighbors, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

“After decades of division and conflict,” Mr. Trump said, flanked by leaders from the region in a scene later replayed in his campaign ads, the Abraham Accords were laying “the foundation for a comprehensive peace across the entire region.”

Eight months later, such a peace remains a distant hope, particularly for the Middle East’s most famously intractable conflict, the one between Israel and the Palestinians. In fiery scenes all too reminiscent of the old Middle East, that conflict has entered its bloodiest phase in seven years and is renewing criticism of Mr. Trump’s approach while raising questions about the future of the accords as President Biden confronts what role the United States should play now in the region.

a January 2020 Trump peace plan proposing to create a Palestinian state, on terms heavily slanted toward Israeli demands, the accords intentionally “separated” the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from Israel’s relations with the Arab world, Mr. Greenblatt said.

They “took away the veto right for the Palestinians for the region to move forward,” he added.

Others noted that, before agreeing to the accords, the U.A.E. extracted from Mr. Netanyahu a pledge to hold off on a potential annexation of swaths of the West Bank, a move that had the potential to set off a major Palestinian uprising. (Trump officials also opposed such an annexation and Mr. Netanyahu might not have followed through regardless.)

Dennis Ross, a former Middle East peace negotiator who served under three presidents, called the accords an important step for the region, but said the violence in Israel’s cities and Gaza illustrated how “the Palestinian issue can still cast a cloud” over Israel’s relations with its Arab neighbors.

“The notion that this was ‘peace in our time’ obviously ignored the one existential conflict in the region. It wasn’t between Israel and the Arab states,” Mr. Ross said.

a statement last week, the U.A.E.’s foreign affairs ministry issued a “strong condemnation” of Israel’s proposed evictions in East Jerusalem and a police attack on Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque, where Israeli officials said Palestinians had stockpiled rocks to throw at Israeli police.

Last month, the U.A.E. also denounced “acts of violence committed by right-wing extremist groups in the occupied East Jerusalem” and warned that the region could be “slipping into new levels of instability in a way that threatens peace.”

Bahrain and other Gulf states have condemned Israel in similar tones. A statement on Friday from the U.A.E.’s minister of foreign affairs, Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan, called on “all parties,” not only Israel, to exercise restraint and pursue a cease-fire.

One former Trump official argued that public pressure on Israel by countries like the U.A.E. and Bahrain carry more weight after the accords, coming as they do from newly official diplomatic partners. None of the governments who are party to the accords are playing a major role in efforts to secure a cease-fire, however — a responsibility assumed in the past by Egypt and Qatar.

changed longstanding U.S. policy by declaring that the United States did not consider Israeli settlements in the West Bank a violation of international law. (The Biden administration intends to reverse that position once a review by government lawyers is complete.)

Mr. Trump also moved the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, officially recognizing the city as Israel’s capital, in a move that infuriated Palestinians who have long expected East Jerusalem to be the capital of any future state they establish.

“Trump opened the door for Israel to accelerate home demolitions, accelerate settlement activity,” Ms. Hassan said. “And when that happens and you see Israel acting upon it, that’s when you see the Palestinian resistance.”

Former Trump officials note that expert predictions of a Palestinian eruption during Mr. Trump’s term, particularly after the embassy relocation, never came to pass, and suggest that Mr. Biden’s friendlier approach to the Palestinians — including the restoration of humanitarian aid canceled by Mr. Trump — has emboldened them to challenge Israel.

Even some Trump administration officials said any suggestions that the accords amounted to peace in the Middle East were exaggerated.

“During my time at the White House, I always urged people not to use that term,” Mr. Greenblatt said.

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Grief Mounts as Efforts to Ease Israel-Hamas Fight Falter

GAZA CITY — Diplomats and international leaders were unable Sunday to mediate a cease-fire in the latest conflict between Israel and Hamas, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel vowed to continue the fight and the United Nations Security Council failed to agree on a joint response to the worsening bloodshed.

The diplomatic wrangling occurred after the fighting, the most intense seen in Gaza and Israel for seven years, entered its deadliest phase yet. At least 42 Palestinians were killed early Sunday morning in an airstrike on several apartments in Gaza City, Palestinian officials said, the conflict’s most lethal episode so far.

The number of people in killed in Gaza rose to 197 over the six days of the conflict, according to Palestinian officials, while the number of Israeli residents killed by Palestinian militants climbed to 11, including one soldier, the Israeli government said.

began last Monday after Hamas fired rockets at Jerusalem following a month of rising tensions between Palestinians and Israelis in the holy city.

The Israeli Army says its goal is to destroy the military infrastructure of Hamas, the Islamist militant group that controls the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian enclave of about two million people that is under an Israeli and Egyptian blockade. Israel blames Hamas for the civilian casualties in Gaza, saying the group hides militants in residential areas.

housed two major international news outlets, The Associated Press and Al Jazeera, after calling the building’s owner and telling him to evacuate tenants. An Israeli strike also killed at least 10 members of the same family in a house in a refugee camp and caused collateral damage to a clinic run by Doctors Without Borders, a medical aid group.

Then on Sunday morning, the airstrike hit Ms. Abul Ouf’s home. Two relatives said that the strike killed two members of her immediate family, at least 12 of her extended family and more than 30 neighbors, and that it left her mother in critical condition.

In a statement, the Israeli Army said it had “struck an underground military structure belonging to the Hamas terrorist organization which was located under the road.” It added: “Hamas intentionally locates its terrorist infrastructure under civilian houses, exposing them to danger. The underground foundations collapsed, causing the civilian housing above them to collapse, causing unintended casualties.”

The American ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, urged restraint on the part of both Hamas and Israel during Sunday’s Security Council meeting, which was called to try to find a way to end the violence.

a day of talks Sunday with key Israeli officials and the Office of the Quartet, which mediates Middle East peace negotiations. He is scheduled to hold similar discussions on Monday with President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, which governs parts of the West Bank but lost control of Gaza in 2007.

The conflict between Israel and Hamas has ignited a wave of related violence between Arabs and Jews within Israel itself this past week. That and demonstrations across the occupied West Bank have made analysts wonder whether Palestinians are on the verge of a major uprising, the third since the late 1980s. Protests and clashes were less intense on Sunday after a major crackdown by the police in Israel and by the Israeli Army in the West Bank.

But Arabs and Jews clashed in the Negev desert in Israel’s south, in East Jerusalem and in Lod, a mixed Arab-Jewish city in central Israel. The police response to the civil unrest over the past week has mostly focused on Arabs, following attacks on synagogues that some likened to a pogrom.

On Sunday, an umbrella organization for Arab leaders in Israel appealed to the international community to help protect Palestinian citizens of Israel “from violent attacks and human rights violations by both state and private actors.” The group added, “Palestinian citizens, collectively, are afraid for their lives.”

a case that has galvanized Palestinian national sentiment, setting the stage for the renewed conflict in Gaza.

The weekend’s rocket fire by Hamas and other Islamist militant groups in Gaza included a major barrage over central Israel early Sunday morning.

Most of those rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome, an antimissile detection system partly financed by the United States. But where they hit, they brought terror on Israeli residents, particularly in towns like Sderot, close to Gaza’s perimeter.

One blast this weekend destroyed a fifth-floor apartment in Sderot, killing a 5-year-old boy, and ripped a hole in another, where Eli Botera, his wife, Gitit, and their infant daughter, Adele, were huddling in the baby’s bedroom.

“My wife was panicking and started to scream,” Mr. Botera said. “Eventually, it’s all up to God. Every individual must do what they can to protect themselves, but if it’s your destiny to die, you die.”

The deadliest attacks have been in Gaza — and chief among them was the airstrike on Ms. Abul Ouf’s home in Al-Wehda, a busy, wealthy district in Gaza City, full of shops and apartment blocks.

Ms. Abul Ouf was training to be a dentist and lived at home with her parents and siblings, relatives said. By Sunday morning, two were dead and three had been plucked injured from the rubble, relatives said. Ms. Abul Ouf’s father, a supermarket owner, was unscathed, having gone for a nighttime visit to fix a neighbor’s internet.

Ms. Abul Ouf was due to marry Mr. al-Yazji in two months. They last spoke early Sunday as the bombardment began, Mr. al-Yazji said.

“Hide,” he remembered telling her in a text message.

But the message never arrived.

Mr. al-Yazji spent hours on Sunday scouring the rubble for her. Government rescuers heaved away debris, stone by stone, and when they spotted a body, Mr. al-Yazji hurried over, the rubble’s grit and sand caking his feet.

The person was still breathing. But it wasn’t Ms. Abul Ouf.

The Israeli bombardment has forced 38,000 people to seek sanctuary in dozens of U.N. schools, the United Nations said. Gaza now faces power failures at least 16 hours a day, while damage to a desalination plant has threatened the access of about 250,000 people to drinking water, the United Nations said.

Israel’s airstrikes have also stopped all Covid-19 vaccinations and virus testing in the Palestinian enclave and raised the risk of viral contagion as civilians cram into shelters for safety, U.N. officials said.

Standing in the rubble Sunday, Mr. al-Yazji gave up hope of finding his fiancée by the midafternoon. He took a box of her dental equipment from the ruins, a small token to remember her by. Then he left with his brother for the nearby hospital where casualties from the airstrike were being taken.

After every new ambulance arrived, he rushed to its back doors to peer inside and see if Ms. Abul Ouf was lying within. Each time, he walked back disappointed.

After several hours, he went instead to the morgue. And there, lying motionless on a stand, was the body of Shaimaa Abul Ouf.

Mr. al-Yazji emerged hysterical with grief. “Be happy,” he said after identifying her body.

“I swear to God,” he added, “she was laughing.”

Reporting was contributed by Isabel Kershner from Sderot, Israel; Lara Jakes from Washington; Rick Gladstone from New York; Gabby Sobelman from Rehovot, Israel; and Adam Rasgon from Tel Aviv.

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The U.N. Security Council held its first open meeting on the crisis but took no action.

International pressure to bring an end to the raging conflict between Israel and Hamas militants intensified on Sunday, even as local health officials said an Israeli airstrike in Gaza overnight killed more than two dozen people, the single deadliest attack of the current hostilities.

The dead included women and children, the Gaza Health Ministry said. Rescue workers combed through the rubble of three buildings flattened in the airstrike as the hostilities between Israelis and Palestinians escalated to levels not seen since a 2014 war.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said there was no clear end in sight to the violence. “It will take some time,” he said on CBS’ Face The Nation on Sunday.

With the conflict stretching into its seventh straight day, the United States stepped up its diplomatic engagement and the United Nations Security Council met to discuss the conflict in public for the first time. But the council took no action even as member after member decried the death and devastation.

Secretary-General António Guterres was the first of nearly two dozen speakers on the agenda of the meeting, led by China, which holds the council’s rotating presidency for the month of May.

“This latest round of violence only perpetuates the cycles of death, destruction and despair, and pushes farther to the horizon any hopes of coexistence and peace,” Mr. Guterres said. “Fighting must stop. It must stop immediately.”

Palestinian and Israeli diplomats, who were also invited to speak at the meeting, used it as a high-profile forum to vent longstanding grievances, in effect talking past each other with no sign of any softening in an intractable conflict nearly as old as the United Nations itself.

Riyad al-Maliki the foreign minister of the Palestinian Authority, implicitly rebuked the United States and other powers that have defended Israel’s right to protect itself from Hamas rocket attacks, asserting that such arguments makes Israel “further emboldened to continue to murder entire families in their sleep.”

Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, who spoke after Mr. Maliki, rejected any attempt to portray the actions of Israel and Hamas as moral equivalents. “Israel uses missiles to protect its children,” Mr. Erdan said. “Hamas uses children to protect its missiles.”

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, said President Biden had spoken with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, while U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken had also been engaging with his counterparts in the region.

She called on Hamas to stop its rockets barrage against Israel, expressed concerns about inter-communal violence, warned against incitement on both sides and said the United States was “prepared to lend our support and good offices should the parties seek a cease-fire.”

While envoys from all of the council’s 15 members urged an immediate de-escalation, there was no indication of what next steps the council was prepared to take. Zhang Jun, China’s ambassador, told reporters after the meeting had adjourned that he was continuing to work with other members “to take prompt action and speak in one voice.”

Mr. Netanyahu of Israel vowed late Saturday to continue striking Gaza “until we reach our targets,” suggesting a prolonged assault on the coastal territory even as casualties rose on both sides.

In separate calls on Saturday, President Biden conferred with Mr. Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, about efforts to broker a cease-fire. While supporting Israel’s right to defend itself from rocket attacks by Hamas militants, Mr. Biden urged Mr. Netanyahu to protect civilians and journalists.

Even before Sunday morning’s attack, Israeli airstrikes had intensified over the weekend, with an attack on a house in a refugee camp in Gaza that killed 10 members of an extended family, including women and children, and another that destroyed a high-rise that housed media outlets including The A.P. and Al Jazeera.

Israeli defense officials said the building housed military assets belonging to Hamas and they provided advance warning to civilians in the building to allow evacuation. No casualties were reported in that strike.

At least 192 Palestinians had been killed in Israeli airstrikes and shelling in Gaza, including at least 58 children, according to Palestinian health authorities, and at least 10 people in Israel had died in Hamas rocket attacks.

Over the past week, the 15-member U.N. Security Council met privately at least twice to discuss ways of reducing tensions. But efforts to reach agreement on a statement or to hold an open meeting had faced resistance from the United States, Israel’s biggest defender on the council.

American officials said they wanted to give mediators sent to the region from the United States, Egypt and Qatar an opportunity to defuse the crisis.

But with violence worsening, a compromise was reached for a meeting on Sunday.

Security Council meetings on the Israeli-Palestinian issue have often ended inconclusively and served mainly as a platform for supporters of both sides to air their grievances. But they have also demonstrated the widespread view among United Nations members that Israel’s actions as an occupying power are illegal and that its use of deadly force is disproportionately harsh.

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Live Updates: U.N. Security Council Is Set to Meet on Middle East Violence

streamed live on a U.N. website.

The American ambassador, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said in a statement posted on Twitter after the meeting was announced that “the U.S. will continue to actively engage in diplomacy at the highest levels to try to de-escalate tensions.”

Security Council meetings on the Israeli-Palestinian issue have often ended inconclusively and served mainly as a platform for supporters of both sides to air their grievances. But they have also demonstrated the widespread view among United Nations members that Israel’s actions as an occupying power are illegal and that its use of deadly force is disproportionately harsh.

Briefing the Security Council last week in a closed session, the U.N. special coordinator for the Middle East, Tor Wennesland, described the latest violence as “the most serious escalation between Israel and Palestinian militants in years.”

Israeli warplanes stepped up their attacks on Sunday morning, launching multiple strikes at a main thoroughfare leading to Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, leaving residents trapped under the rubble and killing at least 26 people, including eight children, according to local media reports.

The Israeli Army said that a separate strike destroyed the home of Yehya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas in Gaza, although it was unclear whether he was there.

Sirens wailed early Sunday in Israeli border towns as Hamas rockets were launched into the area, although there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

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Israel Strikes Gaza Tower Housing A.P. and Other News Media

An Israeli airstrike destroyed a prominent building in Gaza City on Saturday that housed media outlets, including The Associated Press and Al Jazeera. The Israel Defense Forces said it gave an advanced warning for civilians to evacuate.

We are shocked and horrified that the Israelis would target the building that housed A.P.‘s bureau in Gaza. They long knew that A.P.’s bureau was there, and they targeted it. Now, fortunately, we had a warning, and we were able to get our journalists out. We narrowly escaped a huge loss of life. We had 12 journalists in that building. And those brave journalists not only got out, but they were able to salvage much of our equipment because it’s important that we continue to tell this story. You see, that building provided the best vantage point for the world to see the events in Gaza, and now that building is destroyed. And we will work hard to continue to tell the world the important events of Gaza, and we will keep our journalists safe.

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An Israeli airstrike destroyed a prominent building in Gaza City on Saturday that housed media outlets, including The Associated Press and Al Jazeera. The Israel Defense Forces said it gave an advanced warning for civilians to evacuate.CreditCredit…Hosam Salem for The New York Times

The prominent 12-story building in Gaza City that was destroyed in an Israeli airstrike on Saturday not only housed the offices of media organizations including The Associated Press and Al Jazeera.

It also offered a vantage point for the world on Gaza, as A.P. cameras positioned on the roof terrace captured Israeli bombardments and Palestinian militants’ rocket attacks during periodic flare-ups in fighting — including over the past week.

“The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what transpired today,” the A.P.’s president, Gary Pruitt, said in a statement following the Israeli attack.

The leveling of the al-Jalaa tower, which occurred as fighting between Israelis and Palestinians spiraled on several fronts, drew condemnations from across the world. The Israel Defense Forces said that its fighter jets struck the tower because it also contained military assets belonging to Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that rules the Gaza Strip.

Mr. Pruitt called on the I.D.F. to present evidence to support its allegation, adding that the news agency had operated from the building for 15 years.

“We have had no indication Hamas was in the building or active in the building,” he said. “This is something we actively check to the best of our ability. We would never knowingly put our journalists at risk.”

On Sunday, the I.D.F. tweeted that the building was “an important base of operations” for Hamas military intelligence, where it “gathered intel for attacks against Israel, manufactured weapons & positioned equipment to hamper I.D.F. operations.”

The I.D.F. — which frequently accuses Hamas of using civilians as shields — provided advance warning to civilians in the building to allow evacuation. The A.P. reported that the owner of the building, Jawad Mahdi, was “told he had an hour to make sure everyone has left the building.”

In the minutes before the airstrike, Mr. Mahdi was filmed desperately pleading with the Israeli Army, asking them to allow four journalists who had been filming an interview — with the father of four children slain in an Israeli strike on a refugee camp on Saturday morning — an extra 10 minutes to retrieve their belongings.

An Israeli soldier told him: “There will be no 10 minutes.”

Minutes later, the building was destroyed, engulfed in a plume of black smoke.

The A.P. said that it “narrowly avoided a terrible loss of life,” and that a dozen journalists and freelancers inside the building evacuated before the strike. The building also housed apartments on the lower floors.

Press freedom groups said that the strike — coming a day after the Israeli Army erroneously told foreign media that ground troops had entered Gaza — raised concerns that Israel was interfering with independent reporting on the conflict. In a statement, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists questioned whether the I.D.F. was “deliberately targeting media facilities in order to disrupt coverage of the human suffering in Gaza.”

A White House spokeswoman, Jennifer Psaki, tweeted that the United States had “communicated directly to the Israelis that ensuring the safety and security of journalists and independent media is a paramount responsibility.” United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that he was “deeply disturbed” by the strike and warned that “indiscriminate targeting of civilian and media structures” would violate international law.

After the strike, journalists from other news organizations gathered near the rubble. Heba Akila, an Al Jazeera journalist who had been broadcasting from the tower when the warning call was made, said: “This is clearly to silence the truth and the voices of journalists.”

As the worst violence in years rages between the Israeli military and Hamas, each night the sky is lit up by a barrage of missiles streaking across the sky and the projectiles designed to counter them.

It is a display of fire and thunder that has been described as both remarkable and horrifying.

The images of Israel’s Iron Dome defense system attempting to shoot down missiles fired by militants in Gaza have been among the most widely shared online, even as the toll wrought by the violence only becomes clear in the light of the next day’s dawn.

“The number of Israelis killed and wounded would be far higher if it had not been for the Iron Dome system, which has been a lifesaver as it always is,” Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, an Israeli military spokesman, said this week.

The Iron Dome became operational in 2011 and got its biggest first test over eight days in November 2014, when Gaza militants fired some 1,500 rockets aimed at Isreal.

While Israeli officials claimed a success rate of up to 90 percent during that conflict, outside experts were skeptical.

The systems’s interceptors — just 6 inches wide and 10 feet long — rely on miniature sensors and computerized brains to zero in on short-range rockets. Israel’s larger interceptors — the Patriot and Arrow systems — can fly longer distances to go after bigger threats.

The Iron Dome was recently upgraded, but the details of the changes were not made public.

In the current conflict, militants in the Gaza Strip have fired nearly 3,000 missiles, the Israeli Air Force said on Sunday, noting that about 1,150 of them had been intercepted.

A pro-Palestinian protest near the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Saturday.
Credit…Gamal Diab/EPA, via Shutterstock

As the conflict between Israel and Hamas stretched into its seventh day, pro-Palestinian demonstrations were held in cities around the world, even as leaders across Europe expressed concern about a rise in anti-Semitic attacks.

On Saturday, hundreds of demonstrators in Washington marched from the Washington Monument to the U.S. Capitol in protest of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people and what they said was an inadequate response from the United States.

“People think they can be neutral about this. That’s absolutely wrong,” said Alexandra-Ola Chaic, 17, who traveled to the rally from Burke, Va., with her family, which is of Palestinian descent. “We have to do what we can to make this an issue that receives political support.”

The crowd that gathered was diverse in age and background, and included many families with young children.

Ruth Soto, 25, from Northern Virginia, came with her sister to show solidarity with Palestinians. She said the displacement of Palestinians felt personal to her because her family fled war in Central America to come to the United States illegally.

“We’ve seen the struggle, being displaced from your home,” she said. “This is a way we can help them.”

In London, a pro-Palestinian march on Saturday attracted thousands of protesters, and similar demonstrations were held in cities around the world.

At the same time, there was growing concern about a rise in attacks against Jews and Jewish institutions.

France banned a pro-Palestinian protest in Paris, citing the “sensitive” international context and the risk of acts of violence against synagogues and Israeli interests in the French capital.

Paris protest organizers pressed ahead on Saturday despite the ban. The police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the rally, which had drawn about 3,000 people, Agence France-Presse reported.

This past week, German protesters attacked synagogues, burned Israeli flags and marched through the streets chanting slurs against Jews.

Felix Klein, a German official tasked with countering anti-Semitism, said: “It is appalling how obviously Jews in Germany are being held responsible here for actions of the Israeli government in which they are completely uninvolved.”

Britain experienced a sharp increase in the number of anti-Semitic incidents in the past week, a charity said on Saturday.

Credit…Adat Yeshua Messianic Synagogue

The Community Security Trust, a charity that records anti-Semitic threats, said it had received more than 50 reports of Jews across Britain being threatened and verbally abused in the past week — a 490 percent increase from the previous seven days. It said it believed that many more attacks had gone unreported.

Offensive phrases and slogans about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have been shouted at Jewish people of all ages, including children, said Dave Rich, the charity’s director of policy. “When the conflict in Israel reaches this level of intensity, we always see increases in anti-Semitic incidents,” he said.

A new round of deadly violence erupted in the Middle East over the past week, as Israeli airstrikes hit targets in Gaza and the militant group Hamas launched rockets at cities inside Israel.

A damaged building in Petah Tikva, Israel, that was hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip.
Credit…Dan Balilty for The New York Times

There is no simple answer to the question “What set off the current violence in Israel?”

But in a recent episode of The Daily, Isabel Kershner, The New York Times’s Jerusalem correspondent, explained the series of recent events that reignited violence in the region.

In Jerusalem, nearly every square foot of land is contested — its ownership and tenancy symbolic of larger abiding questions about who has rightful claim to a city considered holy by three major world religions.

As Isabel explained, a longstanding legal battle over attempts to forcibly evict six Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem heightened tensions in the weeks leading up to the outbreak of violence.

The always tenuous peace was further tested by the overlap of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan with a month of politically charged days in Israel.

A series of provocative events followed: Israeli forces barred people from gathering to celebrate Ramadan outside Damascus Gate, an Old City entrance that is usually a festive meeting place for young people after the breaking of the daily fast during the holy month.

Then young Palestinians filmed themselves slapping an ultra-Orthodox Jew, videos that went viral on TikTok.

And on Jerusalem Day, an annual event marking the capture of East Jerusalem during the Arab-Israeli war of 1967, groups of young Israelis marched through the Old City’s Muslim Quarter to reach the Western Wall, chanting “Death to Arabs” along the way.

Stability in the city collapsed after a police raid on the Aqsa Mosque complex, an overture that Palestinians saw as an invasion on holy territory. Muslim worshipers threw rocks, and officers met them with tear gas, rubber-tipped bullets and stun grenades. At least 21 police officers and more than 330 Palestinians were wounded in that fighting.

Listen to the episode to hear how these clashes spiraled into an exchange of airstrikes that has brought Israeli forces to the edge of Gaza — and the brink of war.

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Listen to ‘The Daily’: The Israeli-Palestinian Crisis, Reignited

Rockets, airstrikes and mob violence: Why is this happening now, and how much worse could it get?

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Biden Calls on Israel and Palestinian Leaders to Protect Civilians

President Biden urged the leaders of Israel and the Palestinians to avoid additional deaths of children and other civilians in the escalating conflict on separate calls on Saturday and also affirmed his commitment to a two-state solution to bring peace in Jerusalem and elsewhere across Israel and the occupied territories.

Speaking to President Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinians’ leader, Mr. Biden demanded that Hamas militants stop firing rockets into Israel. Speaking to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, he maintained Israel’s right to defend itself from the militant group based in the Gaza Strip.

Mr. Biden also raised concerns with Mr. Netanyahu about the safety and security of journalists in the conflict after Israeli forces targeted a building in Gaza that housed international reporters and other news crews in Gaza. He “reinforced the need to ensure their protection,” said a White House statement describing the conversation between Mr. Biden and Mr. Netanyahu.

In both calls, according to the White House statements, Mr. Biden said the Palestinian people deserved greater security, freedoms and economic opportunities, and signaled that a two-state solution was the best pathway toward doing so. He also updated both Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Abbas on ongoing diplomatic talks among officials from the United States and in the Middle East to negotiate a cease-fire in the current conflict, the worst in at least seven years.

assistance to Palestinians through a United Nations aid agency. The aid was halted during the Trump administration.

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Conflict Spirals Across Israel and the Palestinian Territories

JERUSALEM — Fighting between Israelis and Palestinians spiraled across several fronts on Saturday as Israel destroyed a high-rise building in Gaza housing the offices of two major international media outlets, Hamas militants in Gaza fired more rocket barrages toward the Tel Aviv area and protests broke out again in the occupied West Bank.

An American envoy, Hady Amr, landed in Israel for two days of talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, joining efforts led by Egyptian, Qatari and United Nations officials to secure a cease-fire.

But as of early Saturday evening, those efforts showed no sign of success: The fighting is the most intense since 2014 and has taken on a rare complexity because of its spread across the entirety of Israel and the occupied territories.

An early morning Israeli airstrike in the Shati refugee camp in Gaza killed at least 10 members of the same extended family, eight of them children, according to Palestinian officials and local news reports.

said on Twitter that the United States had “communicated directly to the Israelis that ensuring the safety and security of journalists and independent media is a paramount responsibility.”

Hamas and its allies in Gaza returned fire with a barrage of rockets across central Israel, sending sunbathers sprinting from the beaches of Tel Aviv toward bomb shelters.

Most of the rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome, an antimissile defense system partly financed by the United States. But at least one landed in Ramat Gan, a Tel Aviv suburb, killing one person, Israeli media reported. And it brought the Israeli death toll since Monday to 10. Another fell near an Ikea store south of Tel Aviv, but left no injuries.

attack on their home in Jaffa, a mixed Arab-Jewish city that was at the heart of Arab life in the Middle East before most of its Arab residents fled to Gaza and other parts of the region in 1948.

For Palestinians, the attack, and the situation in general, had particular resonance on Saturday: It was Nakba Day, an annual commemoration of the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homes in 1948. In Ramallah, the administrative hub of the occupied West Bank, a siren sounded for 73 seconds to mark the 73 years since the dispersal.

Demonstrations and subsequent clashes broke out again in the West Bank, illustrating how widespread the fighting has become since Hamas fired its first rockets shortly after 6 p.m. on Monday.

A Palestinian militant group in Lebanon also fired rockets toward Israel this week, while protesters from Lebanon also briefly entered northern Israel, prompting the Israeli Army to fire on them.

Crowds of Jordanian citizens, many of them of Palestinian descent, have also gathered at the Israeli border to protest the strikes on Gaza.

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Live Updates: Israeli Strike Hits Gaza Media Tower as Violence Intensifies

American, Egyptian and Qatari attempted to negotiate a pause in fighting.

Credit…Gil Cohen-Magen/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

At least 12 people were killed overnight in Gaza, Palestinian medics said on Saturday morning. And for the fifth consecutive day on Friday, Hamas rockets had targeted Israeli towns.

The Israeli military said it had killed dozens of high-ranking Hamas commanders and damaged the militant group’s network of tunnels beneath Gaza, significantly weakening Hamas.

It was not clear whether such losses were the reason a Hamas spokesman, Fawzi Barhoum, told Al Jazeera in a Friday night interview that the group would decide whether to negotiate a “calming” in the fighting under certain conditions. Israel, Mr. Barhoum said, must meet unspecified demands about “lifting its hand” from Gaza and the sites of clashes in Jerusalem, including the Aqsa Mosque.

Israeli security officials said they would be open to cease-fire talks, according to the Israeli news media.

The health ministry in Gaza that said at least 139 people had died in Israeli airstrikes and shelling, 39 of them children, with about 1,000 injured. Those numbers could not be independently verified. The United Nations said 10,000 Gazans had left their homes to take shelter in schools, mosques and other places. In Israel, the hostilities have left seven civilians, including a 5-year-old boy, and one soldier dead.

Credit…Hazem Bader/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Power in Gaza was down to five hours a day in some places, and water came out of the pipes only once every few days. Any efforts to contain what had been a worsening coronavirus infection crisis all but ceased.

In Israel, the always-fraught notion of coexistence between Arabs and Jews seemed to be cracking amid the burning apartments and synagogues, the thrown stones and homemade bombs.

The crisis has pushed concerns about Israel’s political gridlock off the table and could benefit the shaky career of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, while also giving momentum to Hamas.

The Shati refugee camp in the western Gaza Strip in February.
Credit…Mahmoud Issa/SOPA Images, via Getty Images

An Israeli airstrike that hit a house in a Gaza refugee camp overnight killed at least 10 Palestinians from an extended family, seven of them children, according to Palestinian officials and local news reports on Saturday. A 5-month-old boy was pulled from the rubble alive.

Palestinian officials said the house had been struck with no warning.

The Israel Defense Forces said in a statement that they had “attacked a number of Hamas terror organization senior officials, in an apartment used as terror infrastructure in the area of the Al-Shati refugee camp.”

The Qassam Brigades — the armed wing of Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza — said on Saturday that it was hitting Tel Aviv with rockets in response to the “massacre against women and children” in the camp.

Shati, a crowded refugee camp north of Gaza City along the Mediterranean coast, is also home to Ismail Haniyeh, a senior Hamas leader who was born there in the early 1960s. It was unclear whether the airstrikes were aimed at him.

With its jumble of buildings and alleyways beside the sea, Shati — the third-largest of the Gaza Strip’s eight refugee camps — is also known as Beach camp. Initially home to 23,000 refugees who fled Lydd, Jaffa, Be’er Sheva and other areas of Palestine in 1948, the camp has since grown to house more than 85,000 people. All of them reside in an area of about a fifth of a square mile, according to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, known as Unrwa, which works with Palestinian refugees.

Overnight, Al Jazeera broadcast video of rescue teams using earth-moving trucks to clear the rubble. Rescue workers climbed around the rubble in search of survivors, while graphic footage showed medics retrieving the victims’ bodies.

The father of three of the children who died, whom local television channels identified as Abu Suhaib, told reporters that his wife and their five sons had gone to visit her brother for Eid al-Fitr, the feasting holiday that marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. His wife and their children Suhaib, 14; Abdelrahman,8; and Wissam, 5, were killed. Yahya, 11, was still missing. He only had Omar, the 5-month-old, left.

“They were sleeping in their homes,” he told Shehab, a news agency linked to Hamas, the militant group that controls Gaza. “They weren’t holding weapons, they weren’t firing rockets and they weren’t harming anyone.”

A new round of deadly violence erupted in the Middle East this week, as Israeli airstrikes hit targets in Gaza, and the militant group Hamas launched rockets at cities inside Israel.

A demonstration marking Nakba Day in Ramallah, West Bank, on Saturday.
Credit…Abbas Momani/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The convulsions in Israel and the Palestinian territories were injected with an additional source of angry emotion on Saturday as the Palestinian diaspora and its supporters commemorated Nakba Day, denoting the 1948 displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians amid Israel’s declaration of independence.

Every year on May 15, Palestinians and their supporters protest what Palestinians call the nakba, which means disaster, the term used to describe the upheaval 73 years ago when the state of Israel was created.

In November 1947, the United Nations adopted a plan to partition Mandatory Palestine, as the region was known when under British control. The plan, accepted by Jews and rejected by Arabs in the territory, would have created separate independent Jewish and Arab states with an international regime to oversee Jerusalem. Immediately after the resolution’s acceptance, war broke out between Jews and Arabs.

Until 1998, no one day was singled out by the Palestinians to commemorate and protest what happened, although many used the occasion of Israeli Independence Day to mark the events.

As Israel prepared elaborate celebrations for its 50th anniversary that year, the Palestinian Authority president, Yasir Arafat, decreed that Palestinians should have their own day of remembrance: May 15, which was the day after Israeli independence in 1948. (The Israeli holiday, based on the Hebrew calendar, does not fall on the same day every year under the Gregorian calendar. This year, Israeli Independence Day was in mid-April.)

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency, which was created to help the Palestinian refugees displaced in 1948, now provides aid and services to 5.7 million Palestinians and their descendants in camps in the occupied territories adjoining Israel and elsewhere in the Middle East.

Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem were joined on Saturday by activists around the world who view Israeli policies as increasingly oppressive. A Facebook post by the Palestinian Youth Movement advertised North American rallies scheduled for 22 cities. Demonstrations were also planned in Africa, Europe and elsewhere.

As the week of deadly violence in the Middle East has unfolded, Britain experienced a sharp increase in the number of anti-Semitic incidents, a charity said on Saturday as officials across Europe braced for protests.

The Community Security Trust, a charity that records anti-Semitic threats, said it had received more than 50 reports of Jews across Britain being threatened and verbally abused in the past week — a 490 percent increase from the previous seven days. It said it believed that many more attacks had gone unreported.

Offensive phrases and slogans about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have been shouted at Jewish people of all ages, including children, said Dave Rich, the charity’s director of policy. “When the conflict in Israel reaches this level of intensity, we always see increases in anti-Semitic incidents,” he said.

The police in England and Wales are also conducting investigations after graffiti of swastikas, “Free Palestine” messages and anti-Semitic terms were found sprayed on property this week, including on the door of a synagogue in Norwich in eastern England.

The synagogue’s leader, Rabbi Binyamin Sheldrake, told the BBC that the community’s initial reaction was “shock and horror,” but that “our response to this is not one of hate, but one of love.”

Marches in support of Palestinians have taken place in London and other English cities in recent days, with a march in England’s capital city on Saturday attracting thousands of protesters. But elsewhere in Europe, France banned a pro-Palestinian protest planned for this weekend in Paris, citing the “sensitive” international context and the risk of acts of violence against synagogues and Israeli interests in the French capital.

The organizers of the Paris march vowed to press ahead despite the ban. “We refuse to silence our solidarity with the Palestinians, and we will not be prevented from demonstrating,” they said in a statement, according to Agence France-Presse.

In Germany, where protesters this week attacked synagogues, burned Israeli flags and marched through the streets chanting slurs against Jews, law enforcement officials prepared for several demonstrations in Berlin on Saturday and said that anti-Semitism would not be tolerated.

Eid al-Fitr prayers on Thursday at Al Azhar, a famed mosque and university in Cairo. A sermon delivered there on Friday was unusually critical of the cowardice of Arab leaders in defending Jerusalem, according to Ofir Winter, a specialist at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University.
Credit…Khaled Desouki/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The Arab world has broadly condemned Israel’s bombardment of Gaza and Israeli police raids this week on the grounds of Jerusalem’s Al Aqsa Mosque, one of Islam’s holiest sites. Leaders have spoken out, protests have taken place, social media is aflame.

But at the government level, the condemnation so far is largely rhetorical. Since 2014, when Israel mounted a seven-week offensive into Gaza, the region’s concerns have shifted, with new fears about Iran’s influence and a growing recognition by Arab nations of the reality of Israel.

Even those countries that normalized relations with Israel last year — the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco — have all openly criticized Israeli policies and called for support of the Palestinians and the defense of Jerusalem. The escalation of violence has put a great strain on those governments, which had argued that their closer relationship with Israel would help restrain Israeli actions aimed at Palestinians.

“I have not seen any Arab state that has not expressed support for the Palestinians on a rhetorical level, and it would be very difficult for them to say anything otherwise,’’ said H.A. Hellyer, a scholar of Middle East politics at the Carnegie Endowment in Washington. “But what they do about it is very different.’’

Hamas, the militant Islamist group that controls Gaza, is little loved by governments in the Sunni Arab world, but its loud messaging that it was firing rockets at Israel in defense of Jerusalem struck a chord, said Khaled Elgindy, director of the Palestine program at the Middle East Institute. Gaza is one thing, he said, but “Jerusalem is important for the Arab League and for clear stakeholders, like the Jordanians and the Saudis,’’ who are the guardians of the holy places of Islam.

Egypt and Jordan, which have long had diplomatic relations with Israel, are deeply engaged in trying to de-escalate the conflict, but also must be wary of domestic public anger. Qatar, which bankrolls Hamas in Gaza, has also tried to mediate; its foreign minister has held talks with both the Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyeh, and the U.S. national security adviser, Jake Sullivan.

The Arab League is pressing for an emergency debate in the U.N. Security Council, which the United States has put off until at least Sunday. The Arab League needs to keep in front of the debate on Jerusalem, the analysts agreed, and not cede the field to Hamas.

Israeli ground forces at the Gaza border on Friday.
Credit…Dan Balilty for The New York Times

When the Israeli military suddenly announced after midnight on Friday that its ground forces had begun “attacking in the Gaza Strip,” several global news outlets, including The New York Times, immediately alerted readers that a Gaza incursion or invasion was underway.

Within hours, those reports were all corrected: No invasion had taken place. Rather, ground troops had opened fire at targets in Gaza from inside Israeli territory. A top military spokesman took responsibility for the error, blaming the fog of war.

But by Friday evening, several top Israeli news organizations were reporting that the mistaken announcement was no accident, but a deception.

The intent, the media reports said, was tricking Hamas fighters into believing that an invasion had started — and to react in ways that would make them more vulnerable to a furious attack by 160 Israeli jets.

The military’s English-language spokesman, Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, insisted that the false announcement had been his honest mistake, based on his misunderstanding of information coming in “from the field.”

But Israel’s Channel 12 news station called the spread of misinformation to foreign journalists a “planned ploy.”

The possibility that the military had used the international news media to kill fighters in Gaza prompted sharp objections from several news organizations.

“If they used us, it’s unacceptable,” said Daniel Estrin, N.P.R.’s correspondent in Jerusalem. “And if not, then what’s the story — and why is the Israeli media widely reporting that we were duped?”

Israel’s Iron Dome antimissile defense weapons, designed to intercept incoming rockets and artillery shells, in Sderot.
Credit…Jack Guez/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

SDEROT, Israel — It was 1:30 p.m. on Friday in Sderot, and Ido Avigal, 5, was being laid to rest a few miles to the north. He had been killed in what officials termed a freak incident two days earlier when a rocket from Gaza made a direct hit on the building next door to his aunt’s apartment, where he was visiting with his mother and older sister.

When that rocket struck on Wednesday evening, he was sheltering in a fortified safe room meant to protect residents from this exact threat. But a piece of shrapnel managed to puncture the thick, steel shutter and the thick glass window of the shelter, mortally wounding the boy. Ido’s mother and his sister were also injured while inside the room.

It was the first such case of a death in a fortified safe room that military officials could recall.

In the current round of fighting, which began on Monday, Gaza militant groups have fired more than 2,000 rockets into Israel, with more than 600 aimed at Sderot, the Israeli military said. Israel has pummeled Gaza with hundreds of airstrikes and artillery fire.

On Friday, Palestinian officials said 120 people had been killed in the attacks, including 31 children in Gaza. On the Israeli side, seven civilians, including Ido, and one soldier had been killed, Israeli officials said.

In the early 1990s, after Israel came under attack by Scud missiles from Iraq, all newly built homes were required to be constructed with a safe room made from reinforced concrete. Built to technical specifications that have been upgraded over the years, the protective spaces are supposed to withstand blast and shrapnel from conventional weapons, as well as offer some protection against chemical and biological attacks. These rooms include windows since they also serve as a functional part of the home.

An initial investigation found that the safe room where Ido was hiding had been built to the proper specifications, according to Colonel Dayan. The penetration by the shrapnel was probably caused by the angle at which the rocket hit, he said, adding that the only new recommendation for now was to sit low down in safe rooms, below the window line.

At Ido’s funeral on Friday, his father, Asaf Avigal, eulogized him. “I’m sorry I did not take the shrapnel in your place,” Mr. Avigal said, according to Israel’s N12 news channel. “A few days ago, you asked me: ‘Dad, what will happen if the siren goes off while we are outdoors?’ I told you that so long as you were with me you would be protected. I lied.”

A damaged building in Petah Tikva, Israel, that was hit by a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip.
Credit…Dan Balilty for The New York Times

There is no simple answer to the question “What set off the current violence in Israel?”

But in an episode of The Daily this week, Isabel Kershner, The New York Times’s Jerusalem correspondent, explained the series of recent events that reignited violence in the region.

In Jerusalem, nearly every square foot of land is contested — its ownership and tenancy symbolic of larger abiding questions about who has rightful claim to a city considered holy by three major world religions.

As Isabel explained, a longstanding legal battle over attempts to forcibly evict six Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem heightened tensions in the weeks leading up to the outbreak of violence.

The always tenuous peace was further tested by the overlap of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan with a month of politically charged days in Israel.

A series of provocative events followed: Israeli forces barred people from gathering to celebrate Ramadan outside Damascus Gate, an Old City entrance that is usually a festive meeting place for young people after the breaking of the daily fast during the holy month.

Then young Palestinians filmed themselves slapping an ultra-Orthodox Jew, videos that went viral on TikTok.

And on Jerusalem Day, an annual event marking the capture of East Jerusalem during the Arab-Israeli war of 1967, groups of young Israelis marched through the Old City’s Muslim Quarter to reach the Western Wall, chanting “Death to Arabs” along the way.

Stability in the city collapsed after a police raid on the Aqsa Mosque complex, an overture that Palestinians saw as an invasion on holy territory. Muslim worshipers threw rocks, and officers met them with tear gas, rubber-tipped bullets and stun grenades. At least 21 police officers and more than 330 Palestinians were wounded in that fighting.

Listen to the episode to hear how these clashes spiraled into an exchange of airstrikes that has brought Israeli forces to the edge of Gaza — and the brink of war.

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Listen to ‘The Daily’: The Israeli-Palestinian Crisis, Reignited

Rockets, airstrikes and mob violence: Why is this happening now, and how much worse could it get?

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