Pro-Palestinian protesters march in major cities as Israel strikes Gaza — as it happened | News | DW | 15.05.2021

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Pro-Palestinian protesters march in major cities as Israel strikes Gaza — as it happened

People turned out across the globe to mark Nakba Day and voice support for Palestinians. Meanwhile, a Gaza tower housing several media organizations collapsed after being hit by an airstrike.

Pro-Palestinian activists and supporters let off smoke flares, wave flags and carry placards during a demonstration in London in support of Palestine

Thousands marched on the Israeli Embassy in London to protest Israel's attacks on Gaza

  • Israeli airstrike kills 10 in Gaza
  • Gaza building housing AP, Al Jazeera offices collapses following an airstrike 
  • Police clash with pro-Palestinian protesters in several cities
  • Palestinians mark Nakba Day

Live updates ended

This live updates article has now been closed. For continued coverage please see here: Israel-Gaza crisis: Fighting enters second week as cease-fire attempts fail

Israeli ambassador to Germany calls on Jews and Muslims to come together against hate

Israeli ambassador to Germany Jeremy Issacharoff called on Jews and Muslims to come together against hatred and polarization.

"The Jewish and Muslim communities can have a lot in common and in some places in Germany there are close contacts between these communities," Issacharoff told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

Issacharoff said it helps "when Jews and Muslims come together, exchange ideas and discuss common challenges. That can also be the basis to tackle growing hatred together."

This week, several synagogues and a memorial site were vandalized in Germany in antisemitic acts amid the high tensions between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip. Muslims have also been targeted by hate crimes in Germany. 

'Israel faces new rocket barrage,' IDF says

Hamas has continued firing rockets at Israel, targeting cities such as Beersheba, according to the Israeli military. 

"After threatening to fire rockets at Tel Aviv, Hamas has fired a heavy barrage of rockets from Gaza into central and southern Israel," the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) said in a tweet. "Men, women, children, and the elderly are currently in shelters, protecting themselves from rockets aimed at them."

Israel has reported 10 dead so far from the violence. At least 149 people have been killed in Gaza, according to health officials in the Palestinian enclave.

UN chief expresses concerns over rising casualties, airstrike on media building

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is "dismayed" and "disturbed" by rising casualties in the Gaza Strip and an Israeli airstrike targeting a building which contained the Gaza offices of Al-Jazeera and the Associated Press.

"The Secretary-General is dismayed by the increasing number of civilian casualties, including the death of ten members of the same family, including children, as a result of an Israeli airstrike last night on the al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza," his spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric, said in a statement. 

Guterres was also "deeply disturbed" by the airstrike on a building that housed residential apartments in addition to news bureaus.

"The Secretary-General reminds all sides that any indiscriminate targeting of civilian and media structures violates international law and must be avoided at all costs," the spokesperson added.

German Foreign Minister outlines three-stage plan for deescalation

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas on Sunday outlined a three-stage plan to deescalate the current round of tensions between Hamas and Israel. Maas told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper that Israel has the right to protect its people from "Hamas' rocket terror."

"It is now all the more urgent to 1. Stop the rocket terror 2. Put an end to the violence and 3. Return to discussions about confidence-building steps between Israelis and Palestinians," Maas told the paper. 

Maas has previously called for deescalation and denounced antisemitic attacks in Germany amid the current round of tensions.

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators take to the streets across North America

Thousands of Pro-Palestinian demonstrators took to the streets across North America on Saturday, as Israel's military operation towards Gaza continued. Demonstrations took place in cities such as New York, Boston, Washington D.C. and Montreal. 

The protesters waved Palestinians flags and shouted slogans such as "Freedom for Gaza." Many of the demonstrators wore Palestinian symbols such as Keffiyeh scarves.

President Joe Biden has expressed support for Israel's military operation, but has also signaled concern over the loss of Palestinian life in Gaza. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has urged Hamas and Israel to deescalate tensions.

Israel will strike 'as long as necessary,' says Netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel will continue to strike in Gaza as he blamed Hamas for starting a week of hostilities.

The Israeli leader pledged to "avoid or limit, as much as possible, harming civilians and to directly strike terrorists instead."

"The party that bears the guilt for this confrontation is not us, it's those attacking us," Netanyahu said in a televised speech.

"We are still in the midst of this operation, it is still not over and this operation will continue as long as necessary."

Hamas says it will not retreat

A top Hamas leader said militant groups in the Gaza Strip will not retreat in the face of attacks by Israeli forces.

"We warned that the blessed Al-Aqsa mosque was a red line and we told Netanyahu: 'don't play with fire'," Ismail Haniyeh, who lives in exile, told hundreds of supporters at a pro-Palestinian protest in the Qatari capital Doha.

"The title of this battle today, the title of the war, and the title of the intifada (uprising), is Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Jerusalem," he said.

Haniyeh added that as the Israeli attacks escalate, "the resistance will increase [its force] to a higher level.''

Watch video 01:59

Israel strikes Gaza as Hamas rockets reach Tel Aviv

Israel says electric power lines to Gaza damaged

Israel's Electric Company said five out of 10 high voltage lines supplying the Gaza Strip with electricity were damaged by Palestinian militants' rocket fire.

The company said it could not fix the damaged lines due to lack of access to the area.

Power outages have been a daily occurrence in Gaza, recently up to 12 to 15 hours per day.

Indian police arrest 21 Kashmiris in pro-Palestinian rallies

Police in India-controlled Kashmir arrested 21 people for disturbing public order in pro-Palestinian protests, AP reported, citing a local police chief.

Police said they were keeping a "close watch on elements who are attempting to leverage the unfortunate situation in Palestine to disturb public peace and order'' in Kashmir.

In a statement, police added they were "sensitive to public anguish," but wouldn't allow those sentiments to "trigger violence, lawlessness and disorder."

AP quoted police inspector-general Vijay Kumar as saying that 20 people were arrested in Srinagar, the region's main city, and one from a village in southern Kashmir.

Biden says US committed to two-state solution

US President Joe Biden stressed the need for Gaza's ruling militant group Hamas to halt firing rockets into Israel as he spoke to the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

During the phone call, Biden expressed US support to enable Palestinians "to enjoy the dignity, security, freedom, and economic opportunity that they deserve," according to a White House statement.

The official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that Abbas urged Biden "to intervene in putting an end to Israeli attacks on Palestinians."

Abbas also told Biden that "security and stability will be achieved when the Israeli occupation ends," adding that Palestinians were willing to work towards peace with international mediators, according to Wafa.

Biden emphasized his commitment to a two-state solution as the best resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the White House said.

Demonstrators march in Iraq in solidarity with Palestinians

Thousands of protesters gathered in Baghdad and other parts of Iraq against Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip and violations in Jerusalem.

People rallied following a call from the influential Shiite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, known for his anti-US rhetoric, according to Iraq's state news agency INA.

Protesters carried the Iraqi and Palestinian flags and chanted slogans against Israel, witnesses said.

Some demonstrators set fire to the Israeli and US flags during the march amid a heavy security presence, witnesses added.

Pro-Palestinian protesters march along Lebanon-Israel border

Hundreds of Lebanese demonstrators held pro-Palestinian protests along the Lebanon-Israel border for the second day in a row.

Lebanon's state-run National News Agency reported that Israeli forces fired warning shots near the Lebanese border village of Adaisseh, injuring one person who was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.

Some protesters climbed a border wall and placed Palestinian and Hezbollah flags on it, according to AP.

On Friday, Israeli troops opened fire at protesters who crossed a border fence, killing a 21-year-old Hezbollah member.

Lebanese army soldiers on a foot patrol at the Lebanese side of the Lebanese-Israeli border

The Lebanon-Israel border is being tightly patrolled by the military

Iran praises Hamas' 'successful response' to Israel

The head of an expeditionary force of Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard praised Hamas during a phone call with the head of the militant group, according to an Iranian state broadcaster.

Iran's Quds Force commander Esmail Ghaani said Hamas offered a "unique and successful response'' to Israel, Al Alam, the Arabic-language service of the Iranian state television, reported.

Hamas officials have praised Tehran for supplying weapons and aid in its fight against Israel, Iran's regional rival.

Iran cancels Austria meeting over Israeli flags

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called off a visit to Austria originally planned for Saturday after Israeli flags were raised on government buildings in Vienna.

The bilateral talks were supposed to focus on the nuclear deal negotiations. 

"We regret the step, but we will not remain silent while Hamas fires 2,000 rockets at civilian targets in Israel," said a spokeswoman for Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg.

Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said flying the flag over the federal chancellery on Friday was in solidarity with Israel amid clashes with Hamas.

The Israeli flag can be seen on Austria's chancellory building

Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz tweeted that the Israeli flag was raised over his office as a sign of solidarity

Netanyahu tells US President Biden Israel avoids harming 'the uninvolved'

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has spoken with US President Joe Biden about the latest developments.

The phone call came just hours after an Israeli airstrike destroyed a Gaza tower that housed offices of the US news agency The Associated Press and the Qatari media outlet Al Jazeera.

According to a statement from Netanyahu's office, the prime minister emphasized that Israel is doing everything to avoid harming those who are not involved.  

"The proof of this is that in the towers where there are terrorist targets attacked by the IDF, they are evacuated from the uninvolved," the statement read.

It added that Netanyahu also thanked Biden for the "unreserved support of the United States for our right to defend ourselves."

Watch video 04:08

Israeli airstrike targets media building in Gaza — Hazem Balousha reports

US tells Israel to ensure journalists' safety

The White House said it has cautioned Israel about the importance of protecting independent media after an Israeli airstrike destroyed a Gaza tower housing the offices of AP and Al Jazeera.

"We have communicated directly to the Israelis that ensuring the safety and security of journalists and independent media is a paramount responsibility," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said.

Israel says Gaza airstrike targeted Hamas leader

A senior Hamas leader was the target of the Israeli airstrike on Gaza that killed 10 civilians, including children, Israeli military spokesman Jonathan Conricus told DW. 

"Hamas has turned residential areas in the Gaza Strip into military strongholds," the IDF said following the deadly airstrike.

"When Hamas uses a tall building for military purposes, it becomes a lawful military target," the IDF added.

Watch video 07:07

Israeli military: Hamas leader target of deadly Gaza strike

Police break up pro-Palestinian protest in Berlin

Security forces in Berlin have dispersed a protest in solidarity with Palestinians in the capital’s Neukölln district, police said, adding that demonstrators threw bottles, stones and firecrackers at officers.

Police also said those demonstrating were not adhering to the city’s strict coronavirus measures during the protest.

Thousands of protesters had marched peacefully in the same neighborhood earlier on Saturday.

Pro-Palestinian marches were taking place elsewhere in Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg and other German cities.

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators protesting against Israel's actions at the border with the Gaza strip on the Hermannplatz square in Berlin's Neukoelln district

Protesters in Berlin shouted 'Freedom for Palestine' and commemorated Nakba Day

Pro-Palestinian rallies held in Berlin, London, Madrid

Thousands of protesters marking Nakba Day marched in Berlin, London and Madrid in support of Palestinians on Saturday.

Nakba Day is observed by Palestinians each year and refers to what many Palestinians call the "catastrophe," or mass displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians after the state of Israel was founded in 1948.

"We're in a situation when the Nakba is continuing in the middle of the 21st century," a protester in Madrid told the AFP news agency.

Demonstrators waved Palestinian flags in various cities around the world as they protested amid the latest flare in violence between Israel and Hamas.

In London, protesters carried banners reading "Stop Bombing Gaza" and chanted "Free Palestine."

Police in Germany's capital Berlin broke up one of the protests in the Neukölln district, DW correspondent Jared Reed said.

Paris police try to disperse banned pro-Palestinian protests

Police in Paris fired tear gas and aimed water cannon at demonstrators defying a ban on marching against Israeli attacks on Gaza. 

Authorities in Paris had banned the protests amid fears they would turn violent. 

Al Jazeera says it 'will not be silenced' 

Following an Israeli airstrike that demolished the Gaza building housing the Qatar-based broadcaster, Al Jazeera said it would not be silenced.

A ball of fire erupts from the Jala Tower as it is destroyed in an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City

The 13-floor Jala Tower housed Qatar-based Al Jazeera television and the Associated Press news agency

"It is clear that those who are waging this war do not only want to spread destruction and death in Gaza, but also to silence media that are witnessing, documenting and reporting the truth of what is happening in Gaza,'' said Walid al-Omari, Al Jazeera's Jerusalem bureau chief.

''This is a crime among a series of crimes perpetrated by the Israeli army in the Gaza Strip.''

A map showing Israel, West Bank and Gaza

AP says Israeli strike in Gaza office was 'shocking and horrifying'

The US Associated Press news agency said it had received warning that the building would be hit. 

The owner of the Jala Tower, Jawad Mehdi, told the Agence France-Presse news agency that an Israeli intelligence officer warned him he had one hour to evacuate the building. 

"We are shocked and horrified that the Israeli military would target and destroy the building housing AP's bureau and other news organizations in Gaza. They have long known the location of our bureau and knew journalists were there," AP President and CEO Gary Pruitt said in a statement Saturday. 

"We narrowly avoided a terrible loss of life," Pruitt said, adding that the agency's staff were immediately evacuated. 

Israeli airstrikes targeting the Gaza Strip Saturday killed 10 members of an extended family.

The Israeli military claimed the "multi-story building ... contained military assets belonging to the intelligence offices of Hamas," referring to the Gaza Strip's Islamist rulers.

"The building contained civilian media offices, which Hamas hides behind and deliberately uses as human shields," the IDF said on Twitter. 

Pro-Palestinian marches set to defy Paris ban

Dozens of riot police officers converged on the area ahead of the protest. Crowds of youths faced off against police units on several streets.

The protest organizers from the Association of Palestinians in Ile-de-France, the region encompassing Paris, told France Info radio that the rally would kick off despite the ban. 

Walid Atallah, president of the Association of Palestinians, accused the French government of triggering tensions with the ban.

"If there were genuine risks of public disorder, of serious problems, they would have prohibited it right away," he told a press conference, according to AFP.

"They banned it at the last minute — it's unacceptable." 

Officials told AFP that they feared a repeat of fierce clashes that erupted at a similar march in Paris in 2014, when protesters chanted antisemitic slogans. 

Protesters, surrounded by tear gas, face French riot mobile gendarmes during a demonstration in solidarity with Palestinians

Police officers used tear gas and water cannon in Paris to try and disperse a pro-Palestinian rally held despite a ban by authorities

Egypt sends ambulances to Gaza

Egypt sent 10 ambulances to Gaza to pick up seriously wounded Palestinians for treatment, Palestinian officials said Saturday.

Another five ambulances were later deployed to enter Gaza. Three Egyptian hospitals were prepared to provide treatment to Palestinians, the Reuters news agency reported, citing health officials.

The ambulances entered Gaza through the Rafah border crossing, which was due to open on Monday following a five-day closure over the Eid al-Fitr holiday and the weekend.

Infografik Karte Gazastreifen EN

Rumors of Hamas cease-fire bid

Diplomatic efforts to bring about a cease-fire appear to have begun in the background, but the situation on the ground is still dynamic and fragile, and may even be escalating, Emily Rose, Middle East correspondent at the Israeli broadcaster i24News, told DW.

Diplomatic efforts may have begun, but the situation on the ground is still dynamic, Rose added.

Watch video 00:20

Israel Hamas conflict: Is there a path to de-escalation?

Palestinians mark Nakba Day

Welcome to DW's rolling coverage as the Israel-Gaza crisis enters a sixth day.

Further violence is expected Saturday as Palestinians mark Nakba, "or Catastrophe" Day, which commemorates the nearly 700,000 people who fled or were driven from their homes after the founding of the state of Israel in 1948. This year, Nakba Day falls on the third day of Eid al-Fitr, the end of Ramadan.

fb, wd/jlw (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)