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Macron shamed as Biden slaps down France’s Gaza peace initiative ‘This will not help’

Israel Palestine: Biden expecting 'de-escalation' says expert

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Yesterday France called for a resolution to be approved by the UN Security Council, and is expected to circulate a draft text to council members as early as this evening, diplomats said. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said he hoped the 15-member body could vote as soon as possible.

Mr Le Drian said discussions were being held to persuade Washington but admitted: “It’s not done yet.”

A resolution needs nine votes in favour and no vetoes by Russia, China, France, the United States or Britain to pass.

However, the United States has traditionally side with close ally Israel at the United Nations.

We will not support actions that we believe undermine efforts to de-escalate

US spokesman

US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield told UN counterparts yesterday a “public pronouncement right now” by the council would not help calm the crisis.

When asked about today’s French push for a resolution, a spokesman for the US mission to the United Nations emphasised there had been no change in its position.

The spokesman said: “We’ve been clear and consistent that we are focused on intensive diplomatic efforts underway to bring an end to the violence and that we will not support actions that we believe undermine efforts to de-escalate.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to continue fighting against Gaza militants after US President Joe Biden urged him on Wednesday to seek a “de-escalation” after 10 days of intense fighting between Israel and Hamas militants and other groups in Gaza.

France made its move at the United Nations after Washington repeatedly opposed a Security Council statement, which has to be agreed by consensus.

French diplomats insist a UN Security Council resolution could raise pressure on the parties to end hostilities and would complement other diplomatic initiatives.

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A spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said today: “We think a unified and strong voice from the Security Council actually carries weight, not only in this situation, but in other situations of conflict.”

Israel fired artillery at targets in Lebanon after four rockets were launched towards Israel from Lebanese territory on Wednesday, the Israeli military confirmed.

A security source in Lebanon said Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Lebanese group which has fought with Israel in the past, is not involved on this occasion.

Wednesday’s incident was the third case of rocket fire from Lebanon since hostilities between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza flared up on May 10.

Israel’s missile defences shot down one projectile, another landed in open ground and two fell in the Mediterranean, the military said.

The rockets caused air raid sirens to sound close to the northern Israeli city of Haifa and areas to the east.

Lebanon’s army recovered four empty rocket launchers in the area of Seddiqine, a village in the region of the southern Lebanese coastal city of Tyre, and one ready to fire, which was dismantled, according to a tweet posted today.

The Lebanese army also said Israeli artillery had targeted the area, without causing damage or injuries.

There were no reports of damage on either side.

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