Malta’s ambassador to Ramallah has been told to evacuate his home and stay in a hotel for the time being as conflict continues to escalate between Israelis and Palestinians.
Foreign Minister Evarist Bartolo announced that the ministry was in “constant contact” with ambassador Franklin Aquilina, as well as Malta’s ambassador to Tel Aviv, Patrick Cole, following the eruption of conflict over the past week which has seen airstrikes and rockets fired from both states.
The latest intel suggests that no Maltese person has been hurt in the conflict. However, Aquilina has been told to stay at a hotel for the time being to avoid any danger.
“The current unrest began in Sheikh Jarrah, less than a kilometre from the ancient city walls of Jerusalem,” Evarist said in a Facebook post. “As our ambassador lives there, we told him to leave for the time being and stay at a hotel”.
This situation spiralled out of control when hundreds of Palestinians were evacuated from their homes in the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheik Jarrah to make way for Jewish settlers.
At least 65 Palestinians, including 16 children, have been killed as a result of Israeli airstrikes. Meanwhile, reports indicate that seven people have been killed in southern Israel, including a six-year-old.
The Israeli air force has struck over 500 targets in Gaza, including the homes of senior Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad officials. On the other hand, Hamas has launched more than 1,500 rockets towards Israel, hundreds of which have been intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome System.
“Over the past 73 years, no way has been found for Israelis and Palestinians to live side-by-side in peace in two different neighbouring states with their lands,” Bartolo continued.
“I am in contact with fellow ministers of other countries who are working to stop the current fighting. There are extremists on both sides who want to destroy each other, but there are also those who want Israelis and Palestinians to find a way, no matter how difficult, how to live side-by-side,” he said.
The UN Security Council has held emergency meetings on the worsening hostilities between the two states however has been blocked from issuing a joint statement due to opposition from the United States.
Meanwhile, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to intensify attacks on Hamas.
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