- Recent Developments:
- Palestinian Authority working with US on post-war plan for Gaza – Bloomberg
- Israel says 92 soldiers have been killed in Gaza since the ground war began on October 20
GAZA/WASHINGTON, Dec 8 (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, a fierce public critic of Israel’s war on Hamas in southern Gaza, said there was a gap between the government’s stated intentions to protect civilians and casualties. .
Blinken told a press conference after meeting British Foreign Secretary David Cameron in Washington on Thursday.
“There is a gap between the intent to protect the public and the actual results we see on the ground.”
Israel says it wants to destroy the Hamas militant group after an attack on Israel two months ago and is doing everything it can to keep civilians out of harm’s way, including warnings about military operations.
US President Joe Biden spoke separately by phone with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jordan’s King Abdullah on Thursday. Biden stressed the critical need to “separate the population through corridors, including protecting civilians and separating civilians from Hamas.”
According to the Gaza Health Ministry, more than 17,170 Palestinians have been killed and 46,000 injured since Israel began bombing Gaza on October 7 in response to cross-border attacks by Iran-backed Hamas militants. According to Israel’s calculation, 1,200 people were killed in the Hamas attack and 240 were taken hostage.
The Israeli military said on Friday that 92 of its soldiers had been killed in fighting in Gaza since the ground incursion began on October 20.
UN calls for cease-fire in Gaza conflict
Fighting between Israel and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip’s largest cities on Thursday left hundreds of Palestinians dead — 350, according to Ashraf al-Qitra, a spokesman for Gaza’s health ministry. Israel said several gunmen were killed in Khan Younis, including two who fired from tunnels.
Arab countries have renewed their push for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, with the United Arab Emirates asking the UN Security Council to vote on a draft resolution on Friday morning.
The United States and ally Israel oppose the ceasefire, saying it would only benefit Hamas. Blinken is scheduled to meet with top diplomats from Arab countries, including Egypt, in Washington on Friday.
The draft was amended to state that “Palestinian and Israeli civilians must be protected in accordance with international humanitarian law” and “the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages.”
A resolution needs at least nine votes in favor and must be accepted by five permanent members – the United States, Russia, China, France or Britain. The United States does not support any action by the Council at this time.
Bloomberg News reports that the Palestinian Authority is working with US officials on a plan to run Gaza after the war, amid growing pressure on Israel over civilian casualties in its war to destroy Hamas.
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh was quoted as saying that a desirable outcome would be for Hamas to become a junior partner under the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) that would help create a new independent state that includes the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.
“If they (Hamas) come to an agreement and are willing to accept the PLO’s political platform, there will be room for talks. The Palestinians must not be divided,” Shtayeh said, adding that Israel’s aim to completely defeat Hamas is unrealistic. .
The Kerem Shalom border crossing will open
Israel has agreed to a US request to open the Kerem Shalom border crossing to inspect trucks and their cargo, a US official said Thursday, in a development that could help smooth the way for humanitarian aid to reach Gaza.
Egypt, along with the United Nations, has been pressing Israel to speed up an inspection process that would require the vehicles to drive to Egypt’s border with Israel before returning to Rafah. Nov. 24-The number of trucks crossing daily has dropped from nearly 200 in December to less than 100. 1 ceasefire according to the United Nations.
Kerem Shalom sits on Gaza’s southern border with Israel and Egypt, and before the outbreak of war two months ago the crossing was used to carry 60% of the truck loads going into Gaza.
There is no end to the fighting, White House national security aide Joan Feiner said the US has not given Israel a firm deadline to end major military operations against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Many “legitimate military targets” remain in southern Gaza, including “most” of the Hamas leadership, Feiner told the Aspen Security Forum in Washington.
Meanwhile, more hostages are being secretly held in Gaza by Hamas, despite Israel calling on the Red Cross to arrange visits to check on their well-being.
Two months after the attack by Hamas, the Jewish festival of Hanukkah remains a solemn moment for many in Israel.
Itid Ohel, whose son Alon, 22, was abducted by Hamas gunmen from an outdoor music festival where 364 people were killed, said she was hoping for a miracle.
“He doesn’t know it’s Hanukkah. I don’t think he knows what the days are, what’s day and what’s night,” Ohel said. “But he’s always in our hearts.”
Reporting by Bassam Massoud in Gaza, Mayan Lubel in Jerusalem, Humera Pamuk and Simon Lewis in Washington; Ahmed Mohamed Hassan in Cairo, Michelle Nicholls at the United Nations and Gabrielle Detrault-Farber in Geneva; By Grant McCool and Stephen Coates; Editing by Diane Croft
Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Humeyra Pamuk is a senior foreign policy correspondent in Washington, DC. He covers the US State Department and travels regularly with the US Secretary of State. During his 20 years with Reuters, he held posts in London, Dubai, Cairo and Turkey, covering everything from the Arab Spring and Syria’s civil war to multiple Turkish elections and the Kurdish insurgency in the southeast. In 2017, he won the Knight-Pagehatt Fellowship Program at Columbia University’s School of Journalism. He holds a BA in International Relations and an MA in European Union Studies.