LATEST UPDATES: GAZA CAMPS
On Sunday, there were enormous explosions in two Gaza refugee camps, resulting in the loss of many Palestinian lives. These unlucky occasions have brought to the complexities confronted by Secretary of State Antony Blinken in his diplomatic efforts. Despite those challenges, Blinken maintains his unannounced visits to the West Bank and Iraq, aiming to relieve the outcomes of the continued Israel-Hamas battle amidst developing international concerns.
According to a report from Al-Aqsa Hospital workers, an Israeli airstrike on the Al Maghazi camp in Gaza, controlled by the Hamas-run Health Ministry, resulted in the deaths of at least 40 people and numerous injuries. Additionally, three miles north, Israeli jets struck a house near a school at the Bureij camp, causing the deaths of at least 13 individuals.
Israel completed airstrikes at the Jabaliya refugee camp last week, inflicting severe casualties.
These bombings had been justified via means of Israel as concentrated on Hamas fighters, with the organization imagined to be the use of civilians as human shields. However, critics argue that those moves are exacerbating the already dire humanitarian disaster in Gaza.
During a meeting on Sunday in Baghdad, U.S. Secretary of State Blinken and Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani discussed strategies to halt the attacks perpetrated by Iran-backed militias on U.S. and coalition military facilities. These assaults have seen a significant increase, reaching a total of 32 incidents since October 17th, encompassing locations in both Iraq and neighboring Syria.
During a day of protests, Blinken made an unexpected trip to Ramallah in the central West Bank. He held discussions with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas concerning the renovation of balance inside the territory, the development of situations in Gaza, and the governing body’s function in shaping the destiny of Palestinians.
PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU
During Blinken’s recent visit to the Middle East, he initiated the trip by urging Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for humanitarian pauses. Netanyahu maintains his opposition to these pauses until Hamas releases all the hostages it took during the brutal Oct. 7 attack on Israel’s border communities.
On Saturday, Blinken visited Jordan and engaged in discussions with the foreign ministers of the host country, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. During these talks, there was a strong emphasis from the ministers on the importance of at least temporarily stopping the war.
Blinken expressed that “humanitarian pauses” would be welcomed by everyone as they could contribute to various objectives such as the safe return of hostages, increased assistance to Gaza, and the evacuation of individuals, including foreign citizens, who wish to leave the region.
∎ Abbas stated that the Palestinian Authority would only assume control of Gaza as part of a comprehensive political solution, which aims to establish an independent state encompassing the West Bank and East Jerusalem. It is important to note that Abbas does not have authority in Gaza since Hamas took over in 2007.
∎ The war has led to a Palestinian death toll of over 9,700, as reported by the Health Ministry in Gaza. In the occupied West Bank, settler violence and Israeli raids have resulted in the death of more than 140 Palestinians. Additionally, 72 staff members of the UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees, known as UNRWA, have been killed.
∎ Within Israel, more than 1,400 people have lost their lives, with the majority of casualties occurring in the Hamas attack on October 7th, which triggered the war. The militant group also took 242 hostages from Israel into Gaza.
∎ Since Wednesday, approximately 1,100 individuals have left the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing as part of a potential agreement involving the United States, Egypt, Israel, and Qatar, which mediates with Hamas.
∎ The Israeli military announced the discovery of a weapons cache in a home in Beit Hanoun, located in the northern Gaza Strip. The stash included rifles, grenades, explosives, suicide drones, and missiles.