Israel's war on Gaza

Israel's war on Gaza

Aid strike lacks regard for international humanitarian law, says UN

Live Reporting

Hamas chief accuses Israel of procrastination in truce talks

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh has accused Israel of procrastinating in stalled talks to secure a ceasefire in the Gaza bombardment and a hostage release deal, AFP reports.

“The Zionist occupation continues to procrastinate stubbornly, and does not respond to our fair demands for an end to the war and aggression,” Haniyeh said in a recorded speech shown at a Hezbollah meeting.

In his speech shown ahead of comments from Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, the Qatar-based Haniyeh reiterated Hamas’ conditions for peace.

These include a permanent ceasefire, a full Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, the return of displaced Gazans, unhindered entry of aid, full reconstruction of the war-ravaged territory, and “a respectable prisoner exchange deal.”

Haniyeh also denounced what he said was “direct American participation” in the bombardment in Gaza by supplying weapons and ammunition to the Israeli military.

Protesters seeking hostages’ release smear paint in Israeli parliament

A group of Israelis demanding their government do more to free hostages held by Hamas in Gaza has protested in parliament with some smearing paint on the partition between the visitors’ gallery and the plenum, Reuters reports.

“Now! Now!” they chanted at lawmakers below, leaving the glass streaked with yellow — the colour of their campaign — as ushers bundled them out.

Hamas chief says movement sticking to ceasefire conditions

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh has said that the movement is sticking to its conditions for a ceasefire, including an Israeli military withdrawal, Reuters reports.

“We are committed to our demands: the permanent ceasefire, comprehensive and complete withdrawal of the enemy out of the Gaza Strip, the return of all displaced people to their homes, allowing all aid needed for our people in Gaza, rebuilding the Strip, lifting the blockade and achieving an honourable prisoner exchange deal,” Haniyeh said in a televised speech marking Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Day.

Iran vows revenge on Israel after Damascus embassy attack

Iran said on Tuesday it would take revenge on Israel for an airstrike that killed two of its generals and five military advisers at its embassy compound in Damascus, raising the risk of further escalation in conflict in the Middle East.

The strike marked one of the most significant attacks yet on Iranian interests in Syria, where Israel has stepped up a long-running military campaign against Iran and groups it backs as the Gaza war has rippled around the Middle East.

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Expressed ‘anger’ to Netanyahu on death of Australian aid worker: PM

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has revealed that he had spoken to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and had expressed his country’s “anger and concern” at the death of Australian aid worker Zomi Frankcom in an Israeli strike in Gaza’s Deir Al-Balah.

Stressing that the attack was “completely unacceptable,” Albanese said that he had placed emphasis on the “importance of full accountability and transparency”.

The premier shared that in his conversation with Netanyahu, he reiterated that it is “Australia’s view that humanitarian aid must reach the people of Gaza unimpeded and in large quantities”.


UN rights council to consider call for Israel arms embargo

The UN Human Rights Council will consider a draft resolution calling for an arms embargo on Israel, citing the “plausible risk of genocide in Gaza”, AFP reports.

If the draft resolution is adopted, it would mark the first time that the United Nations’ top rights body has taken a position on the fighting in Gaza.

The draft “condemns the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects by Israel in populated areas in Gaza” and voices grave concern at the effects of explosive weapons on hospitals, schools, water, electricity and shelter.

It also demands that Israel “uphold its legal responsibility to prevent genocide”.

The text was brought forward by Pakistan on behalf of 55 of the 56 UN member states in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) — the exception being Albania. It calls upon countries to stop the sale or transfer of arms, munitions and other military equipment to Israel, citing “a plausible risk of genocide in Gaza”.

Bodies of aid workers killed in Gaza strike to be repatriated

The bodies of six foreign aid workers killed in an attack will be transported out of Gaza via Egypt as Israel faces a chorus of outrage.

The remains of the six international staff – killed alongside one Palestinian colleague – were set to be taken out of Gaza through the Rafah crossing, said Marwan al-Hams, director of the city’s Abu Youssef al-Najjar Hospital.

The seven deaths piled more pressure on Israel whose war since the Hamas attack of October 7 has brought devastation and mass civilian casualties to Gaza. The UN warns hundreds of thousands of the population of 2.4 million are on the brink of famine.


Polish prosecutors launch investigation into aid worker killing

Prosecutors in Przemysl, where Polish aid worker Damian Sobol is from, are independently investigating the circumstances of his killing in Gaza, Deputy District Prosecutor Beata Starzecka has told Poland’s PAP press agency.

Sobol, 35, was among seven aid workers killed by a succession of Israeli air strikes on their convoy in an attack that Poland’s prime minister said is putting Israel and Poland’s relations “to a hard test”.

The Israeli military has called the attack a “mistake” and promised to investigate how it happened. An investigation by Al Jazeera’s Sanad verification agency has found the attack was intentional.


Shin Bet: Protests outside PM’s home may ‘lead to dangerous situations’

After a violent night of demonstrations outside the residence of Israel’s leader, the head of the domestic security agency, Shin Bet ,warned “there is a clear line between a legitimate protest and a violent and illegal one”.

“Violent discourse on social media and some of the scenes we witnessed overnight in Jerusalem go beyond any reasonable protest actions and harm the ability to maintain public order,” said Ronen Bar in a statement.

“These actions may lead to violent clashes with the security forces.”

Israeli newspaper Haaretz – quoting police sources – reported a senior Shin Bet official told them Tuesday’s demonstration could have ended in gunfire at protesters who broke through blockades.


Formal diplomatic rebuke expected over Israel’s aid worker killings

A senior Canadian government official says several nations will soon file the formal rebuke, known as a demarche, to Israel’s Foreign Ministry.

On Tuesday, a top official with Canada’s Global Affairs department also made a formal representation to the Israeli ambassador to Canada, The Associated Press quoted the unnamed official as saying.

Among the aid workers killed late on Monday was a Canadian-American dual national, as well as a Palestinian, three British citizens, and Polish and Australian nationals.


‘It’s over for Bibi’: Protests surge in Israel over PM’s rule

Emmanuel Navon, a former Likud member and political science professor, predicts Benjamin Netanyahu’s long leadership of Israel is doomed but says he likely won’t exit until next year.

“Netanyahu has been buried politically many times before and bounced back. But this time is different because of October 7. It is not the same country. It’s over for Bibi. He is 74, doesn’t do any exercise, has a very hard job, and he had a pacemaker put in six months ago,” said Navan.

Netanyahu’s three-decade hold over Israeli politics was based on divide and rule, Navon said, and his claim that only he could keep the country safe was shattered by the Hamas attack.

But Navon said he doubts Netanyahu will be forced from office by the new wave of mass street protests despite the fury of the captives’ families.

“The end of the year, when the war has been won in Gaza and the north, is more likely,” Navan said of when Netanyahu will depart. 

Police try to push back people in a protest against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government and call for the release of hostages held in the Gaza Strip by the Hamas militant group in Jerusalem, Tuesday, April 2, 2024. (AP Photo/Ohad Zwigenberg)

UNGA president ‘outraged’ by aid workers’ killing in Israeli strike

Dennis Francis, the president of the UN General Assembly, is “outraged by the tragic killings of the World Central Kitchen aid workers by the Israeli strike”.

“These were people who came to help others in the most dangerous and dire circumstances,” said Francis, who is also Trinidad and Tobago’s UN ambassador, in a post on social media.

“I simply have no words left,” he said.

The UNGA voted overwhelmingly in support of a ceasefire in December last year.




Australian humanitarian agencies condemn ‘rising aid worker death toll in Gaza’

The Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) and seven Australian humanitarian aid organisations have issued a joint statement condemning the “rising aid worker death toll in Gaza”.

The organisations said Australian Zomi Frankcom, who was killed along with six World Central Kitchen colleagues on Monday, was one of “hundreds of humanitarian workers killed by this conflict”, including staff of some of the organisations that signed the joint statement.

“The World Central Kitchen workers were part of an international effort to address the food crisis threatening the lives of millions of Palestinians, created by blockages to the supply of aid, especially in the North of Gaza,” the statement said.

The organisations called on the Australian government to pursue diplomatic action in support of a permanent ceasefire and said polling showed four in five Australians (81 percent) are in favour of a ceasefire in Gaza.

The World Central Kitchen has said Israel was responsible for the strikes that killed its staff, but the joint statement from Australian organisations did not specify who was responsible.

 a person holds a sign saying RIP Zomi Frankcom aid workers not a target

Four Israeli police officers suffer minor injuries in car-ramming attack: Report

As we reported earlier, a car-ramming attack at an Israeli military checkpoint in the occupied West Bank has left four police officers with minor injuries and resulted in the killing of a 26-year-old suspected assailant, according to reports.

While earlier reports said two of the four officers were in serious condition, the AFP news agency said the four suffered minor injuries only, according to a police statement.

The suspect, who crashed the car into the officers in Kochav Yair town at the Eliyahu Crossing between Israel and the occupied West Bank, was “neutralised” after attempting to stab other officers, the police said.


Joe Biden issues statement on Israel’s killing of aid workers

The US President said he was “outraged and heartbroken” by the killing of seven humanitarian workers, including a US citizen, in an Israeli air strike that the aid group World Central Kitchen (WCK) branded a “targeted attack”.

Stopping short of direct condemnation, Biden said Israel had not “done enough” to protect aid workers operating in Gaza, or civilians.

Almost 33,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s war on Gaza since October and almost 75,500 wounded.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said earlier that Israel’s killing of the seven WCK staff brought the number of aid workers killed in Gaza since October to 196 – including more than 175 members of the UN.

The death toll was “unconscionable”, Guterres said.

The US remains Israel’s staunchest supporter of its war on Gaza and recently agreed to send an additional $2.5bn in weapons to Israel.




Israeli military bulldoze roads, village water system as raids in West Bank continue

Nightly raids by the Israeli military on Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank continue with soldiers reported to have entered the towns of Azzun and Kafr Qaddum, east of Qalqilya city, in the early hours of Wednesday.

A home was raided and tear gas canisters and stun grenades were used by Israeli forces in Azzun, the Wafa news agency reports.

Confrontations between Palestinian locals resisting the military incursions and Israeli soldiers erupted in the al-Far’a refugee camp, south of Tubas city, Wafa reports, adding that military bulldozers accompanied the soldiers into the camp.

Military bulldozers were also in operations in the village of Deir Sharaf, located to the west of Nablus, where the Israeli military destroyed roads as well as the village’s water supply network. The destruction blocked several roadways and cut water to homes in the west of the village, Wafa said.

Earlier in the evening, a Palestinian man was arrested while passing through a military checkpoint north of Ramallah.


Israeli air raids target southern Lebanon

An Israeli air strike has targeted the vicinity of a mosque in the town of Ainata in the Bint Jbeil district of southern Lebanon, Lebanon’s official National News Agency (NNA) has reported.

The NNA did not say if any injuries occurred in the attack at about 10.15pm (18:00 GMT) Tuesday night.

Several Israeli air strikes also hit areas between the towns of Aitaroun and Blida, the NNA reported.


Biden calls for accountability but not ‘direct condemnation’ of Israel over aid worker killings

In [a statement from US President Joe Biden], some veiled criticism of Israel but nothing directly.

Biden said he spoke to Jose Andres [founder of World Central Kitchen] today and he expressed his condolences.

He also talks about how Israel has pledged to conduct an investigation into the incident. He said that investigation must be swift. It must bring accountability and its findings must be made public.

We know that the Israelis have conducted investigations into this sort of thing before. We have seen that at Al Jazeera with the death of Shireen Abu Akleh where there was an investigation and the Israelis admitted they were at fault but no one was held accountable for that.

So it is clear that Joe Biden is expressing a degree of anger at what has happened but, as I say, no direct condemnation of Israel.

And that is interesting because there are more presidential primaries being held today in the United States and in a number of states, activists have been urging that people spoil their ballot forms as a mark of protest to Joe Biden for not doing more to urge for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.


Palestine, supporters in renewed push for full UN membership

The State of Palestine has written to UN Chief Antonio Guterres requesting renewed consideration of its application for full UN membership.

The Arab Group, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Non-aligned Movement, representing dozens of UN member states, have also sent a letter in support of Palestine’s admission.

As we reported earlier, Palestine’s UN envoy Riyad Mansour said the aim was for the UN Security Council (UNSC) to make a decision at an April 18 ministerial meeting on the Middle East.

He said that although a vote had yet to be scheduled, a 2011 Palestinian application for full membership was still pending because the 15-member council never made a formal decision.

Palestine holds observer status at the UN and its application to become a full UN member needs to be approved by the UNSC – where the US can cast a veto – and then at least two-thirds of the 193-member UN General Assembly.



Netanyahu branded 'traitor' in fourth night of Israel protests

JERUSALEM (AFP) – The families of Israeli hostages held in Gaza by Hamas on Tuesday blasted their country's leader as a "traitor" as anger at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's handling of the war grew in the fourth consecutive night of mass protests.

Thousands gathered in front of the country's parliament, with hostage families and former prime minister Ehud Barak blaming Netanyahu for the October 7 "disaster" and demanding an election.

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Netanyahu branded 'traitor' in fourth night of Israel protests

World Central Kitchen shares names of all 7 ‘heroes’ killed in Israeli strike

World Central Kitchen (WCK) has shared the names and details of all seven of its staff killed in an Israeli attack on their convoy.

“These seven beautiful souls were killed by the [Israeli army] in a strike as they were returning from a full day’s mission,” said WCK CEO Erin Gore.

“We have countless memories of them giving their best selves to the world,” said Gore.

“We are reeling from our loss. The world’s loss.”

Their names are:

Saifeddin Issam Ayad Abutaha, 25, WCK relief team, Palestine
Lalzawmi (Zomi) Frankcom, 43, WCK relief lead, Australia
Damian Sobol, 35, WCK relief team, Poland
Jacob Flickinger, 33, WCK relief team, United States and Canada
John Chapman, 57, WCK security team, United Kingdom
James (Jim) Henderson, 33, WCK security team, United Kingdom
James Kirby, 47, WCK security team, United Kingdom 

World Bank estimates damage to Gaza critical infrastructure at $18.5 bn

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The World Bank says the Israel-Hamas war has caused damage of around $18.5 billion to Gaza's critical infrastructure, according to a new report published Tuesday.

This is equivalent to 97 percent of the combined economic output of the West Bank and Gaza in 2022, the World Bank said in its interim damage assessment, which covers the period between the onset of the conflict on October 7 and the end of January.

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World Bank estimates damage to Gaza critical infrastructure at $18.5 bn

Israel aid strike lacks regard for international humanitarian law, says UN

GAZA (Agencies) - World powers on Tuesday (Apr 2) condemned a deadly Israeli strike in the Gaza Strip that killed seven charity staff as they unloaded desperately needed aid brought by sea to the war-torn territory.

World Central Kitchen - one of two NGOs spearheading efforts to deliver aid by boat - said a "targeted Israeli strike" on Monday killed Australian, British, Palestinian, Polish and US-Canadian staff.

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Israel aid strike lacks regard for international humanitarian law, says UN