Saturday , July 13 2024

Gaza fighting rages as Israeli war divisions spill into public

21 Jun 2024

JERUSALEM/ GAZA CITY: Israeli tanks push deeper into western Rafah in south Gaza, firing shells at displaced people’s tents, with one armoured vehicle blown up by a Hamas-planted improvised explosive device.

The White House describes Benjamin Netanyahu’s criticism of the suspension of one US weapons delivery to Israel as “vexing” and “disappointing” as the public rift between the allies continues to intensify.

United Nations experts warn arms manufacturers against transferring weapons to Israel, saying it could make them complicit in violations of international law carried out in Gaza.

At least 37,431 people have been killed and 85,653 wounded in Israel’s war on Gaza since October 7. The death toll in Israel from the Hamas-led attacks stands at 1,139 as dozens of people are still held captive in Gaza.

The families of Israeli captives demonstrated outside the private residence of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the town of Caesarea on Thursday, calling for elections to be held and a ceasefire-for-captives deal to be agreed.

“We came to tell the prime minister we will not allow you to play petty politics on the backs of the hostages,” said Einav Zangauker, whose son Matan is held in Gaza, the Haaretz newspaper reports.

“We will not let you abandon the hostages, abandon the north and take an entire country captive for your political survival. It will not happen,” she said.

The United Nations is still assessing whether it is safe for UN agencies and personnel to take part in humanitarian aid deliveries using the US military’s pier on Gaza’s coast amid claims the floating dock may have been used by Israeli forces during their bloody June 8 operation to free captives.

There is currently no timeline for completing the assessment, UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq said on Thursday, media reports.

If the UN Department of Safety and Security decides that staff can resume operations via the pier, “then the World Food Program stands ready to do so based on its core principles”, Haq said, referring to the UN’s commitment to neutrality and independence in humanitarian activities.

The Israeli operation, which killed more than 270 Palestinian people and injured hundreds more, was linked to the US pier when an Israeli helicopter touched down near the dock to whisk away the four freed Israeli captives and an injured Israeli soldier both US and Israeli forces deny the pier played any role in the operation.

The Israeli military has raided the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, shooting three people, leaving one man in critical condition, the Wafa news agency reports.

Israeli forces have prevented paramedics from reaching the critically injured man, who was wounded in the city’s Qaddoura refugee camp, Wafa reports.

The Israeli military has also stormed the nearby town of Silwad, northeast of Ramallah.

Lawlessness is a major obstacle to humanitarian aid distribution for southern and central Gaza, a United Nations official has told media.

Armed men are regularly blocking convoys, holding drivers at gunpoint and rifling through their cargo, according to a UN official who spoke to media on condition of anonymity.

An estimated 1.3 million Palestinians more than half of Gaza’s entire population who were displaced from Rafah by Israel’s ground invasion of the city are now sheltering in tent camps and cramped apartments without adequate food, water or medical supplies in southern and central Gaza. (Int’l News Desk)

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