Flashes to Israel for tough talks on Gaza

Henry

The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, is again expected in Israel for “difficult discussions” about the conflict in Gaza, as fears arise that the war between Israel and Hamas will now spread further in the region.

Blinken said in Qatar on Sunday that the residents of Gaza displaced by the four-month war should be allowed to “return home”, while he warned that the violence between the two areas “could easily turn into a regional conflict”. .

Since the beginning of the conflict between Israel and Hamas, incidents of violence have increased in the West Bank and on Israel’s northern border with Lebanon. In addition, Yemen’s Houthi rebels have launched more than 100 drone and rocket attacks on targets in the Red Sea and Israel.

Blinken will visit Saudi Arabia on Monday before arriving in Israel where he will hold talks with Israeli leaders on Tuesday. This will be the fourth time the US Secretary of State has visited the area.

The US is one of Israel’s main allies and regularly provides the country with billions of dollars in military aid. However, the US is increasingly concerned about the civilian deaths in Gaza that are increasing week by week.

Washington says that Blinken will put pressure on Israel over its compliance with international humanitarian law and will call for “immediate measures” to provide aid to Gaza.

Hamas’ health department said on Monday that eight people were killed in an attack near Deir al-Balah in central Gaza.

The conflict between Gaza and Israel arose in October last year when Hamas launched an attack on Israel that claimed the lives of around 1,140 people. Hamas, which is considered a terrorist group by the US and the European Union (EU), also took 250 hostages, of which 132 are still in custody. At least 24 hostages are believed to be dead.

Since then, Israel has launched relentless attacks on Gaza. According to Hamas, more than 22,000 people have already died in the conflict, and at least 85% of its 2.4 million population have been displaced.

Two journalists associated with the news agency Al Jazeera were also recently killed in an attack on Gaza.

Blinken described the incident as an “unprecedented tragedy”. The Committee to Protect Journalists says at least 79 journalists and members of the media have been killed since the start of the conflict.

Israel’s army recently revealed that its troops discovered an underground “weapons production site” in northern Gaza that is believed to be operated by Hamas.

Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, declared again on Sunday at a cabinet meeting that “what happened on October 7 will not happen again”.

“This is the commitment of my government and this is the reason why our soldiers sacrifice their lives.”

Violence flares up

In the West Bank, which has been occupied by Israel since 1967, violence has recently flared up.

Seven Palestinians died in the northern city of Jenin on Sunday and another person died in a separate incident.

An Israeli border control officer was killed when a bomb hit her vehicle during a raid on Jenin. An Israeli citizen was also killed in a separate shooting near Ramallah.

Incidents of violence also continued along Israel’s northern border.

Lebanon’s political party and militant group Hezbollah said on Saturday it had launched 62 rockets at an Israeli military base, just days after it blamed Israel for an attack in Beirut that killed a deputy leader of Hamas, Saleh al-Arouri. demanded.

The Israeli military said it targeted Hezbollah’s “military sites” in response to the attack.

Daniel Hagari, spokesman for the Israeli army, also warned Hezbollah not to “drag Lebanon into an unnecessary war”.