Israel is preparing to advance its war on besieged Gaza farther south, close to the Egyptian border, after claiming to have dismantled Hamas in Khan Younis, as diplomatic efforts in pursuit of a ceasefire accelerated.
Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said that the supposed success in the fight against the Palestinian resistance in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis meant its forces could advance to Rafah on the enclave’s southern border.
“We are achieving our missions in Khan Younis, and we will also reach Rafah and eliminate terror elements that threaten us,” Gallant claimed in a statement.
At the same time, Qatari and Egyptian mediators hoped for a positive response from Hamas, which governs Gaza, to the first concrete proposal for an extended halt to fighting, agreed with Israel and the US at talks in Paris last week.
A Palestinian official said Hamas was unlikely to reject the proposal outright, but would demand guarantees that fighting would not resume, something Israel has not agreed to.
Biden meets supporter autoworkers in Michigan, avoids critical protesters
US President Joe Biden has chatted with a union crowd inside a United Auto Workers hall in Michigan, which showed support for him as pro-Palestinian demonstrators held back by police with riot shields voiced their anger nearby at the president’s full-throated support for Israeli invasion in besieged Gaza.
Biden’s Michigan schedule did not include any meetings with Arab or Muslim Americans, adding to increasing frustration over his support of Israel in its war on the blockaded enclave as the Palestinian death toll has gone beyond 27,000.
“Why not have a meaningful conversation for how you change course with a community that has first-hand accounts of what it’s like to live in the countries where your decision-making is unfolding?” said Abdullah Hammoud, the mayor of Dearborn, one of the largest Arab American communities in the nation.
Pakistan urges implementation of ICJ provisional measures
Pakistan has called for the full implementation of the International Court of Justice’s [ICJ] ruling of provisional measures imposed on Israel to stop its genocide against Palestinians, state news agency reported.
“The implementation of these provisional measures requires an immediate and unconditional ceasefire to bring about an end to the suffering faced by the people of Gaza. The UN Security Council should, therefore, play its mandated role to impose a ceasefire and protect the people of Gaza from ongoing atrocities,” said Pakistan’s spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Zahra Baloch, in a press briefing.
“Pakistan is deeply concerned about the ongoing oppression of the people of Gaza by the Israeli occupation forces,” she said.
Pakistan also urged the reconsideration of the suspension of UNRWA funding, which plays a critical role in protecting and supporting Palestinians, the spokesperson said.
Some Palestinian Americans refuse to meet Blinken
Some members of the Palestinian American community who received an invite to meet US Secretary of State Antony Blinken have declined the invitation over their frustration with Washington’s policy toward “Israel’s genocide” in besieged Gaza, in which many argue the US is complicit.
“A meeting of this nature at this moment in time is insulting and performative,” a group of Palestinian American community members said in a statement, adding they represented a majority of those invited.
“They [Blinken and President Joe Biden] show us every day whose lives they value and whose lives they consider disposable. We will not be attending this discussion, which can only amount to a box-ticking exercise,” the Palestinian American group said, adding it saw Washington as complicit in “Israeli genocide.”