The Israeli-Hamas clashes have become generalized along the Gaza Strip, unfolding in hand-to-hand combat on the ground, while deadly aerial bombardment has taken place with the heaviest pounding being found in besieged Gaza City in the last week.
The West Bank is “bleeding”.
Seven Palestinians were killed today during an Israeli army raid in Jenin, in the northern part of the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Authority’s health ministry announced, revising its previous tally.
The official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported that a “significant force of the occupation army” raided Jenin. The Israeli army, for its part, pointed out that its forces are operating in Jenin, without giving further details.
At least 14 others were injured during the raid in the occupied West Bank.
Earlier, Israeli forces have taken up sniper positions and the army has been moving from house to house in some areas, breaching walls and searching for armed militants.
Israeli forces also raided the Amari camp in Ramallah, in the West Bank. Initial reports cited by Al Jazzera say several people have been injured and arrested. Heavy gunfire was heard as Israeli armored vehicles entered the occupied West Bank town of Toumba.
Since October 7, 177 Palestinians have been killed in the occupied West Bank.
The Israeli armed forces (IDF) claim that in a month they have arrested around 1,430 Palestinians across the West Bank, with more than 900 of them reported to be linked to Hamas.
They continue to bombard hospitals and infrastructure in Gaza
Israeli airstrikes continued today in Gaza City as Hamas fighters defended their positions in the street in an attempt to repel the advance of Israeli military forces. After a 10-hour battle, the Israeli army said its soldiers had engaged and killed Hamas fighters and operatives, captured the Islamist group’s stronghold and destroyed tunnels. At the same time, they claim that Hamas has now lost control of northern Gaza.
The Israeli armed forces, however, continue the bloodshed in Gaza City, where the fighting is taking place, now in the streets.
The Islamist organization, for its part, responds that its fighters are resisting and repelling Israeli attacks inside Gaza City.
The Israeli army bombed Al Shifa hospital for the third time, the largest medical infrastructure in Gaza City and one of the few still functioning, according to Al Jazzera. The hospital was heavily damaged, as were the surrounding infrastructure, houses and roads.
Israeli aircraft also bombed a bakery in the Al-Shayaya neighborhood, as well as several targets in Beit Lahiyya. In a separate airstrike early Thursday, a house near the Sabah Square area of Gaza City was also hit and several people were injured. The injured victims were taken to Al Shifa.
At least three people were killed and dozens wounded in an early morning Israeli airstrike in the area of Al Nasr Hospital in western Gaza, according to the Palestinian Wafa news agency.
The fronts to the north and south
Dozens of Palestinians were killed in heavy Israeli shelling overnight in both the Jabalia refugee camp in the north and Shabra in western Gaza. Earlier, the Palestinian Wafa news agency reported that the strike near the hospital in Tabaliyah killed at least 19 people and injured several others.
According to the Palestinian news agency Wafa, at least six people were killed after an Israeli attack on an apartment building in the town of Bani Suheila, east of the town of Khan Yunis, in southern Gaza. Several injured in the attack were also taken to Nasser Hospital for treatment.
⇒ Meanwhile, a new lawsuit has been filed at the International Criminal Court (ICC) alleging that Israel’s policies in Gaza amount to war crimes.
Three Palestinian groups are urging the ICC to expand its investigation into Israeli war crimes to include genocide and apartheid. They are also calling for arrest warrants to be issued for top Israeli officials.
Negotiations for a humanitarian pause are in full swing
However, behind-the-scenes discussions on the possibility of a three-day humanitarian pause in exchange for the release of some hostages are in full swing.
It has long been clear that there is an underground communication between the US, Qatar, Israel and Hamas with the diplomatic haggling going on.
The plan on the table calls for a humanitarian pause to bring aid and limited amounts of fuel to the Gaza Strip. In return, Hamas will release 10–15 hostages.
According to a source close to Hamas, talks are underway to release 12 hostages, including six Americans, in exchange for a three-day ceasefire. Negotiations are underway for the release of hostages held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip alongside a two- to three-day ceasefire, a person familiar with the talks told the German news agency today.
It is noted that the head of the CIA, who is said to have a key role in these developments, has been in the Middle East region for days.
At the same time, the top military adviser to US President Joe Biden estimated that Israel still has room to improve the explanations it gives publicly about the behavior of the IDF and how it has raised this issue with its Israeli counterpart.
“There is room for improvement based on what we seeCharles Brown specifically stated. “What I talked to him about is how to show – not only with video, but also in their statements about the strikes – why they are hitting some locations, to give more information about the rationale and the reason for each strike».
General Brown did not specifically advocate a short campaign or estimate how long the Gaza offensive would take.
“Fire” at the diplomatic level
While the hostilities are ongoing, the diplomatic process remains extremely “lively”, with calls for the protection of the Palestinians accompanied by statements of “genocide” and “war crimes” against them. Of course, there are also some – coming from the IDF – who do not see a “humanitarian crisis” in Gaza.
Palestinians need international protection, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Stageh said at the Gaza conference in Paris.
The Palestinian prime minister said that international humanitarian law is being violated and that war crimes are being committed, adding that Israel is not waging a war against Hamas, but against all Palestinians.
For his part, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry stated at the Paris conference that he rejects any attempt to displace Palestinians from Gaza and that what Israel is doing far exceeds the right to self-defense.
Shukri also denounced the “international silence on Israel’s violations of international humanitarian law» in the Palestinian enclave.
“What the Israeli government is doing is far from the right to self-defense“, said the Egyptian foreign minister, lamenting a “lack of balance” “in the international consciousness”.
An Israeli military official denied on Thursday that there is a humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip, even as he acknowledged that the Palestinian territory faces several challenges amid the ongoing war.
There is also the other narrative, if nothing else extreme and out of touch with reality, about the current situation in the Gaza Strip.
“We know that the political situation in the Gaza Strip is not easysaid Col. Moshe Tetro, chief of coordination and liaison at COGAT, the Israeli Defense Ministry body that handles civilian affairs in Gaza.
“But I can say that there is no humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip“, he cynically told reporters.
Tetro stated that the Israeli military facilitates the transfer of aid to Gaza in areas such as “water, food, medical supplies and humanitarian aid for shelters».
Tetro’s remarks came as French President Emmanuel Macron hosted a conference on aid to Gaza in Paris on Thursday.