February 22, 2024

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The United Nations demands a ceasefire in Gaza while Israel and the United States show increasing divisions

The United Nations demands a ceasefire in Gaza while Israel and the United States show increasing divisions
  • The latest developments
  • Israel says eight more soldiers were killed in fighting in Gaza, bringing the total to 114 since the start of ground operations.

UNITED NATIONS/CAIRO/GAZA (Reuters) – Israel faces increasing diplomatic isolation in its war against the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas), with the United Nations demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza and US President Joe Biden telling its longtime ally of its “indiscriminate” bombing of civilians. It was hurting international support.

After severe warnings from UN officials about the worsening humanitarian crisis in Gaza, the 193-member UN General Assembly on Tuesday issued a resolution calling for a ceasefire, with three-quarters of member states voting in favor.

“The price of defeating Hamas cannot be the continued suffering of all Palestinian civilians,” the leaders of Canada, Australia and New Zealand said separately in a joint statement calling for a ceasefire.

The Palestinian Authority welcomed the decision and urged countries to pressure Israel to comply with it. Izzat al-Rishq, a Hamas official in exile, echoed this reaction in a statement on Telegram, saying that Israel must “stop its aggression, genocide and ethnic cleansing against our people.”

The United States and Israel, which say the ceasefire only benefits Hamas, voted against the measure along with eight other countries.

Before the vote at the United Nations, Israel’s UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan said: “A ceasefire means one thing and one thing only – ensuring the survival of Hamas, ensuring the survival of the terrorists who commit genocide and are committed to the extermination of Israel and the Jews.”

Before the decision was issued, Biden said that Israel now has the support of “most countries in the world,” including the United States and the European Union, in its war against the Palestinian Hamas movement.

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He added during a donor event in Washington, “But they are starting to lose this support because of the indiscriminate bombing that is taking place.”

In the most public sign of division between the two leaders yet, Biden also said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu needs to change his hard-line government, and that Israel “ultimately cannot say no” to an independent Palestinian state – something Israeli hard-liners oppose. .

White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan will travel to Israel this week, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin will visit the Middle East next week. Biden said Sullivan will emphasize the US commitment to Israel as well as the need to protect civilian lives in Gaza

The Israeli assault on Gaza to eliminate Hamas has killed at least 18,205 Palestinians, including many children, and injured nearly 50,000 since October 7, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health.

The conflict has also led to famine, displacing 85% of the population from their homes and causing the spread of disease, according to the United Nations and Gaza’s Ministry of Health.

Israel launched its attack after a cross-border raid by Hamas fighters that killed 1,200 people and took 240 hostage in southern Israel on October 7. On Tuesday, Israel announced the death of 19 of the 134 people still detained in Gaza in absentia after two bodies were found. The hostages were recovered.

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The UN resolution is not binding, but it carries political weight and reflects a global view on the war. The United States vetoed a similar call in the 15-member Security Council last week, but it does not have veto power in the General Assembly.

Tuesday’s decision received 153 votes in favor, 10 votes in favor, and 23 abstentions. In a sign of weak support for Israel, the resolution passed by a wider margin than a similar UN measure in October, which received 121 votes in favour, 14 against and 44 abstentions.

Reports say Israel is flooding Gaza’s tunnels

After attacking northern Gaza, Israel has expanded its offensive to the south since the collapse of the temporary truce on December 1. Residents said that on Tuesday, Israeli tank shelling focused on the center of Khan Yunis, the main city in southern Gaza.

After nightfall, health officials said that Israeli air strikes on Khan Yunis had killed 11 Palestinians, including two children.

In the southern Gaza town of Rafah, which borders Egypt, where the Israeli army told civilians this month they would be safe, Gazans said the bombing was among the heaviest in days. Health officials said 22 people, including children, were killed there.

The Israeli army said that over the past day it struck several sites that were used to launch rockets on its territory, raided a Hamas compound where it found about 250 rockets among other weapons, and bombed a weapons production factory.

Israel said on Wednesday that eight more of its soldiers were killed in fighting in Gaza, bringing the total to 114 since the start of ground operations on October 20.

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Tawfiq Abu Brika, an elderly Palestinian, said that the residential building he lives in in Khan Yunis was bombed without warning in an Israeli air strike that brought down several buildings and caused casualties.

“The conscience of the world is dead, and there is no humanity or any kind of morality,” Brika told Reuters as his neighbors searched the rubble. “This is the third month we have been facing death and destruction.”

The Wall Street Journal and ABC reported that the Israeli military has begun pumping seawater into Hamas’ network of tunnels, where the militant group is believed to be hiding fighters and ammunition and launching hit-and-run attacks on Israeli forces.

Biden said he had heard unconfirmed reports that there were no hostages in the tunnels. Some hostages released during the ceasefire reported that they were being held in tunnels. The Israeli army said it was studying these reports.

Reports from Reuters offices; Writing by Cynthia Osterman and Lincoln Feast. Edited by Michael Perry

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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A senior correspondent with nearly 25 years of experience covering the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, including several wars and the signing of the first historic peace agreement between the two sides.