March 1, 2024

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The United Nations calls for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, and Biden warns that Israel is losing support

The United Nations calls for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, and Biden warns that Israel is losing support

  • The latest developments
  • The United Nations General Assembly adopts a resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza
  • 153 countries voted in favor of the resolution, and 23 countries abstained from voting; The United States and Israel vote against the measure
  • Israel announces the death of 19 out of 134 prisoners in Gaza in absentia

CAIRO/GAZA (Reuters) – The United Nations on Tuesday called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, while US President Joe Biden warned Israel that it was losing international support due to its “indiscriminate” bombing of civilians in its war against Hamas. Activists.

After severe warnings from UN officials about the worsening humanitarian crisis in Gaza, the 193-member UN General Assembly issued a resolution calling for a ceasefire, with 153 countries voting in favor and 23 countries abstaining from voting. The United States and Israel, which say the ceasefire only benefits Hamas, voted against the measure along with eight other countries.

The 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.

Before the decision was issued, Biden said that Israel now has support from “most countries in the world,” including the United States and the European Union. 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.”

The Israeli assault on Gaza to eliminate Hamas has killed at least 18,205 Palestinians and injured nearly 50,000 since October 7, according to the Gaza 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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In Khan Yunis, the main city in southern Gaza, residents said on Tuesday that Israeli tank shelling is now focused on the city center. One of them said that the tanks were operating in the street where the house of Yahya Al-Sinwar, the leader of Hamas in Gaza, is located.

Health officials said that after nightfall, an Israeli air strike killed nine Palestinians, including two children, in a house in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip.

Tawfiq Abu Brika, an elderly Palestinian, said earlier that his residential complex 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.”

To the south, in Rafah, which borders Egypt, health officials said 22 people, including children, were killed in an Israeli air strike on homes overnight. Civil emergency workers are searching for more victims under the rubble.

Residents said that the bombing of Rafah, where the Israeli army ordered people this month to go to their safety, was one of the heaviest bombings in days.

Abu Khalil (40 years old), a father of six children, said, “At night we cannot sleep because of the bombing, and in the morning we wander the streets looking for food for the children. There is no food.”

Mohamed Obaid, a Gaza resident, said as he inspected the rubble in Rafah that Gazans are fighting hunger and thirst to survive.

“There is no electricity, no fuel, no water, and no medicine.”

The Gaza Ministry of Health said diseases and ailments including diarrhea, food poisoning, meningitis, respiratory infections, chicken pox and scabies are spreading.

Loss of support

In addition to warning that Israel was losing international support, Biden said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu needed to change his hard-line government and that Israel ultimately “cannot say no” to an independent Palestinian state – something Israeli hard-liners oppose. .

In another sign of global concern about the conduct of the conflict, now in its third month, Australia, Canada and New Zealand said they support international efforts to reach a permanent ceasefire and expressed concern about the plight of civilians in Gaza.

The leaders of the three countries said in a joint statement that “the price of defeating Hamas cannot be the continued suffering of all Palestinian civilians.”

The three countries said they support the Palestinians’ right to self-determination, but Hamas cannot have any role in the future governance of the Gaza Strip.

Rocket fire

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.

The ground offensive that began in the north has expanded to the southern half of the Gaza Strip since the collapse of the week-long truce at the beginning of December. More than 100 Israeli soldiers have been killed in Gaza since the ground invasion began in late October.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Israeli army began pumping seawater into the Hamas tunnel complex, where it is located

The armed group is believed to be hiding hostages, fighters and ammunition and launching hit-and-run attacks on Israeli forces in street fighting. The Israeli army did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report.

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The spokesman for the Ministry of Health in Gaza, Ashraf Al-Qudra, said that the occupation forces stormed, on Tuesday, Kamal Adwan Hospital in northern Gaza, and arrested its director, Dr. Ahmed Al-Kahlot, along with all medical staff, including women’s staff.

He added that they are being interrogated inside the emergency department. The Israeli army did not respond to a request for comment on the incident.

The United Nations World Food Program says half of Gaza’s population is suffering from famine after Israel cut off supplies of food, medicine and fuel.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said on Tuesday that limited aid distributions were taking place in the Rafah area, but in the rest of the Gaza Strip, aid distribution had been largely halted due to hostilities and restrictions on movement on roads.

The United Nations Palestinian Refugee Agency (UNRWA) said that Israel imposed an almost complete siege on Gaza and “inflicted collective punishment on more than two million people, half of whom were children.”

(Reporting by Nidal al-Mughrabi in Cairo, Bassam Masoud in Gaza, Michelle Nichols in the United Nations, Humeyra Pamuk and Daphne Psalidakis in Washington, Ari Rabinovitch in Jerusalem, Henriette Shekar in Jerusalem, Tom Perry in Beirut, Clauda Tanios in Dubai) Al-Khalidi in Amman and Eden Lewis and Ahmed Mohamed Hassan in Cairo; Writing by Angus MacSwan and Cynthia Osterman. Edited by Alison Williams and Deepa Babington

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.