Israel bombarded the southern Gaza Strip on January 11 as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken landed in Egypt on the ultimate leg of regional talks geared toward stopping the Israel-Hamas conflict from spreading.
His arrival coincided with the beginning of a listening to on the UN’s prime courtroom over accusations Israel has dedicated “genocidal acts” in Gaza.
“The situation is such that the experts are now predicting that more people in Gaza may die from starvation and disease” than from navy motion, stated Adila Hassim, a prime lawyer for South Africa, which has introduced the case towards Israel.
In Cairo, Mr. Blinken was to fulfill Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, whose nation is a mediator within the Gaza conflict now in its fourth month.
Mr. Blinken’s nine-country West Asia journey is concluding after Wednesday’s UN Security Council decision that demanded Iran-backed Yemeni rebels “immediately cease” assaults which have disrupted delivery within the Red Sea.
South Africa accused Israel earlier than the International Court of Justice of breaching the United Nations Genocide conference in its response to Hamas’s October 7 assault, which triggered the conflict.
“No armed attack on a state territory no matter how serious… can provide justification for or defend breaches of the convention,” stated Pretoria’s Justice Minister Ronald Lamola, setting out his nation’s case on the courtroom.
South Africa, a longtime backer of the Palestinian trigger, has lodged an pressing ICJ attraction to pressure Israel to “immediately suspend” its navy operations in Gaza.
In Gaza’s southern metropolis of Rafah, on the border with Egypt and overrun with displaced folks fleeing combating additional north, Palestinians expressed hope the ICJ may render justice on their behalf.
“Israel considers itself above the law. We ask from the international judges to judge Israel,” and its authorities,” said Hisham al-Kullah.
Another Rafah resident, Mohammad al-Arjan, expressed hope that “the courtroom stops the conflict”.
Mr. Blinken has dismissed the case as “meritless” and Israel’s president referred to as it “atrocious and preposterous”.
The conflict started when Hamas launched its unprecedented October 7 assault, which resulted in about 1,140 deaths in Israel, largely civilians, in keeping with an AFP tally based mostly on official figures.
Militants additionally took round 250 hostages, 132 of whom Israel says stay in Gaza, together with no less than 25 believed to have been killed.
Israel has responded with a relentless navy marketing campaign that has killed no less than 23,357 folks, largely girls and kids, in keeping with the well being ministry in Hamas-run Gaza.
Hamas’s press workplace stated early on Thursday that 62 folks had been killed in strikes in a single day, together with round Gaza’s important southern metropolis of Khan Yunis.
Israel’s navy stated in an announcement on Thursday that “underground combat” led to the invention of greater than 300 tunnel shafts beneath Khan Yunis, and that “Israeli hostages had been inside” one huge tunnel.
The Palestinian Red Crescent Society stated an Israeli strike on an ambulance in central Gaza killed 4 medics and two different passengers on Wednesday.
Israel’s navy didn’t instantly touch upon the incident when contacted by AFP.
During a go to with troops in central Gaza, Israeli military chief Herzi Halevi stated the militants had ready their defences “over a very long period of time in a very organised way” including it’s “a very, very complex battlefield.”
The conflict has triggered an acute humanitarian disaster, with an Israeli siege sparking acute shortages of meals, water, gasoline and drugs.
World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Wednesday stated there are “nearly insurmountable challenges” to help supply in Gaza.
“Intense bombardment, restrictions on movement, fuel shortages, and interrupted communications make it impossible for WHO and our partners to reach those in need,” he instructed reporters.
The WHO says only some Gaza hospitals are even partly functioning.
In Rafah, former Gaza well being ministry staffer Zaki Shaheen transformed his store right into a makeshift clinic.
“We decided to open a medical department, and we got help from the health ministry,” aiming to ease strain on overburdened hospitals, Mr. Shaheen instructed AFP.
“We receive no less than 30 or 40 cases per day, morning to night. I’ll be sleeping, then someone comes in with an injury or a burn, so we treat them,” he stated, a stethoscope round his neck, a jumble of medical provides to his proper, and an empty Coca-Cola fridge on his left.
The United Nations estimates 1.9 million Gazans have been uprooted by the conflict.
Before his ultimate cease in Egypt, Blinken sketched out a attainable post-war future for Gaza after assembly Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, and Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa on Wednesday.
Mr. Blinken instructed Mr. Abbas that Washington supported “tangible steps” in direction of the creation of a Palestinian state – a long-term aim that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hard-right authorities has opposed.
In Bahrain, Blinken stated Mr. Abbas was “committed” to reforming the Palestinian Authority “so that it can effectively take responsibility for Gaza, so that Gaza and the West Bank can be reunited under a Palestinian leadership”.
Mr. Abbas, 88, is extensively unpopular within the West Bank, the place the Palestinian Authority has partial administrative management and the Israel-Hamas conflict has led to elevated well-liked assist for Hamas.
Spike in regional unrest
Violence involving Iran-backed armed teams in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Yemen has spiked throughout the conflict, resulting in heightened fears of a wider battle.
Yemen’s Huthi rebels, who say they’re performing in assist of the Palestinians, have carried out quite a few assaults on service provider ships within the Red Sea, an important artery for worldwide commerce.
Washington has arrange a multinational naval process pressure to guard delivery from the assaults, which Mr. Blinken on Wednesday stated have been “aided and abetted” by Iran and would convey “consequences” in the event that they proceed.
On Thursday armed males in “military-style” uniforms boarded an oil tanker within the Gulf of Oman, a maritime danger administration firm stated.