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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Diplomats from the West work to avoid Gaza overflow following 3 months of conflict


JERUSALEM — Top U.S. and European diplomats are working tirelessly to prevent the Gaza war from spreading across the region. Despite their efforts,‌ the conflict continues to escalate, with Israel pushing forward with its offensive.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the European Union’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell,‌ are on separate ‌trips to the region to⁢ try to prevent the war from spilling over into Lebanon, the West Bank, and Red Sea shipping routes. The Iran-aligned Houthis in ​Yemen have also vowed to continue ‌attacks until Israel halts its ‍campaign⁤ in Gaza.

Blinken stated, “We have​ an intense focus on preventing this conflict from spreading,” at the beginning of his trip. He is scheduled to visit Jordan, Qatar, Israel, the West Bank, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, ⁢and Egypt.

During his visit to Jordan, King Abdullah urged ‌Blinken to use Washington’s influence over Israel to‍ press for an immediate ceasefire, warning of⁤ the “catastrophic repercussions” of Israel’s⁣ continued military campaign.

Despite global concern over the death and destruction in Gaza and widespread calls for a ceasefire, Israeli public​ opinion remains firmly behind the‌ operation aimed at wiping out the Hamas group that‌ rules Gaza. Prime ​Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‌ has vowed to press on with the retaliatory ⁢action.

“The war‌ must not be stopped until we achieve⁣ all ⁣the⁢ goals —⁤ the elimination of Hamas, the return of‌ all our hostages and ensuring ⁢that⁢ Gaza will ⁤no‌ longer​ pose a threat to⁣ Israel,”‍ Netanyahu said at the start of a weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday. “I say this ⁢to both our enemies and our friends.”

Some 1,200 people ‌were killed and 240 were taken hostage ‌on​ Oct. 7, according to⁢ Israeli officials.‌ More than 100 hostages are⁢ still ​believed⁢ to be held by Hamas.

For ⁢Israelis, the deadliest⁢ day in the⁤ country’s history⁤ and the accounts of atrocities⁢ that later emerged left a sense that its survival was at stake.

Israel’s offensive ‍has so‌ far killed 22,835 Palestinians in‍ Gaza, after ⁣111 dead and 250 wounded‍ were added to the tally over the past⁤ 24 hours, Palestinian health officials said on Sunday.

An Israeli air strike on a car⁢ near⁤ Rafah in southern Gaza on Sunday killed two Palestinian journalists, according to⁢ health officials ⁢in Gaza and the journalists’ union ⁢there.

Separately, the health ministry said ‌Israeli drones had opened fire on buildings‌ at the Shuhada Al-Aqsa hospital‍ in the ‍central Gaza Strip.

There were ​no ‍reports of​ injuries but ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qidra accused Israel⁣ of trying to undermine work ‍at the hospital, which serves hundred of thousands⁣ of Palestinians in central Gaza — the focus of a‌ heavier Israeli ground and air offensive in the past two weeks.

Israel denies⁤ targeting civilians and says Hamas militants deliberately embed themselves among civilian populations. ‍Hamas, which is backed⁣ by Iran and is sworn to Israel’s destruction, ‍denies that.

The fighting has displaced most of Gaza’s 2.3 million population, with many homes and civilian infrastructure left⁢ in ruins amid‍ acute shortages of food, water and medicine.

“We hope that … ⁤Blinken looks ‍at us with an eye of⁢ mercy, ends the war, ends the misery⁣ we⁤ are living in,” Um Mohamad⁣ Al-Arqan said, as she stood by⁤ the tent where she is⁤ living.

Blinken’s trip

Meeting King Abdullah in Amman, Blinken “stressed U.S. opposition to forcible displacement of Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza and the critical need to protect Palestinian civilians in the West Bank from extremist settler violence,” State ⁢Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a statement.

Blinken is due in Doha⁣ next,​ where he will discuss with Qatari leaders efforts ⁤to free hostages still believed to be held⁢ by Hamas after⁣ an earlier⁢ agreement mediated by Qatar broke down, a senior State Department official said.

He⁣ will also aim to press hesitant Muslim nations in the Middle East to prepare to play⁢ a role in the reconstruction, governance and ⁢security of‍ Gaza if and when Israel manages to eliminate Hamas, ‌an⁣ official⁢ said.

Gun battles intensified in the southern Gaza town of Khan ⁢Younis as well as‍ in central districts of the densely populated enclave.‌ Israeli strikes on ‍houses in the city killed 50 people, health officials in Nasser Hospital said on Sunday.

Outside⁢ Gaza, there was more violence in the occupied West Bank. Israeli ‌aircraft fired on Palestinian militants who had attacked troops in the‌ area,‍ the military said, and Palestinian health ‌officials said seven Palestinians died ‍in the strike.

An Israeli border police officer was killed and others wounded⁤ when their vehicle was hit by an explosive device⁢ during operations ​in the‌ West Bank city of Jenin, the military and police said.

Israeli police killed a young⁣ Palestinian girl in a car at ⁤a West Bank crossing when they opened fire on another car suspected of a ramming⁣ attack, ​Israeli emergency services said.

The West Bank had already seen its highest levels of unrest in ⁢decades during ‌the 18 ​months before the Gaza ⁤war, and confrontations have since⁤ escalated. Hundreds ⁤of Palestinians have been killed in clashes with Israeli soldiers and settlers ​over​ the past weeks.

Truth Media Network
Truth Media Network
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  1. Diplomats need to address the urgent situation in Gaza to prevent further escalation and humanitarian crisis. The international community must take collective action to ensure the well-being of civilians affected by the prolonged conflict.


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