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Gaza live: Gaza death toll rises to 35,80

Gaza live: Gaza death toll rises to 35,80
Gaza death toll rises to 35,800 as Israel intensifies attacks in Gaza’s southern Rafah and northern Jabalia, leaving thousands of civilians with nowhere to go
Key Points
ICJ to rule on South Africa's request to halt Rafah offensive
Israel vows to step up operations in Rafah
US seeks EU help to reopen Rafah crossing

Live Updates

1 day ago

Good morning 

Hello Middle East Eye readers. This blog is closing but the new one is available here

1 day ago

Good evening, Middle East Eye readers.

Our live coverage of Israel's assault on Gaza will shortly be closing for the evening.

Here are the day's key developments:

  • Al-Aqsa Hospital will shut down if no fuel is provided for its generators, the hospital warned
  • Israeli strikes in Gaza killed at least 15 children, with Israel targeting Fatima al-Zahraa school were women and children are sheltering
  • The heads of Israel’s defence community urged the war cabinet to make additional compromises with Hamas to reach a hostage deal, according to reports
  • Yemen’s Houthi leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi said on Thursday that the group had targeted the Mediterranean Sea during an operation 
  • CIA chief Bill Burns is set to travel to Europe in the coming days to meet with his Mossad counterpart David Barnea, in a bid to restart hostage talks.
  • Doctors Without Borders has warned that al-Awda hospital is being forced to close
  • The UN Palestinian refugee agency (Unrwa) chief Philippe Lazzarini said on Thursday that Israeli authorities are prioritising the private sector at the main crossing point for goods entering Gaza
  • Benny Gantz wants to establish a commission of inquiry to investigate how Hamas’s 7 October attack took Israel by surprise
1 day ago

Al-Aqsa hospital has warned of “an imminent health catastrophe” if it is not supplied with fuel in the next few hours because its generators will stop functioning. 

The hospital said that it has been in contact with the World Health Organisation, but has not received a positive response to its request for fuel. Palestinian health officials accused the UN of 'procrastinating' over the delivery of fuel earlier. 

They say the looming shutdown puts 1,300 sick and wounded patients in the hospital at risk of death.

1 day ago

Benny Gantz wants to establish a commission of inquiry to investigate how Hamas’s 7 October attack took Israel by surprise.

“We must learn the lessons and act so that it never happens again,” Gantz said on X.

“In order for us to do this, the time has come to establish a state commission of inquiry. I intend to soon submit a proposal for a resolution to establish it". 

Gantz’s move is his latest to put pressure on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Gantz, who is one of three members of Israel’s war cabinet, said he will withdraw from government if a post-war plan for Gaza is not presented by 8 June.

1 day ago

The Biden administration is relying on a capricious style of public and private messaging in a bid to shape the conduct of Israel’s war on Gaza, but has failed to utilise any substantive pressure, analysts tell Middle East Eye.

"I think they think there's pressure. This is President Biden's view of how the relationship should work, which is publicly pretty much total support and any differences are best kept private," Matt Duss, vice president of the Center for International Policy, told Middle East Eye.

"But real pressure is using the real tools of leverage that we have in this situation. If we really want to achieve a particular policy goal - in this case get Israel to stop killing so many civilians - then we can stop sending them the bombs,” he said.

Analysts also say the Biden administration’s action’s have failed to advance its policy goal of surging more aid into Gaza.

Rather than pressuring Israel to allow more aid in, Washington has focused its humanitarian efforts on two fronts. One is the use of air-dropping supplies to Gaza, a method deemed ineffective and wholly inefficient by aid groups. The second has been through the creation of a floating pier, which was touted as a means to accelerate assistance to the people of Gaza.

“It's a matter of why we need this pier at all. Everyone recognises it's because the Israeli military is blocking aid," Dust told MEE.

READ MORE: Biden's approach to Rafah and Gaza aid is 'monument to American fecklessness'

Blinken Gaza
1 day ago

Over one hundred human rights and civil society organisations have called on the Biden administration to support the independence of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and resist sanctioning its officials.

“We are alarmed by threats that US lawmakers have aimed at the Court in recent weeks including the letter sent on April 24 by Senators, threatening to sanction the ICC prosecutor's employees and associates,” the groups said in a letter shared on X. 

“The ability of the IC to provide justice for victims requires full respect for its independence” they said, adding that differences with the court should be pursued “through proper judicial channels under the Court’s treaty". 

1 day ago

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said she is concerned by Israeli finance minister Bezalel Smotrich’s threat to sever ties between Palestinian and Israeli banks.

Under a longstanding agreement, Israeli banks process payments in shekels for the services and salaries of the Palestinian Authority.

“I expect other countries to express concern about the impact of such a decision on the West Bank economy. I think this would have a very adverse effect also on Israel,” Yellen said.

Yellen said everything possible had to be done to “stabilise the West Bank’s economy”.

1 day ago

Israel is waging an "unnoticed war" in the occupied West Bank even as its military continues its offensive on Gaza, the UN Palestinian refugee agency (Unrwa) chief Philippe Lazzarini said.

“All over the West Bank, the story repeats: fear, uncertainty and anxiety engulf the communities,” Lazzarini said.

He cited the example of Israeli raids on Nour Shams refugee camp in the occupied West Bank, which he said had led to the destruction of houses, roads and basic infrastructure.

1 day ago

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said the move to recognise a Palestinian state will “contribute to peace” in the Middle East.

“Are Ireland, Norway, the International Criminal Court, the more than 140 countries that in the United Nations General Assembly voted in favor of the recognition of Palestine also friends of terrorists? No,” he wrote on X, joining other leaders to push back on Israel’s claim that the European countries' move rewarded terrorism.

“The peace of the international order based on rules, of respect and compliance with human rights. Recognition of the Palestinian State will contribute to peace in the Middle East,” he wrote. “We are on the right side of history”.

1 day ago

Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris has criticised Israel’s government for “misrepresenting” the position of the Irish people after it lashed out at the country for recognising a Palestinian state.

“Any foreign ministry can call in any ambassador but what I will not tolerate is any country misrepresenting the position of the Irish people,” Harris said, after Israel’s government accused Ireland of rewarding terrorism.

Harris said Ireland was “clear and unequivocal” in condemning Hamas and 7 October.

"But it is entirely possible to say what I have just said and also say the next bit – which sadly some refuse to say – that what is happening in….Gaza, is a humanitarian catastrophe,” he added.

He also suggested that Palestinian identity had been “hijacked” by Hamas, which he compared to the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

“The Irish people know what it’s like to have their national identity hijacked by a terrorist organization. The IRA [Irish Republican Army] was never the people of Ireland, and Hamas is not the people of Palestine". 

The IRA waged a violent struggle against British rule in Northern Ireland.

1 day ago

The UN Palestinian refugee agency (Unrwa) chief Philippe Lazzarini said on Thursday that Israeli authorities are prioritising the private sector at the main crossing point for goods entering Gaza.

“When it comes to the crossing in Kerem Shalom, the private sector for the time being is being prioritised,” Lazzarini told AFP, adding that the development had occurred over the past two weeks.

He said the prioritisation took place at the inspection level, with private sector trucks inspected “before any other trucks”.

While private goods are “welcome in the Gaza Strip”, he said most Gazans are desperate after seven months of war and cannot afford goods at the current market prices.

1 day ago

The executive director of Unicef said she was “haunted” after a visit to Gaza where children are at growing risk of starvation.

“Children in Gaza continue to pay a catastrophic price from blocked aid routes and intensified military operations and fighting in Rafah,” Unicef executive director Catherine Russell wrote on X after briefing the UN Security Council.

"For small children, severe acute malnutrition can leave permanent cognitive and physical damage,” she wrote on X. “No child should die from starvation”.

1 day ago

Fifteen children were killed by Israeli strikes on Gaza on Thursday, as Palestinian fighters and Israeli soldiers also engaged in fierce fighting.

According to the Gaza Strip’s civil defence agency, two predawn Israeli air strikes on Gaza killed 26 people, including 15 children.

Air strikes have been reported in Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip and at the Fatima al-Zahraa school in Gaza City.

Meanwhile, fierce street fighting is raging in Jabalia and Rafah, with Hamas’s armed wing and Palestinian Islamic Jihad saying they have fired mortar shells at Israeli troops.

1 day ago

Doctors Without Borders has warned that al-Awda hospital is being forced to close, with staff and patients being forcibly displaced by Israeli troops.

“This follows a terrifying 4-day siege - the latest in a series of systematic attacks on health care by Israeli forces. Staff & patients were forced to leave one of the only hospitals still functioning in the north of Gaza”, it said on X.

On 19 May, Israeli tanks surrounded the hospital and doctors and patients had to hide under tables to avoid bullets and shells, according to Doctors Without Borders.

1 day ago

US President Joe Biden said the US does not recognise the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court.

Speaking on Thursday, Biden also criticised the court for drawing an equivalence between Israel and Hamas.

The ICC chief prosecutor has called for arrest warrants for Hamas Israeli leaders.