Calls for arms embargo on Israel; Erez crossing with Gaza opening

Calls for arms embargo on Israel; Erez crossing with Gaza opening
The UK is facing pressure to stop its arms exports to Israel following the deaths of seven aid workers form World Central Kitchen in Gaza.
29 min read

This live blog on Israel's war on Gaza has concluded. Make sure to follow us for the latest news on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is facing growing political pressure to stop selling weapons to Israel after seven aid workers from World Central Kitchen were killed by an Israeli airstrike in Gaza.

Three former Supreme Court justices have joined more than 600 members of the British legal profession in calling for the government to halt arms sales to Israel, saying it could make Britain complicit in genocide in Gaza.

Their call was also backed by two of the country's leading intelligence experts, who argued that Britain needed to use any leverage it could to persuade Israel and its biggest backer, the United States, to change course in the conflict.


This live blog has now concluded
4:10 AM
The New Arab Staff

This live blog on Israel's war on Gaza has concluded. Make sure to follow us for the latest news on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Violent artillery shelling east of Bureij refugee camp
3:42 AM
The New Arab Staff

Violent Israeli artillery shelling has been experienced east of the Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza, The New Arab's Arabic edition Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported.

McDonald's to acquire franchised stores in Israel
3:31 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

McDonald's Corporation said Thursday it will acquire Alonyal, which owns 225 McDonald's restaurants in Israel which have been hit by calls for a boycott over the Gaza war.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. McDonald's said in a statement the deal was subject to conditions which it did not identify.

Alonyal has operated McDonald's restaurants in Israel for more than 30 years, today owning 225 franchised properties with more than 5,000 employees, who will be retained after the sale.

In presenting its 2023 earnings report in February, McDonald's said the Gaza war was weighing on its results.

McDonald's was targeted with boycott calls after the franchised restaurants in Israel offered thousands of free meals to Israeli soldiers.

"We recognise that families in their communities in the region continue to be tragically impacted by the war and our thoughts are with them at this time," Chief Executive Chris Kempczinski said in an analyst call.

He said the impact of the boycott was "meaningful", without elaborating.

McDonald's fourth quarter sales disappointed analysts. In franchised restaurants outside the United States, comparable sales fell 0.7 percent.

"Obviously the place that we're seeing the most pronounced impact is in the Middle East. We are seeing some impact in other Muslim countries like Malaysia, Indonesia," said Kempczinski.

This also happened in countries with large Muslim populations such as France, especially for restaurants in heavily Muslim neighborhoods, he said.

McDonald's shares were down nearly two percent in after-market trading Thursday.

Israeli air raid on Beit Lahia in north Gaza
2:59 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli aircraft launched a raid on the city of Beit Lahia in northern Gaza, Palestinian media reported.

Norway condemns strike on Iran's Damascus consulate
2:26 AM
The New Arab Staff

Norway has condemned this week's strike on Iran's consulate in the Syrian capital Damascus.

"Norway condemns the recent attack against the diplomatic premises of Iran in Damascus," Oslo's foreign ministry said on X.

"Diplomatic premises & diplomatic & consular staff enjoy a special status under international law & must be protected.

"We call on all parties to show restraint to avoid further escalation."

The attack in Damascus is suspected to have been carried out by Israel.

The Norwegian statement did not attribute responsibility for the strike.

US stocks fall, oil prices jump on Middle East tensions
1:55 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Wall Street equities tumbled while Brent oil prices finished above $90 a barrel for the first time since late October as markets took stock of rising political tensions in the Middle East.

After an upbeat morning that saw US stocks rebound, major indices plunged into the red in afternoon trading, finishing sharply lower.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended down 1.4 percent at 38,596.98, a drop of about 825 points from its session peak.

Live Story
US urges Israel to 'fully and rapidly' open new aid routes
1:09 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The White House on Thursday urged Israel to "fully and rapidly" open new aid routes into Gaza that were announced by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office hours after President Joe Biden warned of a sharp shift in US policy.

"These steps, including a commitment to open the Ashdod port for the direct delivery of assistance into Gaza, to open the Erez crossing for a new route for assistance to reach north Gaza, and to significantly increase deliveries from Jordan directly into Gaza, must now be fully and rapidly implemented," National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said in a statement.

Israeli warplanes launch raid on Gaza's Sheikh Zayed City
12:56 AM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli warplanes launched a raid on Sheikh Zayed City in northern Gaza, a correspondent for The New Arab's Arabic edition Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported.

Israel says will allow 'temporary' aid via northern border
12:46 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel will allow "temporary" aid deliveries via its border with the northern Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office announced on Friday, reopening the Erez crossing into the famine-threatened territory for the first time since 7 October.

"Israel will allow the temporary delivery of humanitarian aid through Ashdod and the Erez checkpoint" to "prevent a humanitarian crisis and… ensure the continuation of the fighting", according to a government statement released hours after a warning from US President Joe Biden.

Aid worker killed by Israel felt need to help, parents say
12:17 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The father of US-Canadian citizen Jacob Flickinger, one of seven aid workers killed in an Israeli strike, said Thursday his son was hesitant to go to Gaza but felt a need to help.

Flickinger, 33, was among a group of World Central Kitchen (WCK) staff killed on Monday when Israel bombed their vehicle convoy.

In interviews with US media, parents John Flickenger and Sylvie Labrecque paid tribute to their son, who started working with WCK in Mexico last year before traveling to Gaza.

"He was hesitant to go, he's a new father. He has a beautiful 18-month-old son, a beautiful young wife he was very devoted to. But he felt the need and he of course needs to support his family," John Flickenger told CBS News.

In a separate interview with BBC News, he said his son felt "reasonably confident that he could accomplish the mission safely" in Gaza.

"He felt that the World Central Kitchen knew what they were doing there. They were in de-conflicted zone, controlled by the [Israeli army]," Flickenger said.

He said his son – a Canadian Armed Forces veteran – started working with World Central Kitchen, a non-profit food relief organisation, as it appealed to his main passions and skills.

"He loved the work, [it] kind of married his talents – his military training, his love for adventure, and his desire to serve and to help others," Flickinger said.

In the emotional interview, he said his thoughts went to his son's family, adding: "Now my grandson will grow up without having his father."

Spanish NGO halts Gaza aid work over deadly attack
11:45 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Spanish NGO Open Arms, which with World Central Kitchen (WCK) chartered the first boat that arrived in Gaza on a special sea corridor from Cyprus, suspended its operation after an Israeli strike killed seven WCK aid workers.

Open Arms, whose ship returned to the Cypriot port of Larnaca on Wednesday, condemned the deaths as "an incomprehensible act of violence".

The workers were moving food and supplies sent in a second shipload from Cyprus when their convoy was attacked on Monday.

"With the arrival yesterday of the Open Arms boat in Larnaca, Cyprus, the mission in the humanitarian corridor to the Gaza Strip with World Central Kitchen is suspended following the devastating attack suffered by the convoy," Open Arms said in a statement.

The NGO, which said 200 tonnes of food and supplies were delivered in the first shipment in March, expressed sorrow over the deaths.

"We demand answers and accountability for this unacceptable attack," Open Arms director Oscar Camps said in the statement.

World Central Kitchen, founded by Spanish-American celebrity chef José Andrés, has suspended its work in Gaza because of the attacks. These have increased pressure on Israel over its treatment of Gaza's civilian population.

US looking at report Israel used AI to identify Gaza targets
11:22 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United States was looking into a media report that the Israeli military has been using artificial intelligence to help identify bombing targets in Gaza, White House national security spokesperson John Kirby told American broadcaster CNN in an interview on Thursday.

The report in +972 Magazine and Local Call was published on Wednesday.

Separately, Kirby was also asked in the interview about an Axios report that the Israeli security cabinet had approved the opening of the Erez crossing with Gaza to allow more humanitarian aid to go in.

He said if true, the report was welcome news.


Hometown mourners commemorate slain Polish aid worker
10:51 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

As dusk set over the southeastern Polish city of Przemysl on Thursday, mourners gathered to hold a vigil for the Polish aid worker who was killed by the Israeli army in Gaza this week.

Przemysl-native Damian Sobol, 35, was in Gaza with the World Central Kitchen (WCK) charity to provide aid to Palestinans when he was killed in an Israeli airstrike along with six other WCK workers on Monday.

The mourners, numbered at several hundred by the PAP news agency, gathered near the Przemysl train station to commemorate Sobol.

They lit candles at the place where he had begun his relief work path when he volunteered to help Ukrainians fleeing their country after Russia invaded Poland's eastern neighbour in February 2022.

"There is no consent for killing innocent people, let's remember this and let's remember that Damian was helping so that other people would not die of hunger," said Waldemar, a local aid worker who had helped Ukrainian refugees alongside Sobol at Przemysl station, speaking to the TVN private broadcaster. He declined to give his surname.

"We started here as volunteers. Damian set off further on the volunteering path and unfortunately was murdered by Israeli services."

News of Sobol's death "was like a blow to the head," said his fellow local aid worker Stefan Moskowicz, also speaking to TVN.

"There is a saying that help given comes back twofold, but in many cases it doesn't work that way."

Sobol had also volunteered in Ukraine and in Turkey, his childhood friend Krzysztof Butra told Reuters on Wednesday.


Israel security cabinet authorises N Gaza crossing: report
10:36 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Israeli security cabinet has authorised the use of a crossing between Israel and northern Gaza to increase the amount of humanitarian assistance entering, a journalist reports.

Barak Ravid, a political reporter for the news website Axios, posts on X that the security cabinet "approved the opening of the Erez crossing... for the first time since 7 October in order to allow more humanitarian aid to go in, Israeli official said".

Israel acting against Iran, PM Netanyahu says
9:49 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Israeli military was strengthening its defences on Thursday after a deadly strike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus drew threats of retaliation, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatening harm to those who hurt Israel.

He spoke after the army paused leave for combat units, blocked GPS signals in certain places and strengthened "alertness" as its war against Hamas in Gaza nears its seventh month.

"For years, Iran has been acting against us both directly and via its proxies; therefore, Israel is acting against Iran and its proxies, defensively and offensively," Netanyahu said.

"We will know how to defend ourselves and we will act according to the simple principle of whoever harms us or plans to harm us, we will harm them."

Owen Jones: 'Gaza genocide apologists' past point of return
9:33 PM
The New Arab Staff

British journalist Owen Jones takes to social media platform X to ask users whether they have "noticed how desperate apologists for Israel's genocide of Gaza are becoming".

The Guardian columnist adds that the answer is simple, saying: "They realise they're past a point of return - they are - and it's all going to come crashing down on them.

"They're absolutely right."

Iran's Ali Khamenei prays over bodies of slain Guards
9:27 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei mourned on Thursday the seven Revolutionary Guards killed in an Israeli strike in Syria, state media reported.

The Guards, including two generals, were killed in the air strike on Monday which levelled the Iranian embassy's consular annex in Damascus.

Khamenei, flanked by top military brass, took part in a ceremony in the capital Tehran during which he led prayers for the dead, the official IRNA news agency said.

The bodies of the Guards were repatriated overnight, the ISNA news agency reported.

A funeral ceremony will take place in Tehran on Friday, coinciding with the annual Quds (Jerusalem) Day commemorations, when Iran and its allies hold marches in support of the Palestinians.

Iran has said that among the dead were two brigadier generals from the Guards' foreign operations arm, the Quds Force, Mohammad Hadi Haji Rahimi and Mohammad Reza Zahedi.

A British-based war monitor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said Zahedi was the Quds Force commander for Palestine, Syria and Lebanon.

Houthis say 37 killed in hundreds of US, UK strikes on Yemen
9:13 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Some 424 US and British airstrikes on targets in Yemen have killed 37 people and wounded 30, Abdul Malik Al-Houthi, leader of Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi rebel movement, said on Thursday.

The Houthis have attacked international shipping in the Red Sea since November in solidarity with the Palestinians in Gaza, with the US and UK responding by striking Yemen since January.

Al-Houthi, in a televised speech, said 90 ships had been targeted in the Red Sea and drone attacks had increased and expanded to additional regions.

He said 34 attacks had been launched in a month, using 125 ballistic missiles and drones.

The Houthi attacks have disrupted global shipping, forcing firms to take longer and more expensive journeys around the southern tip of Africa.


Rights activist shows iftar view after Israel strike in Gaza
8:43 PM
The New Arab Staff

A human rights activist and journalist has shared her view for today's iftar, the meal Muslims eat to break their compulsory Ramadan fasts.

"An Israeli airstrike just hit a place near my shelter in Rafah, in the southern #Gaza Strip," Maha Hussaini, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor's strategy director, says on social media platform X.

Blinken calls on Israel to protect civilians, surge aid
8:17 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday called on Israel, as a democracy, to place the highest value on human life and increase the flow of aid to Gaza, adding that this week's "horrific attack" on World Central Kitchen workers in Gaza must be the last such incident.

"Right now, there is no higher priority in Gaza than protecting civilians, surging humanitarian assistance, and ensuring the security of those who provide it. Israel must meet this moment," Blinken told reporters at a news conference in Brussels.


US support for Israel's defence 'ironclad', Kirby says
7:57 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The US's support for Israel's defence remains "ironclad" despite President Joe Biden warning that Washington's policy on the Gaza war depends on protecting civilians, the White House said on Thursday.

"Our support for Israel's self-defence remains ironclad," National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters.

"They face a range of threats, and the United States isn't going to walk away."

Donald Trump says Israel losing Gaza war PR battle
7:34 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Former US president Donald Trump has said Israel is losing the PR battle in the Gaza war.

In an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt on Thursday, Trump urged Israel to finish its war quickly.

"Get it over with and let's get back to peace and stop killing people. And that's a very simple statement," Trump said.

"They have to get it done. Get it over with and get it over with fast because we have to – you have to get back to normalcy and peace."

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee, who has criticised President Joe Biden for being insufficiently supportive of Israel, also appeared to question the tactics of the Israeli military as the civilian death toll in Gaza continues to mount.

Since the war began on 7 October, Israel's military has battered the territory, killing more than 33,000 Palestinians, according to the Gaza health ministry, and creating a humanitarian catastrophe.

"You've got to get it over with and you have to get back to normalcy. And I'm not sure that I'm loving the way they're doing it, because you've got to have victory. You have to have a victory, and it's taking a long time," Trump said.

He specifically criticised Israel's decision to release footage of its offensive actions. Throughout the war, the Israeli military has released videos of airstrikes and other attacks striking what it claims is "terrorist infrastructure".

"They shouldn’t be releasing tapes like that," he said. "That’s why they’re losing the PR war. They, Israel is absolutely losing the PR war."

"They're releasing the most heinous, most horrible tapes of buildings falling down. And people are imagining there's a lot of people in those buildings, or people in those buildings, and they don't like it," he added.

"They're losing the PR war. They're losing it big. But they've got to finish what they started, and they’ve got to finish it fast, and we have to get on with life."

The Israeli military campaign in Gaza has devastated the enclave's infrastructure, including civilian homes.

Israeli forces have attacked hospitals, ambulances, and aid workers.

Donald Trump is the former president of the United States [Brandon Bell/Getty-archive]
Biden: US policy on Israel depends on civilian protection
7:05 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US President Joe Biden warned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday that American policy on Israel depends on the protection of civilians in Gaza, in his strongest hint yet of possible conditions on military aid after an Israeli strike killed seven aid workers.

In their first call since the deaths of the employees of the US-based World Central Kitchen group on Monday, Biden also called for an "immediate ceasefire" after the "unacceptable" attack and wider humanitarian situation in Gaza.

Democrat Biden is facing growing pressure in an election year over his support for Israel's Gaza war -- with allies pressing him to consider making the billions of dollars in military aid sent by the United States to its key ally each year dependent on Netanyahu listening to calls for restraint.

Biden "made clear the need for Israel to announce and implement a series of specific, concrete, and measurable steps to address civilian harm, humanitarian suffering, and the safety of aid workers", the White House said in a readout of the call.

"He made clear that US policy with respect to Gaza will be determined by our assessment of Israel's immediate action on these steps."

Biden, Netanyahu phone call on Gaza concludes: White House
6:31 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US President Joe Biden spoke by phone with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday, the White House said, amid growing outrage over an Israeli strike that killed seven aid workers in Gaza.

"President Biden spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel today to discuss the latest developments in Israel and Gaza. A readout of the call will be issued soon," a White House official said in a statement.

Israel systematically wrecking Gaza healthcare: MSF
6:17 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel is systematically destroying Gaza's healthcare system, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said on Thursday, describing scenes of carnage that no hospitals in the world would be able to handle.

The medical charity said children were turning up in hospitals with gunshot wounds from drones, while many patients were being crushed under rubble then suffering severe burns.

MSF said deadly attacks on humanitarian staff showed either deliberate intent or reckless incompetence, and called for a change in how the war is being conducted.

Amber Alayyan, MSF deputy programme manager for the Middle East, said the healthcare system in Gaza before the war was imperfect but robust and improving.

"Now we're seeing the systematic and deliberate destruction of the healthcare system," she told a press conference at MSF's headquarters in Geneva.

Alayyan said the vast majority of injuries seen by MSF medics in Gaza were explosive injuries: the effects of bombs hitting homes.

"You get crush injuries to the abdomen, to the thorax; amputations are required for the legs and arms; and on top of that, patients suffer severe burns," she said.

"No healthcare system in the world can cope with the volume and type of injuries, and the medical conditions, that we're seeing on a daily basis.

"You could add 1,000 field hospitals; you're not going to be able to replace the healthcare system that was in Gaza before the war."

Alayyan described burnt and wounded people walking into clinics without a jaw, surgery performed on floors, and wounds beginning to rot.

"We see gunshot wounds now in children from quadcopters – drones with guns," she added.

MSF said Israel was acting with impunity in the Palestinian territory, and said the UN Security Council's call for a ceasefire needed to be backed up with action.

MSF International's secretary general Christopher Lockyear said nearly 200 humanitarian workers had been killed in the war, including five MSF staff.

"This pattern of attacks is either intentional or indicative of reckless incompetence," he told reporters in Geneva, calling it "a war fought with no rules".

He said Israel allowing the attacks to happen was "a political choice" because "Israel faces no political cost".

"Instead, its allies enable this brutality with impunity and provide even more weapons."

He said all states supporting Israel were "morally and politically complicit".

Britain FM calls for more road crossings for Gaza aid
5:55 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

UK Foreign Minister David Cameron has said more road crossings are needed and an Ashdod Port open for humanitarian aid.

Speaking on X, formerly known as Twitter, Cameron said, "We are doing everything we can to get more aid to civilians in Gaza as quickly as possible by land, sea and air," adding that the Royal Air Force has conducted more air drops to reach the people of Gaza.

Brazil names medal after late Palestinian freedom fighter
5:25 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Brazillian state Rio Grande do Norte named one of the medals it awarded after the late Palestinian freedom fighter Hanna Safieh.

WAFA news agency reports that the Governor of Rio Grande do Norte, Fátima Bezerra, signed a decree naming a commendation medal after Safieh in recognition of his role in promoting the rights of refugees and stateless persons during a conference on migration, refuge and statelessness.

Safieh was honoured with the medal along with the Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

Canadian aid worker killed in Gaza strike had young son
5:11 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Jacob Flickinger, the Canadian aid worker killed in an Israeli air strike on Gaza this week, was a former soldier who had an 18-month-old son, his parents told CBC.

Flickinger, who also had US citizenship, had been in Gaza volunteering for the World Central Kitchen group since early March, they said in an interview on Wednesday.

"He believed very strongly that the work he was doing was important, especially in this case, knowing that there was starvation out there," said his mother, Sylvie Labrecque.


US approved transfer of thousands of bombs to Israel
4:59 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United States approved this week for the transfer of thousands of additional bombs to Israel. However, they will not be delivered until at least next year, a Biden administration official said on Thursday.

The official said the approved transfer included 1,000 MK82 500-pound bombs, more than 1,000 small-diameter bombs and fuses for MK80 bombs.

The US has continued to supply its ally Israel with weapons despite growing criticism of the war in Gaza.


MSF rejects Israel's claim on aid worker killings
4:50 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Doctors Without Borders medical charity (MSF) said on Thursday it rejected Israel's position that an airstrike which killed seven aid workers was a "regrettable incident", saying many humanitarian personnel have been attacked previously.

Seven workers from World Central Kitchen, which provides food relief in crisis and conflict zones, were killed when their convoy was hit on Monday night shortly after they oversaw the unloading of 100 tons of food brought to the Palestinian enclave by sea.

"We do not accept the narrative of regrettable incidents," Christopher Lockyear, Secretary General of MSF International, said at a press conference in Geneva.


Hezbollah fires rockets at northern Israel
4:29 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Lebanon's Hezbollah said that it fired rockets at Israeli military sites as tensions grow along Lebanon's border with Israel.

The group said several artillery shells were launched at the command headquarters of the Liman Battalion in northern Israel.

While Israeli fighter jets had also carried out airstrikes in several towns in southern Lebanon, according to Lebanese media.

Manchester venue to resume event celebrating Gaza voices
4:14 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Manchester theatre and arts centre HOME in the UK has announced that they will resume the Voices of Resilience event after cancelling due to "recent publicity" surrounding the event.

The event, Voices of Resilience, is described as a "celebration of Gazan writing" and is planned for 22 April at Manchester theatre and arts centre HOME.

"We have reached out to partners in the city for assistance and have been able to access additional resources that will support us delivering the event. As a result, we are now in a position to confirm that the Voices of Resilience event will take place at HOME," HOME said in a statement on its site.

Over 300 artists and cultural workers, including Palestinian novelist Atef Abu Saif and actor Maxine Peake signed an open letter condemning the venue for cancelling the event.

The cancellation of the event came after the Jewish Representative Council of Greater Manchester sent the venue a letter on 27 March asking for the event to be called off.

Israel plans to adjust war tactics after killing aid workers
4:07 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel said on Thursday it would adjust its Gaza war tactics after killing seven aid workers in an air strike that the military called an operational accident. However, the process may take weeks while an investigation proceeds.

Monday's incident has stoked Western anger at the mounting civilian toll in the Palestinian enclave, especially as the slain World Central Kitchen staff included Australian, British and Polish citizens along with a US-Canadian dual national.

Israeli leaders have voiced sorrow over what they said was a misidentification of a WCK convoy at night in a combat zone.


Spain's PM says EU could reevaluate relations with Israel
3:30 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The European Union should debate whether to continue its strategic relationship with Israel if the European Commission finds that Israel has breached humanitarian law in its war on Gaza, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez told Qatari TV channel Al Jazeera

Indian workers leave for Israel to take up construction jobs
3:02 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Dozens of Indian construction workers left for Israel this week to take up jobs there as the nearly six-month war on Gaza continues, officials said Thursday.

Israel is facing a labour shortage after barring tens of thousands of Palestinian workers following Hamas' 7 October attack on Israel that triggered the war.

However, the Indian workers departing this week are going under the G2G agreement signed by the two countries before the outbreak of hostilities, Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesman Randhir Jaiswal said.

Lebanon: 100,000 displaced by Israeli attacks since Oct
2:50 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Lebanon's Prime Minister Najib Mikati said that around 100,000 people have fled their homes in southern Lebanon because of Israeli attacks since 8 October.

Speaking during a cabinet session in Beirut on Thursday, Mikati added that almost 313 people had been killed and 1,000 others injured since 8 October.

Lebanon's Hezbollah and Israel have been at war since 2006, but tensions have been escalating following a strike by the Lebanese militia on Israel "in solidarity" with Hamas' Operation al-Aqsa Flood.

Annie Lennox donates handwritten lyrics to Gaza appeal
2:30 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Scottish singer Annie Lennox has donated handwritten lyrics of her song Sweet Dreams to an auction raising money for medical aid in Gaza.

Medical Aid for Palestine is hosting a Cinema For Gaza charity auction, which includes donations from celebrities in music, film, and TV.

Auctioneers can bid for the lyrics, an hour-long Zoom chat with UK Journalist Louis Theroux, and a bedtime story from Tilda Swinton.

Lennox called for a ceasefire at the Grammys in February.

Released prisoners in Gaza taken to hospital
2:17 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli authorities released 101 Palestinian prisoners from the Gaza Strip - according to Gaza’s General Administration of Crossings and Borders.

Al Jazeera reports that many of the released were taken to medical facilities in Rafah and are being treated for fractures or other injuries they suffered from being beaten while detained.

Israel signals probe of strike on WCK workers to take weeks
2:00 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel signalled on Thursday that its military's investigation of an air strike that killed seven aid workers of World Central Kitchen in the Gaza Strip, and which it has already described in preliminary statements as an operational accident, could take weeks.

"In the coming weeks, as the findings become clear, we will be transparent and share the results with the public," Israeli government spokesperson Raquela Karamson said in a briefing.


Mayor of London calls for an halt on UK arms to Israel
1:45 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, has called for an immediate halt on British arms exports to Israel.

"I think the government should be pausing all sales of weapons to Israel. I think we should be holding to account the Israeli government," Khan told JOE Media, questioning Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on why he is not using his influence to put pressure on the Israeli government.

Oxfam: Gazans forced to survive on 245 calories a day
1:29 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

British organisation Oxfam has reported that the people in northern Gaza have been forced to survive on an average of 245 calories a day since January.

The organisation said the amount is less than 12 percent of the average daily calorie needs.

This comes as Israel told UNRWA, Gaza's largest aid provider, that its convoys would no longer be allowed into the north.

Report: 203 aid workers killed by Israeli forces since 7 Oct
1:18 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Aid Worker Security Database (AWSD) has reported that at least 203 aid workers have been killed by Israeli forces since 7 October.

This means that Israel has killed more aid workers in the Gaza Strip than have died in all of the countries in the rest of the world combined in any of the last 30 years.

This comes after seven workers for the aid charity World Central Kitchen were killed by an Israeli air strike that nations worldwide have since condemned.

Israeli forces detain at least 40 Palestinians in West Bank
1:07 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs Commission and the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society have reported that at least 40 Palestinians, including three women and released prisoners, were detained by Israeli forces from the occupied West Bank

The organisations say the operations focused on the occupied Jerusalem, while the remaining occurred in the governorates of Hebron, Nablus, Tulkarem, Qalqilia, Jenin, Tubas, Qalqliya, and Bethlehem.  

It has been reported that thousands of Gazans have been detained by Israeli forces since 7 October and are held in unknown locations.

Former M16 chief says Israel's war on Gaza 'reckless'
12:44 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Alex Younger, a former chief at M16, has said that Israel's actions in Gaza have "bordered on the reckless".

Speaking to the Today podcast on BBC Radio 4, Younger said, "My view is that what happened is essentially systematic of an approach to targeting that has on occasion bordered on the reckless and fundamentally undermines, therefore, what must be Israel's political purpose, which is to sustain some moral high ground and some moral purpose."

Younger led the Secret Intelligence Service between 2014 and 2020. He also noted that "insufficient care is being paid to the collateral risks of these operations, one way or another".

HRW: Israeli strike killing 106 is an apparent war crime
12:31 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has said the Israeli airstrike in a six-story apartment building in October, killing 106 civilians, is an apparent war crime.

Out of the 106 killed, 54 were children. The building was sheltering hundreds of people in central Gaza.

HRW found no evidence that there was a military target in the vicinity of the building, making the strike "unlawfully indiscriminate".

Israel's Gantz calls for elections amid war on Gaza
12:15 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies


Israel war cabinet member Benny Gantz called for national elections in September on Wednesday, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government faces pressure at home and abroad over the war on Gaza.

"We must agree on a date for elections in September, towards a year to the war if you will," Gantz said in a televised briefing. "Setting such a date will allow us to continue the military effort while signalling to the citizens of Israel that we will soon renew their trust in us."

Thousands of Israelis have recently taken to the streets demanding new elections. Many have criticized Netanyahu and expressed anger at his government's handling of the 134 Israeli captives still held in Gaza six months into the war.


Polish president slams 'outrageous' remarks by Israeli envoy
12:00 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Polish President Andrzej Duda on Thursday slammed "outrageous" remarks by the Israeli ambassador over the death of a Polish aid worker killed in an Israeli strike in Gaza.

After the envoy stopped short of apologising for the incident in a series of public statements, Duda said his remarks had been "not very fortunate, in short, outrageous," adding that "the ambassador is the biggest problem for the state of Israel in its relations with Poland".

Palestine Action blockade and spray Somerset Council
11:40 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Pro-Palestine group Palestine Action have blockaded Somerset Council's County Hall building in the UK.

The group claims Somerset Council is the landlord of Aztec West 600, the Bristol Headquarters of Elbit Systems UK, an Israel-based arms company.

Using ladders, the group fixed banners to the building before spraying the premises in red paint and attaching themselves to each other using lock-on devices to obstruct the main entrance. 

The banners read, 'Somerset Council are profiting off genocide. Evict Elbit Now!' and 'Somerset Council can evict Elbit but choose profits. Blood is on your hands!'

CPJ: 95 journalists and media workers killed since 7 Oct
11:24 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Committee to Protect Journalists has reported that as of 4 April, at least 95 journalists and media workers have been killed since 7 October - according to preliminary investigations.

The journalists include 90 Palestinians, 2 Israelis, and 3 Lebanese. 

Journalists in Gaza are at high risk when reporting on the war on Gaza on-site. The Israeli army told agencies Reuters and AFP that it cannot guarantee the safety of their journalists operating in the Gaza Strip after they had sought assurances that Israel would not target their reporters.

Poland: Family of Polish aid worker should be compensated
11:12 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel should apologise and pay compensation to the family of a Polish national who was among seven aid workers killed in an airstrike in Gaza, Poland's prime minister said on Thursday.

"We will expect... an immediate explanation of the circumstances and compensation for the victims' relatives," Donald Tusk told a news conference. 


Palestinian youth injured by Israeli gunfire
10:47 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Security forces have told WAFA that a Palestinian youth was injured by Israeli gunfire after the occupation forces raided the Al-Amari camp south of Ramallah.

The forces stormed the camp, firing bullets, stun grenades and poisonous gas, injuring one youth by shooting bullets to the foot, they raided civilians' homes and detained three citizens, including two brothers.


Activists arrested after pro-Palestine protests in Egypt
10:30 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Egyptian authorities arrested several activists who protested outside of the Journalists Syndicate in Cairo in solidarity with the people of Palestine and calling out Arab negligence.

Protesters chanted: "O, our siblings in Amman, Egypt of January is also awake!" regarding the 2011 uprisings.

Egyptian activist Amhed Douma said that the authorities arrested his friend Muhammad Awad.

WCK calling for investigation into killing of aid workers
10:19 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The World Central Kitchen (WCK) is calling for an independent investigation into the Israeli strikes that killed seven members of its team on Monday. 

WCK identified those killed in the strike as: Palestinian Saifeddin Issam Ayad Abutaha, 25, Australian Lalzawmi (Zomi) Frankcom, 43, Polish Damian Soból, 35, Jacob Flickinger, 33, a US-Canadian dual citizen, and British citizens John Chapman, 57, James Henderson, 33, and James Kirby, 47.

Israeli forces kill Palestinian youth
10:04 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

WAFA sources have confirmed that Israeli forces killed a Palestinian youth in the town of Ya’bad, south of Jenin.

The agency reports that Asaad Issam Al-Qaniri, 28, was killed after the forces surrounded his house and executed him in cold blood, preventing ambulances from trying to help.

Canada condemns 'unacceptable' killing of WCK aid workers
9:54 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the death of Jacob Flickinger, a Canadian citizen who was among those killed in the Israeli airstrike targeting World Central Kitchen aid workers, is "absolutely unacceptable".

Trudeau also mentions Israel's obligation to ensure the safety of aid workers, as well as noting the victims' families deserve an explanation as to how the killing happened.

Aid charity warns Israeli attacks are hampering efforts
9:37 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) have said they are "appalled" by the Israeli airstrikes killing seven World Central Kitchen aid workers, including both Palestinian and foreign nationals after they unloaded food aid at its central warehouse.

"Gaza is the most dangerous place in the world to be an aid worker, as well as the most dangerous place to be a civilian," the statement reads.

The IRC add that as aid agencies are forced to suspend operations due to escalating risks, more than 2 million Palestinians in need of aid will be "plunged into even further desperation and misery".

Ex supreme court judges say UK arming Israel breaks law
8:39 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Over 600 lawyers, academics and retired senior judges, including three former Supreme Court justices, have said that the UK is breaking international law by continuing its arms exports to Israel.

In an open letter to the UK Prime Minister, the lawyers said they are "concerned that the UK Government is failing to discharge its international obligations in these respects."

The letter also notes that the sale of weapons to Israel and maintaining threats to suspend aid to UNRWA "falls significantly short of your Government’s obligations under international law".

Biden, Netanyahu to speak by phone following Gaza aid deaths
8:35 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are set to speak on Thursday in their first phone call since an Israeli strike on a humanitarian convoy killed seven aid workers in Gaza.

Biden has led a chorus of international anger over the attack on employees of US-based World Central Kitchen, who were distributing desperately needed food to a population on the verge of famine.

"I can confirm President Biden and Prime Minister Netanyahu will speak tomorrow," a US official told AFP on Wednesday.

Death toll: 33,037 Palestinians killed and 75,668 injured
8:31 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

33,037 Palestinians have been killed, and 75,668 have been injured since Israel's war on Gaza on 7 October - the Gaza Health Ministry reports.

At least 62 people were killed and 91 others were injured in Israeli attacks that took place in the last 24 hours, they added.