Gaza rocked by Israeli attacks as Netanyahu discusses US ceasefire deal

Gaza rocked by Israeli attacks as Netanyahu discusses US ceasefire deal
Israel's military continued its attacks across Gaza as Netanyahu faces pressure to accept a new ceasefire deal presented by the US over the weekend
13 min read
03 June, 2024

Gaza faced a wave of Israeli attacks throughout Monday, including incursions near Khan Younis and around Gaza City, as the UN said over half of the enclave's buildings have been destroyed.

Palestinian media confirmed on Monday the killing of six Palestinians, mostly women and children, as a result of an Israeli bombardment that targeted a house in the Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip.

The Emergency Municipal Committee in northern Gaza announced on Sunday that the Jabalia area and the town of Beit Hanoun in the northern part of the Strip have become "disaster zones".

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was due to meet with ministers on Monday to discuss the details of the ceasefire deal announced by US President Joe Biden on the weekend.

Netanyahu is under pressure to accept the deal but is facing pushback from far-right coalition ministers including National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and Finance Minister Benzalel Smotrich, both of whom have threatened to quit the government.

Meanwhile, White House National Security Council spokesman Jake Sullivan said in an interview with ABC News that the United States "expects Israel to agree to the proposal if Hamas accepts it".

6:04 PM

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Arab ministers: important to 'deal positively' with deal
5:28 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Egypt said on Monday it was important to "deal seriously and positively" with a proposal presented by US President Joe Biden that would lead to a ceasefire in Gaza, Saudi state news agency (SPA) reported.

The foreign ministers met virtually to discuss the proposal alongside US-Qatari-Egyptian mediating efforts for an Israeli hostages-Palestinian prisoners swap deal that would lead to a permanent ceasefire and sufficient aid entry into Gaza, SPA said.

Iranian military adviser killed in Syria in Israeli attack
5:07 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

An Iranian Revolutionary Guards adviser was killed in an Israeli air attack in Syria on Sunday, Iran's semi-official news agency SNN reported on Monday.

SNN identified the officer as Saeid Abyar without giving his rank. 

Twelve Iran-linked fighters were killed in an Israeli airstrike on a military base near Aleppo late on Sunday, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Read more here.

Israel detains female Palestinian journalist in West Bank
4:20 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli forces arrested Palestinian journalist Rasha Hirzallah in the occupied West Bank on Sunday, in the latest affront to Palestinian media.

Hirzallah works for Palestinian news agency Wafa and was summoned by Israeli intelligence and taken to Israeli Ariel detention centre in Salfit, according to a report.

Wafa condemned the detention of their employee and said it will not deter journalists "from carrying out their duty toward the Palestinian people and their just cause, as well as toward exposing the practices and crimes of the occupation".

The Palestinian Prisoner's Society said on Sunday that 80 journalists in Gaza have been detained since the start of the war in October, with 49 still in Israeli custody.

Hezbollah launches drones squadron towards Israel
3:41 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel has said 30 projectiles crossing from Lebanon towards the occupied Golan Heights area in the latest attack by Lebanese group Hezbollah.

Earlier on Monday, the Shia Muslim militia group said it had launched a squadron of drones towards the headquarters of the Israeli military's Galilee formation.

In a statement, the Israeli army said the projectiles fell in open areas and no casualties were reported. It said that it successfully intercepted an explosive drone near Keren Naftali in Galilee and two others fell to the ground.

Such an attack would be the first by Hezbollah involving a squadron of drones since the start of its exchanges of fire with Israel, which have run in parallel with the war between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli military said in a statement it had on Monday killed Ali Hussein Sabra, a military operative in "Hezbollah's Force Build-up Unit".

It also said its forces had struck Hezbollah infrastructure consisting of several military compounds in the area of Qotrani in southern Lebanon.

Hezbollah said its squadron attack came in response to Israel's killing of one of its members in the southern village of Zrariyeh.

The Iran-aligned group also said it had launched drones on Sunday towards Liman in northern Israel.

Israel govt spokesman: PM views Biden Gaza plan as 'partial'
3:24 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

An Israeli government spokesman said Monday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu viewed a plan for a hostage release deal in Gaza presented by US President Joe Biden as a "partial" outline.

"The outline that President Biden presented is partial," government spokesman David Mencer quoted Netanyahu as saying, adding that "the war will be stopped for the purpose of returning the hostages" after which discussions will follow on how to achieve the war's goal of eliminating Hamas.

"The claims that we have agreed to a ceasefire without our conditions being met are incorrect," Netanyahu was quoted as saying in a separate statement issued by his office.

Lebanon UN Special Coordinator urges end to hostilities
3:00 PM
The New Arab Staff

The UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon met with caretaker foreign minister Abdallah Bou Habib on Monday to discuss the conflict in south Lebanon.

In the first set of meetings with Lebanese officials, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert urged both parties "to return to the cessation of hostilities" and commit to Security Council resolution 1701.

"In the coming months, I will be closely engaged with both parties to resolution 1701, our colleagues from UNIFIL, and other Lebanese and international partners to help galvanize momentum towards this end," a statement handout read.

Lebanon's Hezbollah group have been engaged in fighting with Israeli forces since the outbreak o the Gaza war and the attacks have marked the most dangerous period for south Lebanon since the 2006 war.

Nearly 450 people have been killed in Lebanon since October, mostly fighters but also more than 80 civilians, according to an AFP tally.

Ben-Gvir accused Netanyahu of 'whitewashing' Gaza deal
2:28 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A far-right Israeli coalition partner accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday of trying to "whitewash" a deal to wind down the Gaza war that is being advanced by U.S. President Joe Biden, and repeated a threat to quit the government.

National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir told his parliamentary faction that Netanyahu invited him to read the proposal but the premier's aides twice failed to produce the document. Any plan must entail toppling Hamas, Ben-Gvir said. 


Lebanon media says two dead in Israeli strikes on south
2:16 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Lebanese official media said Israeli strikes on a car and a motorcycle in the country's south killed two people Monday, with cross-border clashes intensifying in recent days.

"An enemy drone strike targeted a motorcycle in Naqura," a coastal town near the Israeli border, Lebanon's official National News Agency (NNA) said, later reporting "one person was killed and another wounded".

In another attack, "an enemy drone targeted a car" near the southern village of Zrariyeh, "killing one person", the NNA said, also reporting Israeli strikes in the country's east.

It did not say whether the dead were civilians or fighters.

Hezbollah said it launched "a squadron of explosive-laden drones" at northern Israeli army positions "in response to the assassination carried out by the Israeli enemy this afternoon in the Zrariyeh area".

Netanyahu says Gaza plan can begin before terms fully agreed
1:30 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli media quoted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as saying on Monday that the first phase of a US-promoted plan to wind down the Gaza war, entailing a limited hostage release by Hamas, could be undertaken without necessary agreement on what follows.

The leaked quotes from a closed-door parliamentary meeting, which were not immediately confirmed by officials, suggested Israel sees a possibility of entering an initial Gaza truce though it has ruled out ending the war as demanded by Hamas.


Yair Lapid urges Netanyahu to accept new ceasefire plan
1:25 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli politician Yair Lapid has urged the government to accept the ceasefire deal presented by the US on the weekend, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces pushback from ministers.

The leader of the opposition Yesh Atid Party said that Netanyahu should send a delegation to Cairo today to finalise the details.

In a post on X, Lapid said Netanyahu should "bring home the men, the young women, the elderly, the soldiers and the female soldiers imprisoned in the tunnels".

Lebanon's Hezbollah exchanges fire with Israel
1:16 PM
The New Arab Staff

Lebanon's Shia Muslim group Hezbollah said on Monday its forces had targeted several Israeli military sites in "direct" hits.

In a statement shared on the group's Telegram channel, Hezbollah said its fighters targeted Israeli soldiers near Khallet Warda with missiles at 1:35pm.

In an earlier statement, it said it hit Israel "spy equipment" at Al-Malikiyah site.

There were unconfirmed reports of an Israeli drone strike on a vehicle in the governorate of Saida in south Lebanon on Monday.

Gaza health ministry: 40 killed and 150 injured in past day
12:37 PM
The New Arab Staff

The health ministry in Gaza has released its daily update which shows a further 40 people have been killed and 150 injured over the past 24 hours.

This brings the total number killed by Israeli attacks to 36,479 Palestinians killed and 82,777  wounded since the outbreak of war on 7 October.

Egypt: Rafah crossing can't reopen unless Israeli army leave
12:09 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Rafah border crossing critical to aid deliveries into Gaza from Egypt cannot operate again unless Israel relinquishes control and hands it back to Palestinians on the Gaza side, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said on Monday.

Last month, Israel seized Gaza's entire border with Egypt including the crossing during its offensive against Hamas in the city of Rafah. The crossing also represents the only lifeline to the outside world for the 2.3 million population in the Israeli-besieged territory.

"It is difficult for the Rafah crossing to continue operating without a Palestinian administration," Shoukry told a press conference with his Spanish counterpart in Madrid.

Shoukry said the 1979 Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty remained "a solid base for security and stability in the region and everyone must consider and take measures responsibly to preserve this important treaty".

His comments came amid rising tensions after the death of an Egyptian soldier last week in an exchange of fire with Israeli forces who Egyptian security sources said crossed a boundary line while pursuing and killing several Palestinians.

More than half of Gaza structures destroyed or damaged: UN
11:45 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Some 55 percent of all structures in the Gaza Strip have been destroyed, damaged or possibly damaged since war erupted in the Palestinian territory eight months ago, according to preliminary satellite analysis by the UN.

The analysis showed more than 137,000 buildings affected, UNOSAT, the United Nations satellite analysis agency, said on X, formerly Twitter.

The estimate is based on a satellite image taken on May 3, and compared with images taken in May a year earlier, last September, and on October 15 -- just over a week after Hamas's unprecedented October 7 attack on Israel that sparked the war.

UNOSAT said the image comparisons showed the governorates of Deir Al-Balah, in the centre, and Gaza, in the north, had suffered the worst damage between April 1 and May 3.

Comparing satellite images on those dates indicated that an additional 2,613 structures had been damaged in Deir Al-Balah, while another 2,368 had been damaged in Gaza governorate in just over a month.

UN experts urge all countries to recognise Palestinian state
11:30 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A group of United Nations experts called on Monday for all countries to recognise a Palestinian state to ensure peace in the Middle East.

The experts, including the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the Palestinian territories, said recognition of a Palestinian state was an important acknowledgement of the rights of the Palestinian people and their struggle towards freedom and independence.

"This is a pre-condition for lasting peace in Palestine and the entire Middle East – beginning with the immediate declaration of a ceasefire in Gaza and no further military incursions into Rafah," they said.

"A two-state solution remains the only internationally agreed path to peace and security for both Palestine and Israel and a way out of generational cycles of violence and resentment."

Iran's supreme leader says Israel headed for 'destruction'
11:05 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Monday praised Hamas's unprecedented October 7 attack against Israel and predicted the "destruction" of their common enemy.

Khamenei, 85, was speaking at an event to mark 35 years since the death of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic which replaced a US-backed monarchy.

He said the October 7 attack by Palestinian Islamist militant group Hamas "was a decisive blow to the Zionist regime" and put Israel "on the path that will only end in its destruction".

[Image credit: GETTY]

Iran's acting foreign minister visits Lebanon post Raisi
10:32 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Iran's acting foreign minister arrived in Lebanon Monday, his first official diplomatic visit since his predecessor died in a helicopter crash last month.

Iran's state-run IRNA news agency reported that Ali Bagheri Kani would visit Lebanon and then Syria "to meet with the two countries' officials as well as the officials of the resistance front to discuss ways to counter (Israel)."

Bagheri Kani met with his Lebanese counterpart, Abdallah Bou Habib, on Monday and praised the "close relations" between the two countries. He told reporters that "resistance is the basis for stability in the region."

Bagheri Kani's predecessor, Hossein Amirabdollahian, a hard-liner close to the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, died in a helicopter crash on May 19 in a mountainous area near Iran’s border with Azerbaijan, along with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and a delegation of other officials.

Read more here.

Israel's Gallant to US: Hamas rule must end
9:46 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant restated his government's commitment to dismantling Hamas as a governing and military authority in the framework of any deal to wind down the Gaza war, his office quoted him as telling the top US diplomat.

In the call with Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Gallant also "discussed the issue of identifying and enabling the emergence of a local, governing alternative" to the Islamist militant group, the Defence Ministry statement on Monday said.


Over 3,500 children facing malnutrition in Gaza
9:25 AM
The New Arab Staff

More than 3,500 Palestinian children facing acute malnutrition are at risk of death in Gaza as Israeli restrictions on aid have destroyed the territory's health system and access to food.

Gaza's government media office said on Monday that "the Israeli occupation's policies of starvation, food shortages, lack of nutritional supplements and aid withholding" were having a devastating impact on children's health.

The Rafah border crossing has been closed for the fourth consecutive week following Israel's seizure of the southern border city and border with Egypt. NGOs have repeatedly called for the crossing to be reopened to allow aid supplies in.

The office said children are suffering from "advanced malnutrition" which is exposing them to infectious diseases and delaying their growth and development.

Israeli presumed among Hamas hostages found dead in kibbutz
8:55 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

An Israeli who went missing during the 7 Oct attack by Hamas-led Palestinian gunmen and was presumed to have been taken hostage has been found dead in the border village where he lived, Israeli media said on Monday.

After what it described as lengthy forensics, Israel's military confirmed the identification of the remains of Dolev Yehoud, whose surname has also been spelled Yehud in English.

A military statement said Yehoud, a 35-year-old volunteer medic, was among dozens of residents of Kibbutz Nir Oz killed in the attack in which many homes burned to the ground.

Israel: shot down surface-to-surface missile over Red Sea
8:45 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel's military said it used the Arrow ballistic interceptor on Monday to shoot down a surface-to-surface missile launched in the Red Sea area, after sounding sirens in the port city of Eilat to send residents to shelters.

There was no word of any damage or casualties. The military statement did not say who might have launched the missile. Eilat has come under repeated long-range attack by Yemen's Houthi rebels in solidarity with the war in Gaza.


Hezbollah publishes footage of 'Golan strike'
8:37 AM
The New Arab Staff

Lebanon’s Hezbollah group released a video this morning purporting to show one of the attacks it has claimed on Israeli military sites in the occupied Golan Heights.

The clip, published on the group's Al-Manar website, was said to show the launch of barrages of Katyusha rockets "targeting the command base of the 210th Golan Division" yesterday, amid an escalation in the cross-border fire exchanged between Israel and Hezbollah.

The attack was one of several claimed by Hezbollah on Sunday, which included the launch of drones to target the Military Recruitment Battalion at the Yarden military barracks in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, targeting an Iron Dome radar and positions of soldiers.

Israeli army radio meanwhile reported early on 2 June that two Hezbollah-launched drones “exploded in Israeli territory” and were not intercepted.

Egypt demands Israeli withdrawal from Rafah crossing
8:35 AM
The New Arab Staff

A high-ranking Egyptian source said that Egypt was holding firm to its position demanding a withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Rafah border crossing.

Egypt announced the conclusion of a trilateral meeting held in Cairo on Sunday, with US and Israeli officials to discuss the reopening of the crossing, which Egypt says is contingent on an Israeli withdrawal.

The Egyptian delegation reiterated that Israel was “fully responsible” for the suspension of humanitarian aid delivery into the Gaza Strip, emphasising the need for immediate action to bring at least 350 aid trucks into the strip on a daily basis to provide food, fuel and medical supplies.

Tensions between Egypt and Israel have heightened since Israeli forces took control of the Gazan side of the Rafah crossing point on 7 May.