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Gaza strikes intensify, no sign of Israel complying with ICJ

Gaza strikes intensify, no sign of Israel complying with ICJ Rafah order
Live Story
25 May, 2024

Ground and air attacks pummelled towns across Gaza on Saturday, less than 24 hours after the International Court of Justice order against Israel.

Strikes were reported around Gaza city, Nuseriat camp and in the southern and eastern areas of the strip, including in the southern Rafah Governorate which was singled out by the ICJ on Friday which order Israel to "immediately halt” its offensive.

At least four civilians were killed in an Israeli airstrike on a residential building north of Nuseirat refugee camp, Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.

Israeli tanks were reported in the Tal al-Hawa neighbourhood of Gaza City, where intense fighting has been reported over the past few days. Local emergency services has said the density of the area and live fire has made it difficult to reach the wounded.

Meanwhile, aid flow into the war-ravaged strip remains severely disrupted by Israel’s offensive into Rafah and humanitarians have repeatedly called for more as fuel supplies powering hospitals have reached critical stages.

Aid shipments from Egypt via UN agencies through the Karam Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing are expected to begin this weekend.


Parts of US floating pier washes up on Israeli coast

The US said parts of its floating aid pier broke off and swept into the sea after strong waves off the coast of Gaza on Saturday.

Two sections of the pier washed up off the coast of Ashkelon in Israel, local media reported. The US Central Command said its navy along with the Israeli navy are attempting to recover the drifting decking.

The pier's construction cost around $320 million and was finished less than a week ago and it has facilitated the delivery of some 90 trucks of aid into Gaza with supplies shipped from Cyprus. 

Israel's siege on Gaza has blocked land crossings and disrupted the flow of aid for the exhausted population, the majority of whom are dependent on aid handouts for daily survival.

PA Prime Minister Mohammed Mustafa meets with Italian PM

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Mustafa called on Italy to recognise a Palestinian state on an official trip to Rome on Saturday, according to reports.

Mustafa met with Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni to discuss the Gaza war and foreign aid efforts for the Palestinian people, Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.

The two also discussed Israeli settler attacks in the occupied West Bank and the expansions of settlements which threaten a future Palestinian state.

Italy announced earlier on Saturday that it was resuming funding to UN agency for Palestinian refugees UNRWA.

Thousands march in Manchester, UK for Palestine

Thousands of pro-Palestine protesters are marching the streets of Manchester in the UK demanding for a free Palestine.

Marchers can be seen waving the Palestinian flag, holding a banner saying "STOP ARMING ISRAEL", while chanting "In our thousands, in our millions, we are all Palestinians".

Israeli forces target elementary school in Jabaila

Israeli forces attacked a school in Gaza, killing 10 people and injuring 17, including children - reported and verified by Al Jazeera.

Israeli forces attacked the Al-Nazla School in the Saftawi area of northern Gaza (near Jabalia refugee camp), where hundreds of refugees were residing. 

Children were playing in the schoolyard while a group of Palestinians were filling up gallons of water when the forces targeted them with airstrikes.

Gaza health ministry: 46 killed in past 24 hours

The health ministry in Gaza said on Saturday that at least 35,903 people have been killed in the territory during more than seven months of war between Israel and Palestinian militants.

The toll includes 46 deaths over the past 24 hours, a ministry statement said, adding that 80,420 people have been wounded in the Gaza Strip since the war began when Hamas militants attacked Israel on October 7.

Thousands more people are feared dead and trapped under mountains of rubble across Gaza, health authorities have said.

Israel-Hamas talks on ceasefire to restart next week: source

Mediated negotiations between Israel and Hamas to reach a deal to free Israeli hostages held in the Gaza Strip are due to restart next week, an official with knowledge of the matter said on Saturday.

The decision to restart the talks, said the source, who declined to be identified by name or nationality given the sensitivity of the issue, came after the head of Israel's Mossad intelligence agency met with the head of the CIA and the prime minister of Qatar, which has been a mediator.

"At the end of the meeting, it was decided that in the coming week negotiations will open based on new proposals led by the mediators, Egypt and Qatar and with active U.S. involvement," the source said.


Hezbollah hits Israeli tank and barracks

Hezbollah said its fighters fired rockets at an Israeli Merkava tank at al-Marj military site on Saturday.

In a statement on its Telegram channel, the Lebanese Shia Muslim group said that after monitoring the Israeli military’s movements it struck the tank directly leading to its "destruction and the death and injury of its crew".

In a separate statement, Hezbollah said it also struck Israeli targets at the Zarit barracks with missiles, in response to Israeli attacks in al Mansouri over the past days.

Car bomb in Damascus kills one: state media

bomb attached to a car exploded early Saturday in the western part of the Syrian capital that is home to several diplomatic missions, killing one person and causing material damage, state media reported.

State news agency, SANA, didn't say who the person killed was but said the blast set two other cars ablaze.

Damascus' Mazze neighbourhood houses the Iranian consulate, destroyed last month in a strike blamed on Israel. The attack at the time killed seven people including two Iranian generals and a member of Lebanon’s militant group Hezbollah, and triggered a direct Iranian military assault on Israel for the first time, sparking fears of a regionwide war.

Several airstrikes have hit the tightly-secured neighbourhood over the past months, mostly targeting Iranian officials.

Read more here.

Spain demands Israel comply with UN court ruling on Rafah

The Spanish government demanded on Saturday that Israel comply with an order by the top UN court to immediately stop its bombardment and ground assault on the Gazan city of Rafah.

It stressed that the ruling on Friday by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) was legally binding.

"The precautionary measures set out by the ICJ, including that Israel should cease its military offensive in Rafah, are compulsory. Israel must comply with them," Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares wrote on X.

"The same goes for a ceasefire, the release of the hostages and access for humanitarian aid (to Gaza)," he said.

"The suffering of the people of Gaza and the violence must end."

Israeli strike kills two Hezbollah fighters in Syria

An Israeli drone strike in central Syria killed two fighters from Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah movement on Saturday, a war monitor said.

"An Israeli drone fired two missiles at a Hezbollah car and truck near the town of Qusayr in Homs province, as they were on their way to Al-Dabaa military airport, killing at least two Hezbollah fighters and wounding others," said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

It was the third strike against Hezbollah targets in Syria in about a week.

On Monday, Israeli strikes in the Qusayr area, which is close to the Lebanese border, killed eight pro-Iranian fighters, said Observatory, a Britain-based monitor with a network of sources in Syria.

Israel has carried out hundreds of strikes in Syria since the outbreak of the civil war in its northern neighbour, mainly targeting army positions and Iran-backed fighters including from Hezbollah.

UK govt criticises World Court order to Israel over Rafah

The British government has criticised the International Court of Justice for ordering Israel to immediately halt its military assault on the southern Gaza city of Rafah, saying the ruling would strengthen Palestinian Islamist group Hamas.

"The reason there isn’t a pause in the fighting is because Hamas turned down a very generous hostage deal from Israel. The intervention of these courts - including the ICJ today - will strengthen the view of Hamas that they can hold on to hostages and stay in Gaza," a UK foreign ministry spokesperson said late on Friday.

"And if that happens there won’t be either peace, or a two-state solution."

The UK's stance is in keeping with the US who said that Israel's Rafah operation remains "limited".

Israeli air strikes kill 20 civilians in north Gaza

Israeli air strikes killed 20 civilians, including women and children, in attacks on civilian buildings in north Gaza on Saturday, according to local sources.

Ten people were killed and more injured when an Israeli airstrike hit a house in Beit Hanoun in north Gaza, Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.

Additionally, another ten people were killed and 17 injured after an air strike on school sheltering displaced families in the Safatwi neighbourhood in Gaza City.

Twenty Palestinians, including children and women, were killed and several others injured today due to the continuous Israeli airstrikes in the northern Gaza Strip.

Charities call on UK govt to urge Israel to comply with ICJ

A number of charities have signed an open letter welcoming the International Court of Justice's (ICJ) order to immediately halt Israel's military offensive in Rafah, while also urging the UK to uphold its measures.

Medical Aid for Palestinians and Oxfam are among the 22 NGOs who welcomed the ICJ's decision and urged the United Kingdom government to ensure Israel complies with the ruling.

"The UK must now do everything in its power to ensure that Israel complies with its obligations under international law, including in respect of all of the measures ordered by the ICJ," the statement reads, while also urging for the UK to restart funding to The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) and suspend arms.

Read more here.

G7 leaders to call on Israel to release revenues to PA

G7 finance leaders will call on Israel to maintain correspondent banking links between Israeli and Palestinian banks to allow vital transactions, trade and services to continue, according to a draft joint statement seen by Reuters on Saturday.

The statement, to be released at the end of a Group of Seven finance ministers and central bank governors' meeting in northern Italy, also calls for Israel "to release withheld clearance revenues to the Palestinian Authority, in view of its urgent fiscal needs".

"We call on Israel to take the necessary measures to ensure that correspondent banking services between Israeli and Palestinian banks remain in place, so that vital financial transactions and critical trade and services continue," the draft statement said.

The G7 finance leaders also called for the removal or relaxation of other measures "that have negatively impacted commerce to avoid further exacerbating the economic situation in the West Bank." 


Hamas urges ICJ to implement ruling for all of Gaza

Hamas has called on the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to issue a ruling to stop Israel's attacks against all of Gaza, instead of just Rafah, the Palestinian group said.

In a statement issued in response to the ICJ ruling on Friday, Hamas said: "We expected the Court of Justice to issue to stop the aggression and genocide against our people in all of Gaza, not just Rafah."

Speaking to Al Jazeera network on Saturday, senior Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdan based in Beirut said that the group welcomed the ICJ's ruling.

"In Hamas, we believed it was a genocide from day one, but at least now in the international community everyone has to understand that is a genocide and they have to work hard to make Israel going forward on this issue," Hamdan said.


Qatar welcomes ICJ ruling, hopes for permanent ceasefire

Qatar has said that the ICJ ruling on Israel reflects the international community's "categorical rejection" of the war on Gaza.

A statement from Qatar's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the ICJ ruling "stresses the need for the Israeli authorities to fully commit to implementing all provisions of the decision, and to provide the ICJ with a comprehensive report on time."

"It also stresses the need for the UN Security Council to fulfil its responsibilities in providing full protection for civilians in the Gaza Strip."

Qatar welcomed the ruling which orders Israel to immediately halts its military offensive on Rafah, and to allow an independent fact finding mission to enter Gaza. The world court also ordered Israel to submit a comprehensive report to the court within a month.

During the war, Qatar has been playing a vital mediator role in truce talks between Israel and Hamas.

Palestinians from northern Gaza flee from heavy fighting

Palestinians living in the north Gaza, including Jabalia, Beit Lahia, Al-Falouja, and Al-Fakhura have been forced to move towards central areas as battles between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants have intensified.

Crowds of displaced families could be seen walking carrying belongings or on donkey carts as they search for a safer area. Aid agencies have warned of famine conditions in the northern areas amid a severe shortage of clean water or food.

The area has become is dangerous for humanitarians to reach and the Israeli army has repeatedly obstructed missions.

Israel was forced to re-enter Jabalia after claiming the area had been "cleared" months ago after Hamas fighters regrouped, but the attacks have had a devastating impact on civilians in the area.

UN expert Albanese calls for sanctions on Israel

Francesca Albanese, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territories, has called for sanctions to be imposed on Israel until it complies with the International Court of Justice.

In the latest ruling against Israel from the world court, it said on Friday that Israel must immediately halt its offensive into Rafah to avert the further suffering of the Palestinian people.

In a post on X on Saturday, Albanese wrote: "Member states must impose sanctions on Israel, ban the provision of weapons to it, and suspend political and diplomatic relations with it, until it stops its attack."

Italy to resume funding for UNRWA

Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani on Saturday announced Rome would restore funding for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees as he met with Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Mustafa.

"I informed Mustafa that the government has arranged new funding for the Palestinian population, for a total of 35 million euros... Of this, five million will be allocated to UNRWA," Tajani said, according to a statement from his office.

Italy joins several countries which have restored funding after Israel's unfounded claims that several staff members were involved in the 7 October attacks.

Germany resumed cooperation in April with UNRWA following a report led by former French foreign minister Catherine Colonna on UNRWA's procedures for ensuring adherence to neutrality principles.

Countries including  CanadaAustralia and Sweden restored funding to the agency, while several Gulf countries, such as Saudi Arabia, increased funding.


The New Arab Staff
The New Arab Staff & Agencies