Israel to take part in new Gaza ceasefire talks as strikes on Palestinian enclave continue

Israel to take part in new Gaza ceasefire talks as strikes on Palestinian enclave continue
Over 29,000 people have been killed so far in Israel's air and ground assault in Gaza since October 7, mostly women and children.
9 min read
23 February, 2024

This live blog on day 140 of Israel's war on Gaza has concluded. Make sure to follow us for the latest news on FacebookX, and Instagram.

Israel will take part in negotiations this weekend in Paris with the U.S., Qatar, and Egypt on a potential deal for a ceasefire and release of hostages in Gaza, according to a source briefed on the matter and Israeli media.

The last talks on a ceasefire failed two weeks ago, when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected as "delusional" a Hamas proposal for a four-and-a half-month truce that would end with an Israeli withdrawal.

However, Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Palestinian group, was in Egypt this week, in the strongest sign in months that negotiations remain alive.

Meanwhile, Israeli strikes continued to claim more lives across the Gaza Strip, and international concern has spiralled over the territory's escalating civilian death toll and the desperate humanitarian crisis.

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6:00 PM
The New Arab Staff

This live blog on Israel's war on Gaza has concluded for today. Thanks for following.

US 'disappointed' by Israeli plans to build settlement units
4:55 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday he was "disappointed" by an Israeli announcement that it plans to build 3,000 new housing units in settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Blinken said during a news conference in Buenos Aires that it was long-standing U.S. policy that new settlements are counterproductive to reaching an enduring peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

US destroys Houthi drones, missiles in Yemen and Red Sea
3:23 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The U.S. military said on Friday it had destroyed Houthi drones and anti-ship cruise missiles in Yemen and the Red Sea after determining they presented an imminent threat to merchant vessels and U.S. Navy ships.

The strikes hit four drones and two cruise missiles that were prepared to launch from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen toward the Red Sea, the military's Central Command said. The military also shot down three Houthi one-way attack drones near commercial ships operating in the Red Sea, it said.

The strikes were conducted on Thursday and Friday, the Central Command said. There was no damage to any ships, it added.

Hezbollah says 2 paramedics, fighter dead in Israeli strike
2:45 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Two paramedics affiliated with Hezbollah and one of the group's fighters were killed in an Israeli strike on a south Lebanon border village, the group and a security source said Friday.

The Israeli army said late Thursday it had struck a Hezbollah "military compound" in south Lebanon's Blida village.

The Hezbollah-affiliated Islamic Health Committee said two of its paramedics were killed in a "direct" Israeli attack on a civil defence centre in Blida, while Hezbollah also announced the death of one of its fighters.

The Islamic Health Committee said the attack caused "the destruction of the health centre as well as a number of ambulances".

Israeli Mossad chief arrives in Paris for ceasefire talks
2:06 PM
The New Arab Staff

French news agency AFP has reported that an Israeli delegation led by Israel's Mossad intelligence agency head David Barnea has arrived in Paris to “unblock” talks for a ceasefire in Gaza, according to an AFP source.

Barnea will be joined in by the director of domestic Shin Bet security agency, Ronen Bar, Israeli media reported.

Israel strikes south Lebanon towns
1:59 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israel has conducted air attacks in southern Lebanon’s Labbouneh and the town of Kfar Kila, Al Jazeera reported.

Cross-border clashes have continued between Israel and Hezbollah.

UN denounces 'gross human rights violations' in Israel, OPT
1:56 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

An annual United Nations report published Friday identified gross human rights violations committed by all parties in Israel and the Palestinian territories, and demanded accountability and justice to foster peace.

"The entrenched impunity... cannot be permitted to continue. There must be accountability on all sides for violations seen over 56 years of occupation and the 16 years of blockade of Gaza, and up to today," UN human rights chief Volker Turk said in an accompanying statement.

Palestinian prisoner from Gaza dies in Israeli prison
1:06 PM
The New Arab Staff

A Palestinian prisoner from Gaza has died in Israel’s Ramla-Ayalon prison, The New Arab's sister site cited human rights groups as saying Friday, but the identity of the prisoner has not yet been identified.

This comes three days after detainee Khaled al-Shawish was pronounced dead.

This raises the number of Palestinian prisoners who have died in Israeli detention since the start of the Gaza war to 11.

Hamas says it is awaiting new truce proposal from mediators
12:39 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Hamas wrapped up ceasefire talks in Cairo and is now waiting to see what mediators bring back from weekend talks with Israel, an official from the group said on Friday, in what appears to be the most serious push for weeks to halt the fighting.

The Hamas official, who asked not to be identified, said the group did not offer any new proposal at the talks with the Egyptians, but was waiting to see what the mediators brought back from their upcoming talks with the Israelis.

"We discussed our proposal with them (the Egyptians) and we are going to wait until they return from Paris," the Hamas official said.

Qatar slams Israel during ICJ hearings on occupation
12:26 PM
The New Arab Staff

The International Court of Justice resumed public hearings today in the advisory proceedings on the Legal Consequences arising from the Policies and Practices of Israel in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.

Namibia, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Indonesia, and Qatar all spoke at Friday's hearings.

Some of Qatar's comments:

- Qatar believes that only by respecting international law can peace be achieved

- Qatar rejects double standards – international law must be implemented by all

- Over 75 years of Palestinian suffering has been dealt with insufficiently

- The situation in Palestine is the most threatening place to peace and stability

- Israel denies the Palestinians' right to self-determination

- Israel built a system of apartheid and ethnic discrimination to maintain Jewish hegemony over the Palestinians

- To maintain this regime, Israel killed thousands of people and detained thousands in their prisons

Palestinians suffering from Hamas' 'terrorism': Biden
10:50 AM
The New Arab Staff

US Joe Biden has said in a post on X that Hamas does not represent all Palestinians, which are suffering as a result of the group's "terrorism."

Israel gives OK for American flour shipment to Gaza
10:48 AM
The New Arab Staff

Israel has finally agreed to facilitate the entry of an American shipment of flour for civilians in Gaza, after extremist Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich blocked its transfer for over a month, a US official told the The Times of Israel.

Hezbollah targets northern Israel with drones
9:54 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Hezbollah claimed it targeted the headquarters of Israel's Upper Galilee Regional Council in Kiryat Shmona, near the Lebanese border, with two drones earlier Friday.

The Israeli army said it intercepted one aerial target over northern Israel, but claimed there were no reports that the council's headquarters was hit.

Israel's Channel 12 reported damage to "homes and infrastructure" in the border town of Margaliot amid the Hezbollah attack.

Israel strike kills 2 Hezbollah fighters in southern Lebanon
9:47 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Two Hezbollah fighters were killed in an Israeli drone strike on a residential building in south Lebanon on Thursday, a security source said, with the Iran-backed group later announcing retaliatory rocket fire.

An Israeli drone shot two guided missiles at the building in Kfar Rumman, next to the southern city of Nabatiyeh, the security source said, declining to be identified as they were not authorised to brief the media.

Kfar Rumman lies around 12 kilometres (seven miles) from the Israeli border.

Hezbollah later confirmed that two of its fighters had been killed by Israeli fire.

It said it had fired "dozens of Katyusha rockets" at two Israeli barracks in response to the drone strike and other "attacks on villages and civilian homes".

4 charged in the deaths of two Navy SEALs boarding ship
9:41 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Four foreign nationals were charged Thursday with transporting suspected Iranian-made weapons after U.S. naval forces interdicted a vessel in the Arabian Sea last month. Two Navy SEALS died during the mission.

U.S. officials said that Navy Special Warfare Operator 1st Class Christopher J. Chambers was boarding the boat on January 11 and slipped into the gap created by high waves between the vessel and the SEALs' combatant craft. As Chambers fell, Navy Special Warfare Operator 2nd Class Nathan Gage Ingram jumped in to try to save him, according to U.S. officials familiar with what happened.

The criminal complaint alleges that the four defendants were transporting suspected Iranian-made missile components for the type of weapons used by Houthi rebel forces in recent attacks.

Gaza death toll at 29,514: health ministry
9:20 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

At least 29,514 Palestinians have been killed and 69,616 injured in Israeli strikes on Gaza since October 7, the Gaza health ministry said in a statement on Friday.

Smotrich says 3,344 new settlements authourised in West Bank
8:53 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel's Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich announced that the government has given the green light to construct 3,344 new settler homes in the occupied West Bank in response to Thursday's shooting in Ma'ale Adumim, east of Jerusalem, that killed one Israeli.

The settlements are considered illegal under international law.

Netanyahu presents plan for 'day after' in Gaza: media
8:35 AM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has presented to his cabinet a plan for post-war Gaza, Israeli media reported on Friday.

The plan stipulates replacing the current Hamas-led government in Gaza with a civil administration "that has expertise," as well as creating a buffer zone inside Gaza and controlling the Gaza-Egypt frontier, including the Rafah crossing.

It also includes shutting down the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA.

The Israel Hayom newspaper said Netanyahu's plan could be a sign that the Gaza war is soon coming to an end.

Hamas leader leaves Egypt after ceasefire talks
8:33 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Hamas says its political leader, Ismail Haniyeh, has left Egypt after holding talks with Egyptian officials about a possible ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and an exchange of hostages held by the group for Palestinians imprisoned in Israel.

The statement released early Friday by Hamas did not say whether Haniyeh’s talks with Egyptian intelligence chief Abbas Kamel about ways of ending the war, a hostage deal and the flow of aid to Gaza were successful or led to a breakthrough.

G20 says two-state solution only answer for Israel-Palestine
8:31 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Foreign ministers at the G20 group of nations meeting in Brazil were nearly unanimous in their support for a two-state solution as the only path to peace in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Brazilian minister hosting the event said on Thursday.

"There was virtual unanimity in the two-state solution as the only solution to the conflict," Brazil's foreign minister, Mauro Vieira, said at the close of the two-day meeting.

Vieira said all members of the group of the world's largest economies highlighted concerns about the war in Gaza and the risk of the conflict spreading in the Middle East.

There were calls for a ceasefire and access to Gaza for humanitarian aid, while "many" countries criticised Israel's military offensive in Rafah, he said.

UN Palestinian refugees agency at 'breaking point': chief
8:29 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees warned Thursday it has reached a critical juncture as it struggles to cope with the war in Gaza.

"It is with profound regret that I must now inform you that UNRWA has reached a breaking point," chief Philippe Lazzarini said, as donors freeze funding, Israel exerts pressure to dismantle the agency and humanitarian needs soar.

"The Agency's ability to fulfill the mandate given through General Assembly resolution 302 is now seriously threatened," he said in a letter to the assembly.

Israel claims a drone attack killed West Bank 'militant'
8:26 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel's army claimed Friday a Palestinian "militant" on his way to carry out a shooting attack was killed in a drone strike in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin a day earlier.

Yasser Hanun from the Islamic Jihad group had previously been detained for his involvement in the organisation's military activities, the army said in a statement.

The resident of Jenin refugee camp "was eliminated while en route to carry out another shooting attack," the military claimed, without giving further details.

Palestinian news agency Wafa said two people were killed and four others wounded in the strike.