Gaza war: WFP says aid convoy turned away by Israel

Gaza war: WFP says aid convoy turned away by Israel
The first convoy attempted to enter Gaza since the agency halted deliveries to the north last month as ceasefire talks to halt hostilities continue.

23 min read

The UN's food agency on Tuesday said that its aid convoy had been turned away by Israeli forces at a checkpoint to northern Gaza, after which it was looted by "desperate people".

The World Food Programme said the 14-truck food convoy waited at the Wadi Gaza checkpoint, inside southeast Gaza, for three hours before being turned away by the Israeli army.

Meanwhile, Palestinian group Hamas said on Wednesday it would continue working towards achieving a ceasefire in Gaza with Israel despite the absence of Israeli negotiators from the latest round of talks in Cairo.

"We are showing the required flexibility in order to reach a comprehensive cessation of aggression against our people, but the occupation is still evading the entitlements of this agreement," Hamas said in a statement.

Negotiators from Hamas, Qatar and Egypt - but not Israel - are in Cairo trying to secure a 40-day ceasefire in the war between Israel and the group in time for the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, which begins early next week.

11:59 PM

The New Arab's live coverage of the latest developments from Israel's onslaught on Gaza and its regional and international ramifications. Join us again tomorrow at 0800 GMT for the latest updates.

Germany calls on Israel to withdraw West Bank settlements
11:54 PM
The New Arab Staff

Germany has called on the Israeli government to immediately withdraw the approval of further settlements in the West Bank, saying building settlements in occupied Palestinian territories was a serious violation of international law.

Commenting on Israel’s Supreme Planning Authority approving plans for constructing around 3,500 new housing units in the settlements of Maale Adumim, Kedar and Efrat, the ministry said: "We strongly condemn the approval of further settlement units in the West Bank."

72 percent of US Muslim voters ‘disapprove’ of Biden on Gaza
11:42 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organisation in the US, says it carried out the poll on March 5, during the Super Tuesday presidential primary elections.

The poll, it says, found that 72 percent of Muslim Super Tuesday voters were “disapproving” of Biden’s handling of the Israeli government’s war in Gaza.

The poll shows American Muslim voters are deeply concerned about the ongoing genocide in Gaza, said the organisation’s government affairs director Robert S McCaw.

“As November approaches, American Muslim voters are important political voices in key states, capable of deciding numerous races, including the presidency, and shaping the future of the nation,” he said.

Muslim and Arab-American voters represent a key constituency for Biden that he will need to court if he hopes to get re-elected to a second term during the US presidential election in November.

Israel detaining more than 9,000 Palestinians: rights group
11:25 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli rights group HaMoked says that as of March, Israel is imprisoning 9,077 Palestinians, including more than 3,500 held without charge in administrative detention.

The data, HaMoked says, was provided by the Israel Prison Service.

“Holding prisoners and detainees from the [occupied Palestinian territories] inside Israel constitutes a blatant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, prohibiting the transfer of prisoners and detainees outside the occupied territory, and also violates basic human rights enshrined, inter alia, in Israeli law,” the group said.

Saudi Arabia condemns Israel’s approval of new settlements
10:50 PM
The New Arab Staff

In a statement reported by the Saudi Press Agency, the Foreign Ministry said there was a need to “provide hope for the Palestinian people, enable them to obtain their rights to live in safety, and establish their Palestinian state within the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, in accordance with the Arab Peace Initiative and relevant international resolution”.

Qatari FM meets UK’s Cameron
10:10 PM
The New Arab Staff

Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, who also serves as Qatar’s prime minister, has met with his British counterpart, the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs says in a statement.

The two sides “discussed the latest developments in the Gaza Strip and occupied Palestinian territories; the efforts for reaching an immediate ceasefire in the Strip; protection civilians; and dusting continued and unhindered flow of humanitarian aid to those trapped in Gaza,” the statement read.

Earlier today, the UK foreign secretary met with Israeli war cabinet member Benny Gantz.

South Africa asks ICJ for more measures against Israel
8:56 PM
The New Arab Staff

South Africa has asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to order additional emergency measures against Israel, which it says is breaching the measures already in place.

In its application, South Africa warned that Palestinians in Gaza were facing starvation and asked the court to order that all parties cease hostilities and release all hostages and detainees.

In a statement issued Wednesday the South African presidency warned that the people of Gaza cannot wait.

"The threat of all-out famine has now materialised. The court needs to act now to stop the imminent tragedy by immediately and effectively ensuring that the rights it has found are threatened under the Genocide Convention are protected," it added.

South Africa also asked the court to order that Israel take "immediate and effective measures to enable the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance to address famine and starvation" in Gaza.

It added that the ICJ, also known as the World Court, should take these measures without scheduling a new round of hearings because of the "extreme urgency of the situation".

Gaza aid due to sail soon from Cyprus, source says
8:35 PM
The New Arab Staff

Humanitarian aid for Gaza is expected to sail from Cyprus in the coming days, a source familiar with the matter said.

It was not immediately clear which country was supplying the aid, where it would land or how it would be distributed. The source said aid was being coordinated with the United Arab Emirates.

"They want the aid to be dispatched before the start of Ramadan" on Sunday, the source told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was due in Cyprus late on Thursday and was to visit on Friday the port of Larnaca, which has been identified as a launch point for aid shipments.

Cyprus lies 370 km (230 miles) northwest of Gaza in the Mediterranean and is the closest European Union state to the region.

Aid trucks that entered Gaza 'still not enough': US
8:01 PM
The New Arab Staff

Approximately 250 aid trucks entered Gaza on Tuesday through the Rafah and Karem Abu Salem border crossings, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller told reporters.

"We need to see dramatically more go in," Miller said, adding there has been some improvement in the distribution of aid but enough is still not entering Gaza.

US Democrats question arms to Israel over Gaza concerns
7:24 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US President Joe Biden's administration faced growing calls from his fellow Democrats to push Israel to ease the devastating humanitarian crisis in Gaza, with some saying they may try to stop military assistance if conditions for civilians do not improve.

"We need to use all the leverage we've got. The administration has not used the leverage it has to date. I don't know how many more kids have to starve before we use all the levers of our influence here, but they really need to do more," Senator Chris Van Hollen, a Democratic member of the Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters.

Van Hollen and other lawmakers have called upon the administration to hold back military assistance to Israel if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government does not take steps such as opening crossings into Gaza for aid shipments.

"How many more homes and shops and schools and child-care centres and hospitals must be destroyed before we say to Prime Minister Netanyahu: Enough?" Democratic Senator Pete Welch said in a Senate speech on Tuesday.

The comments came as Biden prepared to make his annual State of the Union address in Congress when he lays out policy priorities to his largest television audience of the year.

UK's Cameron says Israel 'must change' aid flow into Gaza
7:01 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

British foreign minister David Cameron on Wednesday said he pressed Israel to increase the aid flow to Gaza, which is battling a dire humanitarian crisis after almost five months of war.

"We are still not seeing improvements on the ground. This must change," Cameron said he told Israeli war cabinet member Benny Gantz during a meeting.

No reason for Israel arms sales: UN special rapporteur
6:35 PM
The New Arab Staff

Mary Lawlor, United Nations special rapporteur on human rights defenders, says no moral arguments exist that can justify the continued sale of weapons to Israel by states that respect the principle of the universality of human rights.

In an op-ed in The Irish Times, Lawlor says: "The international human rights architecture is creaking under the weight of the hypocrisy of states professing absolute support for a rules-based order yet continuing to facilitate this war by providing weapons to Israel to kill more innocent Palestinians."

She calls the Israeli onslaught on Gaza "a war on women and children", who account for 70 percent of the more than 30,000 Palestinians dead.

She adds that human rights defenders have been explicitly targeted, including journalists, killed at work covering the conflict, while clearly visible in press vests and helmets.

"This is also a war on journalists," she says, and "a war against humanitarian personnel".

Seven injured in Israeli raid on Bethlehem refugee camp
6:15 PM
The New Arab Staff

Seven Palestinians were injured after they were shot with live rounds by Israeli forces, local sources said, adding that the wounded were taken to Beit Jala Governmental Hospital.

Clashes erupted late on Wednesday as Israeli forces raided the camp reportedly looking for two men. When they couldn’t find them, they detained their parents, Al Jazeera reported.

"The camp has been raided on an almost daily basis since October 7, and since then, three residents have been killed, dozens injured, and more than 100 detained by Israeli forces," Al Jazeera cited a source as saying.

Two killed after Houthi's strike ship: US official
5:58 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A missile fired by Yemen's Houthi rebels hit a bulk carrier in the Gulf of Aden on Wednesday, with the crew reporting at least two dead and six wounded, a US official said.

The missile caused "significant damage" to the Barbados-flagged, Liberian-owned M/V True Confidence, the official said, adding that its "crew reports at least two fatalities and six injured crewmembers and have abandoned the ship."

It was the fifth anti-ship ballistic missile fired by the Iran-backed Houthis in two days, the official said, noting that two - including the latest - hit merchant vessels and a third was shot down by an American destroyer.

Gaza health ministry says two Palestinians die of starvation
5:53 PM
The New Arab Staff

Gaza's ministry of health have announced that another two Palestinians have died of starvation as famine looms across the enclave.

This includes a 15-year-old child who died at Al-Shifa hospital as well as a 72-year-old man who died at the Kamal Adwan Hospital.  

According to the ministry this brings the total number of people who have died of malnutrition to 20.

Iraq pledges $25 mln to UNRWA, govt officials say
5:36 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Iraq pledged to donate $25 million donation to the UN's Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA, government officials told Reuters on Wednesday.

They did not say when Baghdad will pay the sum.


UNRWA donors likely to resume funding soon, Norway says
5:27 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Many countries that paused funding to the UN Palestinian refugee agency are likely having second thoughts and payments could resume soon, Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide said on Wednesday.

Norway, a top donor to UNRWA, has maintained its funding and transferred 275 million crowns ($26 million) in February, its regular annual contribution, and said more could come. It is also lobbying countries that have paused funding to resume.

"I think that a large number of those countries who suspended are (having) second thoughts," Barth Eide told Reuters in an interview, citing the recognition from these nations that "they cannot punish the whole Palestinian society".

"This is increasingly recognised and agreed by many," he said, after meeting Norwegian aid organisations to take stock of the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

"But then, of course, they need an honourable way out, which means they are hoping, I think - without speaking for individual countries - that they will get something from these investigations that suggest that they can say: "well, we needed to suspend, but now we're back'."


[Photo by MAURO PIMENTEL/AFP via Getty Images]
Yemen's Houthis target bulk carrier True Confidence
5:21 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Yemen's Houthis said on Wednesday they had targeted the Greek-owned cargo ship True Confidence in the Gulf of Aden with missiles, causing a fire to break out onboard.

"The targeting operation came after the ship's crew rejected warning messages from the Yemeni naval forces," the militia's military spokesman Yahya Sarea said in a televised speech.


Iraqi militias claim to have targeted Israel's Haifa Airport
4:32 PM
Dana Taib Menmy

After a nearly month-long ceasefire, Iraqi militias aligned with Iran have asserted responsibility for launching a kamikaze drone attack toward Israel's Haifa Airport on Tuesday night, reportedly causing significant damage.

Meanwhile, Iraq's Prime Minister, Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, called for militias to either disarm or integrate into the country's official security forces.

After the start of Israel's war on Gaza, Iran-backed militias in Iraq under the name of Iraq's Islamic Resistance have conducted hundreds of attacks on US forces in both Iraq and Syria over Washington's unwavering support for Tel Aviv in its brutal onslaught on the besieged enclave.

To read the full report, please click here.

US sanctions ship owners affiliated with Houthi funding
4:24 PM
The New Arab Staff

The US Department of the Treasury and State Department have announced that the US will sanctions linked to two ship owners who were accused of shipping commodities on behalf of a facilitator affiliated with Yemen's Houthi group. 

“The consequences of Houthi attacks are felt globally. We will continue to target funding streams that enable such destabilising activities,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said on X.

The Treasury underlined it is specifically targeting shipments of Iranian commodities associated with the network of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force-backed Sa’id al-Jamal.

"Today’s action targets two Hong Kong- and Marshall Islands-based ship owners and two vessels for their role in shipping commodities on behalf of al-Jamal, and follows a February 27 action targeting a related vessel, the ARTURA," the statement said.

"The revenue generated through al-Jamal’s network continues to enable Houthi militant efforts, including ongoing and unprecedented attacks on international maritime commerce in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden."

Dutch FM says ‘masses of aid' must enter Gaza
4:18 PM
The New Arab Staff

Dutch foreign minister Hanke Bruins discussed her meeting with Israeli counterpart Israel Katz in a post on X, stating that she shared her concerns of "the horrible conditions in Gaza and the situation in the region".

"The current negotiations will hopefully lead to an immediate ceasefire and ultimately a lasting cessation of hostilities. This is important for the release of the hostages and the massive scale-up of humanitarian aid," Bruins wrote on X.

"Masses of aid need to enter Gaza. I urged immediate improvement of humanitarian access o. a. via land and announced that the Netherlands is prepared to supply scanners to speed up the passage of aid at the border.

"I have further emphasized that de-escalation is crucial, in view of Ramadan, which will start soon. Believers must be given the space to celebrate their holy month."

Israel pushes ahead with plans for 3,500 settler homes
3:59 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Israeli government has pushed forward construction plans for 3,500 settler homes in the occupied West Bank, a hardline minister said Wednesday.

The administrative step forward comes after Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich last month vowed to expand settlements, in response to Palestinian gunmen killing an Israeli civilian and wounding several others in the West Bank.

"Nearly 3,500 settlement units," minister Orit Struck wrote Wednesday on X, formerly Twitter.

"We promised -- we are delivering... Together we will continue to advance the settlements," added Struck, an ally of fellow extreme-right settler Smotrich.

Israeli settlement watchdog Peace Now said there were 3,426 homes advanced through a planning committee, across Maale Adumim and Kedar, east of Jerusalem, and Efrat, south of the city.

Greenlighting the next step for the pre-planned homes comes less than two weeks after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said any Israeli settlement expansion would be "counterproductive to reaching enduring peace" with the Palestinians.

First Shake Shack debuts in Israel with backlash
3:51 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The grand opening of Israel's first Shake Shack branch in Tel Aviv has led to criticism, following reports of famine spreading across Gaza as a result of Israel blocking aid. 

According to Israeli news outlet Haaretz, several young people lined up for the opening.

However, online, many social media users have demanded called for a boycott of the fast-food brand. 

""Israel's first Shake Shack opens in Tel Aviv" Boycott list has been updated, and it's not like they had good burgers anyway," one social media user wrote.

"If you're in Kuwait, try the awesome Kuwaiti burger shop "Fat Cap" and you'll thank me later."

Hezbollah, Israeli forces exchange cross-border fire
3:14 PM
The New Arab Staff

Lebanese state news agency NNA reported that Israeli has raided the town of Yaroun in southern Lebanon’s Nabatieh governorate.

The air raid comes after Hezbollah claimed to have hit northern Israel's Metula.

NNA also said that two missiles that aimed to target the Lebanese towns of Kafra and Yater did not explode.

Meanwhile, the outskirts of al-Fardeis were hit by artillery shelling, according to the news agency.

Palestinian-Jewish group to lead aid mission to Gaza border
2:48 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Controversial Palestinian-Jewish activist organisation Standing Together says it will be leading an aid convoy tomorrow morning to the Karem Abu Salem crossing, also known as Kerem Shalom.

"Join us to demand from the Israeli government – stop the mass starvation in Gaza," the group said in a post on X.

"The collection centres in Haifa, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Be’er Sheva are starting to receive food items for the aid convoy for residents of Gaza tomorrow. We must stop the starvation and allow the entry of humanitarian aid."

Rescue operation underway after vessel 'struck' off Yemen
2:38 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A Barbados-flagged, US-owned bulk carrier was struck Wednesday southwest of the Yemeni port city of Aden, triggering a naval operation to rescue the crew, a maritime security firm said.

"Reports confirmed the bulker had been struck and sustained damage," Ambrey said, adding that a rescue operation was "underway with parts of the crew already in lifeboats".

It did not elaborate on the attack but cautioned other ships to steer clear of the bulker, which it said matches the "targeting profile" of Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

A US defence official told news agency Reuters that smoke was seen coming from the Barbados-flagged bulk carrier True Confidence.

The unnamed official confirmed that a lifeboat was near the ship- however there were not any further details provided.

Canada will restore funding to UNRWA: official
2:08 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Canada will restore funding to the United Nations relief agency for Palestinians, a government official tells news agency The Associated Press (AP), weeks after the agency lost hundreds of millions of dollars in support following Israeli allegations against some of its staffers in Gaza.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation first reported that Canada will restore funding and that International Development Minister Ahmed Hussen would announce the decision Wednesday.

But the government official told the AP the announcement has been delayed, speaking on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to comment on the matter.

Canada’s foreign minister is currently in the Middle East and plans to visit Israel.

WHO boss demands aid to reach Gaza
1:23 PM
The New Arab Staff

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, chief of The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for further aid to enter Gaza, as the Palestinian health ministry also declared the rise in death toll by malnutrition and dehydration.

"Children who survived bombardment but may not survive a famine," Ghebreyesus said on X. "Allow more aid for Gaza. Ceasefire."

Yair Lapid calls for Netanyahu to be jailed for 2021 deaths
1:17 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid has said that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should be jailed for the 2021 crowd crush at Mount Meron, which led to the deaths of 45 Jewish pilgrims.

Earlier, a government probe declared Netanyahu’s office responsible for the civilian disaster.

"The report published today shows that the disaster could have been prevented," Lapid said in a post on X.

"It indicates criminal negligence, arrogance and disconnection, it indicates complete irresponsibility. If Netanyahu were an ordinary citizen, he would stand trial today for causing death by negligence and go to prison."

Deaths by malnutrition and hydration rise to 18: ministry
1:11 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Palestinian Health Ministry has reported that the number of Palestinians who have died from malnutrition and dehydration in Gaza has increased to 18.

“The famine is deepening and will claim thousands of lives if the aggression is not halted and humanitarian and medical aid is not immediately brought in,” it said in a statement.

The ministry also accused Israel of "deliberately" starving thousands of Gazans in the north who are suffering from hunger- as well making calls for the intervention of the international community and the UN to pause the war and prevent a "health catastrophe".

Israel PM bears 'responsibility' for deadly 2021 stampede
1:06 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A probe into Israel's civilian disaster on Wednesday found Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "bears personal responsibility" for the deadly 2021 stampede which killed 45 Jewish pilgrims.

"The prime minister is responsible for identifying proactively, by himself or through mechanisms on his behalf, issues that require the attention of his office and, if necessary, his intervention, in particular those related to a risk of human lives," said the commission of inquiry report into the stampede at the Mount Meron pilgrimage site.

Tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews had converged on Mount Meron, near Israel's border with Lebanon, on April 30, 2021 for an annual pilgrimage to the tomb of reputed second century rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai.

The stampede in the male section of the gender-segregated crowd is believed to have started as people moved through a narrow passageway that became a deadly choke-point.

At least 16 children and teenagers were among the 45 dead.

The inquiry found that from 2008 up to the day of the tragedy, the prime minister's office was notified on several occasions of the potential hazards caused by high traffic around the tomb. Netanyahu was in power for 12 of those years.

"Netanyahu knew that the Rashbi's tomb site had been poorly cared for for years, and that this could create a risk for the multitudes of visitors to the place, especially in (the holiday of) Lag Ba'omer," the commission's report said.

"Netanyahu did not act as expected of a prime minister to correct this state of affairs," it added.

Explosion reported near vessel off Yemen: security firm
12:21 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Maritime security firm Ambrey reported an "explosion" on Wednesday near a Barbados-flagged, US-owned bulk carrier transiting southwest of the Yemeni port city of Aden.

"A nearby vessel reported an explosion in the proximity of the Barbados-flagged, publicly US-owned, bulk carrier," Ambrey said, cautioning other ships to steer clear of the bulker which matches the "targeting profile" of Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

The Houthis started attacking ships in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea in November, a campaign they say is intended to signal solidarity with Palestinians amid the Gaza war.

They have vowed to strike Israeli, British and American ships as well as vessels heading to Israeli ports, disrupting traffic through the vital trade route off Yemen's shores.

Before the latest reported attack, Ambrey said the bulk carrier was "hailed by an entity declaring itself to be the 'Yemeni Navy'," a title adopted by the Houthi rebels.

British maritime security agency UKMTO also reported an "attack" southwest of Aden, without elaborating.

The attacks have caused several major shipping firms to suspend passage through the Red Sea, which usually carries around 12 percent of global trade.

At least "15 commercial ships have been impacted" since November, including four US ships, US department of defence spokesman Pete Nguyen said on Friday.

The US and Britain have since January launched repeated strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen in response to the ship attacks.

EU working on creating maritime humanitarian corridor
11:57 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will travel to Cyprus this week as the bloc explores a possible humanitarian corridor through the Mediterranean island to support the population in Gaza, her spokesperson said on Wednesday.

"Our efforts are focused on making sure that we can provide aid to Palestinians," the spokesperson told journalists, adding: "We all hope that this opening (of the corridor) will take place very soon."

In Nicosia, a government spokesperson said: "On Friday she will visit, along with the (Cypriot) president, the infrastructure related to some phases of the plan."

Cyprus, located some 370 km (230 miles) northwest of Gaza, is the closest European Union member state to the region. It has campaigned for months for the creation of a sustained, one-way sea route carrying aid directly to the enclave. 

European Commission's Ursula von der Leyen arrives for a debate in Strasbourg [Getty]
Israeli forces detain Palestinians in West Bank raids
11:35 AM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli forces have arrested 25 Palestinians in the last 24 hours in the occupied West Bank, to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society reports.

Arrests took place in Hebron, Ramallah and el-Bireh, Bethlehem, Tulkarem and Qalqilya.

According to the organisation, the number of arrests since October 7 has since accumulated to 7,450.

UKMTO alerts report of incident near Yemen's Aden
10:31 AM
The New Arab Staff

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) agency has shared an update that it received a report of an incident 100km southwest of Yemen’s Aden.

In a post on X, UKMTO said that authorities are investigating the ongoing situations and there were not any further details provided.

This comes as the Houthis kickstarted attacks on vessels in response to Israel’s war on Gaza- leading to the disruption of trade through the Red Sea since November.

What UK's Cameron has said so far ahead of Gantz meeting
9:45 AM
The New Arab Staff

Israel’s Benny Gantz is set to meet UK foreign secretary David Cameron in London, amid his final stop on his unsanctioned diplomatic tour.

Cameron has emphasised that he will deliver "warnings" to Israel, adding that the UK’s patience with Israel has "run very thin"  due to the lack of aid entering Gaza.

During his address in Parliament, the foreign secretary also said that there is "dreadful suffering" taking place in Gaza, including a rise in death toll due to starvation and disease.

Cameron also said Israel as an occupier state must ensure that humanitarian relief reaches Gaza. He also emphasised that the formal recognition of Palestinian statehood must take place as part of a long-term peaee plan.

Israel claims responsibility for killing of 20 Hamas members
9:04 AM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli forces say that they have killed more than 20 Hamas fighters in the past 24 hours.

According to the military, the majority of the fighters were killed in the southern city of Khan Younis- including 15 from a single air strike.

A fighter jet was also said t0 have killed two fighters in a military base located in the northeast city of Beit Hanoon.

The army added that among those killed were two individuals who participated in the October 7 attack on Israel.

Health ministry in Gaza says war death toll at 30,717
9:01 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The health ministry in Gaza said Wednesday at least 30,717 people have been killed in the territory during nearly five months of war in the Palestinian territory.

The latest toll includes 86 deaths over the past 24 hours, a ministry statement said, while 72,156 people have been wounded in Gaza since the war erupted on October 7.

UKMTO receives report of vessel hailed as Yemeni army
8:59 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) agency said on Wednesday it had received a report of a merchant vessel being hailed over the radio by an entity declaring itself to be the Yemeni navy and ordering it to alter course.

UKMTO reported it had received a report of a merchant vessel being hailed over a VHF channel for approximately 30 minutes as it passed about 50 nautical miles (93km) southwest of Aden, Yemen.

Palestinian FM demands opening of all crossings for aid
8:15 AM
The New Arab Staff

The Palestinian foreign ministry has issued a statement which demands Israeli officials to open border crossings in order to allow aid into Gaza.

The ministry also denounced the entry of aid being blocked, especially into northern Gaza. 

“Israel’s focus on giving approvals to open sea lanes and preventing the passage of aid through land is aimed at the occupation government’s plan to perpetuate the occupation, the separation of the West Bank from the Gaza Strip, and the displacement of our people,” a ministry statement said.

Chile excludes Israeli firms from LatAm's top aerospace fair
8:10 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Chile said Tuesday it will exclude Israeli firms from Latin America's biggest aerospace fair, to be held in Santiago in April.

"By decision of the Government of Chile, the 2024 version of the International Air and Space Fair (FIDAE), to be held between 9 and 14 April, will not have the participation of Israeli companies," a defense ministry statement said.

It did not give a reason, but the government of leftist President Gabriel Boric has been critical of what he has called Israel's "disproportionate" response to the October 7 attack by Hamas.

Israel's military offensive has killed 30,534 people, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry in the besieged territory.

Chile, which has the largest Palestinian population outside the Arab world, recalled its ambassador to Israel late October to protest Israel's "unacceptable violations of international humanitarian law" in Gaza.

Mexico and Chile in January joined calls for an investigation by the International Criminal Court into possible war crimes in the conflict.

Israel's ambassador in Chile Gil Artzyeli told news agency AFP on Tuesday he had not been contacted by the government with the FIDAE news.

"We cannot say we are surprised taking into account the (Chilean) government's doctrine towards Israel," he said.

Participants of International Air and Space Fair (FIDAE) 2022 in Santiago, Chile [Getty]
Hamas says it has presented its own draft
8:02 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Hamas says Washington's stance is designed to deflect blame from Israel if the talks collapse.

Senior Hamas official Bassem Naim said Hamas had presented its own draft deal, and was awaiting a response from Israel, adding: "(Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu doesn't want to reach an agreement and the ball now is in the Americans' court."

A source had told news agency Reuters earlier that Israel was staying away because Hamas had refused to furnish a list of hostages who are still alive. Naim said this was impossible without a ceasefire as hostages were scattered across the war zone.

The US has also urged Israel to do more to alleviate the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, where more than 30,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israel's assault, launched after Hamas attacks that killed 1,200 people in October.

Famine looms over the Gaza Strip as aid supplies, already sharply curtailed during the war, have dwindled to barely a trickle. Swathes of the territory are completely cut off from food. Gaza's few functioning hospitals, already overwhelmed by the wounded, are now filling with children starving to death.