Hamas says it accepts Gaza ceasefire proposal of Egypt and Qatar

Hamas says it accepts Gaza ceasefire proposal of Egypt and Qatar
Palestinian group Hamas said on Monday that it had accepted a Gaza ceasefire proposal from Egypt and Qatar, as Israel began evacuating the city of Rafah.
28 min read

Hamas said on Monday that it had accepted a Gaza ceasefire proposal from Egypt and Qatar.

The Palestinian group said in a statement that its chief, Ismail Haniyeh, had informed Qatar's prime minister and Egypt's intelligence chief of its acceptance of their proposal, adding that the ball was now in Israel's court.

There were no immediate details over what the agreement entailed.

Israel on Monday called on civilians to evacuate parts of Rafah in what appeared to be preparation for a long-threatened assault in the southern Gaza Strip city where more than a million war-displaced Palestinians have been sheltering.

Instructed by Arabic text messages, telephone calls, and flyers to move to what the Israeli military called an "expanded humanitarian zone" 20 km (7 miles) away, some Palestinian families lumbered out under chilly spring rain, witnesses said.

The Israeli military also conducted airstrikes on areas in eastern Rafah on Monday.

Thanks for following!
3:48 AM
The New Arab Staff

This blog is wrapping up. Thanks to all for following. The New Arab will be back at 9am with live coverage of events in Gaza. 

Rafah ground invasion would be ‘intolerable’, says UN chief
3:39 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said that a ground invasion of Rafah would be “intolerable” and called on Israel and Hamas “to go an extra mile” to reach a truce deal.

“This is an opportunity that cannot be missed, and a ground invasion in Rafah would be intolerable because of its devastating humanitarian consequences, and because of its destabilising impact in the region,” Guterres said ahead of a meeting with Italian President Sergio Mattarella in New York.

Far-right Israelis block road to stop Gaza humanitarian aid
3:08 AM
The New Arab Staff

Approximately a dozen far-right Israeli demonstrators obstructed the Latrun Interchange of Highway 1 in the occupied West Bank, aiming to halt trucks transporting humanitarian aid to Gaza, according to Israeli media.

The Kan broadcaster released footage showing police breaking up a protest by members of the Tzav 9 activist group, who were chanting and waving Israeli flags in front of the trucks on Monday evening.

Ynet news also reported that the demonstrators seized food and other aid from the trucks and discarded it on the ground.

The trucks, traveling through occupied Jerusalem, were delivering aid from Jordan to Gaza. A statement from Tzav 9 declared that the group would continue to obstruct the trucks until Hamas releases all Israeli captives in Gaza.


12 people killed by relentless Israeli bombardment of Rafah
2:05 AM
The New Arab Staff

According to Palestinian news agencies, at least 12 Palestinians have died in Rafah as the Israeli military relentlessly bombards the southern Gaza city.

Wafa reports that an Israeli military airstrike on a home in the Tal al-Sultan neighborhood in western Rafah resulted in five deaths and several injuries.

Elsewhere, the Israeli military is responsible for the deaths of at least three individuals, including a child, following an airstrike on a house owned by the Abu Amra family in western Rafah.

Additionally, the Palestinian Information Center reports that an Israeli airstrike on a house in eastern Rafah resulted in four fatalities.

According to the news outlet, the Israeli bomb hit the Al-Hams family's residence in the al-Geneina neighborhood of the southern Gaza city.

US: Israel's Rafah strikes don't represent major operation
12:36 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United States is concerned about Israel's latest strikes against the southern Gaza city of Rafah but does not believe they represent a major military operation, a U.S. official said on Monday.

The official said U.S. officials are focused on heading off a major military operation into densely populated areas of Rafah and that it does not appear the Israelis are doing that.

Qatar to send a delegation to Cairo for truce talks
11:39 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Qatar will send a delegation to Cairo on Tuesday with a view to securing a truce agreement between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the country's foreign ministry said.

"The Qatari delegation will head to Cairo on Tuesday morning to resume indirect negotiations between the two parties," the ministry said in a statement, with the "hope that the talks will culminate in reaching an agreement for an immediate and permanent ceasefire in the Gaza strip."

Pulitzer awards Special Citation to Gaza journalists
11:25 PM
The New Arab Staff

The 2024 Pulitzer Prize Special Citation was awarded to "journalists and media workers covering the war in Gaza."

The board of the prestigious awards did not specifically name "Palestinian" journalists, who have suffered unprecedented fatalities at the hands of the Israeli military in Gaza since the conflict began.

Hamas says it 'will not back down from demands'
11:08 PM
The New Arab Staff

Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh recently had a conversation with Ziyad al-Nakhalah, the leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, regarding their group's agreement to a ceasefire proposal, Al Jazeera reports.

In a statement, Hamas conveyed that the two leaders confirmed that "resistance factions will not back down from their demands," which include a ceasefire, a full withdrawal of Israeli troops, an "honourable" prisoner exchange, the reconstruction of Gaza, and the end of the siege.

"The two leaders also discussed the steps necessary to ensure the implementation of the agreement after the resistance made its decision, based on a well-considered understanding of the ongoing situation at all levels," Hamas stated

What's in the three-phase ceasefire deal Hamas backs?
10:59 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Here is a summary of the basic points of the three-phase ceasefire deals that Hamas agreed to on Monday:


– 42-day ceasefire period

– Hamas releases 33 Israeli hostages in return for Israel releasing Palestinians from Israeli jails.

– Israel partially withdraws troops from Gaza and allows free movement of Palestinians from south to north Gaza.


- Another 42-day period that features an agreement to restore a "sustainable calm" to Gaza, language that an official briefed on the talks said Hamas and Israel had agreed in order to take discussion of a "permanent ceasefire" off the table.

- The complete withdrawal of most Israeli troops from Gaza.

- Hamas releases Israeli reservists and some soldiers in return for Israel releasing Palestinians from jail.


- The completion of exchanging bodies and starting the implementation of reconstruction according to the plan overseen by Qatar, Egypt and the United Nations.

- Ending the complete blockade on the Gaza Strip.

Jordan FM: Israel jeopardising ceasefire with Rafah bombing
10:08 PM
The New Arab Staff

"Tremendous effort has been made to produce an exchange deal that’ll release hostages & realize a ceasefire,” wrote Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi on X, after the Israeli army announced it would be carrying out strikes on Hamas targets in Gaza’s southern city.

“Hamas has put out an offer. If Netanyahu genuinely wants a deal, he will negotiate the offer in earnest. Instead, he is jeopardizing the deal by bombing Rafah,” Safadi said.

Islamic Jihad's Al-Quds Brigades fire rockets towards Israel
10:03 PM
The New Arab Staff

The military faction of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad has announced that it fired rockets at southern Israel from Gaza as a retaliatory action against Israeli airstrikes on the territory.

"The al-Quds Brigades have directed rocket barrages at Sderot, Nir Am, and settlements within the Gaza envelope," stated the group, referring to an area of southern Israel near Gaza.

According to the Israeli army, warning sirens were activated in communities adjacent to the besieged and bombarded area.

Rafah under "nonstop" Israeli bombing: report
9:22 PM
The New Arab Staff

Rafah is under "nonstop bombing" by Israel on Monday night, as reported by Al Jazeera's correspondent in the city.

"We’re talking nonstop bombing of residential houses. The vast majority of residents there [eastern Rafah] have started to flee, where the Israeli military is trying to mobilise more troops," Al Jazeera reported.

The report also cites eyewitnesses having seen and heard the movement of Israeli military tanks across the Gaza separation fence.

"That’s absolutely terrifying … and contradictory to the general atmosphere of positivity around the negotiations on the ground."


UN chief calls on Israel, Hamas to 'go extra mile' for truce
9:08 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The head of the United Nations called Monday for Israel and Hamas to "go the extra mile needed" to seal a truce and "stop the present suffering" in their devastating war in the Gaza Strip.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also said he was "deeply concerned" by indications showing a large-scale Israeli military operation in the crowded southern Gaza city of Rafah may be "imminent," spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.

Sisi calls on all parties to exert more effort for Gaza deal
9:03 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi called in a statement on Monday to exert more effort to reach a deal in Gaza, saying he was closely following positive developments of the current negotiations to reach "a comprehensive truce."

Israel to send ceasefire negotiating team to Cairo
8:27 PM
The New Arab Staff

Ofir Gendleman, the Arabic language spokesperson for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, stated on X that the ceasefire proposal accepted by Hamas does not meet Israel's essential demands. Nonetheless, Israel will send a delegation.

"The war cabinet has unanimously agreed that Israel will sustain its military operations in Rafah to keep the pressure on Hamas," Gendleman added, "with the objective of facilitating the release of our hostages and accomplishing the aims of the conflict."

Syrian soldier dies after Israeli strikes
8:17 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A Syrian soldier has died of his wounds following Israeli strikes on the country's south that came in retaliation for rocket fire, a war monitor said on Monday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the country's 13-year-old civil conflict, reported late Sunday that "groups affiliated with Lebanon's Hezbollah shot three rockets from Syrian territory" towards the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights.

In response, Israeli forces targeted "three positions in Daraa province" in southern Syria, said the Britain-based Observatory.

On Monday it said that "a member of the (Syrian) regime forces was killed" after being wounded in the bombardment.

Israeli airstrikes on Rafah after Hamas accepts truce
8:06 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel carried out intense air strikes on Rafah late Monday after reiterating a call for people to evacuate the east of the city in southern Gaza, according to an AFP correspondent.

The strikes had been virtually continuous in the past 30 minutes, the correspondent on the ground in Rafah said shortly before 10pm.

Israeli hostage families urge Netanyahu to accept ceasefire
7:55 PM
The New Arab Staff

After Hamas's approval of a ceasefire deal in Gaza, the families of the Israeli detainees have urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to follow suit.

"If the Israeli government does not agree, we will burn the country," one protester said. 

President Abbas welcomes Hamas ceasefire acceptance
7:48 PM
The New Arab Staff

According to the Palestinian state news agency Wafa, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas expressed his hope for the Israeli government to commit to halting the conflict in Gaza and withdrawing from the enclave.

Additionally, Abbas reiterated that achieving a ceasefire agreement has been a paramount concern since the outset of the Gaza conflict.

He urged the international community to exert pressure on Israel and to persist in endeavors aimed at ending Israel’s occupation of Palestine, as reported by Wafa.

Crowds celebrate in Rafah streets after Hamas approves truce
7:40 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Crowds danced, cheered, and fired in the air in the streets of the southern Gaza city of Rafah Monday after Hamas said it approved a ceasefire proposal from mediators Egypt and Qatar.

People were crying tears of happiness, chanting "Allahu Akbar" ("God is greatest") and shooting in the air in celebration of the news, an AFP journalist reported.

"I felt joy and kneeled before God in gratitude after the ceasefire announcement," Nour al-Fara, 56, told AFP.

She said she was particularly relieved because her family was "in a state of anxiety since this morning, packing our belongings in preparation to leave", after Israeli forces ordered inhabitants in parts of Rafah to evacuate ahead of a "limited operation".

People gathered in the hundreds, waving Palestinian flags, one even holding a party fog machine in the air for the festive occasion while others, perched on the shoulders of friends clapped their hands above the crowd.

Some danced around a bonfire lit on the pavement, and others held up their hands in victory signs.

Men stood on top of buses and trucks, waving handkerchiefs or waving their arms in the air as they celebrated.

"We were very happy, we embraced each other, and cried", Farah, 31, told AFP. Her joy was overshadowed by future living prospects in war-ravaged Gaza, and thinking about "how we will rebuild our lives after the destruction of our homes in Gaza."

More cautious, Bakri Abdulhamid, 40, said that despite his initial joy, "we are also waiting for the occupation's approval," but is hopeful that Gazans will be ale to "return to our homes tomorrow and end this ordeal."

US opposes Israel shutdown of Al Jazeera
7:14 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United States said Monday it opposed ally Israel's closure of Qatar-based news channel Al Jazeera, saying it should be allowed to operate despite any concerns about its coverage.

"We think Al Jazeera ought to be able to operate in Israel, operate in other countries in the region," State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said, adding that the United States was "quite concerned" about the Israeli move

US 'reviewing' Hamas acceptance of Gaza ceasefire
7:08 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United States said Monday it was reviewing a response from Hamas to a ceasefire proposal as it renewed calls on Israel not to attack the packed Gaza city of Rafah.

"I can confirm that Hamas has issued a response. We are reviewing that response now and discussing it with our partners in the region," State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters.

Ben-Gvir rejects truce, says Rafah must be 'conquered'
6:57 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israel's far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir rejects Hamas’s acceptance of a ceasefire as "tricks and games" and urges the government to go ahead with the "conquest" of Rafah.

“There is only one response to Hamas’s tricks and games — an immediate order to conquer Rafah, increase military pressure, and continue to crush Hamas until it is utterly defeated.”

Erdogan welcomes Hamas accepting truce, hopes Israel follows
6:52 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday he welcomed the decision by militant group Hamas to accept a ceasefire in Gaza, adding he hopes Israel would do the same.

Speaking after a cabinet meeting, Erdogan called on Western countries to increase pressure on Israel's leadership to accept the ceasefire. Reuters reports.

"We welcome the statement by Hamas that they accepted the ceasefire with our suggestion. Now, Israel must take the same step," he said.

Truce deal comprised of three phases, permanent ceasefire
6:48 PM
The New Arab Staff

According to Al Jazeera, sources have revealed that the Egyptian-Qatari proposal, which Hamas has agreed to, comprises three phases, each lasting 42 days.

In the initial phase, a ceasefire would commence alongside an Israeli withdrawal from the Netzarim corridor, which currently serves as a dividing line between northern and southern Gaza.

The subsequent phase would involve the approval of a permanent cessation of military and hostile operations, coupled with the complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza.

Furthermore, the proposal includes a provision for ending the blockade of Gaza in the third phase.

Israel 'examining' Hamas truce acceptance: Channel 12
6:40 PM
The New Arab Staff

According to Channel 12 in Israel, the Israeli negotiation team has received Hamas's response via mediators. They are allegedly currently examining it and will subsequently issue an official response.

Israeli says Hamas truce announcement seems to be 'ruse'
6:35 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

An Israeli official said on Monday a truce Hamas said it agreed to was a "softened" version of an Egyptian proposal that included "far-reaching" conclusions that Israel could not accept.

“This would appear to be a ruse intended to make Israel look like the side refusing a deal," said the Israeli official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.


Ismail Haniyeh informed Qatar and Egypt of truce agreement
6:31 PM
The New Arab Staff

Hamas said on Monday that it informed Qatari and Egyptian mediators of its acceptance of proposals regarding a ceasefire. 

In a press statement sent to The New Arab, Hamas said that Ismail Haniyeh, the chief of Hamas's political bureau, called the Qatari Prime Minister and the director of Egyptian Intelligence Abbas Kamel, informing them that his movement had accepted the ceasefire deal. 

The Hamas decision came soon after Israel threatened to expand its military operation to the city of Rafah city in the south of the Gaza Strip.

Israel appears to have rejected ceasefire proposal
6:24 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

According to an unnamed Israeli official cited by the Reuters news agency, Hamas has approved a "softened" Egyptian proposal, which Israel finds unacceptable.

The official further stated that the proposal contained "far-reaching" conclusions that Israel will not endorse.

Israeli media sources are also indicating that the Israeli government has not yet agreed to the deal, Al Jazeera reports.

'We have zero chances': Rafah residents fear Israeli attacks
6:03 PM
The New Arab Staff

Palestinian security sources said that Israeli attacks on areas in eastern Rafah resulted in dozens of civilian casualties who were rushed to hospitals still open.

Residents in Rafah spoke to the The New Arab about Monday's strikes. 

Safeia al-Shaaer, who is from Rafah, said she rushed out of her house with her five children after a building nearby in Al-Shawka neighbourhood was hit with Israeli artillery.

"They [the army] ordered us to evacuate, but they did not give us enough time to leave the area," the 35-year-old young woman told The New Arab. 

Abdul Hamid Hasanin, another Rafah resident, said that he doesn't know where he should go with his family, as "there are no safe places in Gaza. All the areas are under Israeli attack."

"Our chances are zero and we do not have the right to even decide anything in our life."

Civilians expressed fears that the Israeli military could remain in Rafah for months, similar to the invasion of Khan Younis which left the city devastated.

Rafah evacuation order 'inhumane': UN human rights chief
5:13 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel's order for Palestinians to evacuate from eastern Rafah is "inhumane", the United Nations' human rights chief said Monday, warning that suffering and destruction would soar beyond already "unbearable" levels.

"Gazans continue to be hit with bombs, disease, and even famine. And today, they have been told that they must relocate yet again as Israeli military operations into Rafah scale up. This is inhumane. It runs contrary to the basic principles of international humanitarian and human rights laws," Volker Turk said in a statement.

Netanyahu agrees to reopen Kerem Shalom crossing: WH
5:12 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday that he would ensure the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and Gaza is open for humanitarian aid, the White House said.

Biden also reiterated his "clear position on Rafah" in a call with Netanyahu, the White House said in a statement.

NGOs warn Rafah operation will be disastrous for Gazans
5:05 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Aid groups warned on Monday that Israel's demand that Palestinians leave part of the southern Gaza city of Rafah could be "catastrophic" in the absence of a clear evacuation plan.

Islamic Relief

In a statement, the Islamic Relief said that people already sheltering in Al-Mawasi face huge challenges.

"Civilians sheltering there say they continue to face attacks and severe shortages of food, water and other vital aid," it said.

The charity decried the impossibility of moving so many people from one overcrowded area to another.

"As we have seen over the past seven months, forcing so many people to move is impossible without serious humanitarian cost and people will inevitably die as a result of the evacuation," it said.

Action Against Hunger

Jean-Raphael Poitou, Middle East programme director for Action Against Hunger, also warned of precarious conditions in Al-Mawasi.

"People are going to have to go to places that are under rubble, or in areas that are essentially a beach", he said, adding that "unexploded devices" may litter parts of Al-Mawasi.


Although civilians in the eastern part of Rafah were told to evacuate, no real plan for their move is in place, several charity groups said.

"From the humanitarian perspective, no credible humanitarian plan for an attack on Rafah exists," said Bushra Khalidi, advocacy director for Oxfam in the Palestinian territories.

Save the Children

Inger Ashing, CEO of Save the Children International added in a statement: "We hoped this day would never come".

"For weeks we have been warning there is no feasible evacuation plan to lawfully displace and protect civilians."

Doctors Without Borders

Nonprofits also fear that any mass evacuation will disrupt current humanitarian activities, already made difficult by shortages and near constant air strikes.

"An offensive on Rafah would also mean yet again that medical staff and patients would be put in danger and forced to leave medical facilities," medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said in a statement.

It pointed out that its own staff has already "been forced to leave nine healthcare facilities in the Strip since the beginning of the war".

"The offensive on Rafah will be catastrophic for the estimated more than one million people currently crammed in Gaza's southernmost governorate," MSF added.


Philippe Lazzarini, head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, has expressed similar concern online.

"Any disruption could lead to unprecedented levels of need, including famine-like conditions, numerous deaths, and the crippling of our life-saving operations", the UNRWA chief said.


The UN agency for children UNICEF warned of the consequences for around 600,000 children now living in Rafah.

"If large-scale military operations are launched, children will not only be threatened by violence, but also by chaos and panic at a time when their physical and mental state is already weakened."

British PM 'concerned deeply' about possible Rafah incursion
4:25 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Monday said the UK was "concerned deeply" about a possible offensive in Rafah after Israel told Palestinians to evacuate part of the southern Gaza city.

"We are concerned deeply about the prospect of a military incursion into Rafah given the number of civilians that are sheltering there and the importance of that crossing for aid," he told broadcaster Sky News in an interview.

Biden speaks with Netanyahu over possible Rafah offensive
4:23 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke Monday morning, a White House official and a National Security Council spokesperson said, as Israel appeared closer to launching an offensive on the southern Gaza city of Rafah — a move staunchly opposed by the U.S. on humanitarian grounds.

The NSC spokesperson said Biden reiterated U.S. concerns about an invasion of Rafah — where more than 1 million civilians from other parts of Gaza are sheltering after 7 months of war — and said he believes reaching a ceasefire with Hamas is the best way to protect the lives of Israeli hostages held in Gaza.

The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the call before an official White House statement was released.

Rafah operation carries 'grave humanitarian risks': Egypt
3:57 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Egypt warned Israel on Monday against launching a military operation in Rafah, saying it carries "grave humanitarian risks".

Egypt calls on Israel to exercise the utmost levels of self-restraint, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Israel's Rafah offensive disregards fate of hostages: Hamas
3:54 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Hamas said Monday that Israel's expected offensive in Rafah disregards the fate of hostages held in Gaza and the "ongoing humanitarian catastrophe" in the besieged territory.

As the Israeli military told residents to leave eastern Rafah, Hamas said in a statement that Israel was preparing for a large-scale military offensive "without regard for the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe in the (Gaza) Strip or the fate of the enemy's prisoners in Gaza," referring to Israeli hostages.

'Thousands' of Gazans are leaving east Rafah: Red Crescent
3:50 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Palestinian Red Crescent told AFP on Monday that "thousands" of Gazans were leaving eastern Rafah amid bombing and after Israeli forces had ordered the southern Gaza area evacuated.

"The numbers of citizens moving from the eastern areas of Rafah towards the west are large, especially after the intensification of the bombing, there are thousands of citizens leaving their homes," said Red Crescent spokesman Osama al-Kahlout.

UN experts condemn Israel's 'sexual assault and violence'
3:47 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

United Nations experts on Monday condemned "unacceptable" violence by the Israeli military against women and children during the ongoing war on Gaza, particularly sexual violence and enforced disappearances.

"We are appalled that women are being targeted by Israel with such vicious, indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks, seemingly sparing no means to destroy their lives and deny them their fundamental human rights," the seven special rapporteurs said in a statement.

The statement pointed to "continued reports of sexual assault and violence against women and girls, including against those detained by Israeli occupation forces".

They cited UN reports saying women and girls in Gaza were victims of enforced disappearances.

Thousands march in Bangladesh to demand end to Gaza war
3:45 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Thousands of activists in Bangladesh backed by the ruling party's student wing marched through universities around the country Monday to demand an end to Israel's war on Gaza and the creation of an independent Palestinian state.

Activists of the Bangladesh Chhatra League marched through the campus of the prestigious Dhaka University chanting anti-Israel slogans, carrying Bangladeshi and Palestinian flags and spreading banners saying "Free Palestine, Stop Genocide." Many other students also joined the rally, organisers said.

China ready to work with EU to support Gaza peace conf: Xi
3:44 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

China is ready to work with the EU to support a more broad-based, authoritative and effective international peace conference to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli issue, China's state media quoted President Xi Jinping as saying on Monday.

The pressing task was to realise a comprehensive ceasefire as quickly as possible, and the key priority was to ensure humanitarian assistance, Xi told French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen during a trilateral meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris.

Belgian and Dutch students join Gaza protest wave
3:40 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Students in Belgium and the Netherlands occupied parts of the universities of Ghent and Amsterdam on Monday to protest against Israel's war on Gaza, joining international student protests that started on U.S. campuses.

A spokeswoman for Belgium's UGent, the University of Ghent, said there were some 100 students occupying parts of the university, confirming earlier reports in local media.

She added that the students had said the protest will last until Wednesday, May 8th.

UGent did not approve the students' protest request, but several UGent employees and professors have signed an open letter supporting the protest and condemning the university's decision to continue its relationship with Israel.

In the Netherlands, students occupied an area of the University of Amsterdam (UvA) asking both UvA and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) to stop its economic and academic partnerships with Israel, local media reported.

Biden to speak to Netanyahu Monday on Rafah: White House
2:19 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US President Joe Biden will speak to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Monday after Israel's military called for Palestinians to evacuate eastern Rafah ahead of an offensive, the White House said.

"We have made our views clear on a major ground invasion of Rafah to the Israeli government, and the president will speak with the prime minister today," a spokesman for the National Security Council told AFP.

Palestinian presidency urges US to prevent Rafah 'massacre'
2:17 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Palestinian presidency Monday called on Washington to stop Israel from conducting a large-scale invasion of Rafah in southern Gaza to prevent a "massacre".

"We call on the American administration to intervene immediately to prevent this massacre... (and) we warn of its dangerous repercussions," the presidency said in a statement, published by the official Wafa news agency, after the Israeli military ordered the evacuation of tens of thousands of people from eastern Rafah.

Columbia cancels main graduation ceremony over Gaza protests
2:16 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Columbia, the prestigious New York university at the heart of US campus protests against the war in Gaza, announced Monday that it has canceled the main ceremony for graduating students next week.

The Ivy League institution said it would "forego the university-wide ceremony that is scheduled for May 15" and hold a series of smaller events instead.

Egypt raises preparedness level in N.Sinai: security sources
1:37 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Egypt has raised its military's level of preparedness in northern Sinai, which borders the Gaza strip, after Israel began an operation in the southern city of Rafah.

Israel's Rafah evacuation order 'unacceptable': EU's Borrell
1:34 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell on Monday condemned Israel's order for Palestinians living in eastern Rafah to flee ahead of an expected ground assault.

"Israel's evacuation orders to civilians in Rafah portend the worst: more war and famine. It is unacceptable. Israel must renounce to a ground offensive," Borrell wrote in English on X.

"The EU, with the International Community, can and must act to prevent such scenario," he added.

Israel strikes 2 Rafah areas it ordered evacuated: officials
1:29 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Gaza civil defence and aid officials said Monday that Israeli jets struck two areas in eastern Rafah the Israeli military had ordered to be evacuated, ahead of a possible ground invasion of the Palestinian city.

"The areas targeted by the Israeli occupation are near the perimeter of Gaza International Airport, the Al-Shuka area, the Abu Halawa area, the Salaheddin street area and the Salam neighbourhood," Gaza civil defence agency spokesman Ahmed Ridwan told AFP. Another aid official confirmed the strikes.

Earlier on Sunday the military ordered residents of Al-Shuka and Al-Salam to evacuate and move to a humanitarian area.

Netanyahu insistent on pursuing genocide in Gaza, says Hamas
12:58 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel's evacuation orders in Rafah underscore Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's insistence on pursuing genocide against the Palestinians, Hamas says.

Rafah operation will be 'no picnic' for Israel, says Hamas
12:57 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Hamas said it is fully prepared to defend Palestinians in response to any Israeli military operation in Rafah, adding that it will be "no picnic" for Israeli forces.

Gaza death toll reaches 34,735: health ministry
12:43 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Gaza's health ministry said Monday that at least 34,735 people have been killed in the Palestinian territory during almost seven months of Israel's offensive.

The tally includes at least 52 deaths in the past 24 hours, a ministry statement said, adding that 78,108 people have also been wounded since the war broke out on October 7.

Thousands more are believed to be buried beneath the rubble and presumed dead.

Any forced civilian displacement is a war crime: France
12:38 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Any forced displacement of a civilian population is a war crime, the French foreign ministry reiterated on Monday after Israel began evacuating Palestinians from Rafah.

The ministry also reiterated its calls for the liberation of hostages still held by Hamas in Gaza and for a "lasting ceasefire."

France reiterates opposition to Israel offensive in Rafah
12:37 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

France on Monday reiterated its strong opposition to Israel's offensive on the Palestinian city of Rafah.

"France also recalls that the forced displacement of a civilian population constitutes a war crime under international law," the foreign ministry in Paris added in a statement.

Hezbollah confirms drone strike on northern Israeli town
12:17 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Hezbollah said on Monday it carried out a drone attack on an Israeli military position near the northern Israeli settlement of Metula that left several dead and injured.

Israel's military said it could not yet confirm the injuries or casualties, but said a drone had crossed from Lebanon into the Metula area. Israeli media reported two people were seriously wounded in the attack.

Other reports in Arabic said the two soldiers had died, but The New Arab could not immediately verify this.

No credible humanitarian plan for Rafah invasion: Oxfam
12:04 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

International aid organisations have voiced alarm at the expected invasion of Rafah.

"From the humanitarian perspective, no credible humanitarian plan for an attack on Rafah exists," said Bushra Khalidi, advocacy director for Oxfam in the Palestinian territories.

She said she could "not fathom that Rafah will happen", asking where displaced Palestinians will go "when most of their surroundings have been reduced to death and rubble?"

Germany says Gaza truce talks must not be 'jeopardised'
12:03 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Germany on Monday called on all parties to continue with negotiations towards a truce in Gaza after disagreements between Israel and Hamas appeared to intensify at weekend talks in Cairo.

"The negotiations must not be jeopardised and all sides must make maximum efforts to ensure that the people in Gaza are supplied with humanitarian goods... and that the hostages are freed," a foreign ministry spokeswoman told a government press briefing.

Israel carries out airstrikes on areas in eastern Rafah
11:01 AM
The New Arab Staff

The Israeli army carried out airstrikes on areas in eastern Rafah near neighbourhoods that received evacuation orders, Hamas-affiliated Al-Aqsa TV reported on Monday.

The New Arab's Gaza correspondent had said airstrikes hit the Al-Shawka area.

Hezbollah drone kills 2 Israeli soldiers in Metula: reports
10:58 AM
The New Arab Staff

Initial reports have said two Israeli soldiers were killed in an apparent Hezbollah drone attack on Monday which targeted a building in the border settlement of Metula.

Biden meets Jordan's king as Gaza ceasefire hopes dim
10:17 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

President Joe Biden will meet Middle East ally, Jordan's King Abdullah II, at the White House on Monday with prospects for a Gaza ceasefire appearing slim.

A Jordanian diplomat told Reuters Monday's meeting between Biden and King Abdullah is not a formal bilateral meeting but an informal private meeting. It comes as the Biden administration and Israeli officials remain at odds over Israel's planned military incursion in Rafah.

Egyptian delegation intensifying talks to contain escalation
10:14 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Egyptian delegation is intensifying talks to contain the current escalation between Israel and Hamas, Egypt's Al Qahera news TV says.

Consequences of Rafah offensive will be 'devastating': UNRWA
10:11 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

"An Israeli offensive in #Rafah would mean more civilian suffering & deaths. The consequences would be devastating for 1.4 million people. @UNRWA is not evacuating: the Agency will maintain a presence in Rafah as long as possible & will continue providing lifesaving aid to people," the UN's Palestinian refugee agency said Monday.

Rafah evacuation will end talks: Axios reporter quotes Hamas
9:54 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A Hamas official has claimed that Israel's decision to start evacuating Palestinians from Rafah will lead to the suspension of talks on a hostage deal, Axios reporter Barak Ravid wrote on X.

Fourth Israeli soldier dies from Kerem Shalom attack: army
9:49 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A fourth Israeli soldier has died from a Sunday attack on the Kerem Shalom crossing, the Israeli military announced on Monday.

The military said a barrage of rockets fired earlier Sunday from the besieged Gaza Strip towards the border crossing killed three soldiers and wounded a dozen others. The soldiers were hit while guarding heavy machinery, tanks and bulldozers that were stationed in the area.

Three of the 12 wounded were in serious condition, the military told AFP. The armed wing of Hamas earlier claimed the rocket attack which led Israeli authorities to close the crossing, used to deliver aid into Gaza.

CIA chief extends his stay in Qatar to discuss Gaza deal
9:09 AM
The New Arab Staff

CIA director William Burns has travelled to Doha to discuss the Gaza ceasefire deal after wrapping up a visit to Cairo for the same purpose, Al Jazeera reported on Monday.

Burns will meet the Qatari prime minister, quoting diplomatic sources as saying that he decided to extend his stay in Doha "in a bid to salvage the faltering negotiations between Hamas and Israel".

Burns is expected to head to Israel today to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Islamic Resistance in Iraq claims two attacks on Israel
9:07 AM
The New Arab Staff

The Islamic Resistance in Iraq (IRI) militant grouping has claimed two attacks on Israel.

"The IRI Mujahedeen have targeted an air base for the Zionist occupation in Eilat… with drones," the militia said in a Telegram on Monday.

The IRI said that it also targeted a "military facility" in Israel, without specifying the location or the weapons used in the attack.

It said the attacks came "in support of our people in Gaza" and in response to the Israeli "massacres against Palestinian civilians".

Hezbollah says it fired dozens of rockets at Israeli base
9:00 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Hezbollah said it fired "dozens of Katyusha rockets" at an Israeli base in the occupied Golan Heights on Monday in retaliation for a strike in Lebanon's east.

Hezbollah fighters launched "dozens of Katyusha rockets" targeting "the headquarters of the Golan Division... at Nafah base", the group said in a statement, saying it was "in response to the enemy's attack targeting the Bekaa region".

Earlier, Lebanese official media said three people had been wounded in an Israeli strike early Monday in the country's east, with the Israeli army saying it had struck a Hezbollah "military compound".

"Enemy warplanes launched a strike at around 1:30 am this morning on a factory in Sifri, wounding three civilians and destroying the building," Lebanon's official National News Agency said.

Sifri is located in the northern Bekaa Valley, near the city of Baalbek, around 80 kilometres from the Israel-Lebanon frontier.

The Israeli army said its warplanes "struck a Hezbollah military structure... deep inside Lebanon," referring to the location as "Sifri".

UCLA to resume in-person classes after protest crackdown
8:56 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

In-person classes will resume Monday at the University of California, Los Angeles, college officials said, after they were moved online following an attack by pro-Israeli demonstrators on pro-Palestinian protesters and their encampments.

"The campus will return to regular operations (on Monday)... and plans to remain this way through the rest of the week," read a statement posted Sunday on the university's website.

"A law enforcement presence continues to be stationed around campus to help promote safety," the post added.

Rafah evacuation order is a 'dangerous escalation': Hamas
8:55 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Senior Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters on Monday that Israel's Rafah evacuation order ahead of an expected offensive is a "dangerous escalation that will have consequences".

About 100,000 people being evacuated from east Rafah: army
8:53 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Israeli army said Monday it was evacuating about 100,000 people from eastern Rafah, ahead of an expected ground assault in the southern city of Gaza.

"The estimate is around 100,000 people," a military spokesman told journalists when asked how many people were being evacuated.

Rafah action required as Hamas refusing hostage deal: Israel
8:52 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli military action in Rafah is required due to "Hamas' refusals" of mediated proposals for a Gaza truce under which the Palestinian group would free some hostages, Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said in a statement on Monday.

The statement said Gallant relayed that message in an overnight conversation with U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.