Israel bombs Gaza as US threatens to block new UN ceasefire resolution

Israel bombs Gaza as US threatens to block new UN ceasefire resolution
The UN Security Council is likely to vote on Tuesday for the 15-member body to demand an immediate humanitarian ceasefire as the US signals veto.
16 min read
18 February, 2024

This live blog on day 135 of Israel's war on Gaza has concluded. Make sure to follow us for the latest news on FacebookX, and Instagram.

Israeli strikes across Gaza killed at least 18 people overnight and into Sunday, according to medics and witnesses, as the United States said it would veto another draft UN ceasefire resolution.

The US, Israel's top ally, instead hopes to broker a ceasefire agreement and hostage release between Israel and Hamas and envisions a wider resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pushed back, calling Hamas' demands "delusional" and rejecting US and international calls for a pathway to Palestinian statehood.

Netanyahu has vowed to continue the offensive until "total victory" over Hamas and to expand it to Gaza's Rafah, where more than half the enclave's population of 2.3 million Palestinians have sought refuge from fighting elsewhere.

An airstrike in Rafah overnight killed six people, including a woman and three children, and another strike killed five men in the southern city of Khan Younis, the main target of the offensive over the past two months. 

5:56 PM

TNA’s live coverage of the latest from the war on Gaza concludes for today. Join us again tomorrow at 0800 GMT for updates from the besieged Palestinian enclave.

Israeli swimmer Gorbenko booed at Doha World championships
5:47 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli swimmer Anastasia Gorbenko was booed by the crowd at the Doha World Championships after finishing runner-up in the women's 400 metres individual medley on Sunday.

A chorus of boos rained down on Gorbenko as she was interviewed by the floor presenter at the Aspire Dome pool after the race.

Briton Freya Constance Colbert won the event.

Eighth person dies at Nasser Hospital due to lack of oxygen
5:04 PM
The New Arab Staff

Gaza’s health ministry have announced that an eighth person has died in Nasser Hospital after the Israeli forces cut electricity and oxygen at the medical facility.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said earlier that the hospital has now ceased to function following Israeli raids.

Nasser Hospital was one of the last active hospitals in southern Gaza's Khan Younis- as well as was one of the final functioning hospitals in the besieged Palestinian territory.

Israeli forces shoot Palestinians heading to aid tracks
4:05 PM
The New Arab Staff

News publication Al Jazeera have reported that hundreds of Palestinians in Gaza City that were approaching aid trucks on Al-Rasheed Street were met with Israeli gunfire, where they forced to flee. 

Ramy Abdu, chief of Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, responded to the shooting and wrote in a post on X that "what our team documented on Al-Rasheed Street, west of Gaza City, is terrifying, painful, and brutal”.

“Very small quantities of food arrived today, and it is impossible for them to reach the camps in northern Gaza”, he added.

US conducted five self-defense strikes in Yemen: military
4:03 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The United States conducted five self-defense strikes in areas of Yemen controlled by the Iranian-backed Houthi militia, US Central Command said on Sunday.

Palestinian FM condemns Israel's vote on state of Palestine
3:40 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry has responded to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stating that it aims to oppose the "unilateral recognition" of Palestine.

The ministry said that "the full membership of the State of Palestine in the United Nations and its recognition by states do not need a license from [Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu."

Palestinian FM condemns Israeli attack on Tulkarem camp
3:03 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Palestinian foreign ministry has denounced Israeli attacks across occupied West Bank, which has resulted in deaths, injuries and “and infrastructure destruction, as is currently happening in the Tulkarem refugee camp”.

“Carte blanche has been given to Israeli soldiers from the political echelon, enabling them to shoot Palestinians on a whim and without any threat posed,” the ministry added.

This comes after 19-year-old Atta Muhammad Amer and 36-year-old Muhammad Ahmad Fayez Al-Awfi were killed by Israeli forces in Tulkarem.

Israel's Gantz calls for captives to be returned by Ramadan
2:40 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli minister Benny Gantz has threatened to continue Israel's war on Gaza and expand operations in Gaza or return the hostages home by Ramadan.

"The world must know, and the leaders of Hamas must know," he said on Sunday.

"To those who say the price is too high, I say clearly: Hamas has a choice. They can surrender, release the hostages, and the residents of Gaza can celebrate Ramadan." 

British charity Oxfam calls for 'ceasefire now'
2:28 PM
The New Arab Staff

Oxfam has issued a statement that emphasised 1.5 million displaced Palestinians have nowhere to seek safety in Rafah, as they face an imminent threat of an Israeli ground invasion.

In a post on X, a staff member was quoted as saying: “The faces of the people in Rafah are filled with despair. Their minds are consumed by the looming threat of a ground invasion … Everyone is afraid.”

UK Labour leader Starmer calls for lasting Gaza ceasefire
2:18 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

British Labour leader Keir Starmer said on Sunday there should be a lasting ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, setting out his stance before parliament is expected to debate a conflict that has caused division in the opposition party.

With Labour well ahead in the polls before an election later this year, Starmer is keen to present a united front to voters, but the conflict in Gaza has tested that unity.

Nearly a third of his lawmakers defied him last year to back calls for an immediate ceasefire and the party had to withdraw support for a candidate over his comments about Israel earlier this month.

This week, the Scottish National Party is expected to bring a motion to parliament to call for an immediate ceasefire- something Starmer's foreign policy chief David Lammy said the party would examine and then come to a decision on.

Addressing the Scottish Labour conference, Starmer said: "What we all want to see ... (is) an end to the fighting not just now, not just for a pause, but permanently. A ceasefire that lasts ... that is what must happen now."

He added that any ceasefire could not be one-sided.

Earlier, Starmer, like Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, had called for a "sustainable ceasefire" and his aides said his words did not amount to a change in position. 

Labour Party leader Keir Starmer speaks at the Scottish Labour Party Conference [Getty]
Israel to reprimand Brazilian ambassador over Lula's remarks
2:15 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

 Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said on Sunday he would summon Brazil's ambassador for a reprimand over remarks made by Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who has been critical of the conduct of the Gaza war.

"No would will compromise Israel's right to defend itself," Katz said on X, adding that the envoy would be summoned on Monday. The post did not specify what Lula remarks Katz was responding to. 

Israeli forces kill two in occupied West Bank's Tulkarem
1:56 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Palestinian health ministry have stated that two men have been shot dead by Israeli forces in the Tulkarem refugee camp.

The men killed were identified as 19-year-old teenager Atta Muhammad Amer, who was shot in the head, and 36-year-old Muhammad Ahmad Fayez Al-Awfi.

India port workers refuse to deal with Israel arms shipments
1:49 PM
The New Arab Staff

A trade union in India representing thousands of workers at the country’s ports has said it will not load or unload any arms shipments to Israel because of the ongoing war on Gaza.

In a letter dated 14 February 2023, the Water Transport Workers Federation (WTWFI) of India, which represents 3,500 workers at 11 major Indian ports, said that it will refuse to load or unload weapons bound for Israel.

The union was founded in the late 1970s and is affiliated with the Centre of Indian Trade Unions.

"We the port workers, part of labour unions, will always stand against war and the killing of innocent people like women and children," the letter reads.

"At this juncture, our union members have collectively decided to refuse handling all types of weapon cargoes. Loading and unloading these weapons helps…to kill innocent people," it added.

Israel has destroyed 40 wells in Gaza since start of war
1:17 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israel has either completely or partially destroyed around 40 wells and nine water tanks of different sizes, and 42,000 linear meters of water mains and networks since the start of the war on Gaza, the Gaza City Municipality has said.

It added that Israeli forces have also prevented since November the delivery of adequate amounts of fuel to operate the wells.

Israel opposes 'unilateral' imposition of Palestinian state
1:10 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel on Sunday formalised its opposition to what it called the "unilateral recognition" of Palestinian statehood, and said any such agreement must be reached through direct negotiations.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu brought the "declaratory decision" to a vote in cabinet, which unanimously approved the measure, according to a statement.

Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly meeting that the move comes after "recent talk in the international community about an attempt to unilaterally impose on Israel a Palestinian state."

Brazil's Lula accuses Israel of 'genocide' in Gaza
1:08 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva accused Israel Sunday of committing "genocide" against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and compared its actions to Adolf Hitler's campaign to exterminate Jews.

"What's happening in the Gaza Strip isn't a war, it's a genocide," Lula told reporters in Addis Ababa where he was attending an African Union summit.

"It's not a war of soldiers against soldiers. It's a war between a highly prepared army and women and children," added the veteran leftist.

"What's happening in the Gaza Strip with the Palestinian people hasn't happened at any other moment in history. Actually, it has happened: when Hitler decided to kill the Jews."

West Bank tensions 'obstacle' to peace: EU's Borrell
12:03 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Sunday said the situation in the Israel-occupied West Bank posed a major obstacle to finding a long-term solution for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

"The West Bank is the real obstacle for the two-state solution," Borrell said at the Munich Security Conference.

"The West Bank is at boiling... we could be on the eve of a greater explosion," he said.

Borrell said the EU needed to "support the Arab initiative" to establish a Palestinian state, including both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Borrell's comments come after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected a plan for international recognition of such a state, following reports of such an initiative in The Washington Post.

The US newspaper reported that US President Joe Biden's administration and a small group of Arab nations were working out a comprehensive plan for long-term peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

The European Union's Josep Borrell speaks during a panel discussion in Munich [Getty]
Qatar FM: Gaza war must be stopped without any preconditions
11:48 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani issued a statement that reiterated Qatar's stance on stopping the war to bring the "return of prisoners to their homes."

Al-Thani said that "when it comes to the killing of Palestinians, we see that there is an abandonment of the basic principle of truth, right and wrong", during a panel session at the Munich Security Conference.

“There is a need to apply the same principles to all cases and situations. This was our position when the Russian-Ukrainian war took place, and our position remained the same and we applied it to what is happening in Gaza”.

Jerusalem fountain sprays red dye to protest Gaza bloodshed
11:09 AM
The New Arab Staff

The water in a fountain at a central Jerusalem square outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's residence has been dyed red in a suspected protest against the war on Gaza.

Israeli news publication The Times of Israel reported that a sign was placed outside the foundation which was written: "Enough spilled blood, a deal is on the table."

“We demand that the PM stop prioritising [National Security Minister Itamar] Ben-Gvir and the coalition over saving lives and returning the hostages.”

Israeli forces target al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis: PRCS
11:01 AM
The New Arab Staff

The Palestine Red Crescent Society has issued an update on the social media platform X that Israeli forces have been targeting the third floor of Al-Amal Hospital in southern Gaza's Khan Younis.

The organisation said that forces have attacked the facility with artillery shelling- as it later updated in a follow-up post that the military has also shelled the fourth floor of the building.

PRCS says it has since led to infrastructure being severely damaged and a central maintainance room destroyed.

Israeli gunfire had directly trapped a patient who eventually was evacuated with difficulty.

The statement also said that Israeli forces targeted fuel tanks which has "hindered damage assessment due to high risk."

IFRC: Gaza's healthcare is beyond critical
10:49 AM
The New Arab Staff

Jagan Chapagain, the secretary-general and CEO of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, has stated that Gaza's healthcare has become beyond critical.

Chapagain added that necessary aid has increasingly dwindled and support is heavily required. 

The IFRC chief also said that as a result, many vulnerable people are not able to access adequate medical services. 

“Civilian population in Gaza have suffered enough, and healthcare stands as one of the last remaining beacons of hope,” Chapagain said on X.

 “I remind all parties that the right to access healthcare must be upheld even in times of conflict. Once again, I call for safe and unhindered access for humanitarian workers so they can continue their life-saving work.”

Netanyahu to formalize Israel's opposition to Palestine
10:47 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday his government would vote on a "declaratory decision" regarding Israel's opposition to any unilateral imposition of Palestinian statehood.

Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting that the move comes after "recent talk in the international community about an attempt to unilaterally impose on Israel a Palestinian state."

The formal statement, he said, would reflect that, "Israel rejects outright international dictates regarding a permanent arrangement with the Palestinians. Such an arrangement can only be reached in direct negotiations between the sides, without preconditions."

Health ministry in Gaza says war death toll at 28,985
9:51 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The health ministry in Gaza on Sunday said that at least 28,985 people have been killed in the Palestinian territory during the war in Gaza.

A total of 127 people died in the last 24 hours, and 68,883 people have been injured since war erupted on October 7, it added in a statement.

Palestinian factions to meet in Moscow on Feb 26: PM
9:24 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Russia has invited Palestinian factions to meet in Moscow on February 26, the Palestinian Authority prime minister said on Sunday, adding that the PA was ready to engage with Hamas.

"Russia has invited all Palestinian factions who will be meeting on the 26 of this month in Moscow. We will see if Hamas is ready to come to the ground with us" Mohammad Shtayyeh told the Munich Security Conference.

"We are ready to engage. If Hamas is not then that's a different story. We need Palestinian unity," he said, adding that to be part of that unity Hamas needed to meet certain prerequisites.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh (R) in Ramallah on February 12 [Getty]
Herzog says he had a 'good discussion' with Qatari PM
9:22 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli President Isaac Herzog said on he met with the prime minister of Qatar, who has been trying to mediate a ceasefire in the Gaza war.

"I met with the Prime Minister of Qatar yesterday," Herzog said at the Munich Security Conference, according to a statement from his office. "It was a good discussion. And I think he's doing major efforts. He's taken major efforts and devoting an enormous focus on this issue."

The presidency in Israel is largely ceremonial without a direct impact on policymaking.

Israeli president calls for normalised ties with Saudis
9:13 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel's President Isaac Herzog called Saturday for Saudi Arabia to normalise ties with his country.

Herzog told the Munich Security Conference that one of the aims of Hamas when it attacked Israel was to disrupt talks to establish ties with Riyadh.

"That is why moving on with Saudi Arabia will clearly be a victory over what Hamas did," he argued.

"And that is why I truly believe that moving forward to normalisation and making whatever efforts that can be made is a very important, historical opportunity."

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (R) and Israeli President Isaac Herzog in Munich [Getty]
Gaza ceasefire talks 'not really promising': Qatari PM
9:05 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Talks between Israel and Hamas to agree to a ceasefire in Gaza were "not really very promising" in recent days, the prime minister of Qatar, a key mediator for the negotiations, said Saturday.

"I believe that we can see a deal happening very soon," Qatar's Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said at the Munich Security Conference.

"Yet the pattern in the last few days is not really very promising. We will always remain optimistic, we will always remain pushing," he added, speaking in English.

"Time is not in our favour", he said, casting forward to beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on March 10.

Al-Thani did not disclose many details about the highly sensitive talks.

But he did say that if an agreement were found on the "humanitarian side of the agreement", there would be a deal on the "numbers" for an exchange of hostages and prisoners.

A truce between Hamas and Israel should not however depend on a deal to release hostages held by Hamas, Al-Thani said.

"This is the dilemma that we've been in and unfortunately that's been misused by a lot of countries- that in order to get a ceasefire, it's conditional to have the hostage deal. It shouldn't be conditioned," he said.

Failure to reach a deal could lead to a wider escalation in the region, he warned.

Gaza's second-largest hospital 'completely out of service'
9:00 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Gaza Strip's second-largest hospital has been put "completely out of service", a spokesperson for the Gaza health ministry said on Sunday.

"There are only four medical staffers currently caring for patients" inside the Nasser Hospital in the southern city of Khan Younis, Ashraf al-Qudra told Reuters.

"The Nasser medical complex is the backbone of healthcare in southern Gaza Strip. Its ceasing to function is a death sentence for hundreds of thousands of Palestinian displaced people in Khan Younis and Rafah," he said.

Qudra said a lack of fuel and fighting around the facility had put it out of action.

Nasser was Gaza's largest functioning hospital until Sunday and had been under siege this week in Israel's war on the besieged territory. Israeli forces raided the hospital on Thursday. 

Injured Palestinians were brought to Nasser Hospital on January 22 [Getty]
Netanyahu: No point in Gaza truce talks until Hamas changes
8:30 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday that he had sent negotiators for truce talks in Cairo as requested by US President Joe Biden but they did not go back for further talks because Hamas' demands were "delusional".

He said there was no point in further negotiations until Hamas makes changes to its demands.

Netanyahu, speaking to reporters, also said that a broader diplomatic deal with the Palestinians could only be reached through direct negotiations without any preconditions.

US threatens to block new UN Security Council vote on Gaza
8:25 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The UN Security Council could hold a vote next week, sought by Algeria, on a resolution seeking an "immediate" ceasefire in Gaza- although Washington again appeared set to block it.

Algeria launched discussions on a new draft after the International Court of Justice ruled in late January that Israel must do all it can to prevent genocidal acts in its war in Gaza.

The latest version of the text "demands an immediate humanitarian ceasefire that must be respected by all parties."

It also "rejects forced displacement of the Palestinian civilian population," and it "demands the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages."

US President Joe Biden is working with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the leaders of Egypt and Qatar on a hostage deal that would bring about six weeks of a "prolonged pause in fighting," US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said in a statement on Algeria's proposed draft.

"The resolution put forward in the Security Council, in contrast, would not achieve these outcomes, and indeed, may run counter to them," Thomas-Greenfield said.

"The United States does not support action on this draft resolution," she added. "Should it come up for a vote as drafted, it will not be adopted."

Israeli forces say dozens of fighters killed over past day
8:22 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

 Israeli forces said on Sunday that it killed dozens of Palestinian fighters and claimed they had seized a large amount of weapons in fighting throughout the Gaza Strip over the past day.

Israel has been focusing its campaign in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis, where the military said troops engaged in battles backed by tanks and air support.

"Over the past day, dozens of [fighters] were eliminated and large quantities of weapons were seized," the military said.

Israeli forces were still operating in and around the Nasser hospital, it said.