Israel pounds Gaza as mediators urge Israel, Hamas to accept truce plan

Israel pounds Gaza as mediators urge Israel, Hamas to accept truce plan
Israel continues its war on the enclave as Gaza mediators call on Hamas and Israel to 'finalise' a truce deal US President Joe Biden laid out on Friday.
10 min read

Qatari, Egyptian and US mediators called on Israel and Hamas Saturday to "finalise" the truce deal outlined by US President Joe Biden.

Fighting raged in the besieged Gaza Strip after US President Joe Biden said on Friday Israel was offering a new roadmap towards a full ceasefire.

Shortly after Biden's announcement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted his country would pursue the war until it had achieved all its aims.

Hamas, meanwhile, said it "views positively" the Israeli plan laid out by Biden.

Several Palestinians were killed, and others were injured by Israeli strikes and shell cities in Gaza and Rafah early Sunday.

Israeli forces also demolished a Palestinian home in the occupied West Bank.

6:01 PM

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Israel recommends its citizens avoid Maldives
6:00 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel's foreign ministry on Sunday recommended that Israeli citizens not travel to the Maldives after its government banned the entry of visitors with Israeli passports.

The recommendation, the Israeli ministry said, includes Israelis with dual citizenship.

"For Israeli citizens already in the country, it is recommended to consider leaving, because if they find themselves in distress for any reason, it will be difficult for us to assist," the ministry said in a statement.


US expects Israel to accept Gaza peace plan if Hamas does
5:43 PM
The New Arab Staff

The United States said Sunday that if Hamas accepts the proposed multi-phase Gaza truce plan outlined by President Joe Biden, it expects Israel to follow suit.

"This was an Israeli proposal. We have every expectation that if Hamas agrees to the proposal, as was transmitted to them, an Israeli proposal, that Israel would say yes," White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told ABC News.

The blueprint was transmitted to Hamas on Thursday night Washington time, Kirby said on the "This Week" talk show.

"We're waiting for an official response from Hamas," he added.

Hamas, the Palestinian group that controls Gaza, has said it "views positively" the three-stage plan.

Maldives will ban Israelis from entering the country
5:30 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Maldives government will ban Israelis from the Indian Ocean archipelago, known for luxury resorts, as public anger in the predominantly Muslim nation rises over the war on Gaza.

The president's office said Sunday that the Cabinet decided to change laws to prevent Israeli passport holders from entering the country and to establish a subcommittee to oversee the process.

It said President Mohamed Muizu would appoint a special envoy to assess Palestinian needs and launch a fundraising campaign.

Nearly 11,000 Israelis visited Maldives last year, 0.6% of the total tourist arrivals.

Israeli strike wounds 16 children in Lebanon
5:00 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A Hezbollah-affiliated medical organisation said 16 children were wounded Saturday in an Israeli airstrike on the south Lebanon town of Siddikine.

Aged between four and 14, the wounded children were taken for treatment in hospitals around the region, a source in the Islamic Health Committee told AFP.

Lebanon's state-run national News Agency said the strike on the town inland from the coastal city of Tyre was one of several conducted by Israel on Saturday. It reported seven people wounded.

The Israeli military said its fighter jets had struck "significant Hezbollah assets" in several areas of the south in response to rocket fire from the area launches aimed at northern Israel.

Egypt says Israel must withdraw from Rafah crossing
4:35 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Delegations from the United States and Israel ended a meeting in Cairo at which Egypt stuck to its position that Israel must withdraw from the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing for it to operate again, Egypt's al Qahera News TV reported on Sunday, citing a senior source. 


Israel assessing alternatives to Hamas rule in Gaza
4:06 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel's defence minister said on Sunday that Israel would not accept Hamas continuing to rule Gaza at any stage during the process of ending its war and that it was examining alternatives to the group. 

"While we conduct our important military actions, the defence establishment is simultaneously assessing a governing alternative to Hamas," Yoav Gallant said in a statement.

"We will not accept the rule of Hamas in Gaza at any stage in any process aimed at ending the war," he said.


Kuwait condemns Israel for designating UNRWA as terrorist
3:32 PM
The New Arab Staff

Kuwait on Sunday condemned Israel for designating the UN's Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA as a terrorist one.

"The Kingdom stresses that Israel, as an occupying state, must abide by international law and international humanitarian law and stop obstructing the work of international organisations."

The legislative push against UNRWA from Israel comes as the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the wider international community have criticised Israel for blocking the entry and distribution of humanitarian aid in Gaza, leading to famine.

Israeli justices press government on religious conscription
3:03 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The top Israeli court heard responses by the state on Sunday to challenges against exemptions granted to ultra-Orthodox Jews from military conscription, a long-standing source of friction with more secular citizens now inflamed by Israel's war on Gaza.

In the name of equality, the Supreme Court in 2018 voided a law waiving the call-up for ultra-Orthodox men who want to study in seminaries instead. Parliament failed to come up with an alternative arrangement, and a government-ordered stay on a mandatory mobilisation of ultra-Orthodox expired in March.

That has left Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu scrambling to agree with ultra-Orthodox coalition partners on a military service compromise that might preempt any Supreme Court ruling that Israel's fasted-growing minority must be forcibly drafted.

"We're not on quiet waters. We are at war, and the need (for military personnel) cries out," one of nine justices hearing the case, Noam Solberg, told a government lawyer who argued that it was still too early for an ultra-Orthodox mass conscription.


Bernie Sanders to ditch Netanyahu speech at Congress
2:31 PM
The New Arab Staff

US Senator Bernie Sanders says he will not be attending a joint meeting of Congress, where Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be addressing, citing the PM as a "war criminal".

While Sanders says Israel has a right to defend itself, it does not "have the right to go to war against the entire Palestinian people" and block humanitarian aid.

Read more here.

Another Palestinian journalist killed by Israeli airstrike
2:12 PM
The New Arab Staff

Palestinian journalist Ola al-Dahdouh, presenter of the local Watan radio station, was killed after a targeted Israeli airstrike hit her family home on al-Jalaa Street in central Gaza City - Gaza's Government Media Office said. 

The number of journalists killed in Israel's war on Gaza has now risen to 148 since 7 October.

Israeli settlers sing and dance inside courtyard of Al-Aqsa
1:30 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli settlers, led by extremist Yehuda Glick, performed a "provocative" dance in the courtyard of Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem.

The Rabbi imported red cows from the United States and favoured the destruction of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

UAE's president, Qatar's emir discuss Gaza proposal
1:00 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani discussed in Abu Dhabi proposals for a ceasefire deal in Gaza that were laid out on Friday by US President Joe Biden, the UAE state news agency (WAM) reported on Sunday.

The two leaders expressed support for all "serious initiatives and efforts" toward a lasting peace in the region, it said.


Lebanon says two civilians killed in Israeli strike
12:34 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Lebanon's state media on Sunday reported that two civilians were killed in an Israeli strike in the south of the country, as fighting between Israel and the powerful Shiite movement Hezbollah intensified.

Hezbollah, a Hamas ally, has traded regular cross-border fire with Israel since the Palestinian group's 7 October attack on southern Israel.

"Two civilians were killed in an Israeli strike that targeted their home in the village of Houla," near the border, the National News Agency reported.

A local official told AFP that those killed were "two brothers, shepherds whose house was destroyed."

Pro-Palestine protesters rallied in Australia
12:00 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Thousands of protesters rallied in Melbourne, Australia, for Palestine. 

Protesters can be seen waving Palestine flags and calling for a free Palestine.

GHM: 36,439 Palestinians dead since 7 October
11:32 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Gaza Health Ministry says that at least 36,439 people have been killed in the territory during over seven months of Israel's war on Gaza.

The toll includes at least 60 deaths over the past 24 hours, a ministry statement said, adding that 82,627 people have been wounded in the Gaza Strip.

Qatar condemns attempt to designate UNRWA as 'terrorist'
11:03 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Qatar has condemned Israel's bid to designate the United Nations' Palestinian relief organization, UNRWA, as a "terrorist organization", its foreign ministry said on Sunday.

The Israeli parliament passed a preliminary motion last week approving a bill designating UNRWA as such.


Israel's President supports Biden deal for captive release
10:38 AM
The New Arab Staff

Israel's President Isacc Herzon has said he has Biden's "full support" for a Gaza deal that will see the release of captives.

Writing on X, Herzon says: "It is our inherent obligation to bring them home within the framework of a deal that preserves the security interests of the State of Israel."

Benjamin Netanyahu is under pressure over Biden's deal, which lays out a three-stage plan for a ceasefire, the return of Israeli captives in exchange for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, full Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, and a Gaza reconstruction plan.

Netanyahu aide: Biden's plan 'not a good deal' accepts it
10:04 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

An aide to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed on Sunday that Israel had accepted a framework deal for winding down the Gaza war now being advanced by US President Joe Biden, though he described it as flawed and in need of much more work.

In an interview with Britain's Sunday Times, Ophir Falk, Netanyahu's chief foreign policy advisor, said Biden's proposal was "a deal we agreed toโ€”it's not a good deal, but we dearly want the hostages released, all of them."

"There are a lot of details to be worked out," he said, adding that Israeli conditions, including "the release of the hostages and the destruction of Hamas as a genocidal terrorist organisation" have not changed.

Biden, whose initial lockstep support for Israel's offensive has given way to open censure of the operation's high civilian death toll, on Friday aired what he described as a three-phase plan submitted by the Netanyahu government to end the war.


17 year old child dies from wounds from Israeli gunfire
9:30 AM
The New Arab Staff

Mohammed Al-Baytar, a 17-year-old Palestinian teenager, died from his injuries after the Israeli military opened fire in the Aqabat Jaber refugee camp in the occupied West Bank province of Jericho, according to the Governor of Jericho, Hussein Hamayel.

The forces raided the camp and opened fire on two teenagers, and medical teams were stopped from reaching them.

Smotrich: press Gaza offensive until Hamas destroyed
9:00 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich demanded on Saturday that the war on Gaza be pursued until Hamas is destroyed and all captives held by the Palestinian militants are rescued, saying he would not stay in government otherwise.

In a post on X, Smotrich, head of the far-right Religious Zionism party, said he also opposed any interim truce measures like a withdrawal of Israeli militants, return of Palestinians to northern Gaza or a large-scale release of security prisoners. 


Ben-Gvir threatens to topple Israel gov't over any Gaza deal
8:30 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir threatened on Saturday to bring down the coalition government if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu enters a Gaza deal that would entail ending their war without the elimination of Hamas.

Such a deal would be "foolhardy, constituting a victory for terrorism and a threat to Israel's national security," the ultranationalist head of the Jewish Power party said on X. 


Egypt and Qatar join US in pushing Biden's Gaza peace plan
8:00 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Egypt and Qatar on Saturday joined the United States in urging Israel and Hamas to finalise an agreement along the lines of a proposal pushed by US President Joe Biden, according to a joint statement from the three countries released by the US State Department.