Israel's Netanyahu says no end to Gaza war as tanks advance on al-Mawasi

Israel's Netanyahu says no end to Gaza war as tanks advance on al-Mawasi
Benjamin Netanyahu has ruled out an end to Israel's war on Gaza as Israeli tanks advance on the "humanitarian safe zone" of al-Mawasi.
18 min read

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that the phase of intense fighting in the Gaza Strip was coming to an end but that the war would not end until Hamas no longer controls the Palestinian enclave.

Netanyahu said that even a ceasefire with Hamas would not bring the war to an end, while he did not give a time frame for the end of the phase of intense fighting. He only said that the end of this phase would free up troops to send to Israel's northern border with Lebanon, where tensions continue to flare with Hezbollah.

"I am not willing to end the war and leave Hamas as it is," Netanyahu said in an interview with Channel 14.

The Israeli PM also said there would be an indefinite Israeli military occupation of the Strip, ruling out the Palestinian Authority assuming control of the territory. 

Netanyahu's comments come as Israeli tanks have advanced to the edge of the tent camp in al-Mawasi near the southern city of Rafah, days after an Israeli strike killed at least 25 people in the area previously designated a "humanitarian safe zone" by Tel Aviv. 

3:45 AM

The live blog has now ended and will be back again tomorrow. Read more of The New Arab's coverage on Israel's war on Gaza here.

Fifteen killed in three Israeli airstrikes on Gaza City
3:24 AM
The New Arab Staff

Three Israeli strikes on Gaza City have killed at least 15 people, according to reports from Al Jazeera. The report comes following a reported strike that killed six people at the Abdel-Fanah School.


Israeli strike on Gaza school kills at least six
1:53 AM
The New Arab Staff

An Israeli strike on a school housing displaced Palestinians in Gaza City has killed at least six people and wounded others, according to reports from Al Jazeera

The school that was struck is the Abdel-Fanah Hammoud School in the al-Daraj area of Gaza City.

Palestinian killed in Israeli shelling of Tel al-Sultan
12:40 AM
The New Arab Staff

According to Palestinian news agency WAFA a young man was killed and other people were injured during Israeli shelling in Tel al-Sultan, west of the southern city of Rafah.

The report comes after five people, including three children, were killed during an Israeli airstrike on a house in the Al-Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza. 

Anti-tank missile fired at Kibbutz in northern Israel
11:55 PM
The New Arab Staff

A spokesperson for the Israeli military said that an anti-tank missile was fired from Lebanon at Kibbutz Manara in northern Israel, adding that there was heavy damage to a building that was hit by the missile. 

Blinken asks Gallant to avoid Lebanon escalation
11:15 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called Monday for efforts to avoid further escalation in Lebanon in talks with Israel's defense minister Yoav Gallant.

Blinken "underscored the importance of avoiding further escalation of the conflict and reaching a diplomatic resolution that allows both Israeli and Lebanese families to return to their homes," State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said.

France, Jordan urge Israel to lift Gaza aid restrictions
10:40 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

French President Emmanuel Macron and King Abdullah II of Jordan Monday called on Israel to lift all land-based "restrictions" on the delivery of aid to war-torn Gaza, the presidency said.

UN agencies have repeatedly warned of severe shortages of vital supplies in Gaza, exacerbated by restrictions on access by land and the closure of the key Rafah crossing with Egypt since Israeli forces seized the Palestinian side in early May.

Over lunch at the Elysee Palace, Macron and Abdullah II reiterated the need for an "immediate and lasting ceasefire in Gaza" and called for the release of all hostages - including two French nationals.

The leaders also "expressed their deep concern about the situation in the West Bank and strongly condemned the violence committed by settlers", the Elysee Palace said in a statement.

They agreed to continue to work together on a "lasting and credible solution" to the war based on the "two-state solution" and welcomed reforms undertaken by the Palestinian government and called for them to be continued.

Referring to the intensification of tensions on the Israeli-Lebanese border, Macron and Abdullah II warned against a "conflagration that would be catastrophic for the region", and reiterated their calls to all parties for "responsibility and restraint".

CAIR: World must address 'slaughter of Palestinian children'
10:11 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Council of American Islamic Relations said that the world must address the "US-backed slaughter of Palestinian children" after new figures from Save the Children International revealed up to 21,000 children are estimated to be missing in Gaza.

"This genocide must end, and the Palestinian People must be treated as human beings," the organisation said in a post on X.

US: 1,384 metric tons of aid delivered to Gaza over weekend
9:00 PM
The New Arab Staff

US Central Command (CENTCOM) announced in a post on X that 1,384 metric tons of aid had been delivered to Gaza over weekend through the floating pier, adding that on Monday the operations at the pier were paused for maintenance.

"This humanitarian operation is made possible by our continued partnership with the United Nations and many international and regional partners," CENTCOM said.

Israel tells US Netanyhu statement not change in position
8:24 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israel has reportedly told the US that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's comments on Israel's Channel 14 do not represent a change in Israel's position on a Gaza ceasefire, according to Israeli publication Haaretz.

The publication added that the Israeli message did not reassure some US official.

Israeli military confirms death of hostage held in Gaza
7:57 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Israeli military on Monday confirmed the death of a soldier held hostage by Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip for nearly nine months since Hamas's 7 October attack.

In a separate statement the Hostages and Missing Families Forum said that Mohammad Alatrash was killed during the October attack on southern Israel and his body taken captive by Hamas militants.

Israeli authorities had previously confirmed Alatrash, a sergeant major in the Israeli military's Bedouin Trackers Unit, was taken hostage on 7 October.

Alatrash, 39, is survived by two wives and 13 children, the forum said in a statement.

"The Families Forum will continue to support and stand by the family during this difficult time and until his remains are returned to Israel," it said.

Alatrash's death raises the toll from Hamas's attack to 1,195, most of them civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli figures.

Blinken to emphasise to Gallant on need for post-war plan
7:17 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday will emphasize to Israel's Defense Minister Yoav Gallant the importance of Israel developing a robust and realistic plan for the governance of Gaza once the war is over, the US State Department said.

Speaking at a press briefing, department spokesperson Matthew Miller said the top US diplomat will also discuss with Gallant, who is visiting Washington this week and meeting with senior US officials, the need to avoid further escalation of the Gaza conflict and to improve humanitarian access.

Miller added that the video of a Palestinian prisoner strapped on the front of a military jeep by Israeli forces was "shocking" and urged for a swift investigation to hold accountable the people responsible.

"We saw that video, it was shocking. The practice was absolutely unacceptable. Humans should never be used as human shields. The IDF should swiftly investigate what happened, hold people accountable."

On Saturday, Israeli army forces tied a wounded Palestinian man to the hood of a military jeep during an arrest raid in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin. The video was verified by Reuters. The Israeli military said soldiers violated protocol.


Risk of all-out Middle East war grows daily, German FM says
6:53 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Germany is extremely concerned about rising violence on Israel's border with Lebanon and the growing risk of a full-blown regional conflict, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on a visit to the region on Monday.

Speaking at a security conference, Baerbock also warned, as a "friend" to Israel, that it could "lose itself" in the war against Hamas and that rising anger at the plight of civilians in Gaza undermined Israel's security. 

She also expressed concerns for an escalation on the Israel-Lebanon border as clashes between Israel and Hezbollah intensify amid increasingly dangerous rhetoric around a war between the two.

"We are extremely concerned about the increase in violence at the northern border. I will pay a visit to Beirut tomorrow again exactly for this reason," Baerbock said, according to prepared remarks.

"Together with our partners, we are working hard on finding solutions that can prevent more suffering. The risk of an unintended escalation and of all-out war is growing by the day."

(Reuters & The New Arab Staff)

Borrell: EU agrees more sanctions on Hamas, Israeli settlers
6:18 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The European Union has reached a political agreement on further sanctions against Palestinian militant group Hamas and violent Israeli settlers, the bloc's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Monday.

He did not provide any more details on the sanctions. 


Israel kills at least 11 people in Gaza waiting for aid
5:38 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Two Israeli air strikes targeting aid supplies killed at least 11 Palestinians in Gaza on Monday, medics said, as Israeli tanks pushed deeper into Rafah in the south and fought their way back into areas in the north they had already subdued months ago.

One strike at a food distribution centre in Gaza City, near the Shati historic refugee camp, killed three people. Another, near Bani Suhaila town in the southern Gaza Strip, killed at least eight, including guards who accompany aid trucks, the medics said.

Netanyahu claims Israel 'committed' to Biden ceasefire
5:28 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that Israel remained committed to its proposed Gaza ceasefire and hostage deal, and his military chief said the remaining Hamas forces in the southern Gaza city of Rafah were nearly dismantled.

"We are committed to the Israeli proposal that President Biden welcomed. Our position has not changed. The second thing, which does not contradict the first, we will not end the war until we eliminate Hamas," Netanyahu said in a speech to parliament.

Israel's military issued a statement from a situational assessment by its chief of staff in the area of Rafah, where Israeli forces have been fighting Hamas's remaining batallions.

"We are clearly approaching the point where we can say we have dismantled the Rafah Brigade, that it is defeated not in the sense that there are no more terrorists, but in the sense that it can no longer function as a fighting unit," said Lieutenant-General Herzi Halevi.

7 Gazans killed as Israel strikes people waiting for aid
5:18 PM
The New Arab Staff

Al Jazeera is reporting that seven Palestinians were killed as they waited for aid trucks to arrive through the Karem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) border crossing in southern Gaza.

Israeli forces attacked the group at the Bani Suheila traffic circle in Khan Younis city.

Casualties are expected to rise.

'No help entering Gaza', EU's Borrell says
4:29 PM
The New Arab Staff

European foreign policy chief Josep Borrell stated that “despite all tactical pauses announced, the situation is that no help is entering Gaza," Al Jazeera is reporting.

“The help is stockpiling outside of the border. Some of these goods are perishing,” he said upon his arrival at the Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg.

Borrell noted that both Hamas and Israel are failing to adhere to US President Joe Biden’s ceasefire plan, which the EU supports.

“The last declaration from Prime Minister Netanyahu confirms that unfortunately this plan is not going to be implemented. We desperately need a ceasefire that could allow humanitarian aid into Gaza. Otherwise, the tragedy will be incommensurable,” he said.

Israel army says Hamas's Rafah brigade has been 'dismantled'
4:18 PM
The New Arab Staff

On Sunday, the Chief of the General Staff of the Israeli army Herzi Halevi conducted a situational assessment in the Rafah area of the Gaza Strip and said that Israeli forces are reaching a point where they can say they have dismantled Hamas's so-called "Rafah brigade".

"The fact that the 162nd Division now controls the Philadelphi Corridor from the sea to the border between Israel, Gaza, and Egypt, is very significant in cutting off Hamas' supply for future smuggling. We are now dealing with the underground assets. We are clearly approaching the point where we can say we have dismantled the Rafah Brigade, that it is defeated not in the sense that there are no more terrorists, but in the sense that it can no longer function as a fighting unit," Halevi said.


UNRWA shows images of devastation of Jabalia Health Centre
3:47 PM
The New Arab Staff

The UN agency supporting Palestinian refugees shared before-and-after images on X, illustrating the extent of the center's destruction.

"Before the war, UNRWA met 70 to 80 percent of primary healthcare needs in Gaza," the agency stated.

Now, "only a fraction of UNRWA’s health centres remain operational," it added.

Israel moving to low-intensity Gaza phase: Gallant to US
3:34 PM
The New Arab Staff

Moving to "phase 3" in the Gaza Strip will affect all fronts, according to a readout from defence minister Yoav Gallant's office cited by Israeli media following the meeting in Washington, DC.

Phase 3 refers to the low-intensity conflict that Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier said would start in about two weeks, contradicting the War Cabinet decision, according to its former members.

Israel’s Defence Ministry said Gallant also assured Hochstein of his commitment to changing the security situation in the border area with Lebanon, allowing the return of residents to their homes in northern Israel.

The security situation has deteriorated in the area, with daily air attacks reported between Lebanon’s Hezbollah armed group and the Israeli military since the eruption of the Gaza war.

Medics aim to screen thousands of Gaza kids for malnutrition
3:13 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Medics in Gaza said on Monday they were working to step up screening of young children for severe malnutrition amid fears that hunger is spreading as people flee to new areas.

Aid group International Medical Corps (IMC) and partners are planning to reach more than 200,000 children under 5 years old as part of a 'Find and Treat' campaign, one of its doctors, Mumawwar Said, told Reuters by phone.

"With the displacement, communities are settling in new locations that do not have access to clean water, or there is not adequate access to food," he said. "We fear there are more cases being missed."

Over the weekend, families were already coming into an IMC clinic in the central city of Deir al-Balah, opened after the agency said it had to shut down two centres in the southern city of Rafah due to insecurity.

UN Palestine agency seeks pushback against Israel's attacks
3:09 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The head of the United Nations Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA) on Monday called to push back against efforts by Israel to have the organisation disbanded.

"Israel has long been critical of the agency's mandate. But it now seeks to end UNRWA's operations, dismissing the agency's status as a United Nations entity supported by an overwhelming majority of Member States," UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini said at a meeting of the agency's advisory commission.

"If we do not push back, other UN entities and international organizations will be next, further undermining our multilateral system." 

Israel shells civil defence team in south Lebanon: report
3:05 PM
The New Arab Staff

Lebanon’s National News Agency reported that Israeli forces targeted a civil defense team in the village of Taybeh in southern Lebanon with an artillery shell.

The attack occurred while the team was extinguishing a fire in the village, injuring a member with shrapnel in the chest, who was then hospitalized, according to the report.

Israel and Hezbollah have exchanged near-daily fire since 7 October.

Media tours Beirut airport after Hezbollah weapons claims
2:25 PM
William Christou

Journalists and diplomats inspected the storage facilities at the Beirut International airport on Monday morning on a tour put on by Lebanese authorities in response to an article from British newspaper The Telegraph which alleged the airport was used to store Hezbollah weapons.

On Sunday, the right-wing newspaper published an article without a listed author, which quoted anonymous "whistleblowers" at the Beirut airport who alleged with no evidence that Hezbollah stores a wide range of weapons there.

The article claimed Hezbollah stored missiles with ranges of up to 320 kilometres, as well as explosives that affect the human nervous system.

The Lebanese government immediately rejected the claims and said it would be raising a lawsuit against the British paper and what it called its "ridiculous claims." It then issued an open invitation to diplomats in Beirut and members of the press to inspect the airport.

Read more here.

People in Gaza are in 'a living hell': UNRWA chief
1:29 PM
The New Arab Staff

The head of the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees has warned that people in Gaza are in "a living hell, a nightmare from which they cannot wake."

"Children are dying of malnutrition and dehydration, while food and clean water wait in trucks," UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini told the agency’s advisory body.

UN agencies and aid groups have repeatedly sounded the alarm about severe shortages of food and other essentials in the Gaza Strip, as thousands of aid trucks remain piled up at main crossings. Vital supplies that have made it into the enclave remain undistributed due to fighting and Israeli curbs on movement.

Thai workers to return to Israel for first time since 7 Oct
1:11 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Thailand will resume sending agricultural workers to Israel this week after an eight-month hiatus, the Thai labour ministry said on Monday, with a target of having more than 10,000 of its citizens working in the country by year-end,

Around 30,000 Thai labourers had been working in the agriculture sector, comprising one of the largest migrant worker groups in Israel, before the conflict broke out last October.

Caught in the fighting during Hamas's surprise attack on 7 October, 39 Thais were killed and another 32 were taken hostage, according to the Thai government.

Six of them are believed to remain in captivity.

"The government asked for the cooperation of the Israeli government to help emphasise to employers to take care of the safety of Thai workers," the labour ministry said in a statement.

The first batch of around 100 workers will fly out from the capital Bangkok on Tuesday, followed by another group in early July.

Many Thais, particularly from the rural northeast region, have sought employment in Israel drawn by higher wages and an opportunity to work their way out of ballooning debt, a gnawing issue for millions in Southeast Asia's second-largest economy

Breakdown of order in Gaza impeding aid delivery: UN
12:25 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The head of the UN agency supporting Palestinian refugees warned Monday that a breakdown of civil order in Gaza had allowed widespread looting and smuggling and blocked aid delivery.

Since the war erupted in the Gaza Strip more than eight months ago, the Palestinian territory "has been decimated", UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini told the agency's advisory body, warning that "the breakdown of civil order has resulted in rampant looting and smuggling that impede the delivery of desperately needed humanitarian aid"

Gaza death toll rises to 37,626
12:21 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The health ministry in Gaza said Monday that at least 37,626 people have been killed during more than eight months of war between Israel's war on Gaza.

The toll includes at least 28 deaths over the past 24 hours, a ministry statement said, adding that 86,098 had been wounded in the Gaza Strip since 7 October.

Israel has arrested 9,360 in West Bank since 7 October
11:41 AM
The New Arab Staff

Since last night, the Israeli army have detained a further 12 people in the occupied West Bank, including a woman and children, according to a joint statement by the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society and the Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs.

Raids were conducted in parts of Ramallah targeting at least 80 citizens. The statement noted that most were briefly detained, though it did not specify how many remain in custody from this operation.

These latest detentions bring the total number of Palestinians in Israeli custody since 7 October to 9,360.

65% of Gaza's roads have been damaged by Israeli strikes
11:16 AM
The New Arab Staff

The United Nations Satellite Centre (UNOSAT) reports that around 65 percent of Gaza’s roads have been damaged.

According to satellite imagery analysis by UNOSAT, approximately 1,100km (683.5 miles) of roads have been destroyed, 350km (217.5 miles) severely affected, and 1,470km (913.5 miles) moderately affected.

The satellite images were collected on May 29, according to the agency.

War in Middle East on the brink of expanding, Borrell says
9:36 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

European foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Monday that the Middle East was close to seeing the conflict expanding into Lebanon just days after Lebanon's Iran-backed Hezbollah threatened EU member Cyprus.

"The risk of this war effecting the south of Lebanon and spilling over is every day bigger," Borrell told reporters ahead of a foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg. "We are on the eve of the war expanding."

Houthis say 'forced' US carrier to leave, claim new attacks
9:34 AM
The New Arab Staff

Yemen’s Houthis have continued to claim new attacks on shipping in the Red Sea, announcing on Sunday in a statement via the group’s military spokesman, Yahya al-Sarea, that its naval forces struck the Transworld Navigator ship in the Red Sea using an uncrewed surface boat.

The group said that it also launched missiles targeting the Stolt Sequioa ship in the Indian Ocean, saying that its actions were carried out due to vessels “violating a ban” on the entry of ships to Israeli ports.

The statement also claimed that the Houthi actions at sea had "forced" the USS Eisenhower to leave the Red Sea.

The US had previously announced that the Eisenhower would be replaced by the USS Theodore Roosevelt.

Sunday's Houthi statement came a day after the Iran-backed group said that it had carried out a "successful operation" against the Eisenhower in the northern Red Sea with a number of ballistic and cruise missiles.

'Nearly everyone' in Gaza faces food 'catastrophe', 'famine'
8:44 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Nearly 166 million people worldwide are estimated to need urgent action against hunger, according to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), a global partnership which measures food insecurity.

That includes nearly everyone in the Gaza Strip, where Israeli has launched a devastating military offensive since October of last year. More than one million of Gaza's inhabitants face the most extreme form of malnutrition – classified by the IPC as 'Catastrophe or Famine.'


21,000 children missing in Gaza due to Israel's war: report
8:40 AM
The New Arab Staff

Save the Children have said in a new statement that thousands of missing Palestinian children are believed to be trapped under the rubble of destroyed homes, detained by Israeli forces, buried in unmarked graves or separated from their families.

“It is nearly impossible to collect and verify information under the current conditions in Gaza,” the British aid group said, “but at least 17,000 children are believed to be unaccompanied and separated and approximately 4,000 children are likely missing under the rubble, with an unknown number also in mass graves”.

Israel hits Hezbollah targets in southern Lebanon
8:37 AM
The New Arab Staff

The Israeli army announced that its fighter jets struck Hezbollah targets in southern Lebanon overnight.

In a statement on X, the military reported hitting a Hezbollah military site in Aitaroun village and the organization’s operational infrastructures in Kfar Kila and Khiam.

The statement also confirmed that two Israeli soldiers were injured, one seriously, after an antitank missile was launched towards the Israeli city of Metula from Lebanon.

Israeli media reported the attack yesterday evening.

Netanyahu says no end to Gaza war
8:32 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the phase of intense fighting in the Gaza Strip was coming to an end but that the war would not end until Hamas is no longer controls the Palestinian enclave.

Once the intense fighting is over in Gaza, Netanyahu said, Israel will be able to deploy more forces along the northern border with Lebanon, where fighting with Hezbollah has escalated.

Asked when the phase of intense fighting against Hamas will come to an end, Netanyahu answered: "Very soon."

But the military will still operate in Gaza.

"I am not willing to end the war and leave Hamas as it is," he said.

Netanyahu also reiterated his rejection to the idea that the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority run Gaza in place of Hamas.