Wednesday, 22 May 2024
SportsNetanyahu's army intensifies attacks in Gaza; Israeli ambassador calls the UN...

Netanyahu’s army intensifies attacks in Gaza; Israeli ambassador calls the UN a “terrorist entity”

MEXICO CITY (France24).- Israeli troops intensify their air and ground attacks in the Gaza Strip, this Wednesday, May 15. The Army and militants from Hamas and Islamic Jihad are fighting in the south and north of the enclave, while the Israeli military enters Rafah, on the border with Egypt, which represented the last refuge for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians internally displaced by ongoing hostilities.

Meanwhile, Israeli ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, accused the UN of becoming “partly a terrorist organization” after questioning the presence of alleged Palestinian militants at a UNRWA headquarters in Gaza. For his part, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refuted the US call to discuss a Gaza reconstruction plan after the ongoing war. The premier noted that this is a “meaningless” step until Hamas is first “eliminated.”

In the Jabalia refugee camp, in the north of the Gaza Strip, residents reported on May 15 that the Israeli Army destroyed homes, but that Palestinian armed groups were “resisting” the attacks.

Israeli troops “are bombing houses on their occupants. We know of many families who have been trapped,” Palestinian Abu Jehad told the Reuters news agency.

The Islamic Jihad, an armed group allied with Hamas, claimed that it killed some Israeli soldiers in Jabalia, while the Israeli Army declared that it eliminated “a large number of terrorists” in that field, which it had already attacked months before.

In parallel, Israeli tanks advance further into Rafah, in the south of the Palestinian enclave. Some residents witnessed Palestinian militants trying to prevent Israeli troops from advancing towards the city center.

Army tanks had already surrounded the eastern part of Rafah, after issuing “evacuation” orders to the civilian population, which are classified by the UN as forced displacement.

In the last week, around 450,000 Palestinian civilians have had to flee Rafah, estimates the UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), although they do not have a safe place to shelter.

Before Israeli forces invaded Rafah on May 7, the governorate was a refuge for nearly 1.4 million Palestinians, who had already been displaced by Israeli attacks in more than seven months of war. .

“Israel uses International Humanitarian Law jargon (alerts, evacuation orders, safe zones) to create the illusion that its military operations ensure the protection of civilians. This humanitarian camouflage has, de facto, transformed Gaza into a place “without civilians”, where everything is destructible and all people are murderable,” said Francesca Albanese, United Nations special rapporteur for the occupied Palestinian territories, this Wednesday through a message he published on his platform X account.

Gazans have hardly received humanitarian aid since Israel took control of the Rafah crossing on May 7. UN agencies continually warn about the catastrophic humanitarian situation in the Palestinian enclave.

The total number of fatalities increased to at least 35,233 people, the Gaza Ministry of Health reported on May 15. The Government of Israel questions the veracity of the number of people killed, but the figures have been validated by the World Health Organization and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Approximately 60% of the fatalities are women and children.

On October 7, 2023, Hamas carried out a surprising and bloody unprecedented attack in southern Israel, where it killed around 1,200 people and kidnapped around 240, according to data from the Government of Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israel calls the UN a “terrorist entity”

Israel has asked the UN for explanations after releasing a video allegedly showing Palestinian militants at the UNRWA operations center in eastern Rafah. The Reuters news agency was able to verify the location of the video, but not when it was filmed or the identity of the gunmen.

The UN has partly become a terrorist entity itself because it cooperates with Hamas

UNRWA has denied accusations of cooperation with the Islamist group and says it will examine the video.

“The UN has partly become a terrorist entity in itself because it cooperates with Hamas and covers it up,” Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, told Army Radio.

Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas political bureau official, told Reuters that the gunmen in the video were there to protect the distribution of humanitarian aid.

Israel’s narrative is “false accusations and lies. These are police officers, in charge of protecting humanitarian aid reception centers from possible robberies or looting,” he stated.

For his part, the spokesperson for the UN Secretary General announced that an investigation will be launched into the attack on one of the organization’s vehicles, recorded on Monday, May 13, which resulted in the first death of a non-Palestinian humanitarian worker. The victim, Waibhav Anil Kale, was a retired Indian Army soldier and was on his way to the European Hospital in Rafah when the attack occurred.

Nearly 254 aid workers have been killed by Israeli air or ground bombardments in the Gaza Strip since the conflict escalated, according to United Nations figures.

Netanyahu: Pointless to discuss post-conflict without Hamas being eliminated

In what appears to be a direct response to the request of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ruled out discussing a plan for Gaza territory once the ongoing hostilities end.

The premier pointed out that it makes no sense “to talk about the day after while Hamas remains intact.”

There is no substitute for military victory

“Contrary to what has been said, we have been engaged in various attempts for months to achieve a solution to this complex problem (…) Some of the attempts are hidden and that is good. This is part of the war objectives that we defined and that we are determined to achieve,” said the prime minister.

“In any case, there is no substitute for military victory. There is only one substitute for victory: defeat. My Government will not agree to this,” he added.

His statements came just after Blinken assured this Wednesday – in a press conference from kyiv, where he is visiting – that “Israel needs a clear and concrete plan for the future of Gaza” once the war ends and that “restoring “The operational capacity of the Rafah crossing is an urgent problem.”

Washington insists on its calls to discuss a plan to rebuild Gaza. Until March 24, a United Nations report indicated that more than 70% of the territory’s residential areas were destroyed. An estimate that may be higher, because Israeli attacks continue and intensify.

The United States could send Israel $1 billion in military aid

The US State Department has approved a $1 billion arms package for Israel, two US officials confirmed Thursday. Now the package must be approved or rejected by Congress.

Weaponry includes tanks, mortars and tactical vehicles, officials said. Last week, President Joe Biden announced that he had suspended the delivery of bombs to Israel, over fears they would be used against civilians in Rafah.

However, on May 13, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told the press that, with the exception of the bombs, the United States would continue to assist Israel militarily, according to the million-dollar aid packages previously approved by Congress.

The European Union warns of a degradation of its relationship with Israel if the Rafah invasion continues

Josep Borrell, the European Union’s high representative for foreign affairs, said in a statement on May 15 that Israel should “immediately” cease the military operation in Rafah, “which is further disrupting the distribution of humanitarian aid in Gaza and is causing more internal displacement, exposure to famine and human suffering.”

“If Israel continues its military operation in Rafah, it would inevitably put a great strain on the EU’s relationship with Israel,” he warned.

As battles intensify in the Gaza Strip, negotiations between Hamas and Israel for a ceasefire are at an impasse, according to mediators Egypt and Qatar.

Palestinians suffer the deaths of their loved ones and the destruction of the Gaza Strip, while today they commemorate the 76th anniversary of the Nakba, the catastrophe that represented for them the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, by which nearly More than 700,000 Palestinians fled or were expelled from their homes. In Ramallah, in the occupied Palestinian West Bank, sirens sounded for 76 seconds in commemoration.

With Reuters, EFE and local media

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