Israel — Latest News since June 15th 2024

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Click here to look at earlier maps (and events) over 4000 years of history for "Israel - Deep inside the plucky country".

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Distances: Tel Aviv to Jerusalem 63 kms
Tel Aviv to Haifa 95 kms
Source: Atlas of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, 7th edition — Sir Martin Gilbert;
Publisher: Routledge (Taylor & Francis), 2002;
ISBN: 0415281172 (paperback),
0415281164 (hardback); Map: NPR Online

The US had opened a consulate in Old Jerusalem back in 1844. But like diplomatic missions of nearly every other country, from 1966 (unofficially from May 1948 when the consul-general in Jerusalem was shot dead) until 2018 the actual US Embassy had been in Tel Aviv, a result of the ambiguous legal status surrounding Jerusalem for more than a century. Under the UN Partition Plan of November 1947, Jerusalem was to have been placed under international governance, which thus precluded it from being considered under the sovereignty of any State. But while this UN plan had been accepted by the Jews and the majority of UN countries, it had been rejected by the Arabs (and all of the surrounding Arab countries) who declared war.

The US Embassy opened at its Jerusalem location on May 14, 2018, the 70th anniversary of the creation of the modern State of Israel. On March 4, 2019, the US Consulate-General was formally integrated into the US Embassy in Jerusalem.

Australia Israel relations
In Australia in October 2018, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Australia was reviewing whether to move Australia's embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. On Friday 14 December 2018, Morrison announced Australia's recognition of West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, though there were no immediate plans to move its embassy from Tel Aviv.
This recognition of West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel was reversed by the ALP Federal Government on Tuesday 18 October 2022. Foreign Minister Penny Wong stressed that Australia remained a "steadfast friend" to Israel, however its embassy would remain in Tel Aviv.

Jerusalem's history over the past century
British forces captured the city from the Ottoman Turks during World War I and maintained control under a League of Nations mandate for 30 years. In November 1947, a United Nations plan terminated the British mandate for implementation at midnight May 14 1948, and partitioned Palestine into a Jewish state and an Arab state with Jerusalem to become an international zone. While accepted by the Jews, the proposed plan never was implemented as civil war erupted. The British organized their withdrawal and intervened only on an occasional basis. When a cease-fire ended the fighting in 1949, Israeli forces held Jerusalem's western precincts while Jordan occupied the city's eastern districts, including the old city with its holy sites such as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the al Aqsa Mosque and the Western Wall.

Click here for more details and to see a map of the UN's original proposal. The State of Israel increased their area by almost 60% of the area that had been allocated to the proposed Arab state. This included the Jaffa, Lydda and Ramle area, Galilee, some parts of the Negev, a wide strip along the Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem road, and some territories in the West Bank, placing them under military rule. With Jordan occupying the West Bank and the Egyptian military occupying Gaza, no state was created for the Palestinian Arabs.

Israel and Jordan soon annexed the portions of Jerusalem they held, with Israel in 1950 declaring the city as its capital, but this accordingly went unrecognized by other nations. In the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel captured East Jerusalem, along with the West Bank. Israel later annexed East Jerusalem and reunified the city, again an act that has gone unrecognized by the international community while Palestinian claims remain unresolved.



Six Day War June 1967

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Background Extract: Six days and 40 years since Israel asserted itself
Abraham Rabinovich
June 05, 2007

FORTY years after the Six Day War, the consequences of Israel's extraordinary victory are yet to be sorted out. Israel was a tiny Middle Eastern backwater in 1967, with a population of 2.6 million surrounded by a hostile Arab world of 80 million. This disparity seemed to defy the natural order of things and it was a virtual consensus in the Arab world that the Jewish state would fall, sooner rather than later. In Israel itself, the enthusiasm and energy that marked the founding of the state out of the ashes of the Holocaust had been dimmed by the petty problems of getting by in a country with a massive defence burden and a lame economy.

It was the Soviet Union, for reasons never adequately clarified, that lit the fuse that would transform the region. In mid-May 1967, it declared that Israel was massing troops in the north in preparation for an attack on Syria. Israeli prime minister Levi Eshkol offered to personally tour the north with the Soviet ambassador to show it wasn't true. The ambassador declined.

There had been small-scale skirmishing between Israel and Syria over the headwaters of the Jordan and Israeli leaders had issued warnings, but there was no massing of troops. Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser, the leading figure in the Arab world, felt impelled to come to Syria's aid. He moved his divisions through the Sinai desert towards Israel, ordered the removal of UN troops who had been stationed there since 1956, and closed the Straits of Tiran (which separates the Gulf of Aqaba from the Red Sea) to Israeli shipping.

Back in 1956, Nasser had blocked Israeli shipping from passing through the Straits. A short war followed with Israel capturing the whole of the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula. After the US pressured Israel to withdraw, Israel declared that if Egyptian forces would again blockade the entrance to the Gulf of Aqaba, it would consider this a "casus belli" - case of war. Israel mobilised its reserves.

Nothing happened for more than two weeks. But mobilisation had paralysed the Israeli economy and Jerusalem had to either stand down or strike. On the morning of June 5, Israeli planes, flying low to avoid radar, suddenly rose into the Egyptian skies. Within three hours, the Egyptian air force was destroyed. Soon after, the Jordanian, Syrian and part of the Iraqi air forces were gone, too.

On the third day of the war, the West Bank and Jordanian Jerusalem fell. Syria's Golan Heights followed. The Arab world was stunned, Israel euphoric. The war catapulted Israel into a new era. Brimful of self-confidence and renewed energy, it attracted Jewish immigrants from the West and more than a million from the Soviet Union. Since 1967, Israel's population has tripled to 7.1 million (of whom 1.4 million are Israeli Arabs), its gross national product has grown by 630 per cent and per capita income has almost tripled to $21,000.

A major result of the Six Day War was to persuade the Arab world that Israel was too strong to be defeated. Internalising that view, Nasser's successor, Anwar Sadat, became in 1970 the first Arab leader to declare readiness to make peace with Israel if it withdrew from all territory it had captured in the Six Day War. Israel insisted, however, on territorial changes.

It took the 1973 Yom Kippur War to persuade Israel to withdraw from all Egyptian territory and for Egypt to agree to peace without insisting on Israel's withdrawal on other fronts as well.

The Oslo accords in 1993, marking the beginning of a dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians, also enabled Jordan to make peace with Israel without being accused of betraying the Palestinian cause.

In 2000, Syria announced its readiness for peace. Though negotiations with Damascus broke down, virtually the entire Arab world now accepted the legitimacy, or at least the existence, of the Jewish state in its midst.

But increasing radicalisation has brought to the Palestinian leadership a movement dedicated to Israel's destruction. If there is an answer for Israel, it lies, as in 1967, in bold and imaginative leadership — but this time on the political playing field.


West Bank Fence

The barrier route as of July 2006.


Extract: Article by Amos Harel,
July 14, 2009

Seven years after construction work began on the West Bank separation fence, the project seems to have run aground. Work has slowed significantly since September 2007. With fierce opposition coming from the United States, Israel has halted work on the "fingers" — enclaves east of the Green Line that were to have included large settlement blocs such as Ariel, Kedumim, Karnei Shomron and Ma'aleh Adumim, within the fence. The military has, in practice, closed up the holes that were to have led to these "fingers". But giant gaps remain in the southern part of the fence, particularly in the southern outskirts of Jerusalem, in the Etzion bloc and in the Judean Desert.

Since the cabinet under former prime minister Ariel Sharon first approved construction of the fence, in June 2002, the route has undergone some dramatic changes. The original route, which was inspired by Sharon, was to have effectively annexed about 20 percent of the territory of the West Bank to Israel.

In February 2005, the cabinet amended the route to include just nine percent of the West Bank. In April 2006 an additional one percent was shaved off by the government of Ehud Olmert.

In practice, however, the route encompasses only 4½ percent of West Bank land. The four "fingers" in the last map (and which Israel presented at Annapolis in November 2007) were never built, not at Ariel and Kedumim (where a "fingernail" was built, a short stretch of fence east of the homes of Ariel) — not at Karnei Shomron and Immanuel — not at Beit Arieh, nor south of that, at Ma'aleh Adumim. Instead, with little publicity, fences were put up to close the gaps closer to the Green Line, at Alfei Menashe instead of at Kedumim, at Elkana instead of Ariel and in the Rantis area instead of at Beit Arieh.

About 50,000 people in these settlements remain beyond the fence. West of Ma'aleh Adumim the wall built along Highway 1 blocks the gap in the barrier and leaves the city's 35,000 residents outside of the barrier, forcing them to pass through a Border Police checkpoint in order to reach Jerusalem.

Large gaps remain in the southern West Bank. Between Gilo in south Jerusalem and Gush Etzion are tens of kilometres of barrier, work on which was suspended due to High Court petitions. As a result access to Jerusalem from the direction of Bethlehem (now a part of the Palestinian Territories) is relatively easy — for commuters and terrorists both.

Click here for some news in Sep 2014.

A second, 30-kilometre gap in the fence, stretches from Metzudat Yehuda (Yatir) in the west to the Dead Sea in the east. The state announced during a recent High Court deliberation of a petition submitted by area Bedouin that work on the barrier there was suspended.

Defence Minister Ehud Barak is "determined to complete the security fence, despite the delays", his office said in a statement. "The minister and the military establishment are working to solve the problems delaying its completion".

Defence Ministry officials pointed out that Barak was "among the first supporters of the fence and did much to advance its construction".

Security officials claim the rate of construction depends on finding a solution to the legal issues and point out proudly that there is an unbroken barrier from Tirat Zvi in the Beit She'an Valley (in Northern Israel, just west of the Jordan River) to the southern entrance to Jerusalem, and from southern Gush Etzion (south west of Jerusalem) to Metzudat Yehuda (south east of Hebron).



East of East Jerusalem — E1 and Ma'ale Adumim

Click here for a larger picture

Photo December 1, 2012

The police station built in area E1, now many years ago. Notice there
are no residential areas around it. That will hopefully soon change.
Picture source A Goldstein

Click here for a recent article in 2023 on E1 and Ma'ale Adumim delayed but not abandoned

Unilateral Thinking (an article in April 2006)

Click here for the full article

Finally, after years in the planning prior to 2006, construction of an Israeli police station is under way in the now infamous E1 area, 12 square kilometers, a patch of empty West Bank land that stretches from the eastern municipal boundary of Jerusalem to the settlement-city of Ma'ale Adumim, which sits across the Jerusalem-Dead Sea highway some five kilometers (three miles) to the east.

Infamous, because every prime minister of Israel for the past decade has wanted to develop E1 in order to fill in the space between Ma'ale Adumim and Jerusalem, with the intention of securing Israel's hold over the settlement and its smaller satellite communities, which together constitute the Ma'ale Adumim settlement bloc. And every US administration up until now has nixed Israeli development here, on the grounds that it would seriously hamper Palestinian territorial contiguity between the north and south of the West Bank, as well as access from the West Bank to Jerusalem, thereby undermining the viability of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, the only realistic formula on the table for Israeli- Palestinian peace.

Ma'ale Adumim, a settlement of 33,000 residents, has for all intents and purposes become a suburb of Jerusalem, even the Palestinians have tacitly accepted the demographic reality. The Geneva Accord, the unofficial 2003 draft of an Israeli- Palestinian final-status agreement, envisaged the settlement remaining under Israeli control. The competition is over who controls the space in between. The Palestinians reject the notion of a permanent Israeli presence in E1, and consecutive US administrations have viewed this as the red line that Israel should not cross.

Building first started in Ma'ale Adumim itself in 1975, during Yitzhak Rabin's first term as prime minister. And it was Rabin, during his second term in office, in August 1994, who formally included E1 within Ma'ale Adumim's city limits, "or order to create territorial contiguity" between the fast-growing settlement and Jerusalem, according to Benny Kashriel, Ma'ale Adumim's mayor for the past 14 years. That Rabin term produced a general master plan for the area (the term E1 is short for East 1, as the parcel of land was marked on old Jerusalem area zoning maps). In 1997, prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's cabinet commenced procedures to authorize the allocation of the land to built on, and the Housing Ministry started work on detailed plans. Netanyahu's successor, Ehud Barak, supported the project, according to Kashriel, and the bureaucratic process for the approval of the plans got underway.



Gaza Strip

Map of Gaza Strip

Israeli Gaza Strip Barrier

The Israel and Egypt — Gaza Strip barrier is a separation barrier first constructed by Israel in 1994 between the Gaza Strip and Israel. An addition to the barrier was finished in 2005 to separate the Gaza Strip and Egypt. The fence runs along the entire land border of the Gaza Strip. It is made up of wire fencing with posts, sensors and buffer zones on lands bordering Israel, and concrete and steel walls on lands bordering Egypt.

Background: The Gaza Strip borders Egypt on the south-west and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about 41 kilometres long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a population of about 2 million people. The shape of the territory was defined by the 1949 Armistice Agreement following the creation of Israel in 1948 and the subsequent war between the Israeli and Arab armies. Under the armistice agreement, Egypt administered the Strip for 19 years, to 1967, when it was occupied by Israel in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.

In 1993, Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organisation signed the Oslo Accords establishing the Palestinian Authority with limited administrative control of the Palestinian territories. Pursuant to the Accords, Israel has continued to maintain control of the Gaza Strip's airspace, land borders and territorial waters. Israel started construction of the first 60 kilometres long barrier between the Gaza Strip and Israel in 1994, after the signing of the Oslo Accords. In the 1994 Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, it was agreed that "the security fence erected by Israel around the Gaza Strip shall remain in place and that the line demarcated by the fence, as shown on the map, shall be authoritative only for the purpose of the Agreement" (ie. the barrier does not constitute the border). The barrier was completed in 1996.

The barrier was largely torn down by Palestinians at the beginning of the Al-Aqsa Intifada in September 2000. The barrier was rebuilt between December 2000 and June 2001. A one-kilometre buffer zone was added, in addition to new high technology observation posts. Soldiers were also given new rules of engagement, which, according to Ha'aretz, allow soldiers to fire at anyone seen crawling there at night. Palestinians attempting to cross the barrier into Israel by stealth have been shot and killed.

Hamas, a US-designated terrorist organisation, came to power in Gaza through elections held in 2006. It has since imposed authoritarian rule over the territory, clashing with the more moderate Fatah party — which runs the Palestinian Authority that controls parts of the West Bank — and losing much of its popularity.

October 2023
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country was at war with Hamas after the militant group’s forces poured across the border from Gaza on Saturday October 7, killing over 1,000 residents and capturing over 200 hostages.

News since June 15 2024

Tents sheltering displaced Palestinians in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. Picture: AFP

A Palestinian walks among the rubble of damaged buildings, which were destroyed during Israel's military offensive, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Beit Lahia in the northern Gaza Strip, June 12, 2024.
Hamas losing support of Gazans
Weekend Australian
Fatima Abdulkarim, Dov Lieber and Abeer Ayyoub, WSJ
Saturday June 15 2024

Gaza’s war-weary population is growing increasingly frustrated with the fruitless cycles of ceasefire talks, as a new poll of Palestinians shows support for Hamas dwindling in the enclave. Months of diplomacy between Israel, Hamas and mediators from the US, Egypt and Qatar have failed to produce agreement even on the outline of a deal that would stop the fighting and free Israeli hostages in Gaza. The back and forth, as the death toll from the war mounts and the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip deteriorates, is fuelling unprecedented public discontent in Gaza with the militant group that seized power there almost two decades ago.

“Hamas drove the bus to the edge and lost control,” said Omaima Abu Eida, a 58-year-old Gaza resident. “They are not negotiating for us, they are negotiating to stay in power after all this devastation.” Fadi Awad, 32, an electrician and father of five living in a tent in central Gaza, said he was fed up with the negotiations and that Hamas was out of touch. “We hear positive talks, then pull back, then breakthrough, then it all falls apart and with it, our lives,” Awad said. “Our leaders, Hamas, the Arabs, they watch us on TV from their hotels,” he added. “[They] do not know what it’s like to run for your life, hungry and barefoot.”

Support for Hamas as rulers in Gaza has fallen to 46% from 52% over the past three months, according to a survey of more than 700 residents of the enclave. In the West Bank, the trend is reversed, with 71% of Palestinians surveyed supporting Hamas’s continued rule in Gaza, up from 64% in the previous poll, by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research. Hamas didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The Hamas military leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, is calculating that more fighting and more Palestinian civilian deaths work to his advantage, messages he has sent to ceasefire mediators and Hamas colleagues show.

The survey took place at the end of May, before an Israeli operation to rescue four hostages left 274 Palestinians dead and 700 injured at the weekend, according to Palestinian health authorities. The Israeli military said about 100 Palestinians were killed or wounded, including Hamas militants and civilians caught in the crossfire. In response to the rescue operation, Hamas has hardened its negotiating stance, adding new terms that Israel can’t accept to an Israeli proposal presented by President Biden almost two weeks ago.

The militant group said in a statement late Wednesday that it had shown the “required positivity” to reach an agreement that “meets our people’s just demands, including a permanent ceasefire, complete withdrawal from the territory, return of displaced people, reconstruction and a serious prisoner exchange deal.” US national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Thursday that Hamas hadn’t accepted the proposal but instead had responded with an amended proposal. “Our goal is to figure out how we work to bridge the remaining gaps to get to a deal,” he told reporters ahead of the G-7 summit in Italy.

Israel and Hamas have haggled for months over fundamental differences in a familiar playbook that has ended each time in a collapse of talks. Hamas wants a permanent stop to the war and withdrawal of Israeli forces in exchange for the hostages it is holding in Gaza. Israel has said it won’t leave Hamas intact in the enclave and needs its hostages back before the war is declared over.

“People in Gaza have lost faith in Hamas, including many of the movement’s supporters. But people hate Israel more,” said a resident of the enclave. “Following Hamas’s latest response, there is now unprecedented discontent and frustration within Gaza,” Nazir Majali, an Israel-based analyst with Arabic newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat, said Thursday. “The population is increasingly critical of the movement’s leadership, describing its actions as unwise and irresponsible towards the suffering and pain of Gaza’s residents.”

Hamas has typically cracked down on public dissent in peacetime. But with Hamas personnel largely gone from the streets, public criticism of the group inside Gaza is growing, including on social media. At the same time, fear of retribution from Hamas for voicing criticism of the group is diminishing, locals say. Nu’man Hamouda, a 23-year-old accountant, said he has lost nine relatives, several friends, his job and home during the war. “If Hamas and Abbas heard our screams they will be the ones to end this now, unite and say they surrender,” he said, referring to Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority.

Despite Hamas’s waning popularity in Gaza, the latest poll found that it is still by far the most popular Palestinian political party in Gaza and the West Bank. More than two thirds of those polled said they supported the Oct. 7 Hamas-led attacks on Israel. The researchers said that support for the attacks “does not necessarily mean support for Hamas and does not mean support for any killings or atrocities committed against civilians.” The backing comes from the belief among 80% of those questioned that the attacks brought global attention to the Palestinian cause, the researchers said.

The attackers from Gaza on Oct. 7 killed 1200 people in Israel, mostly civilians, according to Israeli authorities. The current level of public criticism of Hamas is unprecedented, stemming from the perception that Hamas is detached from the everyday suffering of Gazans, said Mkhaimar Abusada, associate professor of political science at Al-Azhar University in Gaza and now based in Cairo. While polls show Hamas continues to enjoy popularity among Palestinians in general who see the group as having revived their cause on the global stage, wartime polls don’t really capture the strength of feeling against Hamas among Gazans, Abusada said. “Maybe 80% of Palestinians in the West Bank and diaspora love Hamas, something that gave them honour or dignity, but for someone who lives in Gaza and is paying the price, it’s a totally different story,” he said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is seeking to preserve his coalition and drum up support in his cabinet for a deal, has said that Israel’s reading of the plan presented by Biden is that it would allow Israel to fulfil its goal of destroying Hamas’s government and military capabilities. Those statements have led Hamas and many in Israel to believe Netanyahu isn’t serious about the proposal, which Biden presented as leading to a permanent ceasefire.

An organisation representing a majority of families with relatives held hostage in Gaza said it saw Hamas’s recent response to the ceasefire proposal as a step toward the deal’s acceptance. Polls show a majority of Israelis prefer a deal to release hostages and end the war over continuing hostilities against Hamas.

In Gaza, according to the United Nations, over 1.7 million people are displaced and over a million are facing “catastrophic levels of food insecurity.” Much of the pre-existing healthcare system is either completely or partially out of service, and since early May, thousands of patients who need to be evacuated from the strip for emergency healthcare have been unable to leave, the U.N. said. More than 37,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since the start of the war, most of them civilians, according to Palestinian health authorities. The figure doesn’t specify how many were combatants.

- Saleh al-Batati and Ken Thomas contributed to this article.

Protesters gathered in front of the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament, on Monday, calling for elections and the immediate return of hostages captured in the Hamas-led attack on Oct 7. Credit Abir Sultan/EPA, via Shutterstock
Where Israel Said It Would Pause Fighting During the Day
Israel announced a new policy of avoiding daytime combat along a seven-mile route in eastern Rafah. The pause does not apply to central Gaza, where hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have fled. Source: Israeli military announcement By Leanne Abraham
Extract: Israeli Daytime Pause in Combat Appears to Take Hold in Gaza
New York Times
Patrick Kingsley and Adam Rasgon reporting from Jerusalem
Tuesday June 18 2024

Thousands of Israelis took to the streets of Jerusalem on Monday to call for elections and the immediate return of hostages held in Gaza in a demonstration that followed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent decision to dissolve his war cabinet. Last week, two relatively moderate members resigned from the emergency war cabinet Mr Netanyahu formed in the wake of the Oct 7 Hamas-led assault on Israel, citing differences over the conduct of the war against Hamas in Gaza. Far-right members of Mr. Netanyahu’s coalition called on him to appoint them to the war cabinet, but on Sunday, the prime minister communicated to ministers at a wider cabinet meeting that he was dissolving the body instead.

The Israeli military said on Monday that it had paused operations during daylight hours in parts of southern Gaza, as a new policy announced a day earlier appeared to take hold amid cautious hopes that it would allow more aid to reach residents of the beleaguered territory. Aid workers said they hoped that the daily pause in the Israeli offensive would remove one of several obstacles to delivering aid to areas in central and southern Gaza from Kerem Shalom, an important border crossing between Israel and Gaza. Despite the pause, aid agencies warned that other restrictions on movement, as well as lawlessness in the territory, made food distribution difficult. The policy applies only to a seven-mile stretch of road in southern Gaza, and not to areas in central Gaza to which hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinians have fled since the Rafah invasion began.

When Israel invaded Rafah in early May this year, the move led to the closure of the lone supply route between Egypt and Gaza, at Rafah, and it hindered aid groups’ ability to distribute food and other aid delivered from Israel and bound for southern and central Gaza. Though aid groups had stockpiled food and other supplies before the Israeli push into Rafah, six weeks of fighting there have prompted concerns about hunger in southern Gaza, even as fears of a famine ebbed in the territory’s north.

“Before Rafah, we had free access to Kerem Shalom basically all day, every day,” said Scott Anderson, the deputy Gaza director for UNRWA, the lead United Nations agency for Palestinians. “Now we still have access, it’s just a little more nuanced and difficult to get there,” he added, citing frequent gunfire and explosions in areas traversed by aid trucks, including three times recently when convoys recently came within roughly 100 yards of fighting. “What we had asked for was windows to access Kerem Shalom without having to coordinate so closely with the I.D.F. — to be able to come and go, and the trucks to come and go, with more freedom,” said Mr. Anderson, using the initials of the Israel Defense Forces.

That led to the new Israeli policy of avoiding combat in daylight hours.

The military said on Monday that it had killed more than 500 combatants in Rafah, severely reducing the capacity of two of Hamas’s four battalions in the city. The remaining two battalions were operating at a “medium level,” the military said. Though humanitarian groups welcomed the pause, they said that far more still needed to be done.

Israeli strikes have damaged supply routes in Gaza, hindering the passage of convoys, and crowds of desperate Gazans often intercept trucks in search of food. Cash shortages have prevented many civilians from buying food brought into Gaza by commercial convoys. And as summer approaches, there is a rising need for more clean drinking water, Mr. Anderson said.

In recent weeks, Israel has allowed aid groups far greater access to northern Gaza, where fears of famine were once highest, opening up more access points to the north. But aid groups say that sanitation and health care are still highly inadequate in northern Gaza, even if food supplies have improved.

“We were driving through rivers of sewage everywhere,” said Carl Skau, the deputy director of the World Food Program, an arm of the United Nations that distributes food in Gaza. “We really flooded the place with ready-to-eat food commodities,” he added. “But this progress needs to be sustained and frankly we need to diversify.”

Aaron Boxerman contributed reporting.

Netanyahu says intense fighting against Hamas is ending but war to go on
Report by Ari Rabinovitch; Edit by Angus MacSwan
Sunday June 23 2024

JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that the phase of intense fighting against Hamas in the Gaza Strip was coming to an end but that the war would not end until the Islamist group 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 Iran-backed Hezbollah has escalated.

"After the intense phase is finished, we will have the possibility to move part of the forces north. And we will do this. First and foremost for defensive purposes. And secondly, to bring our (evacuated) residents home," Netanyahu said in an interview with Israel's Channel 14. "If we can we will do this diplomatically. If not, we will do it another way. But we will bring (the residents) home," he said.
Many Israeli towns near the border with Lebanon have been evacuated during the fighting.

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.

Click here for recent news on Iran.

Earlier News

  1. Close of Lebanese war, August 14 2006
  2. PLO Interior Minister resigns in Gaza City, May 14 2007
  3. Annapolis Maryland Peace Conference, November 29 2007
  4. Iraq Iran truce in Tehran, June 14 2008
  5. Markets Spin in New York, October 1 2008
  6. Israel hammers Gaza, December 28 2008
  7. Fault lines in Netanyahu's fractious alliance, April 6 2009
  8. Washington jitters, July 29 2009
  9. Israel agrees to settlement moratorium, November 27 2009
  10. Israel 'wrecks' peace talks, March 12 2010
  11. Gaza naval raid, June 1 2010
  12. Peace or War on settlements, September 20 2010
  13. Arab "spring", January 29 2011
  14. Golan Heights confrontations, June 7 2011
  15. West Bank recognition at UN, September 17 2011
  16. Iran fires missile near Hormuz in Persian Gulf, January 2 2012
  17. Iran's nuclear facilities, February 28 2012
  18. Damascus bomb attack, July 19 2012
  19. Israel prepares for War with Iran, September 18 2012
  20. Hamas leader assassination, November 15 2012
  21. Netanyahu election victory, January 23 2013
  22. Syria's civil war, June 1 2013
  23. Western action in Syria, August 28 2013
  24. Bethlehem separation barrier, December 26 2013
  25. Gaza offensive, June 21 2014
  26. State land announced at Gush Etzion Bethlehem, September 2 2014
  27. Ehud Olmert jail sentence, May 26 2015
  28. Netanyahu announces Golan Heights is Israel's, April 19 2016
  29. Jordan thanks Trump (for tempering Temple Mount crisis), July 28 2017
  30. Israel strikes Syria, April 10 2018
  31. Israel election, April 7 2019
  32. Trump's Peace Plan, January 28 2020
  33. Israel election, March 23 2021
  34. East Jerusalem clashes, May 11 2021
  35. West Bank aid offer, February 9 2022
  36. Israel election, November 1 2022
  37. Protests in Israel and Backdown by Netanyahu, June 30 2023
  38. War in Gaza January 10 2024

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