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Israel/Gaza MassacreBack
[Published: Thursday May 30 2024]

 Israeli official expects war with Hamas to last until year's end

TEL AVIV, 30 May. - (ANA) - A top Israeli official said Wednesday that he expected Israel's war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip to last through the end of the year, amid continued calls for a cease-fire.
"We may have another seven months of fighting to consolidate our success and achieve what we have defined as the destruction of Hamas' power and military capabilities," national security adviser Tzachi Hanegbi told Israeli public radio.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, during a visit to Moldova, said Israel needed a postwar plan "as soon as possible" and that the absence of such a plan could lead to chaos.
"And I think this underscores the imperative of having a plan for the day after, because in the absence of a plan for the day after, there won't be a day after," Blinken told reporters. "If not, Hamas will be left in charge, which is unacceptable. Or if not, we'll have chaos, lawlessness and a vacuum."
The U.N. official in charge of the Middle East peace process echoed those concerns Wednesday, saying a longer-term political strategy must be part of the current efforts to end the fighting.
"Let me be clear: The political framework and structures we establish now will play a significant role in the success or failure of what follows," Tor Wennesland told a meeting of the U.N. Security Council on the Middle East. "This requires us to plan and act deliberately and thoughtfully, knowing that today's decisions will not only shape the future governance of Gaza, but also determine the trajectory of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict more broadly."
Rafah violence
The Israeli military said Wednesday that three of its soldiers were killed in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where residents reported fresh Israeli attacks and Hamas said it fired rockets at the Israel Defense Forces, or IDF.
The IDF also said it had seized control of the 14-kilometer-long Philadelphi Corridor, a key route that runs the length of the Gaza-Egypt border.
Meanwhile, the United Nations said there had been a 67% drop in the flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza since the IDF began its Rafah offensive on May 6.
"This is due to the closure of the Rafah crossing, the inability to safely and consistently pick up commodities from the Kerem Shalom crossing, and limited deliveries through other entry points," U.N. spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told reporters Wednesday.
Israel disputes that, saying that it is allowing food and other supplies to enter Gaza and that border crossings are open from the Israeli side.
The World Health Organization said only one hospital remains partially functional in Rafah, as casualties rise from the fighting.
The United Nations says more than 940,000 Palestinians have fled Rafah in the past three weeks amid Israel's offensive. Another 100,000 have been displaced by fighting in northern Gaza.
Calls for international action
At the United Nations, Algeria has circulated a draft Security Council resolution calling for an immediate halt to Israel's military offensive in Rafah, in line with a provisional order from the International Court of Justice on May 24.
"We need a unified council, because waiting for the occupying power to voluntarily abide by international law and Security Council resolutions is pointless," Ambassador Amar Bendjama said at Wednesday's council meeting, referring to Israel. "The occupying authority made it clear they will not comply with the orders of the International Court of Justice."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly said Israel needs to carry out the Rafah offensive to achieve its goal of ensuring Hamas cannot operate in Gaza and threaten Israel in the future. Israel says four Hamas battalions remain in Rafah.
Council members expressed an urgent need for Israel to end its offensive, especially in the aftermath of an apparent Israeli airstrike Sunday that killed at least 45 Palestinians sheltering in a refugee camp in Rafah and wounded 200 others.
"Instead of halting immediately its offensive on Rafah — as ordered by the world's highest court — it has bombed people it had displaced while they were sheltering in tents," Palestinian Deputy U.N. Ambassador Majed Bamya told the council.
"When will it be enough? What other level of cruelty must be reached before this assault is finally brought to an end?" he asked.
Israel's military said it was looking into the possibility that Hamas might have stored weapons in the area that could have sparked the fire that tore through the camp.
"Our munitions alone could not have ignited a fire of this size," IDF spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said Tuesday.
The United States has expressed its horror over the deaths and injuries in the camp, saying the images were heartbreaking.
"We have urged Israel to do more to protect innocent Palestinian lives and to undertake a swift, transparent and comprehensive investigation," U.S. Deputy U.N. Ambassador Robert Wood told the council.
"It is important to underline that the most recent strike on the displaced camp in Rafah is not an isolated incident," Slovenia's Deputy U.N. Ambassador Ondina Blokar Drobic said. "There have been several incidents in Gaza, and in one case after the other, we were told that investigations were taking place. However, this council has not received any information or the follow-up."
The Israel-Hamas war was triggered by the October 7 Hamas terror attack on Israel that killed 1,200 people, according to Israeli officials, and led to the capture of about 250 hostages. Israel's subsequent counteroffensive has killed more than 36,100 Palestinians, a death toll that includes both civilians and combatants, according to the Gaza Health Ministry.   - (ANA) -
AB/ANA/30 May 2024 

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