The UN calls for a truce in Gaza, which received the first aid convoy

A first convoy of humanitarian aid entered the Gaza Strip yesterday, before the UN called for a “humanitarian ceasefire” in the conflict unleashed two weeks ago by the bloody attack by the Palestinian movement Hamas against Israel.

The first twenty trucks crossed through the Rafah post, on the border with Egypt, and entered the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian enclave that has been under siege since Israel declared war on the Islamist group Hamas, which governs this territory. The gate to the Rafah crossing was closed after the trucks arrived, witnesses said.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said that Gazans need “much more” and called for a “humanitarian ceasefire” to “end the nightmare” during a peace summit in Cairo, attended by Arab and Western leaders.

However, the Israeli army announced at night that it intends to “intensify” the bombing of Gaza, where 2.4 million inhabitants live without food, fuel, water or electricity, and where Hamas maintains several combat and launch positions. rockets.

The Palestinian group launched a bloody terrorist attack in Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip on October 7 in which more than 1,400 people died, most of them civilians who were shot, burned alive or mutilated.

The retaliatory bombings launched by Israel against this Palestinian enclave killed at least 4,385 people, mostly civilians, according to the latest balance from the Ministry of Health of Hamas, which has controlled this territory since 2007.

Discrepancies. As the conflict enters its third week, humanitarian officials echoed Guterres’ call to increase aid delivery. The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, yesterday celebrated the “first step” taken “to alleviate the suffering of innocent people” in Gaza.

The head of US diplomacy, Antony Blinken, also welcomed the sending of aid and urged “all parties” to keep the Rafah crossing open.

More than a hundred trucks with humanitarian aid are waiting to enter the Gaza Strip, and dozens of people with foreign passports are waiting on the Palestinian side to cross into Egypt. Israel and Egypt negotiate.

The UN also reiterated its call for “the immediate and unconditional release” of all those kidnapped by Hamas, following the first release, on Friday, of two American hostages thanks to Qatari mediation. The Palestinian Islamist group holds around 200 people captive.

Diplomatic efforts to avoid a regional escalation are also intensifying, such as with the summit organized by Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al Sisi.

However, the negotiations stumbled on two points: the Arab countries refused to sign the “clear condemnation of Hamas” and the “call for the release of the hostages” demanded by the Westerners, Arab diplomats who requested anonymity explained to AFP. .

Thus, the meeting concluded without a joint statement. The Egyptian presidency limited itself to publishing a statement denouncing that “the international community has revealed in recent decades its inability to find a just and lasting solution to the Palestinian question.”

At the summit, Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas called for a “ceasefire” between Israel and Hamas and also a “solution” to the 75-year Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“We will not leave” the Palestinian lands, declared Abbas, a position supported by Egypt and Jordan, in response to the evacuation of Gazans to southern Gaza requested by Israel.

At least a million Gazans have had to move within the enclave to flee the bombings, according to the UN.

Intensify bombing. Israeli troops remain concentrated around Gaza in view of a ground offensive, and yesterday the Israeli army indicated that its intention is to increase its attacks.

“Starting today we will intensify the bombing,” announced General Daniel Hagari, spokesman for the Israeli army. Previously, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant set the goal of the war to “end” Israel’s “responsibilities” in Gaza.

Among the possible scenarios, Israel considers “handing over the keys” of the Strip to a third country, such as Egypt, indicated a source from the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

“I am afraid (…) that this will cause a second nakba (catastrophe in Arabic),” Omar Ashur, a retired general, said worriedly in Gaza, referring to the expulsion of some 760,000 Palestinians after the creation of the State of Israel in 1948.

The United States deployed two aircraft carriers to the eastern Mediterranean to deter possible interventions by Iran or the Lebanese group Hezbollah, both allies of Hamas.

In the early hours of Saturday, the Israeli army announced that it attacked Hezbollah targets in southern Lebanon. Two Hezbollah fighters were killed in the attack, the Islamist movement said. In Israel, two Thai farmers were injured, according to emergency services.

Tension is also high in the occupied West Bank, where another person was killed overnight in clashes with the Israeli army near Jericho. At least 84 Palestinians have died since the start of this war in the West Bank, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

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