Bel Trew of The Independent newspaper, reporting from the Israel-Gaza border
US President Joe Biden is expected to visit Israel on Wednesday to show solidarity with the nation while calling on its military leaders to avoid killing civilians ahead of an expected offensive on Gaza.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this weekend that the tens of thousands of heavily armed troops surrounding the border with Gaza were “ready” for war.
But for four days, since the first evacuation order was given to the Palestinians to head south towards Egypt, no major offensive has materialized.
Following another late-night meeting in Tel Aviv, the US secretary of state said Mr Biden would visit on Wednesday to “hear Israel say what it needs to defend its people as we continue to work with the Congress to meet these needs.”
Biden will also travel to Jordan to meet with Arab leaders amid concerns that the fighting could escalate into a broader regional conflict.
It comes as devastating airstrikes continue to kill civilians in Gaza, despite calls from Western leaders for Israel to show “restraint”.
At least 49 Palestinians were killed in an overnight strike that hit homes in Khan Younis and Rafah, Gaza’s interior ministry said Tuesday.
Biden will visit Israel
US President Joe Biden will travel to Israel on Wednesday to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and discuss the looming offensive against Gaza.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, who returned to Israel after a tour of six Arab countries, concluded hours of talks with Mr Netanyahu in Tel Aviv on Tuesday by announcing that Mr Biden would visit Israel.
“The president will hear from Israel what it needs to defend its people as we continue to work with Congress to meet those needs,” Blinken told reporters.
He added that the United States and Israel had agreed to develop a plan to allow humanitarian aid to reach civilians in Gaza.
There are few details, but he said the plan would include “the possibility of creating zones to help keep civilians out of harm’s way.”
General Erik Kurilla, head of US Central Command, also arrived in Tel Aviv for meetings with Israeli military authorities ahead of the planned presidential visit.
Mr Biden will also travel to Jordan to meet Arab leaders amid fears the fighting could escalate into a wider regional conflict.
Tom WatlingOctober 17, 2023 07:37
How big is the Israeli army and what is Iron Dome?
Below you can read our explanation of the size of the Israeli army and how Iron Dome protects citizens from rockets.
Tom WatlingOctober 17, 2023 08:12
Nighttime strikes kill 71 people in southern Gaza, revised toll
At least 71 people were killed in an overnight Israeli airstrike on southern Gaza, according to Al Jazeera Arabic.
Health ministry officials told the media outlet that 71 people were killed while many others were trapped under the rubble.
The strikes hit three areas in southern Gaza, including the main town of Khan Younis, the Rafah area near the border crossing with Egypt and Deir el-Balah.
“Many of those killed are families who were evacuated from Gaza City and the northern part of the Gaza Strip on orders from Israel,” the site states.
The video below, published by Al Jazeera Arabic, appears to show victims of the nighttime attacks being brought to hospitals in body bags.
Tom WatlingOctober 17, 2023 08:02
Biden speaks with Iraqi PM on preventing Middle East conflict
US President Joe Biden held a phone call last night with Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani to discuss preventing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from escalating into a regional conflict.
The two men “discussed ongoing efforts to prevent an expansion of the conflict in Gaza,” said a White House statement, as well as “the importance of addressing the worsening humanitarian crisis in Gaza, in coordination with the UN and regional partners.
Mr. Biden is scheduled to visit Israel and Jordan on Wednesday. He will meet various Arab leaders in Jordan.
Tom WatlingOctober 17, 2023 07:54
Humanitarian crisis in Gaza ‘threatens’ despite dismissal of Israeli ambassador
Foreign Minister Andrew Mitchell said a humanitarian crisis in Gaza was “imminent”, while praising Israel for allowing water supplies to Gaza.
Israeli Ambassador to the UK Tzipi Hotovely was quoted earlier as telling Sky News that there was “no humanitarian crisis”.
Asked about the comments on the same channel, Mr Mitchell said: “A humanitarian crisis is looming, which is why we are all so focused on trying to do everything we can to alleviate it.
“Israel made efforts yesterday to ensure that the water supply was restored, which is obviously a big help.
“I think it was the right thing to do and we must recognize that Israel undertook this humanitarian action. »
Tom WatlingOctober 17, 2023 07:48
We pray they are alive’: No update on 10 Britons still missing after Hamas attacks
Foreign Secretary Andrew Mitchell said he had no news of the 10 Britons missing after Hamas attacks in Israel, telling Sky News: “We pray they are alive.”
Tom WatlingOctober 17, 2023 07:46
At least six Britons killed in Israel and 10 missing, says Rishi Sunak
At least six British citizens have been killed in Israel while ten others are missing, Rishi Sunak told the House of Commons on Monday, calling the Hamas attacks a “pogrom”.
My colleagues Adam Forrest And Bel Trew have more:
Namita SinghOctober 17, 2023 06:15
BBC says it paid ‘special attention’ to coverage of Israel-Hamas conflict
The BBC said it had “carefully reviewed” all aspects of its coverage of the Israel-Hamas conflict following complaints that it was biased against Israel and the Palestinians.
In a statement responding to the complaints, the BBC said: “Particular attention has been paid to all aspects of our media coverage to ensure that we report developments accurately and with due impartiality, in line with the BBC’s editorial guidelines. BBC, which are publicly available. »
The statement, published on the BBC website, added: “We understand that this is an extremely worrying time for people not only in the region, but across the UK and across the world, and we reflected this in our media coverage. »
Read the report to find out why the outlet defended its decision not to describe Hamas as a terrorist organization:
Namita SinghOctober 17, 2023 06:01
Riz Ahmed calls for an end to “indiscriminate bombings against civilians in Gaza”
Actor Riz Ahmed has called for “an end to indiscriminate bombing against civilians in Gaza” amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.
The 40-year-old British actor, nominated for an Oscar for the film The Sound Of Metal, said “staying silent was not an option” as he slammed “morally indefensible war crimes”.
Sharing a lengthy statement on social media, he wrote: “We are told that there are two sides to what is happening in Israel and Palestine. But in my heart, I know there is only one: the side of our humanity.
Holly EvansOctober 17, 2023 06:00
Turkey “discusses the release of civilian hostages with Hamas”
Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan held a telephone conversation on Monday with Ismail Haniyeh, leader of the Palestinian militant group Hamas, a ministry source said, adding that the two men discussed the release of civilian prisoners held by the group.
Last week, a senior Turkish official said Ankara was in talks with Hamas over the release of prisoners. Monday’s call marks the first official announcement of contact between Ankara and Hamas, whose members Turkey has hosted for years.
The source said Fidan and Haniyeh discussed the latest developments in the conflict, as well as “possibilities for the release of civilians” kidnapped from Israel, but did not provide further information.
Turkey has supported the Palestinians in the past, while supporting a two-state solution to the decades-old conflict with Israel. He has offered to mediate the conflict and sent humanitarian aid to Gaza, which is blocked in Egypt as borders remain closed.
Namita SinghOctober 17, 2023 05:42