Talks about a ceasefire in Gaza are progressing. But tensions remain high: after a fatal attack on US soldiers in Jordan, the USA announced a reaction. The overview.
While talks about a ceasefire in the Gaza war have been “constructive” according to Israel, a deadly attack on US soldiers in Jordan has fueled new fears of a widening crisis in the Middle East. US President Joe Biden threatened retaliation after three US soldiers were killed in a drone strike in Jordan near the Syrian border. “Have no doubt – we will hold all those responsible accountable, at a time and in a manner of our choosing,” Biden said.
According to CNN, pro-Iranian fighters in Syria are said to be responsible for the drone attack on the small Tower 22 base in Jordan on the Syrian border. US Central Command said at least 34 soldiers were injured.
After the deadly attack, British Foreign Secretary David Cameron called on Iran to de-escalate. “We strongly condemn the attacks on US forces by Iran-aligned militias. We continue to urge Iran to de-escalate the situation in the region,” Cameron wrote on the X (formerly Twitter) platform.
Israel calls talks on new hostage deal “constructive”
Meanwhile, Israel described talks in Paris about a possible new ceasefire in the Gaza war and the release of more hostages as “constructive.” But there is still a “significant gap” between the different positions, said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office after a meeting between CIA intelligence chief William Burns and representatives of Israel, Egypt and Qatar. Those involved wanted to meet again this week to continue discussions.
According to information from the New York Times, a draft text from the US government was discussed in Paris, which is based on suggestions from Israel and the Islamist Hamas. According to the plan, the Palestinian extremists would release more than 100 hostages and Israel would halt its military operation in the Gaza Strip for about two months.
During a seven-day ceasefire in November, captive Israeli children and women were exchanged for Palestinians imprisoned in Israel. But just over 130 people are said to still be in the hands of the terrorists. There are said to be two children, 18 women and a 13-year-old, as well as several Germans. The oldest hostage is 85 years old, the youngest one year old.
According to the draft, fighting should be paused for 30 days in a first phase. During this time, Hamas should release female, elderly and injured hostages. In parallel, both sides should negotiate a second phase in which Israeli men and soldiers taken hostage would be released in return for a further 30 days of ceasefire.
France and Japan suspend payments to the UNRWA aid agency
Following other Western states, France and Japan also suspended their payments to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA). No new payment is planned for the first half of 2024 and will decide in due course, together with the United Nations and major donors, what measures should be taken to ensure that all transparency and security requirements are met, the French Foreign Ministry said .
Financial support will not be continued until further notice, the Japanese Foreign Ministry also said in a statement. UNRWA plays an important role in providing vital humanitarian assistance. Against this background, Japan is “extremely concerned” about the alleged involvement of UNRWA employees in the terrorist attack on Israel.
The UN aid agency is suspected that twelve of its employees may have been involved in the major attack by the Islamist terrorist organization Hamas against Israel on October 7th. UN Secretary-General António Guterres announced consequences and a review.
Several countries, including Germany, the USA, Great Britain, Italy and Australia, had already decided to suspend their payments until further notice. The attack killed 1,200 people and took another 250 hostage to the Gaza Strip.
What is important today
After the fatal attack on US soldiers in Jordan, further information about the attack is expected. Fierce fighting continues in the south of the Gaza Strip. According to the Israeli army, there were again “intense fighting”, especially in the area of Khan Yunis in the south of the bombed coastal area. A number of terrorists were eliminated and large quantities of weapons were found. Faced with massive Israeli attacks, thousands of civilians fled the Khan Yunis area towards Rafah on the border with Egypt. Aid organizations repeatedly warn of famine in the blocked area.
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.