War in the Middle East: Israel: Minister Gantz wants to investigate October 7

War in the Middle East: Israel: Minister Gantz wants to investigate October 7

The Gaza war began with the Islamist Hamas terror attack on Israel on October 7. A disturbing hostage video is now intensifying calls for negotiations. The news at a glance.

After the release of disturbing video footage of the kidnapping of five Israeli female soldiers, Israel’s government wants to resume talks on the release of all hostages still held in the Gaza Strip. The war cabinet instructed the negotiating team to continue efforts to release the abductees, Israeli media reported on Thursday night, citing a statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office.

Meanwhile, thousands of people protested in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, demanding the immediate release of the hostages kidnapped during the Hamas massacre on October 7. The families of the kidnapped called on the Israeli government not to “waste a single moment more” and to return to the negotiating table immediately.

Benny Gantz, minister in the Israeli war cabinet, spoke out in the evening in favor of a commission of inquiry to clarify how the terrorist attack on October 7 could have happened. “It is not enough for us to take responsibility for what happened – we must learn from it and act in such a way that it never happens again,” he said in a video message on the X platform.

Egypt threatens to withdraw as Gaza mediator

Meanwhile, Egypt has threatened to withdraw from its role as mediator in the Gaza war between Israel and the Islamist Hamas. Since the conflicting parties are not negotiating directly with each other, Egypt, Qatar and the US are acting as mediators. Continued attempts to cast doubt on Egypt’s mediation efforts and role with false claims would only further complicate the situation in Gaza and the entire region, said Diaa Rashwan, head of the state-run Egyptian Information Service, in a statement posted on social media. This could “lead the Egyptian side to decide to completely withdraw from mediation in the conflict.”

He was reacting to a CNN report that Egyptian intelligence had changed a ceasefire proposal accepted by Israel without consulting the other mediators and added further demands from Hamas. When the Islamists agreed to an agreement on May 6, it did not correspond to the proposal that the other mediators thought had been submitted to Hamas for review, the broadcaster reported, citing three unnamed people familiar with the discussions. The incident caused enormous anger and led to a dead end in the talks.

US Defense Secretary calls on Israel to reach agreement with Egypt

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, meanwhile, spoke with Israeli Defense Minister Joav Galant about the situation at the Rafah and Kerem Shalom border crossings in the south of the Gaza Strip, the Pentagon announced. Austin called on his ally to bring the talks with Egypt about reopening the Rafah border crossing and the flow of aid from Egypt via Kerem Shalom to a conclusion. Rafah is closed after the Israeli army recently took over the Palestinian side. Egypt insisted that supplies could only be resumed when the Palestinian side of the crossing was again under Palestinian control, wrote the “Times of Israel”.

Egypt is also said to have stopped deliveries via Kerem Shalom. After the Israelis took over the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing, the Egyptians did not want to appear to be their accomplice by sending aid via Karem Shalom instead, wrote Politico. Kerem Shalom is about three kilometers from Rafah. Austin emphasized to Galant the urgent need to increase humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip via all available border crossings, the Pentagon said.

According to the US government, Israel’s advance in Rafah has not yet reached the extent it warned its allies about. “Israeli military operations in this area to date have been more targeted and limited and have not included major military operations in the center of densely populated urban areas,” said US President Joe Biden’s security adviser Jake Sullivan in Washington on Wednesday.

Netanyahu on hostage video: Doing everything for their return

The video, which was previously published in Israel and is a compilation of bodycam footage from the terrorists, shows injured, sometimes bloodied young women with their heavily armed kidnappers. The women had been deployed as army scouts in the border area with the Gaza Strip. They are obviously frightened and have their arms tied behind their backs. Terrorists repeatedly shout at them and threaten them. The women’s parents had agreed to the publication of the video in the hope that the horrific images could contribute to the release of their daughters and other hostages as a result of a deal between Israel and Hamas.

Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu, who is under pressure domestically, made a statement after the video was published: “We will continue to do everything we can to bring them home,” he promised, according to the Israeli news site Ynet. “The cruelty of the Hamas terrorists only strengthens my resolve to fight with all my strength for the elimination of Hamas so that what we saw tonight can never be repeated.”

In the unprecedented terrorist attack by Hamas in the Israeli border region on October 7, around 1,200 people were killed and more than 250 others were taken hostage to the Gaza Strip. The attack triggered Israel’s military offensive in the sealed-off coastal area, in which, according to the Hamas-controlled health authority, more than 35,700 people have been killed so far. The count, which is difficult to verify independently, does not distinguish between fighters and civilians.

Galant pushes forward reconstruction of settlements in the West Bank

Meanwhile, Israeli Defense Minister Joav Galant is pushing ahead with the repopulation of four towns in the northern West Bank that were evacuated in 2005. According to media reports on Wednesday, Galant described the lifting of orders that had banned Israelis from entering the area of ​​the former settlements of Ganim, Kadim and Sanur as a “historic step.” Access to a fourth settlement had already been approved.

During the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel conquered the West Bank and East Jerusalem, among other places. Around 700,000 Israelis now live there in more than 200 settlements. In 2016, the UN Security Council described these settlements as illegal under international law and called on Israel to stop all settlement activities. The Palestinians want to establish their own state in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.

Source: Stern

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