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War in the Middle East: Hamas demands Israel commit to ceasefire

War in the Middle East: Hamas demands Israel commit to ceasefire

Joe Biden has presented a roadmap for a ceasefire – now it’s Israel and Hamas’ turn. The news at a glance:

Hamas says it is sticking to its demand that it will only agree to an agreement to end the Gaza war if it includes a permanent ceasefire. In addition, the Israeli military must completely withdraw from the Gaza Strip, a representative of the terrorist organization stressed at a press conference yesterday evening in the Lebanese capital Beirut. If the Israeli side does not agree to these points, no agreement could be reached. Hamas is waiting for the Israelis’ response. Representatives of Hamas have previously made similar demands several times.

US President Joe Biden surprisingly presented details of a draft agreement on Friday to end the war in three phases. This initially provides for a complete and unrestricted ceasefire of six weeks. During this period, a certain group of hostages would be released. In return, Palestinians imprisoned in Israel would be released. In the next phase, the fighting would then be permanently stopped and the remaining hostages released. In a final phase, according to the draft, the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip should begin.

Neither Israel nor Hamas have officially approved or rejected the plan. According to information from Cairo, Egypt’s intelligence chief Abbas Kamel traveled to Qatar on Wednesday for mediation talks. He is expected to meet with Qatari Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani and the head of the US foreign intelligence service CIA, William Burns.

For months, Qatar, the United States and Egypt have been indirectly mediating between Israel and Hamas to achieve a ceasefire and an exchange of hostages for Palestinian prisoners.

US port off Gaza may be repaired in a few days

The Pentagon believes that the temporary pier set up by the US military on the coast of the Gaza Strip will soon be able to resume operations. “We hope to be able to anchor the pier in Gaza again by the end of the week,” said US Defense Department spokeswoman Sabrina Singh. As soon as that happens, aid supplies can be brought back to the Gaza Strip “pretty much immediately.”

The pier anchored on the coast was badly damaged in rough seas at the end of May, just a few days after the provisional harbor was completed. Strong waves caused four US military ships involved in the mission to break loose from their moorings. There had also been problems with the distribution of aid supplies. The Pentagon said at the time that some trucks had been “intercepted.”

Thousands of national-religious Jews march through Jerusalem

Amid the tense situation, thousands of national-religious Jews marched through Jerusalem. The annual “March of Flags”, which celebrates the conquest of East Jerusalem during the Six-Day War in 1967, also passes through Palestinian neighborhoods. Critics in Israel accuse the organizers of unnecessarily provoking the population by marching through mainly Palestinian neighborhoods in Jerusalem’s Old City. Large police presence separated participants and Palestinians in the Muslim quarter of the Old City, Israeli media reported.

Participants in the march attacked a group of journalists reporting for Arab and Israeli media. Among others, demonstrators attacked an Israeli reporter from the liberal newspaper “Haaretz” who had stood in front of other colleagues to protect them. Another “Haaretz” journalist reported this on Platform X. The police announced that they had arrested five people suspected of attacking the journalists.

The march’s participants, who are mainly young people, are celebrating the “unification” of Jerusalem. Before the Six-Day War, East Jerusalem, including the Old City and the Western Wall, the most important Jewish religious site, was administered by Jordan. Above the Western Wall rises the Temple Mount, on which stands the Al-Aqsa Mosque, one of the most important religious sites for Muslims. In the past, the march has been the scene of violence against Palestinians during riots by ultra-nationalist youths.

Reports of new operation against Hamas in central Gaza

Meanwhile, according to media reports, the Israeli army has begun a new operation in the refugee district of Al-Bureij in the central part of the Gaza Strip. In addition to the air force, ground troops are also involved. The military was already in the area at the beginning of the year, but has since withdrawn, reported the Jerusalem Post.

The Islamist Hamas is still strong in the densely populated area. Israel has set itself the goal of militarily destroying the terrorist organization. The army announced that a Hamas facility in Al-Bureij, a school belonging to the UN Palestinian relief agency UNRWA, had been attacked with a drone. The Islamists had planned numerous attacks against Israeli civilians and soldiers from there. The information could not be independently verified.

Court allows Al Jazeera closure

According to local media, a court in Israel has confirmed the state-ordered, temporary closure of the Arabic TV station Al-Jazeera. The responsible district court considered it proven that there was a close connection between the Qatari station and the Islamist Hamas, as several Israeli media reported. In the judges’ view, the station poses a threat to the security of the state. One of the reasons for this is that the station communicates the positions of Israeli soldiers in real time and spreads hate speech.

With its decision, the court partially granted a request by Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi, who had initially requested a closure for 45 days. The court reportedly justified the shortening of the period to 35 days by saying that Al Jazeera had not been granted a hearing before the request.

The channel was shut down in Israel at the beginning of May on government orders. Cable and satellite providers took the channel off the air and its websites were blocked. Israel’s government considers the channel a “mouthpiece for Hamas.” Al-Jazeera rejected accusations of bias, condemned the decision and announced that it would take action against it.

Circles: Egypt’s intelligence chief travels to Qatar

According to sources, Egypt’s intelligence chief Abbas Kamel has traveled to Qatar to take part in mediation talks. He will meet with Qatar’s Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, among others, informed sources reported at Cairo airport on Wednesday. The head of the US foreign intelligence service CIA, William Burns, is also said to be taking part in the talks.

UN: Desalination plants shut down due to fuel shortage

According to the UN, vital sea water desalination plants in the Gaza Strip have been shut down due to a lack of fuel for power generators. “People do not have enough water,” the UN Palestinian relief agency warned on X. “Survival is a struggle.”

Families and children have to travel long distances in the heat to get water. The organization called on the Israeli authorities to remedy this situation immediately. Israel announced in April that a central water pipeline from Israel to the Gaza Strip had been repaired after it was damaged in the war against Hamas.

Israel agrees with USA to purchase 25 fighter jets

Israel has agreed with the USA to buy 25 more F-35 (Adir) fighter jets. This is the third squadron of fighter jets of this type to be integrated into the Israeli armed forces, the Ministry of Defense announced. This will give the Israeli Air Force 75 of these stealth jets from the US manufacturer Lockheed Martin. Delivery to Israel is to begin in 2028, with a delivery rate of three to five fighter jets per year. The cost is around three billion dollars (around 2.8 billion euros).

Israeli Defense Minister Joav Galant said the delivery of the third squadron demonstrated “the strength of the strategic alliance between Israel and the United States.” The capabilities of the fighter jets would have a “decisive impact” on nearby and more distant conflict zones. Galant spoke of a “strong message to our enemies throughout the region.”

Source: Stern

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