War in the Middle East: G7 to Israel: Respect human rights and spare Rafah

War in the Middle East: G7 to Israel: Respect human rights and spare Rafah
War in the Middle East: G7 to Israel: Respect human rights and spare Rafah

At their summit in southern Italy, the G7 states strongly condemned the Hamas attack in October. But criticism and warnings were also directed at Israel. The news at a glance.

The group of the seven leading democratic industrial nations (G7) has called on Israel to respect human rights in the Gaza war and to refrain from a major offensive in Rafah. In the final declaration of the G7 summit in southern Italy, the heads of state and government strongly condemned the attack by the Islamist Hamas on October 7, as well as the terrorist group’s strategy of using civilians as a human shield.

Their warnings were also directed at the Israeli leadership. Due to the high number of civilian casualties and the humanitarian distress in the Gaza Strip, the actions of the Israeli army have been criticized internationally – most recently, especially the operations in Rafah on the border with Egypt. Many people had sought protection from the war there.

Israel must respect international law and human rights in its military action against Hamas, the summit paper said. “We are deeply concerned about the consequences of the ongoing ground operations in Rafah for the civilian population and about the possibility of a comprehensive military offensive.” This would have further dire consequences for the civilian population. “We call on the Israeli government to refrain from such an offensive,” warned the G7 group. The US government in particular had put pressure on Israel in recent months to refrain from a large-scale invasion of Rafah.

All parties are also called upon to allow unhindered access for humanitarian aid, the final declaration continued. This is also aimed in particular at the Israeli leadership, which in recent months has refused to open various border crossings to the Gaza Strip for aid deliveries.

G7 support Biden’s peace plan

In the search for a way out of the Gaza war between Israel and the Islamist Hamas, the G7 group of leading democratic industrial nations has also backed the Middle East peace plan presented by US President Joe Biden. “We have jointly supported this plan by the American president and are also jointly happy that the (UN) Security Council has done the same,” said Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Italy. “Now it is important that everyone implements this. We are therefore calling on Hamas in particular to give the necessary approval.”

The three-phase plan presented by Biden initially envisages a complete and unrestricted ceasefire lasting six weeks. During this period, a specific group of hostages are to be released. In return, Palestinians imprisoned in Israel would be released. In the next phase, the fighting would then cease permanently and the remaining hostages would be released. In a final phase, according to the draft, the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip would begin.

“I have presented a draft that is supported by the UN Security Council, the G7 and the Israelis. The biggest obstacle so far is that Hamas refuses to sign, even though it has presented something similar,” said US President Biden at a joint press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. He promised: “We will continue to apply pressure.”

Hamas spokesman: Nobody knows how many hostages are still alive

More than eight months after the attack on Israel, Hamas says it does not know how many of the approximately 120 hostages believed to be in the Gaza Strip are still alive. “I don’t know. Nobody knows,” Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdan claimed in an interview with the US television channel CNN.

Only on Saturday, Israeli soldiers freed four hostages from Hamas in the Gaza Strip during a large-scale military operation. In Israel, numerous people have been taking to the streets for months, demanding that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government make greater efforts to bring all the hostages home. The fate of the kidnapped people also plays an important role in the indirect negotiations between Israel and Hamas about a ceasefire.

“Disgusting”: UN human rights activists condemn Israel’s hostage situation

A number of independent UN human rights experts have condemned Israel’s methods in freeing four hostages in the Gaza Strip as “underhanded” and “repulsive”. The 16 experts accused Israel of arriving at the site of operations in the Nuseirat refugee camp in a humanitarian truck disguised as displaced persons and humanitarian workers. This is prohibited under international law and is a war crime.

The operation killed 274 Palestinians and injured almost 700. Survivors reported seeing corpses and torn body parts, the human rights activists said. While they were happy about the safe return of the four Israeli Hamas hostages, “Israel’s attack on the Nuseirat camp is disgusting in its excessive violence and devastating effects.” The civilian cover was insidious, the experts said. This tactic revealed Israel’s “barbarism” and puts genuine humanitarian workers at even greater risk in the future. The statement was signed by the UN observers for the Palestinian territories, for the right to health and for racism, among others.

Relief supplies destroyed: USA sanctions Israeli extremists

The US government has imposed sanctions on the radical Israeli group Tzav 9. The group is made up of violent extremists who are blocking and damaging aid supplies for the Palestinian civilian population in the Gaza Strip, the US State Department said.

“For months, members of Tzav 9 have repeatedly tried to prevent the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza,” the statement said. “Among other things, by blocking roads on the route from Jordan to Gaza, including in the West Bank – sometimes violently.” The group has looted trucks, set them on fire and thrown life-saving aid intended for men, women and children onto the street.

The provision of humanitarian aid is crucial to reducing the risk of famine in the Gaza Strip, said ministry spokesman Matthew Miller. “The Israeli government has a responsibility to ensure the safety of humanitarian convoys crossing Israel and the West Bank on their way to Gaza.”

As a result of the sanctions, any assets of those affected in the USA are blocked. US citizens or people in the United States are prohibited from doing business with the sanctioned companies and individuals. International business is also usually made significantly more difficult for those affected by the sanctions.

New attacks in Lebanon

At least two women were killed in southern Lebanon following suspected Israeli air strikes. Several other people were injured during the night, eyewitnesses, security circles and state media reported. When asked, Israel’s army said it was investigating the reports. The Lebanese Hezbollah militia said it fired dozens of rockets towards Israel in retaliation.

According to the state news agency NNA, a house in Janta not far from the border was hit. Women and children were reportedly among the victims.

Israeli military operation near Jenin

At least two people have died in an Israeli military operation in the West Bank. The armed forces reportedly attacked a building in a village near the city of Jenin where “two high-ranking, wanted suspects” were located. “The two wanted suspects were eliminated and weapons were found in their possession,” the army said. It remains unclear why the two dead were being sought. Jenin is considered a stronghold of militant Palestinians. The Israeli army carries out repeated raids there.

Minister wants to provide funds for Palestinian terror victims

Israel’s right-wing extremist finance minister Bezalel Smotrich wants to withhold funds amounting to 32.5 million dollars (around 30.3 million euros) from the Palestinian Authority and instead pay them out to Israeli terror victims. The minister wrote on the X platform that he had signed an order to this effect. He spoke of “historical justice”.

The US government criticized the minister’s move as an “extraordinarily misguided decision” that could destabilize the situation in the West Bank. “We have made it clear to the Israeli government that these funds belong to the Palestinian people,” said US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller.

Reports: Court extends forced break for Al-Jazeera

Meanwhile, according to media reports, an Israeli court has approved an extension of the state-imposed broadcasting ban on the Arabic TV channel Al-Jazeera for another 45 days. The responsible district court in Tel Aviv considered it proven that there is a close connection between the Qatari broadcaster and Hamas, as several Israeli media reported.

About a week ago, the judges had already confirmed the government’s closure of the station for 35 days. They considered it proven that the medium posed a threat to state security due to its proximity to Hamas. The Hamas political bureau is also located in the Gulf emirate of Qatar.

Source: Stern

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