Famine is possibly underway in northern Gaza despite recent aid efforts, a new report warns

RAFAH, Palestinian Territories: Heavy fighting rocked Gaza on Tuesday after the G7 and Arab powers called on both Israel and Hamas to agree to a ceasefire and hostage release deal presented by US President Joe Biden.
Mediator Qatar said it had yet to see statements from either side “that give us a lot of confidence,” but the foreign ministry said Doha was “working with both sides on the proposals on the table.”
Washington said it would push for a U.N. Security Council resolution to back the three-phase timeline that Biden presented as Israel’s plan last Friday, even as the war progressed.
The proposal would halt the fighting for the first six weeks and swap the hostages for Palestinian prisoners before the reconstruction phase of Gaza begins, Biden said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, however, stressed that the fighting should only be temporarily suspended to free the prisoners and that Israel still plans to destroy Hamas.
The prime minister’s office said Israel’s war cabinet would meet in Jerusalem on Tuesday, but no details were given.
A source familiar with the truce negotiations said CIA chief Bill Burns “will return to Doha … to continue working with brokers to reach an agreement between Hamas and Israel on a cease-fire in Gaza and the release of hostages.”
Biden told the Qatari emir that “Hamas is now the only obstacle to a full ceasefire,” and “reaffirmed Israel’s willingness to move forward” with the conditions he laid out last week.
Hamas, which has long ruled the Palestinian territory of 2.4 million people, said on Friday it viewed Biden’s outline “positively”.
But a senior Hamas official in Beirut accused Israel on Tuesday of seeking “endless” ceasefire talks and reiterated the group’s position that it rejects any deal that excludes a permanent ceasefire.
Hamas has maintained that position during months of intermittent talks involving American, Qatari and Egyptian mediators.
Those three countries have now called on both sides to agree to a ceasefire, as have Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan.
The Group of Seven countries also gave their full support, arguing that the plan would also bring much more aid to Gaza and “a lasting end to the crisis, with Israel’s security interests and the safety of Gaza’s civilians secured.”
“We call on Hamas to accept this deal, which Israel is willing to continue, and we call on countries with influence over Hamas to help ensure that it does so,” said the G7, which also includes Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan.
UN Middle East envoy Tor Wennesland also called on both sides to support the proposal, writing on X that “there is no other option – and any delay simply costs more lives every day.”
The war in Gaza raged unabated, with Israel’s military reporting that its fighter jets had struck around “65 terrorist targets” across Gaza and that troops had located tunnel shafts and weapons in the southern town of Rafah.
They also reported that military aircraft and ground forces were attacking targets in the Bureij area of ​​central Gaza.
Four bodies were pulled from a bombed house in the city of Bureij, and three more from a destroyed building in Gaza City, the civil protection agency announced.
The Gaza government’s media office announced that eight policemen were killed in another Israeli attack in Deir Al-Balah.
The White House insisted on Monday that the plan for the truce was Israel’s own and was not concocted by Washington to put pressure on its key ally.
However, in an interview with Time magazine, Biden also hit out at Netanyahu, who leads a shaky right-wing coalition government and is fighting corruption claims in court.
Asked if he believed the Israeli prime minister was delaying the war for political self-preservation, Biden said: “There is every reason for people to come to that conclusion.”
Biden also said that he and Netanyahu are at odds over the need to establish a Palestinian state.
“My biggest disagreement with Netanyahu is what happens after … the end of Gaza? What, what is he coming back to? Do the Israeli forces go back?” he asked.
“The answer is, if that’s the case, it can’t work.”
French President Emmanuel Macron said in a phone call to Netanyahu on Tuesday that President Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority, which rules parts of the occupied West Bank, should “guarantee governance” of Gaza after the war.
Macron said the proposed truce deal should “reopen a credible perspective for the implementation of a two-state solution, the only one capable of providing Israel with the security guarantees it needs and responding to the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinians.”
Netanyahu’s office said he told Macron that Israel’s “fundamental goal,” in addition to securing the release of the hostages, was to eliminate Hamas and that he was determined to do so.
On the political front, Slovenia’s parliament on Tuesday recognized the state of Palestine, after fellow European Union members Ireland and Spain and Norway did so last month in a move that angered Israel.
The war was sparked by an Oct. 7 attack by Hamas on southern Israel that killed 1,194 people, mostly civilians, AFP reported, based on Israeli official figures.
The extremists also took 251 hostages, 120 of whom are still in Gaza, including 41 the military says are dead.
The Israeli military on Monday confirmed the latest deaths of captives, Nadav Popplewell, 51, and three men in their 80s, Chaim Perry, Yoram Metzger and Amiram Cooper.
The Hostage Families Forum group, which has joined a series of mass protests demanding a ceasefire deal, said the men “should return alive to their country and their families.”
Israeli bombing and ground offensives have killed at least 36,550 people in Gaza, including mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.
About 55 percent of Gaza’s structures have been destroyed, damaged or “may be damaged,” according to the United Nations Satellite Analysis Agency.
Aid organization Oxfam said displaced Gazans were living in “horrendous” conditions, with children sometimes going whole days without food and thousands sharing the same toilet.
UN human rights chief Volker Turk also backed the ceasefire plan, saying the war “doesn’t even know how to describe it anymore.”
“It is more than uncertain. This is beyond catastrophic.”

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