Secretary of State Antony Blinken stated on Tuesday that US President Joe Biden will visit Israel on Wednesday for talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and to reiterate Israel’s right to self-defence.
According to Gaza authorities, The Gaza toll has surpassed 2,800 due to Israeli attacks since October 7th, with a fifth of them being minors, and over 10,000 people have been injured, with hospitals running out of supplies. The Gaza Toll Surpasses 2,800 people killed.
The visit was billed by Secretary of State Antony Blinken as a show of “solidarity with Israel” and an “ironclad commitment to its security.”
Biden’s visit will also attempt to avoid a regional conflict with Iran, which warned on Monday of possible “pre-emptive action” against Israel “in the coming hours.”
Palestinians rummage through the rubble of a structure in Khan Yunis, southern Gaza Strip, after an Israeli bombardment.
Repeated shooting along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon in recent days has killed lives on both sides and heightened fears of a regional spread of the war.
Biden’s visit also coincides with frantic diplomatic efforts to alleviate the escalating humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, which has resulted from waves of savage Israeli punitive air assaults on the territory.
Following his visit to Israel, Biden will proceed to Jordan to see Jordanian King Abdullah II, Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas, and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
Thousands of Palestinians have died as a result of Israeli shelling, and international agencies warn that millions more risk diminishing supplies of water, food, and fuel – even before an impending Israeli ground assault.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli military officers have stated their determination to destroy Hamas and eliminate the threat it represents.
Tens of thousands of regular and reserve Israeli troops have gathered near the border, waiting for the order to enter.
According to an Israeli military spokesman, it is unclear how Biden’s visit will affect the timing of an Israeli ground attack against Hamas in Gaza.
Several prominent Hamas members have previously been killed in air attacks, including Osama Mazzini, who the Israeli Air Force said claimed to be a member of a senior council and was “responsible for Hamas’s prisoners.”
Mourners react as the bodies of Palestinians killed in Israeli attacks are laid out at a hospital in Khan Younis, Gaza’s southernmost town.
According to the UN agency supporting Palestinian agencies (UNRWA), the bombing, along with an Israeli order to vacate the north of the Gaza Strip that borders Israel, has pushed more than a million Palestinians to escape their homes for the south of the enclave since the 10-day conflict began.
International humanitarian organisations have appealed for aid to be let into the region as soon as possible, and for Gaza’s border with Egypt to be opened to allow civilians to flee.
According to World Health Organisation regional director Ahmed Al-Mandhari, Gaza is on the verge of a “real catastrophe.”
Washington has supported Israel’s right to respond to Hamas, but it has also advocated for measures to mitigate the damage to ordinary Palestinians caught in the crossfire.
Blinken indicated that there was no firm agreement on humanitarian relief following marathon negotiations with Netanyahu in Tel Aviv.
As he stands on a self-propelled howitzer near Israel’s border with Gaza, an Israeli soldier covers his eyes from the sun.
However, there was a “commitment” to work on a preliminary plan prior to and during Biden’s visit, he said.
“At our request, the United States and Israel have agreed to develop a plan that will enable humanitarian aid from donor nations and multilateral organizations to reach civilians in Gaza,” Blinken said in a statement.
He stated that the two sides were talking about the “possibility of creating areas to help keep civilians out of harm’s way.”
Blinken added that the president of the United States wants to “hear from Israel how it will conduct its operations in a way that minimizes civilian casualties and enables humanitarian assistance to flow to civilians in Gaza in a way that does not benefit Hamas.”
More than one million residents in northern Gaza have been given an ultimatum by Israel to escape ahead of an expected ground offensive.
Entire families, little children, and the elderly have packed their possessions and fled to the southern Gaza Strip, sleeping in any available place, indoors and out.
The typical population of 400,000 has approximately doubled in the southern Gaza city of Khan Yunis.
Thousands more Palestinians have gathered at Egypt’s Rafah border crossing in an attempt to leave.
“The situation is catastrophic beyond what I could have imagined,” said Jamil Abdullah, a Palestinian-Swede who is attempting to flee after being forced to sleep on the street.
“There are corpses in the streets. Buildings are crashing down on their inhabitants. Blood is everywhere. The smell of the dead is everywhere.”
A photograph shot from the Israeli city of Sderot shows a salvo of rockets fired from the Gaza Strip at Israel.
Mortuaries in Gaza were overflowing, according to AFP reporters, and remains wrapped in white body bags were even being stored on an ice cream truck. Gazans, on the other hand, are effectively confined, with bordering Arab countries concerned that if Palestinians leave the Strip, they will be permanently deported. According to the Israeli military, around 500,000 people have been displaced or evacuated from areas between the Gaza Strip and Israel’s northern border with Lebanon. According to Hamas’ military wing, the group is keeping 200 people, with another 50 held by other “resistance factions and in other places.”
A video posted on Hamas’ official Telegram channel alleged to show “one of the prisoners in Gaza” – a young woman speaking Hebrew and undergoing care for an arm injury.
She was kidnapped on October 7th, according to the caption. AFP has not confirmed the footage.
The whole Middle East area, according to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, is “on the verge of the abyss.”
There are grave concerns that the crisis will move to the Palestinian West Bank or Lebanon, entangling regional adversaries further.
Israel announced on Tuesday that it had conducted overnight strikes on Hezbollah “terrorist” installations in Lebanon.
Iran supports Hezbollah and Hamas but denies any participation in the October 7 incident.
It has warned Israel of the dangers of the conflict spreading in the fragile region.
Western governments, particularly Germany, whose chancellor is set to visit Israel on Tuesday, have warned Tehran not to fuel the situation.
“Lebanese officials have a responsibility… to do everything possible to prevent Lebanon from being dragged into” a confrontation with Israel, France’s Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said Monday in Beirut.
However, according to Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, “time is running out for political solutions.”
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