Israeli Airstrikes on Rafah Continue as International Pressure Mounts for Ceasefire

Ongoing conflict in Gaza as Israel launches airstrikes, while Hamas and Israel negotiate a ceasefire amid growing international pressure and a dire humanitarian crisis.

Trim Correspondents
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Israeli Airstrikes on Rafah Continue as International Pressure Mounts for Ceasefire

Israeli Airstrikes on Rafah Continue as International Pressure Mounts for Ceasefire

Israel has carried out further airstrikes on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, while tanks and armored vehicles massed near the border fired into the palestinian territory. The ongoing bombardment comes amid increasing international pressure on Israel and the Hamas militant group to reach a cease-fire agreement.

A senior Qatari official has urged both sides to show "more commitment and more seriousness" in cease-fire negotiations, as Qatar has been a key intermediary throughout the nearly 7-month-long war in Gaza. Despite numerous rounds of talks, none have produced an additional truce. Qatar expressed disappointment in both Hamas and Israel, saying each side has made decisions based on political interests rather than the well-being of civilians.

Recent negotiations centered on a six-week cease-fire proposal and the release of hostages held by both sides. Egypt is intensifying efforts to broker a deal, with discussions between Egyptian and Israeli officials focusing on a multi-phase plan that includes a limited exchange of hostages and the return of displaced Palestinians to their homes in northern gaza.

Why this matters: The growing international pressure for a ceasefire comes as more than half of Gaza's 2.3 million population seeks shelter in Rafah, which is under threat of an israeli ground offensive. The humanitarian situation in Gaza is dire, with the UN warning that famine thresholds will be breached within the next six weeks unless massive food assistance arrives.

Hamas released a new video showing two Israeli hostages, Keith Siegel and Omri Miran, who have been held in Gaza since October 7th. In the video, the hostages plead for their release. Israel's foreign minister, Israel Katz, stated that a planned incursion into Rafah could be suspended if a deal emerges to secure the release of the Israeli hostages. More than 130 hostages are still being held captive in Gaza, including women and children.

Palestinians living in Rafah face constant fear and terror due to the threat of an imminent israeli ground assault. Residents express concerns about repeated displacement and the uncertainty of where they can go if Rafah is invaded. Several families have already been displaced multiple times within the Gaza Strip. "We are living in tents and facing unbearable heat, waiting anxiously for the expected Israeli assault. We fear for our safety and future," said one Rafah resident.

The conflict between Israel and Palestinians continues, with airstrikes by Israel killing over 12 people in Rafah, including an entire family. Since the start of the war, 491 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in the West Bank. The U.S. has been critical of Israeli policies in the West Bank but is postponing a decision on blocking aid to an army unit accused of rights abuses to give Israel more time to address the issue. An international summit in Saudi Arabia next week will focus on the humanitarian situation in Gaza, with senior leaders from Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt set to discuss the ceasefire negotiations.

Key Takeaways

  • Israel continues airstrikes on Rafah, Gaza as ceasefire talks stall
  • Qatar urges both sides to show more commitment in ceasefire negotiations
  • Egypt brokers multi-phase ceasefire plan, including hostage exchange
  • Humanitarian crisis in Gaza worsens, with threat of famine and displacement
  • International summit in Saudi Arabia to focus on Gaza ceasefire negotiations