Prime Minister Netanyahu has reaffirmed his commitment to a ceasefire as Blinken plans to discuss Biden’s proposal with the Israeli opposition on Tuesday.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Tuesday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had “reaffirmed his commitment” to a Gaza ceasefire proposal during their meeting in Jerusalem.

“I met with Prime Minister Netanyahu last night and he reaffirmed his commitment to the proposal,” Blinken said, adding that Hamas’s welcoming of a UN vote on the US-drafted ceasefire resolution was a “hopeful” sign.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will hold talks with key Israeli opposition figures on Tuesday, a day after he arrived in the country to push a ceasefire plan for the war in Gaza.

His visit is part of a drive by the United States to secure a ceasefire in the eight-month war between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas.

Blinken will meet Benny Gantz on Tuesday, a centrist and former army chief who quit Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government on Sunday, as well as opposition leader Yair Lapid.

On Monday, the UN Security Council adopted a US-drafted resolution supporting a six-week ceasefire plan.

The United States had been widely criticized for blocking several previous UN draft resolutions calling for a ceasefire.

US ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said that the Security Council had “voted for peace.”

Hamas said on Monday that it “welcomes” the vote and reaffirmed its willingness to cooperate with mediators.

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas described the UN vote as a “step in the right direction.”

Road to Calm?

After a stopover in Egypt, where he called on regional governments to “press Hamas to say yes” to the ceasefire proposal, Blinken met Netanyahu in Jerusalem on Monday.

On his eighth tour of the region since the start of the war, Blinken is also expected to stop in Jordan and Qatar.

Read more


In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces carried out fresh strikes early on Tuesday, with hospital sources reporting several Palestinians killed in the center of the territory.

Earlier, witnesses in north and central Gaza reported helicopter gunfire and naval shelling hitting Gaza City, and air strikes on Deir al-Balah.

Street battles raged in the southern areas of Rafah and Khan Younis, where bodies were seen lying in the streets and Palestinian civilians were fleeing, an AFP correspondent said.

The Israeli military said on Tuesday that four soldiers had been killed in fighting in southern Gaza the previous day.

The soldiers were “killed in fighting in south Gaza” on Monday, the military said in a statement, without elaborating on the circumstances of their deaths.

Israeli public broadcaster Kan said that the soldiers were killed in an explosion in a building in Rafah.

On Monday evening, Hamas said that its fighters had “booby-trapped” a building in the Shabura refugee camp in Rafah.

The Times of Israel reported that seven soldiers were also wounded in the blast, five of them seriously.

Jordanian Aid Summit

Jordan is hosting a summit on Tuesday on the urgent humanitarian response for Palestinians – where the United Nations warned of looming famine.

With much of the territory cut off, the vast majority of Gazans rely on sporadic aid deliveries by land, sea and air.

The summit seeks to bring together leaders and aid officials to “determine means for enhancing the international community’s response to the humanitarian disaster in the Gaza Strip,” according to the Jordanian royal court.

The conference is jointly organized by the UN, Jordan and Egypt on the Dead Sea coast and will be attended by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, as well as Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas.

Aid to Gaza has been severely restricted, particularly since the closure in May of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt – the main conduit for humanitarian and fuel deliveries – after Israeli troops seized the Palestinian side.

Jordan’s Foreign Ministry said that the conference would discuss “preparations for early recovery, and seek commitments for a collective and coordinated response to address the humanitarian situation in Gaza.”

‘Real Victory’

Netanyahu suffered a major political blow when Gantz and a second member of his war cabinet quit on Sunday.

Gantz criticized Netanyahu for failing to outline a post-war governance plan for Gaza, and said that the prime minister “is preventing us” from a “real victory.”

Read more


Israel’s parliament voted on Tuesday to revive a controversial law to conscript ultra-Orthodox Jews, which is backed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but criticized by his defense minister.

Lawmakers voted 63 to 57 to press ahead with the legislation, which foresees the gradual and limited increase in ultra-Orthodox Jews doing military service.

The majority of Israeli Jews must serve in the military, but the ultra-Orthodox community has been exempt in favor of religious study.

With the military currently fighting a war in Gaza and engaged in daily cross-border fire with Lebanese Hezbollah, the reform was criticized by Defense Minister Yoav Gallant as not going far enough.

Netanyahu has courted for years Orthodox and religious nationalist allies, who sit in his coalition government.

Opposition leader Yair Lapid accused the premier of pushing forward with a conscription law without “any value” in order to hold on to power.


After a rescue operation on Saturday, Israelis celebrated the return of the four captives.

Palestinians condemned a toll from the rescue operation that health officials in the territory said killed 274 people and wounded almost 700, many of them women and children.

Among the hostages declared dead by the Israeli military was 80-year-old Yoram Metzger. His wife Tami Metzger blames her own government for his death.

“If the government had stopped the war,” he would still be alive, said Metzger, whose husband remained in Gaza after her own release from captivity in November.

With AFP