Israel-Hamas war, day 141: new Israeli bombings before discussions in Paris on a truce

New Israeli bombings left around a hundred dead overnight in the besieged and devastated Gaza Strip, Hamas announced on Saturday February 24, before discussions in Paris on a truce in the presence of an Israeli delegation

Israel-Hamas war, day 141: new Israeli bombings before discussions in Paris on a truce

New Israeli bombings left around a hundred dead overnight in the besieged and devastated Gaza Strip, Hamas announced on Saturday February 24, before discussions in Paris on a truce in the presence of an Israeli delegation.

A delegation led by Mossad chief David Barnea arrived in Paris on Friday hoping to “unblock” talks for a new truce, according to an Israeli official. Mr. Barnea met his American and Egyptian counterparts and the Prime Minister of Qatar in Paris at the end of January to discuss a new agreement.

According to a Hamas source, the plan then provided for a six-week pause in the fighting and the release of 200 to 300 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for 35 to 40 hostages held by Hamas. Talks also took place this week in Egypt.

According to Israel, 130 hostages – 30 of whom are believed to have died – are still being held out of some 250 people kidnapped in Israel and taken to Gaza on October 7, 2023. Around a hundred were released following a one-week truce observed at the end of November in exchange for Palestinian prisoners.

In Israel, families of hostages called for a vast mobilization on Saturday to demand their release. “Just take them home. We can’t stay here any longer, we’ll end up collapsing,” said Avivit Yablonka, sister of a hostage who comes every week to a Tel Aviv square that has become a rallying point for families.

More than four months after the start of the war, where the United Nations (UN) fears “a threat of mass famine” due to lack of sufficient supplies of water and food. Concern is growing every day in Rafah, at the southern end of the Palestinian territory, where there are at least 1.4 million people, most of them displaced, threatened by a large-scale operation by the Israeli army.

On Friday, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, denounced the "blockade and siege imposed on Gaza" by Israel which could "represent the use of starvation as a method of warfare" which is, he recalled, a “war crime.”

The Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip's health ministry announced that it said 29,606 people have been killed in the enclave since the war began on October 7, 2023.

Hamas commandos infiltrated from Gaza carried out an attack of unprecedented violence in southern Israel that day, during which at least 1,160 people, mostly civilians, were killed, according to a count by the Agence France-Presse based on Israeli data.

After the attack, the Jewish state vowed to wipe out the Islamist movement, which took power in Gaza in 2007 and which it considers, like the United States and the European Union, to be a terrorist organization.

The United States opposed to a “reoccupation of Gaza”

After carrying out a bombing campaign, the Israeli army launched a ground offensive in the northern Gaza Strip on October 27, and its soldiers advanced as far as Khan Younes, in the south of the enclave, where concentrate the fighting.

Determined to continue the war until the elimination of Hamas, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented Thursday a “post-war” plan which plans to keep the Gaza Strip, occupied from 1967 to 2005, under “security control” of Israel.

This plan was immediately rejected by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. It also sparked a strong reaction from the United States, Israel's main ally, whose head of diplomacy, Antony Blinken, reaffirmed Washington's opposition to any "Israeli reoccupation" of Gaza.