Israel-Hamas war, day 181: Biden-Netanyahu interview, open letter from British lawyers

The Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip, controlled by Hamas, announced on Thursday April 4 a new toll of 33,037 people killed in the enclave since the start of the war between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement on October 7

Israel-Hamas war, day 181: Biden-Netanyahu interview, open letter from British lawyers

The Ministry of Health in the Gaza Strip, controlled by Hamas, announced on Thursday April 4 a new toll of 33,037 people killed in the enclave since the start of the war between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement on October 7 . In twenty-four hours, 62 additional deaths were recorded, according to a press release from the ministry, which reported 75,668 wounded in nearly six months of war.

The Hamas attack on October 7 in southern Israel left at least 1,160 dead, mainly civilians, according to a new count by Agence France-Presse based on official data. According to Israel, more than 250 people have been kidnapped and 130 of them are still hostages, including 34 dead, in the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli army said on Thursday that it was continuing its operations in the central Gaza Strip as well as in Khan Younes, in the south of the territory.

During a telephone interview with Benjamin Netanyahu – the first since March 18 – the American president suggested, for the first time, that the United States could impose conditions on its support for Israel. Mr. Biden “clearly stated that U.S. policy toward Gaza will be determined by our assessment of the concrete steps Israel has taken” to protect civilians, the White House reported in a statement.

“President Biden stressed that the strikes against humanitarian workers and the general humanitarian situation [in the Gaza Strip] are unacceptable,” reports the White House, which adds that the American president, during this call, “insisted on the need for Israel to announce and implement a series of specific, concrete and measurable measures to address civilian harm, humanitarian suffering and ensure the safety of humanitarian workers.”

Mr Biden also urged Mr Netanyahu to “immediately reach an agreement” for an “immediate ceasefire” in the Gaza Strip. US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby then said the United States was calling for a "dramatic increase" in humanitarian aid entering the Palestinian enclave, also acknowledging a "growing dissatisfaction" with to the Israeli Prime Minister.

Relations between the two allies have been strained since Washington allowed the vote by the UN Security Council at the end of March of a resolution calling for an "immediate ceasefire", rejected by Israel and without effect on field. However, the United States reportedly authorized the transfer of thousands of bombs to Israel on Monday April 1, report The Washington Post and CNN, citing several American officials. According to The New York Times, Jill Biden asked her husband to end the conflict in the Gaza Strip.

In a letter published by the daily The Guardian on Wednesday, 613 British jurists – lawyers, legal academics, former members of the judiciary, including three former judges of the British Supreme Court such as its former president Brenda Hale – demand the immediate suspension of arms sales to Israel, given the “clear risk [that these exports] could be used to commit serious violations of international humanitarian law.”

Denouncing a violation of international law and further increasing pressure on the government after the death of three British humanitarian workers, they believe that the situation in the Gaza Strip and the declarations of senior Israeli officials demonstrate a “serious risk of genocide” in the territory. , and remind the British government of its obligations to “avoid” such a crime.

Two British intelligence figures, former national security adviser Peter Ricketts and former head of MI6 (foreign intelligence) Alex Younger, have taken a position in the national debate, believing that exports could constitute a lever to convince Israel , and therefore its American ally, to review its strategy in this deadly conflict.

London toughened its tone after the strike, "unintentional" according to Israel, which killed seven humanitarian workers including three British while they were delivering food to the besieged Palestinian territory and threatened with famine.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Thursday released the findings of an investigation into an October 31 Israeli strike in the Gaza Strip. At least 106 people, including 54 children, were killed in this operation against a six-story apartment building, among the deadliest for civilians since the start of the offensive launched by Israel.

HRW reports that it "found no evidence that a military target was near the building at the time of the attack, meaning it was an [arbitrary] strike and illegal under the laws of war,” says the NGO in a press release.

For its investigations, carried out from January to March, HRW explains that it spoke by telephone with 16 people and analyzed satellite images, 35 photographs and 45 videos. According to witnesses, on October 31, at least 350 people were in the building, located south of the Nousseirat refugee camp, and at least 150 of them had taken refuge there after fleeing their homes elsewhere in the strip of Gaza, indicates the NGO.

None of the witnesses interviewed said they had received or heard of any warning from Israeli authorities ordering them to evacuate the premises before the attack, according to the same source.

The Israeli army announced on Thursday its decision to temporarily suspend the leave of "combat units", in a context of war in the Gaza Strip and renewed tension with Iran. The army also called up additional reservists for its air, intelligence and civil defense units.

This announcement comes as on Monday the consular annex of the Iranian embassy in Damascus was destroyed by strikes attributed to Israel, which left 16 dead. Iran has promised a response and accused Israel, which has not confirmed its responsibility.

This attack, one of the most significant against Iranian interests in Syria, has reignited fears of an escalation of tensions already high in the region. So far, Tehran has refrained from direct action in the conflict between Israel and Hamas, while supporting strikes by its allies on Israeli or American targets.

Polish authorities on Thursday denounced statements by Israel's ambassador to Poland after the Israeli strike that killed seven WCK employees, including 35-year-old Polish citizen Damian Sobol.

Israeli Ambassador Yacov Livne gave an interview Wednesday evening to the Polish YouTube channel Kanal Zero, in which he refrained from offering a clear apology for the strike, despite a repeated request from the journalist. “In any legal system, we make a distinction between an intentional crime, a war crime or any other crime, and an accident that can happen,” he said.

On Thursday, Polish President Andrzej Duda called the remarks “unfortunate, in short, scandalous.” Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk also denounced the ambassador's behavior on Thursday: "If an ambassador chooses to make public appearances in our media, he should take the opportunity to offer a simple apology" like any man would do it.

The Israeli ambassador was summoned for talks at the Polish Foreign Ministry, scheduled for Friday, to discuss Israel's "responsibility" for the aid worker's death. Polish authorities also asked Israel to compensate the victim's family.

Five Israeli human rights organizations came on Thursday to demand that the Supreme Court require the Jewish state to bring more humanitarian aid into the war-ravaged Gaza Strip. The Court heard the arguments of the associations and then those of the State.

She gave the authorities until April 10 to submit additional documents regarding her actions (quantity of aid needed, crossing point schedules, number of trucks, number of requests and refusals, entry process, etc.), we learned from the Court. The NGOs will then have five days to react to the State's response.

Israel assures that it does not put any obstacle to the arrival of aid in the Palestinian territory, but international humanitarian organizations as well as the United Nations have several times denounced restrictions as well as the administrative burden imposed on entry and distribution. of foodstuffs.