Israel-Hamas War, Day 188: Israel accuses Hamas of 'turning its back' on 'very reasonable offer' for truce

On Thursday, April 11, the Israeli army announced that it had carried out “a precision operation in the center of the Gaza Strip” during the night, “in order to eliminate terrorist agents

Israel-Hamas War, Day 188: Israel accuses Hamas of 'turning its back' on 'very reasonable offer' for truce

On Thursday, April 11, the Israeli army announced that it had carried out “a precision operation in the center of the Gaza Strip” during the night, “in order to eliminate terrorist agents.” According to the Hamas Ministry of Health, Israeli bombings left sixty-three dead in twenty-four hours in the Palestinian territory. “The situation is disastrous and getting worse, the bombings have not stopped and continue,” a witness on site in the Nousseirat sector, in the center of the besieged territory, told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

In its latest report, the Palestinian ministry reports 33,545 people killed in the Gaza Strip since the start of the war. On the Israeli side, 1,170 people, the majority civilians, lost their lives, according to the latest report established by AFP based on official Israeli data.

They had given themselves 48 hours, but Hamas and Israel had not yet responded on Thursday to the truce plan submitted on Sunday by the mediators: under heavy pressure, neither side seems to want to leave the negotiating table first .

The Israeli government on Thursday accused Hamas of “turning its back” on a “very reasonable offer.” In front of the press, the spokesperson for the Israeli government, David Mencer, also criticized “the international pressure exerted on Israel” which, according to him, “has the effect of helping Hamas, of distancing it” from the negotiation.

The plan presented in Cairo by the American, Egyptian and Qatari mediators initially provides for a six-week truce, an exchange of Israeli hostages and hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, an increase in humanitarian aid and the return of residents from the northern Gaza Strip displaced by the war, according to a source within Hamas.

Ultimately, all the hostages would be released as well as an unspecified number of Palestinian detainees. The army would leave Gaza entirely and lift the siege of the territory imposed after Hamas took power there in 2007.

At the heart of Hamas's demands is a permanent ceasefire. Unacceptable at this stage for the Israeli Prime Minister, who continues to repeat that the war will continue until victory over Hamas and the release of all the hostages. Benjamin Netanyahu remains determined to “eliminate” the last battalions of Hamas, grouped according to him in Rafah, where 1.5 million Gazans fleeing the war have found refuge.

“Part of the negotiations is to reach a ceasefire agreement in order to have sufficient time and security to collect definitive and more precise data on captured Israelis,” Bassem Naïm said in a statement on Thursday. one of the members of the Hamas leadership.

According to him, the captives “are in different locations in the hands of different groups. Some of them are under the rubble, killed along with our own citizens.” He added that the movement was negotiating “heavy equipment” to locate them. Mr. Naim stressed that the issue of Israeli hostages was only one issue in the ongoing truce talks.

Threats of retaliation from Iran against Israel once again increased tension in the Middle East on Thursday. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, whose country, an enemy of Israel, supports Hamas, assured Wednesday that Israel would be “punished” after a deadly attack attributed to it on April 1 in Syria. This strike destroyed the Iranian consulate in Damascus and left sixteen dead, including seven members of the Revolutionary Guard Corps, the ideological army of the Islamic Republic, according to an NGO.

“If Iran carries out an attack from its territory, Israel will respond and attack Iran,” Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz responded in Farsi.

Since the start of the war in Gaza more than six months ago, tensions have increased between Iran, Israel and their respective allies. Joe Biden assured his ally Israel of his “unwavering” support, despite tensions between the two countries over the conduct of the Israeli offensive against Hamas, and urged Hamas to “move forward” on the truce offer.

Pro-Iranian groups from Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen carry out attacks against Israeli and American targets to support Hamas. Israel, for its part, has intensified its strikes against Syrian army positions, but especially against pro-Iranian groups, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Iranian military targets in Syria.

“We are in the middle of a war in Gaza, which continues at full speed (…) but we are also preparing to face challenges in other theaters,” Benjamin Netanyahu declared on Thursday. “We are ready for defense and attack,” he assured.

The same day, Russia called on Iran and Israel to exercise “restraint” to avoid “destabilization” of the Middle East, “which is already not very stable and predictable,” the bearer told reporters. -Kremlin spokesperson Dmitri Peskov. The head of German diplomacy, Annalena Baerbock, also called for “restraint” in order to avoid “further regional escalation”.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with his Chinese, Turkish and Saudi counterparts on Thursday, calling on them to pressure Iran against any attacks targeting Israel, the State Department announced on Thursday. “No one has an interest in escalation” in the region and “all countries should urge Iran not to undertake escalation,” State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller told reporters.

In a statement released Thursday, members of the UN Security Council highlighted their “deep concern about the human toll of the conflict, the catastrophic humanitarian situation and the threat of imminent famine.” They called “for the immediate removal of all obstacles to the delivery of large-scale humanitarian assistance to the civilian population and the unhindered distribution of this aid.”

Council members also “took note of Israel’s announcement to open the Erez crossing and allow the use of the Ashdod port for aid to Gaza, but stressed that more must be done to provide the necessary humanitarian aid given the scale of the needs in Gaza”. They insist on the “need to immediately and fully implement this decision in a lasting manner.”

Eight organizations, including Amnesty International France, announced Thursday that they had seized – or were preparing to do so – the Paris administrative court to demand “the suspension of arms deliveries” from France to Israel, an action described as “perfectly exceptional”.

“There is clearly a risk that the weapons and military equipment that France exports to Israel will be used to commit serious crimes against civilian populations in the occupied Gaza Strip,” these NGOs, associations and unions – including Attac – are alarmed. and Solidaires – in a press release.

“In doing so, France is violating international rules relating in particular to the Arms Trade Treaty and risks becoming complicit in violations of international law – including war crimes – and possible genocide,” warn these organizations, which have or will file three separate emergency legal proceedings.