Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu justified the cancellation of a visit by a high-ranking Israeli delegation to the USA by saying he wanted to send a message to Hamas.

According to his office, the Islamist organization is convinced that international pressure will prevent Israel from freeing the hostages and destroying Hamas in the Gaza Strip following the latest Security Council resolution, Netanyahu said. He wanted to tell the Islamists not to rely on this pressure. This won’t work. “I hope they got the message,” he said.

The Israeli head of government left it open to what extent the cancellation of the delegation visit requested by the US government could help to soften what Netanyahu said was Hamas’ hard line.

With a resolution that is binding under international law, the UN Security Council called for an “immediate ceasefire” in the Gaza Strip on Monday for the first time since the start of the war. The UN body also demanded the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages held by Hamas. The USA waived its right to veto in the vote, thereby helping the resolution, which increases international pressure on Israel, to succeed.

Netanyahu then immediately canceled the Israeli delegation’s visit to Washington. Observers interpreted the move as an angry reaction by the Israeli head of government to the Americans’ voting behavior. “I thought the US decision in the Security Council was a very, very bad move,” said Netanyahu. During the visit, senior US government officials wanted to present Israelis with alternatives to a ground offensive in the city of Rafah in the Gaza Strip, which Washington rejects. Israel’s military actions in the Gaza war are increasingly putting strain on the relationship between the two.

On Tuesday, Netanyahu said the UN Security Council resolution had damaged negotiations with the Islamist Hamas over the release of hostages held in the Gaza Strip. The Islamists rejected a US compromise proposal. A US State Department spokesman denied this. Hamas had already prepared its response to the latest negotiation proposal before the UN vote.

UN rapporteur Albanese remains harshly critical

The UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, Francesca Albanese, is reportedly being threatened because of her sharp criticism of the Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip. But none of this intimidates her, said the Italian lawyer and human rights expert in Geneva.

She has just submitted a report to the UN Human Rights Council accusing Israel of genocide. She called Israel an apartheid state because of its treatment of Palestinians. The Israeli government accuses her of wanting to question Israel’s right to exist. Diplomatic representatives of other countries criticize her strong presence on social and other media, in addition to her role as special rapporteur, in which she always sharply criticizes Israel’s actions.

Asked if the criticism could make her give up, Albanese said in a press conference: “Absolutely not, that will never happen.” The criticism makes her angry, but it only confirms her to continue her work. “Human rights work means amplifying the voices of people who are not being heard,” she said. Their message remains clear: “Nothing justifies what Israel is doing (in the Gaza Strip).” In her report, she called for an arms embargo against Israel and sanctions. She justified this with the fact that, in her opinion, Israel is violating international humanitarian law with the Gaza war, which has now left more than 30,000 dead, for example through the collective punishment of the Palestinians, who no longer have enough to eat and hardly any medical treatment due to the attacks on hospitals can be supplied.

UN special rapporteurs are independent experts. The UN Human Rights Council appoints them to submit reports on specific topics or countries. They work for free and are not part of the United Nations.

Three dead after army operations and confrontations in the West Bank

Meanwhile, three people were killed during Israeli army operations in Jenin in the West Bank. According to the Israeli military, security forces carried out an anti-terrorism operation in the city on Wednesday night. Palestinians hurled explosive devices at the emergency services. They responded with shots, killing one person. The Ministry of Health in Ramallah reported that the 19-year-old who was killed was shot in the chest and thigh.

The Israeli army also announced that it had used an aircraft to attack and kill two more armed Palestinians in Jenin. The Ministry of Health in Ramallah reported two deaths in an Israeli drone strike at the refugee camp in the city. According to the army, Israeli forces also destroyed a vehicle that contained ready-to-use explosive devices. They also arrested two suspects who had previously been in the vehicle.

The Ministry of Health in Ramallah reported a total of four Palestinians injured as a result of operations and confrontations with Israeli security forces in Jenin. The place is considered a stronghold for militant Palestinians. The Israeli army repeatedly carries out raids there.

Dead after shelling in Israeli-Lebanese border region

Several people were killed in mutual shelling on the border between Israel and Lebanon. Seven people were killed in an Israeli attack in southern Lebanon on Wednesday night, the Lebanese state agency NNA reported. According to medics, a man was killed in attacks from Lebanon on northern Israel on Wednesday morning.

Israel’s army said warplanes attacked a military site in the south of the neighboring country during the night. “A major terrorist from the Al-Jamaa al-Islamiya organization, who carried out attacks on Israeli territory, was eliminated at the site,” it said. Several of his companions were also killed. The army spoke of terrorists. The information could not initially be independently verified.

The Sunni organization from Lebanon had previously announced that it would support the Shiite Hezbollah militia’s fight against Israel. The small group is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Lebanese state agency NNA reported that enemy fighter jets had hit a medical center belonging to one of the group during the night. The seven dead are said to be medical staff. Four civilians were also injured. The information could not initially be independently verified.

Hamas military wing calls for march on Jerusalem

Hamas’ military wing released an audio recording calling on Muslims around the world to liberate the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. The leader Mohammed Deif can be heard, but only a shadow can be seen. Neither the authenticity nor the exact date of the recording, which was published on the Al-Aqsa Brigades Telegram channel, can yet be clarified. It called on Muslims in various Arab countries to “march toward Palestine now, not tomorrow.” They should not let borders, state structures and restrictions prevent them from “participating in the liberation of Al-Aqsa,” it said in the 35-second recording.

Deif, along with the Hamas chief in the Gaza Strip, Jihia al-Sinwar, is considered to be the planner of the unprecedented massacre in Israel on October 7th. In a rare message that day, Deif announced a “military operation” against Israel.

The Al-Aqsa Mosque stands on the Temple Mount (Al-Haram al-Sharif) in Jerusalem, the third holiest site in Islam. The complex is also sacred to Jews because two Jewish temples used to stand there. Tens of thousands of Muslims pray there during the fasting month of Ramadan. There were fears that the Gaza war could lead to new violence. Hamas had called for protests. However, so far the prayers have been largely peaceful.