In view of the Israeli military operation in the southern city of Rafah in the Gaza Strip that has been ongoing since the beginning of the week, the Islamist Hamas has raised the possibility of an impact on the indirect talks about a ceasefire. The Israeli government is using the negotiations, which are being mediated by Egypt, Qatar and the US, as a “fig leaf to attack Rafah and the border crossings and to continue its war of annihilation against our people,” said a statement released by the Palestinian organization.

On Tuesday night, Israel launched a controversial military operation against the city on the border with Egypt, where more than a million Palestinian internal refugees are said to be staying. So far, the Israeli army has mainly attacked the eastern outskirts and occupied the area around the border crossing that leads to Egypt. The large refugee gatherings and camps have not yet been affected by the military operations. However, there are fears that this could soon change.

For several months, Israel and Hamas have been indirectly negotiating a temporary ceasefire and an exchange of Israeli hostages in Hamas’ violence against Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons. The Israeli side now bears “full responsibility” if the talks fail, the Hamas statement said. The organization’s leadership will consult with its Palestinian allies “to reconsider our negotiating strategy.”

Observers saw the statement as a possible opening step for Hamas to withdraw from indirect talks with Israel. The Gaza war was triggered by the unprecedented massacre with more than 1,200 deaths that terrorists from Hamas and other groups carried out in Israel on October 7th.

Threats from Washington to Israel are reflected

The US, Israel’s most important ally, is strongly warning the country against such a move. US President Joe Biden even threatened to restrict arms deliveries. Germany is also critical of a possible major Israeli offensive in Rafah. According to their own statements, the Israeli leadership wants to destroy the last battalions of the Islamist Hamas believed to be there in Rafah.

But Israel does not want to be dissuaded from its war course in the Gaza Strip by increasing pressure from its closest ally, the USA. “If we have to stand for ourselves, then we will stand for ourselves,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a video message.

Army: Four Israeli soldiers killed in Gaza city

According to the Israeli armed forces, four soldiers were killed in fighting in the northern Gaza Strip. All four were 19 years old, the army said in a statement. They apparently died when an explosive device exploded in Al-Saitun, a district of the city of Gaza, the Kan broadcaster reported.

The army had recently confirmed fighting with the Islamist Hamas militia in Al-Saitun, which had been going on for the past few days. Hamas terrorists were killed and the infrastructure they used was destroyed, the armed forces said in a statement. The soldiers found Hamas weapons and ammunition in a school building. The information cannot yet be independently verified.

Hamas attacks border crossing again with mortar shells

Hamas again attacked the Israeli border crossing at Kerem Shalom. The terrorist organization’s military arm, the Qassam Brigades, claimed the attack with mortar shells on Telegram. It is Hamas’ fourth attack on Kerem Shalom since Sunday.

The Israeli agency responsible for Palestinian affairs, Cogat, wrote: “Hamas has just fired on Kerem Shalom, the main crossing point for humanitarian aid into Gaza.” Cogat accused Hamas of doing “everything to prevent aid from reaching the people of Gaza.”

In recent days and weeks, Israeli demonstrators have repeatedly tried to block aid deliveries to the Gaza Strip. They argue that the supplies allow Hamas to continue fighting in the war against Israel. It is absurd to provide supplies for the enemy.

Kerem Shalom was only reopened on Wednesday after being closed for several days. It was closed after Hamas’ rocket attack on Sunday that killed four Israeli soldiers.

Meanwhile, the Israeli army is training for the possibility of a major war with its northern neighbor Lebanon. The military said that during the week reservists from a brigade held various exercises “to improve readiness on the northern border.” The aim is operational readiness and preparation “for various combat scenarios”.

The training, which took place in the Galilee in the north of the country, simulated combat situations in Lebanon. Infantry and armored troops trained together with soldiers from logistics and communications units to work together in difficult terrain. Other troops also practiced with the Air Force to “supply ground troops in enemy territory quickly from the air.”

Fuel emergency in the Gaza Strip: Hospitals on the verge of collapse

Humanitarian aid workers in Rafah are now reporting devastating conditions. “I have been working in large-scale humanitarian operations for almost 30 years and have never been involved in a situation as devastating, complex and unpredictable as this one,” said Hamish Young, emergency relief coordinator for the UN children’s agency Unicef. “The emergency in the Gaza Strip has reached unprecedented levels,” said UN Emergency Relief Office OCHA representative Georgios Petropoulos. Both were in Rafah and spoke via video link to reporters in Geneva.

Five hospitals, 17 smaller clinics, five field hospitals, 10 mobile medical teams and 28 ambulances would have to stop their services within 24 hours unless urgently needed new fuel is delivered, Petropoulos said.

The roads to the north are blocked. The Al-Mawasi area near the coast, which Israel has designated as a security zone, is completely overcrowded. Families dug holes in the ground next to their tents to relieve themselves.

Petropoulos said that practically no relief supplies had been coming into the Gaza Strip for days through the Rafah and Kerem Shalom border crossings, especially no gasoline. Without this, people’s most basic needs can no longer be met. Hospitals, banks, communications companies and drinking water treatment needed gasoline for generators to maintain rudimentary services. Garbage collection has been partially stopped, as has sewage disposal in certain areas.

“We need fuel immediately,” Young said. “Help must come in. The hostages must be released. Rafah must not be taken. And children must be protected, not killed.”

UN Security Council demands clarification on mass graves

The World Security Council in New York is demanding clarification about mass graves discovered in the Gaza Strip. “Security Council members stressed the need for accountability for violations of international law and called for investigators to be given unhindered access to all sites of mass graves in Gaza,” the United Nations said. The most powerful UN body has been deeply concerned about the finds since the end of April. Graves containing several hundred bodies have been found near the Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis and the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City in recent weeks.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, was horrified at the time and called for an independent investigation into the background to the deaths. Hospitals are afforded very special protection under international humanitarian law. According to Türk’s office, which cited information from the Civil Defense, which is controlled by the militant Hamas, some of the bodies had their hands tied.

The Israeli side had said that allegations that Israeli forces had buried the bodies of Palestinians there were unfounded. Israeli soldiers only examined the bodies in the grave in search of Israeli hostages.