Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues to see military action against the Islamist Hamas in the Gaza Strip as the only way to bring the hostages held in the coastal area back to Israel. “Only the continuation of the powerful military pressure that we have exerted and will continue to exert will bring back our hostages,” Netanyahu said at a meeting with relatives of abducted soldiers, according to his office. “I know that every day that passes is hell for you.” He didn’t want to leave any hostage behind.

According to Israeli estimates, almost 100 people who were abducted are still alive. The war was triggered by the terrorist attack on Israel by Hamas and other Palestinian extremists on October 7th. The attackers murdered more than 1,200 people in the Israeli border area and abducted 250 more people to the Gaza Strip. Israel responded with massive air strikes and a ground offensive, which in turn cost thousands of lives.

Negotiations are not progressing

Negotiations between the mediating states Qatar, Egypt and the USA regarding a ceasefire in the war and the release of the hostages are currently making no progress. After Hamas recently rejected a new compromise proposal, the Israeli negotiating team returned from indirect talks in Qatar earlier this week.

However, according to information from the Wall Street Journal, the talks are expected to continue next week in Cairo. According to Netanyahu, Israel continues to maintain control over the northern Gaza Strip and the city of Khan Yunis. In addition, the army is continuing to prepare to invade Rafah in the very south of Gaza, Israel’s head of government confirmed.

UN court: Israel must allow more aid supplies

According to the latest UN estimates, around 1.2 million people in the city are currently seeking protection in a confined space from the fighting in other parts of the coastal area. The USA and Germany have repeatedly warned Israel clearly against a large-scale ground offensive in Rafah. Israel wants to destroy the last Hamas battalions in the town near the Egyptian border.

Given the dire humanitarian situation and the many civilian casualties as a result of the Gaza war, there is criticism of the Israeli military’s actions from many countries. The International Court of Justice in The Hague obliged Israel to quickly allow the delivery of significantly more aid to the Gaza Strip.

In the ongoing genocide trial against Israel, the United Nations’ highest court ordered that more border crossings must be opened for the transport of food and medical aid. It was said that there was no longer just a risk of famine, but that famine had already begun. Israel must now report to the Court within a month what measures it is taking to implement it.

Israeli army: senior Hamas member killed

Israel’s army said it killed a senior Hamas member during the military operation in the Shifa hospital in the city of Gaza in the north of the sealed-off coastal area. Raad Thabit was one of the ten highest-ranking leaders of the military wing of the Islamist organization, military spokesman Daniel Hagari said.

According to observers, he also belonged to the inner circle of the Hamas chief in the Gaza Strip, Jihia al-Sinwar. Hamas did not initially confirm his death. On Tuesday, Israel’s army confirmed the killing of Gaza’s third-highest Hamas leader, Marwan Issa, in an airstrike two weeks ago.

According to Hagari, 900 suspects have been arrested so far during the operation at Shifa Hospital, the largest clinic in the Gaza Strip. At least 513 of them are said to be members of Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). According to the Israeli army, around 200 terrorists were killed in and around the hospital during the operation. The information could not initially be confirmed independently.

According to Hagari, the fighting continued elsewhere in the Gaza Strip. The Hamas-controlled health authority said the number of Palestinians killed since the war began six months ago had risen to 32,552. With her information, which can hardly be verified, she does not distinguish between fighters and civilians.

Baerbock: Palestinians should govern themselves

After the end of the Gaza war, Israel should give up control of the coastal strip, according to Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock. When asked who should be in charge there after the end of the war, the Green politician told the Funke media group: “The Palestinians – free from Hamas, free from terror, self-determined and with a freely elected government of all Palestinians, that is in the West Bank.” This won’t happen from one day to the next. “But we must not lose sight of the political horizon, especially now in the war.”

The federal government is working with Arab partners every day to ensure that a two-state solution remains within reach, said Baerbock. This included the development of a civil infrastructure, a reform of the Palestinian Authority, economic reconstruction – and a security structure, including security guarantees for Israel and the Palestinians. Protection during a transitional period before two states can coexist in peace is only possible with international security guarantees. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu rejects a two-state solution, as does Hamas.

New Palestinian prime minister forms government

Meanwhile, the recently appointed Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Mustafa has formed a new technocrat government. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas issued a decree expressing confidence in her, the official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported. Washington is relying on a revamped PA for the period after the Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip.

The USA wants the autonomous authority, which has only ruled in the West Bank for years, to take back control in Gaza, where Hamas was in charge – and thus also promote a two-state solution as an approach to pacifying the Middle East. Israel rejects the plans. Hamas violently drove the autonomous authority out of Gaza in 2007.