Israel-Gaza latest: 110,000 Palestinians flee Rafah as UN warns aid operations to run out in days

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Footage shows tens of thousands of refugees fleeing from Rafah ahead of expected Israeli offensive

Netanyahu says Israel has 'no choice' but to destroy Hamas-.mp4

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More than 100,000 Palestinians have fled the southern Gaza city of Rafah this week, the United Nations has reported, as Israel prepares to carry out a sweeping offensive in the region.

A spokesperson for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) said that around 110,000 civilians have fled after Israeli tanks rolled into Rafah on Monday.

Despite calls from Israel’s staunchest allies to refrain from conducting an offensive in the area and instead agree to a ceasefire, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netnyahu says they have “no choice” but to carry out the attack. Otherwise, he says, Hamas will carry out more assaults of their own against Israel.

Meanwhile, Georgios Petropoulos, the head of the Gaza sub-office of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, said the situation in the enclave had reached “unprecedented levels of emergency”.

He said on Friday morning that dwindling food and fuel stocks, a direct result of the last remaining border crossings into Gaza being closed by Israeli troops entering Rafah, risked bringing aid operations to a grinding halt within just days.

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Israeli delegation seen laughing during UN vote on Palestine membership

Israeli delegation caught laughing during UN vote on Palestine membership

Israeli delegates were seen laughing during a UN vote to reconsider and support the full membership of Palestine into the bloc.  The UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly to pass the resolution for the Palestinian bid to become a full UN member. The assembly recommended the UN Security Council “reconsider the matter favourably”, with 143 countries voting in support, 9 against with 25 abstaining. It comes as more than 100,000 Palestinians have fled the city of Rafah this week, according to the UN, as Israel prepares to carry out an offensive in the region.

Jane Dalton10 May 2024 17:25

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Israeli foreign min denounces UN decision to upgrade Palestinians' UN status as 'prize for Hamas'

Israel‘s foreign minister has called a decision by the United Nations General Assembly to upgrade the status of Palestinians in the UN a “prize for Hamas,” in a statement released by the minister’s office on Friday.

“The absurd decision taken today at the UN General Assembly highlights the structural bias of the UN and the reasons why, under the leadership of UN Secretary-General Guterres, it has turned itself into an irrelevant institution,” Israel‘s foreign minister Israel Katz said.

Ealier on Friday, The United Nations General Assembly backed a Palestinian bid to become a full UN member by recognizing it as qualified to join and recommending the UN Security Council “reconsider the matter favorably”.

The vote by the 193-member General Assembly was a global survey of support for the Palestinian bid to become a full UN member - a move that would effectively recognize a Palestinian state - after the United States vetoed it in the UN Security Council last month.

The assembly adopted a resolution on Friday with 143 votes in favor and nine against - including the US and Israel - while 25 countries abstained. It does not give the Palestinians full UN membership, but simply recognizes them as qualified to join.

The General Assembly resolution "determines that the State of Palestine ... should therefore be admitted to membership" and it "recommends that the Security Council reconsider the matter favorably."

Israel Katz, Foreign Minister to the United Nations attends a meeting of the United Nations Security Council in March (REUTERS)

Tom Watling10 May 2024 16:56

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Dialysis patients evacuated from Rafah hospital as Israeli operation intensifies

Dialysis patients evacuated from one of Rafah’s main hospitals have been moved to the Nasser Hospital in nearby Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, where Israeli ground troops withdrew a month ago.

Patients and staff at the Abou Youssef al-Najjar Hospital were forced to evacuate on Wednesday 8 May as Israel’s operation in Rafah intensified.

The hospital was one of the key medical centres receiving the wounded in Israeli strikes in the southern Gaza city.

Nasser Hospital is in bad shape after Israeli forces raided the medical centre in recent months, and hundreds of bodies were found buried outside.

Dialysis patients evacuated from Rafah hospital as Israeli operation intensifies

Dialysis patients evacuated from one of Rafah’s main hospitals have been moved to the Nasser Hospital in nearby Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip, where Israeli ground troops withdrew a month ago. Patients and staff at the Abou Youssef al-Najjar Hospital were forced to evacuate on Wednesday 8 May as Israel’s operation in Rafah intensified. The hospital was one of the key medical centres receiving the wounded in Israeli strikes in the southern Gaza city. Nasser Hospital is in bad shape after Israeli forces raided the medical centre in recent months, and hundreds of bodies were found buried outside.

Tom Watling10 May 2024 16:15

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Live: UN vote for resolution on Palestine membership

Tom Watling10 May 2024 15:52

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Dozens arrested at Penn, MIT in latest crackdowns on Gaza protests

Police dismantled encampments and arrested dozens of pro-Palestinian protesters at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Pennsylvania on Friday morning, in the latest crackdowns on protests roiling U.S. campuses.

Philadelphia officers in riot gear pushed reporters away from the encampment at the University of Pennsylvania before tearing down tents and tossing the belongings of protesters in a trash truck, the student newspaper reported. About 33 people were arrested, Penn’s public safety department said.

A similar scene unfolded simultaneously at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology near Boston, where student journalists reported that riot police arrested at least 10 student protesters before flattening the encampment and discarding their belongings.

The dawn raids were the latest efforts by school and local authorities to end such demonstrations at dozens of universities around the country. Students have called for a ceasefire in Israel‘s incursion into Gaza and have demanded their schools divest from companies with ties to Israel.

Many university leaders have called the encampments safety hazards and sought to end them ahead of May commencement ceremonies, which draw large crowds of outside visitors to campuses.

MIT President Sally Kornbluth said in a statement on Friday that the 10 individuals arrested on Friday “peacefully” submitted to police, but that the arrests came after escalating clashes between pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli protesters.

“It was not heading in a direction anyone could call peaceful,” she said, adding that “the cost and disruption for the community overall made the situation increasingly untenable.”

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) police arrest pro-Palestinian protesters for block the entrance of a parking garage at the Stata Center at MIT (AFP via Getty Images)

Tom Watling10 May 2024 15:30

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Truckers stuck at Rafah crossing fear food won't reach hungry Gaza

Truck drivers stuck at Egypt’s border with Gaza say the food they are taking to the Palestinian enclave could spoil as they wait, exacerbating a hunger crisis among Gazans as war rages on.

Israeli forces seized control of the Rafah border crossing this week and are preparing for a widely expected assault on the city next to the frontier where about 1 million people uprooted by the war have been sheltering.

“The closure of the border crossing is not good for all these trucks because these are fridges, which means machine failure doesn’t give a warning. If the (fridge) stops working, then all of the food inside will be ruined,” said trucker Ahmed al-Bayoumi.

“Here, there’s no (technician) available to fix things and then we will have to handle the packages again. In any country in the world, food in fridges has priority to be delivered.”

Humanitarian workers sounded the alarm this week over the closure of both the Rafah crossing with Egypt and the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and Gaza for aid and people.

An Israeli soldier stands guard as a truck carrying humanitarian aid is seen near the Erez crossing in southern Israel (REUTERS)

Tom Watling10 May 2024 15:00

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Rishi Sunak slams protests and boycott calls over Israel’s Eurovision appearance

Downing Street said the prime minister urged demonstrators to consider the feelings of Israeli and Jewish Eurovision fans watching the scenes “in the aftermath of what was an atrocious terror attack and while hostages are still being held by Hamas”.

An estimated 10,000 to 12,000 pro-Palestinian protesters marched through Malmo, where the contest is being held, on Thursday.

Tom Watling10 May 2024 14:30

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More than 100,000 Palestinians have fled Rafah this week, says UN official

Heavy fighting between Israeli troops and Palestinian militants on the outskirts of the southern Gaza city of Rafah has left crucial nearby aid crossings inaccessible and caused more than 100,000 people to flee north, a United Nations official said on Friday.

Israel’s plans for a full-scale invasion of Rafah appear to be on hold for now, with the US deeply opposed and stepping up pressure by threatening to withhold arms. But even the more limited incursion launched earlier this week threatens to worsen Gaza’s humanitarian catastrophe.

Heavy fighting was also under way in northern Gaza, where Hamas appeared to have once again regrouped in an area where Israel has already launched punishing assaults.

About 110,000 people have fled Rafah and food and fuel supplies in the area are critically low, a UN official has said.

All crossings into southern Gaza remain closed, cutting off supplies and preventing medical evacuations and the movement of humanitarian staff, said Georgios Petropoulos, an official for the UN’s Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs working in Rafah.

Some 1.3 million Palestinians - more than half Gaza’s population - had sought refuge in Rafah.

Tom Watling10 May 2024 14:00

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Netanyahu says Israel has 'no choice' but to destroy Hamas

Netanyahu says Israel has 'no choice' but to destroy Hamas-.mp4

Tom Watling10 May 2024 13:30

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Why is Israel competing in the Eurovision Song Contest 2024?

Eden Golan is representing Israel with the track “Hurricane”, which was reworked from original entry “October Rain” after it was alleged to include references to the 7 October attacks by Hamas, therefore breaching the European Broadcasting Union’s (EBU) rules over political songs.

The Israel-born Golan, who grew up in Russia, told ITV News this week that she could not have asked “for a better year to be representing my country”.

Tom Watling10 May 2024 13:00

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