War in the Middle East: Heavy fighting again in northern Gaza

Israel's armed forces have once again engaged in heavy fighting in the north of the Gaza Strip, where they had largely disbanded the Islamist Hamas' combat units.

War in the Middle East: Heavy fighting again in northern Gaza

Israel's armed forces have once again engaged in heavy fighting in the north of the Gaza Strip, where they had largely disbanded the Islamist Hamas' combat units. The army has intensified its operations in the north and in the central section of the sealed-off coastal strip, the Times of Israel reported.

Even 200 days after the start of the war, rockets from Gaza were fired again at Israel's border towns. According to experts, there is still a risk of famine in the north of the sealed-off coastal area. “The risk of famine across Gaza is very high, particularly in the north,” said David Satterfield, U.S. President Joe Biden’s special envoy for humanitarian issues in the Middle East.

The US announced construction of a temporary port to deliver aid to the coastal area will begin soon, according to the Pentagon. Meanwhile, the US Congress, with the approval of the Senate, approved a good $26 billion in support for Israel, including for missile defense. Around nine billion dollars are intended for humanitarian aid, including for the Gaza Strip.

Israel's army continues to fight for control of northern Gaza

The resurgence of violence in previously occupied and largely evacuated areas in northern Gaza shows how difficult the Israeli army is having to bring the situation under control, wrote the Wall Street Journal. An Israeli defense official said several thousand Hamas fighters are still in the northern Gaza Strip.

The ongoing fighting is a "sobering example of the difficulty of consolidating successes" in view of Israel's planned ground offensive against the last Hamas battalions in Rafah in southern Gaza. Maintaining and consolidating control over northern Gaza takes time, the newspaper quoted a former deputy commander of the Israeli military as saying. A ground offensive in Rafah, on the border with Egypt, is reportedly getting closer. The hundreds of thousands of civilians seeking protection there from the fighting should be evacuated beforehand.

EU Commissioner calls for support for UNRWA

In view of the catastrophic situation of the people in Gaza, the EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid, Janez Lenarcic, called for support to the controversial Palestinian relief organization UNRWA. "I call on donor countries to support UNRWA - the lifeline for Palestinian refugees," he wrote on the X platform (formerly Twitter). He welcomed the investigative report on UNRWA published the previous day, as it highlighted "the agency's many compliance systems and recommendations for their further improvement."

UNRWA hit the headlines in January after Israel claimed that 12 employees were involved in the October 7 Hamas massacre and that the organization as a whole was being infiltrated by Hamas. Some of the most important donors, including Germany, then temporarily suspended payments. The US is not yet resuming payments.

The U.S. government's National Security Council communications director, John Kirby, said UNRWA's funding "remains suspended, of course. We need to see real progress here before that changes." The US would continue to work with other aid organizations to ensure people received the support they needed.

Pentagon: Construction of temporary Gaza port to begin soon

The US government announced in March that, in view of the humanitarian emergency in the Gaza Strip, it wanted to set up a temporary port off the coast to bring food, water and medicine to the war zone. "We are in a position to begin construction very soon," said Pentagon spokesman Ryder. “All required ships are in the Mediterranean.”

In view of the catastrophic humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, the USA recently called on its ally Israel to quickly expand aid deliveries to the civilian population. Meanwhile, Israel has taken “significant steps” to improve the flow of aid, said US special humanitarian representative Satterfield. But more still needs to be done. There is still a risk of famine in northern Gaza, it said.

Reports of starving children in northern Gaza

If people in the Gaza Strip begin to starve to death on a large scale, experts believe it will hit the north first and the weakest there first, wrote the New York Times, naming children with previous illnesses, older adults and infants. In its report, the newspaper described, among other things, the heartbreaking case of a baby in Gaza who was born during the war and who, according to his parents, had never had a full meal since his birth.

According to a recent report by Oxfam, people in the northern Gaza Strip have been forced to survive on an average of 245 calories per day since January. According to this, more than 300,000 people still live there. A UN report on global hunger will be presented in Geneva today.

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 last year. Israel responded with massive airstrikes and a ground offensive, starting in the north of the Gaza Strip. The fighting later moved south. However, Hamas fighters in the north have now regrouped into smaller units and switched to guerrilla tactics, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Given the high number of civilian casualties and the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Gaza, Israel came under international criticism. According to the Hamas-controlled health authority, 34,183 people have been killed and more than 77,000 others injured in the coastal strip since the start of the Gaza war. The numbers, which do not distinguish between fighters and civilians, cannot be independently verified.

Development Minister: More stability through jobs for Palestinians

At a meeting with the new Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Mustafa, Development Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) agreed on an employment initiative that is intended to ensure more stability in the region. Hamas' terrorist attack on Israel on October 7 led to a worsening of the economic situation in all Palestinian territories, Schulze's office said. "Unemployment in the West Bank has almost tripled and is at 40 percent."

The aim is to initially create around 25,000 new jobs and to preserve existing jobs in the West Bank and the predominantly Arab eastern part of Jerusalem within three years. To start with, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is investing 25 million euros this year. Further funds are to follow next year.