War in the Middle East: Netanyahu sticks with Rafah offensive

Despite urgent warnings from Western partners, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to expand the military offensive to the border town of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

War in the Middle East: Netanyahu sticks with Rafah offensive

Despite urgent warnings from Western partners, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to expand the military offensive to the border town of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. He emphasized at the weekend that they would not bow to international pressure on the issue.

"Anyone who wants to prevent us from operating in Rafah is ultimately telling us 'lose the war'." He won't allow that. Before an offensive begins, civilians in the combat areas will be given the opportunity to move to safe areas, he said in Jerusalem.

Israel's Defense Minister Joav Galant is convinced that the fighting spirit of the Islamist Hamas militias in the Gaza Strip has been broken after more than four months of war. "200 terrorists surrendered (in Khan Yunis) at Nasser Hospital, dozens more at Amal Hospital," Galant said at a briefing with army commanders. "This shows that Hamas has lost its fighting spirit," he added.

Egypt accuses Israel of illegal practices

Relations between Israel and Egypt are extremely tense in light of the Gaza war: Egypt now wants to accuse Israel of illegal practices in the Palestinian territories before the United Nations' highest court. The country has submitted a corresponding memorandum to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, said the head of the Egyptian State Information Service (SIS), Diaa Raschwan.

Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories, the construction of settlements, the expulsion of Palestinians and other Israeli policy practices violate the principles of international humanitarian law. Rashwan said Cairo would present oral evidence in court on Wednesday. A hearing on Israel's actions in the occupied Palestinian territories begins on Monday at the UN's highest court in another case.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva compares Israel's military operation in the Gaza Strip to the mass murder of European Jews ordered by Adolf Hitler. Israel's actions amount to a genocide of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip, the 78-year-old said during an African Union summit at the weekend in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa.

"What is happening to the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip has never happened at any other time in history. In fact, it already happened: when Hitler decided to kill the Jews," Lula said during a press conference.

Israel is preparing a military offensive on the city that borders Egypt in order to take action against the Islamist Hamas there too. Hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people have sought protection in the town in the south of the Gaza Strip, which is why the plans have met with great international criticism.

Shtaye: Egypt will not allow border crossing from Gaza

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Shtaje called on the Israeli government to allow the population crowded in the south of the coastal strip to return to their residential areas. At the same time, he warned Netanyahu at the Munich Security Conference against attempting to expel people to Egypt. "Egypt will not allow anyone to cross the border."

The Israeli operation in the Gaza Strip was triggered by the massacre with more than 1,200 deaths that terrorists from Hamas and other extremist groups carried out in Israel on October 7th. Israel responded with an offensive in the coastal area that has so far killed nearly 29,000 people, according to the Hamas-controlled health authority.

Netanyahu: Will settle accounts with Hamas leadership

Netanyahu reiterated that they would “settle the score” with the Hamas leadership. This is only a matter of time.

An Israeli expert believes that the military operation in Khan Yunis in the south of the Gaza Strip will soon be completed. "I think it's a matter of days," Kobi Michael of the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) told broadcaster i24news on Sunday. Khan Yunis would then be controlled by the army. In his opinion, the city is the most important base of the Islamist Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Blinken: Extraordinary opportunity for peace for Israel

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken sees a two-state solution as a way out of the vicious circle of violence between Israel and the Palestinians. “I think Israel has an extraordinary opportunity in the coming months to actually end this cycle once and for all,” Blinken said at the Munich Security Conference. Almost every Arab country now really wants to integrate Israel into the region in order to normalize relations.

However, in a demonstrative decision, Israel's government voted unanimously against a peace settlement with the Palestinians imposed by international parties. Such a regulation is only conceivable as a result of direct negotiations without preconditions, it said.

“Israel continues to reject the unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state,” the government decision also said. Israel was reacting to media reports that Western allies could recognize a Palestinian state without Israeli consent.

Reports of numerous deaths in Israeli air strikes

The Israeli army said troops continued to operate in Khan Yunis, but also in the central and northern parts of the Gaza Strip. Within 24 hours, “dozens of terrorists were eliminated and large quantities of weapons were confiscated.”

Palestinian medics reported around 40 deaths and numerous injuries in Israeli air strikes in Deir al-Balah and Nuseirat in the central section of the coastal strip. Children are also among the injured.

Dramatic situation in the Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis

Israeli special forces remain active in Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis, the army said on Sunday. The army has so far arrested around 100 people there who it classifies as terror suspects. According to the Hamas health authority, many of those arrested are medical staff. The army denied reports on Sunday that the clinic director had also been arrested.

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, wrote on Sunday on X, formerly Twitter, that the Nasser Hospital was no longer functional because of the Israeli military operation. A WHO team that wanted to check the patients' condition and bring fuel was denied access. “There are still around 200 patients in the clinic,” wrote the WHO chief. Around 20 of them urgently need to be taken to other hospitals.

Thousands of Israelis demonstrate against government policies

Thousands of Israelis recently protested in various cities against the policies of Netanyahu's right-wing religious government. At what the police said was an unauthorized large-scale rally in the coastal metropolis of Tel Aviv, demonstrators blocked a street in both directions and lit flares. Many of the demonstrators called for new elections. Others called for a ceasefire in the Gaza war and a quick deal with Hamas to release more hostages.