Israeli strikes kill scores, UN case against West Bank occupation, Gaza ceasefire attempts continue

Israeli strikes kill scores across Gaza

Israeli strikes killed at least 48 people in southern and central Gaza overnight, half of them women and children, health officials said today.

The attack comes as European foreign ministers and US agencies call for a ceasefire, with alarm rising over the catastrophic humanitarian crisis and potential starvation in the enclave.

More than half of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million is crowded into Rafah on the Egyptian border after fleeing fighting and bombardment elsewhere in the north. 

Israel has said it will evacuate them before attacking, though there are fears Israel may be preparing to push the Palestinians into Egypt – something it denies. 

But with much of the rest of the tiny Mediterranean enclave consumed in combat and the land route to Egypt blocked, it is not clear where they could go. 

Civilian casualties could spiral in the event of an Israeli assault, with Gaza’s death toll currently standing at more than 29,400 people.

Palestinians mourn over relatives killed in the Israeli bombardments of the Gaza Strip at Al Aqsa Hospital in Deir al Balah, Gaza Strip, on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2024.

Court hearings on legality of Israeli occupation continues

China and Iran on Thursday addressed the United Nations’ highest court about the legality of Israel’s policies in the occupied territories.

Thursday was the fourth day of hearings at the International Court of Justice into a request by the UN General Assembly for a non-binding advisory opinion on the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict involving occupied territories.

China’s legal advisor for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the latest Gaza war is part of decades of “Israeli oppression of Palestinians.”

He went on to say that Palestinians seeking an independent state “are essentially just actions for restoring the legitimate rights, the right to self-determination.”

Iran, meanwhile, alleged “ongoing crimes of the Israeli regime in the Gaza Strip.”

New attempts at ceasefire in Gaza

Further efforts to strike a ceasefire deal in Gaza are currently underway, according to Benny Gantz, a member of Israel’s War Cabinet.

“Initial signs indicate a possibility of moving forward,” the former military chief and defence minister said on Wednesday night.

Despite the promising statement, Gantz added that Israel will launch a ground offensive on Rafah during the upcoming Muslim holy month of Ramadan if Hamas doesn’t agree to release the remaining Israeli hostages in Gaza.

One dead after three gunmen open fire in West Bank

Three gunmen opened fire Thursday morning on the road near a checkpoint in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, killing one Israeli and wounding at least five, police said. 

It is the latest outbreak of violence in the territory as tensions soar due to the Israel Hamas war. 

Police said gunmen took advantage of a traffic jam during morning rush hour on the main highway east of Jerusalem, opening fire with automatic weapons at several cars.

Security forces on the scene, including a policeman on his way to work, killed two of the gunmen.

The third fled but was soon apprehended by police and detained after being wounded.

Israeli security forces stand next to the body of a Palestinian attacker, covered in a plastic bag at the site of a shooting attack in the West Bank.

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