U.S. President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu engaged in discussions Monday regarding the potential for humanitarian ceasefires in the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said during a briefing with reporters on Monday.
Biden and Netanyahu discussed tactical pauses in the ongoing fighting in Gaza for humanitarian purposes and the potential for hostage releases during their talks on Monday, according to Reuters.
Kirby emphasized that discussions are just beginning and the two allies are far from reaching a final decision. The U.S. still does not support a more permanent ceasefire because such a move would benefit Hamas, he said.
“We must publicly criticize Israel’s violations of international norms such as failure to limit offensive operations to legitimate military targets,” said in a memo, according to Politico. “When Israel supports settler violence and illegal land seizures or employs excessive use of force against Palestinians, we must communicate publicly that this goes against our American values so that Israel does not act with impunity.”
According to Israel Defense Spokesperson (IDF) for Foreign Media Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, troops from the 36th Division have reached the Gaza coast. The IDF is reported to have completed the encirclement of northern Gaza, effectively separating Hamas strongholds in the north from those in the south.
The Times of Israel reports the leader of Hamas in Lebanon has stated that the group will not accept a proxy government in the Gaza Strip and is determined to maintain control.
A group based in Yemen claimed responsibility for launching drones at targets inside Israel, according to a statement from their armed forces broadcast on TV channel Al Masiran as mentioned by Al Jazeera.
IDF Spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said Israeli ground forces have advanced further into Gaza City in the last few hours. Hagari stated that the IDF is “intensifying the pressure on Gaza City,” which is considered Hamas’ primary stronghold.
U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken held discussions with Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan in Ankara, focusing on efforts to prevent the escalation of the Israel-Hamas conflict, protect civilians and increase humanitarian assistance.
Israel’s top diplomat Eli Cohen has once again criticized UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, this time in response to Guterres’ latest appeal for humanitarian relief for civilians in Gaza. Following Guterres’ recent comments, in which he warned of the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza and reiterated the call for a ceasefire, Cohen responded with strong words.
“Shame on you Antonio Guterres! More than 30 minors – among them a 9 month-old baby as well as toddlers and children who witnessed their parents being murdered in cold blood – are being held against their will in the Gaza Strip,” said Cohen in response to Guterres. “Hamas is the problem in Gaza, not Israel’s actions.”
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