U.S., Israel to develop plan to allow humanitarian aid to enter Gaza
Hamas releases the first video of one of the hostages, a dual French-Israel citizen
Ali Jadallah/Anadolu via Getty Images
Israel and the United States have agreed to develop a plan that will allow humanitarian aid from donor countries and multilateral organizations to reach civilians in Gaza, Secretary of State Tony Blinken, who is in the region, said in a statement on Monday.
Briefing journalists on Tuesday morning, IDF international spokesman Lt. Col. Richard Hecht said that there was no humanitarian ceasefire and that all crossings from Israel into the Gaza Strip still remained closed.
“Changes could happen quickly, so we’ll see where we are later,” he said.
Blinken, who confirmed that President Joe Biden would visit Israel on Wednesday, said there were some concerns the aid might be seized or destroyed by Hamas but that the U.S. would work with Israel on devising a way to prevent that from happening. If it did, he said, “we’ll be the first to condemn it.”
The secretary of state said the goals of the president’s visit were to “reaffirm the United States’ solidarity with Israel,” send a “crystal-clear message” to Israel’s other enemies in the region and also to closely coordinate and secure the release of some 200 hostages, which include men, women, small children, and Holocaust survivors, who are being held by Hamas.
Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist group that carried out the brutal attack in Israel’s southern communities on Oct. 7 released for the first time a short video of one of the Israeli hostages captured in the attack, in which more than 1,400 people were killed.
In the clip, the young woman, Mia Schem, is seen receiving medical treatment for what appears to be a broken arm and asks to be repatriated to Israel.
The army said that it had notified Schem’s family last week that their daughter had been abducted and that it was deploying all its intelligence and operational measures to bring the hostages home.
In a press conference on Tuesday, Mia’s mother, Keren Sharf Sham, said : “Until I saw the video, I didn’t know if my daughter was dead or alive. I plead with world leaders – bring her home.”
“She only went to a festival party to have some fun, and now she’s in Gaza,” she added. “This is a crime against humanity, and we all need to unite to stop this terror and bring everyone home in peace.”
Meanwhile, the IDF is continuing its operation in Gaza with ongoing air strikes aimed at military targets belonging to Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, as well as individuals, political and military, involved in the terrorist groups.
On Monday night, the IDF together with Israel’s security agency, the Shin Bet, said it had killed Osama Mazini, the head of the Shura Council in the Gaza Strip. Mazini, said the army, was responsible for Hamas prisoners and directed terrorist activities against Israel.
The army also said that over the past few days, its naval vessels had used precision munitions to strike Hamas targets in the center of Gaza City, including an operational headquarters.
Hecht said that small, contained raids were continuing inside Gaza close to the border fence and aimed at gathering intelligence for the operation ahead.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on Monday that 108 Palestinians were killed in the past 20 hours, raising to 2,808 the total number of Palestinians killed so far.
In a statement, the organization described the humanitarian situation as dire, with some 333,000 people internally displaced and humanitarian aid, including food, water and medicines running dangerously low after convoys were prevented from entering from Egypt.
Despite Israel agreeing to resume the water supply to the eastern Khan Younis area on Monday, OCHA said that it was still only four percent of the water supply before the conflict started.
A series of posts uploaded by UNRWA, the UN agency dealing with Palestinian refugees, to the site X appeared to suggest that some of the aid organization’s crucial supplies, including medicine and fuel, had been seized by Hamas. Shortly afterward, the posts were deleted, but sources reportedly confirmed to Israeli officials that the incident took place.
“Today the United Nations revealed the true face of Hamas when they confirmed that Hamas stole fuel and medical equipment from its offices in Gaza city,” IDF Spokesman Daniel Hagari said in a statement. “The amount of fuel stolen is enough fuel to power Gaza’s water desalination plant for six days.”
In the north, tension along the border with Lebanon continued to grow on Monday, with the army reporting overnight that it had thwarted an attempted infiltration by a terrorist cell from Lebanese territory. Four terrorists were killed by the IDF, Israeli media reported.
Throughout the day on Monday, the IDF reported that shots, including an anti-tank missile, were fired toward several of its positions along the Lebanese border. No IDF injuries were reported but Israel responded with artillery fire and later said it had struck several “terror targets, as well as military infrastructure” belonging to the Shiite terrorist group Hezbollah in Lebanon, in response to fire towards Israel.
IDF spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said that the IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevy and Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant would meet on Tuesday in Israel with Centcom Michael E. Kurilla.
More than 50,000 Israelis from both the north and south of the country have now been forced to flee their homes.