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‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 186: Hamas Calls For Permanent Ceasefire

Above photo: A view of the debris and rubble of destroyed Palestinian buildings along Salahuddin Street in Khan Younis following the withdrawal of Israeli Forces from the city on April 8, 2024. Omar Ashtawy/APA Images.

As Netanyahu ‘Sets Date’ For Rafah Invasion.

Negotiations are set to continue in Cairo between Hamas and Israel, as Hamas holds to demands of a permanent ceasefire and the return of Palestinians to north Gaza. Meanwhile, Netanyahu vows to invade Rafah.

Casualties

  • 33,360 + killed* and at least 75,993 wounded in the Gaza Strip.
  • 456+ Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.**
  • Israel revises its estimated October 7 death toll down from 1,400 to 1,139.
  • 604 Israeli soldiers have been killed since October 7, and at least 6,800 injured.***

*Gaza’s Ministry of Health confirmed this figure on its Telegram channel on April 9, 2024. Some rights groups estimate the death toll to be much higher when accounting for those presumed dead.

** The death toll in the West Bank and Jerusalem is not updated regularly. According to the PA’s Ministry of Health on April 5, this is the latest figure.

*** This figure is released by the Israeli military, showing the soldiers whose names “were allowed to be published.” The number of Israeli soldiers wounded is according to Israeli media reports.

Key Developments

  • Israel kills 153 Palestinians, wounds 60 in the past 24 hours across Gaza, raising the death toll since October 7 to 33,360 and the number of wounded to 75,993, according to the Gaza health ministry.
  • Palestinians recover dozens of dead bodies in Khan Younis following Israeli withdrawal, civilians say city “smells like death.”
  • Hamas “will study” Israel’s ceasefire proposal, noting however that it doesn’t meet the Palestinian groups’ demands, which includes a lasting and permanent ceasefire.
  • Netanyahu says “there is a date” for the invasion of Rafah, the southernmost city in Gaza currently housing more than 1 million displaced Palestinians from across the Strip.
  • Israel’s Channel 12: Seven members of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud party demanded an urgent party meeting to discuss the captives’ release negotiations, amid mounting pressure from the families of Israeli captives. 
  • UN Secretary General says Israel’s ban on journalists’ entry to Gaza helps the spread of misinformation.
  • Israeli police raid deceased Palestinian prisoner Walid Daqqa’s family house and forcibly disperses mourners just hours after it was announced that the famed writer and prisoner died due to medical negligence in Israeli custody.
  • The U.S. state department says UNRWA plays a “vital role” that no other organization can replace, and that it is preparing to work with other aid organizations if congress bans dealing with UNRWA.
  • Lebanon: The Israeli army announces killing a Hezbollah leader in a night airstrike. Hezbollah announces attacking an Israeli army position across the border with suicide drone.

Israel Kills 153 Palestinians And Wounds 60 Across The Gaza Strip

The Gaza-based Palestinian health ministry announced that 153 Palestinians were killed and 60 wounded by Israeli forces’ ongoing strikes on the Gaza Strip over the past 24 hours.

Meanwhile, local media sources reported that Israeli forces continued to conduct airstrikes on different parts of Khan Younis, after having withdrawn from the city. In the town of al-Qarara, north of the city, an Israeli airstrike reportedly wounded several Palestinians. In Rafah, medical sources reported recovering two Palestinians killed in the al-Tanour neighborhood by an Israeli airstrike.

Palestinian civil defense reported recovering 86 dead bodies from across Khan Younis in the hours following Israeli forces’ withdrawal from the city, after a weeks-long siege and attack. The civil defense said that the identified victims included entire families and that most of the bodies were decomposed.

Palestinian testimonies described large-scale destruction of infrastructure and houses in Khan Younis following Israel’s withdrawal, as displaced Palestinians began to return to the city after five months of Israeli invasion.

In the center Gaza Strip, Israeli airstrikes on al-Maghazi killed three Palestinians, including a woman and the mayor of the town. In Deir al-Balah, Israeli strikes killed at least one Palestinian, while Israeli artillery continued to shell al-Zahraa town.

In the northern Gaza Strip, Israeli forces killed two Palestinians in an airstrike that targeted civil volunteers organizing aid distribution. In Gaza City, the Palestinian civil defense continued to recover dead bodies under the rubble in the surroundings of al-Shifa Hospital.

Hamas Says It ‘Will Study’ Israel Ceasefire Proposal

Negotiations between Hamas and Israel over a ceasefire have reached a “critical point”, according to Israeli foreign minister Israel Katz. Katz added “If things work out, a large number of hostages will return home, and then, in stages, everyone.”

Hamas has said through several spokespeople that it “will study” the new Israeli proposal for a ceasefire, presented through Egyptian and Qatari intermediates in Cairo.

On Monday senior Hamas leader Ali Baraka told Reuters that the movement “refuses the latest propositions that the Egyptian side has presented. The politburo met and took this decision.”

Both Hamas and Israel had sent delegations to Cairo on Sunday. The delegations left on Monday and are expected to return to the Egyptian capital in two days to resume indirect talks.

On Tuesday, Hams’s senior member Sami Abu Zuhri told a-Araby TV that Israeli declarations about the negotiations “are media maneuvers that don’t reflect the reality”. Abu Zuhri pointed out that Israel has continued to refuse a permanent ceasefire and the return of the displaced to north Gaza.

“The US does not exercise any pressure on Israel to stop the war,” remarked Abu Zuhri. “Instead, its efforts and the efforts of the Israeli government are focused only on the release of [Israeli] captives”, he pointed out.

Hamas had presented its conditions to intermediates back in March, insisting on a permanent ceasefire and the return of displaced Palestinians to their homes in the northern Gaza Strip, which Israel has categorically rejected.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel will carry on its expected invasion of Rafah, adding on Monday that “there is a date” set for the invasion.

Israeli Police Violently Disperse Mourners At Walid Daqqa’s Wake

Israeli police raided the family house of Palestinian leader and writer Walid Daqqa on Monday, forcibly dispersing mourners and arresting several attendants.

Daqqa, a renowned leader and intellectual, died in Israeli prison on Monday after 38 years of captivity. His family accused Israeli authorities of delaying the release of his body and of banning them from opening their house to receive condolences according to Palestinian traditions.

On Monday afternoon, Israeli police raided the family’s house and forcibly dispersed mourners from a tent that the family had set up in the house’s courtyard. Video footage taken by attendants showed Israeli police officers firing stun grenades and using batons to disperse mourners, while arresting a number of them. The family later said that five of its members were arrested by the Israeli police.

Daqqa, the 62-year-old writer and intellectual, was the longest-serving Palestinian prisoner to die while still in Israeli prison. After being diagnosed with cancer in 2015, Israel refused several calls to release him on humanitarian grounds.

On Monday, Amnesty International’s senior director for research, Erika Guevara-Rosas, called upon Israel to release Walid Daqqqa’s body to his family, “so that they that they could give him a peaceful and dignified burial and allow them to mourn his death without intimidation.”

Guevara-Rosas also remarked that “For Daqqa and his family, the last six months in particular were an endless nightmare, during which he was subjected to torture or other ill-treatment, including beatings and humiliation.” Amnesty International considered Walid Daqqa’s death “a cruel reminder of Israel’s disregard for Palestinians’ right to life.”

UN Secretary-General Urges Israel To Allow Journalists To Enter Gaza

The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Monday that Israel’s ban on journalists’ entry to the Gaza Strip helps in spreading misinformation. The UN official called upon Israel to allow international journalists to enter the Strip.

Since October 7, Israel has banned nearly all foreign journalists from entering Gaza, save a few Western and mainstream journalists who were allowed upon coordination and approval by the Israeli military. As a result, the coverage of the war has depended, for the past six months, on citizen reports on social media and local Palestinian journalists, hundreds of whom have been arrested, injured, and killed by Israel.

“An information war has added to the trauma of the war in Gaza – obscuring facts and shifting blame,” Guterres wrote on X. “Denying international journalists entry into Gaza is allowing disinformation and false narratives to flourish.”

Echoing Guterres’ concerns, the Foreign Press Association urged Israel to give access to international journalists to the besieged Palestinian territory.

“The barring of independent press access to a war zone for this long is unprecedented for Israel,” it said. “It raises questions about what Israel does not want international journalists to see,” said the FPA in a statement.

Since October 7, some 140 Palestinian journalists have been killed by Israeli strikes while on duty.

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