Hope for a war truce between Israel and Hamas is dimmed by the growing rift between Netanyahu and his American and European allies.

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By journalsofus.com

On Monday, there was growing optimism surrounding talks on a Possible new ceasefire in the Gaza Stripwith Israel and Hamas returning to the table to discuss a truce that would free more Israeli hostages in exchange for the release of Palestinian prisoners.

CBS News chief foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Brennan said the Biden administration hopes to leverage a potential six-week cessation of violence into a longer-term pause, and has been pressing Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu to scale back plans for a full deal. ground offensive in the populous city of Rafah, in southern Gaza.

Israel’s handling of the war, which was triggered by Hamas’ unprecedented October 7 terrorist attack in which militants killed about 1,200 people and kidnapped about 240 more across southern Israel, has created a rift between the United States and the Netanyahu government.

White House says it is ‘cautiously optimistic’ about Gaza ceasefire amid negotiations

European Union says Israel is ‘causing famine’ in Gaza

The European Union has also harshly criticized Netanyahu, with the bloc’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell telling a humanitarian conference over the weekend that Gaza was “no longer on the brink of famine, we are in a state of famine.” that affects thousands of people. ”

Hunger, Borrell said, “is used as a weapon of war. Israel is causing hunger.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz responded with a social media post insisting that “Israel allows extensive humanitarian aid into Gaza by land, air and sea for anyone willing to help.”

Katz also reiterated an Israeli accusation that Hamas militants have been “violently disrupting aid convoys,” an allegation that U.S. officials recently said I had no evidence to support.

The Hamas-run Health Ministry says more than 31,500 people have died in Gaza since the war began. It does not distinguish between civilian deaths and combatants, but with tens of thousands of people dying in Gaza from both fighting and hunger, some senior American leaders appeared to lose patience last week, and tension between Israel and its closest ally it only seemed to grow over the weekend.

UNICEF chief Catherine Russell says child death toll in Gaza ‘staggering’

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, the highest-ranking Jewish elected official in the United States, surprised Israel late last week by calling on the country to hold new elections and saying that Netanyahu had “lost his way.”

The veteran Israeli politician responded, telling Fox News over the weekend that he called Schumer’s comments “completely inappropriate.”

“We are not a banana republic,” Netanyahu protested. “The people of Israel will choose when they will hold elections, who they will choose, and it is not something that will be imposed on us.”

The Biden administration, along with many other Western governments and international aid organizations, has repeatedly warned Israel not to launch its promised large-scale offensive in Rafah. The city, a former Hamas stronghold on Gaza’s southern border with Egypt, has over the past five months of war become a refuge for an estimated 1.5 million people, most of them displaced from other parts of the decimated territory. Palestinian.

Netanyahu approves plans for Israel’s military operation in Rafah

Despite strong international pressure against sending forces to the city, Netanyahu refused to back down over the weekend, at least publicly.

“We are within our reach. We should do it. We will do it while allowing the civilian population of Rafah to leave, as we have done so far,” he told Fox News. “But we have to finish the job.”

Deadly clashes at Gaza’s Al-Shifa hospital

Meanwhile, on Monday morning, in an ongoing operation, Israel said it had captured more than 80 fighters and killed at least 20 terrorists at Gaza’s Al-Shifa hospital, which was the scene of fierce battles earlier in the war. Sources on the ground told CBS News that about 30,000 displaced people were sheltering in place at the hospital complex, along with dozens of patients and medical equipment.

Heartbreaking images emerged from the scene of an alleged Israeli attack near the hospital, with the body of a young child lying in the rubble of a destroyed building with dust still hanging in the air.

Hamas acknowledged fighting the Israel Defense Forces near the health center. In a statement, the IDF said that “20 terrorists have been eliminated” during its ongoing “precise operations” at Shifa hospital.

The IDF said it also found “numerous weapons” in the hospital, which it called “further evidence of Hamas’ systematic abuse of hospitals and civilian infrastructure for its terrorist activities.”

Israeli protesters anger Netanyahu, demand release of hostages

The humanitarian cost of the war and the Netanyahu government’s failure to release the more than 100 hostages still believed to be held captive in Gaza have been too tolerable for some Israelis, including dozens of people who staged another protest during over the weekend, and who seemed to share the growing sense of international frustration with the war.

Protesters sing around a bonfire during a protest demanding the release of hostages still held in Gaza and against the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on the outskirts of Kirya, the area where the armed forces have their headquarters. of Israel, on March 16, 2024, in Tel Aviv. , Israel.

Alexi J. Rosenfeld/Getty

“This says, ‘Elections Now,'” protester Ori Orman said of the sign he was carrying. “I think that after such a disaster… even if you don’t believe that Benjamin Netanyahu is directly responsible, for the fact that he is the prime minister, I think he should resign.”

That does not mean that the entire Israeli public is against the war. Most Israelis still say they support the fight against Hamas. However, what many still do not support is Netanyahu and the way he is carrying out that war.

The massacre and kidnappings of October 7 occurred under his command, and that is why many people say that he also has blood on his hands.

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