Top US diplomat Antony Blinken has arrived in Tel Aviv as part of a regional tour as Israel pounded besieged Gaza and Lebanon, raising global fears that Israel could widen its war beyond Gaza.
US Secretary of State Blinken, on his fourth regional trip since Israel’s war began, met on Monday with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman after talks in the United Arab Emirates and ahead of his visit to Israel.
Before leaving Al Ula in Saudi Arabia, Blinken said, “We agreed to work together and coordinate our efforts to help Gaza stabilise and recover … and to work toward long term peace and security and stability.”
Israeli leaders will tell Blinken that they will not allow Palestinians from northern Gaza to return if Hamas resistance group refuses to free more of the Israeli captives it seized on October 7, Axios reported, quoting two senior Israeli officials.
Washington, Israel’s main ally and arms supplier, says it is concerned over the Israeli war’s civilian death toll. But it continues to arm Tel Aviv and has never since October 7 called for a ceasefire in Gaza, where Israel’s decimation campaign has killed more than 23,000 Palestinians, wounded nearly 59,000 and flattened 60 percent of the enclave’s homes and businesses. The US has also torpedoed multiple UNSC resolutions that would have called for truce in Gaza.
Israel is the largest recipient of US military aid. The US has reportedly provided Israel with over 70,000 weapons — aircraft, ground vehicles, missiles and bombs — via military aid between 1950 and 2022.
The US government recently used an emergency authority to allow the sale of about 14,000 tank shells to Israel without congressional review.
Amnesty International has tied some US-supplied munitions directly to Israeli strikes with extensive Palestinian civilian casualties in Gaza.
Egypt ‘not cooperating’ with Israel on Philadelphi Corridor
Egypt is not cooperating with Israel regarding the Philadelphi Corridor, a narrow buffer zone between Egypt and Gaza, Egyptian media have reported.
The Egyptian news outlet Al Qahera News quoted an Egyptian official who said such reports were “completely false.”
Last week, Israeli media claimed that Israel had asked Egypt for more measures to be enforced and more surveillance equipment to be installed along the Philadelphi Corridor in order to notify Israel if weapons were being smuggled in and to detect the use of tunnels by the Palestinian resistance groups.
The Philadelphi Corridor is a 14-kilometre-long corridor which is guaranteed by the Israel-Egypt peace treaty of 1979.
It has been patrolled by Egyptian security forces after Israeli forces pulled out of Gaza in 2005.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said several times that the corridor must be under Israeli control, a move that if carried out would separate Gaza from Egypt.
There have been no official comments from Egypt or Israel on the reports.
Israeli army shoots Palestinian woman holding white flag: footage
The Israeli army has shot a woman trying to leave the northern part of occupied Gaza with a white flag in her hand and a child by her side, footage showed.
The footage, obtained by Middle East Eye, was recorded on November 12 in the centre of Gaza City.
In the video, numerous civilians, most of them women and children, can be seen leaving the area towards the south with white flags.
As one woman, walking in the front of a civilian group, holding a white flag and accompanied by a child, moves towards a street, the sound of gunfire is heard.
At that moment, the woman, who was shot, collapses to the ground, and the child and other Palestinians in the group panic and scatter in different directions. The person recording the footage from a nearby building can be heard saying, “The woman has been shot.”
Images of Israeli snipers targeting Palestinian civilians in Gaza are frequently brought to public attention.