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Israel’s defence chief calls on Netanyahu to reject military rule in GazaIsraeli defence minister, Yoav Gallant, in a press conference on Wednesday, also called on the Israeli government to make a decision about postwar governance in Gaza.Gallant said that soon after the 7 October attacks, he had promoted a plan for a new Palestinian administration not linked to Hamas but “got no response” from various Israeli cabinet forums, according to a Reuters report.He added that this effectively meant a military regime in Gaza, which he said he would not agree to, according to comments carried by Haaretz. The Israeli minister was also quoted as saying:
Soon, we will be required to make a decision on how to return [Israelis] to their homes in the north – through an agreement or through military action.
ShareKey eventsShow key events onlyPlease turn on JavaScript to use this featureIsrael’s relationship with US ‘strong, and stable’ despite disagreements, says defence chiefIsrael’s defence minister, Yoav Gallant, has said the country’s relationship with the US is “essential, strong and stable” despite “differences of opinion”.Gallant, in a televised news conference on Wednesday, said he wanted to “make it clear that the US was the first to stand with us in actions, not in words”, the Times of Israel reported.“We resolve the disputes in the closed rooms, not in interviews or in tweets,” Gallant added, in veiled remarks at other politicians.The Israeli minister’s comments come amid reports that the US is moving forward with a $1bn package of weapons aid for Israel that includes tank rounds, mortars and armored tactical vehicles, just a week after Joe Biden said he had delayed a weapons shipment to Israel over concerns they might be used for a major invasion of Rafah.ShareUpdated at 17.34 CESTPeter BeaumontEgypt, whose general intelligence directorate has long acted as a key mediator between Israel and Hamas, could withdraw from ceasefire negotiations, according to Israeli media reports on Wednesday.Egypt’s leadership has been forced into a complex balancing act by the war in Gaza. On the one hand, there is widespread sympathy for the plight of Palestinians among ordinary Egyptians and the political elite.Set against that, however, is Egypt’s determination not to be complicit in what it sees as Israeli efforts aimed at displacing Palestinians out of Gaza into Egypt – a long-term concern in Cairo. Nor does Egypt want to be seen as accepting a new situation in which Israel fully controls all of Gaza’s borders, including with Egypt.“At government level sentiment is pretty closely aligned with popular feeling,” HA Hellyer, an expert on Middle East security at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and the Royal United Services Institute, told the Guardian.“There is a great deal of anger. Whereas in 2014 there was a lot of public expression of antipathy towards Hamas that is not visible in this conflict,” said Hellyer, who is in Cairo.
If there is a quandary it is because Egyptians want to help Gaza but the overwhelming political consideration is that Egypt does not want to be seen as complicit in ethnic cleansing or complicit in putting to bed the Palestinian cause, which is what would happen f the population of Gaza is cleared out.
Gaza ceasefire talks at ‘almost a stalemate’ over Rafah operation, says Qatar’s PM – videoSharePeter BeaumontIsrael’s capture of the Rafah crossing on 7 May is widely seen as being in breach of the Philadelphi accord, which was added to the Israel-Egypt peace treaty in 2005 after the evacuation of Israeli settlements in Gaza and was designed to regulate the border between Gaza and Egypt.Prior to Israel’s takeover of the crossing, Egyptian officials warned publicly that any such move was a red line that would put the peace treaty at risk. Israel’s foreign affairs minister, Israel Katz, said in comments released by his office:
The key to preventing a humanitarian crisis in Gaza is now in the hands of our Egyptian friends.
Katz said he had spoken with his British and German counterparts about “the need to persuade Egypt to reopen the Rafah crossing”.Trucks wait at the Rafah border gate to cross to the Egyptian side. Photograph: Anadolu/Getty ImagesEgypt has said the crossing has remained open from its side throughout the conflict that began between Israel and Hamas on 7 October. Cairo has been one of the mediators in stalled ceasefire talks between Israel and Hamas. But its relationship with Israel has come under strain during the conflict, especially since the Israeli advance in Rafah.SharePeter BeaumontIsrael and Egypt are embroiled in a growing diplomatic row over the Rafah border crossing after Israel’s takeover of the Gaza side of the crossing, amid warnings Cairo may be planning to downgrade relations.In recent days Egypt has announced it will no longer participate in allowing the transit of aid into Gaza and said it planned to join the genocide case brought by South Africa against Israel at the UN’s top court.Israel’s largest Arab neighbour has been growing increasingly angry over its conduct in the Gaza war, which has brought relations to a point of friction unprecedented since a peace treaty signed in 1979.The Rafah crossing between Egypt and southern Gaza has been a vital route for aid to the coastal territory, where a humanitarian crisis has deepened and some people are at risk of famine. On 7 May Israel seized control of the crossing as it stepped up its military campaign around Rafah. Since then aid has accumulated on the Egyptian side.Israel said it was up to Egypt to reopen the crossing and allow humanitarian relief into Gaza, prompting Cairo to denounce what it described as “desperate attempts” to shift blame for the blockage of aid.ShareBenjamin Netanyahu told Israel’s security cabinet that the country is “not a vassal state” of the US a day after Joe Biden warned that a major attack on Rafah would cross a “red line”, according to a report.The Israeli leader went on a long rant during a meeting with his security cabinet, Axios reported, in which he compared his clash with the US president over Rafah to Israel’s prime minister, David Ben Gurion, declaring independence in 1948 over the objections of US secretary of state George Marshall.Netanyahu told cabinet members that he knew how to push back against pressure from Washington and would do it again if necessary, the report says, citing an aide to the Israeli prime minister. Netanyahu also reportedly said:
When is comes to threats to our security we will do whatever it takes.
ShareNetanyahu says Israel has to ‘do what we have to do’ on Rafah offensive despite US ‘disagreement’Benjamin Netanyahu has said Israel must do “what is required” in Rafah despite disagreements with its longtime ally the US,The Israeli prime minister, in an interview with CNBC, acknowledged a “disagreement” with Washington over his country’s military offensive in the southernmost Gaza city, but he stood firm that the operation would be necessary. He said:
Yes, we do have a disagreement on Gaza. Rather, on Rafah. But we have to do what we have to do … Sometimes you have to … you just have to do what is required to ensure your survival and your future. We cannot continue into the future by having Hamas retake Gaza.
Netanyahu said he hoped he could “see eye to eye” with the US, but insisted that “ultimately we do what we have to do to protect the life of our nation.”ShareMore than 35,200 Palestinians killed since start of war – Gaza health ministryAt least 35,233 people have been killed in Gaza by Israeli attacks since 7 October, according to the latest figures by the territory’s health ministry on Wednesday.At least 79,141 have been wounded, the latest figures show.ShareSome images have come through from the Zeitoun neighbourhood in Gaza. Earlier Israel’s military announced it had pulled out some troops from the area.A Palestinian man views the destruction at Zeitoun neighbourhood after Israeli forces withdraw. Photograph: Mahmoud Issa/ReutersA Palestinian man pushes a bicycle with his belongings as he returns to his house in Zeitoun neighbourhood, 15 May 15. Photograph: Mahmoud Issa/ReutersShareTurkish foreign minister Hakan Fidan told his US counterpart Antony Blinken in a call on Wednesday that Israel’s attack on the Gazan city of Rafah is unacceptable, a Turkish diplomatic source has told Reuters.Fidan also told Blinken that it was important to achieve a ceasefire in Gaza as soon as possible, while emphasising that obstacles to the access of humanitarian aid into the territory must be removed, the source told the news agency.Share

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