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  10.  <title>Israeli ground offensive would turn Rafah into 'graveyard', leading rights experts warn</title>
  11.  <link>https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/israeli-ground-offensive-would-turn-rafah-graveyard-rights-experts</link>
  12.  <description>
  13. &lt;span class="field field-title"&gt;Israeli ground offensive would turn Rafah into 'graveyard', leading rights experts warn&lt;/span&gt;
  14.            &lt;div class="field field-field-subhead"&gt;Gaza is on a rapid path towards famine as the UN suspends aid deliveries in the north, say experts &lt;/div&gt;
  15.      
  16. &lt;span class="field field-uid"&gt;&lt;a title="View user profile." href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/users/mee-staff" lang="" about="https://www.middleeasteye.net/users/mee-staff" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" xml:lang=""&gt;MEE staff&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/span&gt;
  17.  
  18. &lt;span class="field field-created"&gt;&lt;time datetime="2024-02-20T20:55:13+00:00" title="20 February 2024 20:55 GMT"&gt;Tue, 02/20/2024 - 20:55&lt;/time&gt;&lt;/span&gt;
  19.            &lt;div class="field field-field-main-image"&gt;    &lt;picture&gt;&lt;source srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/Gaza-kids-February2024-afp.jpg.webp?itok=zyLZmN9p 1x" type="image/webp" width="1400" height="788"&gt;&lt;/source&gt;&lt;source srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/Gaza-kids-February2024-afp.jpg?itok=zyLZmN9p 1x" type="image/jpeg" width="1400" height="788"&gt;&lt;/source&gt;&lt;img srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/Gaza-kids-February2024-afp.jpg?itok=zyLZmN9p 1x" width="1400" height="788" src="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/max_2600x2600/public/images-story/Gaza-kids-February2024-afp.jpg?itok=euKe086v" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" fetchpriority="high" /&gt;&lt;/picture&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  20.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-cutline"&gt;Onlookers gather around a car that was destroyed in an Israeli strike in Rafah in southern Gaza, on 20 February 2024 (Said Khatib/AFP)&lt;br /&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  21.                  &lt;div class="field field-body clearfix"&gt;&lt;p&gt;An Israeli ground offensive on Rafah would turn the Gaza border town teeming with refugees into a “graveyard”, the heads of leading humanitarian and human rights organisations warned at a special press briefing on Tuesday.&lt;/p&gt;
  22.  
  23. &lt;p&gt;“The consequences of a full-scale assault on Rafah are truly unimaginable,” Avril Benoit, executive director of Doctors Without Borders in the US, said at the online press briefing.&lt;/p&gt;
  24.  
  25. &lt;p&gt;“With people in makeshift shelters that can’t even protect against the cold, carrying out a military offensive there would turn it into a graveyard.”&lt;/p&gt;
  26.  
  27. &lt;p&gt;Benoit spoke alongside senior executives from Medico International, Amnesty International, Refugees International, and Oxfam, warning that a looming Israeli invasion of Rafah, where 1.5 million Palestinians are sheltering in squalid conditions, could compound the already dire humanitarian situation in the war-ravaged enclave.&lt;/p&gt;
  28.  
  29. &lt;p&gt;The executives described in gruesome detail the daily reality for aid workers and Palestinians in Gaza. Benoit said babies have had their legs amputated before they even learn how to walk and pregnant women are giving birth in tents on the street.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;div class="block-adsense block-adsense-managed-ad-block"&gt;&lt;div&gt;
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  40. &lt;/div&gt;
  41.  
  42. &lt;p&gt;Sally Abi Khalil, regional director of Oxfam, said the impeding of humanitarian aid by Israel was “starvation as a weapon of war”.&lt;/p&gt;
  43.  
  44. &lt;p&gt;Jeremy Konyndyk, president of Refugees International, said that the enclave is on a "very rapid path towards famine”. He blamed the inability of humanitarian groups to deliver supplies on Israel’s failure to establish a meaningful humanitarian deconfliction process, which is used in war zones to facilitate aid deliveries.&lt;/p&gt;
  45.  
  46. &lt;p&gt;He said Israel was breaching an interim ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and called on it to refrain from impeding the delivery of aid into Gaza and improve the humanitarian situation, along with taking measures within its power to prevent acts of genocide in the besieged enclave.&lt;/p&gt;
  47.  
  48. &lt;p&gt;On Tuesday, the UN announced the suspension of food aid in northern Gaza, saying the region had become plagued by "chaos and violence”.&lt;/p&gt;
  49.  
  50. &lt;p&gt;The World Food Programme has warned that an alarming lack of food, rampant malnutrition and the rapid spread of disease could lead to an "explosion" in the number of child deaths in Gaza. An eight-year-old &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/countries/palestine" target="_blank"&gt;Palestinian &lt;/a&gt;girl died from dehydration and starvation in &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/big-story/gaza-war-israel-netanyahu-hamas-origins-2023-nakba" target="_blank"&gt;Gaza City,&lt;/a&gt; the NGO, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, &lt;a href="https://x.com/RamAbdu/status/1758870077208723614?s=20" target="_blank"&gt;reported &lt;/a&gt;on Saturday.&lt;/p&gt;
  51.  
  52. &lt;h3&gt;No end in sight&lt;/h3&gt;
  53.  
  54. &lt;p&gt;The UN’s announcement came as the &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/countries/us"&gt;US&lt;/a&gt; vetoed a Security Council resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/topics/israel-palestine-war"&gt;Gaza&lt;/a&gt;, marking the fourth time Washington has blocked such a measure since the war began in October. Washington also vetoed in December an amendment calling for a ceasefire that Russia had tried including in a Security Council resolution.&lt;/p&gt;
  55.  
  56. &lt;p&gt;As an alternative to the resolution on Tuesday, the US has offered its own counter-proposal that would condemn Hamas for launching the 7 October attacks on southern Israel, while calling for a ceasefire “as soon as practicable”, according to a copy of the draft document seen by Middle East Eye.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;div class="block-adsense block-adsense-managed-ad-block"&gt;&lt;div&gt;
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  67. &lt;/div&gt;
  68.  
  69. &lt;p&gt;The US resolution also offers opposition to Israel's consideration of a full-scale offensive on Rafah based on the current situation on the ground in Rafah. It is in keeping with US officials’ public statements that Israel first presents a “credible” plan to remove civilians from the town before a ground offensive begins.&lt;/p&gt;
  70.  
  71. &lt;p&gt;Konyndyk, from Refugees International, called that demand “a mirage” providing a “fig-leaf” for a potential Israeli offensive in the future.&lt;/p&gt;
  72.  
  73. &lt;p&gt;“They (Palestinians) are in Rafah in the first place because the rest of Gaza has been made uninhabitable,” he said at the press conference.&lt;/p&gt;
  74.  
  75. &lt;p&gt;The Gaza Strip has been decimated by air strikes and roughly 85 percent of Palestinians in the enclave have been displaced from their homes. Israel says it plans to displace Palestinians in Rafah to the north of the enclave where basic infrastructure has been obliterated.&lt;/p&gt;
  76.  
  77. &lt;p&gt;“It worries me to be hearing this from the US government because it suggests that such a thing is possible, when it really is not.”&lt;/p&gt;
  78. &lt;/div&gt;
  79.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-topic"&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/topics/israel-palestine-war" hreflang="en"&gt;Israel-Palestine war&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
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  89.              &lt;div class="field field-field-section"&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/all" hreflang="en"&gt;News&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  90.      </description>
  91.  <pubDate>Tue, 20 Feb 2024 20:55:13 +0000</pubDate>
  92.    <dc:creator>MEE staff</dc:creator>
  93.    <guid isPermaLink="false">344306 at https://www.middleeasteye.net</guid>
  94.    </item>
  95. <item>
  96.  <title>Teenage dinghy pilot convicted of manslaughter over British Channel migrant deaths</title>
  97.  <link>https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/teenage-migrant-who-steered-vessel-convicted-manslaughter-unprecedented-ruling</link>
  98.  <description>
  99. &lt;span class="field field-title"&gt;Teenage dinghy pilot convicted of manslaughter over British Channel migrant deaths&lt;/span&gt;
  100.            &lt;div class="field field-field-subhead"&gt;Ibrahima Bah helmed the sinking dinghy that led to the deaths of four people in December 2022, but campaigners say French and British authorities are responsible&lt;/div&gt;
  101.      
  102. &lt;span class="field field-uid"&gt;&lt;a title="View user profile." href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/users/katherine-hearst" lang="" about="https://www.middleeasteye.net/users/katherine-hearst" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" xml:lang=""&gt;Katherine Hearst&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/span&gt;
  103.  
  104. &lt;span class="field field-created"&gt;&lt;time datetime="2024-02-20T09:16:15+00:00" title="20 February 2024 09:16 GMT"&gt;Tue, 02/20/2024 - 09:16&lt;/time&gt;&lt;/span&gt;
  105.            &lt;div class="field field-field-main-image"&gt;    &lt;picture&gt;&lt;source srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/Migrants_%20failed%20attempt%20to%20cross%20the%20Channel%20to%20the%20UK%20on%20a%20small%20boat%2C%20in%20Sangatte%2C%20near%20Calais%2C%20France%2C%20August%2010%2C%202023.%20REUTERS.jpg.webp?itok=BiJaN0g0 1x" type="image/webp" width="1400" height="788"&gt;&lt;/source&gt;&lt;source srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/Migrants_%20failed%20attempt%20to%20cross%20the%20Channel%20to%20the%20UK%20on%20a%20small%20boat%2C%20in%20Sangatte%2C%20near%20Calais%2C%20France%2C%20August%2010%2C%202023.%20REUTERS.jpg?itok=BiJaN0g0 1x" type="image/jpeg" width="1400" height="788"&gt;&lt;/source&gt;&lt;img srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/Migrants_%20failed%20attempt%20to%20cross%20the%20Channel%20to%20the%20UK%20on%20a%20small%20boat%2C%20in%20Sangatte%2C%20near%20Calais%2C%20France%2C%20August%2010%2C%202023.%20REUTERS.jpg?itok=BiJaN0g0 1x" width="1400" height="788" src="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/max_2600x2600/public/Migrants_%20failed%20attempt%20to%20cross%20the%20Channel%20to%20the%20UK%20on%20a%20small%20boat%2C%20in%20Sangatte%2C%20near%20Calais%2C%20France%2C%20August%2010%2C%202023.%20REUTERS.jpg?itok=Eh6tfVbk" alt="A view of migrants on the beach at sunrise after a failed attempt to cross the Channel to the UK on a small boat, in Sangatte, near Calais, France, 10 August 2023 (Reuters)" typeof="foaf:Image" fetchpriority="high" /&gt;&lt;/picture&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  106.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-cutline"&gt;A view of migrants on the beach at sunrise after a failed attempt to cross the channel to the UK on a small boat, in Sangatte, near Calais, France, on 10 August 2023 (Reuters)&lt;/div&gt;
  107.                  &lt;div class="field field-body clearfix"&gt;&lt;p style="line-height:1.38"&gt;The Canterbury Crown Court on Monday convicted a teenage migrant of manslaughter after piloting a sinking dinghy across the British Channel, leading to the deaths of four passengers.&lt;/p&gt;
  108.  
  109. &lt;p&gt;This is the first time in the UK legal system&lt;strong&gt; &lt;/strong&gt;that&lt;strong&gt; &lt;/strong&gt;a migrant who piloted a boat has been found guilty of manslaughter. A sentence is expected to be announced on Friday.&lt;/p&gt;
  110.  
  111. &lt;p&gt;Campaigners have blamed the wreck on the &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/tags/france"&gt;French&lt;/a&gt; and &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/tags/united-kingdom"&gt;British &lt;/a&gt;coastguard’s negligence.&lt;/p&gt;
  112.  
  113. &lt;p&gt;Senegalese 19-year-old Ibrahima Bah was arrested over a year ago after he and dozens of other passengers, &lt;a href="https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/british-coastguards-under-investigation-after-32125689"&gt;including Afghan and Iranian nationals&lt;/a&gt; aboard the deflating dinghy, were pulled aboard the UK fishing boat, Arcturus.&lt;/p&gt;
  114.  
  115. &lt;p&gt;Bah, who was photographed near the tiller of the stricken dinghy, had offered to steer the boat carrying around 40 people across the channel in exchange for free passage for himself on 14 December 2022, prosecutors alleged.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;div class="block-adsense block-adsense-managed-ad-block"&gt;&lt;div&gt;
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  125. &lt;/div&gt;
  126. &lt;/div&gt;
  127.  
  128. &lt;p&gt;But Bah told the court that he had helmed the boat under duress from smugglers and had agreed to steer it before seeing the vessel, which was only built for 20 passengers. &lt;/p&gt;
  129.  
  130. &lt;p&gt;When he saw the unseaworthy dinghy, he claimed he refused to pilot it, but was beaten and threatened with death by the smugglers.&lt;/p&gt;
  131.  
  132. &lt;p&gt;But prosecutors told jurors that Bah had a “duty of care” to his fellow passengers and was therefore responsible for the deaths of the four people known to have drowned when the vessel sank.&lt;/p&gt;
  133.  
  134. &lt;p&gt;Bah has been charged with four counts of manslaughter, one for each of those who drowned, and for facilitating illegal entry. &lt;/p&gt;
  135.  
  136. &lt;p&gt;According to the campaign group, &lt;a href="https://calaismigrantsolidarity.wordpress.com/2024/02/19/jury-convicts-ibrahima-bah-statement-from-captain-support-uk/"&gt;Captain Support&lt;/a&gt;, which was observing the trial, many of the survivors testified that Bah saved their lives, with one describing him as an "angel".&lt;/p&gt;
  137.  
  138. &lt;p&gt;For the group, Bah's conviction is part of a "a violent escalation in the persecution of migrants to ‘Stop the Boats'," while campaigners have warned that the ruling sets a dangerous precedent.&lt;/p&gt;
  139.  
  140. &lt;p&gt;The Home Office has long branded small boat pilots as "people smugglers". The &lt;a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/news/life-sentences-for-small-boat-pilots-come-into-force#:~:text=tougher%20penalties%20for%20those%20who,months'%20to%204%20years'%20imprisonment"&gt;2022 Nationality and Borders Act&lt;/a&gt; introduced a maximum sentence of life imprisonment for small boat pilots.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;div class="block-adsense block-adsense-managed-ad-block"&gt;&lt;div&gt;
  141.  &lt;div class="adsense responsive"&gt;
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  150. &lt;/div&gt;
  151. &lt;/div&gt;
  152.  
  153. &lt;p&gt;"This case could very easily mark the start of many more boat pilot trials of exactly this kind," journalist Nicola Kelly &lt;a href="https://x.com/NicolaKelly/status/1759864401518055553?s=20"&gt;posted on X&lt;/a&gt;.&lt;/p&gt;
  154.  
  155. &lt;p&gt;In a report for the &lt;a href="https://bylinetimes.com/2023/12/14/deaths-in-the-channel-survivors-and-rescue-teams-feel-targeted-by-plan-to-stop-the-boats/"&gt;Byline Times&lt;/a&gt;, Kelly spoke to survivors of the wreck who reportedly said: &lt;/p&gt;
  156.  
  157. &lt;p&gt;“Ibrahima is not a criminal. None of us are criminals, We saw our friends under the boat. We saw them die out at sea. Why can the Government not see that we are not to blame for this?”&lt;/p&gt;
  158.  
  159. &lt;h3&gt;'Please help me bro'&lt;/h3&gt;
  160.  
  161. &lt;p&gt;A &lt;a href="https://alarmphone.org/en/2022/12/14/the-deadly-line-militarised-borders-lead-to-more-deaths-in-the-english-channel/?post_type_release_type=post"&gt;report into the wreck&lt;/a&gt; by &lt;a href="https://alarmphone.org/en/"&gt;Alarm Phone&lt;/a&gt;, a hotline for people in distress at sea, found that the boat started sinking after it reached the fishing vessel and that its crew failed to immediately issue a Mayday relay.&lt;/p&gt;
  162.  
  163. &lt;p&gt;According to the report, &lt;a href="https://utopia56.org/"&gt;Utopia 56&lt;/a&gt;, Alarm Phone’s partner association in northern France, received a message at 02:53 am French time from a boat in distress. &lt;/p&gt;
  164.  
  165. &lt;p&gt;A minute later, they received a voice note that said, “Hello brother, we are in a boat and we have a problem; please help…Please help me bro, please, please. We are in the water, we have a family.”&lt;/p&gt;
  166.  
  167. &lt;p&gt;Alarm Phone and Utopia 56 reportedly called the French Coast Guard at 2:57 am and sent a follow-up email an hour later, but according to Alarm Phone, there was “no apparent rescue effort from the French side”.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;div class="block-adsense block-adsense-managed-ad-block"&gt;&lt;div&gt;
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  176. &lt;/script&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  177. &lt;/div&gt;
  178. &lt;/div&gt;
  179.  
  180. &lt;p&gt;The hotlines lost contact with the boat and were only later able to piece together what happened from survivors’ testimonies.&lt;/p&gt;
  181.  
  182. &lt;blockquote&gt;
  183. &lt;p&gt;'We were screaming and shouting and saying that we are going down… They were coming and looking and saying no and going away'&lt;/p&gt;
  184.  
  185. &lt;p&gt;&lt;em&gt;- Shipwreck survivor&lt;/em&gt;&lt;/p&gt;
  186. &lt;/blockquote&gt;
  187.  
  188. &lt;p&gt;Without any rescue assets nearby, multiple survivors told Alarm Phone that Bah steered towards a French fishing boat which refused to help them.&lt;/p&gt;
  189.  
  190. &lt;p&gt;“We were screaming and shouting and saying that we are going down… They were coming and looking and saying no and going away," a survivor told Alarm Phone.&lt;/p&gt;
  191.  
  192. &lt;p&gt;The dinghy then steered towards another trawler, the UK-flagged, Arcturus.&lt;/p&gt;
  193.  
  194. &lt;p&gt;According to testimonies given to Alarm Phone, the crew either did not notice or ignored the boat in distress.&lt;/p&gt;
  195.  
  196. &lt;p&gt;“We were screaming and shouting. They ignored us initially until we got close enough,” a survivor testified.&lt;/p&gt;
  197.  
  198. &lt;p&gt;“One person jumped from the dinghy to the fishing boat and then managed to get the attention of the crew by pulling on one of the chains that was hanging off the fishing boat,” an Alarm Phone member told Middle East Eye.&lt;/p&gt;
  199.  
  200. &lt;h3&gt;'They had to rescue themselves'&lt;/h3&gt;
  201.  
  202. &lt;p&gt;According to survivors' testimonies, it was not immediately clear if and how the fishing vessel would rescue them.&lt;/p&gt;
  203.  
  204. &lt;p&gt;‘They said they don’t know how to get us out of the water. They said they would call for help from the police. They pulled the man from the chains onto the deck. There were 45 of us still on the boat,” a survivor said.&lt;/p&gt;
  205.  
  206. &lt;p&gt;The crew’s hesitancy exacerbated the sense of panic on the dinghy.&lt;/p&gt;
  207.  
  208. &lt;p&gt;In desperation, the passengers stood up in the vessel, ripping through its floor and plunging into the water. &lt;/p&gt;
  209.  
  210. &lt;div class="mee-readmore mee-readmore-article-story mee-readmore-type-image align-right"&gt;
  211.  &lt;a class="mee-readmore-img-link" href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/uk-france-refugee-crossings-channel-new-deal"&gt;&lt;img class="mee-readmore-image" src="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/read_more/public/images-story/000_33AX6DMm.jpg.webp?itok=ExFvwssP" width="400" height="250" alt="" loading="lazy" typeof="foaf:Image" /&gt;&lt;/a&gt;  &lt;div class="mee-readmore-description"&gt;Small boats: UK and France agree new deal on refugee Channel crossings&lt;/div&gt;
  212.    &lt;a class="mee-readmore-link" href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/uk-france-refugee-crossings-channel-new-deal"&gt;Read More »&lt;/a&gt;
  213. &lt;/div&gt;
  214.  
  215. &lt;p&gt;Alarm phone reported that 11 people were fished out by the crew, but that the half-wrecked dinghy drifted away with most of the passengers clinging to its still-inflated rim.&lt;/p&gt;
  216.  
  217. &lt;p&gt;A survivor recalled they were in the water for over half an hour.&lt;/p&gt;
  218.  
  219. &lt;p&gt;When the crew retrieved the remnants of the boat, some of its passengers were missing.&lt;/p&gt;
  220.  
  221. &lt;p&gt;“It’s not unexpected that the boat could break in these circumstances with an untrained crew and unsuitable boat rescue,” an Alarm phone member said.&lt;/p&gt;
  222.  
  223. &lt;p&gt;They had to rescue themselves. There was no search and rescue operation for them,” he added. &lt;/p&gt;
  224.  
  225. &lt;h3&gt;'After they took photographs, they helped'&lt;/h3&gt;
  226.  
  227. &lt;p&gt;The captain of the fishing vessel, Ray Strachan, testified in court that he was awoken around 2:30am UK time and informed there was someone in the water. The Dover Coastguard reported an alert sent at 3:04am. &lt;/p&gt;
  228.  
  229. &lt;p&gt;“The initial alert we sent was at 1:53 am,” an Alarm Phone member told MEE. &lt;/p&gt;
  230.  
  231. &lt;p&gt;“So there seems to be 30 minutes in which we know the captain was awake and aware of people in the water.”&lt;/p&gt;
  232.  
  233. &lt;p&gt;Strachan testified that instead of immediately deploying life-saving floatation devices, his first priority was to film and photograph the sinking dinghy. &lt;/p&gt;
  234.  
  235. &lt;div class="mee-readmore mee-readmore-article-story mee-readmore-type-image align-right"&gt;
  236.  &lt;a class="mee-readmore-img-link" href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/uk-channel-crossing-small-boats-positive-light-illegal"&gt;&lt;img class="mee-readmore-image" src="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/read_more/public/images-story/migrant-crossing-channel-afp.jpg.webp?itok=s5AhbwFG" width="400" height="250" alt="" loading="lazy" typeof="foaf:Image" /&gt;&lt;/a&gt;  &lt;div class="mee-readmore-description"&gt;UK could make posting videos of boats crossing Channel in 'positive light' illegal&lt;/div&gt;
  237.    &lt;a class="mee-readmore-link" href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/uk-channel-crossing-small-boats-positive-light-illegal"&gt;Read More »&lt;/a&gt;
  238. &lt;/div&gt;
  239.  
  240. &lt;p&gt;According to Alarm Phone, the images date from 2:45 am, 15 minutes before an alert was sent to the coastguard.&lt;/p&gt;
  241.  
  242. &lt;p&gt;"They initially didn’t help, they just took pictures for the police. […] At first they [were] dismissive, but after they took photos, they helped", said a survivor, according to &lt;a href="https://alarmphone.org/en/2023/12/14/they-ignored-us-initially-what-happened-in-the-channel-on-14-december-2022/"&gt;Alarm phone link&lt;/a&gt;.&lt;/p&gt;
  243.  
  244. &lt;p&gt;“Had he informed them earlier and had this mass casualty response been initiated 30 minutes earlier, there wouldn't have been the same loss of life,” an Alarm Phone member told MEE. “Thirty minutes is a long time in eight-degree water in December.”&lt;/p&gt;
  245.  
  246. &lt;p&gt;“The other big factor is that there was no aerial surveillance that night, so this boat was basically undetected,” he told MEE. &lt;/p&gt;
  247.  
  248. &lt;p&gt;“It is a bit atypical because usually the boats are spotted leaving the French coast or the UK Coast Guard.”&lt;/p&gt;
  249.  
  250. &lt;p&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/british-coastguards-under-investigation-after-32125689"&gt;British coastguards are under investigation in France&lt;/a&gt;, following the filing of complaints for “involuntary manslaughter” and “failure to render aid” by the refugee charity Utopia 56, which claimed that the French and British authorities were too slow to respond to the British Channel wreck.&lt;/p&gt;
  251. &lt;/div&gt;
  252.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-topic"&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/topics/migration" hreflang="en"&gt;Migration&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  253.            &lt;div class="field field-field-coauthor-location"&gt;
  254.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  255.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  256.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  257.          &lt;/div&gt;
  258.              &lt;div class="field field-field-article-location"&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  259.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-landing-title"&gt;Teenage dinghy pilot convicted of manslaughter over British Channel migrant deaths&lt;/div&gt;
  260.            &lt;div class="field field-field-comments"&gt;
  261.              &lt;div&gt;&lt;drupal-render-placeholder callback="Drupal\disqus\Element\Disqus::displayDisqusComments" arguments="0=Teenage%20dinghy%20pilot%20convicted%20of%20manslaughter%20over%20British%20Channel%20migrant%20deaths&amp;1=https%3A//www.middleeasteye.net/news/teenage-migrant-who-steered-vessel-convicted-manslaughter-unprecedented-ruling&amp;2=node/344271&amp;3=a%3A0%3A%7B%7D" token="h-1IXG1jX7mN02SRi54BAdP-euVPoNuc1TWGBCboamM"&gt;&lt;/drupal-render-placeholder&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  262.          &lt;/div&gt;
  263.              &lt;div class="field field-field-section"&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/all" hreflang="en"&gt;News&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  264.      </description>
  265.  <pubDate>Tue, 20 Feb 2024 09:16:15 +0000</pubDate>
  266.    <dc:creator>Katherine Hearst</dc:creator>
  267.    <guid isPermaLink="false">344271 at https://www.middleeasteye.net</guid>
  268.    </item>
  269. <item>
  270.  <title>Turkey arrests Syrian activist for allegedly spying for French intelligence</title>
  271.  <link>https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/turkey-arrests-syrian-activist-allegedly-spying-french-intelligence</link>
  272.  <description>
  273. &lt;span class="field field-title"&gt;Turkey arrests Syrian activist for allegedly spying for French intelligence&lt;/span&gt;
  274.            &lt;div class="field field-field-subhead"&gt;Ahmed Katie was charged with espionage after seeking asylum in France due to increasing anti-refugee sentiments in Turkey &lt;/div&gt;
  275.      
  276. &lt;span class="field field-uid"&gt;&lt;a title="View user profile." href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/users/ragip-soylu" lang="" about="https://www.middleeasteye.net/users/ragip-soylu" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" xml:lang=""&gt;Ragip Soylu&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/span&gt;
  277.  
  278. &lt;span class="field field-created"&gt;&lt;time datetime="2024-02-20T13:19:44+00:00" title="20 February 2024 13:19 GMT"&gt;Tue, 02/20/2024 - 13:19&lt;/time&gt;&lt;/span&gt;
  279.            &lt;div class="field field-field-main-image"&gt;    &lt;picture&gt;&lt;source srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/ahmed-katie-syrian-activist.jpg.webp?itok=WGXeF9yq 1x" type="image/webp" width="1400" height="788"&gt;&lt;/source&gt;&lt;source srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/ahmed-katie-syrian-activist.jpg?itok=WGXeF9yq 1x" type="image/jpeg" width="1400" height="788"&gt;&lt;/source&gt;&lt;img loading="lazy" srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/ahmed-katie-syrian-activist.jpg?itok=WGXeF9yq 1x" width="1400" height="788" src="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/max_2600x2600/public/images-story/ahmed-katie-syrian-activist.jpg?itok=ZEVQbRKg" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" /&gt;&lt;/picture&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  280.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-cutline"&gt;Ahmed Katie is a prominent active for Syrian refugees in Turkey (X)&lt;/div&gt;
  281.                  &lt;div class="field field-body clearfix"&gt;&lt;p&gt;A &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/countries/turkey"&gt;Turkish&lt;/a&gt; court has arrested a &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/countries/syria"&gt;Syrian&lt;/a&gt; activist and businessman, Ahmed Katie, on charges of spying for the French intelligence agency in December, a Turkish newspaper reported on Tuesday. &lt;/p&gt;
  282.  
  283. &lt;p&gt;Katie was &lt;a href="https://serbestiyet.com/haberler/suriyeli-insan-haklari-savunucusu-ahmed-katiedan-haber-alinamiyor-149922/"&gt;reported missing&lt;/a&gt; in late November for more than two weeks before Turkish security forces alerted his lawyers that he was taken to the police station in mid-December for an official questioning on his activities. &lt;/p&gt;
  284.  
  285. &lt;p&gt;Now, Sabah newspaper, citing sources with information on his case, &lt;a href="https://www.sabah.com.tr/gundem/2024/02/20/turkiyeyi-kotule-vatandasligi-kap"&gt;reported&lt;/a&gt; that Katie had been recruited by French intelligence, specifically by the Directorate-General for External Security (DGSE), which allegedly proposed granting him and his family asylum in return for services.&lt;/p&gt;
  286.  
  287. &lt;p&gt;The report says Katie was supposed to feed “false” information on Turkey’s treatment of Syrian refugees and immigration policies to French officials, “which would put Turkey in a difficult situation in Europe”.&lt;/p&gt;
  288.  
  289. &lt;p&gt;“Katie acted as a leader of a three-person intelligence cell and was tracked by the Turkish Intelligence, MIT, for a year,” the report said. “Katie received the instructions from the directors of a Paris-based NGO, which is under the control of the DGSE.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;div class="block-adsense block-adsense-managed-ad-block"&gt;&lt;div&gt;
  290.  &lt;div class="adsense responsive"&gt;
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  299. &lt;/div&gt;
  300. &lt;/div&gt;
  301.  
  302. &lt;p&gt;Katie’s lawyer Halim Yilmaz, in a phone interview with Middle East Eye, denied that his client had been spying for French intelligence, adding that they will fight against the allegations in court.&lt;/p&gt;
  303.  
  304. &lt;p&gt;Yilmaz confirmed that Katie was under arrest since 12 December on charges of espionage.&lt;/p&gt;
  305.  
  306. &lt;p&gt;The court cited that examinations of his phone and computer were yet to be completed, therefore he would have to remain in custody. &lt;/p&gt;
  307.  
  308. &lt;p&gt;Turkish officials have declined to comment. &lt;/p&gt;
  309.  
  310. &lt;h3&gt;A bizarre meeting&lt;/h3&gt;
  311.  
  312. &lt;p&gt;Katie, born in Saudi Arabia to a family from Idlib known for its opposition to the Syrian government, &lt;a href="https://www.lemonde.fr/en/international/article/2023/12/02/in-istanbul-the-disturbing-disappearance-of-syrian-opposition-figure-and-refugee-ahmed-katie_6308177_4.html"&gt;has a history of confrontations&lt;/a&gt; with Bashar al-Assad's regime.&lt;/p&gt;
  313.  
  314. &lt;div class="mee-readmore mee-readmore-article-story mee-readmore-type-image align-right"&gt;
  315.  &lt;a class="mee-readmore-img-link" href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/how-does-israeli-intelligence-recruit-operatives-turkey"&gt;&lt;img class="mee-readmore-image" src="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/read_more/public/images-story/Israel-flag-Petah-Tikva-afp.jpg.webp?itok=jWd2-N45" width="400" height="250" alt="" loading="lazy" typeof="foaf:Image" /&gt;&lt;/a&gt;  &lt;div class="mee-readmore-description"&gt;How does Israeli intelligence recruit operatives in Turkey?&lt;/div&gt;
  316.    &lt;a class="mee-readmore-link" href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/how-does-israeli-intelligence-recruit-operatives-turkey"&gt;Read More »&lt;/a&gt;
  317. &lt;/div&gt;
  318.  
  319. &lt;p&gt;Ironically, his first arrest in 2005 occurred amid a government-declared amnesty for dissidents and their families. He was detained in Deraa, only to spend a year in the notorious Sednaya prison.&lt;/p&gt;
  320.  
  321. &lt;p&gt;Katie was later arrested in 2011 after participating in protests against Assad in the Idlib province. After his release, he moved to Turkey as a refugee and secured a work permit.&lt;/p&gt;
  322.  
  323. &lt;p&gt;Over the years, the activist became a prominent advocate for Syrian refugees and is well-known among Syria's four-million diaspora in Turkey, where he has been residing for nearly a decade.&lt;/p&gt;
  324.  
  325. &lt;p&gt;A Turkey-based source, who is closely following Katie’s case, told MEE that Turkish intelligence officers met the activist on 19 October at a cafe in Istanbul and questioned him on his activities.&lt;/p&gt;
  326.  
  327. &lt;p&gt;Bizarrely, he added, the officers asked him to buy a SIM card in his name from a store next door and hand it over to them. &lt;/p&gt;
  328.  
  329. &lt;p&gt;On 29 October, Katie announced on his Facebook page that he had put a total stop to his human rights and media activities.&lt;/p&gt;
  330.  
  331. &lt;p&gt;He also filed a petition to the Istanbul prosecutor’s office to make clear that he only has two telephone numbers, and does not use others, such as the one he was forced to purchase in October, the source added. &lt;/p&gt;
  332.  
  333. &lt;h3&gt;Seeking asylum in France&lt;/h3&gt;
  334.  
  335. &lt;p&gt;Yilmaz, the lawyer, said the security forces have been targeting people who are known for their human rights activism in recent years, especially if they were refugees or have connections to organisations abroad, falsely accusing them of being informants of spies.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;div class="block-adsense block-adsense-managed-ad-block"&gt;&lt;div&gt;
  336.  &lt;div class="adsense responsive"&gt;
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  344. &lt;/script&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  345. &lt;/div&gt;
  346. &lt;/div&gt;
  347.  
  348. &lt;p&gt;He mentioned the &lt;a href="https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/campaigns/2020/12/turkey-buyukada-is-far-from-over/"&gt;Buyukada case&lt;/a&gt;, where many activists from mainstream NGOs, such as Amnesty International, have stood trial for years over conspiratorial charges.&lt;/p&gt;
  349.  
  350. &lt;blockquote&gt;
  351. &lt;p&gt;'[Katie] is grateful to Turkey but the treatment against the refugees had been becoming really bad, he couldn’t stay silent'&lt;/p&gt;
  352.  
  353. &lt;p&gt;&lt;em&gt;- source&lt;/em&gt;&lt;/p&gt;
  354. &lt;/blockquote&gt;
  355.  
  356. &lt;p&gt;The source told MEE that Katie had been frustrated in recent years by rising anti-refugee tensions in Turkey, and had concerns that he could no longer raise his two children in the country. &lt;/p&gt;
  357.  
  358. &lt;p&gt;“He is grateful to Turkey but the treatment against the refugees had been becoming really bad, he couldn’t stay silent and he was criticising the Turkish government,” the source said. &lt;/p&gt;
  359.  
  360. &lt;p&gt;Katie, according to the source, filed an application for political asylum at the French consulate in Istanbul, using a rare exception granted by Paris to those who live outside the country. Most countries require individuals to first arrive in the host country before making such an application. &lt;/p&gt;
  361.  
  362. &lt;p&gt;“Under French law, he was supposed to find a sponsor, and through his network of friends who live abroad, he contacted the NGO, Friends of Aleppo Collective, or Collectif des Amis d’Alep,” the source said.&lt;/p&gt;
  363.  
  364. &lt;p&gt;“Obviously he had a contact there and informed the person about his activities and filed an application to the consulate on why he no longer feels safe in Turkey.” &lt;/p&gt;
  365.  
  366. &lt;div class="mee-readmore mee-readmore-article-story mee-readmore-type-image align-right"&gt;
  367.  &lt;a class="mee-readmore-img-link" href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/syria-civilians-increasingly-forgotten-humanitarian-aid-dries-out"&gt;&lt;img class="mee-readmore-image" src="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/read_more/public/images-story/Syria-atme-camp-idlib-aid-afp-dec-2023.jpg.webp?itok=4sV2r6wl" width="400" height="250" alt="" loading="lazy" typeof="foaf:Image" /&gt;&lt;/a&gt;  &lt;div class="mee-readmore-description"&gt;Syria’s civilians are increasingly forgotten as humanitarian aid dries out&lt;/div&gt;
  368.    &lt;a class="mee-readmore-link" href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/syria-civilians-increasingly-forgotten-humanitarian-aid-dries-out"&gt;Read More »&lt;/a&gt;
  369. &lt;/div&gt;
  370.  
  371. &lt;p&gt;The source said everything Katie submitted to both the consulate and the NGO was open-source data and his articles were nothing secret. Fearing his arrest, Katie had sought to expedite his application after the Turkish security personnel met him in Istanbul in October.&lt;/p&gt;
  372.  
  373. &lt;p&gt;“He was given a visa and scheduled to depart on 8 December, but he got apprehended well before that date in November,” the source said. &lt;/p&gt;
  374.  
  375. &lt;p&gt;MEE sent an inquiry to the French NGO but had not received a response by the time of publication.&lt;/p&gt;
  376.  
  377. &lt;p&gt;The Sabah report, based on the court case, also alleged that Katie fed false information on Syrian refugees living in Turkey to foreign TV channels, including an incident that reportedly occurred on the Turkish-Greek border.&lt;/p&gt;
  378.  
  379. &lt;p&gt;Katie, the report said, accused Turkish border guards of throwing 55 migrants into the river.&lt;/p&gt;
  380.  
  381. &lt;p&gt;The report added that Katie was also accused of secretly obtaining personal biographical information based on the addresses of foreign citizens residing in Turkey and leaking it to French intelligence.&lt;/p&gt;
  382.  
  383. &lt;p&gt;The French embassy in Ankara declined to comment. &lt;/p&gt;
  384. &lt;/div&gt;
  385.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-topic"&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/topics/refugees" hreflang="en"&gt;Refugees&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  386.            &lt;div class="field field-field-coauthor-location"&gt;
  387.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  388.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  389.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  390.          &lt;/div&gt;
  391.              &lt;div class="field field-field-article-location"&gt; Istanbul &lt;/div&gt;
  392.            &lt;div class="field field-field-comments"&gt;
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  394.          &lt;/div&gt;
  395.              &lt;div class="field field-field-section"&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/all" hreflang="en"&gt;News&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  396.      </description>
  397.  <pubDate>Tue, 20 Feb 2024 13:19:44 +0000</pubDate>
  398.    <dc:creator>Ragip Soylu</dc:creator>
  399.    <guid isPermaLink="false">344246 at https://www.middleeasteye.net</guid>
  400.    </item>
  401. <item>
  402.  <title>War on Gaza: US vetoes UN resolution on immediate ceasefire</title>
  403.  <link>https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/war-gaza-us-vetoes-un-resolution-immediate-ceasefire</link>
  404.  <description>
  405. &lt;span class="field field-title"&gt;War on Gaza: US vetoes UN resolution on immediate ceasefire&lt;/span&gt;
  406.            &lt;div class="field field-field-subhead"&gt;Veto marks the fourth time Washington has blocked diplomatic efforts to call for a ceasefire at the United Nations&lt;/div&gt;
  407.      
  408. &lt;span class="field field-uid"&gt;&lt;a title="View user profile." href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/users/mee-staff" lang="" about="https://www.middleeasteye.net/users/mee-staff" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" xml:lang=""&gt;MEE staff&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/span&gt;
  409.  
  410. &lt;span class="field field-created"&gt;&lt;time datetime="2024-02-20T15:50:25+00:00" title="20 February 2024 15:50 GMT"&gt;Tue, 02/20/2024 - 15:50&lt;/time&gt;&lt;/span&gt;
  411.            &lt;div class="field field-field-main-image"&gt;    &lt;picture&gt;&lt;source srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/unsc%20us%20hands%20in%20the%20air.jpg.webp?itok=2MVZ4Lwt 1x" type="image/webp" width="1400" height="787"&gt;&lt;/source&gt;&lt;source srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/unsc%20us%20hands%20in%20the%20air.jpg?itok=2MVZ4Lwt 1x" type="image/jpeg" width="1400" height="787"&gt;&lt;/source&gt;&lt;img loading="lazy" srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/unsc%20us%20hands%20in%20the%20air.jpg?itok=2MVZ4Lwt 1x" width="1400" height="787" src="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/max_2600x2600/public/images-story/unsc%20us%20hands%20in%20the%20air.jpg?itok=WWhsHO7V" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" /&gt;&lt;/picture&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  412.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-cutline"&gt;US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield raises her hand to block Algeria's resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza (Screengrab)&lt;/div&gt;
  413.                  &lt;div class="field field-body clearfix"&gt;&lt;p&gt;The &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/countries/us"&gt;United States&lt;/a&gt; has vetoed a UN draft resolution calling for a ceasefire in &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/topics/israel-palestine-war"&gt;Gaza&lt;/a&gt;, marking the third time Washington has blocked such a measure since &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/countries/israel"&gt;Israel's&lt;/a&gt; war on the besieged enclave began in October.&lt;/p&gt;
  414.  
  415. &lt;p&gt;The draft resolution, which was submitted to the UN Security Council by &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/countries/algeria"&gt;Algeria&lt;/a&gt;, received 13 votes in favour, with one abstention from the UK. The US was the only member, including permanent and non-permanent members, of the Security Council to veto the resolution.&lt;/p&gt;
  416.  
  417. &lt;p&gt;The measure would have called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in the ongoing war in Gaza, where Israel's military has killed more than 28,000 Palestinians and has destroyed or damaged civilian infrastructure including schools, shelters, and hospitals.&lt;/p&gt;
  418.  
  419. &lt;p&gt;Tuesday's veto marks the fourth time the US has vetoed a call for a ceasefire at the UN. In addition to blocking three resolutions, Washington vetoed an amendment calling for a ceasefire that Russia had tried including on a Security Council resolution in December.&lt;/p&gt;
  420.  
  421. &lt;p&gt;US ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield had previously warned over the weekend that Washington would block the Algerian resolution. Thomas-Greenfield claimed that the measure could jeopardise a hostage deal that would pause the fighting between Israel and Hamas.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;div class="block-adsense block-adsense-managed-ad-block"&gt;&lt;div&gt;
  422.  &lt;div class="adsense responsive"&gt;
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  431. &lt;/div&gt;
  432. &lt;/div&gt;
  433.  
  434. &lt;p&gt;Instead, the US has offered its own counter-resolution that would condemn Hamas for launching the 7 October attacks on Israel. The US resolution offers opposition to Israel's consideration of a full-scale offensive on Rafah based on the current situation on the ground in Rafah. However, it does not unequivocally oppose an Israeli invasion of Rafah.&lt;/p&gt;
  435.  
  436. &lt;div class="mee-readmore mee-readmore-article-story mee-readmore-type-image align-right"&gt;
  437.  &lt;a class="mee-readmore-img-link" href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/us-drafts-counter-un-security-council-resolution-calling-temporary-ceasefire"&gt;&lt;img class="mee-readmore-image" src="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/read_more/public/images-story/Gaza-Rafahconditions-February2024-AFP.jpg.webp?itok=qpWxN_By" width="400" height="250" alt="" loading="lazy" typeof="foaf:Image" /&gt;&lt;/a&gt;  &lt;div class="mee-readmore-description"&gt;US drafts counter UN Security Council resolution calling for temporary ceasefire&lt;/div&gt;
  438.    &lt;a class="mee-readmore-link" href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/us-drafts-counter-un-security-council-resolution-calling-temporary-ceasefire"&gt;Read More »&lt;/a&gt;
  439. &lt;/div&gt;
  440.  
  441. &lt;p&gt;"Under current circumstances, a major ground offensive…would result in further harm to civilians and their further displacement including potentially into neighboring countries", the draft resolution reads, according to a copy of the document seen by Middle East Eye.&lt;/p&gt;
  442.  
  443. &lt;p&gt;The measure further states "the urgent need for a viable plan to ensure the protection of and prevent the displacement of civilians in the event of a major ground military offensive into Rafah".&lt;/p&gt;
  444.  
  445. &lt;p&gt;Israel's political leaders have signalled that they intend to launch an offensive on the southern border town.&lt;/p&gt;
  446.  
  447. &lt;p&gt;Israeli war cabinet member Benny Gantz said on Monday that if Hamas didn’t return its hostages by the start of Ramadan, expected to start at the beginning of March, Israel's forces would launch an assault on Rafah.&lt;/p&gt;
  448.  
  449. &lt;p&gt;Currently, around 1.4  million Palestinians have sought refuge in Rafah, many of them having been displaced several times over, and are living in squalid conditions in encampments with little access to food, water or medicine.&lt;/p&gt;
  450.  
  451. &lt;p&gt;The UN has warned an attack on the crammed city would lead to “a slaughter”.&lt;/p&gt;
  452. &lt;/div&gt;
  453.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-topic"&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/topics/israel-palestine-war" hreflang="en"&gt;Israel-Palestine war&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  454.            &lt;div class="field field-field-coauthor-location"&gt;
  455.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  456.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  457.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  458.          &lt;/div&gt;
  459.              &lt;div class="field field-field-article-location"&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  460.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-landing-title"&gt;US vetoes UN resolution on Gaza ceasefire&lt;/div&gt;
  461.            &lt;div class="field field-field-comments"&gt;
  462.              &lt;div&gt;&lt;drupal-render-placeholder callback="Drupal\disqus\Element\Disqus::displayDisqusComments" arguments="0=War%20on%20Gaza%3A%20US%20vetoes%20UN%20resolution%20on%20immediate%20ceasefire&amp;1=https%3A//www.middleeasteye.net/news/war-gaza-us-vetoes-un-resolution-immediate-ceasefire&amp;2=node/344276&amp;3=a%3A0%3A%7B%7D" token="wUQZi5ie7zGEwqIeSG5yGSIqyFb1yD4sS4WOZuDLFA4"&gt;&lt;/drupal-render-placeholder&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  463.          &lt;/div&gt;
  464.              &lt;div class="field field-field-section"&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/all" hreflang="en"&gt;News&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  465.      </description>
  466.  <pubDate>Tue, 20 Feb 2024 15:50:25 +0000</pubDate>
  467.    <dc:creator>MEE staff</dc:creator>
  468.    <guid isPermaLink="false">344276 at https://www.middleeasteye.net</guid>
  469.    </item>
  470. <item>
  471.  <title>War on Gaza: Labour Party calls for 'immediate humanitarian ceasefire'</title>
  472.  <link>https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/war-gaza-british-labour-party-calls-immediate-humanitarian-ceasefire</link>
  473.  <description>
  474. &lt;span class="field field-title"&gt;War on Gaza: Labour Party calls for 'immediate humanitarian ceasefire'&lt;/span&gt;
  475.            &lt;div class="field field-field-subhead"&gt;The call comes ahead of a crunch parliamentary vote calling for ceasefire proposed by the Scottish National Party &lt;/div&gt;
  476.      
  477. &lt;span class="field field-uid"&gt;&lt;a title="View user profile." href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/users/mee-staff" lang="" about="https://www.middleeasteye.net/users/mee-staff" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" xml:lang=""&gt;MEE staff&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/span&gt;
  478.  
  479. &lt;span class="field field-created"&gt;&lt;time datetime="2024-02-20T14:45:42+00:00" title="20 February 2024 14:45 GMT"&gt;Tue, 02/20/2024 - 14:45&lt;/time&gt;&lt;/span&gt;
  480.            &lt;div class="field field-field-main-image"&gt;    &lt;picture&gt;&lt;source srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/labour-starmer-scotland-andy-buchanan-afp.jpg.webp?itok=queh85oX 1x" type="image/webp" width="1400" height="787"&gt;&lt;/source&gt;&lt;source srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/labour-starmer-scotland-andy-buchanan-afp.jpg?itok=queh85oX 1x" type="image/jpeg" width="1400" height="787"&gt;&lt;/source&gt;&lt;img loading="lazy" srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/labour-starmer-scotland-andy-buchanan-afp.jpg?itok=queh85oX 1x" width="1400" height="787" src="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/max_2600x2600/public/images-story/labour-starmer-scotland-andy-buchanan-afp.jpg?itok=uapDaE7n" alt="Labour leader Keir Starmer speaks to party members in Glasgow on 18 February (AFP/Andy Buchanan)" typeof="foaf:Image" /&gt;&lt;/picture&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  481.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-cutline"&gt;Labour leader Keir Starmer speaks to party members in Glasgow on 18 February (AFP/Andy Buchanan)&lt;/div&gt;
  482.                  &lt;div class="field field-body clearfix"&gt;&lt;p&gt;The &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/countries/uk"&gt;British &lt;/a&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/uk-muslim-support-labour-plunges-stance-gaza-war-poll"&gt;Labour Party&lt;/a&gt; is calling for an "immediate humanitarian ceasefire" in &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/topics/gaza-under-attack"&gt;Gaza, &lt;/a&gt;reversing its previous backing of &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/countries/israel"&gt;Israel's &lt;/a&gt;campaign in the besieged territory.&lt;/p&gt;
  483.  
  484. &lt;p&gt;Announced on Tuesday ahead of a crunch vote on the issue, Labour MPs are being asked to back an &lt;a href="https://twitter.com/IanMurrayMP/status/1759929321945182428/photo/2"&gt;amended version&lt;/a&gt; of a Scottish National Party (SNP) motion calling for an immediate stop to fighting.&lt;/p&gt;
  485.  
  486. &lt;p&gt;In a statement, the Labour Party said: "Our amendment calls for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, in line with our allies. We need the hostages released and returned. We need the fighting to stop now. We need a massive humanitarian aid programme for Gaza. And any military action in Rafah cannot go ahead."&lt;/p&gt;
  487.  
  488. &lt;p&gt;Labour leader Keir Starmer had previously backed Israel's "right" to military action and its "right" to cut food, electricity, fuel and water supplies to Gaza's approximately 2.3 million residents. &lt;/p&gt;
  489.  
  490. &lt;p&gt;However, growing calls for Labour to back a ceasefire as the death toll of Israel's war on Gaza reaches 30,000 &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/countries/palestine"&gt;Palestinians&lt;/a&gt;, and the prospect of another damaging vote in parliament appears to have forced Labour to change course.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;div class="block-adsense block-adsense-managed-ad-block"&gt;&lt;div&gt;
  491.  &lt;div class="adsense responsive"&gt;
  492.    &lt;script async="" src="https://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js?client=ca-pub-6114695881218027" crossorigin="anonymous"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;&lt;!-- responsive --&gt;&lt;ins class="adsbygoogle mee-auto-ad-wrapper " style="display:block" data-ad-client="ca-pub-6114695881218027" data-ad-slot="8690493793" data-ad-format="horizontal" data-full-width-responsive="true"&gt;&lt;/ins&gt;
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  499. &lt;/script&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  500. &lt;/div&gt;
  501. &lt;/div&gt;
  502.  
  503. &lt;p&gt;In recent days, senior frontbench MPs within the opposition party have openly criticised Israel's conduct in the war in a change of tone from previous statements.&lt;/p&gt;
  504.  
  505. &lt;p&gt;They included Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting, who on &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/war-gaza-israel-has-gone-too-far-wes-streeting-says"&gt;Sunday &lt;/a&gt;said Israel had gone "beyond reasonable defence" in its assault on Gaza.&lt;/p&gt;
  506.  
  507. &lt;div class="mee-readmore mee-readmore-article-opinion mee-readmore-type-image align-right"&gt;
  508.  &lt;a class="mee-readmore-img-link" href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/opinion/gaza-war-sunak-tories-starmer-labour-merged-single-pro-war-party"&gt;&lt;img class="mee-readmore-image" src="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/read_more/public/images-story/Britain%27s%20Prime%20Minister%20Rishi%20Sunak%20and%20Britain%27s%20main%20opposition%20Labour%20Party%20leader%20Keir%20Starmer%20at%20the%20Houses%20of%20Parliament%20in%20London%20on%20November%207%2C%202023-afp.jpg.webp?itok=eTpCRbfS" width="400" height="250" alt="" loading="lazy" typeof="foaf:Image" /&gt;&lt;/a&gt;  &lt;div class="mee-readmore-description"&gt;On Gaza, Sunak's Tories and Starmer's Labour have merged into a single pro-war party&lt;/div&gt;
  509.    &lt;a class="mee-readmore-link" href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/opinion/gaza-war-sunak-tories-starmer-labour-merged-single-pro-war-party"&gt;Read More »&lt;/a&gt;
  510. &lt;/div&gt;
  511.  
  512. &lt;p&gt;Labour Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy also condemned the Gaza death toll as “abominable”.&lt;/p&gt;
  513.  
  514. &lt;p&gt;The party leadership has come under criticism for backing Israel's war despite the massive civilian casualties and huge destruction of civilian infrastructure, including hospitals, mosques and schools.  &lt;/p&gt;
  515.  
  516. &lt;p&gt;Israel's conduct during the conflict has left its supporters in the West struggling to explain their backing of the state.&lt;/p&gt;
  517.  
  518. &lt;p&gt;In January, the ICJ ruled that &lt;a href="https://icahd.org/2024/01/29/the-icjs-ruling-on-plausible-genocide-in-gaza-an-incomplete-victory/"&gt;there was a "plausible" &lt;/a&gt;case that Israel was committing genocide in Gaza, a decision it reached after an application by the South African government.&lt;/p&gt;
  519.  
  520. &lt;p&gt;Interim injunctions by the ICJ included a call for Israel to allow the &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/live-blog/live-blog-update/icjs-interim-ruling-what-happens-next"&gt;delivery of aid into Gaza&lt;/a&gt; and to stop incitement against Palestinians.&lt;/p&gt;
  521.  
  522. &lt;p&gt;However some pro-Palestine groups have questioned Labour's amendment, with the UK Palestine Solidarity Campaign saying the party's amendment "seeks to dilute the clear call for an immediate ceasefire by handing the Israeli government a veto over whether or not a ceasefire should happen".&lt;/p&gt;
  523.  
  524. &lt;p&gt;A Labour abstention on the SNP motion would likely have led to a rebellion by some party MPs against its leader Keir Starmer.&lt;/p&gt;
  525.  
  526. &lt;p&gt;In a previous vote on the issue in November, 56 Labour MPs broke ranks with the &lt;a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/list-labour-mps-ceasefire-vote-jess-phillips-resign-b2448364.html"&gt;party position &lt;/a&gt;to abstain on the motion and instead voted in support of a ceasefire.&lt;/p&gt;
  527.  
  528. &lt;p&gt;The Labour Party is expected to comfortably win the UK general election, which is expected to take place towards the end of 2024.&lt;/p&gt;
  529. &lt;/div&gt;
  530.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-topic"&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/topics/israel-palestine-war" hreflang="en"&gt;Israel-Palestine war&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  531.            &lt;div class="field field-field-coauthor-location"&gt;
  532.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  533.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  534.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  535.          &lt;/div&gt;
  536.              &lt;div class="field field-field-article-location"&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  537.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-landing-title"&gt;Labour Party calls for 'immediate humanitarian ceasefire' in Gaza for first time&lt;/div&gt;
  538.            &lt;div class="field field-field-comments"&gt;
  539.              &lt;div&gt;&lt;drupal-render-placeholder callback="Drupal\disqus\Element\Disqus::displayDisqusComments" arguments="0=War%20on%20Gaza%3A%20Labour%20Party%20calls%20for%20%27immediate%20humanitarian%20ceasefire%27&amp;1=https%3A//www.middleeasteye.net/news/war-gaza-british-labour-party-calls-immediate-humanitarian-ceasefire&amp;2=node/344256&amp;3=a%3A0%3A%7B%7D" token="XdD9AFKduhJCH1qH9htoUkMP7sJlgdr64LYf_fBdho4"&gt;&lt;/drupal-render-placeholder&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  540.          &lt;/div&gt;
  541.              &lt;div class="field field-field-section"&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/all" hreflang="en"&gt;News&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  542.      </description>
  543.  <pubDate>Tue, 20 Feb 2024 14:45:42 +0000</pubDate>
  544.    <dc:creator>MEE staff</dc:creator>
  545.    <guid isPermaLink="false">344256 at https://www.middleeasteye.net</guid>
  546.    </item>
  547. <item>
  548.  <title>Beatings, theft and murder: The day Israeli soldiers came to Gaza's Yarmouk Stadium</title>
  549.  <link>https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/israeli-army-beloved-football-stadium-terror-camp</link>
  550.  <description>
  551. &lt;span class="field field-title"&gt;Beatings, theft and murder: The day Israeli soldiers came to Gaza's Yarmouk Stadium&lt;/span&gt;
  552.            &lt;div class="field field-field-subhead"&gt;On 24 December, Israeli troops stripped and tortured dozens of Palestinian men at the historic stadium. MEE spoke to eyewitnesses who tell of further horrors&lt;/div&gt;
  553.      
  554. &lt;span class="field field-uid"&gt;&lt;a title="View user profile." href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/users/maha-hussaini" lang="" about="https://www.middleeasteye.net/users/maha-hussaini" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" xml:lang=""&gt;Maha Hussaini&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/span&gt;
  555.  
  556. &lt;span class="field field-created"&gt;&lt;time datetime="2024-02-20T09:34:29+00:00" title="20 February 2024 09:34 GMT"&gt;Tue, 02/20/2024 - 09:34&lt;/time&gt;&lt;/span&gt;
  557.            &lt;div class="field field-field-main-image"&gt;    &lt;picture&gt;&lt;source srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/Israeli-soldiers-patrol-near-gaza-12-february-afp.jpg.webp?itok=BKcM2zLK 1x" type="image/webp" width="1400" height="787"&gt;&lt;/source&gt;&lt;source srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/Israeli-soldiers-patrol-near-gaza-12-february-afp.jpg?itok=BKcM2zLK 1x" type="image/jpeg" width="1400" height="787"&gt;&lt;/source&gt;&lt;img loading="lazy" srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/Israeli-soldiers-patrol-near-gaza-12-february-afp.jpg?itok=BKcM2zLK 1x" width="1400" height="787" src="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/max_2600x2600/public/images-story/Israeli-soldiers-patrol-near-gaza-12-february-afp.jpg?itok=rP3wxrqm" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" /&gt;&lt;/picture&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  558.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-cutline"&gt;Israeli soldiers on patrol near the besieged Palestinian territory of Gaza on 12 February (AFP)&lt;/div&gt;
  559.                  &lt;div class="field field-body clearfix"&gt;&lt;p&gt;After weeks of dodging &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/countries/israel"&gt;Israeli &lt;/a&gt;bombs in the Shuja'iyya neighbourhood of northern &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/war-gaza-israel-has-gone-too-far-wes-streeting-says"&gt;Gaza&lt;/a&gt;, Youssef Hamdan al-Mubayyed took refuge with his family in Yarmouk stadium in Gaza City with hundreds of other &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/countries/palestine"&gt;Palestinians&lt;/a&gt;. &lt;/p&gt;
  560.  
  561. &lt;p&gt;Mubayyed thought it would be the safest place for him to be in Gaza, as the stadium was exclusively used by those displaced by Israel’s military offensive since &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/hamas-faults-happened-7-october-first-report-since-war"&gt;7 October&lt;/a&gt;.&lt;/p&gt;
  562.  
  563. &lt;p&gt;Instead it became somewhere he would be tortured, humiliated and threatened with death alongside dozens of other Palestinians.&lt;/p&gt;
  564.  
  565. &lt;p&gt;Middle East Eye has spoken to Mubayyed and others who gave similar accounts, a sports stadium turned into a makeshift “interrogation and torture camp”. &lt;/p&gt;
  566.  
  567. &lt;p&gt;A place that became the scene of numerous atrocities, including murder.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;div class="block-adsense block-adsense-managed-ad-block"&gt;&lt;div&gt;
  568.  &lt;div class="adsense responsive"&gt;
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  576. &lt;/script&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  577. &lt;/div&gt;
  578. &lt;/div&gt;
  579.  
  580. &lt;p&gt;Founded in 1952, the Yarmouk Stadium is considered one of the largest and oldest sports stadiums in the Gaza Strip.&lt;/p&gt;
  581.  
  582. &lt;p&gt;Following the Israeli invasion, images of the site appeared on social media, featuring hundreds of Palestinians, including children, stripped down to their underwear and watched over by Israeli soldiers.&lt;/p&gt;
  583.  
  584. &lt;h3&gt;Stadium encircled&lt;/h3&gt;
  585.  
  586. &lt;p&gt;The events Mubayyed described took place on 24 December. He recalls being awakened at 4.30am, as Israeli tanks and soldiers encircled the stadium.&lt;/p&gt;
  587.  
  588. &lt;p&gt;At around 6.30am, the Israeli army used loudspeakers to inform those in the stadium that the men among them would be separated for security checks.&lt;/p&gt;
  589.  
  590. &lt;blockquote&gt;
  591. &lt;p&gt;'I lost count and I could not figure out where the strikes and punches were coming from'&lt;/p&gt;
  592.  
  593. &lt;p&gt;- &lt;em&gt;Mubayyed, Gaza&lt;/em&gt;&lt;/p&gt;
  594. &lt;/blockquote&gt;
  595.  
  596. &lt;p&gt;“One soldier asked for someone who spoke English and I told him I did,” Mubayyed said.&lt;/p&gt;
  597.  
  598. &lt;p&gt;“He ordered me to tell the men to take their clothes off and sit in lines,” he told Middle East Eye.&lt;/p&gt;
  599.  
  600. &lt;p&gt;The 24-year-old said that he and the other men were forced to drop their clothes in the dirt and sit in the cold, before the soldiers took interest in him for being able to speak English.&lt;/p&gt;
  601.  
  602. &lt;p&gt;“A soldier counted the men in the line. One, two, three and four, that was me,” Mubayyed recalled.&lt;/p&gt;
  603.  
  604. &lt;p&gt;“He said ‘come’ and then the first thing he did was grab me by the neck, and hit me against the wall around two to three times.&lt;/p&gt;
  605.  
  606. &lt;p&gt;“He said, you are Hamas but you don’t want to admit it.”&lt;/p&gt;
  607.  
  608. &lt;blockquote class="twitter-tweet"&gt;
  609. &lt;p dir="ltr" lang="en" xml:lang="en" xml:lang="en"&gt;Footage online shows dozens of Palestinians,&lt;br /&gt;
  610. including women, children and the elderly, detained by the Israeli army.&lt;br /&gt;&lt;br /&gt;
  611. Dozens of Palestinian men were stripped of their clothes and lined up in a stadium in the Gaza Strip &lt;a href="https://t.co/ju6zMql90j"&gt;pic.twitter.com/ju6zMql90j&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;
  612. — Middle East Eye (@MiddleEastEye) &lt;a href="https://twitter.com/MiddleEastEye/status/1739520150976573902?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw"&gt;December 26, 2023&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;
  613. &lt;script async="" src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;&lt;p&gt;The soldier accused Mubayyed of being taught English by Hamas, an accusation he denied, but despite his denials the soldier continued to level accusations at him.&lt;/p&gt;
  614.  
  615. &lt;p&gt;“You are one of the saboteurs, and you will work with us whether you like it or not,” he recalled the soldier saying.&lt;/p&gt;
  616.  
  617. &lt;p&gt;For his refusal to cooperate, Mubayyed was beaten with the butt of an M16 rifle before being made to sit up and being struck by a shoe.&lt;/p&gt;
  618.  
  619. &lt;p&gt;“He asked for my personal information and I told him I was from the Shuja'iyya neighbourhood.”&lt;/p&gt;
  620.  
  621. &lt;div class="mee-readmore mee-readmore-article-story mee-readmore-type-image align-right"&gt;
  622.  &lt;a class="mee-readmore-img-link" href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/war-gaza-un-experts-appalled-reports-rape-and-sexual-assault-palestinian-women-and-girls"&gt;&lt;img class="mee-readmore-image" src="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/read_more/public/images-story/palestine-women-gaza-rubble-oct-2024-rafah-afp.jpg.webp?itok=SYtG_DrT" width="400" height="250" alt="" loading="lazy" typeof="foaf:Image" /&gt;&lt;/a&gt;  &lt;div class="mee-readmore-description"&gt;Palestinian women and girls in Israeli detention raped and sexually assaulted, UN experts say&lt;/div&gt;
  623.    &lt;a class="mee-readmore-link" href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/war-gaza-un-experts-appalled-reports-rape-and-sexual-assault-palestinian-women-and-girls"&gt;Read More »&lt;/a&gt;
  624. &lt;/div&gt;
  625.  
  626. &lt;p&gt;The revelation resulted in more violence, the soldier struck Mubayyed again and others joined in.&lt;/p&gt;
  627.  
  628. &lt;p&gt;“I lost count and I could not figure out where the strikes and punches were coming from,” he said.&lt;/p&gt;
  629.  
  630. &lt;p&gt;The young Palestinian described being throttled by one soldier, as another soldier warned that he would allow his colleague to strangle him to death if he did not confess to being a member of Hamas. The same soldier then twisted his arm in an attempt to break it.&lt;/p&gt;
  631.  
  632. &lt;p&gt;“I was tortured for an hour, before an officer threw me to the ground and ordered me not to raise my head. He told the others to shoot me if I raised my head. I stayed like that for around 20 minutes.”&lt;/p&gt;
  633.  
  634. &lt;p&gt;Mubayyed’s torment ended when he was taken to a checkpoint, cleared by other soldiers and instructed to leave the stadium.&lt;/p&gt;
  635.  
  636. &lt;p&gt;As he walked out, he could hear the sound of shelling in nearby areas and could see snipers on the roofs of buildings, shooting anyone who looked back at what was happening in the stadium.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;div class="block-adsense block-adsense-managed-ad-block"&gt;&lt;div&gt;
  637.  &lt;div class="adsense responsive"&gt;
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  639. &lt;script&gt;
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  645. &lt;/script&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  646. &lt;/div&gt;
  647. &lt;/div&gt;
  648.  
  649. &lt;p&gt;He was shot himself when he turned around to look for his father. He took bullets in his arm and his lower back.&lt;/p&gt;
  650.  
  651. &lt;p&gt;He recalled that nobody helped him and he lay on the ground for some time, before slowly making his way up and walking towards the Al-Shifa hospital around a mile away, which he eventually reached.&lt;/p&gt;
  652.  
  653. &lt;h3&gt;‘Shot in the back’&lt;/h3&gt;
  654.  
  655. &lt;p&gt;Um Ahmed Faraj was another Palestinian who took refuge in Yarmouk stadium after having been displaced countless times before, initially after her house in northern Gaza was bombed.&lt;/p&gt;
  656.  
  657. &lt;p&gt;In November, she suffered serious injuries after an Israeli attack, which broke her jaw and left shrapnel embedded in her neck and tongue.&lt;/p&gt;
  658.  
  659. &lt;blockquote&gt;
  660. &lt;p&gt;'My mother-in-law was an elderly woman, they shot her in the back as we fled... She was martyred, but I could not carry her'&lt;/p&gt;
  661.  
  662. &lt;p&gt;- &lt;em&gt;Um Ahmed Faraj&lt;/em&gt;&lt;/p&gt;
  663. &lt;/blockquote&gt;
  664.  
  665. &lt;p&gt;Doctors had recommended she leave Gaza due to the severity of her injuries but unable to leave, the 43-year-old found herself stuck in the besieged territory in severe pain.&lt;/p&gt;
  666.  
  667. &lt;p&gt;Her account bears strong similarities to Mubayyed’s.&lt;/p&gt;
  668.  
  669. &lt;p&gt;She recalled that the stadium was surrounded amid heavy shelling during the early morning of 24 December.&lt;/p&gt;
  670.  
  671. &lt;p&gt;Faraj added that Israeli soldiers started entering the location at around 4am, separating the men and women, and forcing the former to strip to their underwear.&lt;/p&gt;
  672.  
  673. &lt;p&gt;“Many of them were beaten and tortured, including my husband and son. They stood there in their underwear while Israeli soldiers hit them with their weapons.”&lt;/p&gt;
  674.  
  675. &lt;p&gt;Other eyewitnesses Middle East Eye has contacted mentioned the “humiliation” inflicted on the prisoners by Israeli soldiers, including being spat on.&lt;/p&gt;
  676.  
  677. &lt;p&gt;They say that many displaced Palestinians were held for three hours before being subject to security checks.&lt;/p&gt;
  678.  
  679. &lt;p&gt;Before Faraj could leave, she was told to leave everything but her ID card behind meaning she could not take her mobile phone or money with her.&lt;/p&gt;
  680.  
  681. &lt;p&gt;Like Mubayyed, she also mentioned that she and her family were targeted by Israeli snipers after leaving the stadium but in her case, the shooting resulted in the death of a relative.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;div class="block-adsense block-adsense-managed-ad-block"&gt;&lt;div&gt;
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  684. &lt;script&gt;
  685. //&lt;![CDATA[
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  688.  
  689. //]]&gt;
  690. &lt;/script&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  691. &lt;/div&gt;
  692. &lt;/div&gt;
  693.  
  694. &lt;p&gt;“My mother-in-law was an elderly woman, they shot her in the back as we fled,” Faraj said.&lt;/p&gt;
  695.  
  696. &lt;p&gt;“The bullet penetrated her back and left through her chest. She was martyred, but I could not carry her. Two young women helped me carry her [body away].”&lt;/p&gt;
  697.  
  698. &lt;p&gt;Other witnesses told Middle East Eye that in the moments before entering the stadium, the Israeli military carried out a massacre at the entrances of the structure, killing dozens and injuring more.&lt;/p&gt;
  699.  
  700. &lt;h3&gt;Stripped and robbed&lt;/h3&gt;
  701.  
  702. &lt;p&gt;The reports of abuses were not limited to torture and killings, but also included theft of valuables and money.&lt;/p&gt;
  703.  
  704. &lt;p&gt;Abu Muhammed al-Sersawi, who is 54 and originally a resident of al-Wehda Street in Gaza City, took refuge in the stadium after his neighbourhood was bombed.&lt;/p&gt;
  705.  
  706. &lt;p&gt;His elderly brother, who was injured during one attack, was detained on 24 December when Israel stormed the stadium.&lt;/p&gt;
  707.  
  708. &lt;blockquote&gt;
  709. &lt;p&gt;'They stole all the money. We spoke to an Israeli officer about the money, he shot at us and told us: 'If I see you again, I will execute you'&lt;/p&gt;
  710.  
  711. &lt;p&gt;- &lt;em&gt;Abu Muhammed al-Sersawi, resident of Gaza City&lt;/em&gt;&lt;/p&gt;
  712. &lt;/blockquote&gt;
  713.  
  714. &lt;p&gt;To this day, no one in his family has heard about his brother’s fate or whereabouts.&lt;/p&gt;
  715.  
  716. &lt;p&gt;“We thought that the [military] operation was only in Shuja'iyya and Daraj (areas in eastern Gaza). &lt;/p&gt;
  717.  
  718. &lt;p&gt;Sersawi, 54, told MEE. “We were stripped naked, and our clothes were taken away. Among us were children, adults, and elderly. But they did not care who anyone was.”&lt;/p&gt;
  719.  
  720. &lt;p&gt;Some of the men were later given back their clothes, Sersawi said, but their pockets had been completely emptied.&lt;/p&gt;
  721.  
  722. &lt;p&gt;“Some of the men were released, and others were taken away. When they were released, they got their clothes, but no money or possessions were found inside their pockets,” he added.&lt;/p&gt;
  723.  
  724. &lt;p&gt;“My nephew had $1,600 kept inside the case of his ID card. After he was released, he was not given his ID card, which was taken by the army, so we asked about it, and when they returned it, the $1,600 was gone.&lt;/p&gt;
  725.  
  726. &lt;p&gt;“They stole all the money. We spoke to an Israeli officer about the money, he shot at us and told us: 'Head to the south. If I see you again, I will execute you.' "&lt;/p&gt;
  727.  
  728. &lt;p&gt;“We fled out of fear.”&lt;/p&gt;
  729.  
  730. &lt;p&gt;&lt;em&gt;Middle East Eye has approached the Israeli army for a response to the allegations contained in this article&lt;/em&gt;&lt;/p&gt;
  731. &lt;/div&gt;
  732.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-topic"&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/topics/israel-palestine-war" hreflang="en"&gt;Israel-Palestine war&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  733.            &lt;div class="field field-field-coauthor"&gt;
  734.              &lt;div&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/users/mohammed-qreiqe" hreflang="en"&gt;Mohammed Qreiqe&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  735.          &lt;/div&gt;
  736.        &lt;div class="field field-field-coauthor-location"&gt;
  737.              &lt;div&gt;Gaza, occupied Palestine&lt;/div&gt;
  738.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  739.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  740.          &lt;/div&gt;
  741.              &lt;div class="field field-field-article-location"&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  742.            &lt;div class="field field-field-comments"&gt;
  743.              &lt;div&gt;&lt;drupal-render-placeholder callback="Drupal\disqus\Element\Disqus::displayDisqusComments" arguments="0=Beatings%2C%20theft%20and%20murder%3A%20The%20day%20Israeli%20soldiers%20came%20to%20Gaza%27s%20Yarmouk%20Stadium&amp;1=https%3A//www.middleeasteye.net/news/israeli-army-beloved-football-stadium-terror-camp&amp;2=node/344156&amp;3=a%3A0%3A%7B%7D" token="1IOR8tplVYL4Xv5-uz28EOdHaHLcSZ7nLOJcZOgdnCA"&gt;&lt;/drupal-render-placeholder&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  744.          &lt;/div&gt;
  745.              &lt;div class="field field-field-section"&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/all" hreflang="en"&gt;News&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  746.      </description>
  747.  <pubDate>Tue, 20 Feb 2024 09:34:29 +0000</pubDate>
  748.    <dc:creator>Maha Hussaini</dc:creator>
  749.    <guid isPermaLink="false">344156 at https://www.middleeasteye.net</guid>
  750.    </item>
  751. <item>
  752.  <title>Egypt: Sisi critic released after serving sentence for 'insulting officials'</title>
  753.  <link>https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/egypt-sisi-critic-completes-prison-sentence-insulting-officials</link>
  754.  <description>
  755. &lt;span class="field field-title"&gt;Egypt: Sisi critic released after serving sentence for 'insulting officials'&lt;/span&gt;
  756.            &lt;div class="field field-field-subhead"&gt;Hisham Kassem was sentenced to six months in prison in September for criticising an Egyptian cabinet minister&lt;/div&gt;
  757.      
  758. &lt;span class="field field-uid"&gt;&lt;a title="View user profile." href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/users/mee-staff" lang="" about="https://www.middleeasteye.net/users/mee-staff" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" xml:lang=""&gt;MEE staff&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/span&gt;
  759.  
  760. &lt;span class="field field-created"&gt;&lt;time datetime="2024-02-20T11:43:04+00:00" title="20 February 2024 11:43 GMT"&gt;Tue, 02/20/2024 - 11:43&lt;/time&gt;&lt;/span&gt;
  761.            &lt;div class="field field-field-main-image"&gt;    &lt;picture&gt;&lt;source srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/Hisham%20Kassem_Reuters-3.jpg.webp?itok=yMmBIseM 1x" type="image/webp" width="1400" height="787"&gt;&lt;/source&gt;&lt;source srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/Hisham%20Kassem_Reuters-3.jpg?itok=yMmBIseM 1x" type="image/jpeg" width="1400" height="787"&gt;&lt;/source&gt;&lt;img loading="lazy" srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/Hisham%20Kassem_Reuters-3.jpg?itok=yMmBIseM 1x" width="1400" height="787" src="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/max_2600x2600/public/images-story/Hisham%20Kassem_Reuters-3.jpg?itok=0214opEr" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" /&gt;&lt;/picture&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  762.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-cutline"&gt;Hisham Kassem, a former newspaper publisher publisher and political activist, in Cairo, 13 June 2023 (Reuters)&lt;/div&gt;
  763.                  &lt;div class="field field-body clearfix"&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/countries/egypt"&gt;Egyptian &lt;/a&gt;dissident &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/egypt-prominent-anti-government-activist-sentenced-six-months-prison"&gt;Hisham Kassem&lt;/a&gt; has been released from jail after serving a six-month sentence for "insulting Egyptian officials".&lt;/p&gt;
  764.  
  765. &lt;p&gt;Images of Kassem, a prominent liberal critic of Egypt's President &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/egypt-sisi-begins-new-term-new-law-expanding-militarys-power"&gt;Abdel Fattah el-Sisi&lt;/a&gt;, were shared on social media following the completion of his sentence.&lt;/p&gt;
  766.  
  767. &lt;p&gt;Kassem was convicted for his criticism of an Egyptian cabinet minister, as well as insulting the police officers who came to arrest him in September 2023.&lt;/p&gt;
  768.  
  769. &lt;p&gt;The dissident had previously published Al-Masry Al-Youm, which is one of Egypt's most widely read liberal newspapers.&lt;/p&gt;
  770.  
  771. &lt;p&gt;Since 2014, Kassem has criticised Sisi's record as president, particularly the economic downturn that he has overseen, as well as the crackdown on dissent he has initiated.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;div class="block-adsense block-adsense-managed-ad-block"&gt;&lt;div&gt;
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  781. &lt;/div&gt;
  782. &lt;/div&gt;
  783.  
  784. &lt;p&gt;Kassem is the leader of al-Tayar al-Hurr, or Free Current, a liberal group formed in response to Sisi's conduct in office. He previously served as the president of the Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights. &lt;/p&gt;
  785.  
  786. &lt;p&gt;In late 2023, Sisi successfully campaigned for a third term as president, in what was widely regarded as a rubber stamp election with no real opposition.&lt;/p&gt;
  787.  
  788. &lt;p&gt;At the time of his sentencing, Amnesty International put out a statement, which said: "The prosecution of Hisham Kassem for simply posting critical messages online is a signal that the Egyptian authorities' relentless campaign to silence peaceful critics and punish dissent... is continuing in full force."&lt;/p&gt;
  789.  
  790. &lt;div class="mee-readmore mee-readmore-article-story mee-readmore-type-image align-right"&gt;
  791.  &lt;a class="mee-readmore-img-link" href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/egypt-sisi-hunger-price-worth-paying-progress"&gt;&lt;img class="mee-readmore-image" src="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/read_more/public/images-story/egypt-sisi-conference-2-oct-2023-spox-facebook.jpg.webp?itok=wfnyFIcB" width="400" height="250" alt="" loading="lazy" typeof="foaf:Image" /&gt;&lt;/a&gt;  &lt;div class="mee-readmore-description"&gt;Egypt elections: Sisi says hunger a price worth paying for country's progress&lt;/div&gt;
  792.    &lt;a class="mee-readmore-link" href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/egypt-sisi-hunger-price-worth-paying-progress"&gt;Read More »&lt;/a&gt;
  793. &lt;/div&gt;
  794.  
  795. &lt;p&gt;Under Sisi, Egypt has become one of the most repressive countries in the region, effectively outlawing any dissent against the president and his backers in the military establishment.&lt;/p&gt;
  796.  
  797. &lt;p&gt;Sisi came to power after the July 2013 military coup, which overthrew the country's only freely elected leader, the late president Mohamed Morsi.&lt;/p&gt;
  798.  
  799. &lt;p&gt;A defence minister under Morsi, Sisi formally took power the year following the coup in a vote that was widely seen as rigged in his favour.&lt;/p&gt;
  800.  
  801. &lt;p&gt;While the initial targets of his political persecution were members of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood organisation, the crackdown on dissent quickly expanded to include liberal and left-wing critics of Sisi.&lt;/p&gt;
  802.  
  803. &lt;p&gt;At least 65,000 political opponents of Sisi are held in jail, according to estimates by the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information. &lt;/p&gt;
  804. &lt;/div&gt;
  805.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-topic"&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/topics/inside-egypt" hreflang="en"&gt;Inside Egypt&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  806.            &lt;div class="field field-field-coauthor-location"&gt;
  807.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  808.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  809.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  810.          &lt;/div&gt;
  811.              &lt;div class="field field-field-article-location"&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  812.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-landing-title"&gt;Sisi critic released after serving sentence for 'insulting officials'&lt;/div&gt;
  813.            &lt;div class="field field-field-comments"&gt;
  814.              &lt;div&gt;&lt;drupal-render-placeholder callback="Drupal\disqus\Element\Disqus::displayDisqusComments" arguments="0=Egypt%3A%20Sisi%20critic%20released%20after%20serving%20sentence%20for%20%27insulting%20officials%27&amp;1=https%3A//www.middleeasteye.net/news/egypt-sisi-critic-completes-prison-sentence-insulting-officials&amp;2=node/344206&amp;3=a%3A0%3A%7B%7D" token="HXkvFfaRBsoLvu5eEmaxuLXlZGCeIXJ9wVLQM3E_UgI"&gt;&lt;/drupal-render-placeholder&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  815.          &lt;/div&gt;
  816.              &lt;div class="field field-field-section"&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/all" hreflang="en"&gt;News&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  817.      </description>
  818.  <pubDate>Tue, 20 Feb 2024 11:43:04 +0000</pubDate>
  819.    <dc:creator>MEE staff</dc:creator>
  820.    <guid isPermaLink="false">344206 at https://www.middleeasteye.net</guid>
  821.    </item>
  822. <item>
  823.  <title>War on Gaza: Israel's economy shrinks almost a fifth in last quarter of 2023</title>
  824.  <link>https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/war-gaza-israel-economy-shrinks-almost-fifth-last-quarter-2023</link>
  825.  <description>
  826. &lt;span class="field field-title"&gt;War on Gaza: Israel's economy shrinks almost a fifth in last quarter of 2023&lt;/span&gt;
  827.            &lt;div class="field field-field-subhead"&gt;The call-up of hundreds of thousands of reservists for war has hit the economy badly&lt;/div&gt;
  828.      
  829. &lt;span class="field field-uid"&gt;&lt;a title="View user profile." href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/users/mee-staff" lang="" about="https://www.middleeasteye.net/users/mee-staff" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" xml:lang=""&gt;MEE staff&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/span&gt;
  830.  
  831. &lt;span class="field field-created"&gt;&lt;time datetime="2024-02-20T10:19:50+00:00" title="20 February 2024 10:19 GMT"&gt;Tue, 02/20/2024 - 10:19&lt;/time&gt;&lt;/span&gt;
  832.            &lt;div class="field field-field-main-image"&gt;    &lt;picture&gt;&lt;source srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/TEL_AVIV_STOCK_EXCHANGE_AFP.jpg.webp?itok=VlX4_ZpA 1x" type="image/webp" width="1400" height="933"&gt;&lt;/source&gt;&lt;source srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/TEL_AVIV_STOCK_EXCHANGE_AFP.jpg?itok=VlX4_ZpA 1x" type="image/jpeg" width="1400" height="933"&gt;&lt;/source&gt;&lt;img loading="lazy" srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/TEL_AVIV_STOCK_EXCHANGE_AFP.jpg?itok=VlX4_ZpA 1x" width="1400" height="933" src="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/max_2600x2600/public/images-story/TEL_AVIV_STOCK_EXCHANGE_AFP.jpg?itok=vUcN1DGL" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" /&gt;&lt;/picture&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  833.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-cutline"&gt;A man is seen at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange in Tel Aviv, Israel, 2011 (Jack Guez/AFP)&lt;/div&gt;
  834.                  &lt;div class="field field-body clearfix"&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/countries/israel"&gt;Israel&lt;/a&gt;'s economy shrank by almost a fifth in annualised terms in the last quarter of 2023 as the financial impact of the war in Gaza was felt.&lt;/p&gt;
  835.  
  836. &lt;p&gt;The drop in gross domestic product (GDP), which the Financial Times &lt;a href="https://www.ft.com/content/763bb384-a974-4222-996f-8aecfbc32074"&gt;described &lt;/a&gt;as "far steeper" than had been predicted by analysts, has come in the months following the beginning of the war on 7 October.&lt;/p&gt;
  837.  
  838. &lt;p&gt;The Central Bureau of Statistics said the GDP declined by an annualised 19.4 percent compared with the third quarter, while on a pure quarter-by-quarter basis, compared with the previous three months, the economy contracted 5.2 percent.&lt;/p&gt;
  839.  
  840. &lt;p&gt;The calling up of 300,000 reservists to fight in Gaza was a prime cause of the decline, as was the government’s sponsorship of housing for more than 120,000 Israelis evacuated from areas close to conflict zones.&lt;/p&gt;
  841.  
  842. &lt;p&gt;Despite the economy continuing to grow, rating agency Moody's this month lowered Israel’s sovereign rating from A1 to A2.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;div class="block-adsense block-adsense-managed-ad-block"&gt;&lt;div&gt;
  843.  &lt;div class="adsense responsive"&gt;
  844.    &lt;script async="" src="https://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js?client=ca-pub-6114695881218027" crossorigin="anonymous"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;&lt;!-- responsive --&gt;&lt;ins class="adsbygoogle mee-auto-ad-wrapper " style="display:block" data-ad-client="ca-pub-6114695881218027" data-ad-slot="8690493793" data-ad-format="horizontal" data-full-width-responsive="true"&gt;&lt;/ins&gt;
  845. &lt;script&gt;
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  847.  
  848.     (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});
  849.  
  850. //]]&gt;
  851. &lt;/script&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  852. &lt;/div&gt;
  853. &lt;/div&gt;
  854.  
  855. &lt;p&gt;The downgrade came in response to concerns over how long the conflict in Gaza could last, while it  also lowered Israel’s debt outlook to negative because of the risk of the war spreading to &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/countries/lebanon"&gt;Lebanon&lt;/a&gt;.&lt;/p&gt;
  856.  
  857. &lt;p&gt;Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has tried to play downplay the problem, however.&lt;/p&gt;
  858.  
  859. &lt;p&gt;“The rating downgrade is not connected to the economy. It is entirely due to the fact that we are in a war. The rating will go back up the moment we win the war - and we will win the war," he said in a statement.&lt;/p&gt;
  860.  
  861. &lt;p&gt;The Hamas-led attack on southern Israel on 7 October killed 1,139 people, most of them civilians. Approximately 240 people were taken back to Gaza as captives.&lt;/p&gt;
  862.  
  863. &lt;p&gt;Israel's subsequent attack on Gaza has killed nearly 30,000 Palestinians, most of them women and children, and destroyed most of the enclave's civilian infrastructure and homes. &lt;/p&gt;
  864. &lt;/div&gt;
  865.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-topic"&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/topics/israel-palestine-war" hreflang="en"&gt;Israel-Palestine war&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  866.            &lt;div class="field field-field-coauthor-location"&gt;
  867.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  868.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  869.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  870.          &lt;/div&gt;
  871.              &lt;div class="field field-field-article-location"&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  872.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-landing-title"&gt;Israel's economy shrinks almost a fifth  after war outbreak&lt;/div&gt;
  873.            &lt;div class="field field-field-comments"&gt;
  874.              &lt;div&gt;&lt;drupal-render-placeholder callback="Drupal\disqus\Element\Disqus::displayDisqusComments" arguments="0=War%20on%20Gaza%3A%20Israel%27s%20economy%20shrinks%20almost%20a%20fifth%20in%20last%20quarter%20of%202023&amp;1=https%3A//www.middleeasteye.net/news/war-gaza-israel-economy-shrinks-almost-fifth-last-quarter-2023&amp;2=node/344176&amp;3=a%3A0%3A%7B%7D" token="DhWXwFbnQyBcQfEjOxaxxT581U0zJxcSRdS0oE7L190"&gt;&lt;/drupal-render-placeholder&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  875.          &lt;/div&gt;
  876.              &lt;div class="field field-field-section"&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/all" hreflang="en"&gt;News&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  877.      </description>
  878.  <pubDate>Tue, 20 Feb 2024 10:19:50 +0000</pubDate>
  879.    <dc:creator>MEE staff</dc:creator>
  880.    <guid isPermaLink="false">344176 at https://www.middleeasteye.net</guid>
  881.    </item>
  882. <item>
  883.  <title>Sudan war: Gory beheading video emerges as army advances in the capital</title>
  884.  <link>https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/sudan-war-gory-beheading-video-emerges-army-advances-capital</link>
  885.  <description>
  886. &lt;span class="field field-title"&gt;Sudan war: Gory beheading video emerges as army advances in the capital&lt;/span&gt;
  887.            &lt;div class="field field-field-subhead"&gt;After months of setbacks the Sudanese military finally scores victories against the RSF in Omdurman, Bahri and Khartoum&lt;/div&gt;
  888.      
  889. &lt;span class="field field-uid"&gt;&lt;a title="View user profile." href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/users/mohammed-amin" lang="" about="https://www.middleeasteye.net/users/mohammed-amin" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" xml:lang=""&gt;Mohammed Amin&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/span&gt;
  890.  
  891. &lt;span class="field field-created"&gt;&lt;time datetime="2024-02-20T09:39:39+00:00" title="20 February 2024 09:39 GMT"&gt;Tue, 02/20/2024 - 09:39&lt;/time&gt;&lt;/span&gt;
  892.            &lt;div class="field field-field-main-image"&gt;    &lt;picture&gt;&lt;source srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/Burhan%20Omdurman%20Sudan.jpg.webp?itok=htFCgAj5 1x" type="image/webp" width="1400" height="788"&gt;&lt;/source&gt;&lt;source srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/Burhan%20Omdurman%20Sudan.jpg?itok=htFCgAj5 1x" type="image/jpeg" width="1400" height="788"&gt;&lt;/source&gt;&lt;img loading="lazy" srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/Burhan%20Omdurman%20Sudan.jpg?itok=htFCgAj5 1x" width="1400" height="788" src="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/max_2600x2600/public/images-story/Burhan%20Omdurman%20Sudan.jpg?itok=kG78G-tp" alt="Abdel Fattah al-Burhan visits troops in Omdurman on 17 February (Sudanese Armed Forces)" typeof="foaf:Image" /&gt;&lt;/picture&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  893.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-cutline"&gt;Abdel Fattah al-Burhan visits troops in Omdurman on 17 February (Sudanese Armed Forces)&lt;/div&gt;
  894.                  &lt;div class="field field-body clearfix"&gt;&lt;p style="margin-bottom:16px"&gt;With a string of breakthroughs in Khartoum and elsewhere, the &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/countries/sudan"&gt;Sudanese&lt;/a&gt; military has seized the initiative and taken the fight to the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) after months of setbacks.&lt;/p&gt;
  895.  
  896. &lt;p&gt;Yet as its troops and supporters celebrate the advances, a gory video has emerged that appears to show army soldiers brandishing the decapitated heads of three alleged RSF fighters, drawing outrage and concern.&lt;/p&gt;
  897.  
  898. &lt;p&gt;Sources in Khartoum and other parts of Sudan told Middle East Eye that the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) have retaken several strategic areas of the capital and its surroundings and are preparing an offensive on El-Gezira state to the south. RSF fighters have been struck by intensive bombing in locations across the country, they added.&lt;/p&gt;
  899.  
  900. &lt;p&gt;Sudanese who have observed the fighting from the ground suggested to MEE that drones recently acquired from &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/countries/iran"&gt;Iran&lt;/a&gt; have helped tilt the balance against the RSF, which controls most of the country.&lt;/p&gt;
  901.  
  902. &lt;p&gt;The &lt;a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2024-01-24/iran-supplies-sudan-army-with-drones-as-civil-war-continues?leadSource=uverify%20wall&amp;sref=p1whY86y"&gt;Mohajer-6&lt;/a&gt; combat drones, which have sophisticated air-to-ground attack capabilities and have been seen in &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/iraq-paramilitaries-drone-attacks-true-power-homemade"&gt;Iraq&lt;/a&gt; and &lt;a href="https://twitter.com/clashreport/status/1666385877952524288?s=48"&gt;Ukraine&lt;/a&gt;, have been used widely on the Sudanese battlefield, the sources said.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;div class="block-adsense block-adsense-managed-ad-block"&gt;&lt;div&gt;
  903.  &lt;div class="adsense responsive"&gt;
  904.    &lt;script async="" src="https://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js?client=ca-pub-6114695881218027" crossorigin="anonymous"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;&lt;!-- responsive --&gt;&lt;ins class="adsbygoogle mee-auto-ad-wrapper " style="display:block" data-ad-client="ca-pub-6114695881218027" data-ad-slot="8690493793" data-ad-format="horizontal" data-full-width-responsive="true"&gt;&lt;/ins&gt;
  905. &lt;script&gt;
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  908.     (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});
  909.  
  910. //]]&gt;
  911. &lt;/script&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  912. &lt;/div&gt;
  913. &lt;/div&gt;
  914.  
  915. &lt;p&gt;It remains to be seen whether the breakthrough signals a turning point in the war, which has killed thousands, displaced almost eight million people according to the UN, and brought parts of Sudan to the brink of famine.&lt;/p&gt;
  916.  
  917. &lt;h3&gt;Reversal of fortunes&lt;/h3&gt;
  918.  
  919. &lt;p&gt;Since late January, the Sudanese army has been concentrating its efforts in Omdurman and Bahri, cities that lie across the White Nile and Blue Nile rivers from Khartoum.&lt;/p&gt;
  920.  
  921. &lt;p&gt;The previous months had seen a string of devastating defeats for the military. Out of all the strategic cities of Darfur, Sudan’s restive and sprawling western region, only El-Fasher remained in SAF hands by early November.&lt;/p&gt;
  922.  
  923. &lt;p&gt;Meanwhile, RSF advances in central Sudan’s &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/sudan-rsf-el-gezira-panic-thousands-fleeing"&gt;El-Gezira&lt;/a&gt; in December rocked the country, as well as the international aid community, which was using the state capital Wad Madani as a humanitarian hub.&lt;/p&gt;
  924.  
  925. &lt;blockquote&gt;
  926. &lt;p&gt;'I see SAF soldiers controlling parts of Omdurman that they have never entered before, such as old Omdurman, Omdurman market... and 40th street'&lt;/p&gt;
  927.  
  928. &lt;p&gt;-&lt;em&gt; Abdullah al-Wathig, resident&lt;/em&gt;&lt;/p&gt;
  929. &lt;/blockquote&gt;
  930.  
  931. &lt;p&gt;Omdurman is beloved by Sudanese for its markets, which once hummed with activity. Yet since war broke out on 15 April over plans to fold the RSF into the regular military, Khartoum’s sister city has been in the eye of the storm.&lt;/p&gt;
  932.  
  933. &lt;p&gt;Sudanese army soldiers have found themselves under siege in the Alia military hospital, the el-Mohandiseen garrison, Karary University and other locations. In Bahri, they’ve similarly been hunkered down in army bases, too. And in Khartoum, the military headquarters has been under siege for 10 months.&lt;/p&gt;
  934.  
  935. &lt;p&gt;Omdurman residents told MEE that the army has control of most of the city’s streets for the first time since the war began. It has also seized parts of northern Bahri and relieved troops long besieged in the headquarters of the weapons unit.&lt;/p&gt;
  936.  
  937. &lt;p&gt;According to the Sudan War Monitor, by relieving the el-Mohandiseen (engineering) garrison, the military has severed the RSF’s fighters in western Omdurman’s Ombada district to the old city on the bank of the White Nile.&lt;/p&gt;
  938.  
  939. &lt;p&gt;Abdullah al-Wathig, an Omdurman resident, said there has been aggressive fighting since late January, with RSF fighters eventually fleeing from several positions.&lt;/p&gt;
  940.  
  941. &lt;p&gt;“I see SAF soldiers controlling parts of Omdurman that they have never entered before, such as old Omdurman, Omdurman market, the popular market and 40th street, among other neighborhoods,” he told MEE.&lt;/p&gt;
  942.  
  943. &lt;p&gt;“The fighting has been aggressive and there is bombardment everywhere. It’s a real nightmare for everybody, but we are happy that SAF has defeated them in the end.”&lt;/p&gt;
  944.  
  945. &lt;p&gt;According to Wathig, hundreds of residents have celebrated in the streets with the advancing soldiers, including in the al-Abbasiya, al-Arda, al-Hashmab and al-Morada neighbourhoods.&lt;/p&gt;
  946.  
  947. &lt;p&gt;Yet Shadia Omar, another Sudanese in Omdurman, said the RSF still controls parts of the city.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;div class="block-adsense block-adsense-managed-ad-block"&gt;&lt;div&gt;
  948.  &lt;div class="adsense responsive"&gt;
  949.    &lt;script async="" src="https://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js?client=ca-pub-6114695881218027" crossorigin="anonymous"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;&lt;!-- responsive --&gt;&lt;ins class="adsbygoogle mee-auto-ad-wrapper " style="display:block" data-ad-client="ca-pub-6114695881218027" data-ad-slot="8690493793" data-ad-format="horizontal" data-full-width-responsive="true"&gt;&lt;/ins&gt;
  950. &lt;script&gt;
  951. //&lt;![CDATA[
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  954.  
  955. //]]&gt;
  956. &lt;/script&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  957. &lt;/div&gt;
  958. &lt;/div&gt;
  959.  
  960. &lt;p&gt;“To be honest, SAF has done well recently, defeating them in different places. But we can still see some RSF checkpoints,” she said.&lt;/p&gt;
  961.  
  962.  &lt;figure role="group" class="media-block"&gt;&lt;div class="group-inner"&gt;
  963.    &lt;div alt="Sudanese soldiers and personnel drive a pick up truck mounted with a machine gun on a street in Gedaref city, Sudan, 14 January (AFP)" data-embed-button="file_browser" data-entity-embed-display="image:image" data-entity-embed-display-settings="{"image_style":"","image_link":"","image_loading":{"attribute":"lazy"}}" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="414e4b3f-2156-40d0-b8fe-6d639f04dabe" data-langcode="en" title="Sudanese soldiers and personnel drive a pick up truck mounted with a machine gun on a street in Gedaref city, Sudan, 14 January (AFP)" class="embedded-entity"&gt;  &lt;img loading="lazy" src="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/Sudan%20army%20soldiers%20AFP.jpg" width="1920" height="1080" alt="Sudanese soldiers and personnel drive a pick up truck mounted with a machine gun on a street in Gedaref city, Sudan, 14 January (AFP)" title="Sudanese soldiers and personnel drive a pick up truck mounted with a machine gun on a street in Gedaref city, Sudan, 14 January (AFP)" typeof="foaf:Image" /&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  964. &lt;figcaption&gt;Sudanese soldiers and personnel drive a pick up truck mounted with a machine gun on a street in Gedaref city, Sudan, 14 January (AFP)&lt;/figcaption&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  965. &lt;/figure&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;span style="background: url("https://www.middleeasteye.net/modules/contrib/ckeditor/vendor/plugins/widget/images/handle.png") rgba(220, 220, 220, 0.5); top: -15px; left: 0px;"&gt;&lt;img height="15" role="presentation" src="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAPABAP///wAAACH5BAEKAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAICRAEAOw==" title="Click and drag to move" width="15" loading="lazy" /&gt;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/p&gt;
  966.  
  967. &lt;p&gt;&lt;span style="background: url("https://www.middleeasteye.net/modules/contrib/ckeditor/vendor/plugins/widget/images/handle.png") rgba(220, 220, 220, 0.5); top: -15px; left: 0px;"&gt;&lt;img alt="" height="15" role="presentation" src="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAPABAP///wAAACH5BAEKAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAICRAEAOw==" title="Click and drag to move" width="15" loading="lazy" /&gt;&lt;/span&gt;From Bahri’s al-Halfaya neighbourhood, Amar Othman said fierce fighting has been going on around him.&lt;/p&gt;
  968.  
  969. &lt;p&gt;“We have seen the SAF fighting in different parts of central, eastern and southern Bahri for the first time since the war,” he said.&lt;/p&gt;
  970.  
  971. &lt;p&gt;“These are indescribable days. Now the fighting has been relaxed a little bit and we started to see some SAF checkpoints on the streets.”&lt;/p&gt;
  972.  
  973. &lt;h3&gt;'Our battle will continue'&lt;/h3&gt;
  974.  
  975. &lt;p&gt;In a recent report, the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data &lt;a href="https://acleddata.com/2024/02/16/sudan-situation-update-february-2024-sudan-the-saf-breaks-the-siege/"&gt;(Acled)&lt;/a&gt;, a conflict mapping project, suggested the SAF breakthroughs may see troops reach the military headquarters in central Khartoum, which has been surrounded by the RSF from the very first day of the war.&lt;/p&gt;
  976.  
  977. &lt;p&gt;Spurred by its humiliations in El Gezira and elsewhere, “SAF transitioned from a tactical defensive mode into an offensive one,” &lt;a href="https://acleddata.com/2024/02/16/sudan-situation-update-february-2024-sudan-the-saf-breaks-the-siege/"&gt;Acled&lt;/a&gt; said.&lt;/p&gt;
  978.  
  979. &lt;div class="mee-readmore mee-readmore-article-story mee-readmore-type-image align-right"&gt;
  980.  &lt;a class="mee-readmore-img-link" href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/sudan-crisis-civilian-mobilisation-army-pushback"&gt;&lt;img class="mee-readmore-image" src="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/read_more/public/images-story/SaF%20amin%20MAIN.jpg.webp?itok=0ycDresk" width="400" height="250" alt="" loading="lazy" typeof="foaf:Image" /&gt;&lt;/a&gt;  &lt;div class="mee-readmore-description"&gt;Sudanese take up arms against RSF as army begins to push back&lt;/div&gt;
  981.    &lt;a class="mee-readmore-link" href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/sudan-crisis-civilian-mobilisation-army-pushback"&gt;Read More »&lt;/a&gt;
  982. &lt;/div&gt;
  983.  
  984. &lt;p&gt;Contributing to this shift in balance, the group said, was the &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/sudan-crisis-civilian-mobilisation-army-pushback"&gt;mobilisation of civilians&lt;/a&gt; against the RSF, with thousands taking up arms to fight the paramilitary militia in recent weeks.&lt;/p&gt;
  985.  
  986. &lt;p&gt;Sudan War Monitor, meanwhile, suggested the army advances could be credited to the use of drones, including to find targets for artillery; deploying elite units; better supplies of ammunition; and less use of armoured vehicles, among other thing.&lt;/p&gt;
  987.  
  988. &lt;p&gt;On Saturday, army chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan &lt;a href="https://www.facebook.com/sudanese.armed.forces/videos/1143332910167568/?mibextid=rS40aB7S9Ucbxw6v"&gt;visited Omdurman&lt;/a&gt;, appearing in locations such as the Alia military hospital that endured almost a year of besiegement. The army released footage of Burhan, who himself spent five months under siege in the military HQ in Khartoum, walking freely in Omdurman’s streets and addressing his troops.&lt;/p&gt;
  989.  
  990. &lt;p&gt;“Our battle will continue,” he said, adding that negotiations with the RSF cannot begin while it continues the abuses it has been accused of, such as mass killings, looting and rape.&lt;/p&gt;
  991.  
  992. &lt;p&gt;The United States, among others, has accused the RSF of war crimes and ethnic cleansing in Darfur. The Sudanese military has also been accused of war crimes. Both warring parties deny the accusations.&lt;/p&gt;
  993.  
  994. &lt;p&gt;While the Sudanese army has buoyantly projected a sense of momentum, the Rapid Support Forces have been at pains to downplay the military’s advances, painting the news as disinformation.&lt;/p&gt;
  995.  
  996. &lt;h3&gt;'This is propaganda'&lt;/h3&gt;
  997.  
  998. &lt;p&gt;On Saturday, the paramilitary force published a &lt;a href="https://twitter.com/RSFLiveSD/status/1757075917484986419?s=20"&gt;video&lt;/a&gt; of its fighters in the key areas of Omdurman around the national radio and TV buildings. However the video was dated 12 February.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;div class="block-adsense block-adsense-managed-ad-block"&gt;&lt;div&gt;
  999.  &lt;div class="adsense responsive"&gt;
  1000.    &lt;script async="" src="https://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js?client=ca-pub-6114695881218027" crossorigin="anonymous"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;&lt;!-- responsive --&gt;&lt;ins class="adsbygoogle mee-auto-ad-wrapper " style="display:block" data-ad-client="ca-pub-6114695881218027" data-ad-slot="8690493793" data-ad-format="horizontal" data-full-width-responsive="true"&gt;&lt;/ins&gt;
  1001. &lt;script&gt;
  1002. //&lt;![CDATA[
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  1004.     (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});
  1005.  
  1006. //]]&gt;
  1007. &lt;/script&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1008. &lt;/div&gt;
  1009. &lt;/div&gt;
  1010.  
  1011. &lt;p&gt;“SAF is lying in order to mobilise its soldiers, who have been besieged in different positions, lost their supplies and were starting to surrender to our forces,” a member of the RSF’s negotiation team told MEE, speaking anonymously as he was not authorised to speak to the media.&lt;/p&gt;
  1012.  
  1013. &lt;blockquote&gt;
  1014. &lt;p&gt;'This grievous act saw the brutal slaughter and beheading of three young men, executed in a manner reminiscent of the ISIS terrorist organisation'&lt;/p&gt;
  1015.  
  1016. &lt;p&gt;&lt;em&gt;- RSF statement&lt;/em&gt;&lt;/p&gt;
  1017. &lt;/blockquote&gt;
  1018.  
  1019. &lt;p&gt;‘’This is propaganda that has been repeated, like their claim of controlling the airport road and the national radio and TV stations. All these positions are still in the hands of the RSF.”&lt;/p&gt;
  1020.  
  1021. &lt;p&gt;The RSF has also seized upon a video that emerged last week, where men in army uniforms are seen brandishing the heads of three men they say were paramilitary fighters. Details about the video, including the location and when it was filmed, are scant.&lt;/p&gt;
  1022.  
  1023. &lt;p&gt;“This grievous act saw the brutal slaughter and beheading of three young men, executed in a manner reminiscent of the ISIS terrorist organisation,” the RSF responded in a statement, accusing the army of responsibility.&lt;/p&gt;
  1024.  
  1025. &lt;p&gt;The RSF linked the killings to elements from the repressive government led by former president Omar al-Bashir’s National Congress Party, which was ousted by Burhan and the RSF’s leader Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, better known as Hemeti, following a popular uprising.&lt;/p&gt;
  1026.  
  1027. &lt;p&gt;“We have consistently raised alarms regarding the National Congress Party and its terrorist arm, the Islamic Movement, as they extend their malevolent influence across the country,” &lt;a href="https://twitter.com/RSFSudan/status/1759565657325113775?s=20"&gt;it said&lt;/a&gt; on Monday.&lt;/p&gt;
  1028.  
  1029. &lt;p&gt;A SAF spokesperson said the incident was being investigated.&lt;/p&gt;
  1030.  
  1031. &lt;h3&gt;Battles brewing elsewhere&lt;/h3&gt;
  1032.  
  1033. &lt;p&gt;Outside the capital, air strikes rain down on RSF positions. Raids have been carried out in El-Gezira state, as well as West Kordofan in the south and North Darfur, among other areas.&lt;/p&gt;
  1034.  
  1035. &lt;p&gt;Sources in El-Gezira’s Hantoob said strikes have concentrated on the town and others nearby, particularly the bridge that crosses over to Wad Madani, where RSF checkpoints are deployed.&lt;/p&gt;
  1036.  
  1037. &lt;div class="mee-readmore mee-readmore-article-the-big-story mee-readmore-type-image align-right"&gt;
  1038.  &lt;a class="mee-readmore-img-link" href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/sudan-uae-war-arms-trade-rsf"&gt;&lt;img class="mee-readmore-image" src="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/read_more/public/images-story/sudan-war-smoke-fire-khartoum-7-june-2023-afp.jpg.webp?itok=ND8lSwMa" width="400" height="250" alt="" loading="lazy" typeof="foaf:Image" /&gt;&lt;/a&gt;  &lt;div class="mee-readmore-description"&gt;How the UAE kept the Sudan war raging&lt;/div&gt;
  1039.    &lt;a class="mee-readmore-link" href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/sudan-uae-war-arms-trade-rsf"&gt;Read More »&lt;/a&gt;
  1040. &lt;/div&gt;
  1041.  
  1042. &lt;p&gt;In Sennar, a city 100km south of Wad Madani, SAF soldiers told MEE that troops are on standby to move into El-Gezira and its state capital.&lt;/p&gt;
  1043.  
  1044. &lt;p&gt;Far to the southwest, 800km from Khartoum, fierce fighting has erupted in the town of Babanusa in West Kordofan state.&lt;/p&gt;
  1045.  
  1046. &lt;p&gt;According to &lt;a href="https://acleddata.com/2024/02/16/sudan-situation-update-february-2024-sudan-the-saf-breaks-the-siege/"&gt;Acled&lt;/a&gt;, the RSF launched an offensive on Babanusa on 22 January. After two weeks of clashes, the RSF appeared in control of much of the town, only to be forced back by army troops from many areas. At least 100 have been killed, sources there told MEE.&lt;/p&gt;
  1047.  
  1048. &lt;p&gt;In North Kordofan’s al-Obeid, SAF soldiers told MEE they were poised to break the RSF’s siege on the city.&lt;/p&gt;
  1049.  
  1050. &lt;p&gt;And further northwest, in the North Darfur capital of El-Fasher, SAF warplanes have been bombarding RSF forces surrounding the city, residents told MEE.&lt;/p&gt;
  1051.  
  1052. &lt;p&gt;The sources in El-Fasher said the military was mobilising ground troops alongside ex-rebel groups, the Sudan Liberation Movement and the Justice and Equality Movement, preparing to take the fight to RSF fighters poised outside the city.&lt;/p&gt;
  1053. &lt;/div&gt;
  1054.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-topic"&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/topics/sudan-crisis" hreflang="en"&gt;Sudan crisis&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1055.            &lt;div class="field field-field-coauthor-location"&gt;
  1056.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  1057.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  1058.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  1059.          &lt;/div&gt;
  1060.              &lt;div class="field field-field-article-location"&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  1061.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-landing-title"&gt;Gory beheading video emerges as Sudan’s army advances in the capital&lt;/div&gt;
  1062.            &lt;div class="field field-field-comments"&gt;
  1063.              &lt;div&gt;&lt;drupal-render-placeholder callback="Drupal\disqus\Element\Disqus::displayDisqusComments" arguments="0=Sudan%20war%3A%20Gory%20beheading%20video%20emerges%20as%20army%20advances%20in%20the%20capital&amp;1=https%3A//www.middleeasteye.net/news/sudan-war-gory-beheading-video-emerges-army-advances-capital&amp;2=node/344181&amp;3=a%3A0%3A%7B%7D" token="GDsX1BkAKIsyAj1zYI20oVqtMZqoQLlAmaWhjriUnUM"&gt;&lt;/drupal-render-placeholder&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1064.          &lt;/div&gt;
  1065.              &lt;div class="field field-field-section"&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/all" hreflang="en"&gt;News&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1066.      </description>
  1067.  <pubDate>Tue, 20 Feb 2024 09:39:39 +0000</pubDate>
  1068.    <dc:creator>Mohammed Amin</dc:creator>
  1069.    <guid isPermaLink="false">344181 at https://www.middleeasteye.net</guid>
  1070.    </item>
  1071. <item>
  1072.  <title>US drafts counter UN Security Council resolution calling for temporary ceasefire </title>
  1073.  <link>https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/us-drafts-counter-un-security-council-resolution-calling-temporary-ceasefire</link>
  1074.  <description>
  1075. &lt;span class="field field-title"&gt;US drafts counter UN Security Council resolution calling for temporary ceasefire &lt;/span&gt;
  1076.            &lt;div class="field field-field-subhead"&gt;The text, floated as an alternative to a proposal by Algeria, says timing for ground offensive on Rafah not right 'under current circumstances'&lt;/div&gt;
  1077.      
  1078. &lt;span class="field field-uid"&gt;&lt;a title="View user profile." href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/users/mee-staff" lang="" about="https://www.middleeasteye.net/users/mee-staff" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" xml:lang=""&gt;MEE staff&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/span&gt;
  1079.  
  1080. &lt;span class="field field-created"&gt;&lt;time datetime="2024-02-19T21:16:12+00:00" title="19 February 2024 21:16 GMT"&gt;Mon, 02/19/2024 - 21:16&lt;/time&gt;&lt;/span&gt;
  1081.            &lt;div class="field field-field-main-image"&gt;    &lt;picture&gt;&lt;source srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/Gaza-Rafahconditions-February2024-AFP.jpg.webp?itok=0UFJDh_6 1x" type="image/webp" width="1400" height="788"&gt;&lt;/source&gt;&lt;source srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/Gaza-Rafahconditions-February2024-AFP.jpg?itok=0UFJDh_6 1x" type="image/jpeg" width="1400" height="788"&gt;&lt;/source&gt;&lt;img loading="lazy" srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/Gaza-Rafahconditions-February2024-AFP.jpg?itok=0UFJDh_6 1x" width="1400" height="788" src="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/max_2600x2600/public/images-story/Gaza-Rafahconditions-February2024-AFP.jpg?itok=ND6WgsxZ" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" /&gt;&lt;/picture&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1082.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-cutline"&gt;Displaced Palestinian children gather to receive food at a government school in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, on 19 February 2024 (Mohammed Abed/AFP)&lt;/div&gt;
  1083.                  &lt;div class="field field-body clearfix"&gt;&lt;p&gt;The US has proposed a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for a temporary ceasefire in Gaza and opposing a ground offensive in Rafah, according to a report by &lt;a href="https://www.reuters.com/world/us-proposes-un-resolution-supporting-temporary-ceasefire-gaza-2024-02-19/"&gt;Reuters&lt;/a&gt;.&lt;/p&gt;
  1084.  
  1085. &lt;p&gt;The draft offers an alternative to a resolution put forward by Algeria that calls for an "immediate" ceasefire in Gaza.&lt;/p&gt;
  1086.  
  1087. &lt;p&gt;US ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield warned over the weekend that the US would block the Algerian resolution, saying it could jeopardise a hostage deal that would pause the fighting between Israel and Hamas.&lt;/p&gt;
  1088.  
  1089. &lt;p&gt;The US resolution, according to the text seen by Reuters, would also rebuke Israel for considering a full-scale offensive on Rafah, saying that “under current circumstances, a major ground offensive…would result in further harm to civilians and their further displacement including potentially into neighboring countries”.&lt;/p&gt;
  1090.  
  1091. &lt;p&gt;Israel's political leaders have signalled that they intend to launch an offensive on the southern border town.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;div class="block-adsense block-adsense-managed-ad-block"&gt;&lt;div&gt;
  1092.  &lt;div class="adsense responsive"&gt;
  1093.    &lt;script async="" src="https://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js?client=ca-pub-6114695881218027" crossorigin="anonymous"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;&lt;!-- responsive --&gt;&lt;ins class="adsbygoogle mee-auto-ad-wrapper " style="display:block" data-ad-client="ca-pub-6114695881218027" data-ad-slot="8690493793" data-ad-format="horizontal" data-full-width-responsive="true"&gt;&lt;/ins&gt;
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  1100. &lt;/script&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1101. &lt;/div&gt;
  1102. &lt;/div&gt;
  1103.  
  1104. &lt;p&gt;On Monday, Israeli war cabinet member Benny Gantz said if Hamas didn’t return its hostages by the start of Ramadan, expected to start at the beginning of March, Rafah would be attacked.&lt;/p&gt;
  1105.  
  1106. &lt;p&gt;A majority of the 1.4 million Palestinians who have sought refuge in Rafah have already been displaced from their homes and live in squalid conditions with little access to food, water or medicine.&lt;/p&gt;
  1107.  
  1108. &lt;p&gt;An eight-year-old &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/countries/palestine" target="_blank"&gt;Palestinian &lt;/a&gt;girl died from dehydration and starvation in &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/big-story/gaza-war-israel-netanyahu-hamas-origins-2023-nakba" target="_blank"&gt;Gaza City,&lt;/a&gt; the NGO, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor &lt;a href="https://x.com/RamAbdu/status/1758870077208723614?s=20" target="_blank"&gt;reported &lt;/a&gt;on Saturday.&lt;/p&gt;
  1109.  
  1110. &lt;p&gt;The UN has warned an attack on the crammed city would lead to “a slaughter”.&lt;/p&gt;
  1111.  
  1112. &lt;h3&gt;Biden call 'dissuaded Netanyahu'&lt;/h3&gt;
  1113.  
  1114. &lt;p&gt;A former senior US official familiar with the matter &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/war-on-gaza-us-red-line-rafah-blurs-Israeli-offensive-hostage-negotiations-collide"&gt;told&lt;/a&gt; MEE recently that Biden likely dissuaded Israel from launching an immediate assault on Rafah in a phone call with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last weekend.&lt;/p&gt;
  1115.  
  1116. &lt;p&gt;But the administration’s language on Rafah has shifted since the start of the war. The US initially opposed any assault on the city, fearing it would provoke a forced displacement of Palestinians into Egypt, with potentially destabilising effects on the Arab world’s most populous country.&lt;/p&gt;
  1117.  
  1118. &lt;div class="mee-readmore mee-readmore-article-story mee-readmore-type-image align-right"&gt;
  1119.  &lt;a class="mee-readmore-img-link" href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/war-gaza-israel-has-gone-too-far-wes-streeting-says"&gt;&lt;img class="mee-readmore-image" src="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/read_more/public/images-story/wes%20streeting_afp.jpeg.webp?itok=FBWefEQ-" width="400" height="250" alt="" loading="lazy" typeof="foaf:Image" /&gt;&lt;/a&gt;  &lt;div class="mee-readmore-description"&gt;War on Gaza: 'Israel has gone too far' in self-defence, says Wes Streeting&lt;/div&gt;
  1120.    &lt;a class="mee-readmore-link" href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/war-gaza-israel-has-gone-too-far-wes-streeting-says"&gt;Read More »&lt;/a&gt;
  1121. &lt;/div&gt;
  1122.  
  1123. &lt;p&gt;National Security Council spokesman John Kirby &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/war-on-gaza-us-red-line-rafah-blurs-Israeli-offensive-hostage-negotiations-collide"&gt;called&lt;/a&gt; the idea “a disaster”.&lt;/p&gt;
  1124.  
  1125. &lt;p&gt;While the US is opposed to an assault, it has not drawn a public red line with Israel.&lt;/p&gt;
  1126.  
  1127. &lt;p&gt;Instead, at a press conference last week, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said Israel needed to present a “credible” plan to protect civilians that “should be executed before they (Israel) launch a military campaign” on the city.&lt;/p&gt;
  1128.  
  1129. &lt;p&gt;Even as it expresses displeasure with a Rafah offensive, the draft UN resolution leaves Washington some diplomatic space to avoid a total break with its closest Middle East ally. &lt;/p&gt;
  1130.  
  1131. &lt;p&gt;According to Reuters, the text says that an offensive “would have serious implications for regional peace and security” and “should not proceed under current circumstances”.&lt;/p&gt;
  1132.  
  1133. &lt;p&gt;While ties between the US and Israel are strained, President Biden has continued to publicly press Congress to approve arms transfers to Israel.&lt;/p&gt;
  1134.  
  1135. &lt;h3&gt;Truce talks 'not promising'&lt;/h3&gt;
  1136.  
  1137. &lt;p&gt;The administration is focusing its efforts on brokering a hostage deal between Hamas and Israel that could lead to a six-week truce, one that Biden says he hopes could be extended to a “sustained pause in the fighting”.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;div class="block-adsense block-adsense-managed-ad-block"&gt;&lt;div&gt;
  1138.  &lt;div class="adsense responsive"&gt;
  1139.    &lt;script async="" src="https://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js?client=ca-pub-6114695881218027" crossorigin="anonymous"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;&lt;!-- responsive --&gt;&lt;ins class="adsbygoogle mee-auto-ad-wrapper " style="display:block" data-ad-client="ca-pub-6114695881218027" data-ad-slot="8690493793" data-ad-format="horizontal" data-full-width-responsive="true"&gt;&lt;/ins&gt;
  1140. &lt;script&gt;
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  1146. &lt;/script&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1147. &lt;/div&gt;
  1148. &lt;/div&gt;
  1149.  
  1150. &lt;p&gt;Israel’s threat to launch an offensive on Rafah could be a pressure tactic, as negotiations for a deal take place among Arab, Israeli and US officials, experts have told MEE.&lt;/p&gt;
  1151.  
  1152. &lt;p&gt;But even the threat of an assault poses risks. &lt;/p&gt;
  1153.  
  1154. &lt;div class="mee-readmore mee-readmore-article-story mee-readmore-type-image align-right"&gt;
  1155.  &lt;a class="mee-readmore-img-link" href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/war-on-gaza-us-red-line-rafah-blurs-Israeli-offensive-hostage-negotiations-collide"&gt;&lt;img class="mee-readmore-image" src="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/read_more/public/images-story/Gaza-Refugess-February2023-AFP.jpg.webp?itok=_g8QRezJ" width="400" height="250" alt="" loading="lazy" typeof="foaf:Image" /&gt;&lt;/a&gt;  &lt;div class="mee-readmore-description"&gt;War on Gaza: US red line on Rafah blurs as Israeli offensive and hostage negotiations collide&lt;/div&gt;
  1156.    &lt;a class="mee-readmore-link" href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/war-on-gaza-us-red-line-rafah-blurs-Israeli-offensive-hostage-negotiations-collide"&gt;Read More »&lt;/a&gt;
  1157. &lt;/div&gt;
  1158.  
  1159. &lt;p&gt;Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, the prime minister of Qatar - who along with Egypt’s intelligence chief Abbas Kamel is mediating between Hamas and Israel - said over the weekend that the negotiations for a truce were "not very promising”.&lt;/p&gt;
  1160.  
  1161. &lt;p&gt;Leaking the UN draft could also be a way for the US to put pressure on Israel.&lt;/p&gt;
  1162.  
  1163. &lt;p&gt;Since October, it has wielded its veto power twice to protect its ally from UN censure.&lt;/p&gt;
  1164.  
  1165. &lt;p&gt;But calls from far-right lawmakers in Israel’s government to resettle Gaza, along with signs that Israel is laying the groundwork to build buffer zones in the area, have upset Washington, which wants to maintain the besieged enclave's territorial integrity.&lt;/p&gt;
  1166.  
  1167. &lt;p&gt;The draft resolution would reject "any actions by any party that reduce the territory of Gaza, on a temporary or permanent basis, including through the establishment officially or unofficially of so-called buffer zones, as well as the widespread, systematic demolition of civilian infrastructure".&lt;/p&gt;
  1168.  
  1169. &lt;p&gt;In order for a resolution to be adopted by the UN Security Council, it must receive nine votes in favour and no vetoes by permanent members, including the US, France, Britain, Russia and China.&lt;/p&gt;
  1170.  
  1171. &lt;p&gt;&lt;em&gt;This article is available in French on &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/fr/actu-et-enquetes/guerre-gaza-les-etats-unis-proposent-une-contre-resolution-au-texte-soumis-au"&gt;Middle East Eye French edition&lt;/a&gt;.&lt;/em&gt;&lt;/p&gt;
  1172. &lt;/div&gt;
  1173.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-topic"&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/topics/israel-palestine-war" hreflang="en"&gt;Israel-Palestine war&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1174.            &lt;div class="field field-field-coauthor-location"&gt;
  1175.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  1176.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  1177.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  1178.          &lt;/div&gt;
  1179.              &lt;div class="field field-field-article-location"&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  1180.            &lt;div class="field field-field-comments"&gt;
  1181.              &lt;div&gt;&lt;drupal-render-placeholder callback="Drupal\disqus\Element\Disqus::displayDisqusComments" arguments="0=US%20drafts%20counter%20UN%20Security%20Council%20resolution%20calling%20for%20temporary%20ceasefire%20&amp;1=https%3A//www.middleeasteye.net/news/us-drafts-counter-un-security-council-resolution-calling-temporary-ceasefire&amp;2=node/344096&amp;3=a%3A0%3A%7B%7D" token="MYay_VsDA9OAilOwkkQxUSmjXwwPaAq1dIjFO0V-lk8"&gt;&lt;/drupal-render-placeholder&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1182.          &lt;/div&gt;
  1183.              &lt;div class="field field-field-section"&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/all" hreflang="en"&gt;News&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1184.      </description>
  1185.  <pubDate>Mon, 19 Feb 2024 21:16:12 +0000</pubDate>
  1186.    <dc:creator>MEE staff</dc:creator>
  1187.    <guid isPermaLink="false">344096 at https://www.middleeasteye.net</guid>
  1188.    </item>
  1189. <item>
  1190.  <title>US investigating claim Houthis downed drone off Yemen's coast: Report </title>
  1191.  <link>https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/us-investigating-claim-yemens-houthis-downed-us-drone-report</link>
  1192.  <description>
  1193. &lt;span class="field field-title"&gt;US investigating claim Houthis downed drone off Yemen's coast: Report &lt;/span&gt;
  1194.            &lt;div class="field field-field-subhead"&gt;Downing of MQ-9 Reaper drone would come as Houthis lay claim to forcing the crew of a bulk carrier to abandon ship in the Red Sea&lt;/div&gt;
  1195.      
  1196. &lt;span class="field field-uid"&gt;&lt;a title="View user profile." href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/users/mee-staff" lang="" about="https://www.middleeasteye.net/users/mee-staff" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" xml:lang=""&gt;MEE staff&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/span&gt;
  1197.  
  1198. &lt;span class="field field-created"&gt;&lt;time datetime="2024-02-19T18:59:16+00:00" title="19 February 2024 18:59 GMT"&gt;Mon, 02/19/2024 - 18:59&lt;/time&gt;&lt;/span&gt;
  1199.            &lt;div class="field field-field-main-image"&gt;    &lt;picture&gt;&lt;source srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/Yemen-HouthisProtest-February%202023-AFP.jpg.webp?itok=WnK0Tqls 1x" type="image/webp" width="1400" height="786"&gt;&lt;/source&gt;&lt;source srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/Yemen-HouthisProtest-February%202023-AFP.jpg?itok=WnK0Tqls 1x" type="image/jpeg" width="1400" height="786"&gt;&lt;/source&gt;&lt;img loading="lazy" srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/Yemen-HouthisProtest-February%202023-AFP.jpg?itok=WnK0Tqls 1x" width="1400" height="786" src="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/max_2600x2600/public/images-story/Yemen-HouthisProtest-February%202023-AFP.jpg?itok=5n45QvwA" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" /&gt;&lt;/picture&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1200.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-cutline"&gt;Yemenis brandishing weapons chant slogans and wave Palestinian flags as they march in the Houthi-run capital Sanaa in support of Palestinians, on 16 February 2024 (Mohammed Huwais/AFP) &lt;/div&gt;
  1201.                  &lt;div class="field field-body clearfix"&gt;&lt;p&gt;The US is investigating a claim by Houthi rebels in Yemen that they shot down a US reaper drone on Monday, as tensions in the Red Sea escalate to new heights, according to US media reports.&lt;/p&gt;
  1202.  
  1203. &lt;p&gt;The Iran-backed Houthis claimed they had downed a US MQ9-Reaper drone over the port city of Hodeida early on Monday morning, with the Pentagon confirming that a US drone had crashed.&lt;/p&gt;
  1204.  
  1205. &lt;p&gt;“The Yemeni air defenses were able to shoot down an American plane (MQ9) with a suitable missile while it was carrying out hostile missions against our country on behalf of the Zionist entity,” Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sarea said on the social media platform, X.&lt;/p&gt;
  1206.  
  1207. &lt;p&gt;On Monday, The New York Times and CNN &lt;a href="https://edition.cnn.com/2024/02/19/politics/us-investigating-drone-crash-yemen/index.html"&gt;reported&lt;/a&gt; that US officials are now investigating the Houthi claim. The Houthis last downed a Reaper drone in November, according to the Pentagon, and attempted to recover the $30m unmanned aerial vehicle.&lt;/p&gt;
  1208.  
  1209. &lt;p&gt;The MQ9 Reaper drone is a workforce of US intelligence and surveillance but can also be armed with missiles, including a modified hellfire missile equipped with long blades used for targeted assassinations.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;div class="block-adsense block-adsense-managed-ad-block"&gt;&lt;div&gt;
  1210.  &lt;div class="adsense responsive"&gt;
  1211.    &lt;script async="" src="https://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js?client=ca-pub-6114695881218027" crossorigin="anonymous"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;&lt;!-- responsive --&gt;&lt;ins class="adsbygoogle mee-auto-ad-wrapper " style="display:block" data-ad-client="ca-pub-6114695881218027" data-ad-slot="8690493793" data-ad-format="horizontal" data-full-width-responsive="true"&gt;&lt;/ins&gt;
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  1218. &lt;/script&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1219. &lt;/div&gt;
  1220. &lt;/div&gt;
  1221.  
  1222. &lt;p&gt;The Houthis have catapulted to global prominence for their daring attacks on commercial and military shipping, in what they say is a response to Israel’s invasion of Gaza.&lt;/p&gt;
  1223.  
  1224. &lt;p&gt;One of their first acts in November was a brazen seizure by helicopter of the Galaxy leader, a Bahamas-flagged commercial vessel owned by Israeli business tycoon, Rami Ungar.&lt;/p&gt;
  1225.  
  1226. &lt;p&gt;Since then, the Houthis have broadened their attacks from vessels linked to Israel to commercial and military ships with any ties to the US and UK, in response to US-led air strikes against the group.&lt;/p&gt;
  1227.  
  1228. &lt;div class="mee-readmore mee-readmore-article-story mee-readmore-type-image align-right"&gt;
  1229.  &lt;a class="mee-readmore-img-link" href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/how-houthis-mined-commercial-intelligence-sabotage-global-trade"&gt;&lt;img class="mee-readmore-image" src="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/read_more/public/images-story/Yemen-Houthis-January-AFP.jpg.webp?itok=GSi0wOGC" width="400" height="250" alt="" loading="lazy" typeof="foaf:Image" /&gt;&lt;/a&gt;  &lt;div class="mee-readmore-description"&gt;How the Houthis mined commercial intelligence to sabotage global trade&lt;/div&gt;
  1230.    &lt;a class="mee-readmore-link" href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/how-houthis-mined-commercial-intelligence-sabotage-global-trade"&gt;Read More »&lt;/a&gt;
  1231. &lt;/div&gt;
  1232.  
  1233. &lt;p&gt;On Saturday, the US said it launched five strikes against Houthi mobile anti-ship cruise missiles, an unmanned surface drone and one unmanned underwater drone.&lt;/p&gt;
  1234.  
  1235. &lt;p&gt;The latter marks the first time the Houthis have employed an underwater drone, which naval analysts tell Middle East Eye suggests the Houthis have advanced their maritime capabilities.&lt;/p&gt;
  1236.  
  1237. &lt;p&gt;US strikes against the Houthis have done little to deter the group, and western officials familiar with the matter have told MEE on condition of anonymity that they don’t expect the Houthis to change their actions in response to the strikes.&lt;/p&gt;
  1238.  
  1239. &lt;p&gt;The Iran-backed group endured years of heavy bombardment by a coalition of Arab states led by Saudi Arabia. The Houthis weathered the strikes and displayed their ability to leverage Iranian training and arms to strike as far as Dubai.&lt;/p&gt;
  1240.  
  1241. &lt;p&gt;Saudi Arabia is now trying to negotiate a ceasefire to the war that would cement the Houthis stranglehold over most populated parts of Yemen, including the capital Sanaa.&lt;/p&gt;
  1242.  
  1243. &lt;p&gt;If the Houthis did down the Reaper drone, it would come just as they lay claim to one of their biggest maritime victories to date.&lt;/p&gt;
  1244.  
  1245. &lt;p&gt;On Monday the crew of the Rubymar, a Belize-flagged, UK-registered and Lebanese-operated dry bulk carrier, was forced to abandon ship after a Houthis strike.&lt;/p&gt;
  1246. &lt;/div&gt;
  1247.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-topic"&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/topics/israel-palestine-war" hreflang="en"&gt;Israel-Palestine war&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1248.            &lt;div class="field field-field-coauthor-location"&gt;
  1249.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  1250.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  1251.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  1252.          &lt;/div&gt;
  1253.              &lt;div class="field field-field-article-location"&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  1254.            &lt;div class="field field-field-comments"&gt;
  1255.              &lt;div&gt;&lt;drupal-render-placeholder callback="Drupal\disqus\Element\Disqus::displayDisqusComments" arguments="0=US%20investigating%20claim%20Houthis%20downed%20drone%20off%20Yemen%27s%20coast%3A%20Report%20&amp;1=https%3A//www.middleeasteye.net/news/us-investigating-claim-yemens-houthis-downed-us-drone-report&amp;2=node/344086&amp;3=a%3A0%3A%7B%7D" token="2bxf90-QJS3v2OqL5MEwB7LmSctvn8YzYmyjuSOoAGQ"&gt;&lt;/drupal-render-placeholder&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1256.          &lt;/div&gt;
  1257.              &lt;div class="field field-field-section"&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/all" hreflang="en"&gt;News&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1258.      </description>
  1259.  <pubDate>Mon, 19 Feb 2024 18:59:16 +0000</pubDate>
  1260.    <dc:creator>MEE staff</dc:creator>
  1261.    <guid isPermaLink="false">344086 at https://www.middleeasteye.net</guid>
  1262.    </item>
  1263. <item>
  1264.  <title>Lebanon: Israeli air strikes pummel area around port city of Sidon </title>
  1265.  <link>https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/lebanon-israeli-airstrikes-pummel-area-near-port-city-sidon</link>
  1266.  <description>
  1267. &lt;span class="field field-title"&gt;Lebanon: Israeli air strikes pummel area around port city of Sidon &lt;/span&gt;
  1268.            &lt;div class="field field-field-subhead"&gt;Israel's targeting of the area marks one of its deepest forays yet into Lebanon during the war on Gaza&lt;/div&gt;
  1269.      
  1270. &lt;span class="field field-uid"&gt;&lt;a title="View user profile." href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/users/mee-staff" lang="" about="https://www.middleeasteye.net/users/mee-staff" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" xml:lang=""&gt;MEE staff&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/span&gt;
  1271.  
  1272. &lt;span class="field field-created"&gt;&lt;time datetime="2024-02-19T17:22:54+00:00" title="19 February 2024 17:22 GMT"&gt;Mon, 02/19/2024 - 17:22&lt;/time&gt;&lt;/span&gt;
  1273.            &lt;div class="field field-field-main-image"&gt;    &lt;picture&gt;&lt;source srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/Lebanon-Sidon%20strike-February2023-AFP.jpg.webp?itok=nONysvN5 1x" type="image/webp" width="1400" height="788"&gt;&lt;/source&gt;&lt;source srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/Lebanon-Sidon%20strike-February2023-AFP.jpg?itok=nONysvN5 1x" type="image/jpeg" width="1400" height="788"&gt;&lt;/source&gt;&lt;img loading="lazy" srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/Lebanon-Sidon%20strike-February2023-AFP.jpg?itok=nONysvN5 1x" width="1400" height="788" src="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/max_2600x2600/public/images-story/Lebanon-Sidon%20strike-February2023-AFP.jpg?itok=mfPkOuW1" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" /&gt;&lt;/picture&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1274.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-cutline"&gt;Smoke billows after an Israeli air raid on a reported hangar close to main coastal highway in southern Lebanese city town of Ghaziyeh, around 30 kilometres from the border with Israel, on 19 February 2024 (Mahmoud Zayyat/AFP) &lt;/div&gt;
  1275.                  &lt;div class="field field-body clearfix"&gt;&lt;p&gt;Israeli air strikes rocked southern Lebanon near the port city of Sidon on Monday, with &lt;a href="https://x.com/swilkinsonbc/status/1759610690271113636?s=20"&gt;video footage&lt;/a&gt; showing flames and debris from one blast shooting up just metres away from a highway populated with civilian vehicles.&lt;/p&gt;
  1276.  
  1277. &lt;p&gt;The Israeli military confirmed the strikes, saying they targeted arms storage facilities near Sidon in southern Lebanon in retaliation for a drone sent into Israel by Hezbollah, an Israeli military spokesperson announced on Monday.&lt;/p&gt;
  1278.  
  1279. &lt;p&gt;"We located an unmanned aerial vehicle from Hezbollah near Tiberias, which apparently crossed today and crashed near Tiberias," Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari told a televised news briefing. "In response to this activity, we attacked weapons depots near Sidon."&lt;/p&gt;
  1280.  
  1281. &lt;p&gt;The strikes mark one of Israel’s deepest forays yet into its Mediterranean neighbour's territory, as it exchanges near-daily fire with Iran-backed Hezbollah.&lt;/p&gt;
  1282.  
  1283. &lt;p&gt;One &lt;a href="https://twitter.com/snarwani/status/1759604124058816840"&gt;video&lt;/a&gt; filmed from a balcony captured the scene with two mushroom cloud explosions billowing up from a civilian neighbourhood facing the Mediterranean Sea.&lt;/p&gt;
  1284.  
  1285. &lt;div class="url-embed-wrapper"&gt;&lt;blockquote class="twitter-tweet"&gt;&lt;p lang="en" dir="ltr" xml:lang="en" xml:lang="en"&gt;Happening now: More footage from Israel's bombing of Lebanese civilian areas 45 kms from the border. It is clearly visible that these are homes in a residential area. Sidon is under the control of the Lebanese army, which receives financial assistance from the US govt. &lt;a href="https://t.co/ebTde3HvWG"&gt;pic.twitter.com/ebTde3HvWG&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;— Sharmine Narwani (@snarwani) &lt;a href="https://twitter.com/snarwani/status/1759604124058816840?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw"&gt;February 19, 2024&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt; &lt;script async="" src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1286.  
  1287. &lt;p&gt;Since October, most of the fighting between Hezbollah and Israel has been confined to the area along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon, roughly 20 miles away from Sidon.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;div class="block-adsense block-adsense-managed-ad-block"&gt;&lt;div&gt;
  1288.  &lt;div class="adsense responsive"&gt;
  1289.    &lt;script async="" src="https://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js?client=ca-pub-6114695881218027" crossorigin="anonymous"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;&lt;!-- responsive --&gt;&lt;ins class="adsbygoogle mee-auto-ad-wrapper " style="display:block" data-ad-client="ca-pub-6114695881218027" data-ad-slot="8690493793" data-ad-format="horizontal" data-full-width-responsive="true"&gt;&lt;/ins&gt;
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  1294.  
  1295. //]]&gt;
  1296. &lt;/script&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1297. &lt;/div&gt;
  1298. &lt;/div&gt;
  1299.  
  1300. &lt;p&gt;Monday’s strike on Ghaziyeh, which is home to a large fuel refinery and lies just five kilometres from Sidon city centre, underscored how fighting can quickly escalate.&lt;/p&gt;
  1301.  
  1302. &lt;h3&gt;Sidon and Palestinian resistance&lt;/h3&gt;
  1303.  
  1304. &lt;p&gt;While the strikes mark an escalation in the border war between Hezbollah and Israel, this is not the first time the area has been targeted.&lt;/p&gt;
  1305.  
  1306. &lt;p&gt;Southern Lebanon is a stronghold of Hezbollah, and Amal, the other main Shia political party in Lebanon.&lt;/p&gt;
  1307.  
  1308. &lt;p&gt;Since the 1960s, the region has been home to an array of Palestinian armed groups.&lt;/p&gt;
  1309.  
  1310. &lt;p&gt;Israel bombed Ghaziyeh during the 2006 war, killing 26 civilians. In 2018, Israel was believed to be behind a botched car bombing that targeted Hamas official Mohamed Hamdan in Sidon.&lt;/p&gt;
  1311.  
  1312. &lt;p&gt;Shortly before the war in Gaza erupted, the Ain el-Hilweh refugee camp near the southern coastal city of Sidon saw bloody clashes between fighters belonging to the &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/opinion/palestine-fatah-ship-sinking-fast-election-held"&gt;Fatah&lt;/a&gt; movement and those from the Shabab al-Muslim (Muslim Youth) coalition.&lt;/p&gt;
  1313.  
  1314. &lt;h3&gt;Israel rewrites rules of engagement&lt;/h3&gt;
  1315.  
  1316. &lt;p&gt;US and European officials have been trying for months to broker an agreement between Israel and Hezbollah to end the fighting.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;div class="block-adsense block-adsense-managed-ad-block"&gt;&lt;div&gt;
  1317.  &lt;div class="adsense responsive"&gt;
  1318.    &lt;script async="" src="https://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js?client=ca-pub-6114695881218027" crossorigin="anonymous"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;&lt;!-- responsive --&gt;&lt;ins class="adsbygoogle mee-auto-ad-wrapper " style="display:block" data-ad-client="ca-pub-6114695881218027" data-ad-slot="8690493793" data-ad-format="horizontal" data-full-width-responsive="true"&gt;&lt;/ins&gt;
  1319. &lt;script&gt;
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  1324. //]]&gt;
  1325. &lt;/script&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1326. &lt;/div&gt;
  1327. &lt;/div&gt;
  1328.  
  1329. &lt;p&gt;But former senior US officials &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/israel-palestine-war-hamas-leaders-killing-beirut-complicates-us-efforts-prevent-spillover-gaza-war"&gt;tell &lt;/a&gt;MEE, having calculated that Hezbollah is unwilling to risk a wider war with Israel, the country is taking the opportunity to re-write the rules of engagement with Hezbollah that have governed past flare-ups between the two.&lt;/p&gt;
  1330.  
  1331. &lt;p&gt;In January, Israel &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/israel-palestine-war-hamas-leaders-killing-beirut-complicates-us-efforts-prevent-spillover-gaza-war"&gt;assassinated&lt;/a&gt; senior Hamas official Saleh al-Arouri in a Hezbollah stronghold in Beirut.&lt;/p&gt;
  1332.  
  1333. &lt;div class="mee-readmore mee-readmore-article-story mee-readmore-type-image align-right"&gt;
  1334.  &lt;a class="mee-readmore-img-link" href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/israel-palestine-war-pressure-mounts-diplomatic-solution-lebanon-israel-border"&gt;&lt;img class="mee-readmore-image" src="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/read_more/public/images-story/israellebanonborder.jpg.webp?itok=yz8g39-h" width="400" height="250" alt="" loading="lazy" typeof="foaf:Image" /&gt;&lt;/a&gt;  &lt;div class="mee-readmore-description"&gt;Israel-Palestine war: Pressure mounts for diplomatic solution on Lebanon-Israel border&lt;/div&gt;
  1335.    &lt;a class="mee-readmore-link" href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/israel-palestine-war-pressure-mounts-diplomatic-solution-lebanon-israel-border"&gt;Read More »&lt;/a&gt;
  1336. &lt;/div&gt;
  1337.  
  1338. &lt;p&gt;Last week, the Israeli military said it killed a Hezbollah commander, his deputy and another fighter, in a strike in the south Lebanon city of Nabatiyeh. &lt;/p&gt;
  1339.  
  1340. &lt;p&gt;But Israel’s strikes have begun to take a deeper toll on civilians. Ten people, including six children, were killed by Israeli strikes on villages across southern Lebanon last week, according to the AFP.&lt;/p&gt;
  1341.  
  1342. &lt;p&gt;On Friday, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah vowed that Israel would pay "with blood" for civilians it killed in Lebanon in recent days, warning the group had missiles that could reach anywhere in Israel. &lt;/p&gt;
  1343.  
  1344. &lt;p&gt;He warned that his Iran-backed movement has "precision-guided missiles that can reach... Eilat" on Israel's Red Sea coast, well beyond the northern towns it usually targets.&lt;/p&gt;
  1345.  
  1346. &lt;p&gt;The latest uptick in violence has caused international alarm, with fears growing of another full-blown war between Israel and Hezbollah like that of 2006.&lt;/p&gt;
  1347.  
  1348. &lt;p&gt;Since October, cross-border exchanges have killed at least 269 people on the Lebanese side, most of them Hezbollah fighters but also including 40 civilians, according to an AFP tally.&lt;/p&gt;
  1349.  
  1350. &lt;p&gt;On the Israeli side, 10 soldiers and six civilians have been killed, according to the Israeli army.&lt;/p&gt;
  1351. &lt;/div&gt;
  1352.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-topic"&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/topics/israel-palestine-war" hreflang="en"&gt;Israel-Palestine war&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1353.            &lt;div class="field field-field-coauthor-location"&gt;
  1354.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  1355.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  1356.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  1357.          &lt;/div&gt;
  1358.              &lt;div class="field field-field-article-location"&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  1359.            &lt;div class="field field-field-comments"&gt;
  1360.              &lt;div&gt;&lt;drupal-render-placeholder callback="Drupal\disqus\Element\Disqus::displayDisqusComments" arguments="0=Lebanon%3A%20Israeli%20air%20strikes%20pummel%20area%20around%20port%20city%20of%20Sidon%20&amp;1=https%3A//www.middleeasteye.net/news/lebanon-israeli-airstrikes-pummel-area-near-port-city-sidon&amp;2=node/344066&amp;3=a%3A0%3A%7B%7D" token="r4pVZxC0ciq5vNBOArBTQ6X7NToKoXfYj7f5xCOeqnM"&gt;&lt;/drupal-render-placeholder&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1361.          &lt;/div&gt;
  1362.              &lt;div class="field field-field-section"&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/all" hreflang="en"&gt;News&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1363.      </description>
  1364.  <pubDate>Mon, 19 Feb 2024 17:22:54 +0000</pubDate>
  1365.    <dc:creator>MEE staff</dc:creator>
  1366.    <guid isPermaLink="false">344066 at https://www.middleeasteye.net</guid>
  1367.    </item>
  1368. <item>
  1369.  <title>War on Gaza: Israel has 'gone too far' in self-defence, says Wes Streeting</title>
  1370.  <link>https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/war-gaza-israel-has-gone-too-far-wes-streeting-says</link>
  1371.  <description>
  1372. &lt;span class="field field-title"&gt;War on Gaza: Israel has 'gone too far' in self-defence, says Wes Streeting&lt;/span&gt;
  1373.            &lt;div class="field field-field-subhead"&gt;The shadow health secretary's comments come after the party leader Keir Starmer called for a 'ceasefire that lasts'&lt;/div&gt;
  1374.      
  1375. &lt;span class="field field-uid"&gt;&lt;a title="View user profile." href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/users/mee-staff" lang="" about="https://www.middleeasteye.net/users/mee-staff" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" xml:lang=""&gt;MEE staff&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/span&gt;
  1376.  
  1377. &lt;span class="field field-created"&gt;&lt;time datetime="2024-02-19T16:17:23+00:00" title="19 February 2024 16:17 GMT"&gt;Mon, 02/19/2024 - 16:17&lt;/time&gt;&lt;/span&gt;
  1378.            &lt;div class="field field-field-main-image"&gt;    &lt;picture&gt;&lt;source srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/wes%20streeting_afp.jpeg.webp?itok=48sEcRPm 1x" type="image/webp" width="1400" height="788"&gt;&lt;/source&gt;&lt;source srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/wes%20streeting_afp.jpeg?itok=48sEcRPm 1x" type="image/jpeg" width="1400" height="788"&gt;&lt;/source&gt;&lt;img loading="lazy" srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/wes%20streeting_afp.jpeg?itok=48sEcRPm 1x" width="1400" height="788" src="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/max_2600x2600/public/images-story/wes%20streeting_afp.jpeg?itok=Df1idYn-" alt="Britain's main opposition Labour Party Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting speaks on the final day of the annual Labour Party conference in Liverpool, northwest England, on 11 October 2023 (Reuters)" typeof="foaf:Image" /&gt;&lt;/picture&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1379.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-cutline"&gt;Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting speaks on the final day of the annual Labour Party conference in Liverpool, northwest England, 11 October 2023 (AFP)&lt;/div&gt;
  1380.                  &lt;div class="field field-body clearfix"&gt;&lt;p style="line-height:1.38"&gt;Labour frontbencher Wes Streeting said on Sunday that &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/countries/israel"&gt;Israel&lt;/a&gt; has gone "beyond reasonable defence" in its assault on Gaza, ahead of a parliamentary vote on a ceasefire which is set to be debated on Wednesday.&lt;/p&gt;
  1381.  
  1382. &lt;p&gt;The shadow health secretary told Sky News that lsrael's ongoing military campaign, which has killed over &lt;a href="https://apnews.com/article/israel-hamas-war-news-02-19-2024-81c2d362340b611a98e4b929b4b5d0a4"&gt;29,000&lt;/a&gt; &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/countries/palestine"&gt;Palestinians&lt;/a&gt; since it began on 7 October, could constitute a breach of international law.&lt;/p&gt;
  1383.  
  1384. &lt;p&gt;While he said that Labour is still "considering" how to respond to a Scottish National Party-led motion calling for an immediate ceasefire, he stated that Israel "had gone too far… we have seen that with a disproportionate loss of civilian life."&lt;/p&gt;
  1385.  
  1386. &lt;p&gt;In &lt;a href="https://x.com/declassifiedUK/status/1759180925550661818?s=20"&gt;an interview with Laura Kuenssberg&lt;/a&gt; on Sunday, Labour Shadow Foreign Secretary David Lammy condemned the Gaza death toll as “abominable”, but when asked if Labour would support the SNP motion, he said he “had not seen the motion”.&lt;/p&gt;
  1387.  
  1388. &lt;p&gt;Streeting’s comments came after Labour leader Keir Starmer called for a “ceasefire that lasts” at &lt;a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCxyRB0XEi4"&gt;the Scottish Labour conference&lt;/a&gt; in Glasgow on Sunday, in an abrupt U-turn on the party's stance on the issue.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;div class="block-adsense block-adsense-managed-ad-block"&gt;&lt;div&gt;
  1389.  &lt;div class="adsense responsive"&gt;
  1390.    &lt;script async="" src="https://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js?client=ca-pub-6114695881218027" crossorigin="anonymous"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;&lt;!-- responsive --&gt;&lt;ins class="adsbygoogle mee-auto-ad-wrapper " style="display:block" data-ad-client="ca-pub-6114695881218027" data-ad-slot="8690493793" data-ad-format="horizontal" data-full-width-responsive="true"&gt;&lt;/ins&gt;
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  1395.  
  1396. //]]&gt;
  1397. &lt;/script&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1398. &lt;/div&gt;
  1399. &lt;/div&gt;
  1400.  
  1401. &lt;p&gt;The party leader has &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/opinion/israel-palestine-war-labour-starmer-gaza-betrayal-leader-failing-shows"&gt;repeatedly refused to call &lt;/a&gt;for a permanent ceasefire, only recognising the need for a "&lt;a href="https://labour.org.uk/updates/press-releases/keir-starmer-statement-on-un-security-council-approving-a-resolution-on-gaza/"&gt;sustainable ceasefire&lt;/a&gt;" in December.&lt;/p&gt;
  1402.  
  1403. &lt;p&gt;In January, Starmer &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/keir-starmer-dumps-party-policy-recognise-palestinian-statehood"&gt;officially dropped&lt;/a&gt; the Labour Party's promise to recognise &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/countries/palestine"&gt;Palestine&lt;/a&gt; as a state unilaterally.&lt;/p&gt;
  1404.  
  1405. &lt;p&gt;Since 7 October, Labour Party branches have been banned from discussing the conflict and elected representatives "strongly advised" not to attend pro-Palestine demonstrations, &lt;a href="https://tribunemag.co.uk/2023/10/labour-just-lost-control-of-oxford-city-council-over-starmers-comments-on-gaza"&gt;according to eight Labour councillors &lt;/a&gt;in Oxford.&lt;/p&gt;
  1406.  
  1407. &lt;p&gt;Dozens of the party's elected councillors have quit the party in protest over the refusal of the leadership to support a ceasefire. &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/israel-palestine-war-dozens-labour-mps-defy-starmer-back-ceasefire-calls"&gt;Some 56 Labour MPs&lt;/a&gt; broke with the leadership to support a ceasefire in a House of Commons vote in November.&lt;/p&gt;
  1408.  
  1409. &lt;p&gt;The abrupt shift in party stance comes as a &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/war-gaza-apartheid-campaigner-andrew-feinstein-challenge-starmer-upcoming-election"&gt;wave of independent candidates&lt;/a&gt; are running against Labour MPs who failed to vote for a ceasefire in a parliamentary vote in November.&lt;/p&gt;
  1410.  
  1411. &lt;p&gt;British &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/countries/palestine"&gt;Palestinian&lt;/a&gt;, Leanne Mohamad, is &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/uk-british-palestinian-candidate-wes-streeting"&gt;set to challenge&lt;/a&gt; Streeting for his seat in Redbridge, while former Nelson Mandela adviser, Andrew Feinstein, is preparing to contest Starmer’s Holborn and St Pancras constituency.&lt;/p&gt;
  1412.  
  1413. &lt;p&gt;According to polling commissioned by the &lt;a href="https://www.labourmuslims.org/post/exclusive-survation-poll-of-british-muslim-voters"&gt;Labour Muslim Network&lt;/a&gt; (LMN), 60 percent of Muslims surveyed nationally would vote for Labour, down from 86 percent in 2021.&lt;/p&gt;
  1414.  
  1415. &lt;p&gt;In another interview with Times Radio, Streeting said that Labour had “taken a lot of criticism within the Muslim community… but also more broadly”.&lt;/p&gt;
  1416. &lt;/div&gt;
  1417.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-topic"&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/topics/israel-palestine-war" hreflang="en"&gt;Israel-Palestine war&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1418.            &lt;div class="field field-field-coauthor-location"&gt;
  1419.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  1420.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  1421.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  1422.          &lt;/div&gt;
  1423.              &lt;div class="field field-field-article-location"&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  1424.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-landing-title"&gt;Israel has gone 'beyond reasonable self-defence in Gaza, says Labour's Streeting&lt;/div&gt;
  1425.            &lt;div class="field field-field-comments"&gt;
  1426.              &lt;div&gt;&lt;drupal-render-placeholder callback="Drupal\disqus\Element\Disqus::displayDisqusComments" arguments="0=War%20on%20Gaza%3A%20Israel%20has%20%27gone%20too%20far%27%20in%20self-defence%2C%20says%20Wes%20Streeting&amp;1=https%3A//www.middleeasteye.net/news/war-gaza-israel-has-gone-too-far-wes-streeting-says&amp;2=node/344056&amp;3=a%3A0%3A%7B%7D" token="WPqBDE4bid5ZSGkEDsGd8oSfH2whQ6s7-Xzn9tZvAp4"&gt;&lt;/drupal-render-placeholder&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1427.          &lt;/div&gt;
  1428.              &lt;div class="field field-field-section"&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/all" hreflang="en"&gt;News&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1429.      </description>
  1430.  <pubDate>Mon, 19 Feb 2024 16:17:23 +0000</pubDate>
  1431.    <dc:creator>MEE staff</dc:creator>
  1432.    <guid isPermaLink="false">344056 at https://www.middleeasteye.net</guid>
  1433.    </item>
  1434. <item>
  1435.  <title>Palestinian women and girls raped and sexually assaulted in Israeli detention, UN experts say</title>
  1436.  <link>https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/war-gaza-un-experts-appalled-reports-rape-and-sexual-assault-palestinian-women-and-girls</link>
  1437.  <description>
  1438. &lt;span class="field field-title"&gt;Palestinian women and girls raped and sexually assaulted in Israeli detention, UN experts say&lt;/span&gt;
  1439.            &lt;div class="field field-field-subhead"&gt;The rapporteurs also condemned incidents of 'arbitrary executions' of women and children during Israel's war on Gaza&lt;/div&gt;
  1440.      
  1441. &lt;span class="field field-uid"&gt;&lt;a title="View user profile." href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/users/katherine-hearst" lang="" about="https://www.middleeasteye.net/users/katherine-hearst" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" xml:lang=""&gt;Katherine Hearst&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/span&gt;
  1442.  
  1443. &lt;span class="field field-created"&gt;&lt;time datetime="2024-02-19T14:54:09+00:00" title="19 February 2024 14:54 GMT"&gt;Mon, 02/19/2024 - 14:54&lt;/time&gt;&lt;/span&gt;
  1444.            &lt;div class="field field-field-main-image"&gt;    &lt;picture&gt;&lt;source srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/palestine-women-gaza-rubble-oct-2024-rafah-afp.jpg.webp?itok=xJ69HP9O 1x" type="image/webp" width="1400" height="788"&gt;&lt;/source&gt;&lt;source srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/palestine-women-gaza-rubble-oct-2024-rafah-afp.jpg?itok=xJ69HP9O 1x" type="image/jpeg" width="1400" height="788"&gt;&lt;/source&gt;&lt;img loading="lazy" srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/palestine-women-gaza-rubble-oct-2024-rafah-afp.jpg?itok=xJ69HP9O 1x" width="1400" height="788" src="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/max_2600x2600/public/images-story/palestine-women-gaza-rubble-oct-2024-rafah-afp.jpg?itok=_9z9EJA3" alt="Women walk past a destroyed building in the aftermath of Israeli bombing in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on 28 October 2023 (AFP)" typeof="foaf:Image" /&gt;&lt;/picture&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1445.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-cutline"&gt;Women walk past a destroyed building in the aftermath of Israeli bombing in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on 28 October 2023 (AFP)&lt;/div&gt;
  1446.                  &lt;div class="field field-body clearfix"&gt;&lt;p style="line-height:1.38"&gt;UN experts on Monday decried reports of rape and sexual assault of &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/countries/palestine"&gt;Palestinian&lt;/a&gt; women and girls held in &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/countries/israel"&gt;Israeli&lt;/a&gt; detention.&lt;/p&gt;
  1447.  
  1448. &lt;p&gt;The independent experts, part of the UN’s fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms of the Human Rights Council, confirmed in a &lt;a href="https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2024/02/israelopt-un-experts-appalled-reported-human-rights-violations-against"&gt;statement&lt;/a&gt; receiving reports of Palestinian female detainees being subjected to “multiple forms of sexual assault,” with at least two detainees reportedly raped, while others were allegedly threatened with rape and sexual violence. &lt;/p&gt;
  1449.  
  1450. &lt;p&gt;They also described women being strip-searched by male Israeli officers and noted the circulation of degrading images of detainees online by Israeli soldiers.&lt;/p&gt;
  1451.  
  1452. &lt;p&gt;The statement also cited at least one report of a woman allegedly being held in a cage in the wind and rain.&lt;/p&gt;
  1453.  
  1454. &lt;p&gt;According to the statement, “hundreds” of Palestinian women and girls have been arbitrarily detained since 7 October and subjected to “inhumane and degrading treatment,” including sexual assault, beatings, and the denial of food, medicine and period products.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;div class="block-adsense block-adsense-managed-ad-block"&gt;&lt;div&gt;
  1455.  &lt;div class="adsense responsive"&gt;
  1456.    &lt;script async="" src="https://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js?client=ca-pub-6114695881218027" crossorigin="anonymous"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;&lt;!-- responsive --&gt;&lt;ins class="adsbygoogle mee-auto-ad-wrapper " style="display:block" data-ad-client="ca-pub-6114695881218027" data-ad-slot="8690493793" data-ad-format="horizontal" data-full-width-responsive="true"&gt;&lt;/ins&gt;
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  1461.  
  1462. //]]&gt;
  1463. &lt;/script&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1464. &lt;/div&gt;
  1465. &lt;/div&gt;
  1466.  
  1467. &lt;p&gt;The experts also expressed “shock” over reports of arbitrary executions of Palestinian women and children who were taking shelter or fleeing Israeli aggression.&lt;/p&gt;
  1468.  
  1469. &lt;p&gt;“Some of them were reportedly holding white pieces of cloth when they were killed by the Israeli army or affiliated forces,” the experts said.&lt;/p&gt;
  1470.  
  1471. &lt;blockquote&gt;
  1472. &lt;p&gt;'Those responsible for these apparent crimes must be held accountable and victims and their families are entitled to full redress and justice'&lt;/p&gt;
  1473.  
  1474. &lt;p&gt;- &lt;em&gt;UN panel of experts&lt;/em&gt;&lt;/p&gt;
  1475. &lt;/blockquote&gt;
  1476.  
  1477. &lt;p&gt;In January, a &lt;a href="https://twitter.com/MiddleEastEye/status/1744351540435935525?s=20"&gt;video published by Middle East Eye &lt;/a&gt;revealed Hala Rashid Abd al-Ati being shot dead while her grandson was waving a white flag as they attempted to flee from Gaza City.&lt;/p&gt;
  1478.  
  1479. &lt;p&gt;The statement stressed that an unknown number of Palestinian women and children have reportedly gone missing after contact with the Israeli military. &lt;/p&gt;
  1480.  
  1481. &lt;p&gt;The experts added that they had received “disturbing reports of at least one female infant forcibly transferred by the Israeli army into Israel, and of children being separated from their parents, whose whereabouts remain unknown”.&lt;/p&gt;
  1482.  
  1483. &lt;p&gt;Israel rejected the allegations as "despicable and unfounded."&lt;/p&gt;
  1484.  
  1485. &lt;p&gt;"It is clear that the co-signatories are motivated not by the truth but by their hatred for Israel and its people," the Israeli authorities said in a &lt;a href="It is clear that the co-signatories are motivated not by the truth but by their hatred for Israel and its people."&gt;statement&lt;/a&gt;.&lt;/p&gt;
  1486.  
  1487. &lt;h3&gt;Codification of a trend&lt;/h3&gt;
  1488.  
  1489. &lt;p&gt;The experts called for an independent investigation into the allegations which they said “amount to serious crimes under international criminal law that could be prosecuted under the Rome Statute.”&lt;/p&gt;
  1490.  
  1491. &lt;p&gt;“Those responsible for these apparent crimes must be held accountable and victims and their families are entitled to full redress and justice,” they added.&lt;/p&gt;
  1492.  
  1493. &lt;p&gt;In December, the Palestinian Authority's Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/israel-palestine-war-army-arbitrarily-detains-women-girls-gaza"&gt;confirmed &lt;/a&gt;at least 142 females - including senior women and infants - are currently held in Israeli jails. &lt;/p&gt;
  1494.  
  1495. &lt;div class="mee-readmore mee-readmore-article-story mee-readmore-type-image align-right"&gt;
  1496.  &lt;a class="mee-readmore-img-link" href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/war-gaza-eight-year-old-starves-death-gaza-city"&gt;&lt;img class="mee-readmore-image" src="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/read_more/public/images-story/northern%20gaza_starvation_reuters%281%29.jpg.webp?itok=xNxOYSCN" width="400" height="250" alt="" loading="lazy" typeof="foaf:Image" /&gt;&lt;/a&gt;  &lt;div class="mee-readmore-description"&gt;War on Gaza: Palestinian child starves to death in Gaza City&lt;/div&gt;
  1497.    &lt;a class="mee-readmore-link" href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/war-gaza-eight-year-old-starves-death-gaza-city"&gt;Read More »&lt;/a&gt;
  1498. &lt;/div&gt;
  1499.  
  1500. &lt;p&gt;In a joint statement with the&lt;a href="https://www.facebook.com/freedom2pal"&gt; Palestinian Prisoners' Club,&lt;/a&gt; the commission warned that "horrific crimes" have been carried out against the female prisoners. &lt;/p&gt;
  1501.  
  1502. &lt;p&gt;Women and girls constitute &lt;a href="https://www.unwomen.org/en/news-stories/feature-story/2024/01/scared-exhausted-and-expecting-the-worst-women-in-gaza-describe-humanitarian-crisis"&gt;70 percent of deaths &lt;/a&gt;in Gaza since 7 October, whereas, in the period from 2008 to 7 October 2023, women and girls represented less than 14 percent of the 6,542 Palestinian deaths documented by the UN.&lt;/p&gt;
  1503.  
  1504. &lt;p&gt;“The sanctioned slaughter of tens of thousands of civilians in Gaza, of whom &lt;a href="https://www.care-international.org/news/70-those-killed-gaza-are-women-and-children-care-warns-un-security-council"&gt;70 percent&lt;/a&gt; are women and children, cannot be seen as anything but the codification of a trend that has been a long time coming: our official entry into a space and time that has no due consideration for the lives, dignity and humanity of women and children. Period,” Reem Alsalem, the &lt;a href="https://www.ohchr.org/en/special-procedures/sr-violence-against-women"&gt;special rapporteur on violence against women and girls&lt;/a&gt; &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/opinion/war-gaza-israels-killing-women-and-children-bodes-ill-world"&gt;wrote &lt;/a&gt;for Middle East Eye in January.&lt;/p&gt;
  1505.  
  1506. &lt;p&gt;The Hamas-led attack on southern Israel on 7 October killed 1,139 people, most of them civilians. Approximately 240 people were taken back to Gaza as captives.&lt;/p&gt;
  1507.  
  1508. &lt;p&gt;Israel's subsequent attack on Gaza has killed nearly 30,000 Palestinians, most of them women and children, and destroyed most of the enclave's civilian infrastructure and homes. &lt;/p&gt;
  1509.  
  1510. &lt;p&gt;Israel's ferocious bombardment of civilian targets has prompted South Africa to bring a case before the International Court of Justice accusing Israel of committing genocide against the Palestinian people in Gaza.&lt;/p&gt;
  1511.  
  1512. &lt;p&gt;The court on 26 January declared &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/israel-south-africa-icj-provisional-ruling-read-gaza-genocide"&gt;provisional measures&lt;/a&gt; that require Israel to prevent and punish genocidal acts and incitement. &lt;/p&gt;
  1513.  
  1514. &lt;p&gt;&lt;em&gt;This article is available in French on &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/fr/actu-et-enquetes/detenues-par-israel-des-femmes-et-des-filles-palestiniennes-sont-victimes-de-viols"&gt;Middle East Eye French edition&lt;/a&gt;.&lt;/em&gt;&lt;/p&gt;
  1515. &lt;/div&gt;
  1516.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-topic"&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/topics/israel-palestine-war" hreflang="en"&gt;Israel-Palestine war&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1517.            &lt;div class="field field-field-coauthor-location"&gt;
  1518.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  1519.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  1520.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  1521.          &lt;/div&gt;
  1522.              &lt;div class="field field-field-article-location"&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  1523.            &lt;div class="field field-field-comments"&gt;
  1524.              &lt;div&gt;&lt;drupal-render-placeholder callback="Drupal\disqus\Element\Disqus::displayDisqusComments" arguments="0=Palestinian%20women%20and%20girls%20raped%20and%20sexually%20assaulted%20in%20Israeli%20detention%2C%20UN%20experts%20say&amp;1=https%3A//www.middleeasteye.net/news/war-gaza-un-experts-appalled-reports-rape-and-sexual-assault-palestinian-women-and-girls&amp;2=node/344026&amp;3=a%3A0%3A%7B%7D" token="aIQpDJGbJzqUqpuCBMaM_r5E8kCYktkL96uIHCe3OBk"&gt;&lt;/drupal-render-placeholder&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1525.          &lt;/div&gt;
  1526.              &lt;div class="field field-field-section"&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/all" hreflang="en"&gt;News&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1527.      </description>
  1528.  <pubDate>Mon, 19 Feb 2024 14:54:09 +0000</pubDate>
  1529.    <dc:creator>Katherine Hearst</dc:creator>
  1530.    <guid isPermaLink="false">344026 at https://www.middleeasteye.net</guid>
  1531.    </item>
  1532. <item>
  1533.  <title>Israel seeks to 'provoke' Palestinians by limiting Al-Aqsa entry during Ramadan</title>
  1534.  <link>https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/israel-provoke-palestinians-limit-entry-al-aqsa-ramadan</link>
  1535.  <description>
  1536. &lt;span class="field field-title"&gt;Israel seeks to 'provoke' Palestinians by limiting Al-Aqsa entry during Ramadan&lt;/span&gt;
  1537.            &lt;div class="field field-field-subhead"&gt;Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's decision to restrict Muslims from sacred mosque is aimed at prolonging conflict and changing status quo, Palestinians say&lt;/div&gt;
  1538.      
  1539. &lt;span class="field field-uid"&gt;&lt;a title="View user profile." href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/users/lubna-masarwa" lang="" about="https://www.middleeasteye.net/users/lubna-masarwa" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" xml:lang=""&gt;Lubna Masarwa&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/span&gt;
  1540.  
  1541. &lt;span class="field field-created"&gt;&lt;time datetime="2024-02-19T11:20:41+00:00" title="19 February 2024 11:20 GMT"&gt;Mon, 02/19/2024 - 11:20&lt;/time&gt;&lt;/span&gt;
  1542.            &lt;div class="field field-field-main-image"&gt;    &lt;picture&gt;&lt;source srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/al-aqsa-dome-of-rock-jerusalem-february-2024-ahmad-gharabli-afp.jpg.webp?itok=QTmstomY 1x" type="image/webp" width="1400" height="788"&gt;&lt;/source&gt;&lt;source srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/al-aqsa-dome-of-rock-jerusalem-february-2024-ahmad-gharabli-afp.jpg?itok=QTmstomY 1x" type="image/jpeg" width="1400" height="788"&gt;&lt;/source&gt;&lt;img loading="lazy" srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/al-aqsa-dome-of-rock-jerusalem-february-2024-ahmad-gharabli-afp.jpg?itok=QTmstomY 1x" width="1400" height="788" src="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/max_2600x2600/public/images-story/al-aqsa-dome-of-rock-jerusalem-february-2024-ahmad-gharabli-afp.jpg?itok=xgVoK31r" alt="A picture shows a view of the al-Aqsa mosque compound, including the Dome of the Rock, in occupied East Jerusalem on 19 February 2024 (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)" typeof="foaf:Image" /&gt;&lt;/picture&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1543.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-cutline"&gt;A view of the al-Aqsa mosque compound, including the Dome of the Rock, in occupied East Jerusalem, 19 February 2024 (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)&lt;/div&gt;
  1544.                  &lt;div class="field field-body clearfix"&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/countries/israel"&gt;Israel&lt;/a&gt;'s plans to restrict &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/countries/palestine"&gt;Palestinian&lt;/a&gt; Muslim worshippers access to al-Aqsa Mosque during the holy month of Ramadan is aimed at provoking the global Muslim community and prolonging Israel's military operations in Gaza, Palestinian political and religious figures have told Middle East Eye. &lt;/p&gt;
  1545.  
  1546. &lt;p&gt;A proposal put forward by Itamar Ben Gvir, Israel's far-right national security minister, to limit the entry of Palestinian citizens of Israel into the mosque was accepted by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a meeting with senior officials on Sunday, according to a Haaretz &lt;a href="https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/2024-02-18/ty-article/.premium/netanyahu-backs-far-right-demand-to-limit-arab-israeli-worshipers-at-al-aqsa-in-ramadan/0000018d-bd60-dc8c-a3df-ff75cc820000"&gt;report&lt;/a&gt;. &lt;/p&gt;
  1547.  
  1548. &lt;p&gt;The limitations will be based on criteria such as age and gender, the details of which are to be decided in the coming days. &lt;/p&gt;
  1549.  
  1550. &lt;p&gt;Ben Gvir reportedly &lt;a href="https://www.jpost.com/israel-news/article-787704"&gt;recommended&lt;/a&gt; that only Palestinian citizens of Israel above the age of 70 should be allowed into the mosque during Ramadan, while Israeli police recommended entry for those aged over 45.&lt;/p&gt;
  1551.  
  1552. &lt;p&gt;The Shin Bet security agency &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/israeli-police-and-shin-bet-disagree-al-aqsa-restrictions-over-ramadan"&gt;opposed&lt;/a&gt; the decision and instead favoured unrestricted access for Palestinian citizens of Israel, a source at the meeting told Haaretz. &lt;/p&gt;&lt;div class="block-adsense block-adsense-managed-ad-block"&gt;&lt;div&gt;
  1553.  &lt;div class="adsense responsive"&gt;
  1554.    &lt;script async="" src="https://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js?client=ca-pub-6114695881218027" crossorigin="anonymous"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;&lt;!-- responsive --&gt;&lt;ins class="adsbygoogle mee-auto-ad-wrapper " style="display:block" data-ad-client="ca-pub-6114695881218027" data-ad-slot="8690493793" data-ad-format="horizontal" data-full-width-responsive="true"&gt;&lt;/ins&gt;
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  1561. &lt;/script&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1562. &lt;/div&gt;
  1563. &lt;/div&gt;
  1564.  
  1565. &lt;p&gt;Ben Gvir also proposed a complete ban on Palestinians from the occupied West Bank worshipping at al-Aqsa during the month. No decision was made on those from the West Bank. &lt;/p&gt;
  1566.  
  1567. &lt;p&gt;The far-right minister additionally proposed allowing Israeli police to raid al-Aqsa if Palestinian flags are waved or if worshippers "support terrorism", but the idea was rejected at Sunday's meeting. &lt;/p&gt;
  1568.  
  1569. &lt;div class="url-embed-wrapper"&gt;&lt;blockquote class="twitter-tweet"&gt;&lt;p lang="en" dir="ltr" xml:lang="en" xml:lang="en"&gt;The decision in principle of the State of Israel throughout the years, and this year as well, is to enable the freedom of worship during Ramadan and the Muslim prayer on the Temple Mount.&lt;br /&gt;&lt;br /&gt;Considering the sensitivity around the security situation, restrictions will be put in…&lt;/p&gt;— בני גנץ - Benny Gantz (@gantzbe) &lt;a href="https://twitter.com/gantzbe/status/1759290679094616549?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw"&gt;February 18, 2024&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt; &lt;script async="" src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1570.  
  1571. &lt;p&gt;Sami Abu Shehadeh, a former member of Israel's parliament, told Middle East Eye: "The first crime in my opinion is the linkage given to the month of Ramadan, that is a month of worshipping and fasting, with violence." &lt;/p&gt;
  1572.  
  1573. &lt;p&gt;Abu Shehadeh, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, is the leader of the Balad party and was elected to parliament as part of the Joint Arab List bloc between 2019 and 2022. &lt;/p&gt;
  1574.  
  1575. &lt;p&gt;"We have a historical experience of more than 1,400 years that did not involve any violence during Ramadan, but what changed?" he asked. &lt;/p&gt;
  1576.  
  1577. &lt;p&gt;"What changed is the existence of this fascist right-wing government and its policies. Their attacks on worshippers and the people during this blessed month is what creates a nervous atmosphere." &lt;/p&gt;
  1578.  
  1579. &lt;p&gt;Ramadan is due to begin on 10 March and will last either 29 or 30 days. &lt;/p&gt;
  1580.  
  1581. &lt;p&gt;"Over the last few years, restrictions definitely happened," Sheikh Kamal al-Khatib, a prominent Palestinian religious figure in Israel, told MEE, citing the cutting off of loudspeakers and the closing of communal areas such as &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/discover/palestine-israel-jerusalem-damascus-gate-significance"&gt;Damascus Gate&lt;/a&gt;.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;div class="block-adsense block-adsense-managed-ad-block"&gt;&lt;div&gt;
  1582.  &lt;div class="adsense responsive"&gt;
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  1584. &lt;script&gt;
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  1589. //]]&gt;
  1590. &lt;/script&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1591. &lt;/div&gt;
  1592. &lt;/div&gt;
  1593.  
  1594. &lt;p&gt;"But for the situation to reach the announcement of a decision [limiting entry to al-Aqsa] a month prior to Ramadan, that of course represents a blatant religious war declared and conducted by Netanyahu’s government."&lt;/p&gt;
  1595.  
  1596. &lt;blockquote&gt;
  1597. &lt;p&gt;'It is a war on two billion Muslims, through targeting the third holiest mosque'&lt;/p&gt;
  1598.  
  1599. &lt;p&gt;&lt;em&gt;- Kamal al-Khatib, religious leader&lt;/em&gt;&lt;/p&gt;
  1600. &lt;/blockquote&gt;
  1601.  
  1602. &lt;p&gt;During the holy month last year, Israeli forces used stun grenades and fired tear gas on worshippers at the mosque, before arresting hundreds of people. &lt;/p&gt;
  1603.  
  1604. &lt;p&gt;And in May 2021, hundreds of Palestinians were injured after Israeli forces stormed the compound and attacked worshippers during Ramadan with tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets and stun grenades. &lt;/p&gt;
  1605.  
  1606. &lt;p&gt;The raids, as well as Israeli incursions in the occupied East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, sparked a major Israeli assault on the besieged Gaza Strip. At least 256 Palestinians were killed in Gaza, including 66 children.&lt;/p&gt;
  1607.  
  1608. &lt;p&gt;Khatib said that Israeli security services have long warned that restrictions on access to al-Aqsa would be dangerous for Israel's security and its relationship with Arab countries in the region.&lt;/p&gt;
  1609.  
  1610. &lt;p&gt;Last year's violent Israeli crackdown at the mosque was &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/israel-attacks-al-aqsa-worshippers-arab-countries-condemn"&gt;strongly condemned&lt;/a&gt; by Arab countries, including &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/countries/saudi-arabia"&gt;Saudi Arabia&lt;/a&gt; and &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/countries/egypt"&gt;Egypt&lt;/a&gt;. &lt;/p&gt;
  1611.  
  1612. &lt;h3&gt;'Two birds with one stone'&lt;/h3&gt;
  1613.  
  1614. &lt;p&gt;Abu Shehadeh said Netanyahu and Ben Gvir had an "interest in igniting the atmosphere". &lt;/p&gt;
  1615.  
  1616. &lt;p&gt;"They work, consciously, on provoking the people, the worshippers and the Muslims in Jerusalem, inside of Israel, in the West Bank and the world," he added. &lt;/p&gt;
  1617.  
  1618. &lt;p&gt;"Because the continuation of the war and the continuation of this state of violence serves Netanyahu’s interest to stay in power." &lt;/p&gt;
  1619.  
  1620. &lt;p&gt;Khatib held a similar view, stating that restrictions would "hit two birds with one stone". &lt;/p&gt;
  1621.  
  1622. &lt;p&gt;"As long as there is conflict and things are escalating, no elections will be held, therefore there will be no trial for Netanyahu, as so many Israelis are demanding these days," he said, referring to a string of &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/israel-opposition-leader-testifies-netanyahu-corruption-trial"&gt;corruption allegations&lt;/a&gt; against the prime minister. &lt;/p&gt;
  1623.  
  1624. &lt;p&gt;"The second bird is, if the government manages to execute this decision, there is no doubt that it will be an advanced step towards imposing the temporal and spatial partition in Al Aqsa mosque," Khatib added. &lt;/p&gt;
  1625.  
  1626. &lt;p&gt;&lt;iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture; web-share" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="695" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/17YCEEMS3Ak" title="The history of al-Aqsa Mosque" width="1236"&gt;&lt;/iframe&gt;&lt;/p&gt;
  1627.  
  1628. &lt;p&gt;Al-Aqsa Mosque is an Islamic site where unsolicited visits, prayers and rituals by non-Muslims are forbidden, according to decades-long international agreements. &lt;/p&gt;
  1629.  
  1630. &lt;p&gt;But Israeli settler groups, in coordination with authorities, have long violated the delicate arrangement and facilitate raids of the site, and performed prayers and religious rituals.&lt;/p&gt;
  1631.  
  1632. &lt;p&gt;Palestinians have described the development as "Judaisation" of the mosque. They fear that restrictions on their entry to the site is laying the groundwork for the mosque to be divided between Muslims and Jews, similar to how the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron was divided in the 1990s.&lt;/p&gt;
  1633.  
  1634. &lt;p&gt;"The decision to prevent Muslims from entering Al-Aqsa Mosque is invalid and conflicts with freedom of worship," Ekrima Sabri, the former Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, said on Monday. &lt;/p&gt;
  1635.  
  1636. &lt;p&gt;Khatib believes that Israeli actions related to al-Aqsa did not just target millions of Palestinians and Arabs. &lt;/p&gt;
  1637.  
  1638. &lt;p&gt;"It is a war on two billion Muslims, through targeting the third holiest mosque [in the world]," he said. &lt;/p&gt;
  1639. &lt;/div&gt;
  1640.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-topic"&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/topics/israel-palestine-war" hreflang="en"&gt;Israel-Palestine war&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1641.            &lt;div class="field field-field-coauthor"&gt;
  1642.              &lt;div&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/users/rayhan-uddin" hreflang="en"&gt;Rayhan Uddin&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1643.          &lt;/div&gt;
  1644.        &lt;div class="field field-field-coauthor-location"&gt;
  1645.              &lt;div&gt; London&lt;/div&gt;
  1646.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  1647.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  1648.          &lt;/div&gt;
  1649.              &lt;div class="field field-field-article-location"&gt;Jerusalem&lt;/div&gt;
  1650.            &lt;div class="field field-field-comments"&gt;
  1651.              &lt;div&gt;&lt;drupal-render-placeholder callback="Drupal\disqus\Element\Disqus::displayDisqusComments" arguments="0=Israel%20seeks%20to%20%27provoke%27%20Palestinians%20by%20limiting%20Al-Aqsa%20entry%20during%20Ramadan&amp;1=https%3A//www.middleeasteye.net/news/israel-provoke-palestinians-limit-entry-al-aqsa-ramadan&amp;2=node/343961&amp;3=a%3A0%3A%7B%7D" token="p1btNMbwMHxCXnkZ4Mmh91SYIqVrFQq5JNSKnGd2U-U"&gt;&lt;/drupal-render-placeholder&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1652.          &lt;/div&gt;
  1653.              &lt;div class="field field-field-section"&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/all" hreflang="en"&gt;News&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1654.      </description>
  1655.  <pubDate>Mon, 19 Feb 2024 11:20:41 +0000</pubDate>
  1656.    <dc:creator>Lubna Masarwa</dc:creator>
  1657.    <guid isPermaLink="false">343961 at https://www.middleeasteye.net</guid>
  1658.    </item>
  1659. <item>
  1660.  <title>Explained: ICJ begins historic hearings on Israel's occupation of Palestine</title>
  1661.  <link>https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/icj-hearing-israel-occupation-palestine-advisory-opinion</link>
  1662.  <description>
  1663. &lt;span class="field field-title"&gt;Explained: ICJ begins historic hearings on Israel's occupation of Palestine&lt;/span&gt;
  1664.            &lt;div class="field field-field-subhead"&gt;The World Court is hearing contributions from 52 countries on Israel's decades-long occupation of Palestinian land after a UN General Assembly resolution requesting an ICJ advisory opinion&lt;/div&gt;
  1665.      
  1666. &lt;span class="field field-uid"&gt;&lt;a title="View user profile." href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/users/mee-staff" lang="" about="https://www.middleeasteye.net/users/mee-staff" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" xml:lang=""&gt;MEE staff&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/span&gt;
  1667.  
  1668. &lt;span class="field field-created"&gt;&lt;time datetime="2024-02-19T10:41:48+00:00" title="19 February 2024 10:41 GMT"&gt;Mon, 02/19/2024 - 10:41&lt;/time&gt;&lt;/span&gt;
  1669.            &lt;div class="field field-field-main-image"&gt;    &lt;picture&gt;&lt;source srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/ICJ_PALESTINE_2024_AFP.jpg.webp?itok=2elpdqUK 1x" type="image/webp" width="1400" height="915"&gt;&lt;/source&gt;&lt;source srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/ICJ_PALESTINE_2024_AFP.jpg?itok=2elpdqUK 1x" type="image/jpeg" width="1400" height="915"&gt;&lt;/source&gt;&lt;img loading="lazy" srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/ICJ_PALESTINE_2024_AFP.jpg?itok=2elpdqUK 1x" width="1400" height="915" src="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/max_2600x2600/public/images-story/ICJ_PALESTINE_2024_AFP.jpg?itok=en8xpaoy" alt="Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Palestinian Authority Riyad al-Maliki (R) stands with colleagues at the start of a hearing at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the legal consequences of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories, in The Hague on 19 February 2024 (Robin van Lonkhuijsen/ANP/AFP)" typeof="foaf:Image" /&gt;&lt;/picture&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1670.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-cutline"&gt;Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Palestinian Authority Riyad al-Maliki (R) stands with colleagues at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, 19 February 2024 (Robin van Lonkhuijsen/ANP/AFP)&lt;/div&gt;
  1671.                  &lt;div class="field field-body clearfix"&gt;&lt;p&gt;The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague began hearing submissions on Monday on the &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/countries/israel"&gt;Israeli &lt;/a&gt;occupation of &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/countries/palestine"&gt;Palestinian &lt;/a&gt;lands. &lt;/p&gt;
  1672.  
  1673. &lt;p&gt;Separate to the more well-publicised &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/topics/israel-icj-case"&gt;genocide case&lt;/a&gt; brought by South Africa on Israel's attack on the Gaza Strip, the UN's highest court will hear from 52 countries and three international organisations on the legal consequences of Israel’s decades-long occupation. The hearings will contribute to an advisory opinion, an ICJ instrument that has no binding force but carries significant legal and moral authority.  &lt;/p&gt;
  1674.  
  1675. &lt;p&gt;The number of states participating in the oral proceedings is the highest in any case since the ICJ's establishment in 1945.&lt;/p&gt;
  1676.  
  1677. &lt;p&gt;Israel has been occupying what is recognised under international law as Palestinian land since the 1967 war. East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza all fall under this category, and the separate legal systems, construction of settlements and acts of violence meted out against Palestinian residents are all key factors that will be considered in the hearings.&lt;/p&gt;
  1678.  
  1679. &lt;p&gt;The current case goes back to December 2022 when the UN General Assembly passed a resolution calling on the ICJ to give an advisory opinion on Israel’s 57-year occupation of Palestinian territories.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;div class="block-adsense block-adsense-managed-ad-block"&gt;&lt;div&gt;
  1680.  &lt;div class="adsense responsive"&gt;
  1681.    &lt;script async="" src="https://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js?client=ca-pub-6114695881218027" crossorigin="anonymous"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;&lt;!-- responsive --&gt;&lt;ins class="adsbygoogle mee-auto-ad-wrapper " style="display:block" data-ad-client="ca-pub-6114695881218027" data-ad-slot="8690493793" data-ad-format="horizontal" data-full-width-responsive="true"&gt;&lt;/ins&gt;
  1682. &lt;script&gt;
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  1685.     (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});
  1686.  
  1687. //]]&gt;
  1688. &lt;/script&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1689. &lt;/div&gt;
  1690. &lt;/div&gt;
  1691.  
  1692. &lt;p&gt;The assembly voted 87 to 26 with 53 abstentions in favour of the resolution.&lt;/p&gt;
  1693.  
  1694. &lt;p&gt;The UN General Assembly asked the court for an advisory opinion on the legal consequences of Israel’s “occupation, settlement and annexation … including measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and from its adoption of related discriminatory legislation and measures”.&lt;/p&gt;
  1695.  
  1696. &lt;p&gt;The UN resolution also asked the ICJ to advise on how those policies and practices “affect the legal status of the occupation” and what legal consequences arise for all countries and the UN from this status.&lt;/p&gt;
  1697.  
  1698. &lt;p&gt;The hearings will be held until 26 February. After that, the judges are expected to take several months to deliberate before issuing an advisory opinion.&lt;/p&gt;
  1699.  
  1700. &lt;p&gt;Among the countries scheduled to participate in the hearings are the &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/countries/us"&gt;United States&lt;/a&gt;, &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/countries/china"&gt;China&lt;/a&gt;, &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/countries/russia"&gt;Russia&lt;/a&gt;, South Africa and &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/countries/egypt"&gt;Egypt&lt;/a&gt;, as well as international bodies like the League of Arab States, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and the African Union. Israel will not participate, although it has sent written observations.&lt;/p&gt;
  1701.  
  1702. &lt;h3&gt;How have states reacted?&lt;/h3&gt;
  1703.  
  1704. &lt;p&gt;Israel has, perhaps unsurprisingly, reacted harshly to the investigation.&lt;/p&gt;
  1705.  
  1706. &lt;div class="mee-readmore mee-readmore-article-story mee-readmore-type-image align-right"&gt;
  1707.  &lt;a class="mee-readmore-img-link" href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/war-gaza-south-africa-urges-icj-intervene-halt-israel-rafah-offensive"&gt;&lt;img class="mee-readmore-image" src="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/read_more/public/images-story/BIDEN_US_GAZA_2024_AFP.jpg.webp?itok=1pxsC5XP" width="400" height="250" alt="" loading="lazy" typeof="foaf:Image" /&gt;&lt;/a&gt;  &lt;div class="mee-readmore-description"&gt;War on Gaza: South Africa urges ICJ to intervene to halt Israel's Rafah offensive&lt;/div&gt;
  1708.    &lt;a class="mee-readmore-link" href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/war-gaza-south-africa-urges-icj-intervene-halt-israel-rafah-offensive"&gt;Read More »&lt;/a&gt;
  1709. &lt;/div&gt;
  1710.  
  1711. &lt;p&gt;In response to the original 2022 vote at the UNGA, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu branded it "despicable" and "disgraceful".&lt;/p&gt;
  1712.  
  1713. &lt;p&gt;Speaking at the beginning of proceedings on Monday morning, the Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki spoke about the hardships of occupation, but also mentioned the Palestinian citizens of Israel who he said are treated as "second class citizens" in their "ancestral land".&lt;/p&gt;
  1714.  
  1715. &lt;p&gt;“More than 3.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are subjected to colonisation of their territory and the racist violence that enables it,” he said.&lt;/p&gt;
  1716.  
  1717. &lt;p&gt;"The UN enshrined in its charter the right of all peoples to self-determination and pledges to rid the world of colonialism and apartheid. Yet, for decades Palestinians have been denied this right."&lt;/p&gt;
  1718.  
  1719. &lt;p&gt;Ahead of the hearing, representatives from the Palestinian Authority - which has a limited control over parts of the West Bank - said they would argue three key tenets of international law had been violated by Israel:&lt;/p&gt;
  1720.  
  1721. &lt;ul&gt;&lt;li&gt;
  1722. &lt;p&gt;The prohibition on territorial conquest by annexing large swathes of occupied land&lt;/p&gt;
  1723. &lt;/li&gt;
  1724. &lt;li&gt;
  1725. &lt;p&gt;The violation of Palestinians’ right to self-determination&lt;/p&gt;
  1726. &lt;/li&gt;
  1727. &lt;li&gt;
  1728. &lt;p&gt;The imposition of a system of racial discrimination and apartheid&lt;/p&gt;
  1729. &lt;/li&gt;
  1730. &lt;/ul&gt;&lt;h3&gt;What will happen next?&lt;/h3&gt;
  1731.  
  1732. &lt;p&gt;The ICJ will aim to issue an opinion before the end of the year. It would be the second advisory opinion by the world court since 2004, when it issued a &lt;a href="https://www.icj-cij.org/case/131/advisory-opinions"&gt;landmark opinion&lt;/a&gt; on the legality of Israel's construction of a wall in occupied Palestine. The court decided that the wall, often referred to by Palestinians and rights group as the "apartheid wall", was illegal and should be destroyed.&lt;/p&gt;
  1733.  
  1734. &lt;p&gt;However, more than two decades since the construction of the wall began, at the height of the Second Intifada in 2002, little or no action has been taken to implement the ICJ ruling.&lt;/p&gt;
  1735.  
  1736. &lt;p&gt;Despite the non-binding nature of ICJ resolutions, rights groups say they can still have an impact, with Human Rights Watch &lt;a href="https://www.hrw.org/news/2024/02/16/world-court-review-57-year-israeli-occupation"&gt;stating &lt;/a&gt;on Monday that any opinion issued could "carry great moral and legal authority and can ultimately become part of customary international law, which is legally binding on states".&lt;/p&gt;
  1737. &lt;/div&gt;
  1738.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-topic"&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/topics/israel-palestine-war" hreflang="en"&gt;Israel-Palestine war&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1739.            &lt;div class="field field-field-coauthor-location"&gt;
  1740.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  1741.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  1742.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  1743.          &lt;/div&gt;
  1744.              &lt;div class="field field-field-article-location"&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  1745.            &lt;div class="field field-field-comments"&gt;
  1746.              &lt;div&gt;&lt;drupal-render-placeholder callback="Drupal\disqus\Element\Disqus::displayDisqusComments" arguments="0=Explained%3A%20ICJ%20begins%20historic%20hearings%20on%20Israel%27s%20occupation%20of%20Palestine&amp;1=https%3A//www.middleeasteye.net/news/icj-hearing-israel-occupation-palestine-advisory-opinion&amp;2=node/343951&amp;3=a%3A0%3A%7B%7D" token="S13puT7DnFbTcc_tv8TQFiCVPwKYV9rd0_8Ri2tdgf8"&gt;&lt;/drupal-render-placeholder&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1747.          &lt;/div&gt;
  1748.              &lt;div class="field field-field-section"&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/all" hreflang="en"&gt;News&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1749.      </description>
  1750.  <pubDate>Mon, 19 Feb 2024 10:41:48 +0000</pubDate>
  1751.    <dc:creator>MEE staff</dc:creator>
  1752.    <guid isPermaLink="false">343951 at https://www.middleeasteye.net</guid>
  1753.    </item>
  1754. <item>
  1755.  <title>War on Gaza: Palestinian child starves to death in Gaza City</title>
  1756.  <link>https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/war-gaza-eight-year-old-starves-death-gaza-city</link>
  1757.  <description>
  1758. &lt;span class="field field-title"&gt;War on Gaza: Palestinian child starves to death in Gaza City&lt;/span&gt;
  1759.            &lt;div class="field field-field-subhead"&gt;Hanin Saleh Hassan Jumaa died due to a severe calcium deficiency amid dwindling aid deliveries to Gaza's north&lt;/div&gt;
  1760.      
  1761. &lt;span class="field field-uid"&gt;&lt;a title="View user profile." href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/users/mee-staff" lang="" about="https://www.middleeasteye.net/users/mee-staff" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" xml:lang=""&gt;MEE staff&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/span&gt;
  1762.  
  1763. &lt;span class="field field-created"&gt;&lt;time datetime="2024-02-19T11:23:28+00:00" title="19 February 2024 11:23 GMT"&gt;Mon, 02/19/2024 - 11:23&lt;/time&gt;&lt;/span&gt;
  1764.            &lt;div class="field field-field-main-image"&gt;    &lt;picture&gt;&lt;source srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/northern%20gaza_starvation_reuters%281%29.jpg.webp?itok=Bvti-Dc2 1x" type="image/webp" width="1400" height="788"&gt;&lt;/source&gt;&lt;source srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/northern%20gaza_starvation_reuters%281%29.jpg?itok=Bvti-Dc2 1x" type="image/jpeg" width="1400" height="788"&gt;&lt;/source&gt;&lt;img loading="lazy" srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/northern%20gaza_starvation_reuters%281%29.jpg?itok=Bvti-Dc2 1x" width="1400" height="788" src="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/max_2600x2600/public/images-story/northern%20gaza_starvation_reuters%281%29.jpg?itok=LRgpLpOC" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" /&gt;&lt;/picture&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1765.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-cutline"&gt;Palestinian children wait to receive food in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip on 5 February (Reuters)&lt;/div&gt;
  1766.                  &lt;div class="field field-body clearfix"&gt;&lt;p style="line-height:1.38"&gt;An eight-year-old &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/countries/palestine"&gt;Palestinian &lt;/a&gt;girl has died from dehydration and starvation in &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/big-story/gaza-war-israel-netanyahu-hamas-origins-2023-nakba"&gt;Gaza City,&lt;/a&gt; the NGO, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor &lt;a href="https://x.com/RamAbdu/status/1758870077208723614?s=20"&gt;reported &lt;/a&gt;on Saturday.&lt;/p&gt;
  1767.  
  1768. &lt;p&gt;The organisation’s teams in northern Gaza said that Hanin Saleh Hassan Jumaa died from a severe calcium deficiency caused by starvation.&lt;/p&gt;
  1769.  
  1770. &lt;p&gt;“I [cannot] forget the night of my daughter Hanin’s death when she asked me for food, and I told her, ‘Sleep, I will bring you in the morning,” her father said.&lt;/p&gt;
  1771.  
  1772. &lt;p&gt;He said that the following morning, she began to moan. “When I sat next to her, I found her as if she was preparing to die.&lt;/p&gt;
  1773.  
  1774. &lt;p&gt;“I rushed her...to the hospital on a donkey cart due to the lack of cars, only for the doctor to tell me that my daughter had died from dehydration and lack of food."&lt;/p&gt;&lt;div class="block-adsense block-adsense-managed-ad-block"&gt;&lt;div&gt;
  1775.  &lt;div class="adsense responsive"&gt;
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  1783. &lt;/script&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1784. &lt;/div&gt;
  1785. &lt;/div&gt;
  1786.  
  1787. &lt;p&gt;The rights group warned in&lt;a href="https://euromedmonitor.org/ar/article/6115/%D8%A8%D8%B9%D8%AF-%D9%88%D9%81%D8%A7%D8%A9-%D8%B1%D8%B6%D9%8A%D8%B9-%D8%AC%D8%AF%D9%8A%D8%AF..-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A3%D9%88%D8%B1%D9%88%D9%85%D8%AA%D9%88%D8%B3%D8%B7%D9%8A-%D9%8A%D8%AD%D8%B0%D8%B1-%D9%85%D9%86-%D8%AA%D8%B2%D8%A7%D9%8A%D8%AF-%D8%B6%D8%AD%D8%A7%D9%8A%D8%A7-%D9%86%D9%87%D8%AC-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AA%D8%AC%D9%88%D9%8A%D8%B9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A5%D8%B3%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%A6%D9%8A%D9%84%D9%8A-%D9%84%D8%B3%D9%83%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%BA%D8%B2%D8%A9"&gt; January&lt;/a&gt; of the growing risk of famine especially among children and the elderly. It cited the earlier death of infant Jamal Mahmoud Jamal Al-Kafarna on 18 January, who died "of hunger in his mother's arms".&lt;/p&gt;
  1788.  
  1789. &lt;p&gt;Euro-Med Monitor also reported the death of one-year-old Baraa al-Haddad from hunger and dehydration on 30 December, and 14-year-old Jana Deeb Qudeih, who had cerebral palsy, on 8 December.&lt;/p&gt;
  1790.  
  1791. &lt;p&gt;"This tragic incident of a young girl dying from hunger is a stark reminder of the severity of the crisis in Gaza, with hunger at catastrophic levels and children being particularly vulnerable to starvation," Jean-Michel Grand, Executive Director of Action Against Hunger UK told Middle East Eye.&lt;/p&gt;
  1792.  
  1793. &lt;h3&gt;Aid denied to north Gaza&lt;/h3&gt;
  1794.  
  1795. &lt;p&gt;According t0 the World Food Programme (WFP), Palestinians in Gaza now make up &lt;a href="https://twitter.com/MiddleEastEye/status/1742873244468760969"&gt;80 percent&lt;/a&gt; of people facing starvation worldwide. &lt;/p&gt;
  1796.  
  1797. &lt;p&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.un.org/unispal/document/action-by-un-system-and-intergovernmental-organizations-relevant-to-the-question-of-palestine-december-2023-monthly-bulletin-31dec-2023/"&gt;A UN report published in December &lt;/a&gt;warned that 93 percent of people in the besieged enclave face “crisis levels of hunger,” and that a quarter of the strip’s population faces “catastrophic hunger and starvation".&lt;/p&gt;
  1798.  
  1799. &lt;p&gt;According to the &lt;a href="https://www.aa.com.tr/en/analysis/opinion-the-long-slow-violence-of-starvation-in-gaza/3136094#"&gt;UN special rapporteur on the right to food&lt;/a&gt;, all children under five in Gaza, 335,000,&lt;em&gt; &lt;/em&gt;are at high risk of starvation.&lt;/p&gt;
  1800.  
  1801. &lt;div class="mee-readmore mee-readmore-article-story mee-readmore-type-image align-right"&gt;
  1802.  &lt;a class="mee-readmore-img-link" href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/war-gaza-negotiations-cannot-be-held-while-hunger-ravaging-people-hamas-official-warns"&gt;&lt;img class="mee-readmore-image" src="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/read_more/public/images-story/Gaza_AFP.png.webp?itok=SAu0sMg3" width="400" height="250" alt="" loading="lazy" typeof="foaf:Image" /&gt;&lt;/a&gt;  &lt;div class="mee-readmore-description"&gt;War on Gaza: 'Negotiations cannot be held while hunger is ravaging' people, Hamas official warns&lt;/div&gt;
  1803.    &lt;a class="mee-readmore-link" href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/war-gaza-negotiations-cannot-be-held-while-hunger-ravaging-people-hamas-official-warns"&gt;Read More »&lt;/a&gt;
  1804. &lt;/div&gt;
  1805.  
  1806. &lt;p&gt;WFP spokesperson Steve Taravella &lt;a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2024/01/25/gaza-hunger-starvation-famine-israel/"&gt;said in December&lt;/a&gt;: “The scale and swiftness of this crisis is unprecedented in modern times,” adding that “If current predictions continue, we will reach famine by February."&lt;/p&gt;
  1807.  
  1808. &lt;p&gt;Colonel Elad Goren, who heads &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/israel-west-bank-palestinian-love-interest-visitors-declare-withdrawn"&gt;Cogat&lt;/a&gt;, an &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/countries/israel"&gt;Israeli&lt;/a&gt; military body that runs the occupied West Bank's civilian and security affairs, rejected the report’s findings, claiming &lt;a href="https://www.ft.com/content/d7bbd8c3-6c44-4687-a93e-48969d37373d"&gt;in a press conference in December&lt;/a&gt; that, “There is no starvation in Gaza, period."&lt;/p&gt;
  1809.  
  1810. &lt;p&gt;According to the UN's humanitarian coordination agency OCHA, the situation is particularly dire in Rafah and the north of Gaza, where &lt;a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-68239320"&gt;15 percent of children&lt;/a&gt; are facing acute malnutrition amid aid shortages.&lt;/p&gt;
  1811.  
  1812. &lt;p&gt;“Save the Children’s staff on the ground have said that there is a severe shortage of food aid reaching them and that they have been unable to find items like flour or to afford it, reporting a bag of flour being sold for up to $140," Randa Ghazy of Save the Children told MEE.&lt;/p&gt;
  1813.  
  1814. &lt;p&gt;"A staff member in Rafah said that sometimes families only receive one biscuit per person or a can of beans for an entire family. A staff member in Al-Mawasi said that the situation was desperate and that he had met people who had not eaten any food for three days," she added.&lt;/p&gt;
  1815.  
  1816. &lt;p&gt;OCHA reported that &lt;a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-68239320"&gt;aid convoys are increasingly being denied access &lt;/a&gt;to Gaza’s north, with over half of the aid missions refused access in January. This is up from 15 percent in December.&lt;/p&gt;
  1817.  
  1818. &lt;p&gt;The agency added that Israeli forces "at times required justifications" for fuel destined for health facilities and  "imposed reductions on the volume of assistance, such as the quantity of food".&lt;/p&gt;
  1819.  
  1820. &lt;p&gt;According to the agency, the restrictions on aid leave 300,000 people facing a growing risk of famine. Many are resorting to grinding up animal fodder for sustenance.&lt;/p&gt;
  1821. &lt;/div&gt;
  1822.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-topic"&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/topics/israel-palestine-war" hreflang="en"&gt;Israel-Palestine war&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1823.            &lt;div class="field field-field-coauthor-location"&gt;
  1824.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  1825.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  1826.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  1827.          &lt;/div&gt;
  1828.              &lt;div class="field field-field-article-location"&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  1829.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-landing-title"&gt;Palestinian child starves to death in Gaza City&lt;/div&gt;
  1830.            &lt;div class="field field-field-comments"&gt;
  1831.              &lt;div&gt;&lt;drupal-render-placeholder callback="Drupal\disqus\Element\Disqus::displayDisqusComments" arguments="0=War%20on%20Gaza%3A%20Palestinian%20child%20starves%20to%20death%20in%20Gaza%20City&amp;1=https%3A//www.middleeasteye.net/news/war-gaza-eight-year-old-starves-death-gaza-city&amp;2=node/343986&amp;3=a%3A0%3A%7B%7D" token="UhqndVupTeRcSKTxcMdv8upUlWw2GZocf-z_8I4FbSc"&gt;&lt;/drupal-render-placeholder&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1832.          &lt;/div&gt;
  1833.              &lt;div class="field field-field-section"&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/all" hreflang="en"&gt;News&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1834.      </description>
  1835.  <pubDate>Mon, 19 Feb 2024 11:23:28 +0000</pubDate>
  1836.    <dc:creator>MEE staff</dc:creator>
  1837.    <guid isPermaLink="false">343986 at https://www.middleeasteye.net</guid>
  1838.    </item>
  1839. <item>
  1840.  <title>Tunisia: Jailed opposition leader Rached Ghannouchi starts hunger strike</title>
  1841.  <link>https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/tunisia-jailed-opposition-leader-rached-ghannouchi-starts-hunger-strike</link>
  1842.  <description>
  1843. &lt;span class="field field-title"&gt;Tunisia: Jailed opposition leader Rached Ghannouchi starts hunger strike&lt;/span&gt;
  1844.            &lt;div class="field field-field-subhead"&gt;The 82-year-old began his hunger strike in solidarity with other anti-government figures who are fasting to demand their release from prison&lt;/div&gt;
  1845.      
  1846. &lt;span class="field field-uid"&gt;&lt;a title="View user profile." href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/users/mee-staff" lang="" about="https://www.middleeasteye.net/users/mee-staff" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" xml:lang=""&gt;MEE staff&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/span&gt;
  1847.  
  1848. &lt;span class="field field-created"&gt;&lt;time datetime="2024-02-19T12:19:30+00:00" title="19 February 2024 12:19 GMT"&gt;Mon, 02/19/2024 - 12:19&lt;/time&gt;&lt;/span&gt;
  1849.            &lt;div class="field field-field-main-image"&gt;    &lt;picture&gt;&lt;source srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/tunisia-rached-ghannouchi-gestures-arrives-questioning-1-apr-2022-reuters.jpg.webp?itok=jEO3EH8f 1x" type="image/webp" width="1400" height="788"&gt;&lt;/source&gt;&lt;source srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/tunisia-rached-ghannouchi-gestures-arrives-questioning-1-apr-2022-reuters.jpg?itok=jEO3EH8f 1x" type="image/jpeg" width="1400" height="788"&gt;&lt;/source&gt;&lt;img loading="lazy" srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/tunisia-rached-ghannouchi-gestures-arrives-questioning-1-apr-2022-reuters.jpg?itok=jEO3EH8f 1x" width="1400" height="788" src="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/max_2600x2600/public/images-story/tunisia-rached-ghannouchi-gestures-arrives-questioning-1-apr-2022-reuters.jpg?itok=FnFXRu4T" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" /&gt;&lt;/picture&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1850.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-cutline"&gt;Rached Ghannouchi, the head of Tunisia's Ennahda Party, arriving for questioning after he was summoned by Tunisian anti-terrorism police in the capital Tunis on 1 April 2022 (Reuters)&lt;/div&gt;
  1851.                  &lt;div class="field field-body clearfix"&gt;&lt;p&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/countries/tunisia" target="_blank"&gt;Tunisian&lt;/a&gt; opposition leader Rached Ghannouchi began a hunger strike on Monday in solidarity with other anti-government figures waging a protest fast to demand their immediate release, his party said.&lt;/p&gt;
  1852.  
  1853. &lt;p&gt;Ghannouchi, 82, a fierce critic of President Kais Saied and head of the Ennahda main opposition party, was jailed last year on charges of incitement against police and plotting against state security.&lt;/p&gt;
  1854.  
  1855. &lt;p&gt;Earlier this month, in a separate case, a judge sentenced him to three years in prison on charges of accepting external financing.&lt;/p&gt;
  1856.  
  1857. &lt;p&gt;Ghannouchi's lawyers describe the cases against him as "unfounded and politically motivated".&lt;/p&gt;
  1858.  
  1859. &lt;p&gt;"As he engages once again in this form of peaceful struggle, Mr. Rached Ghannouchi calls on all Tunisians to continue expressing their commitment to a democratic Tunisia," the Ennahda party said in a &lt;a href="https://www.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=923396762575943&amp;id=100047168829622"&gt;statement&lt;/a&gt; on behalf of his defense team.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;div class="block-adsense block-adsense-managed-ad-block"&gt;&lt;div&gt;
  1860.  &lt;div class="adsense responsive"&gt;
  1861.    &lt;script async="" src="https://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js?client=ca-pub-6114695881218027" crossorigin="anonymous"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;&lt;!-- responsive --&gt;&lt;ins class="adsbygoogle mee-auto-ad-wrapper " style="display:block" data-ad-client="ca-pub-6114695881218027" data-ad-slot="8690493793" data-ad-format="horizontal" data-full-width-responsive="true"&gt;&lt;/ins&gt;
  1862. &lt;script&gt;
  1863. //&lt;![CDATA[
  1864.  
  1865.     (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});
  1866.  
  1867. //]]&gt;
  1868. &lt;/script&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1869. &lt;/div&gt;
  1870. &lt;/div&gt;
  1871.  
  1872. &lt;p&gt;"[One] that encompasses everyone on the basis of coexistence based on freedom, justice, the supremacy of the law, and the independence of the judiciary."&lt;/p&gt;
  1873.  
  1874. &lt;p data-el="text" data-testid="drop-cap-letter" dir="null"&gt;Arbitrary and politically motivated acts of repression have proliferated since Saied unilaterally suspended parliament and dissolved the government in July 2021.&lt;/p&gt;
  1875.  
  1876. &lt;div class="mee-readmore mee-readmore-article-story mee-readmore-type-image align-right"&gt;
  1877.  &lt;a class="mee-readmore-img-link" href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/arab-and-muslim-figures-demand-release-rached-ghannouchi"&gt;&lt;img class="mee-readmore-image" src="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/read_more/public/images-story/000_339P88Q_0.jpg.webp?itok=YXzc583W" width="400" height="250" alt="" loading="lazy" typeof="foaf:Image" /&gt;&lt;/a&gt;  &lt;div class="mee-readmore-description"&gt;Tunisia: Hundreds of prominent Arab and Muslim figures demand release of Rached Ghannouchi&lt;/div&gt;
  1878.    &lt;a class="mee-readmore-link" href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/arab-and-muslim-figures-demand-release-rached-ghannouchi"&gt;Read More »&lt;/a&gt;
  1879. &lt;/div&gt;
  1880.  
  1881. &lt;p&gt;A former constitutional law professor, Saied was democratically elected as Tunisia's president in 2019 and billed himself as an outsider who could take on Tunisia's established political parties. He oversaw a growth in democracy but also mounting economic challenges in the country of 12 million.&lt;/p&gt;
  1882.  
  1883. &lt;p&gt;After the power grab, the plans for which were &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/tunisia-exclusive-top-secret-presidential-document-plan-constitutional-dictatorship" target="_blank"&gt;first revealed by Middle East Eye&lt;/a&gt;, Saied decided to rule by decree, a move his opponents and human rights groups decried as a "constitutional coup".&lt;/p&gt;
  1884.  
  1885. &lt;p&gt;In recent months, opposition to Saied has grown largely due to unpopular economic reforms, soaring food prices and shortages of basic staples such as sugar, vegetable oil and rice.&lt;/p&gt;
  1886.  
  1887. &lt;p&gt;In August, Saied sacked Prime Minister Najla Bouden late in the night without offering an explanation, and replaced her with Ahmed Hachani, a retired central bank employee who has shared articles on Facebook espousing conspiracy theories.&lt;/p&gt;
  1888. &lt;/div&gt;
  1889.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-topic"&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/topics/tunisia-politics" hreflang="en"&gt;Tunisia Politics&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1890.            &lt;div class="field field-field-coauthor-location"&gt;
  1891.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  1892.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  1893.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  1894.          &lt;/div&gt;
  1895.              &lt;div class="field field-field-article-location"&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  1896.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-landing-title"&gt;Tunisian opposition leader Rached Ghannouchi begins hunger strike in prison&lt;/div&gt;
  1897.            &lt;div class="field field-field-comments"&gt;
  1898.              &lt;div&gt;&lt;drupal-render-placeholder callback="Drupal\disqus\Element\Disqus::displayDisqusComments" arguments="0=Tunisia%3A%20Jailed%20opposition%20leader%20Rached%20Ghannouchi%20starts%20hunger%20strike&amp;1=https%3A//www.middleeasteye.net/news/tunisia-jailed-opposition-leader-rached-ghannouchi-starts-hunger-strike&amp;2=node/343996&amp;3=a%3A0%3A%7B%7D" token="gVXZVBmjSZkX4JigXkZnwRJ60r1ud1XlMXzMkRTovWI"&gt;&lt;/drupal-render-placeholder&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1899.          &lt;/div&gt;
  1900.              &lt;div class="field field-field-section"&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/all" hreflang="en"&gt;News&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1901.      </description>
  1902.  <pubDate>Mon, 19 Feb 2024 12:19:30 +0000</pubDate>
  1903.    <dc:creator>MEE staff</dc:creator>
  1904.    <guid isPermaLink="false">343996 at https://www.middleeasteye.net</guid>
  1905.    </item>
  1906. <item>
  1907.  <title>Bahraini activist calls for father's release and Gaza ceasefire after cancer diagnosis</title>
  1908.  <link>https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/bahrain-activist-maryam-khawaja-announces-cancer-diagnosis</link>
  1909.  <description>
  1910. &lt;span class="field field-title"&gt;Bahraini activist calls for father's release and Gaza ceasefire after cancer diagnosis&lt;/span&gt;
  1911.            &lt;div class="field field-field-subhead"&gt;Maryam al-Khawaja says Denmark should bring her father home and end its support of Israel after revealing she has Hodgkin’s Lymphoma&lt;/div&gt;
  1912.      
  1913. &lt;span class="field field-uid"&gt;&lt;a title="View user profile." href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/users/mee-staff" lang="" about="https://www.middleeasteye.net/users/mee-staff" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" xml:lang=""&gt;MEE staff&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/span&gt;
  1914.  
  1915. &lt;span class="field field-created"&gt;&lt;time datetime="2024-02-19T09:30:00+00:00" title="19 February 2024 09:30 GMT"&gt;Mon, 02/19/2024 - 09:30&lt;/time&gt;&lt;/span&gt;
  1916.            &lt;div class="field field-field-main-image"&gt;    &lt;picture&gt;&lt;source srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/bahrain-activist-maryam-khawaja-september-2023-afp.jpg.webp?itok=0jkot-FY 1x" type="image/webp" width="1400" height="788"&gt;&lt;/source&gt;&lt;source srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/bahrain-activist-maryam-khawaja-september-2023-afp.jpg?itok=0jkot-FY 1x" type="image/jpeg" width="1400" height="788"&gt;&lt;/source&gt;&lt;img loading="lazy" srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/bahrain-activist-maryam-khawaja-september-2023-afp.jpg?itok=0jkot-FY 1x" width="1400" height="788" src="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/max_2600x2600/public/images-story/bahrain-activist-maryam-khawaja-september-2023-afp.jpg?itok=NpKvt9os" alt="Bahraini activist Maryam al-Khawaja poses for a picture near Heathrow airport, west of London, on 15 September 2023 (AFP/Daniel Leal)" typeof="foaf:Image" /&gt;&lt;/picture&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1917.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-cutline"&gt;Bahraini activist Maryam al-Khawaja poses for a photo near Heathrow Airport on 15 September 2023 (AFP/Daniel Leal)&lt;/div&gt;
  1918.                  &lt;div class="field field-body clearfix"&gt;&lt;p&gt;Maryam al-Khawaja, a prominent Danish-&lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/countries/bahrain"&gt;Bahraini&lt;/a&gt; human rights activist, says she is using her diagnosis of cancer to call for her father's release and for a ceasefire in Gaza. &lt;/p&gt;
  1919.  
  1920. &lt;p&gt;In &lt;a href="https://twitter.com/MARYAMALKHAWAJA/status/1759486562897625568"&gt;a video announcement&lt;/a&gt; on X, formerly known as Twitter, Khawaja said on Monday that she learned on 30 January that she had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, stage three blood cancer.&lt;/p&gt;
  1921.  
  1922. &lt;p&gt;"As I fight for my health in this critical time, one truth is very clear: it is time for freedom," she said. "Freedom for my father... and freedom for the Palestinian people."&lt;/p&gt;
  1923.  
  1924. &lt;p&gt;Maryam called on the Danish government to end arms sales to Israel and to leverage its diplomatic power to help release her father who she said is the only Danish political prisoner in the world.&lt;/p&gt;
  1925.  
  1926. &lt;p&gt;Abdul-Hadi al-Khawaja, a well-known Bahraini opposition figure, was sentenced to life in prison in 2011 after leading peaceful protests calling for fundamental freedoms in the kingdom.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;div class="block-adsense block-adsense-managed-ad-block"&gt;&lt;div&gt;
  1927.  &lt;div class="adsense responsive"&gt;
  1928.    &lt;script async="" src="https://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js?client=ca-pub-6114695881218027" crossorigin="anonymous"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;&lt;!-- responsive --&gt;&lt;ins class="adsbygoogle mee-auto-ad-wrapper " style="display:block" data-ad-client="ca-pub-6114695881218027" data-ad-slot="8690493793" data-ad-format="horizontal" data-full-width-responsive="true"&gt;&lt;/ins&gt;
  1929. &lt;script&gt;
  1930. //&lt;![CDATA[
  1931.  
  1932.     (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});
  1933.  
  1934. //]]&gt;
  1935. &lt;/script&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1936. &lt;/div&gt;
  1937. &lt;/div&gt;
  1938.  
  1939. &lt;p&gt;Last year, after going on a hunger strike, he &lt;a href="https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/mde11/7119/2023/en/" target="_blank"&gt;was admitted&lt;/a&gt; to the ICU at a military hospital with cardiac arrhythmia.&lt;/p&gt;
  1940.  
  1941. &lt;p&gt;He was &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/bahrain-political-prisoners-enter-four-week-hunger-strike#:~:text=Around%20800%20political%20prisoners%20and,small%20Gulf%20kingdom%20in%202011." target="_blank"&gt;among 800 prisoners&lt;/a&gt; whom activists said had been on hunger strike for several weeks to protest against the conditions in Jau Prison, where they are locked in their cells for up to 23 hours a day.&lt;/p&gt;
  1942.  
  1943. &lt;p&gt;In September, Maryam was &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/bahrain-activist-denied-boarding-british-airways-manama"&gt;denied&lt;/a&gt; boarding on a flight to Bahrain by British Airways as she tried to return home to raise awareness of the condition of her imprisoned father.&lt;/p&gt;
  1944.  
  1945. &lt;div class="mee-readmore mee-readmore-article-story mee-readmore-type-image align-right"&gt;
  1946.  &lt;a class="mee-readmore-img-link" href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/bahrain-activist-denied-boarding-british-airways-manama"&gt;&lt;img class="mee-readmore-image" src="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/read_more/public/images-story/afp-khawaja.jpg.webp?itok=HZI2EGsp" width="400" height="250" alt="" loading="lazy" typeof="foaf:Image" /&gt;&lt;/a&gt;  &lt;div class="mee-readmore-description"&gt;Bahrain: British Airways 'denied boarding' to activist flying home to Manama&lt;/div&gt;
  1947.    &lt;a class="mee-readmore-link" href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/bahrain-activist-denied-boarding-british-airways-manama"&gt;Read More »&lt;/a&gt;
  1948. &lt;/div&gt;
  1949.  
  1950. &lt;p&gt;She said on Monday that she will continue her work while undergoing chemotherapy.&lt;/p&gt;
  1951.  
  1952. &lt;p style="line-height:1.38"&gt;"On the days when I can, I will be staging a sit-in in front of the Danish prime minister’s office with two demands - release my father and stop the arms sales and call for a ceasefire now," she said.&lt;/p&gt;
  1953.  
  1954. &lt;p style="line-height:1.38"&gt;She said after spending years "talking, screaming and yelling to no avail", her sit-in, the first of which will be held on Monday afternoon, will be silent, with anyone welcome to join her.&lt;/p&gt;
  1955.  
  1956. &lt;p&gt;“My father has always said that the fight for human rights is universal. My father and I are appalled by the fact that civilians in Gaza, some who also have cancer, are currently being bombed and killed," she said. &lt;/p&gt;
  1957.  
  1958. &lt;p&gt;"From Bahrain to Palestine, people are forced to live without their loved ones, either because they are wrongfully imprisoned or because bombs are falling above them. It must stop now.”&lt;/p&gt;
  1959.  
  1960. &lt;p&gt;In 2020, Bahrain was among several Arab countries which normalised relations with Israel as part of the so-called Abraham Accords, brokered by then-US President Donald Trump. &lt;/p&gt;
  1961. &lt;/div&gt;
  1962.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-topic"&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/topics/inside-bahrain" hreflang="en"&gt;Inside Bahrain&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1963.            &lt;div class="field field-field-coauthor-location"&gt;
  1964.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  1965.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  1966.              &lt;div&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  1967.          &lt;/div&gt;
  1968.              &lt;div class="field field-field-article-location"&gt; &lt;/div&gt;
  1969.            &lt;div class="field field-field-comments"&gt;
  1970.              &lt;div&gt;&lt;drupal-render-placeholder callback="Drupal\disqus\Element\Disqus::displayDisqusComments" arguments="0=Bahraini%20activist%20calls%20for%20father%27s%20release%20and%20Gaza%20ceasefire%20after%20cancer%20diagnosis&amp;1=https%3A//www.middleeasteye.net/news/bahrain-activist-maryam-khawaja-announces-cancer-diagnosis&amp;2=node/343791&amp;3=a%3A0%3A%7B%7D" token="hp4uOVFBYFkPPKFzDE-TFbCOi2eVpSSls2fLHXe0lhM"&gt;&lt;/drupal-render-placeholder&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1971.          &lt;/div&gt;
  1972.              &lt;div class="field field-field-section"&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/all" hreflang="en"&gt;News&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1973.      </description>
  1974.  <pubDate>Mon, 19 Feb 2024 09:30:00 +0000</pubDate>
  1975.    <dc:creator>MEE staff</dc:creator>
  1976.    <guid isPermaLink="false">343791 at https://www.middleeasteye.net</guid>
  1977.    </item>
  1978. <item>
  1979.  <title>'It's a genocide': Brazil's Lula compares war on Gaza to Holocaust, sparking controversy</title>
  1980.  <link>https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/its-genocide-brazils-lula-compares-war-gaza-holocaust</link>
  1981.  <description>
  1982. &lt;span class="field field-title"&gt;'It's a genocide': Brazil's Lula compares war on Gaza to Holocaust, sparking controversy&lt;/span&gt;
  1983.            &lt;div class="field field-field-subhead"&gt;While Israel has summoned its ambassador and shot back severe criticism, Hamas has thanked the leader, who plans to increase Brazil's Unrwa contribution  &lt;/div&gt;
  1984.      
  1985. &lt;span class="field field-uid"&gt;&lt;a title="View user profile." href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/users/mee-staff" lang="" about="https://www.middleeasteye.net/users/mee-staff" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="" xml:lang=""&gt;MEE staff&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/span&gt;
  1986.  
  1987. &lt;span class="field field-created"&gt;&lt;time datetime="2024-02-18T18:12:14+00:00" title="18 February 2024 18:12 GMT"&gt;Sun, 02/18/2024 - 18:12&lt;/time&gt;&lt;/span&gt;
  1988.            &lt;div class="field field-field-main-image"&gt;    &lt;picture&gt;&lt;source srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/000_34JH67B.jpg.webp?itok=PRGVY4W2 1x" type="image/webp" width="1400" height="932"&gt;&lt;/source&gt;&lt;source srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/000_34JH67B.jpg?itok=PRGVY4W2 1x" type="image/jpeg" width="1400" height="932"&gt;&lt;/source&gt;&lt;img loading="lazy" srcset="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/article_page/public/images-story/000_34JH67B.jpg?itok=PRGVY4W2 1x" width="1400" height="932" src="https://www.middleeasteye.net/sites/default/files/styles/max_2600x2600/public/images-story/000_34JH67B.jpg?itok=GN_5ToQF" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" /&gt;&lt;/picture&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  1989.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-cutline"&gt;Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva speaking during the opening ceremony of the 37th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa on 17 February (AFP/Brazilian Presidency)&lt;/div&gt;
  1990.                  &lt;div class="field field-body clearfix"&gt;&lt;p&gt;Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva compared &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/countries/israel"&gt;Israel's&lt;/a&gt; killing of &lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/countries/palestine"&gt;Palestinians&lt;/a&gt; in Gaza to the Nazi genocide against Jews during World War Two, sparking Israeli backlash. &lt;/p&gt;
  1991.  
  1992. &lt;p&gt;"What is happening in the Gaza Strip with the Palestinian people has no parallel in other historical moments. In fact, it did exist when Hitler decided to kill the Jews," Lula said on Sunday during the 37th African Union summit in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. &lt;/p&gt;
  1993.  
  1994. &lt;p&gt;The Israeli foreign ministry said it would summon the Brazilian ambassador over the remarks, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu labelled as "disgraceful and grave". &lt;/p&gt;
  1995.  
  1996. &lt;p&gt;"This is a trivialisation of the Holocaust and an attempt to attack the Jewish people and the right of Israel to self-defence. Drawing comparisons between Israel and the Nazis and Hitler is to cross a red line," Netanyahu said.&lt;/p&gt;
  1997.  
  1998. &lt;p&gt;Meanwhile, the Hamas movement has said it "values" the Brazilian president’s remarks, calling them an "accurate description" of what Palestinians are enduring with the support of the United States.&lt;/p&gt;&lt;div class="block-adsense block-adsense-managed-ad-block"&gt;&lt;div&gt;
  1999.  &lt;div class="adsense responsive"&gt;
  2000.    &lt;script async="" src="https://pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js?client=ca-pub-6114695881218027" crossorigin="anonymous"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;&lt;!-- responsive --&gt;&lt;ins class="adsbygoogle mee-auto-ad-wrapper " style="display:block" data-ad-client="ca-pub-6114695881218027" data-ad-slot="8690493793" data-ad-format="horizontal" data-full-width-responsive="true"&gt;&lt;/ins&gt;
  2001. &lt;script&gt;
  2002. //&lt;![CDATA[
  2003.  
  2004.     (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({});
  2005.  
  2006. //]]&gt;
  2007. &lt;/script&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
  2008. &lt;/div&gt;
  2009. &lt;/div&gt;
  2010.  
  2011. &lt;p&gt;"We call on the International Court of Justice to take into consideration the Brazilian president’s statement about what our Palestinian people are going though at the hand of the criminal occupation army," the group said, stressing that Palestinians are being subjected to unprecedented atrocities in modern history.&lt;/p&gt;
  2012.  
  2013. &lt;p&gt;Lula told reporters in Addis Ababa, where he was attending an African Union summit, that what was happening in the Gaza Strip "isn't a war, it's a genocide".&lt;/p&gt;
  2014.  
  2015. &lt;blockquote&gt;
  2016. &lt;p&gt;'It's not a war of soldiers against soldiers. It's a war between a highly prepared army and women and children'&lt;/p&gt;
  2017.  
  2018. &lt;p&gt;&lt;em&gt;- Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, Brazilian President&lt;/em&gt;&lt;/p&gt;
  2019. &lt;/blockquote&gt;
  2020.  
  2021. &lt;p&gt;"It's not a war of soldiers against soldiers. It's a war between a highly prepared army and women and children," added the veteran leftist.&lt;/p&gt;
  2022.  
  2023. &lt;p&gt;Lula, a prominent voice for the global south whose country currently holds the rotating presidency of the G20, previously condemned Hamas's unprecedented October 7 attack on Israel as a "terrorist" act.&lt;/p&gt;
  2024.  
  2025. &lt;p&gt;But he has since grown vocally critical of Israel's retaliatory military campaign.&lt;/p&gt;
  2026.  
  2027. &lt;h3&gt;Lula to increase Unrwa contribution&lt;/h3&gt;
  2028.  
  2029. &lt;p&gt;Israel's Defence Minister Yoav Gallant meanwhile called Lula's comments "outrageous and abhorrent". "Brazil has stood with Israel for years," he wrote on X. &lt;/p&gt;
  2030.  
  2031. &lt;p&gt;"President Lula supports a genocidal terrorist organisation -- Hamas, and in doing so brings great shame to his people, and violates the values of the free world," he continued.&lt;/p&gt;
  2032.  
  2033. &lt;p&gt;Israel's assault on Gaza has killed at least 28,858 people, mostly women and children, according to Gaza's health ministry.&lt;/p&gt;
  2034.  
  2035. &lt;p&gt;Lula criticised Western countries' recent decisions to halt aid to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, Unrwa, after Israel accused 12 of its employees of involvement in the 7 October attack.&lt;/p&gt;
  2036.  
  2037. &lt;p&gt;Lula, who met with Palestinian prime minister Mohammad Shtayyeh Saturday on the sidelines of the summit, has said Brazil will increase its own contribution to the agency, and urged other countries to do the same.&lt;/p&gt;
  2038.  
  2039. &lt;p&gt;"When I see the rich world announce that it's halting its contributions to humanitarian aid for the Palestinians, I just imagine how big these people's political awareness is and how big the spirit of solidarity in their hearts is," Lula said.&lt;/p&gt;
  2040.  
  2041. &lt;p&gt;"We need to stop being small when we need to be big."&lt;/p&gt;
  2042.  
  2043. &lt;p&gt;He reiterated his call for a two-state solution to the conflict, with Palestine "definitively recognised as a full and sovereign state."&lt;/p&gt;
  2044. &lt;/div&gt;
  2045.                  &lt;div class="field field-field-topic"&gt;&lt;a href="https://www.middleeasteye.net/topics/israel-palestine-war" hreflang="en"&gt;Israel-Palestine war&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/div&gt;
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  2058.    <dc:creator>MEE staff</dc:creator>
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