May 20, 2024

An aid ship carrying food and other essential items is nearing Gaza after days of delays amid dire humanitarian situation.

Here’s how things stand on Wednesday, March 13, 2024:

Fighting and humanitarian crisis

  • An aid ship carrying food and other essential items to Gaza, which set sail from Cyprus, was nearing the Palestinian enclave after days of delay.
  • The departure came after announcements that Cyprus, the European Union, the United States, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom were jointly working on establishing a maritime corridor to provide aid to Gaza.
  • Separately, Israeli forces launched air attacks throughout the Gaza Strip, killing and wounding dozens, including 10 people in Deir el-Balah, according to the Palestinian news agency Wafa.
  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday Israel “will finish the job in Rafah”, reaffirming a ground operation will go ahead in the southern Gaza city.
  • UK’s Foreign Secretary David Cameron called for “answers from the Israelis” in response to a BBC report revealing that Israeli soldiers subjected Palestinian medical personnel in Gaza to mistreatment, including blindfolding, detention, stripping and repeated beatings during a hospital raid in February.

Regional tensions

  • Lebanon’s Hezbollah group says two of its fighters have been killed in the Bekaa Valley after Israeli warplanes launched attacks on the area for a second consecutive day.
  • Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy chief, said the humanitarian crisis in Gaza is “not a natural disaster” and accused Israel of using starvation as a “weapon of war”.
  • Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly pledged $1m to support investigations into allegations of sexual and gender-based violence against Palestinian women. The move comes two days after Joly said Canada would provide $1m to organisations supporting survivors of sexual violence during Hamas’s attacks on October 7.
  • Dutch caretaker Prime Minister Mark Rutte is visiting Israel and Egypt on Wednesday to discuss the crisis in the Middle East.

Violence in the occupied West Bank

  • Israeli forces have stormed the grounds of the Jenin Government Hospital, shooting and killing one Palestinian man and wounding five others, according to the Wafa news agency.
  • Israel’s far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir has expressed support for Israeli soldiers amid outrage over the killing of a Palestinian boy near the Shu’fat refugee camp checkpoint.

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