A UNRWA fuel truck at Egypt’s Rafah border crossing heads for Gaza. File pic: AP

• The death toll in Gaza since October 7 reaches 26,751, with 65,636 wounded, while Israel reports 1,139 casualties from Hamas attacks.

• Qatar’s Prime Minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani, has confirmed progress in negotiations for a prisoner and detainee exchange between Hamas and Israel. Speaking at the Atlantic Council, Al Thani expressed hope that this could lead to a permanent ceasefire in Gaza. Qatar, serving as a mediator, aims to find a negotiated solution to bring hostages home safely and halt the escalating civilian casualties.

• The UN Security Council has expressed deep concern about the worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza, emphasizing the need for all parties to collaborate with UN Humanitarian Coordinator Sigrid Kaag. The statement comes amid ongoing Israeli bombardment and restrictions on humanitarian aid. Western states freezing assistance for UNRWA, a major aid provider in Gaza, adds to the challenges.

• Sweden’s International Development Cooperation Agency will temporarily halt funds allocated for UNRWA, redirecting the money to other humanitarian organizations in occupied Palestinian territories and Lebanon. This decision aligns with similar moves by the US, the UK, and Australia, following allegations of UNRWA staff involvement in Hamas’s attacks.

• The White House spokesperson, John Kirby, affirms the United States’ belief in the potential for normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia. Despite criticism and Israel’s resistance to a pathway for Palestinian statehood, the administration remains focused on extending the Abraham Accords, seeing an opportunity for further regional diplomatic progress.

• Israel’s Knesset House Committee has overwhelmingly voted to expel lawmaker Ofer Cassif, who supported South Africa’s case against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The motion now heads to the parliament plenum, requiring 90 members’ support for approval.

• Israeli war cabinet minister Yoav Gallant has reportedly outlined plans for Israel to maintain military control over Gaza after the war, intending to “operate” in the region similarly to the occupied West Bank. Gallant’s statements suggest a military presence with civilian autonomy, drawing attention to the recent Israeli raid in Jenin as an example of potential post-war actions.


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