#ISRAELHAMASWAR. High tension between Ganz and Netanyahu. Houthis enlist in Hodeidah for war. Small steps in Paris for the release of prisoners. Clashes in Khan Yunis

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Like Ukraine, Israel is also awaiting approval of the US aid package. In the 118 billion package, 14.1 would be for Israel. In addition, there is approximately three billion dollars in aid for the Middle East. Biden calls on Congress to “pass this bill immediately.”

Israeli Security Minister Ben Gvir, in an op-ed published by the Wall Street Journal, says he believes the Biden administration is harming Israel’s war effort and believes Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump will give Israel more freedom to eliminate Hamas.

“Instead of giving us full support, Biden is busy providing humanitarian aid and fuel [to Gaza] that goes to Hamas. If Trump were in power, the behavior of the United States would be completely different.”

In the meantime, the Israeli press has begun to talk about the Hochstein settlement which involves two phases for its implementation: “first, Hezbollah’s activities will cease and the Israeli population will return to their homes. Then, according to the Hochstein agreement, there will be a large deployment of the Lebanese army and UNIFIL in southern Lebanon and along the border.”

And again we learn from Israeli channels: “In the second phase of the Hochstein agreement, negotiations will begin to determine the land borders, “including the discussion of the 13 points of contention”. Hochstein has received the green light for a deal from Lebanon, but it is unclear whether Hezbollah has agreed. Under the Hochstein Agreement, the United States and the international community will consider granting “economic islands” to Lebanon.

According to the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper: “It is difficult to talk now about negotiations on the northern border with Lebanon because Hezbollah will not stop shooting as long as the war in Gaza continues.”

On February 5th, a small twist in Israeli politics, “The parties of the “National Camp” bloc, led by the minister and member of the Israeli war cabinet, Benny Gantz, attempted to persuade ministers and members of the Knesset of the Likud party to oust the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, during the current mandate of the Knesset, against the backdrop of tensions within the government”. This highlights the political fragmentation of Israel which certainly does not help in terms of the release of the hostages.

According to Channel 12 which reports the news from the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar: “A delegation from the Hamas leadership is preparing to go to Cairo and a delegation from Palestinian organizations is expected to join it. The response, which will be presented in writing to the mediators, Egypt and Qatar, will be “in a positive direction”, but “will include the introduction of key points into the framework – which explicitly provide for a cessation of war clause”. Still on the subject of talks, on February 2, the president of the Turkish secret service MIT Ibrahim Kalin met the president of the Hamas Political Bureau Ismail Haniyeh and his delegation in Doha. The results of the interviews are not known. However, Hamas leader Osama Hamdan told the Turkish Anadolu news agency: “We insist on a comprehensive ceasefire, on Israel’s withdrawal from all of Gaza and on lifting the siege, but the Israelis reject all these demands and want to continue their aggression.”

An Islamic Resistance and Hamas source said Monday Hamas is continuing its consultations on the Paris Initiative and is reaching an agreement leading to a ceasefire in Gaza, leading to a prisoner exchange deal with Israel.

Hamas also published yet another damage estimate over the weekend: “Since the beginning of the war, 70,000 houses completely destroyed and another 290,000 damaged and uninhabitable. Furthermore, 100 schools were completely destroyed and another 295 were partially destroyed.”

 “Against the backdrop of “unacceptable statements that distort its foreign policy approach”… the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announces the recall of Israel’s ambassador to Moscow.”

The IDF and the Israeli Defense Ministry instead told the press that they had completed the first phase of distributing weapons to reserve classes in around 70 locations in the Gaza Strip. The kit includes, among other things, purchased weapons, ceramic vests, uniforms, shoes and helmets.

Further equipment, including weapons, as well as additional medical and logistical equipment will be provided in the coming weeks. And again according to Channel 12: the Israeli army dismisses the 9263rd (reserve) battalion of the 226th brigade and replaces it with the “Nahal Reconnaissance” battalion on the northern border and with Lebanon.

The weekend was also characterized by the bombings of the US and US-British coalition against the settlements of pro-Iranian militias in Syria and on the border with Iraq. Furthermore, there have been many attacks on Yemen. In response, on February 5, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Houthi government gave an interview: “The continuation of the current approach by the United States will inevitably lead to an expansion of the war. We will prevent Israeli ships and those heading to Israeli ports until the aggression ceases and the siege of Gaza is lifted. Airstrikes against Yemen on February 5 hit the Dune area in Hodeidah Governorate.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani believes that the American attack on Yemen, Iraq and Syria constitutes a violation of the national sovereignty of these countries and a clumsy attempt to divert public opinion from the center of the Palestinian crisis towards other directions […] underlining that the center of the crisis is still in Palestine, and the solution is to put an end to the genocide”.

Among the Iranian responses to the US and British attacks, Iran has announced that it will hold naval exercises with Russia and China next month. The commander of the naval forces of the Iranian army, Admiral Shahram Irani, announced the news.

And now a look at the news of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: events from 2 to 5 February 2024 at 3.30 pm.

IDF units continue their ground operations in the Gaza Strip. In the northern part of the enclave, clashes regularly occur in the central and western regions, where Hamas militants are still active.

Israeli troops are carrying out extensive bombing of residential areas on the outskirts and capital of the enclave. The death toll has already exceeded 27,000 people.

A video from the northern part of the enclave, the “American zone”, which is a residential area west of Beit Lahiya, in the northern Gaza Strip, was completely destroyed by the Israeli army.

In the central part of the enclave, the front line has remained unchanged in recent times. Israeli planes have somewhat reduced their activity, but continue to strike Nuseirat and Deir al-Balah. On February 5, 7 people died and numerous people were injured as the occupation forces targeted an inhabited house in the city of Al-Zawaida, in the center of the Gaza Strip. Clashes and mortar shells from the Quds against a group of Israeli soldiers and vehicles east of the Al-Maghazi camp, in the center of the Gaza Strip. Military settlements east of the village of Al-Masdar, in the center of the Gaza Strip, were also hit

In Khan Yunis, Israeli units are conducting engineering work to demolish buildings on the western outskirts. In turn, Kataib Izz ad-Din al-Qassam militants launched a series of attacks near Al-Amal hospital and in the Jurat al-Akkad area. Qassam mortar fire on 5 February against a position of Israeli soldiers and vehicles in the axis of advance, southwest of Khan Yunis. According to Hamas sources there were “fierce clashes with machine guns and enemy vehicles in the front line of advance west of Khan Yunis”.

Violent clashes occurred in Nablus, where the IDF operation has been ongoing for several days. In Tubas, Kataib Izz ad-Din al-Qassam militants set up an ambush against Israeli equipment by blowing up a bulldozer. On February 5, the Shin Bet and the Military Intelligence Division issued a strategic warning of widespread escalation in the West Bank. In the coming days, Israeli security services will discuss the possibility of providing facilities to Palestinians during the month of Ramadan.

In southern Lebanon, Israeli forces carried out attacks in the Hammam area; the village of Balida was attacked; Israeli air strikes reportedly hit the village of Yaroun in southern Lebanon, including Hezbollah’s command center and another building used by the terrorist group. The IDF says it also struck a Hezbollah observation post in Maroun al-Ras. In response, Hezbollah fired missiles at Northern Israel.

In the Red Sea region, the US-British coalition fired missiles at Houthi targets in Yemen. A total of 48 rocket attacks were carried out by 12pm on February 4, most of which hit the provinces of Sana’a, Taiz and Al-Hodeidah. In Hodeidah on February 5th a large demonstration called for enlisting to fight Israel and its allies.

In Syria and Iraq, US aircraft carried out around 150 strikes on various locations of pro-Iranian groups. 13 settlements were targeted, resulting in at least 42 casualties.

Antonio Albanese e Graziella Giangiulio

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