Israeli air strikes continue across Gaza as truce talks struggle

Israeli strikes continue to kill Palestinians as PM Netanyahu faces pressure from all sides over ceasefire proposals.

Palestinians carry the body of a victim of an Israeli airstrike ahead of a funeral at the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir el-Balah in the central Gaza Strip on June 2, 2024 [Bashar Taleb/AFP]

The Israeli military has launched more air strikes across the Gaza Strip to deadly effect as officials discuss the latest proposed deal to end hostilities and exchange prisoners.

In the south of the enclave, Israeli air raids were reported overnight on Sunday in multiple areas in Rafah, which is under an expanding ground invasion, as well as Khan Younis. At least 12 people were killed, including women and children, in the overnight attacks on the two cities, according to the Palestinian news agency Wafa.

In central Gaza, multiple air strikes hit the Bureji refugee camp, killing at least six people. Strikes on the Nuseirat camp, approximately 2km (1.2 miles) away, killed four, while another seven were killed in the az-Zawayda area.

In Jabalia, in northern Gaza, civil defence crews said on Monday that they were still working to retrieve bodies in the aftermath of the withdrawal of Israeli forces. Much of the area has been destroyed, and dozens of bodies have been recovered after a 20-day Israeli military operation.

At least 36,439 Palestinians, mostly women and children, have been killed by the Israeli military in Gaza since October 7, with over 82,000 injured and thousands still missing, according to the enclave’s Ministry of Health.

These latest Israeli attacks came as rhetoric and discussion extended over the latest ceasefire proposal.

The three-phase plan, the latest in a series of proposals, seeks to end the conflict with an exchange of captives for prisoners, the evacuation of Israeli forces from Gaza, and the rebuilding of the enclave.

The White House has told Palestinian group Hamas that if it agrees to the plan, announced by United States President Joe Biden last week, then Washington expects Israel will also accept it.

But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu views the plan as “partial”, a government spokesman said on Monday.

“The outline that President Biden presented is partial,” government spokesman David Mencer quoted Netanyahu as saying, adding in a press briefing that “the war will be stopped for the purpose of returning the hostages” after which discussions will follow on how to achieve the Israel’s goal of eliminating Hamas.

Netanyahu, in a separate statement issued by his office, said that “claims that we have agreed to a ceasefire without our conditions being met are incorrect”.

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has said that he wants to see a viable alternative to Hamas’s governance of Gaza presented. War cabinet minister Benny Gantz has threatened to resign unless Netanyahu reaches an agreement on post-war plans by June 8.

“Netanyahu [is also] being told by the ultranationalists and far-right ministers that they will quit the government if there is a ceasefire,” notes Al Jazeera’s Sara Khairat, reporting from Amman. Jordan. “[That] will result in the dissolving of the coalition government that Netanyahu has needed to stay in power.”

“Then you have Yair Lapid, the opposition leader, saying ‘take the deal’. The families of those held captive also saying take the deal. So, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is stuck between both sides.”

Regional conflict

Amid the ongoing conflict with Hamas in Gaza, the Israeli military also continues a low-level fight with other Iran-linked groups in neighbouring Lebanon, and in Yemen and Syria.

In an air strike in the early hours of Monday, a factory near Aleppo was hit.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said at least 12 Iran-linked fighters were killed in the strike in the north of Syria.

These regional strikes have raised concerns over escalation. A suspected Israeli strike in April on an Iranian diplomatic compound in Damascus provoked rare direct attacks between Iran and Israel, sending fears of an all-out war between the pair spiking.

Source: Al Jazeera