Loading your search results


Peace and Conflict

March 5th - Day 151 of the war: News in Brief

March 5th - Day 151 of the war: News in Brief via BICom

1. Reports continue to suggest the breakdown of Qatari-mediated negotiations between Israel and Hamas. While Israel requires a list of living hostages captured on 7th October, Hamas has now claimed that it is unable to do so as it does not itself know who is still alive and where they are. Speaking to the BBC, Hamas Politburo member, Basim Naim said: “it is now impossible to know exactly who is still alive and who has been killed because of the Israeli bombardment or who has been killed because of starvation because of the Israeli blockade… [the hostages] are in different areas with different groups and therefore we have called for a ceasefire to be able to collect the data.” It has also been reported that Hamas chief, Yahya Sinwar, has not been contactable for over a week further complicating negotiation attempts.
2. US Vice President, Kamala Harris, met with Israeli War Cabinet Minister, Benny Gantz, in Washington DC yesterday. While the Vice President “expressed her deep concern about the humanitarian conditions in Gaza”, she has also praised Israel’s “constructive approach” in ongoing hostage negotiations. It is understood that while not authorised by Netanyahu or supported by the Israeli Embassy in DC, Gantz's trip is an attempt to smooth increasingly strained US-Israeli relations as the Biden administration’s frustration over Gaza’s humanitarian situation mounts. While the US administration reiterated its support for Israel and its right to self-defence, it also called for a “credible and implementable humanitarian plan” given the increasing likelihood of an assault on Rafah if attempts to reach a ceasefire fail.
3. The Israeli Air Force has shot down what it described as “a suspicious aerial target” which entered Israel from Syria, believed to have been a drone. Iraqi Shia militias which have close links to Iran and are known to operate in Syria have previously attempted to launch drone attacks at Israeli communities in the Golan Heights. This attack is yet to be claimed or attributed, though. Visiting Beirut, US Special Envoy, Amos Hochstein, highlighted the importance of a diplomatic solution to current tensions on the Israeli-Lebanese border. “A diplomatic solution is the only way to end the current hostilities…[and achieve] a lasting fair security arrangement between Lebanon and Israel,”  he said. He also stressed that a temporary ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hezbollah was insufficient. Yesterday, a Thai farm worker was killed and seven others injured by a Hezbollah anti-tank fired at the border community of Margaliot. The IDF responded with artillery fire.

4. IDF Spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari yesterday published the names of three more UNRWA employees who participated in the October 7th attack. This brings the total number of UNRWA employees accused by Israel of direct participation to 15. Recordings were also released illustrating the barbarity of the employees’ conduct during the massacre. “We have female hostages, I captured one!” says Yousef al-Hawajara, a Hamas terrorist the IDF says worked as a teacher at a UNRWA school in Deir al-Balah. Al-Hawajara is also heard saying he “saw the sights… They shot them in the eyes...” Hagari said that another recording shows a UNRWA-affiliated terrorist saying he had captured a “sabaya,” a term meaning sex slave used by ISIS jihadists. The IDF Spokesperson’s Office says about 450 Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists are employed by UNRWA. Israel has today criticised the EU Commission for its announcement last Friday that it is to give the agency 50 million euros.

5. The UN yesterday released its official report on atrocities committed by Hamas in the course of the October 7th massacre. The report confirms widespread sexual assault during the attack, including proof of rape, rape of dead bodies, naked and bound women being shot at the scene of the Nova music festival, and genital mutilation of bodies. Pramila Patten, the UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, also said that there was “clear and convincing information that sexual violence including rape, sexualised torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment” of hostages being held in Gaza. However, the UN failed to ascribe the widespread sexual violence to Hamas specifically, on the grounds that members of Palestinian Islamic Jihad and other Gazans participated in October 7th. Israeli Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz called Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan back to Jerusalem for consultations on an Israeli response to what he called an “attempt to silence the grave UN report about the acts of mass rape that were committed by Hamas and its helpers on October 7.” Katz also accused UN Secretary General Guterres of “acting to soften the serious report that he himself ordered on the sexual offences of Hamas, trying to keep Hamas from being held responsible...”

6. Three Arab-Israeli MKs met yesterday in Amman with Jordan’s King Abdullah. Ayman Odeh, head of the Hadash-Ta’al list, Ta’al chairman Ahmad Tibi, and Hadash MK Youssef Atauna discussed with Abdullah concerns that tensions over Jerusalem’s Holy Sites, exacerbated by the war in Gaza, could erupt during Ramadan. IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi, Israel Police head Kobi Shabtai, and Shin Ben head Ronen Bar met on Sunday to discuss security provisions for the Temple Mount during the Muslim holy month. National Security Minister Ben Gvir has proposed unprecedented restrictions on Arab-Israelis’ access to the site, but lacks support from fellow security cabinet members and is opposed by the security and military establishments. An Israeli Police statement over the weekend stressed the force would “continue to do everything in its power to maintain the balance between freedom of worship and public peace and security.”

via BICom