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Western Diplomats Seek to Prevent Gaza Spillover After Three Months of War

Friends and family mourn Lieutenant Colonel Roee Yohay Yosef Mordechay, 31, killed in northern Gaza during the ongoing ground operation by Israel’s military in the Gaza Strip, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, at his funeral in Tel Aviv, Israel, January 7, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini

Top US and European diplomats campaigned in the Middle East on Sunday to keep the Gaza war from spreading across the region, but challenges remain three months into the conflict as Israel presses ahead with its operations against the Hamas terror group

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and the European Union’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, were on separate trips to the region to try to quell spillover from the war into Lebanon, the West Bank and Red Sea shipping routes, where Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthis have said they will keep up attacks until Israel halts its campaign in the Palestinian enclave.

“We have an intense focus on preventing this conflict from spreading,” Blinken said at the onset of his trip. He was in Jordan on Sunday and will later travel to Qatar, Israel, the West Bank, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Jordan’s King Abdullah urged Blinken to use Washington’s influence over Israel to press it for an immediate ceasefire, a palace statement said, warning him of the “catastrophic repercussions” of Israel’s continued military campaign.

Despite widespread calls for a ceasefire in Gaza, the Israeli public opinion remains firmly behind the operation aimed at wiping out the Hamas terror group that rules Gaza, although support for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has fallen

“The war must not be stopped until we achieve all the goals – the elimination of Hamas, the return of all our hostages and ensuring that Gaza will no longer pose a threat to Israel,” Netanyahu said at the start of a weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday. “I say this to both our enemies and our friends.”

Hamas terrorists launched the war with a surprise invasion of Israel on Oct. 7, murdering some 1,200 people and taking 240 others as hostages to Gaza. More than 100 hostages are still believed to be held by Hamas.

For Israelis, the deadliest day in the country’s history and the accounts of atrocities that later emerged left a sense that its survival was at stake.

Israel responded with an ongoing military campaign of air strikes and ground operations against Hamas in Gaza. Hamas-controlled health authorities say that thousands of people have been killed during the campaign, although experts have cast doubt on the reliability of such figures coming out of Gaza.

Separately, the health ministry said Israeli drones had opened fire on buildings at the Shuhada Al-Aqsa hospital in the central Gaza Strip.

There were no reports of injuries but ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qidra accused Israel of trying to undermine work at the hospital, which serves hundred of thousands of Palestinians in central Gaza – the focus of a heavier Israeli ground and air offensive in the past two weeks.

Israel denies targeting civilians and says Hamas militants deliberately embed themselves among civilian populations. Hamas, which is backed by Iran and is sworn to Israel’s destruction, denies that.

BLINKEN’S TRIP

Meeting King Abdullah in Amman, Blinken “stressed U.S. opposition to forcible displacement of Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza and the critical need to protect Palestinian civilians in the West Bank from extremist settler violence,” State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a statement.

Blinken is due in Doha next, where he will discuss with Qatari leaders efforts to free hostages still believed to be held by Hamas after an earlier agreement mediated by Qatar broke down, a senior State Department official said.

He will also aim to press hesitant Muslim nations in the Middle East to prepare to play a role in the reconstruction, governance and security of Gaza if and when Israel manages to eliminate Hamas, an official said.

Gun battles intensified in the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis as well as in central districts of the densely populated enclave. Israeli strikes on houses in the city killed 50 people, health officials in Nasser Hospital said on Sunday.

Outside Gaza, there was more violence in the West Bank. Israeli aircraft fired on Palestinian militants who had attacked troops in the area, the military said, and Palestinian health officials said seven Palestinians died in the strike.

An Israeli border police officer was killed and others wounded when their vehicle was hit by an explosive device during operations in the West Bank city of Jenin, the military and police said.

Israeli police killed a young Palestinian girl in a car at a West Bank crossing when they opened fire on another car suspected of a ramming attack, Israeli emergency services said.

The West Bank had already seen its highest levels of unrest in decades during the 18 months before the Gaza war, and confrontations have since escalated.

The post Western Diplomats Seek to Prevent Gaza Spillover After Three Months of War first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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British Columbia’s Jewish community is outraged after MLA Selina Robinson is removed from cabinet over remarks about Israel

Leaders of the British Columbia Jewish community have reacted with dismay to the decision by David Eby, the province’s premier, to remove Selina Robinson from her position as minister of post-secondary education and future skills on Feb. 5 due to remarks she made the previous week during an online discussion. While speaking on a panel […]

The post British Columbia’s Jewish community is outraged after MLA Selina Robinson is removed from cabinet over remarks about Israel appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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Gaza Border Residents Demand A Return Home, Four Months Into War

A damaged building lies in ruins, following an infiltration by Hamas terrorists who attacked Israel at a kibbutz in Kfar Aza, Israel, Nov. 8, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

Israelis from the Gaza Envelope are calling on the government to approve their return home, roughly four months since the war’s outbreak on October 7.

The head of the Scot Negev Regional Council, Tamir Idan, said outside the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem, “We demand a clear statement from the Prime Minister and the Defense Minister that it is safe to return to the area. Until then we are not moving from here.”

The heads of the other regional councils in the Gaza area joined Idan outside the Prime Minister’s office, where they slept last night in protest.

The regional leaders say that members of the Gaza border towns should be allowed to return to the areas if they wish, rather than being forced to live in hotels. An internal plan is set to be presented to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in the near future.

The heads claim it is safe to return home, and are demanding that the government sign off on such a statement so residents can do so. Their protest comes as the government extended the funds allocated for their stay at hotels until July.

Following the October 7 massacre by Hamas terrorists, when they stormed southern Israel, murdering over 1,200 and taking hostage more than 240, tens of thousands of Israelis from the area were uprooted from their homes and placed in hotels in the Jerusalem area, Eilat, the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea region. Since then, they have been living there full time, with makeshift schools set up for children and activities to keep everyone occupied. The move has also led local businesses to be completely shuttered.

Some Israelis have already moved back to their towns, which is technically allowed but under their own risk — rockets still fly near daily from Gaza and the IDF is operating within the Gaza Strip, which is minutes away from certain border towns.

The plan presented by the regional heads, they say, would mean that the towns are technically safe to return to, and therefore the risk falls under the government and the military.

This is as tens of thousands of Israelis from northern towns also remain out of their homes, with no current timeline for return due to the constant threat of Hezbollah missiles and the potential the war extends to the north.

The post Gaza Border Residents Demand A Return Home, Four Months Into War first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Australian Politician Says ‘Jewish Lobby’ Uses ‘Tentacles’ to ‘Influence Power’

Australian Greens MP Jenny Leong speaks at a Palestine Justice Movement event in Australia on Sunday, February 4, 2024. Source: Twitter/X

Video of a left-wing Australian politician discussing how “the Jewish lobby and the Zionist lobby” are using their “tentacles” to “influence power” went viral on Tuesday, sparking backlash from the Australian Jewish community.

Jenny Leong, an Australia Greens member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, spoke on a panel for the Palestine Justice Movement in December to promote boycotting Israel.

“The Jewish lobby and the Zionist lobby are infiltrating into every single aspect of what is ethnic community groups,” Leong said during the panel. “They rock up and they’re part of the campaign,” and “they offer solidarity.” 

She continued: “They [the Jewish and Zionist lobby] rock up to every community meeting and event to offer that connection because their tentacles reach into the areas that try and influence power and I think that we need to call that out and expose that.”

Stop what you’re doing and listen to the despicable remarks of @Greens MP @jennyleong , in which she accuses Jews of having “tentacles” which they use to try and influence power.

Leong has plumbed new and dangerous depths by using one of the oldest and darkest antisemitic tropes… pic.twitter.com/P9LokLFQwU

— NSW Jewish Board of Deputies (@NSWJBD) February 6, 2024

The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, which is the representative of Jews who live in New South Wales, called the remarks “despicable,” adding that “Leong has plumbed new and dangerous depths by using one of the oldest and darkest antisemitic tropes to accuse Jews of covertly manipulating civic life. She has outrageously suggested that there is a sinister or evil purpose associated with Jews undertaking the most normal of activities – interacting with other Australians.”

Josh Burns, a Labor member of the Australian House of Representatives, said her comments were “a direct attack on Jewish people in Australia” and that “she should unreservedly apologize.” He also called on the Australian Greens to “take responsibility and demonstrate that Jewish people in Australia are safe and respected by their Party.”

The right-leaning Australian Jewish Association wrote on X that “Every credible political party must put the Greens last. Every non-racist fair minded person must put the Greens last.”

In response to the criticism, Leong apologized for specifically using the word “tentacles,” but not for her message. She said: “Speaking on a panel during a two-hour-long event last year, I acknowledge that I used a word at one point that was an inappropriate descriptor for the influence of groups backing Netanyahu’s genocidal attacks in Gaza and the ongoing occupation – I apologise that this has caused offence.” 

She continued: “It is incredibly telling that after a conversation where myself and other speakers made countless mentions of the genocidal attacks and occupation occurring in Gaza right now, that two months later more focus isn’t being put on the deaths of over 26,000 people, many of them children.”

Her comments and apology come amid increasing concern over antisemitism on the far-left, which has celebrated violent resistance against Israel since October 7, when Hamas invaded the country, killed 1,200 people, and kidnapped more than 240 more.

The post Australian Politician Says ‘Jewish Lobby’ Uses ‘Tentacles’ to ‘Influence Power’ first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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