US report investigates whether Israel violated international law in Gaza. Here’s what to know

US report investigates whether Israel violated international law in Gaza. Here’s what to know

Thousands of people fled the southern city of Rafah as the Israeli army stepped up its operations, despite warnings from US President Joe Biden that a major Israeli offensive would result in the shutdown of some US weapons.

Here are the headlines:

Rafah military operation:

The Israeli army on Saturday ordered several more neighborhoods east of Rafah to immediately evacuate. Residents were urged to head to the “expanded humanitarian area in Al-Mawasi.”
Israel’s security cabinet approved an “expansion of the operational area” in Rafah late Thursday, an Israeli official said. The approval was a way for the cabinet to express its support but not an indication of the development of military operations there.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) estimates that nearly 110,000 people have fled Rafah since Monday after the Israeli army issued evacuation orders to parts of the city. Some of them have arrived in Khan Younis only to find it “completely destroyed,” with dire living conditions.
UN chief Antonio Guterres warned on Friday that a massive ground offensive in Rafah would lead to an “epic humanitarian disaster.” The streets of central and eastern Rafah are empty and some food vendors say they don’t know where to go next.
New US report:

The Biden administration said in a new report that it was “reasonable to judge” that US weapons had been used by Israeli forces in Gaza in a manner inconsistent with international humanitarian law, but did not formally say Israel violated the law.
The report, which covers the period from the outbreak of war with Hamas on October 7 to the end of April, did not find that Israel had withheld humanitarian aid to Gaza in violation of US law.
Biden also faces bipartisan retaliation over his ultimatum about Rafah to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Several Democratic lawmakers requested a briefing from the White House and a Republican opened an investigation into Biden’s handling of Israeli aid.
Ceasefire and hostage release negotiations continue:

Hamas militants said Israel’s rejection of a ceasefire plan put forward by mediators at talks in Cairo sent hostage-free talks back to “square”. It accused Netanyahu of obstructing ceasefire talks in order to use the talks as a cover for attacking Rafah.
It came a day after Israel and Hamas’ negotiating team left Cairo without an agreement. Israel has repeatedly refused to agree to a permanent ceasefire in Gaza until Hamas has been defeated, despite the release of all hostages.
UN Resolution on Palestine:

The UN General Assembly (UNGA) passed a resolution calling on the UN Security Council to reconsider Palestine’s membership in the UN. However, the US mission said the Palestinian Authority did not meet the criteria for UN membership and the resolution did not resolve concerns raised earlier.
Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz has condemned the resolution, calling it a “ridiculous decision.” Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian foreign ministry praised the vote. Abbas said the resolution was “in line with international law.”

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