Middle east

Washington excludes Israel’s commission of genocide in Gaza

The US National Security Adviser condemned settlers for attacking aid convoys at the Erez crossing

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan stated on Monday that the Biden administration does not consider Israel’s killing of Palestinians in Gaza during its war with the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) as genocide amidst the lawsuits filed against the Hebrew state in the International Court of Justice and talks about the possibility of the International Criminal Court issuing arrest warrants against Israeli leaders, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.


Sullivan told reporters at the White House that the United States wants Hamas to be defeated, adding that Palestinians trapped amidst the war are facing hell and that any major military operation carried out by Israel in Rafah would be a mistake, adding, “We do not believe that what is happening in Gaza is genocide. We have recorded unequivocal rejection of this assumption.”

He expressed concern about reports indicating that Israeli settlers were attacking a humanitarian aid convoy en route to the Erez crossing north of the Gaza Strip, the second such incident in less than a week, saying, “It is infuriating that there are people attacking these vehicles and looting them. It is utterly unacceptable behavior.”

Biden, who is seeking a second term this year, faces severe criticism from his domestic supporters for his support of Israel. Some of these critics accuse Israel of committing genocide. Health officials in Gaza say more than 35,000 Palestinians have been killed so far in the Israeli military campaign in Gaza. 

Sullivan stated that the US president seeks to influence Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s approach to the war but emphasized that Israel is a sovereign democratic state and ultimately makes its own decisions.

In confirmation of a statement made by Biden on Saturday, Sullivan said that there could be a ceasefire in Gaza now if Hamas releases the hostages. He added that the world must urge the movement to return to the negotiating table and accept an agreement.

He stated that the United States is tirelessly working towards reaching an agreement to stop the ceasefire and release the hostages. He mentioned that he cannot predict the conclusion or timing of such an agreement.

On the ground, Israeli forces advanced Monday in northern Gaza amidst the rubble of destroyed buildings and ruins to regain control of an area from Hamas fighters, while tanks and other forces advanced in the southern sector via a highway leading to Rafah, causing Palestinian civilians to hasten their steps in search of a safe haven.

Some of the fiercest battles have taken place over the past few weeks in northern and southern Gaza. Israeli operations in Rafah, adjacent to Egypt, have led to the closure of a major aid crossing point, exacerbating an already dire situation, according to relief organizations.

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians are once again forced to flee from Rafah, to which nearly half of Gaza’s population fled after Israel issued orders to evacuate the northern part of the enclave in October.

The Gaza Ministry of Health, managed by Hamas, called on Monday for international pressure to allow the entry of aid, medical supplies, and fuel to operate power generators and ambulances. It added that the wounded and sick are dying slowly due to the lack of treatment and supplies and their inability to travel at the same time.

A spokesperson for the United Nations stated that a foreign UN employee was killed Monday after a car bearing the international organization’s emblem was targeted by shelling while on its way to a hospital in Rafah. This is the first time a foreign UN employee has been killed in the Gaza war, bringing the organization’s death toll to about 190.

In Jabalia camp, in northern Gaza, which was established for Palestinian refugees 75 years ago, Israeli forces advanced into an area that they claimed Hamas evacuated months ago.

Residents fled through the streets strewn with rubble. Tank shells fell in the middle of the camp, and Palestinian health officials said they had so far retrieved 20 bodies of Palestinians killed in the airstrikes that targeted Jabalia last night. 

A woman, who did not give her name, said, “We don’t know where to go. We have been displaced from one place to another… We are running in the streets. I saw it with my own eyes, I saw the tank and the bulldozer. They are in that street.”

Mahmoud Basal, spokesperson for the Civil Emergency Service in Gaza, stated that at least eight people were killed in an Israeli airstrike on a house in the Al-Nusairat refugee camp in central Gaza. He added that several others were injured and missing.

Health officials in Gaza reported that the number of Palestinian casualties in the war has exceeded 35,000 so far, with concerns of thousands more trapped under the rubble. They added that 57 people had been killed in the past twenty-four hours. The death toll released by the Health Ministry in the territory does not differentiate between civilians and fighters.

Israeli forces seek to eliminate Hamas, claiming their goal is to destroy Israel. The armed group launched an attack on southern Israel on October 7, according to Israeli statistics, resulting in the deaths of 1,200 people and the holding of over 250 hostages.

Hamas‘s armed wing stated that, due to Israeli airstrikes, they had lost contact with fighters guarding four Israeli hostages, including American-Israeli Hirsch Goldberg Bolin, who appeared in a video released by Hamas in late April.


Benjamin Netanyahu, during a commemorative ceremony in Jerusalem on Monday in memory of fallen Israeli soldiers, said the goal of the war against Hamas was to ensure “the existence, freedom, security, and prosperity” of Israel. He added, “Our war for independence is not over yet; it continues to this day.”

In Rafah, Israel intensified airstrikes and ground attacks in the eastern areas, killing people in an airstrike on a house in the Brazil neighborhood. Residents said airstrikes and ground attacks were intensifying, with Israeli tanks blocking the Salah al-Din road, which divides the eastern part of the city.

Bassam, 57, from the Shabora neighborhood in Rafah, said, “Tanks blocked the Salah al-Din road east of the city, and the army is now in the southeast, deploying near populated areas, the situation is very difficult… very difficult, and the sounds of explosions don’t stop.” He added via a messaging app, “People are leaving Rafah… there is no safe place now.” 

Estimates from UNRWA indicate that nearly 360,000 people have fled the southern city since the Israeli army ordered evacuation.

Residents are moving to barren areas of land, including farmlands, a narrow strip along the coast, classified by Israel as an expanded humanitarian area. But Shaina Lowe, from the Norwegian Refugee Council, said the area was not suitable for hosting displaced families.

She added, “There are no sanitary facilities or water access points. There are large piles of solid waste. And a colleague talked about seeing dead donkeys on the garbage heaps, and then there are all kinds of health-related concerns.”


Biden, running for another term in office this year, has faced strong criticism from his supporters locally for his support for Israel. Some of these critics accuse Israel of committing genocide, which the White House and Israel have denied.

Washington insists that Israel must not attack Rafah without a plan to protect civilians, which has not been seen yet.

The planned major ground offensive in Rafah has caused one of the largest rifts in generations between Israel and its main ally, the United States, which has suspended certain weapons shipments for the first time since the war began.

The office of Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant informed U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday of the “specific operation” in the Rafah area.

In a sign of ongoing Washington concerns, the U.S. State Department said Blinken spoke on Monday with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry and reiterated that the United States does not support a major Israeli military ground operation in Rafah. 

Meanwhile, the military wing of Hamas stated that its fighters clashed with Israeli forces in a street east of Rafah and east of Jabalia.


In Israel, the army sounded alarms several times in areas near Gaza, warning of the possibility of Palestinian rocket or mortar fire across the border.

Hamas and the military wing of the Islamic Jihad issued a joint statement saying they had fired mortars at Israeli forces infiltrating the Rafah crossing, the only checkpoint linking Gaza to Egypt and controlled by Israel last week.


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